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Saturday, February 06, 2010
Andy Kaplan-Myrth asked about key ST:TNG episodes, ones that move the plotlines along, introduce new characters etc.
I didn't exactly answer his question, this is a blend of important episodes and ones that are just good.
It was a bit of a challenge since I don't particularly like TNG (in order, I like TOS, DS9, TNG, Voyager, Enterprise, with a pretty big gap between DS9 and TNG). I have nevertheless seen all of the episodes multiple times.
There were other good ones, in general any ones where it was mostly Picard or Data had a better chance of succeeding. The sun and moon one where Data was a bunch of characters was cool. The Moriarty ones were not bad too, as much as I hate the holodeck, particularly the ?second? one where he came back very angry and made holodecks within holodecks. But those don't particularly move the story forward.
It also revealed an unexpected trend: a lot of strong episodes from the 5th season. Perhaps that's when they finally hit their stride.
UPDATE 2010-02-07: After some quick playing around with search terms, I found that Memory Alpha has a list of Story Arcs across all of Star Trek. ENDUPDATE
Chronological / Stardatical:
Q and the introduction of the Borg - Q-Who (2x16)
Alternate universe with Enterprise-C - Yesterday's Enterprise (3x15)
Picard used by the Borg to attack the Federation - formative episode for his attitude towards the Borg and also formative for DS9 as Capt. Sisko's wife is killed in the Borg attack (3x26, 4x01)
First Contact (4x15) - a good first contact episode
Darmok - interesting idea of aliens who communicate only in metaphor (5x02) - also first episode with Ashley Judd
Ensign Ro (5x03) - I think this is the introduction of the Bajorans and Cardassians, it's definitely the introduction of Ro Laren
The Game (5x06) - second episode with Ashley Judd - a rare episode in which Will Wheaton actually has something to do
Spock strives to bring the Romulans back onto the path of peace and eventual reunification with Vulcan - Unification I & II (5x07, 5x08)
I, Borg (5x23) - humanisation of the Borg to some extent, moral dilemma for Picard, introduces character of Hugh
Picard lives an entire alternate lifetime on an alien planet in a matter of minutes - The Inner Light (5x25) - generally the TNG episode with the highest rating from fans in various surveys and rankings
END SEASON 5
Picard tortured by Cardassian (Gul Madred) - Chain of Command Part II (6x11)
Tapestry (6x15) - an unexpected backstory / alternative history of Picard's life
Series Finale - All Good Things (7x25, 7x26)
There are lots of lists of top episodes, e.g.
Entertainment Weekly - Top 10 TNG Episodes