Tuesday, April 2, 2013

100 Greatest Moments: The Next Generation Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

29) time keeps repeating itself ("Cause and Effect") 
Fun episode where the same events happen over and over again, with the crew eventually catching on and figuring out how to stop it.  One of the great fun facts of the series is that Kelsey Grammer makes an appearance at the end of the episode as the captain of a crew who had to wait until Data could be programmed to glance at Riker's pips. (#94)

28) Data and Tasha Yar have sex ("The Naked Now")
I mean, c'mon.  Sex in Star Trek is rare enough (unless you're Kirk with conveniently discreet edits).  This instance features an android getting it on.  And it's Yar's defining moment when she's actually alive.  What's not to love? (#95)

27) Riker and the alien nurse have sex ("First Contact")
The funny thing about Riker is that, at least as far as the magazine seems to be concerned, he made a better Kirk than Kirk did, the ladies man who made memorable moments out of this instinct.  Which is a tad odd, because Riker was best known for his relationship with Troi, which finally ended in a wedding with Star Trek Nemesis.  It's also worth noting that Riker was partially based on Will Decker from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, who is known as the polar opposite of Kirk. (#86) 

26) Tasha Yar dies ("Skin of Evil") 
Yeah, so Denise Crosby wanted out, and this is how she went.  An incredibly rare instance of a series regular permanently exiting a Star Trek series, and a defining moment in the formative development of this one. (#84)

25) Ensign Sito dies ("The Lower Decks") 
Sito was a Bajoran who was chosen to go undercover into Cardassian territory.  More importantly she was part of an episode that focused entirely on junior officers, a rare occasion indeed.  The magazine points out that this essentially makes her the most famous red shirt. (#82)

24) Picard laughs after getting stabbed through the heart ("Tapestry")
A famous, and famously baffling moment.  Why does he laugh?  Perhaps you'll know by the end of the episode, which by the way happens to feature Q. (#81)

23) Picard fights his brother ("Family") 
Aside from Star Trek Generations (in which we learn the fate of said brother), this is the only time where Picard's family is ever mentioned.  The reason for the visit, and the fight and its cathartic conclusion, is the aftermath of Picard's assimilation by the Borg.  Slightly more significant, then, than Kirk's fights. (#75)

22) Riker accepts Enterprise's surrender ("A Matter of Honor") 
A cool moment from the second season, during an officer exchange program that sees Riker aboard a Klingon ship. (#68)

21) Worf's family is disgraced ("Sins of the Father") 
Sucks to be Worf sometimes.  Sucks to come from the entire hard-luck family, actually!  Lies are told about Worf's father, and the only way out is to forsake Klingon honor in favor of personal honor.  It only figures that Worf goes that route. (#66)

20) Worf murders Duras ("Reunion") 
Star Trek characters don't tend to go around murdering people.  So if Worf does it, you can bet there's a good (Klingon) reason.  Duras is the bastard who murdered the mother of his son Alexander.  So revenge, which is of course a dish best served cold. (#63)

19) Data creates science ("Thine Own Self") 
Data loses his memory on an away mission and ends up in a medieval village, where only he is (still) capable of figuring out the cure to radiation poisoning.  The whole episode is pretty neat, so it's great that the magazine remembers it. (#61)

18) Riker falls in love with an androgynous alien ("The Outcast") 
One of the infrequent attempts by the franchise to address the matter of sexual identity, featuring Riker, which only figures.  In another episode, he's once again in the spotlight in our first encounter with the Trill, when the last host in a set of circumstances that featured Riker desperately trying to keep a relationship alive turns out to be...male.  He's no longer comfortable about it.  In a Deep Space Nine episode, Jadzia Dax, who is also a Trill, has a similar problem but a different solution. (#57)

17) Picard figures out the metaphor ("Darmok") 
Picard's Gorn moment is far more awesome, mostly because his counterpart speaks in riddles. (#56)

