The worst TNG episodes

This reminds me of Wil Wheaton’s “Memories of the Future” book, where he re-watches TNG from the start and provides commentary, including whatever behind the scenes memories he can remember. It was humourous stuff, and really brought me back to watching those episodes with my dad as a kid.

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Holy cheese, he’s got a book!? I knew he did a bunch of columns for TV Squad, but I didn’t know he got around to publishing them.

It seems TV Squad was eaten by HuffPo, but it looks like you can still pry the columns out of the Wayback Machine.

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Yup, and there’s (free, as far as I can tell) podcasts too. They’re not just readings of the columns/book, either, they’ve got added content.

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I loved that one where they were hunting down the rogue Starfleet captain who was sure the Cardassians were up to something. The Enterprise runs across a freighter that’s suspicious as fuck but doesn’t investigate. Afterward he tells the Cardassian captain that he knows what’s going on, and the only reason he didn’t investigate is that he didn’t want to be the one to start a war.

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I always loved the geo-political episodes in general, the earlier seasons they tended to be focused on the Klingon Empire or the Romulans, but in the 6th and 7th season, they focused on the Cardassians, and I think, especially when they brought in some very specific themes of post/neo-colonialism in DS9, they did some good stories dealing with the tricky issues involved in decolonization and the post-colonial condition. I think, in general, though DS9 got better, darker story lines on that front. I did love the episode with Ensign Ro where she is asked to infiltrate the Maquis, and she has to pick between her personal loyalty to picard and her loyalty to her people…

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If you’re a literalistic then you need to see Darmok for what it is, a bunch of alien larpers and the story of Darmok is their version of Monty Python.


“The Wounded”, which was not only a fantastic episode but also both elevated Miles O’Brien’s character and set him up for some of his character arc in DS9. That scene where Maxwell and O’Brien sing “The Minstrel Boy”? Heartbreaking.

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Fashion It So provides an alternate way of enjoying some of the most terrible of TNG episodes. So. Much. Upholstery fabric!

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Here’s my vote for the worst ever episode, since no-one’s mentioned it yet. And yes, it’s season one. And a Bev Crusher story, which is usually a hint that it’s going to be terrible.

The Enterprise drops into a system where there are two planets, the inhabitants of one suffer from a medical condition that they think is a plague, which can only be mitigated (not cured) with medicine available on the other. As well as addressing the symptoms of the plague, the medicine delivers an immediate euphoric effect.

Based on no examinations or studies at all Crusher concludes:

  • That there is no plague
  • That the ‘medicine’ is a narcotic drug to which the entire planet is addicted.
  • That the addicts dependency on the drug will be quickly addressed by forcing the entire planet to go cold turkey. It will not, for example, kill them.

And of course, no-one else addresses the idea that faced with unknown medicine and unknown alien physiology then perhaps doing some actual research instead of leaping straight to “Drugs are bad, m’kay” might be in order.


Apparently the Cast nearly had a revolt over the “Just Say No” speech at the end:

This is another example of trying to shove an episode format that doesn’t work into the Star Trek mold. In this case we have what is basically Miami Vice in Spaaaaace.

Edit: As I think about this some more, Miami Vice in Space could be awesome, just not in the Next Generation universe. There is just too much mismatch in the tone.

Agreed. This list points out some of the overall problems that Pop up in TNG but these aren’t the worst examples and some are decent episodes and some were campy nostalgic throw back episodes updated from the original series. The Wesley episode is so bad I never watched it all the way through, so at lest the first ten minutes deserve to be on this list, as do the space Irish, maybe the kids.

TNG S1 also had “The Naked Now”, which not only took its premise from a far-superior TOS episode, “The Naked Time”, and thus invited unflattering comparisons with the original show (not that people weren’t making those anyway), but ultimately boiled down to the message of “Don’t drink and drive your starship.” In general, TNG S1 = TOS S3. (Although it did have the redeeming factor of the first Worf-centric episode, “Heart of Glory”, which I discuss more here.)

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