Episode Reviews – Star Trek: The Next Generation (2016)

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This is an archive of my brief, capsule reviews of each Star Trek: The Next Generation episode.  My grade, the Twitter community poll results (on a 1-4 scale), and a Trekkie Award listing for each episode is also included.

This space will be updated with seasons 3-7 as they are completed.

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Season One

001 – “Encounter at Farpoint
It’s rough around the edges and certainly corny in places, but it’s uniquely, unabashedly charming. Solid pilot.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.71
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – Patrick Stewart, Best Performance by a Guest Star – John de Lancie, Best Art Direction (wins); Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score – Dennis McCarthy, Best Visual Effects (nominations)

003 – “The Naked Now
A ridiculous copy of a TOS classic. It brings nothing new to the table & does little to develop the characters.
My Grade: D-
Twitter Poll: 1.60
Trekkie Awards: N/A

004 – “Code of Honor
The racism is obvious and well documented. The story itself is cliché-laden and completely flat. Nothing works.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.07
Trekkie Awards: N/A

005 – “The Last Outpost
The Ferengi simply don’t make for intimidating adversaries. The episode has a TOS vibe that never feels natural.
My Grade: D+
Twitter Poll: 1.74
Trekkie Awards: N/A

006 – “Where No One Has Gone Before
TNG’s first outing to effectively establish a unique tone of its own. It’s optimistic, ambitious and very visually striking.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.13
Trekkie Awards: Best Visual Effects (win); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Eric Menyuk, Best Teleplay – Diane Duane, Best Director – Rob Bowman, Best Film Editing (nominations)

007 – “Lonely Among Us
Glacially paced and unfortunately very dull. The ending is especially silly and holds up to no scrutiny at all.
My Grade: D+
Twitter Poll: 1.70
Trekkie Awards: N/A

008 – “Justice
This is an unusual combination of interesting concepts and brutally corny execution. Lots of untapped potential.
My Grade: D
Twitter Poll: 1.57
Trekkie Awards: N/A

009 – “The Battle
The Ferengi are merely passable, however unveiling Picard’s backstory is what makes this a semi-strong outing.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.41
Trekkie Awards: N/A

010 – “Hide and Q
Lots of fascinating questions are posed but the production is very stilted. de Lancie is predictably excellent.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.23
Trekkie Awards: N/A

011 – “Haven
Barrett is full of energy, but the Riker/Troi/Wyatt triangle is dry and never carries an ounce of believability.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 1.85
Trekkie Awards: Best Costume Design (nomination)

012 – “The Big Goodbye
This is a huge breath of fresh air at this point in the season. It has a sense of humor as well as imagination.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.36
Trekkie Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design (wins); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Patrick Stewart, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Lawrence Tierney, Best Teleplay – Tracy Torme, Best Director – Joseph L. Scanlon, Best Art Direction (nominations)

013 – “Datalore
It achieves a real sense of tension that has been absent to this point. It’s well directed, if clumsily plotted.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.68
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – Brent Spiner (nomination)

014 – “Angel One
The sexism is awful, but this episode is as dated as anything produced for TOS. One of TNG’s worst productions.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.38
Trekkie Awards: N/A

015 – “11001001
Sharply written, briskly paced and rich with character development & science fiction concepts. A definite winner.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.39
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Jonathan Frakes, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Carolyn McCormick, Best Teleplay – Maurice Hurley & Robert Lewin, Best Director – Paul Lynch, Best Art Direction (nominations)

016 – “Too Short a Season
An odd episode that really lives and dies with its main guest character. Jamison is not likable or sympathetic.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 1.70
Trekkie Awards: N/A

017 – “When the Bough Breaks
It’s a typically mixed bag for the first season, but I find that it’s unfairly panned. Slightly above average.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 1.81
Trekkie Awards: N/A

018 – “Home Soil
I love the hard science fiction concepts, however the final result is competent, run in the mill, average Trek.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.30
Trekkie Awards: N/A

019 – “Coming of Age
I absolutely love the continuity in the investigation storyline and Wesley gets some solid character development.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.78
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – Patrick Stewart, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Robert Schenkkan (nominations)

020 – “Heart of Glory
The story is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s visually dynamic & well acted all around. A season one highlight.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.04
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Maurice Hurley, Best Director – Rob Bowman, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Musical Score – Ron Jones (nominations)

021 – “The Arsenal of Freedom
This is an action packed outing that makes excellent use of the ensemble. Not everything holds up, but it’s fun.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 3.00
Trekkie Awards: Best Visual Effects (nomination)

022 – “Symbiosis
An incredibly on the nose, preachy message episode that feels quite reminiscent of TOS. Moderately successful.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

023 – “Skin of Evil
I’m in the minority but the death works for me, as it feels extremely realistic. Armus is a menacing adversary.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.71
Trekkie Awards: Best Musical Score – Ron Jones (nomination)

024 – “We’ll Always Have Paris
The romantic drama is largely flat & unconvincing, but the Manheim effect is a pretty cool idea. Solidly average.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.29
Trekkie Awards: N/A

