Star Trek TNG: Season 1 Episode Guide
Full Disclosure: I’m a Star Trek nerd. Steeped in science fiction from birth (there was a Spock poster in the room), I’ve seen all of The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), Enterprise, most of Voyager, and all of the movies before the reboot. My fiancé, however, had no such upbringing. Sure, she knows of Captain Picard through immersion in pop culture, but she never watched the shows*. But relationships are built on a foundation of communication, shared experiences, and smiling politely when they reveal a Huey Lewis tape was the first album they owned. I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my love of The Next Generation so she can understand what molded me (for better or worse) during my formative years.
Calling TNG’s first season spotty is generous. I was never going to convince her to plop down for 26 episodes of a show I haven’t watched since it premiered almost 30 years ago. I’m not expecting her to learn Klingon or beat Wil Wheaton at bar trivia night. I mean, this season doesn’t even have the sex appeal of Riker’s beard. So I did what many have done before me: narrowed down the episodes to what I thought was required based on my hazy recollection. Plus a little help from listening to a Star Trek Podcast (I told you I was a nerd. Stop acting surprised.).
What makes it required?
Character introductions, strong character development, intriguing science fiction concepts, etc. Some guides pare this season down to 5 episodes. I don’t think you can get to know these characters in 5 episodes. Especially in a first season that’s light on characterization and arcs.
Continuity (C) – All episodes marked as C are not necessarily great. Or maybe even good. But they are required to make sense of things, even if it’s for a payoff seasons later.
Silliness (S) – These episodes are ridiculous. But I’m looking forward to the “WTF just happened?” bonding time on the couch with my fiancé.
Originally aired 1987-88
Encounter at Farpoint – Watch
The Naked Now – Watch (S,C)
Code of Honor
The Last Outpost
Where No One Has Gone Before – Watch (C)
Lonely Among Us
Justice – Watch (S)
Hide and Q*
The Big Goodbye
Data lore – Watch
Too Short a Season
When the Bough Breaks
Coming of Age – Watch
Heart of Glory – Watch
The Arsenal of Freedom – Watch
Symbiosis – Watch
Skin of Evil – Watch (C)
We’ll Always Have Paris
Conspiracy – Watch
The Neutral Zone – Watch
Final count – Watch 13 (Encounter at Farpoint is a 2 parter), Skip 13
It’s a good plan. And you can follow along! As we watch each episode, I’ll post a brief entry with my scientific findings. Do I regret including an episode? Was it as bad/good/cheesy/erotic as I remember? What did the fiancé think of the whole thing? How many times did Picard adjust his jumpsuit? Stay tuned.
*We already went through a similar experiment with Star Trek TOS and those 6 films. No, I didn’t make her watch The Final Frontier. I’m no monster.
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It has begun!