Weakest 10 Episodes

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Vger23, Jan 31, 2022.

  1. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've had a lot of fun reading everyone's top 10 TNG episodes in this thread:

    https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/top-10-tng-episodes.310345/

    It seems like there are clearly some that are almost universal, and others that are unique to the viewer...so it's been an interesting read. I thought it might be interesting to see everyone's take on the "weakest" 10 episodes as well.

    I'll start (in no particular order):

    1. Aquiel
    2. Imaginary Friend
    3. The Schizoid Man
    4. Suddenly Human
    5. Angel One
    6. Hero Worship
    7. Cost of Living
    8. The Price
    9. Suspicions
    10. Sub Rosa

    Most of these are not only "bad" episodes, but they reach my "top 10" because I also find them dreadfully dull. There are other episodes that are pretty crappy (and I'll list those below), but at least they aren't start-to-finish dull.

    Other Mentions:

    Descent pt. 1 and pt. 2
    Code of Honor
    Shades of Gray
    Genesis
    Time's Arrow pt. 1 and pt. 2
    The Outrageous Okona
    Homeward
    Dark Page
    Force of Nature (although this is pretty damn dull as well)
    Realm of Fear
    Fistful of Datas
    Violations
    Man of the People
    Datalore
     
  2. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you want "bad" episodes, you can ask a critic. This is a list of episodes I personally dislike, and why.

    "Code of Honor" - I don't think this one set out to be racist... but it sure did a good job of it. And it's also just bad. The fight scene is certainly unique, but doesn't save it.
    "When the Bough Breaks": Wesley is actually pretty good in this one, and it has an interesting premise. But the smarmy "win-win" ending kills it for multiple reasons.
    "The Bonding" - This one is on my list because it doesn't really go anywhere. Jeremy just disappears at the end, presumably sent to a Starfleet orphanage somewhere.
    "Half a Life" - This one earns my absolute, virulent hatred. A man is effectively forced into involuntary euthanasia because his daughter wants his corpse to rot in a certain spot. I will restrain myself from ranting further... with some difficulty. But if someone ever puts up a "Trek episode you hate the most and why" topic, watch out.
    "In Theory" - This is just pure cringe. Only good part of it is Miles and Keiko discussing discarded socks.
    "New Ground" - Demonstrates why Worf should have replicated a condom in "The Emissary". Some people just shouldn't be parents.
    "The Outcast" - The bad guys won, a character has to live in a befuddled "he loved Big Brother" state, and Riker recovers from all this way too quickly.
    "Birthright Part II" - Worf, educated by humans, becomes a Klingon cultural guru. They should have stopped at one.
    "Loud as a Whisper" - I couldn't buy the whole "Turning a weakness into a strength" trope. Not here.
    "Interface" - We see Geordi without the visor. Not much else to recommend it.
    "Up the Long Ladder" - Killing your own clone is still murder. But I admit, I liked the scene where Worf served Odell a "wee drop of the creature".
     
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  3. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's been ages since I've seen the second half of TNG, but these are some episodes from the first three and a half seasons that really didn't impress me:
    1. "Shades of Gray" - Clip shows don't need to be this bad.
    2. "The Outrageous Okona" - An episode about what makes comedy work, written by someone who doesn't know how comedy works.
    3. "Code of Honor" - Not as bad as I was expecting. Bad enough though.
    4. "The Battle" - All about a man with a headache.
    5. "Home Soil" - Could've been a decent ep of TNG: The Animated Series as it only has 20 min of material.
    6. "Lonely Among Us" - Better a dumb ep like this than a dull ep like Code of Honor, but I'd rather watch good eps.
    7. "Too Short a Season" - Relies on Jameson's makeup, acting, and story and they're all kind of bad.
    8. "We'll Always Have Paris" - Picard gets a second chance to say goodbye, the crew gets a second chance to walk into the same turbolift.
    9. "Loud as a Whisper" - Troi helps an arrogant man get his confidence back. If you don't care about Riva there's not much to enjoy here.
    10. "Justice" - A trip to Gene Roddenberry's fantasy utopia that hints at interesting ideas but leads to a big anticlimax.
     
  4. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd agree with all of these. A few notes:

    I HATED "The Bonding" when I first saw it, but when I did my re-watch (and saw it for the first time since it was broadcast), I thought it was a bit better.

    "Code of Honor" obviously blows, but at least it isn't boring. For me, it's almost like it's so bad it's actually fascinating.

    I'm not a fan of Data episodes in general, and I agree that "In Theory" is pretty awful, but it entertains me, so it's not too terrible on my list.

    "Loud as a Whisper" is boring dreck. I should have added that to my list.

    I have a soft spot for "Up the Long Ladder," even though it has some crap elements to it.

    "New Ground" is shit...another one I totally missed.

