TNG. Let's do this shit.

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#1
You know the drill.

1x01-1x02 "Encounter at Farpoint"
- The crew of the new USS Enterprise-D runs afoul of the mysterious Q, who puts humanity on trial for being a "savage child-race." To prove humanity's worth, Captain Picard, Commander Riker and the rest must solve the 'mystery' of Farpoint Station, a place where people inexplicably seem to get whatever they want. This is a pretty solid opening episode, ruined only by some poor acting and cheesiness that I have to chalk up to the 1980s production. The special effects are pretty great, Dennis McCarthy's score is good, solid work all around. One of the highlights has to be John de Lancie's performance as Q.

1x03 "The Naked Now" - The crew, while investigating a distress signal from a research vessel, contracts a strange disease which manifests itself as though the crew is extremely drunk. There's some funny moments here, but otherwise this episode is a pretty lame retread of a TOS episode that wasn't all that awesome to begin with. Of course, it confirms the worst fears of any viewer concerning the Wesley character, as the boy manages to take over and nearly destroy the entire ship in the space of about ten minutes. One of the highlights is definitely drunk Data. Bravo.

1x04 "Code of Honor" - Some asshole kidnaps Tasha Yar because he thinks it'd be awesome to have a white wife. I'm still trying to figure out what the fuck is up with this episode. It seems horribly racist while watching it, and lurches from scene to scene awkwardly. About the only thing worthwhile about it is the musical score, which is totally rockin'.

1x05 "The Last Outpost" - While chasing a Ferengi ship that has stolen a piece of Federation technology, the Enterprise is caught in some kind of force field that begins to drain the ship's energy. This episode is actually pretty intriguing, even though the Ferengi fail entirely as antagonists. It's pretty well directed, and actually does a pretty good job boosting the idea of the Ferengi as a threat when it's just the Daimon's head on the viewscreen. Once they show up in person on the planet, they're far less intimidating. Also, there are some cool flourishes that I wish had stuck with the show in later episodes, like the floating hologram briefing. And the use of Sun Tzu's philosophy to resolve the situation at the end is cool.

1x06 "Where No One Has Gone Before" - A mysterious alien accidentally helps the Enterprise travel millions of light years to a strange place where thought can become reality. This episode is pretty dang good. Wesley plays a big role, but not in annoying way at all. It also features some great effects work, and a really excellent musical score.

1x07 "Lonely Among Us" - An energy being inhabits the crew while warring alien delegates on board the ship grow more hostile towards each other. This episode is a little bizarre and kind of pointless. The best parts of it are Data's fascination with Sherlock Holmes and the scene where Riker, Troi and Crusher discuss the possibility of mutiny. The end makes almost no sense whatsoever, especially the near-magical use of the transporter to essentially clone a new Picard.

1x08 "Justice" - Wesley Crusher is accused of a crime on an idyllic world full of hot Aryans, and sentenced to death. Picard must figure out a way to rescue the boy without betraying the Prime Directive and without destroying the planet's sense of their own laws and justice. This episode is kind of retarded in that what Wesley does isn't really even a crime. Are we to believe that on this world, tripping and falling in the wrong place is punishable by death? And at no point did anyone try to offer up the fact that it was an accident, as though that possibility doesn't even exist. It tries to explore an interesting theme, but these flaws just can't be overcome.
 

Arik

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2010
2,307
1
38
#2
1x08 "Justice" - Wesley Crusher is accused of a crime on an idyllic world full of hot Aryans, and sentenced to death. Picard must figure out a way to rescue the boy without betraying the Prime Directive and without destroying the planet's sense of their own laws and justice. This episode is kind of retarded in that what Wesley does isn't really even a crime. Are we to believe that on this world, tripping and falling in the wrong place is punishable by death? And at no point did anyone try to offer up the fact that it was an accident, as though that possibility doesn't even exist. It tries to explore an interesting theme, but these flaws just can't be overcome.
PHXCC: Watch Wil Wheaton’s Hilarious A/V Recap Of Star Trek TNG’s “Justice†| TrekMovie.com
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#3
1x09 "The Battle" - The Enterprise encounters a Ferengi ship whose Daimon claims to have a gift for Picard: the wreckage of his old ship, the Stargazer, which Picard thought destroyed in battle a decade earlier. This episode is actually pretty good. The Ferengi are played more intelligently than they were in "The Last Outpost," and actually show potential for being a decent enemy. Patrick Stewart's performance is pretty excellent all around, as are the scenes between Riker and the Ferengi first officer.

