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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Is there a good "essential episodes" list out there for the first couple of seasons of TNG?

 

Thinking of doing a rewatch of the show and seeing if I can get my son interested. Plan is to skip through the first couple of seasons watching only the good stuff, then do everything from S3 onwards. If I start working my way through every episode from the start then he is going to get bored before he gets to the good bits.

 

I'd like to include anything essential for later stories (like Datalore, Skin of Evil, Q Who) as well as stuff that's just plain good (Measure of a Man, obviously, but also decent but generic Trek episodes like Where No One Has Gone Before). I'd like to skip the racist ones, and the ones that are just plain shit. Not too much Wesley. For some reason I can remember most of the episodes in S1 but can't recall what half of S2 even is.

 

Can't find a list that suits my needs - anyone know of anything suitable?


I’m currently on a re-watch and now on S4. 
I watched all of S1, and yes so much of it’s so bad but I do have a lot of nostalgia for it. There’s only a couple of episodes worth watching but I watched it all and it was a bit of a slog. 
 

S2, I also went for a best episode list which is much like the one just posted. Half the Season I skipped and don’t regret it as when S3 kicks in, it’s about 85% greatness. There’s a couple of duffers but so many as so great. 

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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Is there a good "essential episodes" list out there for the first couple of seasons of TNG?


Thinking of doing a rewatch of the show and seeing if I can get my son interested. Plan is to skip through the first couple of seasons watching only the good stuff, then do everything from S3 onwards.

Thanks for asking that, BTW, as I was just about to ask the same. Great minds, eh?

 

(Did a selective DS9 rewatch a few years ago and it was great. Was choosy about the first season, missing a lot of it, and picked up more and more episodes from season 2 onwards. Even season 2 of DS9 picks up more in quality than is given credit for. Starting on season 3 or 4 is the wrong option for DS9 viewing!)

 

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7 hours ago, Eighthours said:

 

There's no CG space stuff in TNG at all (aside from the Crystalline Entity in Datalore) until season 4's Galaxy's Child, and that was a one-off. They persisted with model shots all the way to the end of the run.

Really? It seemed to me like CGI started to creep in around season 3 - perhaps not spaceship stuff but other spot effects, and little animations here and there. Can't remember any specific examples though. 

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On 17/06/2021 at 10:39, Garwoofoo said:

Is there a good "essential episodes" list out there for the first couple of seasons of TNG?

 

Thinking of doing a rewatch of the show and seeing if I can get my son interested.

 

So we watched Encounter at Farpoint this weekend.

 

Holy shit that has not aged well. The overly harsh TV lighting is obviously just a product of its time, and it seems churlish to criticise the characters for not being fully "themselves" given that it's the pilot episode: only Data seems to have arrived fully-formed, Picard's a right grumpy bastard in this and Riker's like an overly-enthusiastic puppy dog. But everything else is just awful. Troi's over-emoting terribly while wearing a miniskirt so short you can see what she had for lunch. Yar clearly can't act, at all: she stinks up the place every time she is on screen. Worf's head is the wrong shape. The pacing of the thing is all wrong: every scene seems to go on for about five seconds longer than it should, leaving the characters awkwardly mugging at the camera with whatever facial expression they finished with. There's an excruciating saucer separation scene that consists of the same terrified reaction shots repeated over again with VERY DRAMATIC MUSIC playing as two small model spaceships slowly move apart, it seems to go on for ten minutes. Then there's an excruciating saucer reconnection scene that... well, you get the idea. It all feels like an hour of TV squeezed into 90 minutes.

 

The boy claimed to enjoy it but mostly wanted to know whether Q would be back in every episode. A fair question given that Q was unquestionably the best thing about the whole sorry affair. 

 

To reassure myself that I wasn't going completely mad and misremembering the whole show, I stuck Darmok from S5 on later that evening after he went to bed - and it was, thankfully, brilliant. Every single scene. So it really is just a case of getting over that S1 hump. Whether or not I'll be able to hold the boy's interest, even with a heavily edited set of episodes, remains to be seen.

