Star Trek TNG Season 3: 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 episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season two of The Next Generation.

Season three is definitely when TNG picks up, and I had a harder time narrowing my selection because of good options this time! I also wanted to be sure to mention an honorable mention, The Ensigns of Command, since I did have a hard time choosing it or my #5 choice.

5. The Defector

tng3-thedefectorThis was one of those episodes that left me feeling kind of depressed in the end, but it was pretty poignant. It reminds me a bit of the DS9 episode “Duet.” I really don’t want to say too much to spoil the episode for those who have not seen it, but there are some interesting twists in it.

4. Sins of the Father

tng3-thesinsofthefatherI’m not a big fan of Klingon episodes, so I was surprised how much I liked this one. I have a feeling I got much more out of it this time around than I probably did the first time, simply because now I’m familiar with Worf’s journey, and his family is a big part of that journey (and I don’t just mean blood family). I also love what Picard does for Worf in this episode.

3. The Hunted

tng3-thehuntedI have a definite love for the psychological episodes of Star Trek, and this one explores the fascinating psychological idea of engineering a group of people a certain way, in this case, to be soldiers.

2. Yesterday’s Enterprise

tng3-yesterdaysenterpriseFirst off, from a purely productional standpoint, I love the dark lighting of the other timeline’s Enterprise. Second, we see another version of Tasha who is just so much more awesome for some reason. And third, there’s just something about this story, that I can’t really explain, that is just plain great. It’s a fan favorite so clearly I’m not alone.

1. The Best of Both Worlds

tng-thebestofbothworlds2Just as a note, this is a wicked cliffhanger two-parter that comprises the season three finale and the first episode of season four. For the sake of simplicity, I am including both parts in my season three recap (though Charlene waited until season 4). I mean, I don’t know what to say about this episode other than the first time I watched it I was just FLOORED. It was the first really huge risk I feel they took in Star Trek and it worked really well. This time around, instead of watching parts one and two in the same fashion they were originally aired, we watched the enhanced Blu-Ray that edits the episodes together as one seamless film. Even when you know the outcome, you still feel the tension in these episodes. It’s one of the best stories of The Next Generation, period.

What are your favorite episodes of The Next Generation, season 3?

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Star Trek TOS Season 3: 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 5 favorite episodes of season three of The Original Series

I thought season two was bad… but season 3 was full of some clunkers. HOWEVER, the episodes that were decent I think were more decent than those in season two, and when selecting my favorites I ended up with a list of 6, so it wasn’t all bad. Also, there were some episodes that I think actually had real potential, and if they had been done like in Deep Space Nine they could have been awesome, but they just fell flat or took a turn for the dumb. I’m particularly thinking of The Mark of Gideon and Requiem for Methuselah. Also, I had distinctly remembered Spock’s Brain (this season’s first episode) as being the worst ever of the series, and I was so wrong. Was it good? No, but there were much worse.

So first off I’ll go ahead and mention my sixth favorite and runner-up for this list was The Tholian Web. I thought I should mention it because it’s popular. There were a few more that I liked a little more, however. Also, I also struggled with this order a lot, so it may not reflect my feelings everyday, but nonetheless, I did the best I could.

5. For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

ST-theworldishollowI will voice my biggest gripe about this episode (my second biggest grip is the awful costumes, FYI) up front: McCoy gets MARRIED in this episode and then ABANDONS his wife! And she’s OK with it! And there’s also awful instalove here (doesn’t just happen in YA books), but even that’s better than abandoning your spouse! What did I like? The premise, mostly, about a traveling planet (really, a ship) where the people don’t know exactly what their purpose is as they follow arbitrary rules set for them. And unlike many of the episodes this season, it wasn’t poorly executed, other than this whole abandonment thing.

4. Day of the Dove

ST-dayofthedoveI think the Klingons are a lot more interesting in TOS than they are in the subsequent series (with the exception of, very specifically, the Augment episodes of Enterprise), and this is a good episode showcasing them, probably my favorite TOS episode featuring them. An alien force that feeds off of hatred causes the Klingons and the crew of the Enterprise to act violently towards one another, and once they realize what is happening, they must fight against it.

3. The Cloud Minders

ST-thecloudmindersI think this is another one I like more for the premise than anything, and thankfully the execution wasn’t terrible. On this planet there is a group of people who live on ground and work in the mines, and then there are the privileged who get to live in the city on the clouds. This is probably one of the best TOS episode for the portrayal of women, even if there are skimpy outfits, because Vanna is strong and ambitious and nobody’s love interest (even if she is stubborn for not listening to Kirk when she should have, I can’t blame her for being skeptical), and while Droxine is really into Spock (who has some uncharacteristic dialogue in this episode with no explanation as to why) and naive, she has a really nice arc in this episode and sees reason when her father does not. There are several Star Trek episodes throughout the various series that touch on the issue of the separation of classes and I think this is a pretty good one for the time period.

2.  The Enterprise Incident

ST-theenterpriseincidentAt the beginning of the episode, it seems Kirk has lost his mind flying into Romulan space, then we come to find out he did so under Starfleet orders. Spock plays a huge role in distracting a woman Romulan officer while Kirk gets what he needs from the ship, which proves to be an easy task because she is fascinated by him, and dare I say, he might be by her as well. However, he stays clear-headed in his typical Spock way, but the psychology of their interaction, as well as the general sneakiness going on while Kirk is on his mission, definitely makes this episode a stand-out for season three.

Kirk_Romulan

1. All Our Yesterdays

ST-allouryesterdaysI don’t even remember this episode from my first watch of the show, but I was pretty into it this time. First off, I found the concept really interesting of a planet that sends people back in time when their existence is about to end, and also that they are capable of time jumping but not space travel! Also, the fact that when Spock went back 5000 years in his past that he started to act like a Vulcan from 5000 years ago was really interesting! It was a sad ending but I still loved the last line from Spock when he says: “Yes, it did happen. But that was 5000 years ago.” I also think it’s funny that both this episode and the popular YA novel of the same novel borrowed the title from Shakespeare AND have time travel plots!