1x10 "Hide and Q" - Q returns to the Enterprise, this time to bestow the infinite powers of his race on Commander Riker. But Picard worries that so much power will corrupt his first officer and drive him mad. Despite some of the cheesiness of Q's gags, this episode is actually quite good. Great performances from the cast all around, and the climax on the bridge where the crew rejects Riker's gifts is great, as is the scene where the crew finds the dead girl in the rubble of the mining colony. The musical score for this one is quite effective. Oh, and Wesley gets bayoneted; awesome.

1x11 "Haven" - Counselor Troi's mother arrives and announces that she is to be married to a young human doctor. But the doctor, it turns out, has been seeing the face of another woman in his dreams all his life. Meanwhile, a Tarellian plague ship enters the system, threatening the helpless colony below. This episode is alright; it starts to deal with the unresolved relationship between Troi and Riker, but it has pacing problems. The Tarellian plague is supposedly this terrible, terrible thing (so terrible that the remaining Tarellians were hunted down and killed by other races) and yet Picard and the crew basically sit back and have a party waiting for it to get there. Still, we do get to meet Lwaxana Troi for the first time, long before she'd gotten annoying. The party scene is really hilarious, especially the bit with the gong and Data asking the guests to "please continue the petty bickering".
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#4
1x12 "The Big Goodbye" - While en route to an important diplomatic meeting, Picard relaxes by indulging in a holodeck program modeled after an old pulp private detective story. Unfortunately, a malfunction traps Picard, Crusher, Data and some other guy in there, at the mercy of vicious 1940s gangsters. This episode is pretty fun. We get to watch the crew stumble about the holodeck, not really understanding the language or the times. The cast is clearly having fun, and the show does a good job building that gangster world inside the holodeck. At this point, the holodeck hasn't gotten annoying yet and the crew is still impressed by its capabilities.

1x13 "Datalore" - The Enterprise visits Data's homeworld and finds it to be a lifeless wasteland. From the wreckage they recover another android, identical to Data in almost every way. At first, Data and his brother Lore seem very similar, but soon, Lore's sinister nature begins to become obvious. And the mysterious creature that destroyed the planet years earlier is on its way back. This episode is pretty solid, and really well directed. Brent Spiner does a great job acting off of himself, and the script has some interesting flourishes for him to play with.

1x14 "Angel One" - The Enterprise tracks survivors of a damaged freighter to a world where men are treated as second-class citizens. But the freighter survivors don't want to leave, putting Riker between a rock and a hard place, having promised to remove them. A decently written and directed episode, but nothing special. The earlier episode, "Justice," despite its glaring flaws, had a better examination of the Prime Directive.

1x15 "11001001" - The Enterprise is hijacked by aliens called the Bynars, leaving only Picard and Riker trapped aboard. This episode is great. The scenes between Riker and Minuet on the holodeck are great. The action scenes in the episode are tense and well done, with great effects work thanks to borrowing plates from "The Search for Spock." And a fantastic musical score, too - with a very triumphant rendition of the TMP/TNG theme at the end. That's something I wish the show had never let go of.

1x16 "Too Short A Season" - After hostages are taken on a distant world, the government requests a Starfleet admiral handle negotiations, as he had done for them decades in the past. En route, the Enterprise crew discovers that the admiral is somehow growing younger. Somehow, I had never seen this episode before. It's a good idea, but it suffers from pacing issues. It takes too long to get to the point, and the hostage situation feels almost like an afterthought since so much of the episode is just scenes of the admiral sitting in the dark and talking about how awesome it is to get younger. Still, it's not that bad, features a pretty cool phaser shootout towards the end and some good performances.

1x17 "When the Bough Breaks" - Wesley Crusher and a number of other children are abducted from the Enterprise by a race that is no longer able to bear their own children. The real problem with this episode is a complete lack of danger. At no point are the children really threatened with anything, and even when the aliens are able to destroy the Enterprise, we never really feel like they would. This means that the episode devolves into an endless series of scenes where children don't want to do what they're told, and Picard telling Radue that stealing children is a bad fuckin' thing, man. Dullsville.
 
