Star Trek

Bun’s Guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 1

This is a sewing blog, why are you writing about Star Trek?

– You, probably

Shhh, no questions. Only Star Trek.

I’m a huge Star Trek fan. Not so much of the original series with Kirk, but Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), Voyager (VOY) and even Enterprise (ENT) hold a very special place in my heart. So much so that my first, and so far only, tattoo is a quote from TNG.

I’m constantly trying to get people to give Star Trek a chance starting with TNG. However, 7 seasons, each with 20+ episodes, is a daunting task for new watchers. So I’ve decided to write my own episode guide, letting you know which episodes are a must-watch, which ones are totally optional and which ones should be sucked (rather, blown) out into space. Let’s start with Season 1!

Caveat: While I adore the serious episodes of TNG, I’m also a huge fan of the silly, cheesy and horny episodes. Some of the episodes I will recommend are not “good”, but they are enjoyable in a “so bad it’s good” way. If that’s not your thing, feel free to skip the episode!


Your Choice

1.1 – Encounter at Farpoint 

TL;DR: The crew of the Enterprise is put on trial for the crimes of all humanity.

It’s the first episode, you have to watch it. Along with the crew of the Enterprise, the episode introduces us to Q, an omnipotent alien who will come back throughout the series. 

1.2. – Encounter at Farpoint Pt 2

You have to finish the two-parter, duh.

1.3 –  The Naked Now 

TL;DR: Space virus makes the crew act drunk and horny.

A super goofy episode, but definitely worth a watch because it’s so cheesy and ridiculous (and horny). This is one of those early episodes where you can really see Roddenberry’s influence; it’s got big TOS vibes.

The Naked Now: It’s the beginning of “horny Trek”, y’all. (Credit: Memory Alpha)

1.4 – Code of Honor 

TL;DR: Lt. Yar is kidnapped by an alien leader to be his wife and must fight the leader’s previous wife to the death.

This episode is a big yikes. Sometimes known as “the racist episode”, the Enterprise encounters a race of aliens all portrayed by black actors. Lots of uncomfortable misogynistic and racist tropes in this one. Staff writer Tracy Torme described the theme of the episode as “1940s tribal Africa”. Ooof.

1.5 – The Last Outpost

TL;DR: Blah blah Ferengi blah electrical storms blah blah all powerful entity that doesn’t show up ever again blah blah blah

A.K.A. the episode where Riker yells “ANYBODYYYYY?” into an abyss. Boring episode where we’re introduced to the Ferengi. Not important, they come back later in the series. Skip!

1.6 – Where No One Has Gone Before  

TL;DR: Magical warp drive experiments and strange hallucinations. Wesley is special.

Not a great episode in my opinion, but sets up some important plot points for Wesley further in the series. 

Where No One Has Gone Before: Tea time with the Picards (Credit: Memory Alpha)
1.7 – Lonely Among Us 

TL;DR: Crew tries to corral feuding alien delegations while senior crew members begin to act oddly.

Not much to say about this one – two warring alien species on the Enterprise and an entity that takes control of the crew. Skip if you want.

1.8 – Justice 

TL;DR: Wesley breaks a rule he doesn’t know is a rule and is sentenced to death on an alien planet.

Another goofy and horny episode (total 80s soft porn vibes on this planet), but it’s a good “Picard as diplomat breaks the Prime Directive” episode. Also hilarious: how everyone on the planet runs to get around. 

1.9 – The Battle

TL;DR: Picard is put under mind control and believes he is onboard his previous ship, the Stargazer.

Another Ferengi episode, but gives some background information on Picard. Not terrible, not great, definitely not a must-watch.

1.10 – Hide and Q

TL;DR: Q tries to tempt Riker into joining the Q Continuum by giving him Q’s powers. 

Probably one of the only Q episodes I dislike. It’s not a horribly bad episode, it’s just not particularly interesting though it has some funny parts.

Hide and Q: Grownup Wesley… (Credit: Memory Alpha)

1.11 – Haven

TL;DR: Deanna Troi finds out she’s arranged to be married to a family friend.

Haven introduces us to Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana (as well as some hilarious Betazoid cultural customs and Mr Holm). I’ll admit that it’s not the best episode, but I think the interactions with Lwaxana are funny and the episode establishes some back story between Deanna and Riker. 

1.12 – The Big Goodbye

TL;DR: Picard plays out his 1940s detective fantasy on the holodeck.

Our first Holodeck episode!! Definite watch. Especially for the 1940s fashion.

1.13 – Datalore

TL;DR: Data discovers his home planet and brother he never knew he had.

