14

After an extensive search for the site's favourite TNG episode, the single highest voted episode was ThunderForge's suggestion, "The Inner Light".

We'll watch together in the Mos Eisley chatroom on 29th April @ 10pm UTC (11pm BST/ 6pm EDT) and a copy of the show will be hosted on our shared video room for those who don't have access to the episode.

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FAQ

Q. What is a movie TV night?
A. Great fun(!)

Q. How do I nominate an episode?
A. By posting an answer below.

Q. What if I don't have access to a copy of the winning episode?
A. We'll (try to) host a copy in our shared watch2gether video room. All you need to do is click the link.

Q. What if I hate Star Trek and want to watch Futurama instead?
A. Then start your own TV club. With hookers and blackjack.

  • 1
    Pretty sure the entire show is on Netflix in the US, at the least... possibly elsewhere. – Catija Apr 21 '17 at 0:23
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    @Catija - Indeed. And also available on youtube for £1.99 an episode. However, it's also on DailyMotion (albeit in a lower resolution format with letterboxing) free of charge – Valorum Apr 21 '17 at 0:27
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    Woohoo! I just get back in time! – Edlothiad Apr 21 '17 at 1:40
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    All of Star Trek is on UK Netflix too, that's the only reason I've seen all of TNG =) – Ixrec Apr 21 '17 at 15:12
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    Might I suggest using ISO date format in the question title? 29/4/17 looks, to me, like April 17th, 2029. – DaaaahWhoosh Apr 21 '17 at 21:20
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    @DaaaahWhoosh - I'll be dead in the ground before you convince me to put the date format in American. – Valorum Apr 21 '17 at 21:27
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    @Valorum But it's from the International Standard Organization! And it's an elegant compromise between British and American date formats! And XKCD! – DaaaahWhoosh Apr 21 '17 at 22:52
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    @amaranth - Only an American would turn up a decade late for a chatroom event ;-) – Valorum Apr 24 '17 at 19:43
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    Using ISO 8601, you can express time from left to right, from year down to fractions of a second, in falling order of significance. It's not a sensible way to express time, it's the sensible way. And in case it matters, I'm not american (don't they use mm/dd/yyyy?) But where I live, it's been used since long before it was ISO-tized (and since about a decade or so before I was born). – Duane Dibbley Apr 25 '17 at 23:39
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    @Edlothiad But I can't make it, as I am being told to go to a birthday party... – Edlothiad Apr 27 '17 at 3:21
  • @DaaaahWhoosh What country are you in? – Feathercrown Apr 28 '17 at 14:24
  • @Edlothiad - Pfft. Unless they're dying, they'll have a birthday next year but we'll only ever have one TNG night... – Valorum Apr 28 '17 at 20:44
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    @Valorum Quick, let's make TNG night an annual event :-) – Rand al'Thor Apr 28 '17 at 21:22

10 Answers 10

14

I nominate The Inner Light

It's Patrick Stewart's favorite episode

And really, can you in good conscience not vote for his favorite episode?

My favorite episode is "Inner Light." It was a beautiful script, which for me was almost entirely located away from the Enterprise—and it's crew! And because I was given the chance to perform what Picard would have been like if his life experience had been different. But another important reason is that I had a son in that episode who was played by my son, Daniel Stewart.

Reddit Ask Me Anything with Patrick Stewart

It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation

And was the first TV episode to do so in 25 years, since The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", widely considered the best episode of that series.

It's self-contained and does not really require previous knowledge of Star Trek

Thus it should be accessible to new viewers who have never watched the show.

It had that awesome flute song

(Someone is always cutting onions in the next room when I listen to it!)

Picard with his family - Inner Light

Old Picard - Inner Light

This episode was also nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

  • You have my +1. My only issue is whether it's accessible for non-Trekkies – Valorum Apr 23 '17 at 9:58
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    I feel like this is one of the episodes most accessible to non-trekkies, but BOBW is good in that category too. – Z. Cochrane Apr 25 '17 at 19:47
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    I love this episode, but my vote stays with BOBW. I plan to introduce a non-trekkie friend to movie night and Inner Light needs viewers who already care about Picard. – Jolenealaska Apr 25 '17 at 20:13
  • BTW Patrick Stewart's son was in an episode of Blunt Talk as well. – RobertF Apr 28 '17 at 20:37
10

I nominate The Best of Both Worlds. Is there a more obvious pick?