Last edited:

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
5,028
3
0
Shitsville, CF63
#5
You're a bit more generous with some of these than I am, but I find it hard to get past the silly dialog most of these episodes feature.

Brent Spiner does a great job acting off of himself
I always get distracted whenever I watch an episode like this because I end up focusing on all the tricks they use to make it look like there's two of them in the scene together. I have a little game where I try to spot which one is superimposed. I also do it for game face transitions in Buffy and Angel.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#6
I always get distracted whenever I watch an episode like this because I end up focusing on all the tricks they use to make it look like there's two of them in the scene together. I have a little game where I try to spot which one is superimposed. I also do it for game face transitions in Buffy and Angel.
I usually try to spot things like that, too. There was a shot of Data and Lore walking down a corridor talking to each other, and for the life of me I couldn't spot it. But then, the camera was locked down and it's really easy to do great compositing work when the camera doesn't need to move.

Don't get me wrong... my descriptions might seem overly positive, but some of these episodes are a slog to get through. The fact that I haven't seen them in a very, very long time might be part of it, as I'm very excited to be watching the show again.

To throw out some specific comments:

The character of Deanna Troi is a total failure. Marina Sirtis is a lovely woman, but her acting in these episodes coupled with the fact that the writers rarely seem to know what to do with her makes her a chore to watch at times. She does best when she has these little moments to interact with another character, like in "Haven". But when she's being called upon to use her powers and tell Picard whether some asshole is lying to them over subspace or whatever, she seems like she's trying very hard to be "exotic" and it just doesn't work.

The same goes for Wesley Crusher. If the show wanted him to be a Starfleet-bound wunderkind, that's totally awesome. But the way they shoehorned him into being a bridge officer is totally wrong and inappropriate. "11001001" is a really great episode, but allowing Wesley to be in command of the ship, even while docked, is absolutely ludicrous and it took me right out of the episode.

And you are right about the dialogue; there's a lot of it that flat-out sucks. But there's also a good deal of it that's really great. A lot of these episodes have pacing problems, they move too slowly and then have to rush at the end. And, for example, "Justice" ignores logic for the sake of its story rather than simply re-conceive its original problem. Wesley isn't wrongly accused of a crime, he fell into a flower bed and was sentenced to death and no one voices the obvious absurdity of this situation. It's possible that the writer knew he the setup he wanted, but he was also forbidden from having Wesley actually commit a crime and this was the best compromise they could come up with. Still, it's a massive failure in an episode that has some good ideas and even some good acting in it - the scene between Picard and Data in Picard's quarters is classic TNG.

And there are some little flourishes that I don't recall seeing in the later episodes that I find really fascinating. The cast somehow seems looser, more human, even their performances are shaky because they're struggling with the dialogue or from poor direction. There's little bits like Riker walks onto the bridge and briefly claps Data on the back before taking his seat.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#7
1x18 "Home Soil" - The Enterprise investigates mysterious happenings at a terraforming project and discover a strange crystalline life form living in the sand that takes over the ship's computer and declares war on the humans. This episode is dull, dull, dull. It's got an interesting idea, of course, but it makes mistake after mistake and is loaded with lame dialogue. The crystals were making geometric patterns in the sand and no one thought they trying to communicate? Plus, the voice for the entity in the science lab is beyond obnoxious and the ending feels like a cheap rip off of a TOS bit.

1x19 "Coming of Age" - A Starfleet admiral and friend of Picard's comes aboard the ship and begins some kind of investigation that riles up the crew. Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher takes a test to enter Starfleet Academy. This episode is another failure. The interrogation scene is pretty good, and funny - especially Worf asking if he's required to like commander Remick - but mostly these things go nowhere. It takes forever to find out what the investigation is really about, and even then it's left vague (obviously setup for a future episode, but still annoying) and the B-plot about Wesley taking tests is just junk.

1x20 "Heart of Glory" - The Enterprise rescues three Klingons from a battered freighter and soon discovers that they are wanted criminals. This episode has a good idea, but it suffers from some severe pacing issues. It takes a full fifteen minutes to get those Klingons off the damaged freighter, too much time is spent talking about how Geordi sees weird shit with his VISOR. As an exploration of Klingon society, there's some interesting stuff here about the perhaps fragile nature of the alliance between the Klingons and the Federation, but for the most part this episode is a bit of a chore to get through.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#9
Seriously. It's like they didn't give a shit that they were on a rescue mission.