16) Picard embraces Hugh ("I, Borg") 
As the title of the episode suggests, Hugh is a Borg drone who ends up severed from the hive mind and in the hands of the Enterprise crew.  Starfleet feels it's a golden opportunity to cripple the Collective, yet Picard does the unthinkable. (#50)

15) humanity's trial concludes ("All Good Things...") 
One of the magazine's goofs is incorrectly or ambiguously identifying this moment.  I'd gone ahead and clarified for my own readers.  The judge, of course, is Q. (#49)

14) saucer separation ("Encounter at Farpoint") 
One of the perks of Picard's Enterprise is that it could split in two.  This was done for the first time in the pilot episode. (#48)

13) the space whale ("Galaxy's Child") 
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home featured humpback whales.  Here we get some of the more unique aliens to be featured in the franchise. (#42)

12) Data creates Lal ("The Offspring") 
Lal is another android, who appears to be a perfection of the Soong type Data represents.  Unfortunately she doesn't remain functional for long. (#40)

11) Moriarty is tricked into retirement ("Ship in a Bottle") 
Moriarty (originally based on the Sherlock Holmes villain, created when La Forge mistakenly orders a challenge for Data) is more or less the Harry Mudd of the series, a distinct foe who made a couple of appearances but whose legacy seems to be increasingly obscured.  He's completely awesome, by the way.  He's also a hologram, and Voyager's Doctor he is not.  His version of a mobile emitter is a box he and his virtual mate are locked in at the end of this episode.  Hopefully someone retrieved it during the events of Star Trek Generations! (#39)

10) Scotty returns ("Relics") 
Scotty is perhaps more awesome in this appearance than in all three seasons and seven films set in his own time.  Because he's very clear about which Enterprise he would like to see recreated on the holodeck. (#34)

9) enter: the Borg ("Q Who?")
It figures that Q is responsible for this.  Although the Collective first rears its suggestive head in the first season, so it would have happened anyway.  Q just wanted something to brag about. (#31)

8) Data's right to exist affirmed ("The Measure of a Man") 
Data is put on trial, and Riker is the opposing counsel (not by choice, mind you).  One of the more famous episodes of the early seasons. (#29)

7) ending on the poker game ("All Good Things...") 
Still the most famous ending to any Star Trek series.  Picard happens to join in for the first time ever. (#24)

6) Stephen Hawking stops by ("Descent") 
You can't ask for a greater sign of legitimacy than for the most famous scientist of his era appearing in Star Trek. (#22)

5) four lights ("Chain of Command Part II") 
Picard is tortured by a Cardassian, who tries to make him say that there are five lights.  There were in fact only four. (#19)

4) Spock mind melds with Picard ("Unification") 
Technically the point of the meld is so Spock can have one last moment with his late father Sarek, but this is perhaps the most ideal bridging of the generations yet depicted in the franchise. (#11)

3) devolution ("Genesis") 
What's interesting is that until the magazine listed this moment, I was under the impression that I was in a distinct minority in appreciating the episode around it.  Visually memorable! (#9)

2) Picard is assimilated ("The Best of Both Worlds")
The defining moment of Picard's life is when he nearly lost it when he joined the Borg as Locutus, the voice meant to help humanity better prepare for its fate. (#5)

1) Picard plays the flute at the end of the episode ("The Inner Light")
The show's version of "City on the Edge of Forever" has long been held in great esteem by the fans, but this is an oddly poetic way to define its enduring legacy, a more reflective version of the franchise than has been seen before or since. (#3)


  1. One of my students is working his way through the whole Trek opus. He hipped me to the fact that "Best of Both Worlds" is getting a theatrical release next week!! The middle school drama teacher, our music teacher and myself have penciled in plans to see it! That one of our 5th grade students might be there makes it just that much more awesome!!!

    1. If the series should be screened on the big screen at all, this is the one to do it with.


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