Favourite TNG Episodes

I thought I write something more straight-forward today. Recently, I started to watch some Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I grew up with The Next Generation and I really liked that series. I watched Voyager and Enterprise and they were ok, I just found they lacked that something special I loved about TNG. But with Deep Space Nine, I never even got into it.

I’m not sure why. I think it has a lot to do with the set design. The station lacked this Sci-Fi technological feel I had with The Next Generation. I never warmed up towards Sisko and his son either. His character always seemed all over the place – sometimes strict and controlled, other times impulsive and emotional. And kids are always just annoying in Star Trek.

But going through the episodes now, I found some new respect towards the series. I really like the fact that the most reasonable people on the station seem to be the two female characters. The plots are often more complex, involve multiple parties with diverging interests. I appreciate that more now.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Still one of the greatest achievements of modern TV.

But this made me think what I liked about TNG so much. In a discussion I felt compelled to make a list of favorite episodes. I realized that most of them are from season 5 and 6. It seems to make sense. I remember that the early episodes were very awkward. None of the actors and writers seemed to have a feel for who the characters are. I feel like it’s in seasons 5 and 6 where they hit their peak. So without further ado and in no particular order:

  • 6×04 Reclics – The Dyson Shpere Epiosde. The concept of a Dyson Sphere blew my mind. And it had Scottie too!

  • 5×23 I Borg – The Borg episodes were often good. The one with Hugh was particularly interesting because it explored some depth in an otherwise one-dimensional enemy. There was also a nice ethical dilemma involved.

  • 6×15 Tapestry – A Q episode where captain Picard may go back in time to undo a huge mistake in his life. He finds out that without that mistake, he would have never surpassed mediocrity and become captain. A beautiful exploration of his character.

  • 6×10 Chain of Command – And yet another Picard episode where Picard is tortured by a Cardassians. I found it really memorable because of it’s portrayal of the psychological effects of torture. The reveal at the very end just blew my mind as a kid. Also, it’s an Episode where the Enterprise has a different captain – a refreshing “what if”.

  • 5×25 The Inner Light – Yet another Picard episode. This tome he re-lives the entire life of an astronomer of an extinct species. That one is just so bitter-sweet. Quite remarkable emotional depth for a Sci-Fi series. And it’s still a good commentary on the value of a space program.

  • 6×25 Timescape – One of the geeky episodes where a team comes back from a conference, only to find that the Enterprise is frozen in time. It looks like they are being attacked by a Romulans. A cool Sci-Fi investigation begins.

I feel like the best episodes were the ones where you would learn something new. Something scientific, ethical or philosophical. It would be something would stick in your mind even years afterwards.

There are some more. I really liked 7×23 Emergence, 4×16 Galaxy’s Child and pretty much every episode with Barclay. I usually disliked any episode with Deanna Troi or Lwaxana Troi. And of course, I think the series has one of the best pilot episodes of a TV series ever! With that kind of start, there was no way they could have failed.

I’m not seeing similar favorites in DS9 yet, but I’m already more into it than I ever was. What about you? What are your favorite Star Trek episodes?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Favourite TNG Episodes”

  1. Daniel Renkel

    its funny you post this right now, after being frustrated with some “currently hyped” series, i started to rewatch my old favourites.

    right now i took a look again at voyager and thought about ordering ds9 or not. as it might be similar to your pov: i never became warm with it. the 21st century enterprise series felt so crap for me, that i never watched more than the first 10 or so epsiodes.

    tng i typically use as “medicine” when i’m ill. when i’m so ill, that i have to stay in bed, but not so ill that i couldn’t watch a few hours of tv, i relax the most with st:tng. i guess its because EVERYTHING is bright and positive, all characters, a lot of humor – insider jokes for fans, plays/twists/jokes related to knowing certain characters and the “normal” behaviours, simple funny things … and so on.

    as most people ( there was a discussion somewhere, forum or blog posts or so, where this came up a lot ) i enjoy all time travel episodes a lot – and there are quite many on tng.

    i also want to support you, that the “(late) middle” of tng is the best. i like a lot of S04 and S05 episodes, while S07 is rarely watched and S02 and especially S01 is a bit dusty and in some regards feels like original star trek enterprise.

    i also dislike the emotional troi episodes, but still they are better than the mother troi episodes. the same goes for the parents of worf and/or his kid episodes.

    what i find most interesting about tng, especially after having now finally finished watching all lost seasons, is the fact that if you do not have 1 story arc to span, you do not need to use cliffhangers for people to watch the next episode.
    tng and lost couldn’t be more different in that regard.

    and while talking about lost: it sucks. i’ve never seen such a cool concept so interesting from the start that is digging its head deeper and deeper in the sand (or may i say: shit pile)! the end is really frustrating.
    i guess i would love to do a lost computer game, where its only about 1 season WITHOUT any weapons, enemies. just the people, their characters and the problem of being stranded on a tropical island.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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