Star Trek: The Next Generation Essential Episodes

Jonthan Frakes is allowed to show his acting chops in this reality-bending tale – and he conveys Riker losing his grip on reality very well. This story does the idea better than Sucker Punch ever could, not to mention a lot earlier.

Season 7 Episode 15: Lower Decks

This one provides a rare glimpse into the lives of junior officers aboard the Federation Starfleet flagship, two of whom are up for promotion. Meanwhile something is going on, involving a rescued unknown from the border with the Cardassian Empire, and the Bajoran ensign who was part of the Nova Squadron cover-up at the academy with Wesley Crusher (see season 5’s The First Duty).

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This is possibly the most popular episode of season 7 and deserves to be. It gives a different perspective on the daily lives of those aboard the Enterprise. At one point Sito Jaxa (the Bajoran ensign) was due to reappear in Deep Space Nine, and this rumor developed at one point to include Thomas Riker, but alas, it never happened.

Encounter At Farpoint/All Good Things (Seasons 1 & 7)

The trial of the human race that Q instigates in Farpoint is seemingly ongoing, and it appears that Captain Jean-Luc Picard may be the destroyer of humanity itself, in the time-jumping finale to Star Trek: The Next Generation on television.

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Okay, I am cheating here a bit. Encounter At Farpoint in itself, isn’t great, but without it the splendor that is All Good Things makes no sense. Thus you have to watch the first episode of Next Generation for the last to work. However, even with all the introductions and John DeLancie being frankly fantastic as Q, Farpoint doesn’t deserve to be in the top 25 on its own merits… All Good Things really does, though, and as the conclusion to the story that Farpoint starts, forgive me the conceit of putting them together as one story here.

Of course, like any other list of this nature, everyone will have alternative selections and to be utterly fair my ‘almosts’ include some brilliant episodes such as Ensign Ro, Second Chances and The Most Toys. Then again, Next Generation is my favorite TV show of all time, so there is very little of it I don’t enjoy or wouldn’t show to a friend.

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