As we have discussed last month (or last year), we are making some changes to the way we offer content on our website. While the site will focus more closely on our podcasts, we want to offer other content that is not news related, as there are so many of those. So, to kick things off, Adam and I have decided to pick our top five favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes of all-time. We talk about these episodes on our The Away Team show, which will go weekly next week, but we wanted to get them on record.
Note: We have chosen to leave out Best of Both Worlds because we can all agree that is the best episode of TNG. This is to focus on other episodes that are especially great. So, deal with it.
“The Inner Light” – Season 5; Episode 25
Upon discovering a probe, Picard is linked and experiences a lifetime as a member of the species. The episode is amazing in every sense. It is beautifully written, shot and performed. Patrick Stewart got to bury himself in a role that allowed him to start as Captain Picard but takes on the identity that the inhabitants believe him to be. The twist ending is an amazing cap to an incredible story.
“Tapestry” – Season 6: Episode 15
Like all Trek fans, we love Q. However, this episode allows both Q and Picard to have their own It’s A Wonderful Life. After going into the afterlife with Q, Picard regrets his actions that led to his artificial heart. Q allows him to change it and it leads him down a road he didn’t expect. Filled with humor, retrospect, and how the decisions Picard had made created the captain we love. Such an amazing Picard-focused episode.
“Cause and Effect” – Season 5; Episode 18
Time loop episodes are great! This particular one is especially great. Focusing on Riker, Crusher, Worf, and Data, each act of the episode ends with the destruction of the Enterprise. Certain characters are experiencing déjà vu and are attempting to figure it out before the ship is destroyed again. Plus, it is always cook to see the Enterprise get destroyed.
“Yesterday’s Enterprise” – Season 3; Episode 15
Regardless of how you feel about rape gangs (er, I mean Lt. Yar), her death in the first season was so weak. It was a mark on the show for a long time. However, with a new production staff, they create a new alternate timeline episode that allows Yar to get the heroic death any character on the Enterprise deserves. After the Enterprise – C arrives in the 24th century, history has changed and pits the Federation in a war with the Klingons. The only course is to send that ship back to a certain death to prevent a war.
“Parallels” – Season 7; Episode 11
Worf is one of the most tragic characters in TNG. This episode is another parallel universe episode. After going through a singularity, Worf is phased into different universe where his life isn’t what he remembered. The episode, also, furthers the weak thread of Worf and Troi getting together. The episode isn’t as tragic as his other episodes, but it is nice to see him get something to do – other than brood.
“All Good Things…” – Season 7; Episode 25/26
In a culture where series finales tend to be rather weak (i.e. Enterprise’s series finale), TNG has one of the most satisfying ends of all Trek. Picard is travelling backward and forward in time trying to figure out the cause of a singularity. He finds himself commanding the Enterprise just before the Farpoint mission, with his present time, and 25 years in the future. Of course, Q has his hand in all this. While it doesn’t officially say goodbye, it is a satisfying episode that is worth the finale aspect.