The Star Trek celebration continues, with the Next Generation and the crew of the Enterprise, NCC-1701-D.
10. Cause and Effect (Season 5) – The reason this episode is low on this list, you basically watch the same exact scene over, and over, but there are different sequences added in here and there. Every scene (until the climax) ends with the Enterprise-D getting destroyed by an unknown ship. In the end it turns out that the ship was an old Federation ship from the 23rd Century, and her captain, is Kelsey Grammer! No, really, Frasier shows up in the last couple of minutes of the show. This marks the first time he and Sir Patrick Stewart appear on screen together, I already talked about the second time they shared the screen together, and I’ll talk about the third time in a few years.
9. Hollow Pursuits (Season 3) – This episode introduces the brilliant, but kinda lazy engineer Reg Barclay. You know that one guy at school or work that would rather be playing Call of Duty, or World of Warcraft, OK, I’m being a little too harsh on Reg. But the episode’s great because it introduces a very relatable character, with Reg being an awkward wallflower, and showing how Geordi is willing to try break him out of his shell. And the scenes with him in the holodeck was hilarious.
8. Deja Q (Season 3) – When I first started picking what episodes, would be on this list, I very compelled to list pretty much every Q episode, except for a certain episode, because Q is that awesome. But next to Q who, this one is best episode with Q. So, while helping a planet from annihilation, the crew of the Enterprise-D, gets payed yet another visit by Q, who was stripped of his powers by the continuum for spreading chaos throughout the universe. The entire episode shows the crew, well mostly Data, helping him get used to being human. Throw in a cameo from Corbin Bernsen, and quite possibly the funniest ending, you have a very enjoyable Q episode.
7. In Theory (Season 4) – When Data learns that a torpedo engineer developed feelings for him, he decides to pursue a relationship with her. Earlier in the episode, he asks advice from primary crew and Guinan as to how he should take care of this, he tried to ask Picard, but he was busy directing the episode, that’s right Sir Patrick makes his directorial debut with this episode, and he’s gone on record to say this was one of his favorite episodes.
6. Relics (Season 6) -The Enterprise-D receives a distress call from a 75 year old Federation transport, within a Dyson Sphere. While investigating the transport, Geordi discovers that there are two life-signs jury-rigged within the transporter, after some adjusting, he saves one of the people within the transporter, and who is that person, Captain Montgomery Scott! As the story progresses, Scotty wants to feel useful again, most of his friends have passed on, and even Geordi snaps at him for his sorrow. Eventually the two engineers work together and save the Enterprise from being captured by the Dyson Sphere. Yes, it’s a crossover with The Original Series, and while it was had a lot of enjoyable fan service moments, like Scotty entering a holographic recreation of Kirk’s Enterprise, it’s the heart of the story, that really sells you on this episode, that and the great chemistry between LeVar Burton and James Doohan.
5. The First Duty (Season 5) – Picard heads to Earth to deliver the commencement speech at Starfleet Academy, but he and the crew learn that Wesley Crusher and his flight team, Nova Squadron were involved in an accident that caused the death of one of their team members. The episode is basically a courtroom drama episode, and while this genre isn’t a favorite of mine, this helps make the story work. The acting from Sir Patrick Stewart and Wil Wheaton were outstanding especially in this scene. Ray Walston made an appearance as the Academy’s groundskeeper, who (indirectly) helps Picard in the case. And I’d be remissed to mention Robert Duncan McNeil as squad leader, Nick Locarno, who was essentially a template for his future Star Trek Voyager character, Tom Paris.
4. Unification (Season 5) – In the first full-length crossover between TNG and TOS (which is also a tie-in with Star Trek VI, which was released a month after this episode), Picard and Data infiltrate the Romulan homeworld (Romulus), to investigate the apparent defection of Spock, but it turns out that he was actually trying to unify the Romulans and Vulcans the same way he achieved peace between the Feeration and Klingon Empire. This was good because not only was Spock in this episode, but the episode is a something of a political thriller with many twists and turns along the way, including the consequences of a choice made by a certain character in a certain episode. Speaking of…
3. Yesterday’s Enterprise (Season 3) – A riff in space and time causes the Enterprise-D’s predecessor, NCC-1701-C emerges in an alternate version of the 24th century, where the Federation was in the middle of (and losing) a war with the Klingon Empire for 20 years. The episode was just outstanding, one of the big things everyone remembers from this episode is the return of Tasha Yar, and unlike most cameos, this was actually done as a plot point, to give her a more meaningful death. The episode also deals with weather or not, Picard should send the Crew of the Enterprise-C to their deaths and return the timeline back to normal. This episode was an instant classic when it first aired, and still holds up to this day. Oh, and I had to shoehorn this line from the episode.
2. All Good Things (Season 7) – Earlier I mentioned how I planned on adding every Q episode as one entry except for one, say hello to the exception! In the epic series finale, has Picard shifting between the past, present, and future. The episode had everything, twists, turns, neat (but alternate) glimpses of the future, Crusher became a captain, and married Picard, then later divorced him, Geordi’s married, Riker became an admiral, Data dyed part of his hair grey, it’s pretty cool. Something else worth noting is the Future Enterpise-D, I remember when I first saw that thing it was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, but that’s not point, this was one of the best finales for a Star Trek series, and it helped make up for the finale of The Original Series.
1. The Best of Both Worlds (Seasons 3 and 4) – Come on, we’re talking about The Next Generation here, you all knew this would be on this list! In this episode, EVERYTHING was on the line, the Borg planning to assimilate all of Earth, Riker has finally assumed command of the Enterprise-D, the Federation’s defence force was decimated, (remember this next month), Patrick Stewart wasn’t sure if he’d be back for the rest of the series, it was incredible. A year after their debut in Q Who, The Borg has finally began their assault assimilation of Earth, while all this is happening, Picard is wondering if it’s time for Riker to finally assume his own command. Later a few Borg drones enter the Enterprise-D and assimilate Picard turning him into Locutus of Borg, and using his knowledge they have an advantage against the Federation. This was a spectacular episode, the story was great, the battles were incredible and looked like some thing you’d see in a movie, which makes since seeing as how it eventually got a theatrical release two years ago. I there’s nothing else to say, this was great, and truly is the best episode of The Next Generation.
Lower Decks (Season 7)
Encounter At Farpoint (Season 1)
Q Who (Season 2)
Tapestry (Season 6)
Data’s Day (Season 4)
Parallels (Season 7)
The Pegasus (Season 7)
So, that’s my favorite TNG episodes, next month we look at my favorite Deep Space 9 episodes. Until then, We’re gonna talk about Super Sentai.