Sunday, March 13, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Seven Retrospective

1. Descent: Part II
The season opening falls apart almost immediately. The interesting premise set up in the previous season's cliff-hanger just wasn't played out well at all. This is just a jumbled mess.
Skip it

2. Liaisons
An alien race sends different liaisons to the Enterprise in order to learn about different human (and nonhuman) emotions. Fun, clever episode, especially in the scenes where the one guy keeps trying to piss off Worf.
Watch it

3. Interface
Another episode where Geordie pines for a woman he can never be with. This time, it's his mother. Weird!
Skip it

4./5. Gambit: Parts I & II
This season's action story. I'm not so sure that the story had to be stretched across two parts, but both are pretty darn entertaining and fun. 
Watch it

6. Phantasms
Data's dream program begins to give him nightmares. Meh.
Skip it

7. Dark Page
Lawaxana is back, only this time she has to deal with her repressed memories of her dead daughter. That's a lot darker than any other Lwaxana story, and unfortunately it just wasn't executed well at all. This episode is notable for containing a very early appearance by Kirsten Dunst.
Skip it

8. Attached
Picard and Dr Crusher get kidnapped and held in some psychic prison where they can read each other's emotions and thoughts. Neat idea, but short of classic status.
Watch it

9. Force of Nature
Some aliens show up and tell the Enterprise that warp technology is destroying the universe. Neat idea and not an all together bad attempt at an environmental episode, but it was just too silly and made no sense. This episode ends with Starfleet agreeing to set limits of where and when ships can use their warp drive, which was quickly ignored in every subsequent Star Trek series.
Skip it

10. Inheritance
Data meets the wife of his creator, who turns out to be yet another android. It's funny how the android character seems to have the largest extended family on the show, since we eventually met his father, his mother, two brothers, and even his grand father (or something) in an episode of Enterprise. Anyway, this movie is ok, and worth watching for the performance of Fionnula Flanaga, who went on to play Eloise Hawkingon Lost.
Watch it

11. Parallels
We finally have a great episode for season seven! Worf somehow finds himself shifting dimensions and realities, where the people and events change around him. This is another mind-bending, super entertaining episode that is one of my all time favories.
Buy it

12. The Pegasus
Riker's former commander comes back to enlist him on a secret mission that involves a classified incident they both helped cover up years ago. Turns out, they were a part of an attempt to develop a cloaking device, going in violation of some treaty Starfleet signed against the Romulans. Anyway, I like this episode a lot. It's a good conspiracy story and it has an awesome performance by Terry O'Quinn as Admiral Eric Pressman.
Buy it

13. Homeward
All of a sudden, Worf has another brother... and it's Paul Sorvino. Ok, why not? Sorvino uses the Holodeck to transporter some settlers to another planet without their knowledge. Ok episode, but nothing special. This same basic premise was later used for the Next Generation film Insurrection.
Skip it

14. Sub Rosa
Here's an episode for the ladies. This is basically a Gothic romance centered around Doctor Crusher's love affair with a ghost. This isn't one of my favorites. The main thing I remember is the scene where Crusher masturbates in her quarters. I wish I was making that up.
Skip it

15. Lower Decks
This episode is told from the perspective of the junior officers on the ship. This is actually a really good episode, even if it doesn't have enough of the main cast.
Watch it

16. Thine Own Self
Data is lost on some planet with Amnesia, where he is taken in by a family as he slowly begins to piece his memory back together. This is one of my favorite Data episodes. It's really well written and a lot of fun.
Buy it

17. Masks
I have no idea what this episode was about. Some weird probe infects the Enterprise and slowly turns the ship into some Aztec temple, and Data is possessed by a bunch of different personalities, one of whom is a sun goddess. Or something. This was a very clever story, I guess, but it makes no sense and is only worth watching because Brent Spiner is amazing as the various characters.
Watch it

18. Eye of the Beholder
A pretty good murder mystery with a Star Trek twist, because it involves two telepaths.  I like this one.
Watch it

19. Genesis
Data and Picard come back to the Enterprise only to find it derelict in space, while the crew members have all devolved into lower life forms. The high point of the episode is when they find Riker has turned into a caveman. I'm not sure how they could tell the difference. Anyway, this is a straight up horror story that was incredibly well done. I love this episode. This was the only episode directed by Dr Crusher herself, Gates McFadden, which is a shame because she did an impeccable job.
Buy it

20. Journey's End
Wesley Crusher helps out some Space Indians and then turns into a God.
Skip it

21. Firstborn
A future version of Worf's son Alexander travels back in time to prevent himself from growing up into a huge wimp. It doesn't work.
Skip it

22. Bloodlines
Remember that Ferengi DaiMon Bok from season one? Well, he's back. In order to get revenge on Picard, he tells him he's found his long lost son. But don't get too excited, since it turns out it was all some trick, so the entire episode was pointless.
Skip it

23. Emergence
The Enterprise becomes sentient, and manifests its psyche as a really boring program on the Holodeck. Huh?
Skip it

24. Preemptive Strike
Ro Laren leaves the crew and joins the Maquis, a group of freedom fighters at war with the Cardassian Empire. This episode is... ok.
Watch it

25./26. All Good Things... 
This finale episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is my pick for the greatest series finale in TV history. It is an absolutely brilliant story that uses time travel to merge this series finale with the events of the series pilot, creating a mind-bending story that is both enthralling and nostalgic. This is probably the best episode of the entire series, in my opinion.
Buy it

And... that's season seven of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I've finally reviewed every last episode, and I have my life back. Season seven was a mixed bag, containing some of my all time favorite episodes and more than a few of the absolute worst. Everything came together at the end, however, culminating in a masterful series finale.

Here are the totals:

Skip it: 11 (a new record)

Watch it: 9

Buy it: 6 (counting All Good Things as twice, since it was technically a two-part episode)

1 comment:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

This pretty much jibes with my memory of season 7. There were a lot of stinkers. I think the good writers had moved on to DS9 at that point.