Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
To watch all of The Star Trek franchise, it would take you nearly a month of no-sleep-marathoning. Nearly 550 hours at this point. Twenty-four days. AND THEY'RE STILL MAKING MORE. You don't have that kind of time.
I've attempted to put together a much more condensed series of Star Trek. Dividing it into ten episode seasons. For the most part, these are My Favorite Episodes. I've left out some that are historically important episodes, in favor of things that I found fun to watch. If you're a Trekkie or Trekker, or just consider yourself a fan, I may have left off your favorite episode. Sorry. But this is more a list for people like me, who had seen an episode here and there, were interested in seeing more, but don't want to invest in the whole 530+ hours. I'm doing it, so others don't have to.
Now that we've finished with the original cast, it's time to see The Next Generation take over, as well as look back at the previous generation and how their actions affect the new crew. The theme of this season is What Constitutes Life in the future. We'll examine this from several angles. Much like TOS, we'll be jumping around the first couple of seasons, mostly because the first two seasons of The Next Generation are Awful. As bad to worse than the third season of The Original Series, so we're skipping most of it. It's logical.
Star Trek Season 4:
Episode 1: Coming Of Age
(Picard, Riker, Wesley, Crusher, Troi, Worf, Data, Laforge)
In the actual viewing order, this episode of The Next Generation shows up about halfway through the first season, and one of the biggest criticisms of it, is that it has false consequences, as the two major storylines center on crew members possibly leaving the show, which was obviously not going to happen. But while this is not a great episode to endure after you've spent a bunch of time with the crew, it's a great intro.
As we learned last season, Starfleet is bastards (similar to "Timelords are assholes", I know, but equally true). We see them from two angles in this episode as an Admiral orders an annoying auditor to investigate Captain Picard's competency while Honorary Ensign Wesley Crusher applies to Starfleet Academy to become an official crew member. As you might expect, not much is at it seems.
Episode 2: Conspiracy
(Picard, Riker, Data, Crusher, Worf, Laforge, Troi)
A group of rogue Starfleet captains approach Picard about the possibility that Starfleet has been corrupted by an outside source. So when Starfleet orders The Enterprise to a star base, Picard is understandably concerned. When it turns out that the jerky auditor from the first episode, as well as the admiral who sicked the auditor on the ship in the first place, are involved, the crew of The Enterprise springs into action.
Episode 3: We'll Always Have Paris
(Picard, Riker, Data, Crusher, Worf, Laforge, Troi)
Starfleet may be bastards, but it's scientists who keep mucking things about TNG. In this case, a disgraced Starfleet scientist has caused time issues not completely unlike "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad". Data is chosen to solve the problem, as Picard has the very Kirkian problem of having one of his favorite exes show up on board.
Episode 4: Simultude
(Trip, Archer, T'Pol, Phlox, Reed, Sato, Mayweather)
Once again, we're back with the crew of the first Enterprise. During repairs, Trip is gravely injured, and Phlox suggests a controversial technique, wherein a clone of Trip, with a fifteen day life cycle is created purely to harvest parts of its brain to help Trip recover. It is Dark and Emotionally Draining to watch, but well-written, and fast paced.
Episode 5: Project Daedalus
(Spock, Burnham, Pike, Saru, Stamets, Tilly, Ariam, Nhan)
Everyone is on edge on the Discovery. Spock and Burnham, Stamets and Culbert, Pike and Tyler, Ariam and Nhan. Ok, not Tilly. She's still delightful. But someone on board has either been feeding information to Section 31 or else taking information from the Sphere they encountered last season. And it's unclear what they're doing with it. But the now fugitive Discovery is in Section 31 territory and the proverbial fan is oscillating in proverbial feculince.
Episode 6: Too Short A Season
(Picard, Crusher, Riker, Yar, Worf, Data, Laforge, Troi)
Elderly Starfleet bastards journey to Enterprise to help diffuse a hostage situation. But they are BAD at it.
Episode 7: Datalore
(Data, Picard, Riker, Yar, Worf, Wesley, Laforge)
It turns out that Data isn't the only android like him. His "brother", Lore, is A Jerk. What happens if he replaces Data as an officer?