Must watch. Great episode, gives us some Data backstory, introduces us to Lore and has some excellent Brent Spiner acting (I swear he’s the Nic Cage of Star Trek and I am here for it).

1.14 – Angel One

TL;DR: The Enterprise discovers lost StarFleet officers crash landed on a planet under matriarchal rule.

A ‘meh’ episode, but a horny episode. Watch if you want copious amounts of Riker chest (I’m not judging).

Angel One: Copious. Riker. Chest. (Credit: Memory Alpha)

1.15 – 11001001

TL;DR: Little pairs of aliens make improvements to the Enterprise… and the holodeck 😉

Little bit of silly aliens, little bit of horny Riker. Pretty good episode all around.

1.16 – Too Short a Season

TL;DR: Aging peace negotiator decides not to age when facing a nemesis from his past.

Probably a skip unless you want to see some really poor old age special effects makeup and bad acting.

1.17 – When the Bough Breaks

TL;DR: Disappearing alien race steal all the talented children from the Enterprise.

An alright episode, but a lot of bad child acting. Bit of a Wesley-heavy episode and at this point in the series he can be a bit obnoxious.

1.18 – Home Soil

TL;DR: Ugly bags of mostly water try to terraform a planet with no life… or so they think.

This episode has a neat concept that makes you think about what is and what isn’t life – and how would we know if that life is so different from our own? Also Data dodging lasers.

1.19 – Coming of Age

TL;DR: Wesley does his StarFleet entrance exams while a visiting officer interrogates the crew for an unknown reason.

Half Wesley episode, half Admiral fuckery. Both storylines are good, definitely watch.

1.20 – Heart of Glory

TL;DR: Klingons have honour and like to kill and yell at the sky when someone dies.

Our first Klingon episode and it’s a stinker. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of Klingon episodes in the first place. Especially ones before Worf is developed as a character. There is, however, some pretty hilarious camera work near the end. Maybe just watch that part.

1.21 – The Arsenal of Freedom

TL;DR: Interactive weapons infomercial planet goes awry. 

Sounds fun, but it isn’t. Bad acting and boring, not much to say here except skip.

The Arsenal of Freedom: Snoozefest with bad sets (Credit: Memory Alpha)

1.22 – Symbiosis

TL;DR: Entire race of aliens is unknowingly addicted to drugs that can only be supplied by another race of aliens.

I think this episode is trying to get at something good but fails massively. The concept of a species controlling another species with drug addiction is much better handled in Deep Space 9. There’s also a “just say no to drugs” talk in it that feels incredibly out of place. I would probably skip this one.

1.23 – Skin of Evil

TL;DR: Angry blob of goo traps Deanna Troi and complains about things.

A dumb episode, but an important plot point happens in it so you kind of have to watch it. It’s not good though.

1.24 – We’ll Always Have Paris

TL;DR: Picard’s sexy former lover calls for help when her scientist husband’s experiments go awry.

This is a fun time-jumpy episode that’s very Picard heavy. I always enjoy episodes that pry into Picard’s personal, romantic life. It’s not a must-watch but I recommend it if only for gratuitous fencing and an interesting outfit that somehow includes both side boob and cowboy boots. 

1.25 – Conspiracy

TL;DR: Something strange is happening within the upper ranks of StarFleet. Might as well eat some worms.

This episode just doesn’t fit in with the vibe of TNG at all, but I love it. It’s spooky, there’s some body horror, and it’s one of the only TNG episodes I can remember that has gore. A warning though: the story never goes anywhere. It ends at this episode and we never see the bad guys again.

Conspiracy: Just some officers eating worms. Nothing to see here. (Credit: Memory Alpha)

1.26 – The Neutral Zone

TL;DR: The Enterprise picks up some 20th century zombies on the way to investigate Romulan shenanigans.

The strangest part of this episode is that I forgot it’s a Romulan episode. In fact, it’s our first introduction to Romulans and the Neutral Zone in the series, which would make it a must-watch. However, the majority of the episode deals with three cryogenically frozen humans from the 20th century that are revived by 24th century tech. One is painfully obnoxious to the point that you’ll wish he was never thawed. Skip if you don’t mind missing seeing the Romulans for the first time.

4 thoughts on “Bun’s Guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 1

    1. See now I definitely want to write a post about the Star Trek costume department. The history of the uniform changes alone is such a saga, I can only imagine the juicy drama I’d discover if I dug deeper.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I recently rewatched TNG, it’s bonkers how many bad episodes there were in the first two seasons – some people say the series turned around when Riker grew a beard, but it was the the uniform switch I say


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s