Category Archives: TNG Countdown

Best Moments of TNG: 12, 11

12. Riker Dines With Klingons

Episode: A Matter of Honor (2.08)

This episode was probably the best in the series for the development of Riker’s character, which is a shame, since it was all the way back in season two. He does a brilliant job as first officer aboard the Klingon vessel. He researched the hell out of the position and put aside all of his humility to own it. My favorite part is mealtime, where he manages to impress the hell out of everyone in the room, both in humor and philosophy.


Continue reading Best Moments of TNG: 12, 11

Final Thoughts

I know some of you have talked about this some, but would like to see you drop your top ten lists in the comments.  Also, if you’re up to it, your bottom five.

Would also like to get your thoughts on what you liked and didn’t like about this countdown.  I plan on doing future lists, though it may be a long time, if ever, if I do an exhaustive list regarding a particular TV show.  What worked for you?  Did you like that the site takes a break on the weekend or do you wish there was content daily?  Do you like just one entry per day, or would you prefer more?

My next long list is going to be the Top 100 games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  However, there will be at least one other list before that.  Next week I’m thinking to run by top 5 original songs from video games.  If there’s any other lists you’d like to see, let me know that too.

Again, thanks for stopping by.


Here is the average ranking of the episodes in each season.

Season One:  94.8

Season Two: 95.5

Season Three: 71.8

Season Four: 68.6

Season Five: 83.8

Season Six: 78.0

Season Seven: 99.8

Not surprisingly, season four is in the lead despite having only one episode in the top ten (and it was tenth).  It’s worst episode was #139 which really helps.  There is not one dreadful episode there, which is a comfort for the viewer.  By contrast, season five had two episodes in the top ten and four in the top twenty, but was brought down significantly by having three episodes in the first week of the countdown.

Season one’s average is expected, but I was a bit surprised that season two finished behind.  The additions of Pulaski, Guinan, and Geordi’s promotion to chief engineer were all highly welcomed.  And the episodes ranked #9, #8, and #7 all came from season two.  However, there’s a lot of middling episodes that could have been great had they been done in later seasons, and plenty of bad ones as well, including the season finale.

Sadly, the final season ranks dead last, and I’m comfortable with that.  There’s really only four episodes I really liked from that season:  Attached, Paralles, The Lower Decks, and All Good Things.  The Gambit was decent.  Everything else is either trash or has recycled plots from previous seasons.

If you watched them in order…

While the TNG tab above has the list of episodes in order, here’s the list in order by air date.

Season One

72: Encounter at Farpoint (1.01)
109: The Naked Now (1.02)
156: Code of Honor (1.04)
159: The Last Outpost (1.05)
58: Where No One Has Gone Before (1.06)
151: Lonely Among Us (1.07)
102: Justice (1.08)
155: The Battle (1.09)
53: Hide and Q (1.10)
56: Haven (1.11)
31: The Big Goodbye (1.12)
101: Datalore (1.13)
153: Angel One (1.14)
50: 11001001 (1.15)
168: Too Short A Season (1.16)
117: When the Bough Breaks (1.17)
130: Home Soil (1.18)
80: Coming of Age (1.19)
54: Heart of Glory (1.20)
66: Arsenal of Freedom (1.21)
150: Symbiosis (1.22)
162: Skin of Evil (1.23)
43: We’ll Always Have Paris (1.24)
13: Conspiracy (1.25)
76: The Neutral Zone (1.26)

Season Two

108: The Child (2.01)
9: Where Silence Has Lease (2.02)
96: Elementary, Dear Data (2.03)
114: The Outrageous Okona (2.04)
129: Loud as a Whisper (2.05)
140: The Schizoid Man (2.06)
68: Unnatural Selection (2.07)
8: A Matter Of Honor (2.08)
7: The Measure of a Man (2.09)
145: The Dauphin (2.10)
69: Contagion (2.11)
71: The Royale (2.12)
64: Time Squared (2.13)
163: The Icarus Factor (2.14)
149: Pen Pals (2.15)
70: Q Who (2.16)
142: Samaritan Snare (2.17)
141: Up The Long Ladder (2.18)
138: Manhunt (2.19)
89: The Emissary (2.20)
24: Peak Performance (2.21)
157: Shades of Gray (2.22)