    Good list...a few notes:

    I didn't think, as far as clip shows go, that "Shades of Gray" was that bad. It sucks as a TNG episode, but for a clip episode, I think it's actually pretty damn creative. It's still like saying "I guess I'd rather step on that turd than this one"...but I figured I'd bring up my perspective.

    "The Battle" was one of my favorite S1 episodes when it aired, probably because it was one of the few episodes to that point that had a clear-cut antagonist and some outright action. That said, repeat viewings have not been kind to it.

    "Lonely Among Us" is pretty dreadful....had a cool idea that just fell flat. This could hav easily made my list.

    I'm a sucker for "We'll Always Have Paris." I can't explain why, because it makes no sense that I'd actually like this episode, but I do...quite a bit actually.

    "Justice" is stupid, but interesting. I rate it "average" and not "dreadful" just because it had some cool ideas in it and I like the mystery of the Edo "God" in orbit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
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  5. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A few notes from me in return...

    Shades of Gray was a nightmare situation: they were offered too little time and too little money and expected to make an episode. So, they did a clip show. And I thought it worked.

    I liked Hero Worship, maybe because Timothy's imitation of Data was rather cute. It would have been nice if they told us what happened to him afterwards, even if it was just a throwaway line about going to live with an aunt on Earth or something. But it doesn't draw my ire the way "The Bonding" does because there was no ceremony establishing ties of family that never went anywhere.

    Angel One is definitely a weak episode, but it is somewhat redeemed by Riker's speech at the end. Gender equality doesn't come easily and it doesn't come all at once.
     
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  6. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really bad (very few interesting or nice elements):
    The Naked Now
    Code of Honor
    Lonely Among Us
    Shades of Gray

    Kinda bad (not very interesting or well made, but do have good parts):
    The Last Outpost
    Hide and Q
    Angel One
    Too Short a Season
    Symbiosis
    The Child
    Unnatural Selection
    The Dauphin
    The High Ground
    The Loss
    The Masterpiece Society
    Man of the People
    Force of Nature
    Bloodlines
     
  7. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    In no order, save for one:

    Aquiel. It's bland, there's a forced plot twist that doesn't pay off because of the blandness.

    Suddenly Human. There's hollow talk and a ton of screaming and a boring knife fight.

    Bloodlines. Didn't they already do a "Ferengi seeks revenge on Picard' routine? It's still Bok, but the fake son unless the son isn't fake... meh. Season 1 did the revenge trope with Bok a lot better than an episode of "As the World Turns", anyway.

    New Ground. Ugh. Horrible. What @Oddish said.

    The Outcast. Wasn't the "ishy natural procreation versus clean yet doped up test tube baby" debate more topical in 1980? (Yes, we've been told the original intent of this story's allegorical intent... which is fair, despite the story still missing the mark by a few parsecs. For the 3 people who didn't read up on that because they're only casual viewers, they're going to care even less.)

    In Theory. Contrived and forced, it's an easy one to skip. Thankfully it's only a filler episode. "The Orville" did the shtick a lot better too, though in fairness it's a difficult concept to sell - human having an emotional relationship with an electronic device.

    The Naked Now. A remake of "The Naked Time". Now, TOS had enough definition for characters when they delved into their mindsets in the original - never mind the one-off guest cast was given enough solid material for us to give a damn when he wants to stab himself to death. So, how does Naked Now try to improve on this? Everyone gets drunk and is thankful STIs were cured along with the common cold. A squandered premise, save for one scene with Geordi and another with Yar (before the point she bangs Data), this episode must have had the rest of the cast packing their suitcases in waiting and now half-hoping the show would be axed.

    Justice. Like Code of Honor, there's a great premise that's squandered by bad rewrites and setting up another unintentionally racist bit (e.g. planet of the blonde hair/blue eye perfect people.) And when "bad rewrites" is said, look no further than the pre-credits opening and so much just glares. Along with everyone packing, they probably returned the props they pinched...

    What @Oddish said about "Code of Honor" is seconded by me. I think the story's plot has some potential, but it needed a few more rough drafts. Jessie Lawrence Ferguson still makes the story watchable.

