TNG Top Ten

Happy Doctober!

Ah, remember last year at this time? Thirty-one days of Dr. Crusher? Good times, good times. I won’t be doing that again this year (don’t think I didn’t hear that sigh of relief; cheeky monkeys). As much as I enjoyed doing Doctober last year, it took a great deal of planning, thinking, designing, and creating. I was quite done by Halloween, I can assure you.

However, I did want to at least tip my paw to the greatness of the event. Plus, I feel a bit guilty that I missed yet another Flashback Friday. I had plans; I simply ran of out time yesterday. I hate when that happens. So, to make up for my absence, I offer you this. Apparently, one of the newest memes to hit teh Interwebz recently was the “10 Days of TNG,” a top 10 list used to countdown to the 24th anniversary of TNG’s television debut.

Obviously, I missed out on that. But I thought I would offer you my answers to the countdown anyway. Because, you know, you’re interested. I know you are.

Say yes or I’ll turn November into Bevember and each day I will post a recording of me singing a new filk song that I have written all about Dr. Crusher.

Actually, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea…

Ten Days of TNG List of Favorites

Day One: Favorite Season

Season 2, of course.

Blech. Just typing that made me feel dirty.

This one’s actually almost a draw between Seasons 3 and 4; however, I have to say that if someone wanted to get into TNG and asked me where they should start, I would more than likely tell them to start at “The Best of Both Worlds” and watch from there. So I guess that means that I think Season 4 is slightly better than Season 3. But only slightly, since Season 3 does contain a slew of episodes that are excellent for all variety of reasons; plus, it contains two classic episodes that are a must for anyone new to the series: “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “Sarek.”

However, Season 4 is nearly perfect from start to finish. It’s such a shame that it ends on such an…uneven note.

Blonde Romulan. That’s all I’m going to say.

Day Two: Favorite Episode

I can’t answer this question because there are far too many excellent episodes from which to pick. I can’t say that one is the absolute best of the bunch. So how about this: my favorite episode from each season:

Season 1: “The Big Goodbye”
First time on the holodeck and already it’s screwy! Yes, this was the episode that launched a thousand “There’s something wrong with the holodeck” stories that passed on through DS9 and Voyager. This was a spectacular debut, though. Spectacular enough, in fact, that I used images from this episode to launch Doctober.

Season 2: “The Measure of a Man”
As far as I’m concerned, this episode was the only reason to even bother purchasing the second season of TNG on DVD. If you don’t already know the reason why, you’re either new to the lair or you haven’t really been paying attention. Naughty, naughty denizens.

Season 3: “Sarek”
This is when it starts to get difficult to narrow down to just one episode. However, for shear impact and power, the return of Sarek to the Trek universe has to get the crown for Season 3, with “Yesterday’s Enterprise” coming in a solid second.

Season 4: “The Drumhead”
Again, very difficult, but this is one of the best written episodes to ever appear on TNG. Such a powerful episode, and it continues to be poignant—perhaps even more so today than when it first aired. Close calls for this season include “Half a Life,” which is one of the best Lwaxana Troi episodes to ever air; “The Wounded,” which is the first appearance of the Cardassians and an amazing episode for Miles O’Brien; “Night Terrors,” which (minus the “Troi Tuchis” dream sequences) is a deliciously creepy episode; and “Remember Me,” which is my all-time favorite Beverly Crusher episode and will appear here on this list again in a moment or two.

Season 5: “The Inner Light”
If there ever was an episode in which Patrick Stewart truly got to shine, it was this one. This might also be the one time in the history of the world in which a penny whistle moved me to tears for reasons other than irritation or eardrum torment. Close calls here include “Ensign Ro,” which was the debut of not only Ro Laren, who holds a particularly large part of my Trek-loving heart, but also the Bajorans (known at this point as “the Bajora”), the alien race that over time became my favorite Trek aliens; “Cause and Effect,” which is a nice ensemble effort with some really great Dr. Crusher moments; and “The Next Phase,” which is probably my favorite Ensign Ro episode.

Season 6: “Tapestry”
The vote really should go to “Chain of Command” for this season, but I don’t think it’s fair to choose a two-parter (which is why I didn’t say anything about “The Best of Both Worlds” earlier). I think that two-parters should be disqualified or given their own category simply because they get double the time to flesh out their story and double the time to make an impact on viewers. I am seeing a pattern, however, to my choices for best. Every single episode that I’ve chosen thus far has either starred or heavily featured Patrick Stewart. It’s no surprise, though. There’s no denying the fact that he was an amazing catch for the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This episode also gets my vote as one of the best “Q” episodes. Close calls from this season include “True Q,” which isn’t really a great Q episode but heavily features Dr. Crusher, which is always a delight (even if she does get turned into an Irish setter at one point); “Face of the Enemy,” which wins as the greatest Troi episode from the entire TNG run; “Frame of Mind,” which is a trippy Riker episode; and “Timescape,” which is another episode with a great “creepy” vibe.

