Best episodes ever...

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Kooz, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Kooz

    Kooz Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Dec 23, 2011
    Stamford, CT
    Okay--the mother of all TNG top 5 lists. What are the top 5 best Next Gen episodes? Limit it to 5 (we all have more than 5, but you've gotta draw the line). There are a few I;ll bet are on everyone's lists, but it will be interesting to see which fringe ones people pick. My list is here.
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    Why not post your list here, instead of trying to drive traffic to your blog?

    EDIT: Since that may sound a bit harsh, let me rephrase. After the tease of the thread title, it's disappointing that you don't list the titles of the episodes you chose. You could then advise readers to see your blog for reasons why you consider those episodes exceptional.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  3. Kooz

    Kooz Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Dec 23, 2011
    Stamford, CT
    Fair point--not trying to be evasive! Here's the list, sans explanations:

    5: Cause and Effect
    4: The Inner Light
    3: Chain of Command 1 and 2
    2: Darmok
    1: All Good Things

    So let's hear yours!
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    Disclaimer: I tend to judge the episodes not by what I consider "the best," but if it contains an element I personally find appealing. It might be an individual performance, or even an interesting plot point not fully developed. I'm also fond of shows where the actors get to step outside their usual characters. In random order, these are five that I found memorable.

    Heart of Glory - Vaughn Armstrong's portrayal of Korris impressed me enough that I started looking for his other credits in reference books before the internet as we know it existed.
    Frame of Mind - A terrific mindbender which still confuses me trying to find all the layers, perhaps Frakes' biggest challenge as an actor.
    Hollow Pursuits - Because nearly everyone gets to step outside their usual roles. Dwight Schultz did so well that Barclay became a recurring character.
    The Drumhead - I usually don't like courtroom episodes, but the writing and performances were among the best of seven years. Echoes of the McCarthy hearings were chilling.
    All Good Things... - One of the best series finales in television history. Patrick Stewart in perhaps every single scene, which must have been exhausting. Most of the regular cast gets to do variations on their characters.
  5. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 27, 2012
    Bay Area, CA
    Contagion - Such a unique episode in that things get started right off the bat with another Galaxy Class starship exploding. It's a fun pseudo-mystery and having Picard man an away mission was good. Good suspense in having the ship slowly start falling apart like the Yamato.
    A Matter of Perspective - Rashomon is one of my favorites, and TNG's take on it was a good one. Good mystery and use of perspective, with a good application of science fiction to explain the mystery
    Disaster - TNG's take on Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure. Every castmember got to do something different, and all had good screentime and material. Worf delivering a baby, headless Data, Ro berating Troi, it had it all.
    Cause and Effect - Perhaps Braga's greatest solo contribution to Trek. Clever idea, great direction by Frakes (same scenes with different cameras), and watching the same scenario over and over but with minor differences were fun.
    Best of Both Worlds Part I - But just Part I. Part II was a satisfying conclusion, but it lacked the oomph of Part I, it was more procedural. Part I had it all, the dread, the atmosphere, the suspense, the perfect Ron Jones score, and the best cliffhanger ever.

    Honorable mentions: 11001001, Yesterday's Enterprise, Booby Trap, Deja Q and The Nth Degree
  6. Kooz

    Kooz Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Dec 23, 2011
    Stamford, CT
    Yeah, I think that's fair. Best is always going to be subjective with the arts anyhow. Great list, btw.
  7. Minuet

    Minuet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2012
    The marvelous progressive utopia of California
    Given that I believe there are more than five episodes that I would consider absolutely essential viewing to truly enjoy The Next Generation in full (I could probably give you a whole season worth of episodes), I have a lot of trouble doing this. Also, the enjoyment of some episodes is furthered to its best extent by watching later episodes that continue the story--two prime examples are "Galaxy's Child" after "Booby Trap," "Family" after "Best of Both Worlds," or "Lessons" after "The Inner Light." It's hard to quote one of these episodes as a top five without mentioning the latter.

    That said, here is my top five, and I'll put this in no particular order, since if I have trouble organizing them into a top five in the first place, I'll have even more trouble placing any of them over the other:

    - The Best of Both Worlds: Obvious choice, but a clear classic on so many levels. The pacing is perfect. The ominous atmosphere. I won't even bother going into detail--it's all been said many times over why this two-parter is absolutely epic, by people far more eloquent than I.