025 – “Conspiracy
A fresh, unique episode for TNG & Trek as a whole. The continuity is awesome, and I love the tense, serious tone.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.40
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Tracy Torme, Best Director – Cliff Bole, Best Film Editing (wins)

026 – “The Neutral Zone
The A and B plots aren’t natural fits for each other, but both hold up independently. It’s brisk and energetic.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.90
Trekkie Awards: N/A

Season Two

027 – “The Child
Troi’s A-story is well acted, if a bit flat, while the B-story is routine and dull. A middle of the road effort.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.16
Trekkie Awards: N/A

028 – “Where Silence Has Lease
The Ferengi are merely passable, however unveiling Picard’s backstory is what makes this a semi-strong outing.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 3.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

029 – “Elementary, Dear Data
I absolutely love the questions this episode asks. It’s brilliantly written and wonderfully acted. Awesome stuff.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.45
Trekkie Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design (wins); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Daniel Davis, Best Teleplay – Brian Alan Lane, Best Director – Rob Bowman, Best Art Direction (nominations)

030 – “The Outrageous Okona
Okona is a lame, one note character, admirably performed by Campbell. The story reminds me of a bad soap opera.
My Grade: D
Twitter Poll: 1.42
Trekkie Awards: N/A

031 – “Loud as a Whisper
An interesting concept, but the end result is unfortunately bland. Howie Seago manages a memorable performance.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.19
Trekkie Awards: N/A

032 – “The Schizoid Man
Conceptually it’s fascinating, but it relies too heavily on the crew being oblivious to what’s really going on.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.32
Trekkie Awards: N/A

033 – “Unnatural Selection
Pulaski gets well deserved character development, but it feels undercooked. The Lantree scenes are the highlight.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.13
Trekkie Awards: N/A

034 – “A Matter of Honor
The Klingons really start to feel fleshed out here. Frakes gives a standout performance and it’s very well shot.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.25
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – Jonathan Frakes, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Brian Thompson, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Musical Score – Ron Jones (nominations)

035 – “The Measure of a Man
TNG’s first true classic. The dialogue is perhaps the sharpest of the series and the performances are perfect.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.93
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Patrick Stewart, Best Teleplay – Melinda M. Snodgrass, Best Film Editing (wins); Best Performance by a Series Lead – Brent Spiner, Best Director – Robert Scheerer (nominations)

036 – “The Dauphin
An inoffensive, average romantic drama. Unfortunately it doesn’t add to Wesley’s character in any meaningful way.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.13
Trekkie Awards: N/A

037 – “Contagion
Tense and larger in scope than the usual early season fare. I love the heavy, serious tone and the brisk pacing.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.38
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Steve Gerber & Beth Woods, Best Director – Joseph L. Scanlon, Best Film Editing (nominations)

038 – “The Royale
I struggle with this episode. The characters and setting are supposed to be awful and that’s very well achieved.
My Grade: D+
Twitter Poll: 1.95
Trekkie Awards: Best Costume Design (nomination)

039 – “Time Squared
I find it to be a little bit thin on substance, but the pacing is strong while the music & visuals are striking.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.62
Trekkie Awards: Best Visual Effects (nomination)

040 – “The Icarus Factor
Riker’s relationship with his father is sadly stale and predictable, but I appreciate the character development.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.23
Trekkie Awards: N/A

041 – “Pen Pals
The prime directive dilemma and the Wes in management sides of the episode both work for me. This is underrated.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.35
Trekkie Awards: N/A

042 – “Q Who
A classic in every way. This is easily my favorite de Lancie performance and the Borg are truly terrifying here.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.88
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – John de Lancie, Best Director – Rob Bowman, Best Art Direction, Best Musical Score – Ron Jones, Best Visual Effects (wins); Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Maurice Hurley, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing (nominations)

043 – “Samaritan Snare
The Pakled element is an unremarkable, standard hostage plot, but I admit to enjoying the Picard/Wesley dynamic.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.23
Trekkie Awards: N/A

044 – “Up the Long Ladder
The Irish stereotypes are incredibly heavy handed and over the top. The other half of the story is bland at best.
My Grade: D
Twitter Poll: 1.53
Trekkie Awards: N/A

045 – “Manhunt
Lwaxana is a bit much, but some of the humor works. There are enough ok moments to land it in average territory.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 1.67
Trekkie Awards: N/A

046 – “The Emissary
Easily Worf’s best episode to this point. Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson have undeniable chemistry. Very strong.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.50
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Michael Dorn, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Suzie Plakson, Best Director – Cliff Bole, Best Musical Score – Ron Jones (nominations)

047 – “Peak Performance
Riker flexing his command skills is great to see and Data’s existential crisis is well played. This is a winner.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.26
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – Roy Brocksmith, Best Teleplay – David Kemper, Best Visual Effects (nominations)

048 – “Shades of Gray
Clip shows are never a good idea & this is no exception. The framing story tries to offer high stakes but fails.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.17
Trekkie Awards: N/A

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