Season Three

90: Evolution (3.01)
12: The Ensigns of Commands (3.02)
62: The Survivors (3.03)
47: Who Watches the Watchers (3.04)
144: The Bonding (3.05)
37: Booby Trap (3.06)
63: The Enemy (3.07)
161: The Price (3.08)
127: The Vengeance Factor (3.09)
44: The Defector (3.10)
78: The Hunted (3.11)
152: The High Ground (3.12)
32: Deja Q (3.13)
42: A Matter of Perspective (3.14)
5: Yesterday’s Enterprise (3.15)
79: The Offspring (3.16)
93: Sins of the Father (3.17)
23: Allegiance (3.18)
49: Captain’s Holiday (3.19)
103: Tin Man (3.20)
45: Hollow Pursuits (3.21)
48: The Most Toys (3.22)
51: Sarek (3.23)
154: Menage a Troi (3.24)
123: Transfigurations (3.25)
2: Best of Both Worlds (3.26, 4.01)

Season Four

33: Family (4.02)
35: Brothers (4.03)
124: Suddenly Human (4.04)
17: Remember Me (4.05)
110: Legacy (4.06)
91: Reunion (4.07)
22: Future Imperfect (4.08)
139: Final Mission (4.09)
100: The Loss (4.10)
88: Data’s Day (4.11)
21: The Wounded (4.12)
73: Devil’s Due (4.13)
10: Clues (4.14)
41: First Contact (4.15)
57: Galaxy’s Child (4.16)
122: Night Terrors (4.17)
98: Identity Crisis (4.18)
81: The Nth Degree (4.19)
99: Qpid (4.20)
26: The Drumhead (4.21)
116: Half a Life (4.22)
106: The Host (4.23)
61: The Mind’s Eye (4.24)
28: In Theory (4.25)
18: Redemption (4.26, 5.01)

Season Five

16: Darmok (5.02)
84: Ensign Ro (5.03)
134: Silicon Avatar (5.04)
36: Disaster (5.05)
111: The Game (5.06)
52: Unification (5.07, 5.08)
119: A Matter of Time (5.09)
166: New Ground (5.10)
97: Hero Worship (5.11)
167: Violations (5.12)
112: Masterpiece Society (5.13)
82: Conundrum (5.14)
74: Power Play (5.15)
120: Ethics (5.16)
132: The Outcast (5.17)
6: Cause and Effect (5.18)
30: The First Duty (5.19)
165: Cost of Living (5.20)
39: The Perfect Mate (5.21)
133: Imaginary Friend (5.22)
15: I, Borg (5.23)
59: The Next Phase (5.24)
3: The Inner Light (5.25)
60: Time’s Arrow (5.26, 6.01)

Season Six

118: Realm of Fear (6.02)
137: Man of the People (6.03)
29: Relics (6.04)
126: Schisms (6.05)
146: True Q (6.06)
83: Rascals (6.07)
75: A Fistful of Datas (6.08)
40: The Quality of Life (6.09)
1: Chain of Command (6.10, 6.11)
14: Ship in a Bottle (6.12)
160: Aquiel (6.13)
67: Face of the Enemy (6.14)
34: Tapestry (6.15)
158: Birthright (6.16 + 6.17)
20: Starship Mine (6.18)
77: Lessons (6.19)
95: The Chase (6.20)
25: Frame of Mind (6.21)
135: Suspicions (6.22)
104: Rightful Heir (6.23)
38: Second Chances (6.24)
4: Timescape (6.25)
55: Descent (6.26, 7.01)

Season Seven

94: Liaisons (7.02)
143: Interface (7.03)
65: The Gambit (7.04, 7.05)
115: Phantasms (7.06)
113: Dark Page (7.07)
46: Attached (7.08)
147: Force of Nature (7.09)
105: Inheritance (7.10)
11: Parallels (7.11)
92: Pegasus (7.12)
121: Homeward (7.13)
164: Sub Rosa (7.14)
27: The Lower Decks (7.15)
85: Thine Own Self (7.16)
148: Masks (7.17)
107: Eye of the Beholder (7.18)
131: Genesis (7.19)
128: Journey’s End (7.20)
125: Firstborn (7.21)
87: Bloodlines (7.22)
136: Emergence (7.23)
86: Preemptive Strike (7.24)
19: All Good Things… (7.25)

1: Chain of Command (6.10, 6.11)

Synopsis: The fish leaves the ready room while Picard proves he can count.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Got it done

Review: As I mentioned in my review of Time’s Arrow, this episode would have made for a perfect end of the season cliffhanger.  The Cardassians are easily my favorite humanoid villain, and there is so much intensity packed into this episode.  In fact, this is one of the few episodes that could have been easily turned into a feature length film.

I’ve got to get this ship ready, and I don’t have time to give Will Riker or anyone else a chance.

Captain Jellico is a major dick, perhaps a bit over the top.  But I’ll give the writers a break as the situation he was going into was quite scary.  Plus, they humanized him with the scene of him admiring his son’s drawing, and later coming to ask for Riker’s help with his tail between his legs.  And I don’t mind at all that he asked Troi to wear a standard dress uniform; she looks more professional and actually more attractive in it.