Hailed as perhaps the greatest Star Trek episode of all time, this two-parter (consisting of the last episode of Season 3 and the first of Season 4) contains a jaw-dropping cliffhanger in the middle that left fans gasping for months. It features one of the best Star Trek villains, the Borg, and subjects the crew of the Enterprise and Starfleet at large to one of the greatest threats they've ever faced.

The first episode won Emmy Awards for "Outstanding Art Direction for a Series" and "Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series".

The storyline appeared in TV Guide's "100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History" (July 1, 1996), ranked number 50. The episode was also ranked #70 on the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time.

In 2008, Empire magazine rated Star Trek: The Next Generation 37th on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" and cited "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" as the show's best episode. The episode was ranked #36 on TV Guide's list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".

-- Wikipedia

Plus, for goodness's sake, you've even included a gif from it in your question! Clearly, you've been subconsciously influencing people towards this choice from the beginning.

Picard grabbed Locutus of Borg

  • 1
    Would this mean we'd be watching both episodes, then? It almost seems like cheating (and two-parters always seem more intriguing than standalone episodes). – DaaaahWhoosh Apr 21 '17 at 21:17
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    @DaaaahWhoosh We could either watch both together, or watch the first half and leave it at the cliffhanger to make sure people come back ;-) – Rand al'Thor Apr 21 '17 at 21:44
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    @Randal'Thor - It's too obvious. – Valorum Apr 22 '17 at 21:43
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    @Valorum You're just bitter that it's outscoring "Starship Mine" :-) – Rand al'Thor Apr 22 '17 at 22:16
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    This one has my vote. We were just talking about it in Mos Eisley! chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/198?m=36740030#36740030 – Jolenealaska Apr 23 '17 at 1:54
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    @Jolenealaska I know! I was planning to ping you about it :-) Hope you'll be able to come on Saturday! – Rand al'Thor Apr 23 '17 at 10:48
10

I nominate Yesterday's Enterprise from Series 3, ep 15.

A great episode where a rip in spacetime causes the crew of the Enterprise to encounter Enterprise-C.

It tells the story of what would happen had a key historical event not kept the peace between Federation and the Klingon Empire.

Well, Picard would be in charge of a militarised version of the Enterprise.

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Another vessel, the Enterprise-D, teams up with the Enterprise-C, whose crew decides to return to their own time to sacrifice their lives to defend a Klingon outpost. In this alternative timeline, Tasha Yar is alive and goes with them ... and later we learn a great plot point concerning her....

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    You have my +1. A great episode and I hope you'll join us for TV night whatever the outcome :-) – Valorum Apr 24 '17 at 15:09
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    An excellent choice and you have my +1 too. Most notable in my mind for Picard's most badass moment ever, towards the end of the episode when he vaults up to Tasha/Worf's position (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers). – Rand al'Thor Apr 25 '17 at 20:13
9

Obvious nomination: Darmok Darmok2

It has suspense. It has intrigue. It has Data's new quarters after they destroyed his old quarters filming the Star Trek VI special edition commentary. It has an unnecessarily nerdy premise, and it shows Picard's strength as a captain who is different from Kirk. At a time when the Kirk vs Picard war was raging, this episode showed disparate races working together for a common good, rather than self-righteously telling others to do so while kicking faces in, and stressed the pacifistic ideals of the next generation.

Darmok

  • I do like the counterpoint between TNG: Darmok and TOS: Arena. Different captains deal with the situation in very different ways but still come up trumps at the end by showing bravery instead of aggression. – Valorum Apr 21 '17 at 0:18
  • Is that guy being shot in the throat? – Rand al'Thor Apr 21 '17 at 0:19
  • @Randal'Thor 90s Sci Fi makeup. – user311362 Apr 21 '17 at 0:20
  • @Randal'Thor - That's his ceremonial bandolier thingy. – Valorum Apr 21 '17 at 0:22
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    As it turns out, there are Darmok t-shirts available online! – Thunderforge Apr 22 '17 at 21:19
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    @Thunderforge Could be wrong but I believe this is the original. nerdvanaclothing.com/product/darmok-jalad-at-tanagra-front-back – Z. Cochrane Apr 26 '17 at 0:09
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    @zabeus Thanks for sharing that. I didn't know which the original was. – Thunderforge Apr 26 '17 at 0:44
  • +1 One of my favorites! We ought to use more Tamarian-style metaphors in English. You know, like "Trump, his small hands" = Feelings of inadequacy. – RobertF Apr 28 '17 at 20:32
  • @RobertF Clinton when the polls fell. ;) – user311362 May 1 '17 at 15:14
7

