As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season four of The Next Generation.
So this was an interesting season for me. Season 3 I felt that most episodes were pretty consistently good, and I thought I probably felt the same way about Season 4… until I looked back on the list of episodes and realized there were more “meh” ones than I recalled. Some had some things I liked about them before something weird happened or the resolution was unsatisfying. However, I came with five that I did feel were pretty consistently good. I have to say I’m a little surprised by what I haven’t seen yet at this point, so these later seasons should be good as I see some of the episodes I remember from before.
After his experience with becoming Borg, Picard goes back to his home on Earth and visits with his family. This episode has an extremely sad undertone if you’ve seen a certain TNG movie, but it is interesting to see Picard where he grew up and interacting with his brother, who has very different interests and ambitions.
4. Redemption, Part One
I am seriously appreciating the Klingon episodes more this time around. In this episode, we get some important set-up for the future of the Klingon Empire and important development for Worf’s character. This part one doesn’t end in a real cliffhanger, but it certainly sets things up in a shocking way with something that was alluded to in a previous episode (holy Deep Space Nine, TNG has continuity after all!).
What I enjoyed about this one is that you get to see things from the perspective of those outside the Federation. No, it’s not told from their viewpoint, but you get to hear more of their viewpoint than you normally do in a typical Star Trek episode. You understand why someone who has never, ever heard of Starfleet would not necessarily jump at the chance to join them. You see aliens react to humans like we would to aliens. It makes for good food-for-thought.
2. Data’s Day
This episode is a fun one. We get introduced to Spot (Data’s cat) and Keiko, who marries Chief O’Brien. I’ve actually forgotten a lot of the details of this one already, but I do remember enjoying it.
1. The Drumhead
This episode was a real standout for me this season. I think a large part of it is because I found it crazy relevant for something happening in my life right now, but even so, it’s not hard to think of just how relevant this episode is, period. Immediately your mind will take you to the Salem witch trials and the 1960’s Red Scare. This is an episode that you can appreciate even without really knowing anything about Star Trek, and I highly recommend it to really anyone reading this right now. Queue it up on Netflix if you have it.
What are your favorite episodes of TNG, season 4?
I remember watching TNG as it originally aired and finding season four to not be quite as great as season three. Part of it is that season three is such a huge leap forward in terms of quality and it ends with the best cliffhanger in the history of television.
Season four is good but it’s more consistent in terms of episode. It doesn’t quite have the same highs as season three, but overall it’s got a lot of quality episodes in there. I’m not sure if I’d have the same order of favorites you do — I still have to count Best of Both Worlds, Part 2 in there somewhere.
Best of Both Worlds didn’t get mentioned since I clumped them both last season… I think of them too much as one to really separate them in my mind. Season 3 definitely had the best cliffhanger ever!
I’m not even sure I LIKE five episodes here … I’ll roll with the below.
5. The Wounded – Cardassians = Deep Space Nine = win
4. Reunion – Continuity.
3. Family – A good, quiet drama to follow up on the Epic Cliffhanger of Crazy and its resolution.
2. Drumhead – Everything you said is totally spot on. The witch-hunt (of sorts) and its resolution are definitely interesting.
1. Redemption Pt 1 – Always had a soft spot for this one, love the last 10 minutes or so in particular.
Interesting thing about TNG, it definitely had some continuity involved, just not a much. Very episodic as a rule, but with some cropping up. The biggest is definitely the Klingon/Romulan interrelated storylines. Through the seasons, you’ve got Emissary, Sins of the Father, Reunion, The Mind’s Eye, Redemption 1/2, Unification 1/2, and possibly a handful of others I’m forgetting.
You’ve got Lore storylines, Borg storylines that both build on each other somewhat. There are definitely a handful of arcs, just not to the same level as DS9 or late Enterprise in particular.
I did consider The Wounded, and I liked Reunion decently as well. And you bring up a good point that there are a few arcs in TNG, also including the Macquis stuff.
A great collection of episodes! “Family” could have made it to my top 5 perhaps – maybe if I rewatch it I would appreciate it more. I don’t really remember Redemption too well, but I do wonder if a similar thing will happen to me on a rewatch and I’ll like the Klingon eps more. And yay for Data’s Day, that’s such a fun episode! The Drumhead totally deserves to be #1 I think – it’s so well done. (I’m sorry if you are going through anything like it right now – that’s terrible!)
It’s really more someone I know who’s going through the “inquisition,” if you will, but it hurts to watch when you know it’s wrong and you can’t do much about it. Thankfully, I think things are turning around a bit.
Nice list. I’d have to include the episode, “Brothers”, as well. This season was good, but there were some “meh” ones.
Here’s the conundrum with The Drumhead – it’s so good it’s very uncomfortable to watch, so I don’t like it. It’s totally not fair to say, “You did such a good job that I don’t like it.” But I just…
Suddenly Human I like, but don’t love. I like Reunion a lot but I also love K’Ehleyr. She’s like one of my favorite characters of the series because she’s smart and fierce and goes toe to toe with all the guys without backing down.
I also really like Future Imperfect. And Final Mission because – Wesley Crusher! Even though that’s not a great episode 🙂 Clues would be one of my favorites of the season, though, just because I like the way it unravels.
And Qpid, but only because I like Q. It’s not my favorite episode of his. Half a Life, I think is sad and interesting.
I completely understand the struggle to say you love something when it’s so uncomfortable, and that episode was! I think that sort of thing just has to hit me at the right time like this one did.