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While I'll always be partial to the original 1960s Star Trek series, I also love Star Trek: The Next Generation.  From 2019-2022 I watched Next Generation regularly on Netflix, completing the series just before it left Netflix in April 2022.

Here are my picks for the Top 25 episodes of the 178-episode series, listed chronologically.  I made brief comments regarding each.  A few comments contain minor spoilers.



"Conspiracy" (1.25).  I know it doesn't fit with the feel of Star Trek, but as a one-off horror episode, it's great.  It's the only episode I really like from the first season.



"The Royale" (2.12).  Strange episode that harkens back to ST:TOS.  Interesting explanation at the end.  It's the only episode I really like from the second season, though I like Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski throughout.



"The Survivors" (3.3). Reminds me of my favorite ST:TOS episode, "The Menagerie." Thematically, impulse must yield to pacifism not just among the 'survivors' but among the Enterprise crew.

"Deja Q" (3.13).  Anything with Q ranks among my favorites.  This episode also gives us a rare glimpse of Guinan in action (even if it's only with a fork).

"Yesterday's Enterprise" (3.15).  Very popular action-packed episode, plus I love time travel.  This episode offers some of the most sustained space battle sequences of the whole series, yet it's also very emotional, especially for fans of Tasha Yar.



"Suddenly Human" (4.4).  I love when we are forced to respect alien cultures and when Enterprise crew members are humbled in the process.

"Remember Me" (4.5).  The only episode where I love Dr. Crusher.  I've always felt Dr. Crusher slightly lacking compared to the other major characters.  But Gates McFadden is beautiful and glamorous, and I sure rooted for her here.

"Clues" (4.14).  One of the best Data episodes, which is saying a lot.  Data saves the day many times in the series, but only here does he save it the same way twice(!).

"The Drumhead" (4.21).  My pick for the single best TNG episode.  It's not simply the thesis ("witch hunts are bad") with which we all agree already.  It's the depiction of how witch hunts grow, step by step, and how good people are gradually corrupted.  The episode is gripping in itself, but it also forces us viewers to confront our own demons… our potential to become self-righteous, to grow suspicious, to judge others only at their worst.



"Darmok" (5.2).  Excellent depiction of a very alien culture.  A little hard to believe they could become technologically advanced if they speak only in figures and references, but I still find the episode creative and emotional.  It's nice to see Paul Winfield from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan though he's almost unrecognizable under his makeup.

"Disaster" (5.5).  One of the best Picard episodes, which is saying a lot.  I actually had tears in my eyes when Marissa responds as "Number One" at the end.  Inspired by this episode, fan-writer Stephen Ratliff spent 20 years writing a fanfiction series with Marissa as the star.

"Cause and Effect" (5.18).  Very exciting and very popular time loop episode that speaks for itself.

"The First Duty" (5.19).  Not a huge fan of Wesley, but I like him – and believe him – here.  I wish we'd had more glimpses of Starfleet Academy over the years.

"The Inner Light" (5.25).  Probably the single best Picard episode, sad yet uplifting.  As so many decades are imparted to Picard in such a short time, so much emotion is distilled into this single episode.  The Ressikan flute appears several times in subsequent episodes too.

"Time's Arrow" parts I-II (5.26 and 6.1).  Always love time travel, and as an English teacher and a Victoriana enthusiast I loved the Mark Twain and Jack London characterizations.  I also like how Guinan serves a purpose in this episode beyond being a second Troi (as she often is).



"Schisms" (6.5).  The scariest of all TNG episodes.  Director Robert Wiemer later did the excellent "Parallels" (see below) and the very strange "Masks" (7.17, an underrated episode but not anyone's favorite).

"True Q" (6.6).  Impressive that the young Q-woman doesn't give up her powers in the end.

"Ship in a Bottle" (6.12).  Another one that reminds me of "The Menagerie."  Plus it's funny to find oneself rooting for Professor Moriarty.

"Frame of Mind" (6.21).  Very scary episode and possibly the best one centered on Riker.  Director James L. Conway later directed some of the most popular DS9 episodes including "For the Cause" (4.22).

"Second Chances" (6.24).  Great surprise that neither of the Rikers has to die.  As with episode 6.6, it's refreshing to have these open-ended episodes that don't need to reset everything when they conclude.



"Liaisons" (7.2).  Another good example of an alien culture we must learn to understand.  Underrated episode.  The triad of aliens and emotions also seems symbolic.

"Parallels" (7.11).  Often considered the best episode of this final season.  Freaky, scary, yet also moving.  Compares well with other Reality Shift episodes like "Yesterday's Enterprise," "Remember Me," or "Frame of Mind."  It's a personal favorite since I've long been fascinated with parallel worlds and even self-published a short story collection in 1999 inspired by the idea.  (The book – 'Bouncing Worlds' by 'David Elroy' - was a financial disaster and a learning experience.)

"Lower Decks" (7.15).  Unique episode, and unlike many other Season 7 episodes it is unpredictable.

"Preemptive Strike" (7.24).  The only episode where I love Ro.  Storywise, it's very well balanced between action, characters, themes, and special effects.  It's interesting to see the Cardassians growing more reasonable after they'd seemed so ruthless in the harrowing "Chain of Command" (6.10-11).

"All Good Things" (7.25-26).  Incredibly, it feels like the whole series, even from the opening episode seven years earlier, was heading toward this point.  Everyone loves Reality Shift episodes, and using the shifts to touch upon our most beloved characters – even Tasha Yar – was a brilliant way to conclude things.

Please Note: Photos & videos are presented for illustration and review purposes only under the 'fair use' provisions of copyright law, and remain copyright respective rights holders.  Date of post: December 2023

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