I nominate TNG: Starship Mine from season 6.

Not perhaps the most obvious choice (not as flashy as Q Who or as "acting" as Chain of Command, Pt II) but a really fun episode that everyone can enjoy. Picard gets to play the action hero for a change and there's an amusing B-plot with Data learning how to be even more insufferable than normal.

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  • Also, a human baddie who looks suspiciously like an Enterprise-B officer, and incidentally, Tuvok. – Politank-Z Apr 21 '17 at 0:06
  • @Politank-Z - He does get around, 'tis true. – Valorum Apr 21 '17 at 0:08
  • This is actually my favorite episode to "catch" on TV (or TiVo) late at night – Quasi_Stomach Apr 27 '17 at 0:06
  • Who wouldn't vote for Die Hard on a spaceship with Patrick Stewart instead of Bruce Willis! :) – Jon Clements Apr 28 '17 at 6:42
7

I vote for "Phantasms". It's always been one of my favorites.

Mostly because it centers around Data, who is exploring a dream program... and Deanna Troi spends a chunk of the episode as a cake:

Diana Troi cake

Now, while this one doesn't necessarily have the social message of many episodes, it's funny to see the random odd situations Patrick Stewart (who directed the episode) had to direct his crew in.

  • 1
    I prefer the image of Picard answering the telephone in Data's chest, but that one's amusing too. – Ixrec Apr 21 '17 at 15:12
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    A cake with mint frosting. – Z. Cochrane Apr 25 '17 at 19:51
5

I nominate the thrilling season two climax, Shades of Gray.

Riker lies on a bed in sickbay with four large needles inserted in his head, but at least he doesn't have to watch Shades of Gray.

If there’s one thing better than watching a Next Generation episode, it’s watching lots of little bits of various Next Generation episodes interspersed with shots of Doctor Pulaski looking mildly concerned, and Counsellor Troi vaguely describing the tone of the clips we just saw.

Nowadays, heartless profit-driven media empires leave the unwashed peasant audience (us) to toil away on YouTube putting together quality video mashup content like this. Let’s remind ourselves of those golden years when television production companies would, on one very special budget-conscious night every couple of years, do it for us.

The episode’s director, Rob Bowman, thought the episode could be shot in five days, but it actually only took three; this is a Scotty-level feat of technical efficiency worthy of celebration, and absolutely not the result of phoning it in and leaving early for the summer holidays.

9.8 million people watched this episode when it first aired. Just imagine if it wasn’t actually any good? I don’t want to live in a world where that’s true. I don’t think Riker does either, but apparently no-one in Starfleet has the good grace to turn his life-support off.

Anyway. Shades of Gray. You know you want it.

The medical scan of Riker's leg shows us an unidentified intrusion.

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    Not bloody likely. – Valorum Apr 25 '17 at 10:07
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    It's like 10 episodes in one! – Z. Cochrane Apr 25 '17 at 19:52
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    This episode is perfect for new viewers because they get a sneak peek at other episodes that Star Trek has to offer! – Thunderforge Apr 25 '17 at 20:11
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    Aw, ya beat me to it! Well played, sir! – Helbent IV Apr 27 '17 at 3:15
3

Late to the party, but I nominate Season 4's Half a Life.

Plot Summary

While traveling on board the Enterprise, Lwaxana Troi encounters a soft-spoken alien scientist named Timicin (the always excellent David Ogden Stiers), who is working with the crew to save his planet's sun. Despite their differences, love blossoms between them. All is imperiled, however, when Troi learns that Timicin has reached the age of "The Resolution" among his people, and is expected to commit suicide in order to not burden society in his old age.

