based on the original blog post at http://blog.thorx.net/2011/01/tng-condensed/#more-218 which got more comments on it's fb version: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150370454285430
A friend recently noted he was lacking in cultural awareness of Star Trek:TNG, and so struck up a conversation about what eps should be watched.
And I got thinking about that. I watched all of TNG many years ago, and have long held the view that I wont watch it all again. Just not worth it, too many crap episodes. But there are many good episodes too, and so it solidified a thought I’d had for a while – to compile approximately a season worth of episodes from the 7 seasons produced, that would cover the best that TNG had to offer.
So beginning with the opening and closing episodes, it was pretty logical then to include the entire Q arc. Not a difficult call since Q is arguably the most entertaining recurring character. Q’s arc intersects with the most famous of TNG aliens, the Borg, so the entire Borg arc was then also an easy choice. Continuing in this style, the Borg arc intersects with Lore’s arc, and with one additional non-Lore episode, this arguably covers the main Data character arc. I then included the episodes with cameos from the original series… and a few bonus that are notable for being of high quality anyway, or just personal favourites.
- Encounter at Farpoint (because Introduction, Q)
- Hide and Q (because Q)
- Datalore (because Data, Lore)
- The Measure of a Man (because Data)
- Q Who (because Q, Borg)
- The Survivors (because it's a personal favourite)
- Deja Q (because Q)
- Yesterday's Enterprise (because Guinan, Star Trek universe notability)
- The Best of Both Worlds – Part I (because Borg)
- The Best of Both Worlds – Part II (because Borg)
- Family (because Picard (and Worf) after Best of Both Worlds. Makes an epilogue to Best of Both Worlds)
- Brothers (because Data, Lore)
- Qpid (because Q)
- Darmok (because notably good, Picard)
- Unification – Part I and II (because Spock)
- Cause and Effect (because even though it's a technobabble anomaly-of-the-week, it's as an example of that, and this has clever tension building and story telling
- watching guideline: This episode is paced to tie in with the enforced ad breaks that broadcast television dictates. It's worth replicating those to a small degree when watching. Especially at the first (~48s in)
- I, Borg (because Borg)
- The Inner Light (because notably excellent, Picard)
- Relics (because Scotty)
- True Q (because Q)
- Chain of Command – Part I and II (because Picard)
- Tapestry (because Q, Picard)
- Frame of Mind (because Riker)
- Descent – Part I (because Borg, Lore)
- Descent – Part II (because Borg, Lore)
- Lower Decks (because I think it's interesting :)
- All Good Things (double length ep) (because Q, series conclusion)
So what have I missed? The main arcs left uncovered would be Wesley Crusher character arc, Worf’s character/Klingon Empire story arc, and Romulan Empire arc. I've only touched briefly on Guinan and she was rather great, and I've got no Barcley story arc, which is also a shame - he was a fun character too. The above episode list is intended to be a base introduction to the 7 years of TNG - if you want to see more, I suggest following with these story and character arcs just mentioned - but I'm afraid you'll have to investigate yourself to find the episodes. (Star Trek is actually largely non-arc based, so I don't think watching episodes out of order is any great loss)
So this posts asks… are there any truly notable TNG episodes or arcs that would be worth including for the sake of a watchable TNG:condensed “season” of episodes?
So here are some episodes which seem to be notably good and standalone, and so could be worth some followups without getting into the other arcs...
- The Drumhead (4x21)
- Time's Arrow (5x26 and 6x01)
- Data, Guinan, timetravel
- Another "Condensed" listing - this one touches on several of the arcs mine missed - Romulans and Barclay. https://ask.metafilter.com/118960/Introduce-me-to-Star-Trek#1705460
- A fan-created Trek-dedicated wiki is great for further research: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation
- A Doctor Who equivalent: ... find the Beginner's Guide To Doctor Who by Kyle Anderson...