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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

only Data seems to have arrived fully-formed

He develops more than you'd think. He's a bit more naïve and awkward at the start, and leans more into the "ah, you're doing that human thing that humans do" thing.

 

It's funny that you mention your kid enjoying it more than you though. When I started watching Star Trek I was obsessed with the technology of the show, and wanted to know everything about the ships and stuff. Stuff like a saucer separation was always an "event", a bit like those Thunderbirds episodes where Pod 4 was selected. :D I definitely didn't pick up on overacting back then either.

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I watched Insurrection the other day which I sort of enjoyed. There's far too much forced comedy though and the story is really no more cinematic than the average episode. I really don't think Frakes is a particularly good director either.

It's been so long since I watched anything from the film era of TNG that I'd completely forgotten things like the emotion chip and Geordie's new eyes. That was all a bit lame wasn't it? I wish they hadn't bothered with the TNG films in retrospect.

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23 minutes ago, Mogster said:

It's funny that you mention your kid enjoying it more than you though. When I started watching Star Trek I was obsessed with the technology of the show, and wanted to know everything about the ships and stuff. Stuff like a saucer separation was always an "event", a bit like those Thunderbirds episodes where Pod 4 was selected. :D I definitely didn't pick up on overacting back then either.

 

Yeah, it's a tough watch in some regards though for a modern 12-year-old brought up on Star Wars and Marvel. I get the impression he was being polite. I'm going to wait to see if he mentions it again, I'll be pleased if he wants to watch more but I'm not going to force it on him.

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25 minutes ago, JamesC said:

I watched Insurrection the other day which I sort of enjoyed. There's far too much forced comedy though and the story is really no more cinematic than the average episode. I really don't think Frakes is a particularly good director either.

It's been so long since I watched anything from the film era of TNG that I'd completely forgotten things like the emotion chip and Geordie's new eyes. That was all a bit lame wasn't it? I wish they hadn't bothered with the TNG films in retrospect.

Generations is the most competently shot of the TNG films, and even then it relies on having the lightning turned down the to hide the heavy reuse of TV show sets. First Contact and Insurrection look ‘television movie’ (or straight-to-video) with their harsh lighting and flat direction, and the darker visual design of the sets and costumes has aged worse than the brighter TNG style, to be honest. So very mid-late ‘90s…

 

Agree that the TNG films were a waste of time, and even doing them they shouldn’t have made the first one a sort of TOS (well, Shatner) crossover.

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The main problem with the TNG movies were that they were essentially "Data and Picard" movies, with the two main actors having a disproportionate amount of influence over the scripts and production. Then that nonsense flows through to the current day, with the plot of the Picard show being all about the relationship between the two characters, which was never a primary focus of TNG in the first place. Data cared more for his cat than he did for Picard.

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I don't think the focus on Data and Picard was the problem as such. Most TNG episodes would focus on a couple of characters, but due to the number of episodes in each season those characters obviously changed a lot. This format would have been hard to transfer to a movie series, or at least hard to sell I guess, so it probably made sense to centre plots around Picard as the captain, and Data as one of the more interesting characters. TOS never had this problem, as the show was always focussed on Kirk, Spock and McCoy, so I guess the problem here was more that TNG was far less suited to the transition to movies.

 

I wouldn't call that the main problem though. The problem was that they were trying to force TNG into a series of blockbuster movies, and didn't have a good idea about how to do it. First Contact had its problems, but I think it was by far the best attempt. Generations and Insurrection felt like stretched out episodes, and had their own problems on top, while Nemesis was just awful.

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Part of the problem for me was that they seemed to want these big action sequences which just didn't suit TNG. Even in Insurrection you've got the shuttle chase at the beginning and then later on Riker starts flying the Enterprise by stick(a pet hate of mine is when Star Trek switches to aircraft style combat instead of naval style combat)! They'd have been far better off going for a big sci-fi mystery thriller type story rather that an action blockbuster thing.

