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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Star Trek TNG Season 4 - Top 5 Favorite Episodes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Next Generation continues it's awesomeness.  It's so funny how good this show is after such a lackluster first couple seasons!  I really wonder how it persevered, when now, if a show doesn't do well in the first half, they will just can the whole thing.  I don't really know the viewing figures at the time though so maybe it was decent and I'm sure the franchise really helped the show get to the third season.  Now for my top 5 episode picks this season, I'll start with-

5. Future Imperfect

This episode had such an interesting premise - Riker contracts a virus that will activate 16 years later, when everything he experienced between contracting the virus and the virus activating will be erased from his memory.  Essentially it's like he wakes up and he is 16 years older.  The premise allows the viewer to see what might happen to the crew in the future - and it's kind of sad to see Picard and Troi move on from the Enterprise, and even for Riker to be so downcast about his memory loss.  Riker is usually a gung-ho kind of guy, so it's interesting to see him so hesitant.  There is a twist to this episode though, which negates this future, but while the viewer believed in this future, it was fascinating to see all the differences.

4. Clues

The Enterprise crew, except for Data,  mysteriously lose 30 seconds of time.  Data assures them everything is fine though but there are indications that the crew actually lost more than a day in time.  But Data denies it!  And is acting really weird.  Now that I'm actually into season 5 at the time of writing this, there seems to be quite a few episodes where Data is sinister and untrustworthy (although he is generally not himself in that case) and it seems they go to that well a lot.   But it's very well done in this episode, because the mystery of Data's actions are so intriguing, and it is always interesting to see just how much the crew trusts him.  And even takes things about him for granted.  I think that is why it is so entertaining to see Data as a potential bad guy - because his character is incorruptible (except when it's easy to bypass his circuits!)

3. The Drumhead

This is basically a witch hunt on the Enterprise.  Just substitute witches for Romulan spies and conspiracies.  The gradual spiraling into suspicion and fear-mongering is upsetting to see on the Enterprise - especially when humanity is supposed to have made such progress in this future.  But of course, the point of this episode is to pull back the veil on inescapable human weakness, and it's always a timely message (unfortunately).  Picard continues to reinforce what a fantastic Captain and leader he is, and the brilliant script and power play between Picard and the investigating Admiral really elevated this into a chilling and thought-provoking episode.  I think it is technically one of the best in this season, but I found more enjoyment in my number 2 pick.

2.  Final Mission

I feel like this is not a highly regarded episode - partly because people find Wesley Crusher annoying?  and maybe partly because it is too cliche, but this episode really touched me.  And I should say that I do like Wesley.  This is Wesley's final days on the Enterprise as he is off to StarFleet Academy, so Picard decides to take him on a quick and easy mission.  That goes horribly wrong.  I think stranded-in-the-desert stories also appeal to me for some reason, as a way to expose the best of human nature and also to create very real and nerve-wracking danger.  Picard's faith in Wesley was so very touching, as was Wesley's respect and admiration for Picard and for Wesley to be the one to reason a way out of their dilemma was very satisfying.  It was a great farewell to the character for me, and I think it showed a wonderful new side to Picard.

1. The Best of Both Worlds pt 1 & 2

Usually with the TNG episodes I watch on my iPad, so I start and stop it whenever I want - I don't always finish a whole episode, but with this two parter, I could. Not. Stop.  I had to watch this one from beginning to end (and thank goodness I didn't have to deal with an actual summer-long cliffhanger!)  This two-parter is amazing!  The Enterprise encounters the Borg once again, and are unable to stop their advance towards Earth.  They take Captain Picard and make him their voice to tell Earth to surrender.  After the Borg destroys the Starfleet sent against them, Riker and the Enterprise are the only ones who can stop them.  I think these episodes advance Picard and Riker's characters beautifully, and  there was so much suspense and danger because the episode highlights what an utterly unstoppable force the Borg are - well until we get to the end.  The stakes were so high in this episode too, that it's just impossible not to feel afraid for the crew and for Earth.  And for Picard.  (I really enjoyed how they addressed what happened to him in the episode to come after this one by the way, it's just overall I didn't love that episode.)  This is such an intense showdown, and really highlights the best of the show, the characters and the world of Star Trek.