1x21 "The Arsenal of Freedom" - The Enterprise, investigating the disappearance of another Federation starship, encounters a world that had been wiped clean of intelligent life by a weapons system that has the ability to adapt and improve itself. This episode has some nice ideas, and even some cool action sequences, but it has one glaring flaw: It wants to be an episode where Geordi gets to shine in command, but in order to do so, it must find a way to get Picard off the ship. The resulting subplot with Picard and Dr. Crusher buried underground is pretty lame, and ultimately adds nothing to the episode except that Geordi gets to have a couple of good scenes in charge of the ship.

1x22 "Symbiosis" - When the Enterprise rescues the crew of a damaged freighter, they discover two worlds locked in a bizarre relationship: One world exists only to produce a 'medicine' needed by the other world, which provides everything the first world needs. Well, this episode is like a sci-fi after school special, especially the awkward, heavy-handed scene where Tasha and Data try to explain drug addiction to Wesley. While there's a couple of decent scenes, like Picard and Crusher's discussion about the prime directive in the turbolift, most of this episode is bogged down with ham-fisted "drugs are bad mmmkaayyyy" junk with space junkies and their intergalactic heroin dealers.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#10
1x23 "Skin of Evil" - While attempting to rescue Counselor Troi from a crashed shuttle, the crew encounters a being made of pure evil given physical form... with lethal consequences. This episode is pretty bad. Tasha's death is poorly done, both in terms of how it's written and on a technical level. The Armus creature is creepy at times, and the scene where Riker is dragged into the oil slick gave me nightmares as a kid. But the dialogue is awful throughout. The only real upside to the episode at all is Tasha's funeral scene, which is appropriately emotional and has a good musical score.

1x24 "We'll Always Have Paris" - Investigating strange time distortions, the Enterprise crew encounters a scientist who has been injured in an experiment gone wrong. To complicate matters, Picard has a history with the man's wife. This is another one of those episodes that has a solid idea behind it, but falls apart in execution. The time distortions don't make much sense, and aside from Patrick Stewart, the acting isn't particularly compelling in any fashion.

1x25 "Conspiracy" - The Enterprise returns to Earth after uncovering disturbing evidence of a vast conspiracy within the Federation that could be a prelude to an alien invasion. The follow-up to 'Coming of Age' very much has the feel of a season finale to it. The episode is huge, and absolutely over-wrought... which is really one of the only reasons why it works. It's obvious that everyone was going for broke here, with absurd action sequences and completely over-the-top violence. The finale where Picard and Riker phaser the mother creature out of existence is grotesquely hilarious, and I'm not sure how they got away with that on TV in 1988.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#11
1x26 "The Neutral Zone" - The Enterprise is ordered to the Romulan Neutral Zone, where several Federation outposts have been reported destroyed. Meanwhile, the ship has picked up three survivors of Earth's 20th century found cryogenically frozen in a drifting space probe. While the previous episode felt very much like a season finale, the only thing about "The Neutral Zone" that feels as such is the final scene. Otherwise, this would be a fine start to season two. Still, the episode spends a bit too much time on the petty problems of the three survivors and not on the far more interesting storyline involving destroyed outposts and contact with the Romulans. I just flat-out don't care about these characters, and the episode does little more than repeat the same scenes with them over and over again until the crew just decides to dump them on some other poor starship.
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
5,243
3
0
39
Canada eh!
cheese.com
#12
I agree with you that Skin of Evil was a bad episode, but Armus IMHO was an excellent villain. At least at the core.

Never have we had an enemy on Trek that is simply pure evil. Every single villain has always had a logical goal.

The Borg: Driven by an obsession with perfection.
The Klingons: A lust for battle and glory
The Romulans: Xenophobic self protection
The Dominion/Founders: See "The Romulans"
Kahn: Vengeance/Power

Armus had absolutely no motivation whatsoever than just pure evil. They even tried to step away from that half way through the episode with the conversation about how he was cast off from his creators.

That episode could have been so much more than it was.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#13
My problem with Armus is the dialogue that he was given. He comes off as a childish school-yard bully instead of a truly evil creature. I really did half expect him to just go, "nyah nyah nyah" at any second. It's too simplistic a characterization for the idea.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#14
2x01 "The Child" - An alien energy being knocks up Troi while the ship is transporting dangerous viral samples. The problem with this episode is that it's just plain boring. It just kind of meanders along and then ends. Marina Sirtis does a good job forming a rapport with her kid, and the climax is legitimately effective, but overall this just doesn't feel like anything really important otherwise.

