I want to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation because all my friends did/are (nerd pressure) BUT I recognize that, man, it’s a lot to watch and, man, there are some stinkers in there. Also from what I understand, the series as a whole is more episodic in nature. Right? So, because of this, I decided to watch the 25ish best episodes of the series, based on what the INTERNET says. So I Googled “best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation” and then recorded how the episodes ranked across a number of sources (IMdB and Entertainment Weekly being two, and a couple of fanboyish sites being the other three). I then averaged those scores together and ranked them. I took the top 25, but half of these are two-parters so it might end up being more like 35 or so. Now, presented in viewing/airdate/watching order, are the episodes I plan on watching:
The Measure of a Man
Sins of the Father
Best of Both Worlds
Cause and Effect
The Inner Light
Chain of Command
Ship in a Bottle
All Good Things
None from season one, which is about right from what people have told me. Am I missing anything? Are there any season one episodes I have to watch? Note: you will have to reblog this or email me with suggestions, cause you can’t enable replies on tumblrs that aren’t your default.
A nice thing about Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation is that they are very much episodic television shows. You can skip around without hurting the experience too much.
That said, if you don’t watch “Skin of Evil” (S1 E23) then “Yesterday’s Enterprise” won’t be nearly as satisfying. And if you don’t watch anything else from season 1, “Skin of Evil” won’t mean much. This is important, because “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is a great episode and it’s totally insane that Katey hasn’t seen it (or at least didn’t remember seeing it).
Looking at Wikipedia and picking notable season 1 episodes:
- “The Last Outpost” (S1 E5) It was decided that in the eighty years since Kirk was captain, the Klingons had made peace with the Federation, and the Ferengi were to be the new villain. They are introduced in this episode. I don’t even remember what happens in this episode, but it may be interesting to see how they compare to later appearances, where they essentially become the alpha quadrant’s comic relief.
- “Justice” (S1 E8) A classic “let’s visit another world and see how ridiculous their civilization is” Star Trek episode.
- “Haven” (S1 E11) The introduction of Lwaxana Troi, drama teacher of the future. She and Picard have a Miss Piggy/Kermit dynamic that comes up again and again. (Fun fact: Lwaxana is played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who also performs the voice of the Enterprise computer.)
- “Datalore” (S1 E13) Establishes a lot of Data’s back story.
- “11001010” (S1 E15) A ridiculous idea for an alien race.
- “Home Soil” (S1 E18) “Ugly bags of mostly water.”
Oh, and this one from season 2 may have special appeal to you, Brett:
- “The Outrageous Okona” (S2 E4) See what a Han Solo type character looks like in the Star Trek universe. Also, Joe Piscopo is selected to represent all of 20th century comedy.
I’m actually surprised by how much “stuff” is in the first two seasons. I recommend watching at least “Skin of Evil” if not more of the above. A lot of the “greatness” of later episodes comes from knowing the characters. (Which I realize contradicts my earlier assertion that skipping around doesn’t hurt.) Also, a lot of the ridiculous episodes won’t make the greatest hits lists but they are where all the best jokes come from.
EDITED TO ADD that I have watched the pilot and the second episode where a virus causes everyone to act drunk and Wesley orders there to be dessert served before and after meals. That second episode inspired this project.
More trivia: that second episode, “The Naked Now”, is heavily based on the original series’s episode “The Naked Time”, and being the third episode of a follow-up to a legendary series, reactions were not all positive.
Oh, and don’t skip the episodes about Reginald Barclay!