    This one is arguably worse:

    Ethics. Season 5 was known for uneven handling of concepts, and this one just contrives to contrive to make the guest Doctor's viewpoint the eeeeeeevil one at every turn, with no reason other than dredging up phony and one-sided drama, with the actress is struggling to try to rise above the utterly faff material. (They didn't need to push the BS as the episode went on as well, and it was done to such an extent that I'm always in shock when someone opines "That should be Pulaski!" Erm, no, she was never like that to begin with, and her viewpoint didn't need to be villainzed so badly by the script dept either, if they wanted an intellectually honest discussion of the topics at hand.) It's just as awful how they conjure up Worf's magical survival, which is arguably worse, and certainly laughably bad. Hell, Dr Crusher could have even been more evolved and say "Your methods are horrible but they saved him, and I thank you for that since your work is at the core of this." instead of continuing the hyper-contrived elbow-high BS to the very end - unless Crusher preferred him dead, who knows. And maybe she does? How many people die paralyzed while she does her nose-up claim of "real research takes time." She must surely get one or two shattered spines every time a Ferengi ship zaps the ship with its disruptor array thanks to how those chemical barrels whose contents may be needed at a moment's notice are stacked, good grief... And in some cases, sometimes experimental treatments ARE allowed. Like cancer patients whose condition is otherwise impossible to treat and known treatments aren't working? Naah, contrive the episode to chalk up another case of "guest role is eeeeevil." for a cheap plot point to thrust up Crusher with. Sheesh, give me the likes of dumbing down the crew to make Wesley look smart in "Datalore" by comparison every time. This episode is so far worse with this...

    Also, why Worf? They weren't going to pull another Tasha. No guest Klingon of the week to try to explore this that much more convincingly? It must also be a problem to re-stack all those booze barrels back up after every Romulan attack, too. DS9's "Sons of Mogh" took the ritual suicide routine and added far more to it, even if the ending was hokum. That hokum doesn't begin to compare with this episode's hokum.
     
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  8. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're right, "Ethics" doesn't quite paint a two-sided picture of the nature of the conflict between Crusher and Dr. Russell. It even manipulates Russell's dialogue so that she seemed to care more about research than her patients.

    However, I've observed that medical ethics are of great importance on Trek; all four Berman-era doctors had dialogue that featured it. And, if a doctor puts what they can learn from a patient above their sacred duty of healing them, well, that's unethical.
     
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  9. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think there is an important differentiation to make between “episodes that are weak because they are boring / flawed / poorly written / etc” and “episodes I don’t like because they draw a conclusion or contain a message I don’t agree with. “
     
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  10. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's a very valid point.
     
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  11. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I’ve seen “The Naked Now” on the list a few times. I can’t really defend the episode, and it was a horrible decision to air this episode so early in TNG’s run when it was essentially nothing more than a remake of a TOS episode, but I kind of like it.
     
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  12. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Here are some of mine, and I will try to include some of the less obvious ones:

    New Ground: This episode was just boring. More from the dreaded Season 5 and the "Year of the Children"

    Imaginary Friend: See New Ground, even though Isabella was a little creepy

    Symbiosis: Whenever I watch this episode I think of Mr. Maggy from South Park: Drugs are bad, mm'kay

    The Dauphin: Everyone talks about the Guinan/Riker/Wesley scene but the rest of the episode wasn't good and the visual effects looked corny

    The Bonding: I don't care what century it is. We as human beings are not Robots and we deserve to feel emotions when a loved one dies

    Suddenly Human: The Klingon opera scene was bad enough to down the entire episode

    Man of the People: I don't like watching Troi get violated over and over again

    Aquiel: The episode ended with the revelation that it was the Dog. Not all that memorable

    Liasons: One of the most annoying episodes of the series.

    Bloodlines: I think it was at this point they were running out of ideas
     
  13. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed that all of these are pretty terrible...but I give Liasons a pass largely on the strength of the hilarious interactions between Worf and the ambassador guy...and particularly Data inadvertently skewering Worf during the banquet.
     
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  14. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed about Liasons. The "pleasure" interaction was inoffensive, the "antagonism" was pretty funny. The less said about the third, the better.
     
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  15. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    I guess I need to see Liasons again because I really remember the Picard scenes in that episode and that's why I said it was annoying.
     
  16. Arpy

    Arpy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Can’t defend it? Allow me. There is so much sex in that episode that they managed to sneak past the censors of their day. It was way more adult than stuff throughout both the series and in some ways the franchise — don’t get me started on the underutilized Deltans, who could be to sex what the Klingons are to violence. But oh right it’s a TV show for kids and nerds.

    The episode starts with a party so decadent and debauched that the bridge crew end it with the ultimate bang by spacing themselves. In the episode we see the frozen remains of a (gasp!) multiracial orgy in crew quarters with extras some of whom were in skintight bodysuits and others were completely naked — I love the one bedsheet seemingly ending in one man’s anus so that it wouldn’t constitute and entire ass crack shown on television. Tasha was jaw-droppingly beautiful in that dress and part of the sexual awakening of countless kids across the country. And we saw lower boob, which I don’t think I saw again on television until decades later. Both of which were employed by the liberated modern woman to use the good Commander Data as her fully functional sex toy.

    Plus, come on, who didn’t want to wring Wesley’s neck when he took over, and how nail-biting was that conclusion, cheesy as it might have been? I mean, it was a fun episode, and we do get to have those time to time. Super-fast Data arms vs. the isolinear are chips were also cool. As was Data getting drunk (it sold him being more intriguingly cybernetic than simply robotic), and, yeah, I did laugh when he fell down I’m at the end of the plastered scene on the bridge.

