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Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)

Episode:101/102
"Encounter at Farpoint"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

The new starship Enterprise begins its maiden voyage by uncovering the mysteries of an advanced space station. The crew's mission is threatened by an omnipotent being named Q, who puts them (and specifically, Captain Picard) on trial for the crimes of all humanity.

Features: The Q Entity
Stardate: 41153.7
Air Date: 09/28/87
Director: Corey Allen

Jack's Review
Easily one of the best episodes of the first season, Farpoint is an instant classic. The episode feels a bit like the first issue of a comic book. It's obvious that the characters weren't fleshed out yet and there is a slight odd feel to the editing. Despite these issues, this is still one of my favorites.

Episode:103
"The Naked Now"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

A mysterious, communicable contaminant causes the crew to experience symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication.

Features:
Stardate: 41209.2
Air Date: 10/05/87
Director: Paul Lynch

Jack's Review
I know many people hate this episode on the premise that the writers were not ready for the series so they just reached back to the original series for a story. Personally that is what does it for me in this episode. Until the Next Generation the only Star Trek we had known was the original series and the movies it spawned. Giving viewers a familiar story with new characters really works.

Episode:104
"Code of Honor"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip

Lt. Yar is abducted by the leader of a people who abide by a strict code of honor, which requires her participation in a fight to the death.

Features:
Stardate: 41235.25
Air Date: 10/12/87
Director: Russ Mayberry

Jack's Review
Not nearly as bad as you remember, this episode is often referred to as the racist episode....when in fact it is just a silly stereotype episode. While that doesn't make it a good one by any means, the fight scene with Yar on the laser junglegym thing and the rather terrible acting by Denise Crosby in this one does make it one of Trek's worst.

Episode:105
"The Last Outpost"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

An unknown force immobilizes the Enterprise during the Federation's first encounter with a new alien threat, the Ferengi.

Features: The Ferengi
Stardate: 41386.4
Air Date: 10/19/87
Director: Richard Colla

Jack's Review
This is a strange episode. We do get our first look at the Ferengi here but the over the top way in which the director had the actors play them turned them into the comic relief species of Star Trek. There are quite a few fun parts to this episode, however.

Episode:106
"Where No One Has Gone Before"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip

Warp efficiency tests send the Enterprise traveling far beyond known space, where the crew's imagination takes on real form.

Features:
Stardate: 41263.1
Air Date: 10/26/87
Director: Rob Bowman

Jack's Review
One of the episodes I remembered most from the first time it aired. I enjoyed the Traveler character and although I didn't care for Wesley back then, I really enjoy the introduction to his character now. The odd thing is, Wil Wheaton and I are exactly one week apart in age....so I am not sure why I initially disliked Wesley. I guess with age comes wisdom - now I watch and each episode is like a time capsule.

Episode:107
"Lonely Among Us"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

An alien entity possesses Dr. Crusher, Worf, and Picard while the Enterprise is transporting delegates from two feuding planets.

Features:
Stardate: 41249.3
Air Date: 11/02/87
Director: Cliff Bole

Jack's Review
This one feels like a classic Trek story. Data doing his Sherlock Holmes is a blast.

Episode:108
"Justice"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

Wesley breaks an idyllic world's trivial law by accidentally stepping on flowers and faces the death sentence.

Features:
Stardate: 41255.6
Air Date: 11/09/87
Director: James L. Conway

Jack's Review
This one shows us what kind of character Riker would become over the next couple of seasons as well as the kind of man Picard would turn out to be. Plus who doesn't like the idea of an entire planet that is one big playground full of pleasures? This one is the first - and not the last - time we see Picard forced to go against the Prime Directive.

Episode:109
"The Battle"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip half-pip

A Ferengi captain returns the abandoned Stargazer to its former captain, Jean-Luc Picard. Picard, who experiences severe headaches, begins to relive the "Battle of Maxia" in which he lost the ship.

Features: The Ferengi
Stardate: 41723.9
Air Date: 11/16/87
Director: Rob Bowman

Jack's Review
Admittedly they didn't have the Ferengi worked out when this episode aired, but we can see a glimpse of where they would eventually end up as a Star Trek species. I do enjoy this one a great deal. It's a well told story and very well acted.

