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.
Unlike the previous unstructured season, we return to an arc based season. From aging to death & the afterlife to the mistakes of our youth coming back to haunt us. My favorite part of this season is the use of Laforge. Laforge centered episodes largely show him as an awkward nerd who really wants a girlfriend but doesn't know how to communicate with women. It's supremely annoying. But in this season we focus on his interaction with his peers in non-romantic situations, and some of his awkwardness starts to ebb away. Slowly, mind you. He's still awkward, just not insufferably so.
Star Trek Season 7:
Episode 1: Unification
(Picard, Spock, Data, Sarek, Riker, Yar, Worf, Troi, Crusher, Laforge)
We're back to the classics in this season, as we start off with Vulcans and Romulans. And not just any Vulcans and Romulans but Sarek and Spock from The Original Series, and Tasha Yar's evil daughter from Redemption. It's one of the best political strategy episodes so far.
Episode 2: Conundrum
(Picard, Crusher, Riker, Ro, Troi, Worf, Data, Laforge)
Another Star Trek trope. Everyone loses their memory. How will they get it back? Is this crewman we've never seen before somehow the culprit? Of course he is. But the way they discover the solution makes for a fun watch.
Episode 3: I Borg
(Picard, Crusher, Laforge, Guinan, Data, Riker, Troi, Worf)
The Borg are interesting villain in that they don't care to kill or acknowledge individuals, they are only interested in assimilating entire species at once. So when the crew of The Enterprise rescues a single Borg, against the wishes of Picard, Guinan, and most of the crew, everyone has to reevaluate their position on TNG's biggest bad. This episode gave me one the most positive visceral reactions to a Star Trek episode I've ever had.
Episode 4: Chain Of Command
(Picard, Crusher, Worf, Riker, Troi, Data, Laforge)
When Picard is sent on an undercover mission in Cardassian territory, a new Starfleet Asshole takes over The Enterprise, and following the trope of every TOS and TNG episode, the new captain is an incompetent jackass. If only we could hope that everything would be returned to normal before the next episode. Ahhhhhh, formula.
Episode 5: Relics
(Scott, Laforge, Picard, Riker, Crusher, Worf, Data)
One of the best episodes of the series, the crew of The Enterprise finds Commander Scott from TOS trapped in a transporter loop. Not only is this the best episode featuring Scott of the series, it's one of the best Laforge episodes, too. That's three "best"s in one paragraph. It seems as though I enjoyed this treatise on how quickly technology makes the old seem obsolete.
Episode 6: Next Phase
(Ro, Laforge, Picard, Crusher, Riker, Data, Worf)
From aging to death. And, once again, a transporter is at the center of it, as Ro and Laforge are believed dead, but have actually been phased in such a way that they can observe the crew but can not be observed, except by each other.
Episode 7: Tapestry
(Picard, Q, Crusher, Riker, Worf)
Continuing the theme of probable death and afterlife, Picard is on the brink of death and is confronted with his god, Q. Yeup, scampy jerkface is back and guiding Picard through an afterlife with the possibility of returning to life. It's an interesting on how one's choices in life rarely affect the people we become.
Episode 8: First Duty
(Wesley, Picard, Crusher, Riker, Troi)
Wesley is back. And he has Fucked Up. In Tapestry, we saw how Picard fucked up when he was in Starfleet Academy. Now he gets to go back there and help Wesley from ruining his life.
Episode 9: Pegasus
(Riker, Picard, Worf, Data, Troi, Laforge)
Riker went to Starfleet once, too! And after he graduated, he served on a ship called Pegasus where Bad Shit Went Down. He and the Captain, another tropey incompetent Starfleet Asshole (a younger John Locke from Lost!) were the only two who escaped. But what did they escape from, and why are the Romulans interested? DUN DUN-DUNNNNN.
Episode 10: The Are The Voyages
(Riker, Archer, T'Pol, Trip, Shran, Soto, Troi, Mayweather, Reed, Phlox, Data)
This is one of the most hated episodes of Star Trek. But more for its context than its content. It was aired as the final episode of Enterprise, which was a slap in the face to the cast of Enterprise, because it's actually a TNG episode. During the events of Pegasus, Riker goes to the holodeck to examine his problem from multiple angles. To do so, he recreates The Enterprise from Enterprise (I know, I know), and acts as cook, talking with each crew member about different decisions they've made during their Starfleet Career. It would have probably been liked or loved if it had been in the middle of the season instead of the end. I like it as a non-canon chance for Enterprise and TNG to crossover. Because we're going to come back to Enterprise at least once more, and nothing that happens in this episode will have ever happened to them, but it has helped Riker make a difficult decision during Pegasus.
Five bonus episodes, if you like this season:
I really enjoyed the journey from aging to death to the mistakes of our youth, and it can be explored more fully, if you're in the mood. After Chain Of Command, you can take a break and check out how Data perceives life on The Enterprise in Data's Day, and then follow it up with Time's Arrow, where Data has to face mortality AND Samuel Clemens when his deceased head is discovered as having been planted on earth in the 1800s. If you want more of Picard's past coming into play, you can check out The Chase, Rascals, and Inner Light between Tapestry and First Duty. I enjoyed most of The Chase but found the end annoyingly over-the-top, and it undid the cool premise of The Enterprise, The Klingons, The Cardassians, and The Romulans being involved in a scavenger hunt. I would follow up The Chase with Rascals, if for no other reason than to spend time with the unlikely crew of Picard, Ro, Guinan, and Keiko O'Brien. It's very silly but the kids playing the young versions of the characters seem to have a very good time. Guinan and Ro, in particular, are awesome. Young Picard, not so much. Inner Light is a typical What Would Happen If Picard Weren't Captain Of The Enterprise, but it's more human than most of the other episodes of the trope, and thus, more enjoyable.