    Their mistake was putting it so early in the series. Like “Dramatis Personae” on DS9 also too early in that series, these Mirror Universe-like episodes where everyone is acting out of character are way more fun once the characters are well established and familiar. But, overall, there’s adult stuff here that I wish carried over later on.

    And I still sometimes think of Tasha swaying her booty walking down the corridor and picking a lucky rando to plant one on. Inspirational.
     
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  17. Pikirk_Janesisko

    Pikirk_Janesisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh boy, here we go... It's much easier for me to choose the ones I dislike. I'll try avoid the ones that are usually mentioned and call out the ones I think are the weakest, unless of course there's something specific I want to talk about.

    "The Outrageous Okona": I absolutely despise this episode, if I had to choose one of the worst ones, this one is pretty high on the list. We're all supposed to love Okona because all the characters says it, but we don't see why. The b-plot it's also pretty awful.

    "We'll Always Have Paris": it's not a good sign when you watch TNG thousands of times and you still can't remember what the episode is about! Very dull indeed.

    "The Royale": I don't understand why so many fans like this one, it's absolutely dreadful. Nothing of substance happens. This might as well be a holodeck episode and it wouldn't make a difference.

    "Up The Long Ladder": Let me see... Irish stereotypes, checked. A plot involving clones which has nothing to do with the other plot, checked.

    "The Vengeance Factor": Needless to say, looks like a season 1 episode in season 3. Very out of place.

    "A Matter Of Time": Captain Picard blindly accepts a "historian" and let him have full access to the ship without any regard as to whether he will change the timeline. Do you really think a real historian travelling back in time would start talking with everybody? But don't worry, apparently Picard checked his credentials (yes, it's an actual line in the episode). Well, what could go wrong? Definitely one of the weakest due to the intelligence of every character dissolving for 45 minutes. Except for Troi, one of the few times she's actually useful.

    "Night Terrors": An absolute snooze fest, aside from the hilarious dream sequences from Troi. "Eyes in the dark, one moon".

    "The Price": When I first watched I kinda liked it and started to dislike it the more I re-watched. The plot about the wormhole is terrible. Then there's Matt McCoy (I don't remember the character name) gaslightning and manipulating Troi, which was awful. And in the end, after all that, she ended up apologizing to him. What?

    "Aquiel" it's interesting because it doesn't start so bad. Then the episode starts to fall apart as soon as Aquiel appears. And it gets worse and worse.

    As tie is every Lwaxanna Troi episode. Yeah... ;)
     
  18. dupersuper

    dupersuper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have my bottom 3 off the top of my head:
    Code of Honor
    Homeward
    Liasons
     
  19. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's amazing how many episodes I rather like turn up on other people's "weakest" lists. "The Schzoid Man"?? Come on!! Well, rather than defend all those episodes, I'll instead consider my own 'weakest' (can only come up with five at the minute!).

    It's not something I've really thought about before (you tend to think about 'top 10/20' episode lists more...), but - after ten minutes thinking (and with the caveat that this list, like my top favourites, will no doubt be regularly subject to change...):

    (No particular order)

    "Manhunt" - I love season 2, but this episode is hard work. It's dull, Barrett is particularly annoying, and disappointing all round.

    "Force of Nature" - the original idea (which frames the environmental impact of warp drive alongside a personal story of Geordi struggling to get over his mother's death, and a visit from his sister) sounds so much more interesting. A man already in grief suddenly realising the one thing he can still rely on - his beloved engines - may be responsible for untold damage is a good idea. What we ended up with was a mess. All the stuff with the rival engineer, Spot...pointless, and then I thought the guest cast was weak as well.

    "Masks" - again, intriguing idea, terribly executed.

    "The Outrageous Okona" - along with "Manhunt", the only hugely disappointing episode in season 2 for me. A lousy main plot, and even the sub-plot doesn't land.

    "Code Of Honour" - concept is a little cliche, but fine, but the production values of this one (and yes, the 'race' controversy) really let it down.
     
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  20. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "The Schizoid Man" is the TNG equivalent to stepping on a pile of freshly dumped llama feces in your bare feet while someone pours a ladle of cold fish chowder over your head very slowly. Absolutely dreadful...nothing more than a vehicle for Spiner to ham it up (see also: Masks, Fistful of Datas, anything with Lore). Totally unpleasant viewing experience. I'd rather watch Shades of Gray over and over. At least the clips in SoG are cool. "Schizoid Man" is just irredeemable crap and dreadfully dull.

    I'd say "Schizoid" and "Aquiel" are TNG's worst. Both make Beverly having an affair with a lamp look good.