Episode:110
"Hide and Q"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

Q returns to the Enterprise to tempt Commander Riker into joining the Q Continuum with the lure of Q's powers.

Features: The Q Entity
Stardate: 41590.5
Air Date: 11/23/87
Director: Cliff Bole

Jack's Review
Totally a killer episode! This one shows off Jonathan Frakes' acting skills very well. Who wouldn't be tempted to use that much power if we were given it?

Episode:111
"Haven"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

Lwaxana Troi visits her daughter, Counselor Troi, and prepares her for an arranged marriage.

Features:
Stardate: 41294.5
Air Date: 11/30/87
Director: Richard Compton

Jack's Review
Such a great introduction to Lwaxana Troi. She is abrasive, irritating, and often just plain annoying....which is exactly what she is supposed to be like. Terrific acting by Majel Barrett makes the character fun every time we see her.

Episode:112
"The Big Goodbye"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip half-pip Jack's Favorite

A computer malfunction traps Picard, Data, and Beverly in a Dixon Hill holodeck program set in early 20th-century Earth.

Features: The Holodeck
Stardate: 41997.7
Air Date: 01/11/88
Director: Joseph L. Scanlan

Jack's Review
One of the best episodes of the first season, this is also the first "Holodeck" episode ever. While there are a few rough patches here and there the story works well. If you know your Trek Tech you will understand that once the holodeck is shut down, any real solid matter created while inside...food, clothes, etc. is destroyed. Since the safety feature was turned off, the people would have counted as random solid matter and would have been transported into nothingness.

Episode:113
"Datalore"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

The Enterprise crew finds a disassembled android identical to Data at the site of the Omicron Theta colony,?where Data was found,?which was destroyed by a life form dubbed "the Crystalline Entity." The reassembled android, Lore, brings the Crystalline Entity to the Enterprise.

Features:
Stardate: 41242.4
Air Date: 01/18/88
Director: Rob Bowman

Jack's Review
An absolute classic. Introducing a second Data - and an evil one at that - makes for a lot of fun throughout the series. I just wish he had used Lore a bit more.

Episode:114
"Angel One"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip half-pip

The Enterprise visits a world dominated by women to rescue survivors of a downed freighter.

Features:
Stardate: 41636.9
Air Date: 01/25/88
Director: Michael Rhoades

Jack's Review
So they can't all be zingers and this one comes close to falling pretty flat. However, replace the TNG crew with TOS and you'll find that this story would have worked in the 60's too!

Episode:115
"11001001"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

Bynars upgrade the Enterprise's computers in spacedock. Riker and Picard become distracted by a surprisingly realistic holodeck character.

Features: The Holodeck
Stardate: 41365.9
Air Date: 02/01/88
Director: Paul Lynch

Jack's Review
I remember watching this one when it first aired. This classifies as the second holodeck episode ever and overall it's a terrific story. The HD effects make this one stand out very well and the Bynar characters are actually a lot of fun. One of the more enjoyable episodes of the first season.

Episode:116
"Too Short a Season"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip half-pip

The Enterprise transports a legendary geriatric admiral who must once again negotiate a hostage situation involving a man from decades earlier in his career. The admiral is mysteriously growing younger; by the time the Enterprise arrives he is a young man.

Features:
Stardate: 41309.5
Air Date: 02/08/88
Director: Rob Bowman

Jack's Review
While an interesting premise, the episode feels a tad forced. The makeup on the old Jameson was pretty obvious but overall, this one does stand as a classic Trek episode - one we could have seen in the original series for sure.

Episode:117
"When the Bough Breaks"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

A planet formerly existing only in legend uncloaks and requests help from the Enterprise. Their cloaking device causes sterility, and they want to adopt children from the EnterpriseĆ¢??by force, if necessary.

Features:
Stardate: 41509.1
Air Date: 02/15/88
Director: Kim Manners

Jack's Review
This one is actually fun. Wesley shows his value and Picard once again pushes Starfieet directives to their breaking point.

Episode:118
"Home Soil"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

The crew of the Enterprise discovers a crystalline lifeform with murderous intelligence that has been killing the scientists on a terraforming project.