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  1. You know, when we go back and watch some of these much older tv shows I know we can't help but go 'man those suck' or just weren't very good but seriously for their time they were probably pretty great. Considering what else there was airing. I mean come on - would you watch Mork and Mindy? Ok maybe I would just for how ridiculous it was. Or Small Wonder....or pretty much any scifi type show they had going in the 80's or 90's. I probably should jump in and watch them during the later seasons cause when I started with season 1 I just couldn't do it!!

  2. I recently started watching Star Trek Voyager with my boyfriend, he thought that would be the best Star Trek series to start with. So far I am really enjoying it! We might eventually watch the other series as well.

  3. The borg plotline is awesome and amazing! I love this season in particular!

  4. I think you picked some really great stories out. I think this and the next season are the show's finest as they clearly knew their characters, the writer's room was settling down and they still had stories to tell.

    Great choices!

  5. The Best of Both Worlds! Yes! So incredibly awesome! I actually don't really remember these other ones, but I've been surprised by how much I had forgotten of TOS in my rewatch of it!

  6. I'm so glad you commented on this particular post - because season 1 and 2 was pretty bad, but if you want to try this again - PLEASE watch The Best of Both Worlds parts 1 & 2. It's far from dated in my opinion, and one of the best episodes of television I have ever seen!

    I remember Small Wonder - omg, I would probably feel terrible if I watched it now, as some shows are probably better left to my rosy memories of youth. :) There are definitely shows that do not stand the test of time, and also some that really do for some reason (I Love Lucy comes to mind - it still makes me laugh!).

  7. I'm going to watch Voyager soon! I'm trying to watch all the different series in order - I am glad to know that your boyfriend thinks it is the best to start with - I look forward to seeing what it is all about! I feel sad that I'll soon be done with The Next Gen, but people say so many good things about the later series that I am trying to not be too sad. :)

  8. It was fantastic! I'm into the 7th season now actually, and I'm a little disappointed that the Borg aren't as scary as they were in this, but they do have some interesting developments!

  9. I agree, the episodes in these later seasons are fantastic! I am so glad they hit their stride, and I love how well this large cast of characters work together. One thing I am looking forward to when I finish this series is watching some of the interviews and commentaries about the show - they seem like they had such a great time making the show.

  10. I'll probably need to rewatch TOS once I get to the end of watching all the Star Trek! But at least I have your top 5 lists to help me remember. :) The Best of Both Worlds was just perfect - so far it is my favorite episode out of all the seasons of TNG!

  11. I hope you enjoy Voyager as much as I do so far. My boyfriend told me we're going to watch the other Star Trek series after this as well! I really like the characters and the story in Voyager so far.

  12. There is so much fun to talk about in this post :)

    Yes, shows were typically given more time to find their footing a decade or two ago. And a big part of that was that there was less on. There were far fewer cable channels and the ones that did exist had virtually no original programming. So even though we look at ST:TNG seasons 1 and 2 and they're not great - it was still a well rated show. I don't know exact numbers but I'd speculate that it probably wasn't the highest rated show on, but it's numbers were still probably double what some of the highest rated shows are today - just because of the fragmentation of the market. Plus, it had the support of being a major franchise. Yes, I can talk for hours :)

    Future Imperfect is one of my favorites too. I agree, there's just so much good character work in it and it's very interesting.

    I am not a fan of The Drumhead - but mostly I don't like witch trial stories. They're just so uncomfortable because the bad guy is so obviously obtuse and narrow minded that I get frustrated.

    I do like Reunion a lot. Partly because I like K'Ehleyr's character so much.

    And Final Mission is a good episode. I was so sad to see Wesley leave!

    I like Devil's Due. It's a little campy but I like the way she sort of toys with Picard so it shows a different side of him and her comeuppance is fun.

  13. Awesome! I look forward to it! It is interesting how they change up each series!

  14. The whole fewer channels and options does make a lot of sense - I forgot about that! I'm glad of whatever circumstances led to the show continuing!

    That aspect of witch trial stories can be aggravating to me too but I think it's because Picard does a great job handling it, and it's all over in an hour that I liked the episode so much. :) And for some reason I have a hard time getting into Klingon heavy episodes. Even though I love Worf, I find the Klingons tiresome. But I did really enjoy Devil's Due too - I love it when they explore ideas where sophisticated technology seems like magic and how they unravel it. Scientific logic and skepticism is always the way to go! :)