Saturday, January 19, 2013

Star Trek: TNG - Essential Episodes List: Season 2

This is part of a continuing series on what I consider the essential episodes of Star Trek: TNG. To view previous entries, click the Essential Episodes tag at the bottom of this post.

Star Trek: TNG - Essential Episodes List: Season 2

Recently I was asked by a friend to compile a list of TNG episodes worth watching for someone who doesn't want to go through the entire series. Personally, I think it's worth watching every episode once, but I know that for someone's first time through the show, picking and choosing the good ones is smarter. There are a lot of bad episodes in the first two seasons and in the seventh, so there's nothing wrong with skipping big chunks to get to the good stuff, since there's so little essential plot continuity, and going back to them later if you end up liking the rest of the show.

I'm compiling lists, by season, of which episodes are worth watching for someone new to the show. Some of these are legit great episodes, some are important to the show as a whole whether they're strong episodes or not, and some are worth watching because of how goofy they are. Feel free to debate if your favorite episode doesn't make the list, these lists aren't concrete and can be swayed by a good argument! Summaries copied from Wikipedia.

While there are a lot of weak episodes in Season 2, none of them are as bad as the worst of Season 1. Aside from the clipshow Shades of Gray at the end, there's nothing I'd outright say "please don't watch this episode" to like I would Season 1's Angel One or Code of Honor. There are more episodes in Season 2 that I like, but I think this is the best of the lot.

Elementary, Dear Data - "After Data easily solves an ordinary Sherlock Holmes holodeck mystery, Geordi asks the computer to make a Holmes villain capable of defeating him. The resultant Professor Moriarty soon becomes far more powerful than expected."

Another Holodeck Gone Awry episode. The way in which the conflict arises is positively stupid, but the episode itself is a fun, goofy adventure and Data as Holmes is always entertaining. Dr. Pulaski is first introduced two episodes prior in The Child, but there's not really anything introduced there that you won't figure out here.

A Matter of Honor - "Riker is assigned to a Klingon vessel via an officer exchange program between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. "

The first solid Riker episode and a good look at how Klingon military hierarchy works.

The Measure of a Man - "When Data refuses orders to be dismantled for research purposes, a hearing is convened to determine if he is a legal citizen or property of the Federation. Guest stars Amanda McBroom as JAG Philippa Louvois."

The best episode of Season 2, and in fact one of the best of the series. A great episode for both Data and Picard that asks some very worthwhile questions.

The Royale - "Riker, Worf, and Data investigate a structure on the surface of an icy gas giant, which appears to be a hotel from 20th century Earth."

A comedy episode in the vein of the sillier episodes of the Original Series with a bit of Twilight Zone. Absolutely campy but very charming. Completely irrelevant to the series overall, but I like this one enough to say watch it anyway.

The Icarus Factor - "Riker's estranged father visits to brief him on the command he's been offered, and Worf's friends discover he is about to miss an important Klingon rite of passage."

Important character development for Riker, some good backstory on Pulaski. You get to see Riker and his dad play the world's worst version of American Gladiators.

Q Who - "Q flings the Enterprise 7,000 light years beyond Federation space and introduces them to the deadly Borg."

An excellent episode showing how small humanity is in the grand scale of the galaxy, something the shows post-Original Series tend to shy away from for one reason or another. Introduces the Borg and gives us one of the best Q performances.

Samaritan Snare - "A group of seemingly dimwitted aliens, the Pakleds, kidnap Geordi to "make their ship go"."

I think the Pakleds are pretty funny and it's fun to watch Geordi deal with these goons. This episode also introduces Picard's heart condition, an important element in future episodes.

The Emissary - "Worf's former lover comes aboard Enterprise to help deal with a ship full of Klingon sleeper agents unaware they are no longer at war."

An essential Worf episode. I think Suzie Plakson is perfect as K'Ehleyr and it's a huge shame she's in so few episodes. She would have been great to keep around as a recurring guest.

No comments:

Post a Comment