Star Trek TNG Season 1: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

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 five episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 3 favorite episodes of season one of The Next Generation (she couldn’t quite come up with 5 this season, and I can’t blame her). 

Ahh… early TNG. It’s not the best. We’re already getting a glimpse into things that annoy me in multiple Star Trek series: Q, Troi’s mom, and Ferengi. There was also a lot of set-up for Wesley ALREADY which really surprised me. They really wanted him to be special, apparently, and threw Tasha under the bus to the point where the actress asked to get killed off. I’ve got to say, I liked Tasha more this time around than I did the first time. I’m not sure if it’s because of seeing Denise Crosby at a convnetion or what. Anyhow, all that said, there were a few decent episodes this season, but let’s just say I’m definitely anticipating the later seasons and some of my favorite episodes that are to come.

5. Symbiosis

tng-1-symbosisThere are some things in this episode that bother me, and I don’t just mean the stuff that’s supposed to make you uncomfortable, but main characters saying dumb things and logic flaws. Despite this, however, it still has an intriguing premise that gets you to think about interfering with other cultures when one is exploiting the other.

4. Haven

tng-1-havenI’d be lying if I said I thought this was a really good episode, but it’s quite entertaining, mostly for Troi telling her mom off. I also find the arranged marriage trope an interesting one sometimes.

3. The Neutral Zone

tng-1-theneutralzoneThe biggest problem with this episode is that there is really pretty equal time for the actual Neutral Zone plotline (which you think would be the more dominate story given the episode title) and the subplot about three frozen people from the past who are recovered by the Enterprise (without Captain Picard’s knowledge… come on, Data, that’s sketch…), and really, these probably should have just been two different episodes because neither felt fully fleshed out. I feel that basically the main point of this episode as the season one finale was to set-up future conflict with the Romulans, but they weren’t feeling daring enough for big cliffhangers yet. (If this had been a later Deep Space Nine episode, OMG, stuff would have gone down.) So mostly, I like this episode for its potential.

2. Conspiracy

tng-1-conspiracyThis is another episode that I like mostly for the potential of what could have been (what still could be if they ever make a new Star Trek show that is set during/after Voyager time), however, it was stronger than The Neutral Zone. In this episode, we see that a species has infiltrated some high-up Starfleet officers, and while the immediate threat is neutralized at the end, there’s an open-ended something that hints more certainly can come. Apparently it was supposed to be explored again but alas, has not been. But it really should be because I’m curious! This episode gets negative points though for the gross-alien-creature-inside-people deal though. Is that really necessary?

1. Coming of Age

tng-1-comingofageI remembered this episode from my previous watch and was surprised that it was first season. This is actually a pretty decent Wesley episode, in fact, it might be the best Wesley story of all TNG, but I guess I’ll have to watch the other seasons again to say for sure. It’s certainly better than Justice. In this one Wesley learns what it takes to get into Starfleet, and acts more mature and less annoying than his usual season one self. I’ve decided to give this episode the top spot for this season mostly because I find it the most memorable.

I’ve got to say, in season one (and from my memory, in all of TNG really), Data really steals the show. I feel Brent Spiner really had Data down from the start and I came to love him all over again very quickly!

If you’ve seen season one of The Next Generation, which episodes are your favorite?

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14 thoughts on “Star Trek TNG Season 1: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve watched any TNG episodes! Unfortunately, I never got to watch them in order, because my husband usually chose which one we watched by reading the brief synopsis. No matter, though. I still enjoy them.

    I have to agree with you about how awesome Data is. He’s by far my favorite character!

  2. Random fact about Symbiosis. It was filmed after the episode where Tasha dies and so her actual last shot is at the end… I haven’t seen the episode in ages but he’s waving as a door to a shuttlebay or something closes.

    I always like the idea of Wesley but I was a teenage girl when I was watching the series so he was the easiest way for me to relate to the show. But I don’t think the idea of this kid was always executed as well as it could have been.

    Haven and Conspiracy would be at the top of my season 1 list as well in part because I love Lwaxana Troi. And I think the idea of an arranged marriage is interesting and fun to explore in a series like this. Too Short a Season always kind of freaked me out.

    • Yes, Denise Crosby told that story at a convention I went to, so I looked for it and saw it!

      I’m not a big fan of Lwaxana so I like Deanna telling her off, though she did become a bit more tolerable late in DS9.

  3. I was thinking that if I watched the first season again now that I’ve been through the whole series, I might have more to appreciate about season 1, now that I’m more invested in the characters and it would be more interesting to see them starting out again. So I think I will revisit these episodes you mentioned – especially Coming of Age because I don’t remember it too well. Conspiracy definite thumbs up! I wish they had done more with that storyline in later seasons – it’s insidiously creepy. Although maybe DS9 is doing it better now with the Founders! (less disgusting this way! 🙂

  4. Oh Season 1… It’s okay-ish. It’s definitely not their best season and has probably some of its worst episodes. “Conspiracy” and “Coming of Age” are two pretty decent episodes. I also liked “Heart of Glory,” “Datalore,” and “11001001.”

    • I kind of liked 11001001 too. I just don’t care for Lore episodes for some reason, but I know Datalore is another one people like. Heart of Glory isn’t a bad one either, I’m just generally not wild about Klingon episodes.

  5. Not wild about Klingon episodes and you don’t like Q? You live in a terrible head-world.

    5) Code of JUST KIDDING. Man, I’m really having a hard time. This season is SO bad.

    5 for real) Datalore – Best “Shut Up, Wesley!” ever.
    4) Haven – One of the ones I remember furthest back, pretty decent. Also, what’s-his-name-Wyatt was a villain in Heroes and kinda awesome ….
    3) Coming of Age – Legit. Liked the tests for Wesley
    2) Heart of Glory – Klingon death growl for the win.
    1) Conspiracy – I like my Trek like I like my coffee.

    honorableish mentions (any could be 5 really):
    11001001 – Just kinda like it. Dunno
    Arsenal of Freedom – Liked Geordi in command on the ship
    Skin of Evil – Like Crosby, hated Tasha. Always will have a soft spot for putting her out of our misery.

  6. Ahhhh, such great choices!! I really enjoyed all of those episodes, especially Haven. That one was strange, but I really liked the whole message or whatever. I’m tempted to go try to pick out my top 5 favorites as well, but maybe I should watch the rest of the seasons first? lol.

    • Well I’m just picking 5 per season as I go, while they’re still fresh in my mind! I’m glad to know other people like Haven though… I thought people were going to talk badly about it for some reason.

      • Haven was produced first but runs later. And it shows. TNG is clearly still finding its feet at this point and while I like some of what it has to offer, I’m not a huge fan. I also find it interesting to note at this point they hadn’t decided if Riker’s nickname was Will or Bill. Troi clearly refers to him as Bill during the holodeck scene.

  7. Reading your list, I see that we disagree on which episodes are our favorites from each season.

    And boy, do we ever more disagree on season one!

    I’d put Heart of Glory in my top five as well as the one with Binars. (I never get the sequence of numbers right for the title!) I would also have to put Where No One Has Gone Before in there.

    Of course, this is the fan who likes what Justice is trying to do, even if the execution doesn’t necessarily work!

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