Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
The purpose of this project was to present a fun chronology for people new to Star Trek or even long term fans who are looking for a new way to watch the series. As such, I've tried to steer clear of the worst episodes of Star Trek. But, I guess if you don't see Any terrible episodes than you dom't realize just how good the rest of them are.
This season is our introduction to The Next Generation cast. Now that we've shunted the crew of Discovery into the future, it's time to meet Picard and his crew. because there are no rules to my contiuity, I can skip most to all of season one of Next Generation. Spoiler alert: It was awful. The blandest episodes were just homages to the original series, the best episodes tended to focus on Data, and the worst episodes usually involved Q, who we'll meet next season.
While I've edited out most of the eye-rollingest episodes, there are some bad episodes of TNG that you sort of need to experience to appreciate how they're rectified as the season matured. They're also sort of necessary for major continuity points. Sorry.
I've even shuffled in a bad episode of TOS (and TOS had three seasons of episodes, and maybe three-quarters of a season's worth of good episodes) so you can see that the trops of Starfleet being incompetent and possibly brimming with madmen has been true since the series first debuted.
Season 4: Too Long A Season
TOS - Star Trek (The Original Series), 1966-69 TAS - (The Animated Series), 1973-4
TNG - The Next Generation, 1987-94 ENT - Enterprise, 2001-5
ST - Short Treks, 2018-20 SNW - Strange New Worlds, 2022-ongoing
Episode 401: Coming Of Age (TNG)
(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.
Starfleet is bastards. 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 402: We'll Always Have Paris (TNG)
(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 403: Whom Gods Destroy (TOS)
(Kirk, Spock, Scott, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Hadley)
Make no mistake, this is a TERRIBLE episode of Star Trek. It's here to show just how awful Starfleet Bastards can be, as well as give us some Original Series flavor to this season. But it's a bad episode. If you enjoy drinking games, you can probably come up with a couple for this episode.
Episode 404: Conspiracy (TNG)
(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 405: Too Short A Season (TNG)
(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 406: Strange New Worlds (SNW)
(Pike, Spock, Singh, Ortegas, 1, M’Benga, Hemmer, Chapel, Uhura, T’Pring, April)
Shortly after last season's Discovery fiasco, Cmdr. Pike took a sabattical. Well, it didn't last long before he was called back to Starfleet to track down his missing first officer with a new crew, on his new ship, Enterprise.
Episode 407: Data's Day (TNG)
(Data, O'Brien, Picard, Keiko, Crusher, Troi)
See the ship through Data's eyes, and meet O'Brien's future wife, Keiko. See how Data nearly ruins a wedding but also saves the ship. Also, a cat.
Episode 408: Datalore (TNG)
(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 409: Borderlands (ENT)
(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 has been messing around with augmented humans who, as it happens, are wreaking havoc with the Klingons.
Episode 410: The Naked Now (TNG)
(Laforge, Wesley, Crusher, Data, Riker, Picard, Yar)
I'm sorry again. This is another Terrible Trek episode but it has major implications for future episodes, including, and especially, Data. This is basically an echo of the TOS episode "Naked Time" but with more naked consequences.
Episode 411 & 412: Cold Station 12/The Augments (ENT)
(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 413: The Most Toys (TNG)
(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 414: Skin Of Evil (TNG)
(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 415: Charlie X (TOS)
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Rand, Leslie, Nellis)
We reach all the way back to the second ever episode of Star Trek for this story of a god-like teenager wreaking havoc on the crew. It's a solid episode, and the only reason I held it back until now was because there are some excellent Uhura moments, and I wanted to pair it with the following episode.
Episode 416: Q&A/Children Of The Comet (SNW)
(1, Spock, Pike)
(Uhura, Pike, Spock, Singh, Ortegas, 1, M’Benga, Hemmer, Chapel)
On his first day on Enterprise, Spock gets stuck on a turbo lift with #1.
You can tell me all you want about how progressive the Star Trek universe is, and how we live in a post-racial society because we elected a Black President in 2008, but let it be known that it took SIXTY YEARS before Star Trek did an episode centered on Uhuru. Yea, yea, yea, Burnham is the lead in Discovery and she's a woman of color, but the Uhuru character has been around since the 1960s and she didn't get her moment in the spotlight until 2022. It's a really good episode about becoming part of a team, and I hope it means we'll get another Uhura-centric episode before 2081.
Episode 417: Hollow Pursuits (TNG)
(Laforge, Riker, Barclay, Picard, Data, Wesley, Troi , Worf, Crusher)
I hate holodeck episodes, and this is not generally considered one of the best of them, but it does introduce Barclay who ... sigh ... we will be seeing again later.
Episode 418: Mudd's Passion/The Escape Artist (TAS/ST)
(Mudd, Spock, Kirk, Chapel, McCoy, Uhura, Scott)
I loathe Barclay. The character is an incel who will eventually get completely undeserved redemption, despite still being a misogynist shitbag. The actor who plays him is a bigoted bag of sewage in a human suit. Just typing about the actor or the character make me angry, so to rectify that, here's a character who's a misogynist villain who is actually a delight to watch and is played by someone who seems to have spent his entire career trying to be a better, more tolerant and loving person. Here, we see Mudd trying to escape from his past sins. And it's fun.
Episode 419: 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.
Episode 420, brah: Ghosts Of Illyria (ST/SNW)
(1, Singh, Pike, Spock, Ortegas, M’Benga, Hemmer, Chapel, Uhura)
Invasion of the moth people! The crew of The Enterprise is sent to investigate a planet where an entire colony has disappeared. A virus spreads amongst the crew that gets them addicted to light, and we get some great background on the crew.