The worst TNG episodes


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We had a Watch the First Episode Party for TNG. The consensus of the attendees was that it was perhaps the worst hour of television we’d ever seen. Bones’ cameo excepted, the first episode was so very horrible that I never watched another one.

Looking back on it now, it was a foreshadowing of the disappointment of The Phantom Menace.

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The first season was bad, no doubt. However none of the ones mentioned in the article are the worst. None of them even come close. Take a look at the data, courtesy the story from yesterday about visualized TV show rankings over time. There is one outlier that stands out below all the rest: the last episode of season 2: Shades of Gray. Despite the woeful connotations of that phrase today, this was long before the prose porn novel. No, what makes this episode so bad is that it a dreaded clip show.


Darmok? Burn in Gre’Thor hipster scum!


I read this list when it came out, and all I could think was, “Man, these guys are way off base!”

“Masks” was a fun Data episode; “Angel One,” with its Riker man-cleavage, was a useful (if not terribly deep) satire of 20th century patriarchal society; “The Naked Now” was a throwback to the original series and can only be considered terrible if you hate that series; “Emergence” didn’t really fit in with the lore of the show, but was an interesting premise; “Journey’s End” made 24th century geopolitics (astro-politics?) relateable to the audience; “Darmok” is beloved by everyone who isn’t himself an emotionless android, and doesn’t need defending.

The Space Irish episode? Fine. But they didn’t even MENTION Space Africa! (“Code of Honor”) So off-base…


Darmok? Seriously? Then again I also liked Rascals so what do I know.

Also looking at that data chart posted by derioderio above, apparently imdb people prefer Code of Racist Honor (also missing from the ars technica list) to the always fun Sub Rosa In Brigadoon In Space With Ghost(alien)s? Mind you that probably says more about imdb than anything else.

Usually they do a clip show to stay within their budget at the end of the season – and yep, Wikipedia says they overspent on “Elementary, Dear Data” (Moriarty wants out of the holodeck) and “Q Who” (which introduced the Borg), and Paramount rode them hard to stay within their means. As far as I’m concerned, that plus the fact they never did it again and It Was The Eighties gives them a pass…which they needed after “Code of Honor”.

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I have no sympathy for Darmok haters.

What about “The Child”? I think it’s the first of many times when Troi gets space-raped in one form or another. It’s pretty gross.


I liked “Rascals” too. It was undeniably silly, but they got talented enough child actors to make it work. I was laughing out loud as kid Picard struggled to put on a convincing temper tantrum.

Also seconding the vote for “Shades of Grey” as worst episode.

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I had the same objection the first time I saw it. The second time was different. Then, the third. How much you enjoy Darmok is entirely dependent on your worldview. Literalists have the same complaint as the author.

Oh G-d. All of them, ever? I guess if I had to narrow it down, I would say any of the “holodeck something or other goes haywire, thus trapping the crew in a period costume drama from the Wild West/Victorian Era/Whatver.” I mean, you think they would either shut the fucking holodeck down at some point, or prohibit personal use, or SOMETHING.

It’s like they just stopped caring after a certain point: “Oh, shit, man, another season? Well, we can do at least 5 shitty Holodeck episodes, so that’s 5 down; we’ll figure out the plot later. Oh, yeah, and something poignant regarding Data’s humanity is good for 2, even 3 if we make it a 2-parter.”

And for me the worst episode was the naked one. Firstly, yeah, android subject to hallucinogenic water even though he’s like, you know, an ANDROID? Also, what really got me was that they said they couldn’t find any evidence in the Starfleet records of a similar incident–BECAUSE IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO SEARCH THE RECORDS. Dude, we were able to run searches like that when the episode came out via GopherFTP for chrissakes.

The only thing worse than the worst TNG episode was Voyager, ALL OF IT. Oh did I fucking hate Voyager.

Luckilly, they redeemed themselves with DS9.


Is it my faulty memory or did “The Traveler” tell Wesley in “Where No One Has Gone Before” something along the lines of:

It’s love, Wesley. Love powers the ship.

Because if yeah, gag me with a spoon.


The Agony Booth covered all of this sort of thing in exhaustive detail . They make a pretty strong case for “Sub Rosa” being the nadir of Season 7.

Also, I’m going to have to find a way to work “creepy extradimensional ceiling cat” into a conversation at some point.

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The one where Beverly is seduced by an ancient Irish (or was it Scottish?) ghost candle alien thing. People said you couldn’t do Gothic romance on Star Trek, and they were right. If you have to work that hard to shoehorn your story into the structure of the series, maybe you shouldn’t do it.


Clip shows shouldn’t count, as they aren’t episodes. The worst episode, hands down, is “Skin of Evil”.

This. A million times this.

When I think of bad TNG episodes, “Code of Honor” is the very first that comes to mind. “Code of Honor” has become shorthand in my household for “terrible episode of otherwise beloved tv show”.


If their primary issue with Darmok is the language barrier, they haven’t realised how little documentation we have on the universal translator.

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Darmock is one of my favourite episodes, if only for the way it demonstrates Picard’s normally effortless decision making process.
This is the one that really shows how Picard invites each member of the team to suggest a method, Worf’s involving guns, Data’s involving science, LaForge’s involving tech, Crusher involving medicine, Troi involving diplomacy and selects the best bits of each.
Riker has to do that and can’t. Worf’s suggestion involving guns sounds OK, and nearly gets the ship destroyed.

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SHHHHHH. For the love of Cthullu DO NOT give the writers any ideas for the next shitty Star Trek movie.

Whateves… it’s all worth it to see Picard yell at that Cardassian… or do whatever he does. PICARD FOREVER!!!