CUTTING THE EPISODE COUNT DOWN
What if Star Trek The Next Generation Was a Streaming Show?

Here’s a photo of me at my desk writing this post on my 2020 iMac

 

Some days my mind wanders. I think about weird things like what are my favorite episodes of Star Trek and why do streaming shows now only feature eight to thirteen episodes per season?

I then started thinking if it was possible to cut down each season of Star Trek The Next Generation into thirteen of the best episodes? Would viewers miss much? I’m thinking they would not.

So, I took it upon myself to whittle down each season’s normal 26 episodes down to 13. At the very least, it makes for a fun exercise (no, not that kind of exercise) and a playlist for a fun binge-watching run.

Season 1

Encounter at Farpoint (101, 102)
Where No One Has Gone Before (106)
The Battle (109)
Hide and Q (110)
Haven (111)
The Big Goodbye (112)
Datalore (113)
11001001 (115)
Symbiosis (122)
Skin of Evil (123)
We’ll Always Have Paris (124)
Conspiracy (125)
The Neutral Zone (126)

The first season of Star Trek The Next Generation is not good. The writers had no idea what to do with these characters and there are only two or three episodes worth watching again (the pilot, “Conspiracy,” and “The Neutral Zone”).

Season 2

The Child (201)
Elementary, Dear Data (203)
The Outrageous Okona (204)
A Matter of Honor (208)
The Measure Of A Man (209)
The Dauphin (210)
Contagion (211)
The Icarus Factor (214)
Q Who (216)
Samaritan Snare (217)
Up The Long Ladder (218)
The Emissary (220)
Peak Performance (221)

Also, a lost season of mostly C-level stories. “Q Who” is scary, but the rest are just okay. It really is quite surprising the show remained on the air. If it weren’t first-run syndication with the Star Trek name behind it, I doubt it gets a third season.

Season 3

Who Watches The Watchers (304)
The Enemy (307)
The Defector (310)
Deja Q (313)
Yesterday’s Enterprise (315)
The Offspring (316)
Sins of the Father (317)
Allegiance (318)
Captain’s Holiday (319)
Hollow Pursuits (321)
The Most Toys (322)
Sarek (323)
The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (326)

With this season, there are several impressive episodes such as “The Defector,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” “Captain’s Holiday,” “Sarek,” and the kicker “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Season 4

The Best of Both Worlds Part 2 (401)
Family (402)
Brothers (403)
Legacy (406)
Reunion (407)
Future Imperfect (408)
The Final Mission (409)
Data’s Day (411)
The Wounded (412)
Qpid (420)
The Drumhead (421)
The Mind’s Eye (424)
Redemption Part 1 (426)

Last season’s “The Best of Both Worlds,” the second half of the two-parter here and “Family” are arguably some of the best Star Trek created and are especially good when viewed back-to-back-to back.

Season 5

Redemption Part 1 (501)
Darmok (502)
Ensign Ro (503)
Disaster (505)
The Game (506)
Unification Part 1 (507)
Unification Part 2 (508)
Conundrum (514)
Cause and Effect (518)
The First Duty (519)
I Borg (523)
The Inner Light (525)
Time’s Arrow Part 1 (526)

Here’s where it really gets interesting. Fromm “Darmok” through “The Inner Light,” there isn’t a clunker of an episode. The writing staff is hitting their stride and the actors have a better understanding of who their characters are at this point. I’m a big fan of “The Inner Light,” but I don’t think it’s the best single episode of TNG.

Season 6

Time’s Arrow Part 2 (601)
Relics (604)
Rascals (607)
A Fistful of Datas (608)
Chain of Command Part 1 (610)
Chain of Command Part 2 (611)
Ship in a Bottle (612)
Face of the Enemy (614)
Tapestry (615)
Starship Mine (618)
Lessons (619)
Timescape (625)
Descent Part 1 (626)

The run of episodes from “Relics” to “Timescape” does not contain a bad episode. Seasons 5 and 6 are the high watermark of episodes for me.

Season 7

Descent Part 2 (701)
Gambit Part 1 (704)
Gambit Part 2 (705)
Attached (708)
Force of Nature (709)
Inheritance (710)
Parallels (711)
The Pegasus (712)
Lower Decks (715)
Firstborn (721)
Preemptive Strike (724)
All Good Things… (725, 726)

It’s obvious by Season 7 the show was getting tired. “Parallels,” “The Pegasus,” and “Lower Decks” make a good three-show arc, but the others aren’t quite as strong. “All Good Things…” is an excellent series ender and wraps up the television side of TNG perfectly.

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