Episode 8: Borderlands
(Archer, T'Pol, Soong, Phlox, Sato, Trip, Reed, Mayweather)
Was the guy who made Data and Lore evil? We may never know. But the original crew of The Enterprise has to deal with a Klingon problem while they're transporting one of Dr. Soong's ancestors, who's been messing around with augmented humans who, as it happens, are wreaking havoc with the Klingons.
Episode 9 & 10: The Undiscovered Country
(Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Sulu, Uhura, Scott, Chekov, Rand, Sarek, Worf)
This is it, the end of The Original Series cast. That offhanded joke I made about The Wrath Of Kirk? Wellllll, he may have gone a little bit speciesist, and his behavior makes him the prime suspect when a Klingon Peace Advocate is assassinated. It's up to the crew of The Enterprise, along with Captain Sulu from The Excelsior (a ship The Enterprise sabotaged back in Search For Spock) to clear Kirk's name. Again, we get a Rand cameo, and we also see Michael Dorn, who played Worf in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, play an unnamed Klingon lawyer, who I like to believe was Worf, and that the kangarooness of the court proceedings led him to quit the bar and join Starfleet. Wave goodbye to the crew. You might see one or two of them pop up in future seasons, but this is the last time the bulk of the cast gets to interact, as it's finally time for The Enterprise to be decommissioned.
Episode 11: Perpetual Infinity
(Burnham, Spock, Saru, Stamets, Tillly, Culber, Tyler, Pike, Georgiou)
The identy of The Red Angel is finally revealed.
Episode 12: Through The Valley Of Shadows
(Burnham, Tyler, Pike, Spock, Saru, Stammets, Culber, Amanda, L'rell, Reno)
Back to Klingons and family problems, as Burnham, Pike, and friends must visit the home of the Time Crystals which are ... guarded by Tyler and L'rell's son? Oh, Time Crystals, how your wackiness allows us to overcome things like, the passing of time, in order to have an emotional conundrum.
Episode 13: 11001001
(Picard, Riker, Data, Crusher, Laforge, Worf, Yar, Wesley)
It's a communications error on The Enterprise that can only be solved by creatures who communicate in ... Binary? Seems a bit 20th century, but ok.
Episode 14: Skin Of Evil
(Yar, Troi, Picard, Riker, Worf, Laforge, Data, Crusher, Wesley)
This is the worst TNG episode on the list. By far. It's poorly written, has lackluster effects, and it redshirts a major character for contract reasons. Unfortunately, we kind of need to see the character die for ... reasons.
Episode 15 & 16: Cold Station 12/The Augments
(Archer, Soong, Phlox, Trip, Reed, T'Pol, Mayweather, Sato)
Back to the original Enterprise's Klingon and Soong problem, The Augments take over the medical facility that holds thousands of augmented embryos. The situation causes Soong to have to choose between humans and Augments, doctors to choose between the potential for life and their already living colleagues, and The Klingons to choose between killing The Augments, killing the humans, or just killing everyone.
Episode 17: The Most Toys
(Data, Picard, Riker, Wesley, Laforge, Worf, O'Brien)
DATA IS NOT A TOY. But there is a collector who values the android's worth, and decides to fake Data's death and steal him from Starfleet, and Data makes a Very Human decision to try and escape. This has one of the few I Am Evil villains that I don't mind, as his motives are purely villainous but believable.
Episode 18: Measure Of A Man
(Data, Picard, Riker, Laforge, Pulaski, Worf, Wesley)
Another Starfleet Bastard tries to interfere with The Enterprise by ordering Data to be dismantled so that he can build more androids for Starfleet. When Data, and then Picard refuse, the issue of Data's status as a lifeform goes to trial with Starfleet's JAG (yea, like the court procedural TV show). This is probably the best episode of the season.
Episodes 19 & 20: Such Sweet Sorrow
(Burnham, Spock, Pike, Saru, Stammets, Georgiou, Stammets, Tilly, Tyler, Culber, Sarek, Amanda, Reno, L'rell)
Discovery! Enterprise! Control! Starfleet! A thing that must be destroyed lest it fall into the wrong hands! Timstream manipulation! Sacrificed characters! Nannites! It's a game changing adventure for everyone to close out the fourth season.
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