When I consider what is best about TNG, I not only look at what I find most engaging, but also what is the most challenging of stories, & contains the best all around qualities. As such, here's my pics (Unordered)
On TNG, so often the case is that when you have a phenomenal guest actor, you have a phenomenal episode. This episode is maybe the best example of why, because... it's got two. There's so much great acting flying around in this episode, it's staggering. Add to that a really compelling bit of Federation geopolitics, & some hard hitting reality of men in war, & you have maybe one of the best episodes in all Star Trek, as I see it.
Chain of Command
Every so often the series really excels when it invests in the limitless talents of Patrick Stewart. They could have made the entire episode about only his story, & it would have been good. What they did was give us more story & that made it great. Again with great guest actors, Ronny Cox & David Warner, as well as more thrilling geopolitical developments. It was also really interesting to shake up the status quo.
Drama is at its best when it can pull you into the lives of its characters, and in this case make you feel things for a character that can't even feel them himself. I don't think I ever felt that way about TNG more than in this episode, & maybe the Picard section of Family
. So much was on the line in this story, & none of it was easily predicted. It's amazing to me that it all got done in 42 minutes.
What could possibly be the best bottle episode of the entire series. Certainly the simplest. Successfully creating a gripping element unlike they'd ever achieved before. Turning suspicions on one of its characters & allowing the story to spin on not much more than that.
Sins Of The Father
When people say that TNG hit its stride in season 3, this is what they're talking about. These characters are no longer just set dressing, & the ramifications of their stories are now realer than ever. TNG never sucked you into it's universe more than when it was giving us it's Klingon arc
Such a shame about only picking 5. I'm afraid to say that on a different day, one or two of them might be different, but that doesn't really diminish how great these 5 truly were