Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired 30 years ago today, so to celebrate the (arguably) best show of the franchise, our Trekkie FANDOM staff and FANDOM Contributors shared their favorite episodes.
Season 1 Episode 25 – “Conspiracy”
The penultimate Season 1 episode of TNG might be the closest Star Trek ever came to being outright horror. In “Conspiracy,” Picard sees parasite aliens taking over Starfleet by using the bodies of other commanders as hosts. It’s a creepy, paranoia-filled episode that can almost be linked to something like John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the final scene features the most shocking TNG death ever.
[Andrew Hawkins – FANDOM Contributor]
Season 2 Episode 9 – “The Measure of a Man”
A shining bright spot in the otherwise dull second season, “The Measure of a Man” is small-scale Star Trek at its finest. When Data is put on trial to determine whether or not he is a sentient being, Picard and Riker are forced onto opposite sides of the courtroom. At the climax, Patrick Stewart delivers a stirring speech about justice, slavery, humanity, and the very heart of the Federation’s mission that proves why he deserves to be called “Sir.” As we face the very real possibility of sentient machines within the next few decades, the trial and its outcome may be more relevant than ever.
[R.W.V. Mitchell – FANDOM Contributor]
Season 2 Episode 16 – “Q Who”
The Star Trek universe is jam-packed with some pretty intimidating aliens. However, the Borg has to top the list. A collective consciousness that is spread out over a galaxy-wide network of cyborgs with serious OCD, the Borg don’t simply defeat those in their way — they absorb anyone and anything, stripping away any semblance of free will from those overtaken. The Season 2 episode “Q Who” first introduced us to the hive-mind terror who would be one of the Enterprises most difficult adversaries.
[Joseph Wilbur – FANDOM Contributor]
Season 3 Episode 26/Season 4 Episode 1 – “The Best of Both Worlds Part I & II”
This epic two-parter was the first TV cliffhanger I remember watching.
The crew of the Enterprise was humanity’s last defense against the Borg, who had breached the Federation and made it all the way to Earth after assimilating Captain Picard.
These episodes had it all: spectacular space combat (including a saucer separation), horror (Picard’s transformation to Locutus of Borg and the graveyard of ships at Wolf 359), trauma (losing the Captain) and drama (taking out a Borg cube). It also established the franchise-crossing Borg invasion storyline that included Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: First Contact, and Voyager.
[Lawrence Yee – FANDOM Editor-in-Chief]
Season 5 Episode 2 – “Darmok”
“Darmok” exemplifies the power of communication, something that speaks to the very heart of Star Trek. An alien race strands Captain Picard and one of their leaders, Dathon, on a planet. Picard and Dathon have no common language between them, but they learn how to communicate through metaphor. “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” might just be one of the most memorable quotes from all of Star Trek.
[Lauren Gallaway – FANDOM Entertainment Writer]
Season 5 Episode 25 – “The Inner Light”
After waking up in another man’s body on a foreign planet, Captain Picard ends up living a full life of 60+ years. Eventually, he realizes he was just witnessing the final transmission from a doomed population on a dying planet. Once realizing they were going to become extinct, the people wanted their lives and homeland remembered, so they sent out a probe that would suck a witness in to see it all firsthand. What starts as a spooky Twilight Zone-esque episode, ends up becoming a heart-wrenching reminder of the power of storytelling — as long as our stories are remembered, we can never truly disappear.
“The Inner Light” is also a touching reminder to seize the day. So, go ahead: chase adventure, listen to your loved one’s stories and, I don’t know, try to fit in a couple more TNG episodes if you can.
[Maggie Owens – FANDOM Content Analyst]
Season 6 Episode 4 – “Relics”
Far and away the best episode of TNG is Season 6 Episode 4 “Relics.” The episode brings back engineering wizard, Scotty, to see the future he and Jim Kirk carved out for the next generation. “Relics” has many bittersweet reminders that The Original Series is over, never to return. Despite the setbacks, Scotty passes along some timely wisdom and throws out the rulebook one last time. After all, he wrote it.
[Graham Host – FANDOM Contributor]
Season 6 Episode 5 – “Schisms”
“Schisms” stands out from other Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes as it is one of the first to deal with alien abduction aboard the Enterprise. The episode opens with Riker appearing unwell (he is sleepy and confused for much of the episode) which is odd to observe as he’s usually very alert, and as the episode progresses, more of the crew start having health issues with no diagnosable cause as well. The way the alien race is finally revealed and depicted with their clicking language was terrifying. Riker being held captive in their experimental subspace led to a suspenseful conclusion to this eerie episode.
This episode is also is where we hear Data’s sweet poem, “Ode to Spot”, written for his pet cat.
[Neha Tiwari – FANDOM VP of Video Strategy & Operations]
Season 7 Episode 25/26 – “All Good Things…”
The series finale of TNG was intentionally written as a love letter to Star Trek fans, and it delivers. “All Good Things…” successfully brings the show and its fans into a complete circle, literally. In this final adventure, Picard saves humanity from an anomaly in the time-space continuum which would otherwise erase its existence.
This episode left fans with a sense of faith in humanity, gratitude for the past, and warm fuzzies for the promise of human potential. Our favorite crew may be leaving us, but thanks to Captain Picard, his crew, and everyone’s favorite antagonist, Q, we felt a sense of pride in being human and a unique gratitude for the unknown future of Star Trek.
[Corey Denis – Sr Social Media Manager]