Friday, January 24, 2014

My Top Ten List: My Favorite Episodes Of Star Trek The Next Generation

Yes, I'm doing the typical top ten list. This will probably be the first of several too.

The topic this time is my favorite episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG for short). Now before I proceed, I know I will get this question: "Aaron, why start with Star Trek? Why not do your favorite Clone War episodes?" To them I reply: I will do a Clone Wars top ten for sure, but I'm waiting to see the bonus content, lost missions, or what ever Lucasfilm will wind up calling it, first. So while waiting, lets do Star Trek TNG.

The Next Generation lasted for 7 seasons and produced some great stories. It was the second series in the Star Trek franchise, and one of, if not the, most popular of the series. A stellar cast commanded the Enterprise into a new era and new life.





There have been a lot of TNG top ten lists done through the years, and they have had great episodes in them, but not all the episodes that made their lists made mine, which is why I felt compelled to do this list. FYI, I will keep it as spoiler free as possible, cause I know some of my friends haven't watch TNG or any Star Trek series. So without further ado, here is my Star Trek The Next Generation favorite episodes top ten list.

10. The Inner Light (Season 5, Episode 25)


A great episode that makes many of the top ten lists. The episode focuses on Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) who is scanned by an alien probe and wakes up on an alien planet, where he is placed in the roll of another man. Everyone thinks he is someone else. Whats great about this episode is the inner reflection Picard has to go through as he is forced to live this other man's life.

9. Rascals (Season 6, Episode 7)


This episode is just plain fun. Due to a freak transporter accident, Captain Picard, Guinan (played by Whoopie Goldberg), Ensign Ro Laren (played by Michelle Forbes), and Keiko OBrien (played by Rosalind Chao) are transformed into children. Faking an emergency, a band of Ferengi take over the Enterprise and then its up the the "children" to take the ship back. Its just plain entertaining!

8. Sarek (Season 3, Episode 23)


Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, the father of Spock from the original series and movies, come on board to be transported to finalize a treaty with another alien species. The emotionless Vulcan, is showing a variety of emotions that is not common to the Vulcan people, which leads to Picard investigating whats wrong with the ambassador. A very respectful piece as Mark Lenard reprised his role from the motion pictures.

7. Unification Parts 1 and 2 (Season 5, Episodes 7 and 8)


This 5th season 2 parter brings back a member of the original series cast, the great Leonard Nimoy. When Starfleet Intelligence learns that one of the Federation's most respect ambassador's is on Romulus, the capital of the Romulan Empire, on a mission not authorized by the Federation, Picard and Lt Commander Data (played by Brent Spiner) go undercover to Romulus to bring him back. But when the get there they find Ambassador Spock not wanting to return cause of a plan that could have lasting repercussions for both the Romulan Empire and the Federation.

6. Redemption Parts 1 and 2 (Season 4, Episode 26 and Season 5, Episode 1)

A civil war breaks out in the Klingon Empire and Lt Worf (played by Michael Dorn) must chose whether to stay in Starfleet, or leave to join Gowron, the Klingon Chancellor, who promises to restore his family honor. Unfortunately, Romulans try to take advantage of the situation and their commander has a familiar appearance. A great look into the Klingon home world and culture. If you are going to watch this episode, watch the next episode on the list first, it will help with understanding the gravity of the situation when the Romulan commander appears at the end of the first part.

5. Yesterday's Enterprise (Season 3, Episode 15)


Whats a Star Trek series without time travel????  The Enterprise is on a routine mission when they encounter a subspace rift. Another starship comes through the rift and the timeline completely changes as result. The only person who notices, Guinan. The dilemma then becomes whether to send the other starship back through the rift to fix a timeline that none of the crew can tell is messed up.

4. Chains Of Command Parts 1 and 2 (Season 6, Episodes 10 and 11)


To me one of the best two parts made. With the Cardassians building up their forces along the neutral zone, Starfleet relieves Picard of command of the Enterprise and sends him, Worf, and Dr. Beverly Crusher (played by Gates McFadden) undercover to search for biological weapons the Cardassians are supposedly building. The Enterprise is placed under the command of Captain Edward Jellico, who shakes things up on board the ship, clashing with Commander William Thomas Riker (played by Jonathan Frakes). This is a tremendous 2 part arc that deals with a lot of strong topics. Also the first (and to my knowledge only) episode in the Star Trek franchise with any kind of nudity: you see a brief glimpse of the captain's backside. This arc also brings one of the best lines in the show "There are four lights!" You'll understand when you see the episode.

3. Relics (Season 6, Episode 4)


There is only one thing to say about this episode: Captain Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (play by the late James Doohan). Thats right, in another original series cross over, the Enterprise rescues Scotty from a transporter buffer where he his pattern was saved for 75 years. Lt Commander Geordi LaForge (played by LeVar Burton) is tasked with keeping the "miracle worker" engaged and entertained. Its a great tribute to Doohan, who portrayed Scotty in the original series. There is a touching scene where he and Picard share a drink on the bridge of the original Enterprise. Definitely a must watch for original series fans.

2. All Good Things... (Season 7, Episodes 25 and 26)


The series finale. And what a finale!  It incorporates the whole TNG experience in one episode. Picard is jumping from the present into the past and the future where he has to figure out what's causing the same subspace distortion in all 3 times and keep from destroying the universe. The omnipotent Q (played by John de Lancie) returns to continue his obsession with the human race. This was a great way to end a great show. A lot of people say this 2 part arc was better then Star Trek Generations, the first motion picture with the crew of TNG, which was released a mere 6 months after the series finale aired, but I consider them great episodes with some great tributes as well.

And to conclude my top ten list of my favorite Star Trek The Next Generation episodes:

1. The Best of Both Worlds Parts 1 and 2 (Season 3, Episode 26 and Season 4, Episode 1)


This two part episode which closed out season 3 and opened season 4 is my choice episode and the best that the show has done. Half machine, half flesh and blood, the Borg have been proven to be the villain to dread. In this episode, the Borg begin an invasion of the Federation and of course, its up to the Enterprise to try to stop them. Things of course get complicated when Captain Picard is captured and assimilated. Now Locutus of Borg, he leads the Borg through a destructive trip through Federation space to get to Earth. With Picard captured, its up to now Captain Riker and the Enterpise to stop the Borg at all cost. This is an episode you can sit and watch without knowing anything about what came before.  If you read this list and choose to watch only one of the episodes listed, you must choose this one. Period.

That concludes this top ten list. Now there are so many good TNG episodes, I can't list them all, but I must throw in some of them as honorable mentions. Lower Decks (Season 7, Episode 15), The Pegasus (Season 7, Episode 12), Attached (Season 7, Episode 8), The Next Phase (Season 5, Episode 24), First Duty (Season 5, Episode 19), Cause and Effect (Season 5, Episode 18), The Measure Of A Man (Season 2, Episode 9), and The Big Goodbye (Season 1, Episode 12).

That's all for now. Feel free to leave comments and let me know if you of this list. Which do you think are the best episodes?

Until the next blog then....

Live long and prosper....

May the Force be with you....

And may God bless you richly!