2x02 "Where Silence Has Lease" - The Enterprise is swallowed by a strange void in space where the crew is subjected to a series of tests by a mysterious alien creature. This episode manages to build a decent atmosphere of mystery and danger for the crew, and there are a couple of interesting scenes toward the end between Picard and phantom versions of Troi and Data, as well as the alien Nagilum. Riker and Worf's away team excursion to a haunted, empty ship is also fun.
 
Jun 13, 2006
547
2
0
#16
1x09 "The Battle" - The Enterprise encounters a Ferengi ship whose Daimon claims to have a gift for Picard: the wreckage of his old ship, the Stargazer, which Picard thought destroyed in battle a decade earlier. This episode is actually pretty good. The Ferengi are played more intelligently than they were in "The Last Outpost," and actually show potential for being a decent enemy. Patrick Stewart's performance is pretty excellent all around, as are the scenes between Riker and the Ferengi first officer.
Outside of the two "Q" episodes, this is by far my favorite of S1. It's great fun watching everyone dealing with this extremely fucked-up situation. They know there is some huge catch involved with the not-exactly-cheap return of the crippled Stargazer from Dog-knows-where, but they're just rolling with it until they figure out what the game is...and it almost blows up in their face.

On that note, I've always been sort of curious as to what happened to the 'Gazer after her salvage. We know that other Constellation-class ships are still in service during the TNG era, and other than the fire damage she seems to be pretty operational. On the other hand, we know that other functional Constellations have been scrapped (see S2). Museum ship? Cadet training vessel? Spare parts? Returned to service? I can't imagine that Picard wouldn't have had some interest in what became of her.
 
Last edited:

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
5,028
3
0
Shitsville, CF63
#17
The fact that they were still using 23rd century designs in the Dominion war would suggest that there's nothing about the actual design of the ship that would prohibit an extensive refit to bring it up to modern standards. Since they can't rust in space (especially since they're made out of futuristic materials) I imagine they're just decomissioned because the structure gets worn out or they're simply no longer needed. You'd think they'd convert them for some sort of civilian use once they're decomissioned.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#18
2x03 "Elementary, Dear Data" - Data, Geordi and Dr. Pulaski go to the holodeck for some fun with Sherlock Holmes, but a misspoken command to the computer creates a holodeck character capable of taking over the ship. This episode is pretty great. The cast is clearly having fun, and Moriarty is a really cool antagonist. It's also cool in that the ship and characters are threatened, but not really by a malfunction, nor are they trapped on the holodeck, so it doesn't feel like a retread of "The Big Goodbye."

2x04 "The Outrageous Okona" - The Enterprise rescues a freighter captain, only to discover that the man is wanted by officials from two warring planets. Meanwhile, Data investigates the nature of humor. This episode is pretty alright, if mostly because it's sort of lightweight and silly. There's little danger for anyone involved, which can rob it of any real drama. The subplot involving Data and Joe Piscopo is silly and can be fun, but is really kind of dumb. I laughed, but mostly because it was so ridiculous.
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
5,243
3
0
39
Canada eh!
cheese.com
#19
I've always liked the Nagilum creature and the episode a bit more than I think they actually deserve.
I actually put that into the category of "Classic TNG done well".

It was a bottle episode (as basically all of early TNG was), it dealt with yet another "indescribably powerful being" as Trek does way too often. The one character to die was a red shirt, and at the end, the captain would rather sacrifice the entire ship than to "lose" to the being in question.

I think the reason this episode works so well is because it follows the TOS formula so perfectly. You have to admit, you could picture Kirk in the same situation, doing the same thing. Basically saying to the being "Yeah, I can't escape, fuck you I'll blow up the ship".

It's as close to a "perfect" episode of Star Trek as you're gonna get in the first 2 seasons.
 

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
5,028
3
0
Shitsville, CF63
#20
There's a few that I like from season 2, actually. "The Measure of A Man" is a stand out for the whole show, and the one where Riker serves on that Klingon ship is another one of my favourites. I also liked "Q Who", "The Emissary", and the one where they do a combat simulation with an old Starship.