    - Family: I can't in good conscience mention the previous entry without giving a seat to "Family." "Family" is possibly the most un-Trek of any episode. There's no sci-fi plot. This is all character driven, and it becomes one of the strongest episodes by script and performance alone. It's absolutely essential viewing after "The Best of Both Worlds" because it completes the arc. It completes Picard's Borg story. It shows how much it hurt him, and how much he needed his family at that particular moment. There are also lots of good Worf scenes with his family, as well as a rather touching Wesley moment, even if it's semi-dwarfed by the Picard scenes. Picard's moment when he breaks down and cries in his brother's arms is so gut-wrenchingly touching, it's probably his best piece of acting in the entire show, save for maybe the next episode I'm going to mention--

    Chain of Command: I'm grouping the two-parters together because I do believe they count as singular statements. "Chain of Command" has of course the infamous torture scenes between Picard and the Cardassian, played by the always wonderful David Warner (hilariously reading off cuecards as he refused to memorize his lines). The scenes overshadow the Enterprise story which is gripping in of itself--the conflict between Riker and Jellico is always fun to watch. And I love the lengths they went to establish Jellico as different than Picard, right down to his own signature line: "get it done" instead of "make it so." Great stuff.

    The Defector: Great piece of drama. The actor playing the Romulan is incredible, and he really embodies a man broken down by a system that betrayed him and having no more home left to go to--no more friends. A cunning piece of sci-fi writing.

    The Inner Light: These are all cliched choices, I just realized. Still, there's a reason why people say "The Inner Light" is one of the best episodes of all of Trek. It was the only episode of any of the series' to win a Peabody. That's pretty amazing. The idea of living a lifetime in fifteen minutes blows me away. I always cry at the end. That's what drama is all about.

    But again, so many episodes would make my list. "Remember Me," "Time's Arrow," "Yesterday's Enterprise,""Final Mission," and the list goes on. I could keep going.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  8. sadsquid

    sadsquid Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Sep 7, 2012
    My favourites (in no particular order):

    Chain of Command - Great acting by Patrick Stewart in those intense torture scenes. Was also fun to see Captain Jellico and how the crew reacted to him.

    Tapestry - I love Q episodes, but this one was a bit different. Q wasn't just messing around because he was bored. He actually taught Picard a lesson, in his own way. Great chemistry between Q and Picard as always and a charming story.

    Best of Both Worlds - Epic. Borg are awesome. Patrick Stewart is awesome. This two-parter is awesome.

    Frame of Mind - Great acting by Frakes. Unique, strange story that keeps me glued to the screen. Had no idea what was going on the first time I saw this lol.

    All Good Things - Fitting end to a great show. The three timeline idea was very cool. Lots of nice touches; bringing back Q, the trial of humanity, the refitted Enterprise D and of course the poker scene at the end. Best finale of any Trek show, easily (DS9 had a pretty good finale I suppose).
  9. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2007
    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)

    The Wounded
    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.

    The Offspring
    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
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 15, 2012
    5) All Good Things... an epic conclusion to the series, and really captures how close the crew got and the relationships between them all. While it loses points for not making sense when you take a moment to think about it, the acting and sequences were so great you can overlook this.
    4) Chain of Command... I like that they didn't shy away from the torture bit and Warner and Stewart were simply amazing in their acting. Ronny Cox was no slouch himself and I think is one of the most unjustly disliked characters in Trek. Sure he doesn't put up with any crap and is a micromanager, but he was also quite effective and wasn't a hardass just to be a jerk.
    3) Tapestry... easily my favorite Q episode. This episode really makes you examine the choices you make in your life and the consequences thereof. Q is hilarious, but that's in support of the main plot. When his amusing banter becomes the center of the episode is when Q episodes go bad.
    2) Darmok... to me this episode really captures what Star Trek is about. The hope to meet new races and establish contact. Also the Tamarian style of language is to be commended, even if it's not wholly practical in some ways. The only disappointing thing in the episode was we never saw these guys again.
    1) All Good Things... well it's hardly an original thought, but this was a purely epic episode on so many levels. Back when the Borg were actually scary rather than being just another disgruntled villain(pretty much before the First Contact/Voyager facepalms). Really the only awkward moment is Riker just going back to second in command. Wish TNG would've used this as a chance to rock the boat and take a chance with Riker taking another command. The idea of another series was already being floated around then and Trek was at the height of it's popularity. This would reboot TNG as a few new crewmembers would be needed and give a new one around Captain Riker an excellent setup.
  11. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2002
    1. Q Who?: Introduces the Borg.
    Awesome Q-uote:
    If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires, both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.

