Star Trek Guide

10 Best Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, According to IMDb

Premiering eighteen years after Star Trek: The Original Series went off the air, Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in 1987 and has seen its fanbase grow every year since. Returning the franchise to its TV roots while the original series cast was making movies, Next Generation ran for seven seasons and paved the way for a more mature version of Gene Roddenberry's concept.

Set one hundred years after the original series, Next Generation showed viewers a version of humanity that had truly turned Earth into a utopia and a Federation of Planets that had become allies with the Klingons. The series gave birth to some of the most important ideas to come out of Star Trek, but which are the best episodes? According to IMDb, these are the ten highest rated episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation...

10 Parallels: 8.9

Returning to the Enterprise after competing in a bat'leth tournament, Worf finds that everything is suddenly very different. He is now married to Deanna Troi and no longer knows how to use the ship's controls. This last change results in the death of Geordi La Forge.

As more changes in reality happen, it becomes clear that during his trip back to the Enterprise, Worf accidentally traveled through a space-time fissure and he is now caught between several alternate realities. Worf must locate the space-time fissure and travel back through it, sealing it off as he goes, before the realities all collapse on each other.

9 Cause And Effect: 9

Dealing with its own Groundhog Day situation, the crew of the Enterprise finds themselves caught in a temporal causality loop where they are living the same day over and over again, and the day always ends in their deaths. Dr. Crusher discovers what is happening and is able to record the voices of the previous loop's version of the crew shortly before their deaths, which is just creepy. Using Data's positronic brain, the crew is able to tell the next versions of themselves how to break the loop. Also, Kelsey Grammer is in this episode!

8 Q Who: 9

To prove to Captain Jean-Luc Picard that he should be a crewmember of the Enterprise, the extra-dimensional being called Q sends the ship 7000 lightyears across the galaxy. Even at full warp, it will take the Enterprise more than two years to reach the nearest starbase. But that isn't the only problem Picard and the crew will face.

This is the episode that introduced arguably the most interesting alien race in all of Star Trek, the Borg. Part cyborg, part zombie, the Borg are a perfect foil to the purpose of the United Federation of Planets.

7 Tapestry: 9

Jean-Luc Picard has an artificial heart, which he got while he was a cadet in Starfleet after he was stabbed in a bar fight. While on a diplomatic mission, Picard gets shot and his artificial heart is disrupted, killing him. The captain of the Enterprise wakes up in an otherworldly realm where Q is waiting for him.

Q explains to Picard that if he had a natural human heart, he would have survived the attack, and gives Picard the chance to do just that. Q sends Picard's mind back in time into his younger body two days before the bar fight so he can avoid the confrontation and see how his life would have been different. Turns out, not getting stabbed leads to a worse life for the Captain.

6 All Good Things: 9.1

The series finale, "All Good Things" sees Picard jumping between three points in time. One point is seven years earlier, just before the USS Enterprise-D's first mission, the second point is the present day, and the third point is twenty-five years in the future where a retired Picard is living on his family vineyard.

All three moments find Picard investigating a spatial anomaly, and you can bet your gold-pressed latinum that Q is involved. The extra-dimensional being has decided that the time to judge humanity has come, and if Picard cannot prove that mankind deserves to continue to exist, Q will wipe them out.

5 The Measure Of A Man: 9.1

When Starfleet Commander Bruce Maddox makes the decision to have Data dismantled and studied so that the Federation can recreate Noonien Soong's invention, Data chooses to resign from Starfleet rather than risk being destroyed. Maddox, believing that Data is not, in fact, a living being but Starfleet property plans to take the android apart either way.

A trial is held to determine if Data is a sentient being or if he is, as Maddox claims, incredibly high tech machinery. Picard agrees to represent Data in the trial, and Commander Will Riker is forced to represent Starfleet, pitting him against his own crewmates.

4 Yesterday's Enterprise: 9.2

Coming across another pesky rift in spacetime, the Enterprise-D finds itself face to face with the Enterprise-C, a ship that was destroyed twenty years earlier. As the Enterprise-C makes its way through the rift, the timeline suddenly changes, and the Enterprise-D turns into a warship that is leading the Federation's war against the Klingons.

Knowing that the timeline has changed, the two crews believe that the Enterprise-C was destroyed in a Romulan attack while helping the Klingons. This moment not only stops a possible war between the Federation and the Klingons, but it is also what makes the Klingon Empire see that the Federation has honor, bringing the two enemies together. The crew of the Enterprise-C chooses to return to their time and die with honor.

3 The Best Of Both Worlds Part II: 9.3

In the second part of one of the most intense storylines of any Star Trek series, Captain Picard has been assimilated by the Borg and is now called Locutus. Having gained Picard's knowledge of Starfleet plans, the Borg are virtually unstoppable as they make their way into Federation space.

The Enterprise, now under the command of Will Riker, heads to Wolf 359 to join the Federation's battle with the Borg, only to find a graveyard of Starfleet ships. The Enterprise tracks down the Borg Cube and are able to beam Data and Worf onboard where they find Picard and bring him back to the ship. Using Picard's connection to the Borg hivemind, Data forces al the Borg to enter a hibernation mode, shutting down the Cube's defenses and making it easy for the Enterprise to take it out.

2 The Best Of Both Worlds Part I: 9.4

As you may have guessed from the episode listed just before this one, "The Best of Both Worlds" has the Enterprise come into contact with a Borg Cube and Picard gets captured and assimilated, becoming Locutus. This two-parter has had a huge effect on the overall history of Star Trek. Benjamin Sisko, the captain of Deep Space Nine, was at the battle of Wolf 359, along with his wife and young son. His wife died in the battle, and Sisko never forgave Picard for his part in it. Star Trek: First Contact, the second of the Next Generation movies, and the current Star Trek series Picard also directly connect back to this two-parter and Picard's assimilation into Locutus.

1 The Inner Light: 9.5

Inspired by The Beatles' song "The Inner Light", written by George Harrison, which itself is based on verses in the Tao Te Ching, this isn't just the best Next Generation episode, but arguably the best episode of any Star Trek series. "The Inner Light" starts when the Enterprise is scanned by an unknown probe. The probe focuses on Picard and hits him with an energy beam. Picard wakes to find himself on Kataan, a non-Federation planet. Not only that, but he is apparently married and everyone here knows him as Kamin the iron weaver.

As the medical crew of the Enterprise try to wake Picard on the ship, he lives an entire life on Kataan, having children and grandchildren, and even learning to play the flute. An old man, Picard has come to love his life as Kamin, only to learn that it isn't real. The probe connected to Picard's mind and filled him with the memories of a man from a doomed planet hoping to somehow keep its culture from being wiped out along with the planet.


More on this: 877 stories