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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old July 28 2014, 07:07 PM   #1
BigJake
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Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I was put in mind of this subject by watching a video recap of first-season TNG the other day during which I realized that -- for as much opprobrium as is hurled at it today -- I actually quite liked a lot of it at the time and still do today. So I thought I'd put it out there; which maligned episodes of TNG do you enjoy?

My leading picks? The Naked Now and Code of Honor.

Yes, The Naked Now was an odd choice of story for the second episode, and a retread of a TOS plot... but everyone still sold it pretty well and it gave us the deathless "programmed in multiple techniques of pleasuring" side of Data, which was a win with me then and still is today.

Code of Honor was a mixture of cheesy TOS elements, including a fight-to-the-death ritual, Captainly trickery and goofy alien primitives. But it's still good cheese! Darned if I don't have any less fun watching this than, say, The Gamesters of Triskelion. Yes, the goofy aliens are given an unfortunate overlay of racism by the odd choice of casting all the Ligonians as African -- but hey, it's a step up from blonde surfers in orange-face and we've seen this done before with all-Caucasian planets too. More importantly the actors playing the Ligonians make a heck of a lot of hay out of, to put it politely, limited parts.

Overall I liked the unpredictability of Season One TNG. The charge often levelled at it that it was trying to be TOS is true, but in retrospect not such a terrible thing; it also derived some charm and quality from that, and furnished a boatload of accidental magic that most shows never attain in multiple seasons. It was messy and nobody really knew what was going on, but it still entertained, in some ways because of that messiness.

In fact, looking down a list of episodes from that season, I can more easily pick out the few that I didn't like from the many I did. The Last Outpost; Haven (just a bit dull); Angel One (way too Amazon Women on the Moon); Symbiosis (a touch predictable). The rest... still hold up.

Yes? No? Got picks of your own? (They don't have to be season one.) Fire away.
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Old July 28 2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I'm a much bigger fan of seasons one and two than what came later. So I'll pick an episode from one of the latter seasons: "Power Play". I'm not exactly sure how much love it gets, but I rarely see it discussed on these boards. Spiner is great as usual, Sirtis and Meaney get to stretch their acting legs and the story is fun, in the spirit of TOS.
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Old July 28 2014, 07:41 PM   #3
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

Apparently The Royale gets a ton of crap, but I love it, so that's my #1 favorite "much-maligned" episode.

Code of Honor is enjoyable on a technical level because of the Fred Steiner score. It gives TNG a very TOS sound. It's a shame it was done for such an awful episode. Not only was it racist, but it was also a lame retread of Amok Time.

Night Terrors is a good episode, though it gets too much flack because of the floating Troi moments. Those aside, there's a lot to like there.
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Old July 28 2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Apparently The Royale gets a ton of crap, but I love it, so that's my #1 favorite "much-maligned" episode.

Code of Honor is enjoyable on a technical level because of the Fred Steiner score. It gives TNG a very TOS sound. It's a shame it was done for such an awful episode. Not only was it racist, but it was also a lame retread of Amok Time.

Night Terrors is a good episode, though it gets too much flack because of the floating Troi moments. Those aside, there's a lot to like there.
+1 for all of these.
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Old July 28 2014, 08:22 PM   #5
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I will probably have to duck and cover for saying this, but a lot of the S7 episodes that get slated I quite enjoyed, including "Masks" and the one where they all turn into animals. Although the plots strain credibility they are very creative, and a lot of fun, IMHO.
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Old July 28 2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

"The Royale" is my favorite much-maligned episode. It's cheesy in parts, but has a cool story at the center of it, and some of the jokes are top notch. Watching Data clear the craps table, Worf replying to the request for room service ("No!"), and Noble Willingham's character (Texas) made for a fun episode. Plus, it was the first episode I ever owned on VHS.
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Old July 28 2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I've heard people harp on Tin Man before. I quite like it. I'll pick that one. I think people can't enjoy it because of the guest actor, but he's not too awful enough to ruin it for me, unlike the lady in "The Quality of Life". She ruins that whole episode, which is otherwise decent enough
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Old July 28 2014, 11:04 PM   #8
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

"Booby Trap". Geordi was the original Reg.
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Old July 28 2014, 11:11 PM   #9
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

Agreed with all those picks; "Power Play" is actually one of my favourite episodes of the series (I think it's getting fashionable to dismiss it as an instance of the-crew-get-possessed but it was probably TNG's best and creepiest take on that concept).
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Old July 28 2014, 11:12 PM   #10
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I also have a fondness for season 7 more than the others because it was the first season I watched when it was still new. Good, bad, I generally remember what I was doing in 1993/94 (homework) as each episode aired.
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Old July 29 2014, 12:19 AM   #11
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

"Justice" for the chicks (1980s style!) and almost killing Wesley
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Old July 29 2014, 12:35 AM   #12
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

USS KG5 wrote: View Post
I will probably have to duck and cover for saying this, but a lot of the S7 episodes that get slated I quite enjoyed, including "Masks" and the one where they all turn into animals. Although the plots strain credibility they are very creative, and a lot of fun, IMHO.
Masks was the first episode I thought of when I saw the thread. It really does show how great a range Spiner has, which is why I liked the episode.
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Old July 29 2014, 12:40 AM   #13
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I'm going to stand up here for ``Shades of Grey''. It's hard to think of an episode more unfairly maligned, and almost entirely on its reputation as a Clip Show.

But it's one of Next Generation's few ventures in the straight race-against-a-deadline medical mystery, with no distracting B-plots or subplots. It's tightly focused around Pulaski --- who has almost no episodes about her --- and the scientific process of trying to pin down and cure something in the field and without the luxuries of experimental subjects or time. It starts from a charmingly laid-back teaser and keeps building the tension until the final break.

And for all the whining about it being a clip show, the amount of screen time spent in stuff we already saw is surprisingly low. It would have been nice to have some new 'clips' showing things we hadn't seen before (such as from scenes cut from earlier episodes, if we're to keep the episode made on the cheap), but you can pick any episode and pin down some little changes that would have made it stronger.

So, there. ``Shades of Grey''. Hard to find a more overly-maligned episode.
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Old July 29 2014, 12:46 AM   #14
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

I remember when the original DVDs came out and I was watching a number of early TNG episodes for the first time, it was Shades of Gray that made me really come to appreciate Pulaski. Later on rewatches, I've grown to like her, but Shades of Gray was the start of it. You're right it is a straight laced race against the clock story, and I thought it was a pretty good one. I still don't understand where the whole "Garbage" comment comes from when it comes to the episode? Was it the clips or was it the Virus from the root?
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Old July 29 2014, 12:46 AM   #15
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Re: Favourite Much-Maligned TNG Episodes

J. Allen wrote: View Post
"The Royale" is my favorite much-maligned episode. It's cheesy in parts, but has a cool story at the center of it, and some of the jokes are top notch. Watching Data clear the craps table, Worf replying to the request for room service ("No!"), and Noble Willingham's character (Texas) made for a fun episode. Plus, it was the first episode I ever owned on VHS.
That's one of my favorites too!! Although, my all time for the same of this thread is "The Neutral Zone".

Especially when Sonny asks to watch television to see how the Braves are doing. "Still finding ways to lose" I think of that every time they lose real bad.
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