    2. The Best of Both Worlds I & II: I nearly had a stoke when "To Be Continued" on the screen at the end of Part I.

    3. The Measure of a Man: I just thought it was an interesting episode.

    4. The Offspring: Very similar to No. 3, but with a lot more heartbreak.

    5. All Good Things: A fascinating mystery that brings Picard's first encounter with Q to full circle.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  12. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 15, 2011
    A Mile High
    In no order

    The Inner Light
    The Defecter
    Best of Both Worlds
    Chain of Command
  13. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 6, 2001
    Sac, Ca
    My favorites:

    Yesterday's Enterprise -- an obvious choice, but the first time I saw it, my jaw nearly hit the floor. Not only did it look cool as hell, but the writing was absolutely perfect.

    Face of the Enemy -- a great ep for Troi, and one of the best and most intense Romulan episodes since Balance of Terror.

    Data's Day -- a great view of normal, everyday life onboard the Enterprise, as seen through the eyes of Data. I just never get tired of it.

    The Enemy -- a really gritty episode, with a fantastic setting in the stormy planet, a frustrated and vulnerable Geordi, and a great moral dilemma for Worf.

    Q Who? -- I used to rate BOBW higher, but now I actually find myself loving this one a lot more. It's dark and creepy as hell, it's perfectly directed, and Q is at his absolute best.
  14. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 15, 2011
    A Mile High
    IMO Q Who? holds up better on repeated viewings then BOBW, every time I watch Q Who? I like it more whereas every time I see BOBW it's a little less impressive. I almost went with Q Who? on my list but gave it to BOBW simply because of how important it was to Trek.
  15. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Sep 13, 2011
    In no order

    The Most Toys
    Time Arrow
  16. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 29, 2012
    Trying to select different types of episodes:

    5. Lower Decks
    A simple yet innovative premise: let's focus on the lower-ranked officers for once and observe the main crew through their eyes, beautifully executed.
    Characters we barely knew (or didn't know at all) are swiftly devellopped and, by the time of the climax, we actually care about them; turning this episode into a real tearjerker.

    4. The Inner Light
    When Trek delves into more poetic ventures ("DS9: The Visitor"; "VOY: Blink of an Eye",...), it usually hits the mark and "The Inner Light" is no exception.

    3. Darmok
    A pretty thought-provoking episode, and one that lacks neither in emotion nor action.

    2. Who Watches the Watchers
    Smart writing, shrewd treatment of a delicate matter, engaging plot, no shortage of actual suspense, a real treat.

    1. The Measure of a Man
    So many themes evoked in one episode! So many allegories and layers! So many quotable lines!
    Definitely some of the best writing shown on Trek (and on TV in general), expertly delivered by all involved, most of all Sir Patrick Stewart.

    Ok, ok, I failed to pick different types of episodes, that's 2 emotional ones and 3 intellectual ones. Well, to my defense, that's what TNG does best, for action and humour, DS9 is where you look.
    I would've needed 10, tbh.
  17. DanCPA

    DanCPA Admiral Admiral

    Jul 7, 2001
    TrekBBS C/O 2001
    Reading this thread has reminded me of all the great episodes.

    I'm shocked that Unification isn't on any list...
  18. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Mar 24, 2011
    Why? Nimoy being in it is cool and all, but it's rubbish.

    For my money:

    1)Q Who
    -The best TNG episode. Not so much for the borg - who are at their best written here, mysterious and implacable, but for the cracking dialogue between picard & q.
    2)The Survivors
    -Amazing concept, incredibly well acted out by the guest stars. The final confrontation between picard and kevin still sends a chill down my spine.
    3)Measure of a Man
    - Another brilliant concept, and both picard & rikers legal presentations are great. Riker closing his with a Farpoint pinnochio callback was fantastic. Spiner played data's reactions to events very well.
    4)The Nth Degree
    "No problem, here's how to build one"
    -Was close between this, 11001001 and All Good Things, but in the end, the great work started with Sins of the Father was magnified here, and worf's surprising, but in the end logical (for him) decision regarding duras just about tips it over to my top 5. Shame they never did anything with the kid he ends up with
  19. Midas

    Midas Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Apr 29, 2012
    I was always partial to "The Ensigns of Command".