Great posts guys!
Anything else? I'm sure there's loads more to potentially discuss, analyse and debate. So many episodes of TNG are scary, without often even seeming that way from the outset. Here's an idea: Watch every episode that has anything even remotely scary or weird in it, and make notes. You'll be surprised at how many of these episodes there actually are - it's a lot more than simply the really outright horror, terrifying, spooky as hell perfect for Halloween episodes like Night Terrors, Schisms, Frame of Mind and Phantasms.
One which comes to mind is an incredibly eerie episode from Season 2: Where Silence Has Lease. It's not really horrifying most of the time (although there are moments), even though the idea is kind of disturbing. But it's so moody, and it builds slowly enough that, like most of the scarier episodes of Star Trek, it becomes very psychological in tone.
If Trek ever makes it back to TV many of the episodes mentioned here are episodes i'd love to see the writers take a look back at and reinject that deep sense of mind bending into the stories. Not all the time, but they make for good seasoning. Some nice Twilight Zone/Outer Limits inspired stuff. The Cosmos is vast, mysterious and unnerving as much as it is wondrous, majestic and beautiful.
Well said. This made me think of another episode which isn't commonly remembered as creepy, although I have no idea why: Remember Me. That is pure psychological terror of the worst kind. Ok, so what if you're all alone on your starship by the end of it, and the last person you spoke to simply doesn't remember all the others and thinks it makes sense to roam the galaxy in a starship meant to hold over 1000 people with just 2 people? It's not as if there are any monsters out there. It's not as if you're hallucinating or going to be abducted.
The terror here is even subtler, in the vein of Frame of Mind: it's about the fear of losing control of your mind and your life. None of what is happening makes sense, and worse still, everyone around you thinks nothing is happening or even changing, but you know it is! And then you find out that the universe is a spherical body 700 metres long (or something along those lines), and you realise you're trapped somewhere which isn't supposed to exist...and if you don't escape soon, you'll vanish from existence entirely.
Yep...that's more existential, but still really scary in some ways.
On the other hand, there was the odd episode of TNG which actually tried too hard to be scary, and ended up laughable. "Imaginary Friend", is what I'm thinking of here. Also, while it was scary in some ways, an episode like "Sub Rosa" ended up being too cliched and silly to be genuinely psychologically terrifying or even seriously spooky or eerie. It was mildly creepy and disturbing in some moments, but that was about it. Then you look at an episode in which nothing real which is scary actually happens at all - Night Terrors - and yet because of the fear of going nuts and losing your mind and hallucinating, it's absolutely horrific. Just goes to show that trying too hard is almost always going to be less genuinely scary than being more subtle and spooky.