Features:
Stardate: 41463.9
Air Date: 02/22/88
Director: Corey Allen

Jack's Review
I love this one - the murder mystery is fun, the twist is interesting, and the cast seems to have fun with the story. I remember watching this one when it first aired and laughing at the "ugly bags of mostly water" line.

Episode:119
"Coming of Age"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

While Wesley takes a Starfleet Academy entrance exam, the senior staff of the Enterprise are placed under investigation by Starfleet.

Features:
Stardate: 41416.2
Air Date: 03/14/88
Director: Mike Vejar

Jack's Review
This is another fun episode. The investigation has a hilarious outcome but knowing what we know about Quinn and Remmik does make this one a great precursor to "Conspiracy".

Episode:120
"Heart of Glory"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

Fugitive Klingons seeking battle attempt to hijack the Enterprise, and ask Worf to join them.

Features: The Klingons
Stardate: 41503.7
Air Date: 03/21/88
Director: Rob Bowman

Jack's Review
Here we have our first look at Klingon culture. TNG really did some amazing things with the Klingons across all seven seasons and you can tell by this episode that the writers really had this species nailed down well.

Episode:121
"The Arsenal of Freedom"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

Trapped on the surface of an abandoned planet, an away team becomes unwitting participants in the demonstration of an advanced weapons system.

Features:
Stardate: 41798.2
Air Date: 04/11/88
Director: Les Landau

Jack's Review
Another one I remember watching when it first aired! Man, I love this episode. It's like watching a comic book play out on screen. It's funny when it should be, heartwarming when it has to be, and thrilling when it needs to be. Overall one of my favorites.

Episode:122
"Symbiosis"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

Picard tries to mediate a trade dispute between two neighboring planets, one of which is the sole supplier of a drug to treat the other's apparently fatal disease.

Features:
Stardate: Unknown
Air Date: 04/18/88
Director: Win Phelps

Jack's Review
How fun is this? We get David Marcus and Joachim from Wrath of Khan back in Trek and in the same episode! The episode is a tad preachy and melodramatic at times but the premise is sound and the story is well played out.

Episode:123
"Skin of Evil"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

An evil, tar-like creature holds Troi hostage on an alien world. During a rescue mission, one of the Enterprise crew is killed.

Features:
Stardate: 41601.3
Air Date: 04/25/88
Director: Joseph L. Scanlan

Jack's Review
I never really warmed up to the Tasha Yar character until the end of this episode. The writers really never did get a handle on where they wanted to go with her character, and it still shows all these years later. I have to admit this episode chokes me up. And...personally, I always wonder what happened to Armus after the Enterprise torpedoed the shuttlecraft remains from orbit....I mean, he feeds on energy.

Episode:124
"We'll Always Have Paris"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

Picard meets an old flame, whose husband has been affected by a dimensional experiment accident.

Features: Time Travel
Stardate: 41697.9
Air Date: 05/02/88
Director: Robert Becker

Jack's Review
This one is just fun. The time ripples make for an interesting ending. Still, this is another one we could have seen on TOS - with Spock doing the time warp instead of Data, and Kirk meeting the lost love of his life on the holodeck.

Episode:125
"Conspiracy"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip pip Jack's Favorite

The strange behavior of high-ranking officers, which earlier prompted the investigation of the crew (in "Coming of Age"),?leads Picard to uncover a conspiracy within Starfleet.

Features:
Stardate: 41775.5
Air Date: 05/09/88
Director: Cliff Bole

Jack's Review
You know, I never was a fan of the uber-conspiracy stories....but wow this one works! It's creepy and strange from start to finish....and that effect...you know the one I mean....I remember watching this one in college and my friends and I all looked at each other with our mouths hanging open. The only thing I dislike about it....they never came back to this storyline again.

Episode:126
"The Neutral Zone"

Jack's Rating:
pip pip pip pip

A derelict satellite is found containing cryonically frozen humans from the 20th century as the Enterprise is sent to investigate the destruction of outposts near Romulan space.

Features: The Romulans
Stardate: 41986
Air Date: 05/16/88
Director: James L. Conway

Jack's Review
I admit that this episode feels like two stories patched together. I will also admit that it is a really fun watch. The three folks from the past are terrific and their stories are easy to identify with. Overall a fun end to the season.

 
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