Star Trek has a reputation for being intelligent science fiction. I'm not sure how it got it, because to me it's been about evil transporter duplicates, monsters in underground caves, ham-fisted morals, evil twin universes, tribbles and other comic book-style larger than life adventures with mostly (or not-so-mostly, in some cases) likeable characters. When Trek tried to be smart, it played out pretty much the same as above but with everyone wearing grim faces. There are always big gaps in common sense (V'Ger: A godlike entity which never thought to wipe the muck of it's own name plate), incredibly dodgy science (all that psychedelic screensaver stuff they fly through to get to V'Ger) and a cornball ending (It was an ancient Earth probe all along!) How did The Next Generation ever manage to hold on to it's serious reputation after such undignified disasters as "Code of Honor", "Haven", "Rascals", the soap opera nonsense of "The Masterpiece Society" or the goofy Blob of Pure Evil in "Skin of Evil"? Is it the way the crew carry themselves, the technobabble, or late 80's/early 90's advertising hype building up the image of smart science fiction in fans' minds? As a kid who grew up watching TNG, I bought it at the time, but I don't see any substance behind that hype now. Could it be Trek's occasional use of real or theorized scientific phenomena, like cosmic strings, dark matter and the like? But for each of those, there are two or three completely made up, misused or ridiculous things, like warp particles, dark stars, cold fusion, the ridiculous uses of the transporter or the depiction of a black hole's event horizon as an actual physical thing. Wormholes are twisted into pretty fantasy land tunnels full of godlike aliens. Relativity, something that would define space travel should it ever become a reality on a scale like we see in Trek, is completely and utterly ignored. The potentials of Trek technology, both human and alien, are too-often ignored to keep the status quo intact. To me, this says Trek is a comic book fantasy world, only loosely based on our own and how things work here, and no more scientifically accurate than Thor's corner of the Marvel movieverse. To think otherwise of the Trekverse would require mentally censoring at least two thirds of the canon and probably much more. Yet some people seemingly still do it. What are the smartest (both in scientific and intellectual terms) episodes of the Star Trek franchise? What makes it more clever than, say, Stargate SG-1, the MCU or even the Trek reboot? It might be interesting to look into examples given and see how well they really hold up.