When I lived in Los Angeles, the usual mode was that Friday nights were for hitting the bar with work friends to shake off the work week. Saturday nights were for parties and/or date nights.
Here in the Midwest, it seems a lot of parties are held on Friday nights (although Saturday nights are still date nights). The thing about that is: (a) I miss those after work outings, and (2) Friday night parties are often kind of low-key because everyone’s tired after a work week. Saturday night you’ve had a chance to charge your batteries, and you’re ready for what comes before Part B.
So tonight I just got home from a good and proper after work outing. And (bonus) it was held partially in my honor, so I didn’t pay for most of my drinks or hors d’oeuvres (sah-weet). It was held in honor of three of us who are changing jobs, so it was a celebration. Plenty of laughter, good snacks, good beer, more laughter, and I seem to now have a bet riding on the Gophers–Hawkeyes game tomorrow.
Long story; I’ll tell you later. Right now it’s time for another celebration! Twenty-five years ago today, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on CBS.
As I’ve mentioned before, when that first episode aired, as soon as the first commercial break broke, I called my buddy and said, “It’s awful! I hate it!!”
Admittedly, that first episode, Encounter At Farpoint, was a bit rough, and many do consider it the worst episode of the show’s seven-year run. The acting was a stilted, and the behavior of the crew had more military flavor than any of the later episodes. And many think the whole plot was a bit on the cheesy side. (I’d be hard-pressed to argue otherwise.)
But it didn’t take long for the show to win me over. In many regards I now regard it as the best of the franchise series. (I’ll always have a fond place in my heart for the original series.) There were many outstanding episodes throughout the entire run, many of which won nominations or awards. Even in the last season the quality didn’t decrease. Many fans consider the final episode one of their favorites.
Which brings me to what inspired this post. Favorite episodes of ST:TNG.
MSNBC.com ran an article today commemorating the 25th anniversary. In that article they name their seven picks for “best” episodes. You should go read the full article (which comes complete with video links), but here are their seven:
- Yesterday’s Enterprise (season 3, episode 15)
- The Measure of a Man (season 2, episode 9)
- Chain of Command (season 6, episodes 10 & 11)
- Phantasms (season 7, episode 6)
- The Inner Light (season 5, episode 25)
- The Best of Both Worlds (seasons 3/4, episodes 26/1)
- All Good Things (season 7, episodes 25 & 26, series finale)
All very good picks, but I would make a few changes for my own list. (MSNBC doesn’t say whether their picks are in any order. Clearly they’re not in season order or alphabetical order. It’s possible they’re in “Letterman” order of least to best.)
My very favorite is their #5, The Inner Light. This Hugo Award winning episode features a stunning idea, outstanding acting by Patrick Stewart and an ending guaranteed to pluck your heart-strings.
Chain of Command is another favorite. It’s a dark episode with a sock it to ya ending. (There’s also a great Abstruse Goose cartoon that invokes both episodes and several others.)
I was not as big a fan of The Best of Both Worlds as many, so that one gets replaced with an aftermath episode, Family. In that one, Picard goes back to see his brother, and Worf deals with his family. That’s one where we really find out how profoundly affected Picard was by his forced stint as Locutus.
Phantasms was fun, but I need to replace that one with an episode I thought was even more fun: The Naked Now. I wrote about this episode before on Star Trek Saturday. (I originally thought I’d post this tomorrow for another round of Star Trek Saturday, but the idea of posting on the actual anniversary was too compelling!)
I’ll definitely go along with Yesterday’s Enterprise and The Measure of a Man. Both are significant episodes for, respectively, Tasha Yar and Data. The latter, particularly, is profoundly important, since it’s the one where Pinocchio was defined to be a boy.
Which brings us to the final episode, All Good Things. A very good episode, indeed, but I’m not sure it makes the top seven over another major favorite of mine: Darmok.
I love the idea of a race that speaks in metaphor, something I try to do sometimes, because I love language and metaphors and being oblique. (Also, see this Abstruse Goose cartoon as well as this xkcd cartoon!)
And The Winners Are…
So I guess my top seven, in top-down fashion are:
- The Inner Light
- The Naked Now
- Chain of Command
- The Measure of a Man
- Yesterday’s Enterprise
How about you, my fine fellow Star Trek fans?
What are yours?