ST-allouryesterdays2Season three was an interesting season for Spock and McCoy. Of course, there has been friction between the two all through the series, and the dynamic continues into the movies, but there were several episodes of season three where they were forced to work together, like “The Paradise Syndrome,” “The Tholian Web,” “The Empath,” and “All Our Yesterdays.” After “The Tholian Web,” in fact, I feel like their relationship changed and become less hostile toward one another and that they started to respect each other more. I also felt like we got to see more facets of Spock this season, where he seems more open to people groups that seem different from him on the surface (“The Way to Eden”) and shows more interest in women for a typical season (“The Enterprise Incident,” “The Cloud Minders,” and “All Our Yesterdays”).

ST-thewaytoedenSo we’re moving on to The Next Generation next, though my husband did bring out The Animated Series DVDs out first. Most people don’t count it and I just wasn’t ready to go through it again yet. We’re also actually watching the shows in the order they were aired, meaning that after the first few seasons of TNG we’ll start mixing in some Deep Space Nine episodes as well. But until then, we’ve got to endure the not-so-great beginning of The Next Generation.

If you’ve seen season three of Star Trek’s original series, which episodes are your favorite?

Star Trek TOS Season 2: 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 5 favorite episodes of season two of The Original Series

Season 2 of TOS is filled with a lot more “blah” episodes than season 1, so I had a much harder time choosing a Top 5, when I felt like there were only 3 truly stand-out episodes. I thought about doing a worst episodes list instead, or at the suggestion of my husband, listing my favorite episode three times (because really, it does deserve it), but I buckled down and looked at the few “just fine” episodes and picked two of those to round out this list.

5. Journey to Babel

Journey_to_BabelIt is kind of neat, especially if you haven’t seen any other Star Trek that comes after this, to see Spock’s parents and how they interact with Spock. And even though Spock drives me up the wall in this episode, I’m glad he finally caved and decided to the transfusion to save his father. Also, this episode was worth it for me because of the “Andorian fight scene.” You’ll have to listen to podcasts from the Trek FM network to fully understand that joke.

4. Patterns of Force

Patterns-of-ForceI don’t even remember this episode from my first run-through of the series. It has some problems, particularly in that it suffers from some of the lame reoccurring themes of the season (Starfleet person goes crazy, parallels with Earth), but there’s something about WWII, even if it’s not real WWII, that fascinates me. The whole Nazi party is interesting psychologically too, and this could have been an awesome two-parter that really delved into all that. We didn’t quite get all that, but I did like the underground movement that helped Kirk and Spock as they tried to figure out how to get “The Fuhrer” without getting themselves killed.

3. Mirror, Mirror

mirror-mirrorPart of me resents this episode’s existence because it brought about way too many lame mirror universe episodes in Deep Space Nine, and the highly regarded mirror episodes of Enterprise that I can’t stand because it’s ALL about the mirror versions of the characters and not the ACTUAL characters and they’re just mean and I don’t like them. But ANYWAY, if I look at this episode by itself, it is kind of neat. And who doesn’t love Mirror Spock and his goatee? The whole episode is worth watching for that alone. I also love that Regular Spock recognizes right away the landing party are their mirror counterparts and locks them up. Go Spock!

Mirror_Mirror

2. A Piece of the Action

a-piece-of-the-actionSeeing Spock and Kirk dressed as 1920s gangsters is priceless. Kirk’s invention of Fizzbin is hilarious. The territory leaders are great in their roles. Really, I just love so much in this episode.

1. The Trouble With Tribbles

tribbles2Could this have possibly been any other episode? The Trouble With Tribbles is hands-down my favorite TOS episode, and one of my favorites of all of Trek. And I love even more that Deep Space Nine later honored this episode with Trials and Tribbleations. It is truly priceless. I just find it impossible to resist the cute, furry, cooey tribbles! And Kirk in that pile of Tribbles… it’s just great. Nearly every moment in this episode is just perfection.

tribblesSo why all that hate towards season 2? Aside from a lot of mediocre episodes, there were also a lot of reoccurring themes that really bothered me, such as…

  • Starfleet officers gone crazy
  • Kirk unfit for command (I think this only happened twice, but it was two episodes in a row!)
  • Parallels with Earth and/or America that felt forced and strange (ESPECIALLY in The Omega Glory, OMG)
  • Evil computers
  • Computers getting talked to death by Captain Kirk
  • Interference with cultures (AKA breaking The Prime Directive… of course this happens all the time in all the series…)

But it’s not all bad. For instance, you learn that Spock secretly has an affinity for soft, furry creatures, including Tribbles and cats…

spock_catI was glad to see Chekov make his appearance in season two. He got more screen time than I expected for his early episodes, but apparently they had to rewrite some of the episodes to feature him instead of Sulu because George Takei was caught up in another project for a time. Though Chekov was created for a younger audience and is pretty much supposed to be the Davy Jones of Star Trek, I think there is more to him than that. I really like him as a character and I’m glad they added him in.

Pavel_ChekovOne last notable mention: Seeing Zefram Cochrane in the episode “Metamorphosis.” If the episode had not ended so strangely I might have put it on my Top 5, but when I saw the episode for the first time the name of Cochrane meant nothing to me. Seeing him after having seen the rest of Trek though (particularly the movie First Contact) meant a lot more!

If you’ve seen season two of Star Trek’s original series, which episodes are your favorite? Does Kirk talking computers to death or the crazy Star Fleet officers or the Earth parallels drive anyone else crazy?