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2 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

First Contact is a great movie!

The Borg queen concept totally ruins the film for me - and it ruined The Borg for good. There are some nice sequences in the film and I agree it's the most successful of the TNG films but it pales against the quality of the TV show and even against most of the original crew films.

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The issue I have with TNG movies was they always found some implausible way to shoehorn Worf back into the cast & then gave him sweet FA to do anyway once he was back onboard.  

 

Like in 'First Contact' how the realistic is it that a Captain is just going to abandon his heavily battle damaged ship with god knows how many casualties, to go on a little jaunt with his old crewmates?

 

I did like Insurrection though and felt it got a bit of bad press as it was the follow up to First Contact.  Nemesis was just pure shite though,  and was lucky not to kill off Star Trek full stop.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ooh, I didn't know rllmuk had a massive ST thread.

 

On 17/06/2021 at 10:39, Garwoofoo said:

Is there a good "essential episodes" list out there for the first couple of seasons of TNG?

 

No one has mentioned Conspiracy, so I will. One of the first episode of TNG that I saw, and it basically hooked me on the entire concept of Star Trek for the rest of my life. So, so, so good.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)

 

I'm currently going through TOS for the first time, up to S3, and once you get over the 1960s effects and lighting, it's actually very good. Some episodes are fantastic. However, I watched Spectre of a Gun last night and it was godawful. I hate cheap TV Westerns, and this was the cheapest I've seen, done all on-set. Spock's Brain was better. Actually, I quite like Spock's Brain. A lot of people say it's the worst TOS episode, but actually, conceptually, it's interesting:

Aliens require a CPU to power their planetary computer, so steal an organic brain to use, and Spock's body has to be kept alive through life support while the crew battle to retrieve it. When they do they face the dilemma that their medical technology is not sufficient to re-implant it.

 

It's actually quite a frightening concept. I can imagine Cronenburg making quite the body horror film from such an idea. OK, the execution is off, but the concept is solid. Spock's Brain is a great episode if you look past the execution and focus on the ideas.

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Film4 are near the end of a Star Trek film marathon that started yesterday.

 

currently on the dish in first contact. Looks great in HD. 

 

Film4 not showing Nemesis.

 

Paramount are showing Nemesis, right now. 

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I keep watching random episodes of DS9 on Netflix lately, it's my evening comfort food along with my actual food. Classic Trek is just such good television even in average episodes. I just watched "Explorers" today - not the most action packed episode or anything, and the Bashir subplot (like a lot of Bashir subplots) is completely pointless, but... Sisko has his beard, and the whole idea of him getting super excited to try building and sailing an ancient Bajoran vessel to prove it would have been space worthy just for the hell of it is such a wonderful, human and life affirming idea. It's the essence of Star Trek.

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I also really like the subtle politics involved with the Cardasians:

 

Spoiler

It's implied with Dukat in the ending that the Cardasians always knew about the ancient Bajoran vessel and had evidence already with a historic crash site, but had not made it public knowledge as it would have been an embarrassment. So they were forced into getting ahead of Sisko, after he forces their hand by proving the voyage was feasible, and they try to spin it as a great discovery made by their scientists as well.

 

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Dukat is such a good character and Marc Alaimo is fantastic. 

I only noticed that he's one of the first Romulans you meet in TNG in that first series episode with the early hint of the borg in. 

He's then also the first Cardassian you meet when they've got those strange headpieces on that look a bit like butchered cycle helmets. 

 

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Even poorer DS9 episodes are watchable for the smaller character moments. 

 

Apart from 'Let He Who Is Without Sin...' which is irredeemable garbage. 

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Just watching Wrath of Khan. Ricardo Montalban as Khan is absolutely amazing when first encountered..makes me dislike the "modern interpretation" even more.  

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