Season 7: “Attached”
To those of you who thought I would choose “Sub Rosa,” do fuck off. I went with “Attached,” however, for purely subjective reasons. Other than “Remember Me,” this is one of the few great Dr. Crusher-heavy episodes from the entire TNG run. I love how each moment of discovery and revelation shared between Crusher and Picard peels away one more layer of privacy, one more layer of knowing, one more layer of emotion, until the baring of the ultimate “secret” (was it really a secret to anyone but Beverly though? By this point, I’m sure even Spot knew how Picard felt about her). Close calls from the final season are “Phantasms,” which makes me laugh every time I see it, along with making me crave cake (with mint frosting); “Dark Page,” which might actually be my favorite Lwaxana Troi episode; “Lower Decks,” which is an amazing look into the lives of non-senior staff officers on board; “Genesis,” which I know is mocked by most fans of the show but has a special place in my heart as being the first Trek episode directed by a female cast member (who also just happens to be the same actress who played my favorite character); and “Preemptive Strike,” which wasn’t a great episode but gave closure to Ro Laren.

Day Three: Favorite Film

To me, there’s really only one great TNG movie, and that’s First Contact. Even with all its flaws (and there are many), it’s still a great adventure with the best villain to come from TNG (and well before they became so incredibly played out that they lost all semblance of scariness), plus lots of ‘splosions and special effects.

Day Four: Favorite Male Character

Regardless of the obvious Picard-on I had for Patrick Stewart, I’m going to have to say that Data was my favorite male character. There was an innocence and charm to that character that I found delightful. Brent Spiner was quite adept at taking this character who was supposedly emotionless and tapping into the full spectrum of emotions in believable and memorable ways. In fact, I loved Data so much , I named my cat after him. Prettiest kitty in the world, he was.

Day Five: Favorite Female Character

Hmm, let me think about this for a moment.

Ha, yeah, okay. Seeing as I started this post with mention of Doctober 2010, I do believe that the answer to this one is a no-brainer. It ain’t gonna be the buxom Betazoid or the surly blonde. It’s not even going to be the battle-damaged Bajoran…although she’s definitely in the running for second favorite.

Nope, it’s all about the Dancing Doctor. Maybe one day I’ll explain why. But not today.

Day Six: Favorite Guest Star

There were some magnificent guests throughout TNG’s seven-year run, but I’m going to go with the Daughter of the Fifth House, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx. Majel Barrett Roddenberry as Lwaxana Troi was a joy to behold. Of course, I fell in love with Majel Barrett from the moment I saw her as Number One in the very first Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” so it’s no surprise that I would love her as Deanna Troi’s mother.

Second place? The one whose ears I have hanging in the stairwell… 😉

Day Seven: Favorite Friendship

This is a strange question because I don’t really think that there were many friendships on board this ship. In fact, I think that’s one of my ultimate complaints about the TNG crew: As people, they were rather unbelievable. I know, that’s a horrible thing to say about characters that I love so much, but I think it’s pretty accurate. They didn’t really behave like real people, including they didn’t really interact with each other in believable ways. So, other than the relationship between Geordi and Data, which I guess could pass as a friendship, I don’t really think that any of them had what you’d call significant friendly bonds with each other. However, I think I would go with Guinan and Ro Laren, which was just one of the strangest friendships you could possibly imagine. But it worked. Almost as well as the friendship shared between Guinan and Picard. Although not nearly as funny as the friendship shared between Guinan and Worf. Also, not as time-alteringly significant as the friendship shared between Guinan and Tasha.

Looks like Guinan was friendliest person on that ship, doesn’t it?

Day Eight: Favorite Romantic Relationship

Data and Jenna D’Sora from “In Theory.” This is one of those episodes that I always love to watch and will always stop on if I find it playing on television, and one of the main reasons is that Spiner is such a joy to watch in this episode. It’s definitely sci-fi light, with a silly B-story going on in the background (although that story includes a really creepy scene in which they find a crew member trapped in the floor of one of the decks), but that just allows more time for a nice break from the sci-fi norm. It was a sweet scoop of sorbet to cleanse the palate in time for the awful taste of blonde Romulan (have I gotten it through to you that I really hated that part of TNG?).

Day Nine: Favorite Ensemble Moment

I know it’s schmaltzy and perhaps even a cop-out response, but I’m going to have to go with the very last scene of the very last episode of TNG, “All Good Things.” You know the scene: All the senior staff are gathered in Riker’s quarters for their weekly poker night and Picard shows up unexpectedly to join them. He sits down and looks at his crew and says that he should have done this years ago. He starts to deal the cards and his final words are, “The sky’s the limit,” and the camera slowly begins to pull away…every time I see that moment, I get teary-eyed. Hell, I’m feeling a little verklempt just writing about it!

For sheer fun, however, I’d go with all the Sherwood Forest scenes from “Q-Pid.” But come on, how do you not love that episode? “I must protest! I am not a merry man!”

Day Ten: Favorite Quote

Again, this is a no-brainer. Allow me to direct you to the quote at the top of the page. It’s been there ever since I re-launched the lair back in February 2009, and I don’t see it leaving any time soon. It’s one of the most brilliant things ever spoken on TNG. It’s so awesome, in fact, that my aunts got it for me on a shirt:

Best. Shirt. EVAR.

For those who don’t remember this line, it’s from the Season 4 episode “Remember Me,” which I told you would be making another appearance on this list very soon 😉