A number of years ago I watched through the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation show for the nth time, this time taking notes. I concluded that, like many shows, there are some excellent episodes, a few stinkers, and a lot of merely adequate in between.
From my notes I put together a guide to the episodes to watch in order to come away with the general story intact. I put the guide online, where it was largely ignored.
Fast-forward a decade or so: I am consolidating some websites and jettisoning some unused domains, and happened upon my site with this guide. Ignored or not, I think it’s a gem! I’m placing it here for lack of a better home.
The One-Week Episode Guide to
Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The high points of the entire series in only 24 episodes: watch 3-4 eps/day.
Season number is in parentheses, single asterisks (*) indicate shows that are not so great but should be watched for important character/story arc content, and double asterisks (**) indicate my favorites.
(2) Where Silence Has Lease. The crew is held hostage by a being curious about human death.
(2) A Matter Of Honor. Commander Riker is assigned to a Klingon vessel which attacks the Enterprise.
(2) The Measure of A Man. Picard is enlisted to defend Data’s rights as a sentient being in court.
(2) * Datalore. The crew discovers Data’s android brother Lore.
(2) Peak Performance. A simulated war game turns deadly when the crew is ambushed.
(3) Who Watches the Watchers. After an accident at a research station, the Enterprise is forced to intervene.
(3) Yesterday’s Enterprise. A time rift brings the previous starship Enterprise from the past into the present.
(3) * Deja Q. Stripped of his powers by the Q Continuum, Q has is sent to the Enterprise.
(3) * Sins Of The Father. Worf is thrust into a battle for his family’s honor in the Klingon Empire.
(3) The Offspring. Data becomes a father when he creates an android.
(4) Future Imperfect. Riker wakes in sickbay to discover that it is 16 years later and he has amnesia.
(4) Data’s Day. Data describes a day in his life aboard the Enterprise
(4) First Contact. Enterprise contacts a planet about to launch into space.
(4) * The Loss. Troi discovers that she is empathically blind and resigns as ship’s counselor.
(4) The Host. Introducing the Trill… a dual species that consists of a symbiant and a host.
(5) ** Darmok. The Enterprise encounters a race with whom communication seems impossible.
(5) Conundrum. Every person on the Enterprise suddenly has no memory.
(5) The Outcast. An androgynous race asks the Enterprise to help find a lost shuttle.
(5) ** Cause and Effect. The crew feels a sense of déjà vu.
(5) I, Borg. The crew finds an injured Borg
(5) ** Inner Light. Picard lives another life…
(6) Frame of Mind. Riker questions his sanity.
(7) Lower Decks. Focus on junior officers on the Enterprise.
(7) Thine Own Self. Data loses his memory and Troi decides to become a bridge officer.
…and then, here are the truly terrible episodes: so bad that they are almost worth a watch if only out of morbid curiosity.
(7) Genesis. Pretty damn dumb episode… but I’m afraid a lot of the Season 7 episodes are.
(5) Cost of Living. The second worst STTNG episode ever.
(7) Masks. The absolutely very worst STTNG episode! If it weren’t for the fact that there were such talented people involved, I’d assume the cast and crew knew by now that this was their last season and they had stopped caring.