From this point on, you will enjoy no privileges of rank, no privileges of person. From this point on, I shall refer to you only as Human.

Then of course we have the second part which is mostly comprised of Picard being tortured over several days.  It feels real.  It’s moving.  Gul Madred is an amazingly convincing interrogator, and it’s a shame his character never reappears.  When I was kid, this episode did little for me, and I thought the whole lights thing was silly.  Older now, it completely resonates with me.

In this room you do not ask questions. I ask them, you answer. If I am not satisfied with your answers, you will die.

Brilliant writing.  I can’t help but think Ronny Cox and David Warner put in the two best guest appearances in the show’s entire run.

But I’ve told you that I believe you. I didn’t ask you about Minos Korva. I asked how many lights you see.

But it wasn’t just these two that make the episode.  There are so many subtleties that get me.  When Riker goes to Picard’s quarters and decides not to bother him with his troubles with Jellico, it showed both Riker’s respect for his captain and his humility as well.

When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anybody, including their parents.

My only disappointment, and it’s very minor, is that the mine-planting scene inside the nebula is rather weak on the spectacle.  Not surprisingly, this was due to budget reasons.  But the end result still works.

Torture has never been a reliable means of extracting information. It is ultimately self-defeating as a means of control. One wonders it is still practiced. 

Finally, Picard’s session with Troi at the end, where he admits by the end he could see five lights, says a lot by saying very little.  It’s the perfect end to my favorite episode.

There!  Are!  FOUR!  LIGHTS!


2: The Best of Both Worlds (3.26, 4.01)

Synopsis: Riker hangs all of us on the Borg’s precipitous cliff.

Memory Alpha Summary: I am Locutus of Borg.  Resistance is futile.  Your life as it has been, is over.  From this time forward you will service…us.

Review:  “Mr. Worf….fire,” might be the greatest cliffhanger in TV history, though to be fair, I never watched Dallas.  I was ten years old when this episode aired and I remember it like it was yesterday.  The climactic music.  The banging drums.  Shelby’s stare.  Riker’s order.  Then “To Be Continued…”   I was so pissed, but in a good way, and I’ve never eagerly awaited an episode of TV in my life.  Many view the second half of the episode as a let down, but I felt it was tied up really damn well considering they had no idea how they were going to finish it when the first half was written.  Shelby’s a less slutty version of Riker that I wish would have made some future appearances.  She really adds to this episode.  So does Admiral Hansen, really, and it’s nice to see someone in Starfleet Command who actually thinks Picard is awesome.

Can’t find much to criticize here.  If anything, it’s perplexing that Picard isn’t present at the meeting the senior staff has while they’re inside the nebula.  I can never remember him skipping a strategy meeting before, and it seems like it’s there just so Riker and Shelby can have their standoff.   My biggest gripe is that in part one, they try to rescue Picard but a force field around Locutus prevents them.  In part two, the force field is suddenly gone.  Um…why?  Even one sentence of technobabble would have been preferable to leaving it alone.

Also, the poker game is a bit off.  When Wes bets with three jacks, Shelby calls.  Shelby knows she can’t beat him (with two pair), so the only way she can win is if Riker raises and knocks Wesley out.  Granted, Riker raising is commonplace, but if he folds or calls, she loses.  A huge raise was her best bet, especially if she was going to call Riker no matter what.

O’Brien has a lot of screen time, which automatically makes the episode better.

Love the look on Wesley’s face when Riker orders a collision course with the Borg ship.  Also like how he magically doesn’t have any answers to stop the Borg.

I can’t ignore how awesome the music is in this episode.  Just listening to it is chilling, as the trumpets and drums really set the tone for each tense scene.  The scene where the Enterprise comes across Wolf 359 is epic, and no action shots could have done it justice.  A lot of money was poured into this episode, and it likely helped keep the show on the air four more seasons.

3: The Inner Light (5.25)

Synopsis: Picard keeps forgetting to put his shoes away

Memory Alpha Summary: Make now always the most precious time.  Now will never come again.

Review:  Season five ended with a slew of awesome episodes, but The Inner Light is simply transcendent.  Once you get past the fact that this probe is amazingly advanced considering where the Kataan are technologically, it’s a roller coaster emotional ride that is hard to believe was done in just forty-two minutes.  I cry every time Kamin asks Eline if he can build a nursery.  The realization that Picard was gone for just twenty minutes yet has fifty year-old memories of another person could have been ruined in the hands of another actor.  Ending the episode with Picard playing the flute he didn’t know how to play thirty minutes ago is a solemnly perfect ending.  I get chills every time.

4: Timescape (6.25)

Synopsis:  The Enterprise and some Romulans go two steps forward and two steps back.