Why I Nominated This Episode

Half... is, IMHO, one of the most thought provoking and thoughtfully done episodes of the series. It addresses a topic of a serious moral and ethical nature and does so with aplomb. That alone sets it apart from most of TNG's "message" episodes.

As much as I loved TNG, it often handled such matters awkwardly. The results ranged from merely hamfisted, to insufferably annoying in its smugness. (Riker smugly virtue signalling to the Antican ambassador about replicated meat, Counselor Troi smugly poo-poohing "outdated morals" in the "Outrageous Okona" episode, and so on. And then there's Tasha Yar's fetal-position inducing Level 5 Smug Alert anti-drug speech to Wesley Crusher...)

Half...commits none of these sins. It takes the subjects of aging and the value we place on our elders, and embraces them without resorting to cliche or partisanship. The resulting storyline is nuanced, with both societies' views well-represented without the show taking sides. It makes for first-rate, and rather profound story-telling.

Equally worth mention is the superb acting in the episode. In particular, Majel Roddenberry's standout performance.

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I'd never liked the character of Lwaxana Troi in any of her previous outings. In fact, I loathed her appearances. I never found her amusing or even so-bad-its-good amusing. Just incredibly irritating and a waste of screen time. Half a Life completely changed my mind about the character, and Roddenberry's own acting abilities. Majel is sublime in the episode. She's passionate, fierce, and absolutely believable in her convictions against Timicin's planned suicide. It's great stuff, and she proves to be every bit as compelling on screen as Stier's Timicin.

The only other thing I'd add is, this episode marks the very first appearance of Michelle Forbes on TNG. She plays Timicin's daughter, Dara.

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    Very late to the party, but you have my +1. This is one of the few Lwaxana Troi episodes that's actually bearable. – Valorum Apr 28 '17 at 6:11
  • Plus, I think Half a Life forced the viewer to reexamine the morals of our own society, where the elderly are not put to death at 60, in a new light. I bet after watching, many of you found yourself asking "Should old folks be allowed to continue living after 60? What exactly do old people do with their lives anyways? They must be so sad most of the time. Is grandpa a burden on the rest of us? Why isn't gammie more grateful we're not asking her to commit suicide?" There are no easy answers. – RobertF Apr 28 '17 at 19:49
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    "The only other thing I'd add is, this episode marks the very first appearance of Michelle Forbes on TNG. She plays Timicin's daughter, Dara." Worth watching this episode just to see Dara's amazing hairdo! :) – RobertF Apr 28 '17 at 19:51
3

I'll nominate the Season 3 episode Hollow Pursuits, in which we're introduced to the neurotic Lieutenant Reginald Barclay and his penchant for holodeck fantasies.

Highlights of the episode without spoilers:

  • Dwight Schultz as Lt. Barclay was brilliant. On a show where many of the characters were somewhat bland, well-adjusted overachievers, Barclay was a breath of fresh air. I certainly identified with his awkward personality when I watched the episode as a teenager.
  • The episode is hilarious. There are a number of funny one-liners, a great scene with Guinan, and an over the top period piece scene on the holodeck.
  • We're treated to seeing Commander Troi and Dr. Crusher in voluptuous costumes.

Hollow Pursuits easily makes my Top Ten list of favorite ST:TNG episodes.

  • You have 3.5 hours to get the required votes. – Valorum Apr 28 '17 at 19:36
3

I've already posted a nomination, but am putting in an honorable mention for Q Who from Season 2.

This episode reminded me why I enjoyed Star Trek so much:

  • Our favorite omnipotent being makes an appearance. John De Lancie's performance as Q is in fine form as usual.
  • The episode is quite tense and exciting - we feel the crew of the Enterprise are in mortal danger.
  • We're introduced to the Borg, a far more creepy and implacable foe than the Ferengi.

  • There's a wonderful scene where Captain Picard realizes he's in over his head, and he must ask Q for help. Picard learns a thing or two, and we see that Q isn't just a cruel tormentor but in fact is rooting for humanity.

  • A superb late entry and one that deserves upvotes. Even though I suspect this won't win, I hope you'll be joining us on the night :-) – Valorum Apr 28 '17 at 20:15

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