Star Trek Guide

Star Trek TNG: 10 Fillers Worth Watching

In the long history of the ever-expanding Star Trek universe, there comes plenty of filler episodes. These were meant to space out the season between story arcs, meaning some were not so great. The Next Generation had its fair share of duds but there are a few hidden gems that you can't miss. Whether it's a gallivant through Sherwood forest or meeting great authors of the past, fans and critics alike have a few favorite one-offs that are always a fun re-watch.

Grab the popcorn and set the phasers to fun, here are 10 Fillers Worth Watching from Star Trek: The Next Generation...

10 Qpid

With the omnipotent Q up to his usual schemes, Captain Picard and the crew are transported to a version of Sherwood Forest under the guise of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This creates the classic line from Commander Worf; "I am not a merry man!" Picard at many points seems to enjoy this distraction however, quoting various lines from the numerous stories of Robin Hood. Swashbuckling sword fights and plenty of playing on old Hollywood tropes ensue in this "just for fun" episode.

9 Time's Arrow (Part I & II)

In this time stretching story that spans all the way back to the 19th century, a startling discovery is found on Earth that leads to the possibility of Commander Data's death. The crew is forced to travel back in time to unravel an alien plot to harvest past humans and to rescue Data who is now stuck in the past. This story plays a lot with 24th-century characters being unfamiliar with the world of the past and some genuinely funny and endearing moments lend to this.

8 Captains Holiday

Sometimes even a stoic Captain like Jean Luc Picard needs some time off. After being convinced to take a much-needed vacation on the planet Risa, Picards attempts to relax are repeatedly interrupted eventually drawing him into an investigation lead by 27th-century detectives, looking for a device of some significance.

Some romance is in the mix as well with a new character, Vash, who is immediately mysterious. Truly a filler episode, but one that a fan of the great Picard shouldn't miss.

7 Darmok

The Enterprise is called to make contact with an unknown race called the Tamarians that speak using events and allegory instead of using actual words. This presents a problem immediately as the language barrier is almost impossible to overcome. They eventually kidnap Picard and beam him down to a planet with their own Captain. This puts Jean Luc in a tense situation where he must learn to communicate before the situation escalate.

Together they survive, face an alien creature, and ultimately overcome the barrier of language. A fantastic example of Trek mirroring real life in an episode that is fascinating to watch.

6 Data's Day

If there was ever one episode that is a must-watch to be introduced to Brent Spiner's Data this would be it. While still technically a filler episode, it shows Data involved in the marriage between two of the Enterprises crew members. Struggling to dance, understand love and trying to deal with a Romulan plot, this episode handles a lot in an hour.

Dr. Crusher attempts to teach the lovable android to dance while he explains that dancing is a "complicated set of variables". We also meet Data's fan-favorite cat, Spot.

5 The Big Goodbye

An amazing tribute to the noir films and era of the 1930's crime dramas, this episode is one of many that takes place mostly on the holodeck. Picard takes up the mantle of a grizzled private eye to take on a case but of course, nothing goes as planned. A malfunction causes the safety parameters in the holodeck to turn off and puts Jean Luc and Data in a life or death situation.

This is the first episode that features the amazing simulation tech and shows a side of the Captain we hadn't seen up to this point in the series.

4 Up The Long Ladder

If there was a definition of filler 'Up The Long Ladder' would probably be under it, however, this episode shows a great comparison of yin and yang between two colonies. After receiving a distress signal the Enterprise finds two colonies; one very advanced that has relied on cloning to further their species and the other, a simple farming community who have stuck to the old ways.

This builds up to the morality of cloning coming into question and provides a close look at how each of the main crew feels about being copied to help a dying race.

3 Relics

Fan service isn't always a bad thing, especially when used in service of a good story. After finding what appears to be a speculated 'Dyson Sphere' the Enterprise detects a downed ship on the surface of the colossal structure. It's revealed that it's the crashed ship ofStar Trek: The Original Series character Scotty. This is a fantastic episode for cool character moments between the former engineer of the Enterprise and the 24th-century crew.

Ageism and finding a new path in life are heavily featured in this episode which really puts a great cap on a fan-favorite character.

2 Cause And Effect

If you enjoy some time-bending in your TV you'll enjoy this fifth season episode that centers around the continued destruction of The Enterprise after being caught in a time loop. Problem-solving is at the forefront as the crew slowly realize they've been repeating the same actions over and over. Colliding with another ship sets the repeated events in motion and causes a critical failure in the warp core.

Dr. Crusher is the first to notice these repeated patterns and with the help of commander Data, they are able to work out a plan (using a single number) to save the ship and discover the other ship is one that's been missing for decades. A great example of classic sci-fi in action.

1 A Fistful Of Datas

Have you ever wanted a futuristic spaghetti western? Lieutenant Worf and his son, Alexander, are enjoying a relaxing program in the holodeck when a malfunction causes the big bad of the story to become Data. Worf attempts to quickly end the story, resulting in an entire western town becoming mirrors of the android officer. They have to take on the villain Eli, who is a fun watch with the face of Data.

With the help of Counselor Troi the three are able to restore order but not without some hilarious moments with Data as extremely over the top western characters.


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