Memory Alpha Summary: Gotta go back in time!

Review: Dammit all, I love creepy Trek episodes.  This one has the general feel of Where Silence Has Lease, only it’s better written and better directed.  We have a magnificent teaser, with Riker giving Spot to Dr. Crusher…as well as a phaser.  The conversation the four senior staff have on the shuttlecraft is just a delight.  It couldn’t have happened in season two.  Now, these actors are so comfortable with each other that it actually feels like they’re good friends having a relaxed conversation.  Seeing Picard openly mock someone is great too, as it’s another time with his guard down.

You know how much I love this episode?  I wrote a whole damn paragraph on the teaser and I didn’t even mention time freezing.  The entire story is magnificent.  So many great visuals as well.  Staff frozen in an apparent battle (that isn’t).  Crusher frozen as a phaser blast hits her at point blank range.  Staff frozen in a Jeffries tube.  A warp core breach frozen. Then we have a hilarious moment where Picard is so delusional he draws a smiley face in the warp core breach.

Then, when time is fast forwarded, the Enterprise exploding, then unexploding.

I also remember when I first saw this episode, I FREAKED when the fake Romulan came to life and electrocuted Geordi.  Just a perfect shot.

The only problem I see, which took me watching this episode nine times to realize, is that the fake Romulan admits to attacking the Enterprise after they start the power transfer.  This alien DIES.  Then when time restarts again, Data can’t shut down the power transfer.  Yet the Romulan ship fires on the Enterprise again.  Who is doing that?  The alien is dead.  The other alien is on the Enterprise, unconscious.  And the embryo in the Romulan warp core are probably not capable.  Ah well.  Great stuff.

5: Yesterday’s Enterprise (3.15)

Synopsis: Worf laughs for the first time in his life, while Picard allows his bartender to send a bunch of people to die.

Memory Alpha Summary: And Tasha comes back and gets to die with dignity this time (or not).

Review: It’s really tough to review this episode because every single second is packed with brilliance.  Superb job making the warship feel like a warship.  I only regret we missed Wesley getting decapitated, which was cut due to budget reasons.  That would have certainly topped Remmick in the awesomely gory (and satisfying) death department.

I do like how Captain Garrett so readily accepts she’s now in the future.  In a lot of television, when characters are faced with a fantastic story like this, they immediately reject it over and over and over until someone beats them so hard with evidence that they finally relent.  Garrett, aware that time travel is possible, quickly correlates all of the information and deducts that Picard is likely telling her the truth.  A seemingly small touch but loads important when it comes to my annoyance meter.

Money Quote:  That’ll be the day.

6: Cause and Effect (5.18)

Synopsis: All hands abandon ship.  Repeat!  All hands abandon…

Memory Alpha Summary: Kelsey Grammar gets to play the same character for ninety years.

Review: When I sat down to watch this in 1992 with my father, we were both blown away by the teaser.  Destroying the Enterprise before the credits even roll is one heluva way to keep us tuned in.  The time loop concept was executed to perfection as well.  None of the shots look the same, and the dialogue isn’t always exactly the same either.  And there’s a general creepy mood that washes over every scene, especially in Crusher’s room when she breaks her wine glass.  I felt the solution was also masterfully done.

My only quibble is with the denouement and the U.S.S. Bozeman.  So the Enterprise avoids entering the loop by avoiding the collision.  They theorize that the collision causes the rupture in the space time continuum, and they get sent back in time.  However, the Bozeman has been repeating their loop for ninety years.  For nearly all that time, there was no explosion.  So…the only explanation is that Geordi is wrong and the explosion has nothing to do with the loop and is just a coincidence; the Bozeman was heading towards the loop, and the Enterprise wasn’t, but got pushed into it when they crashed.  Or something.

Poker Critique:  Data, who gave bad Blackjack advice in The Royale, plays this hand horribly as well.  At one point Data has a four, a nine, a six, and a hole card.  Crusher and Riker are betting huge.  Worf stays in with what could only be a pair of aces (unless he’s also a moron).  The best Data could have is a pair, and continuing to call these high bets in the hope that he’ll get a three-of-a-kind with the last card is idiotic.  Data’s last card is a nine, giving him a pair.  He obviously doesn’t have Crusher’s pair of queens beat, because he immediately folds (which also means he didn’t have a pair before, because he would stay if he now had two pair or trips).  The only way he should be staying with a four, a nine, and a six is if he had a possible flush.  And when I pause the screen on Data’s hand, it doesn’t look like that’s possible, but it’s hard to tell.  Also, when Worf flips over his hole card when he folds (another poker no-no), it looks like he has a three, not an ace, but again it’s hard to tell.