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TV From The Crypts: Star Trek The Next Generation Seasons 2 and 3

Time to play catch up in the final frontier. Being such a self-proclaimed science fiction aficionado it’s only fair that I make it through all the Star Trek series, and I have been making it so with the TNG part of the franchise. I’ve got my tips on the best episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 for you, as well as the ones I wish I had skipped.

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I really do love rewatching old TV shows, it’s like reliving your favorite revenge fantasy or reminiscing about the good old days when animals ruled the earth. It’s particularly entertaining watching an old show about the future and trying to see what aspects they got right, or might get right, in our future. And as much as I am quick to knock on Star Trek, I have to give them some credit, especially in the realm of predicting future technologies. It is neat to see them running around with iPad like devices, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason some of our current technology looks the way it does is because the creators were once upon a time big trekkies. Of course, there are a lot of things that will never be possible like warp travel, teleportation, and food replicators, but one can dream. (And no, I am not just being a Debbie-Downer saying that, I actually have some scientific reasoning behind that statement, feel free to ask me about it in the comment section).

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But on to Season 2. Overall it was ok, but I was a little upset with it, mainly because of the absence of Dr. Crusher and the new doctor on board, Dr. Pulaski, being a bit of a curmudgeon. If you were to try to pick what I think is the best episodes of the season to watch, what would it be? I can easily categorize the episodes in to recurring themes that happen in the series as well. Elementary, Dear Data had a recurring but interesting plot as it tried to delve in to the ethical consequences of creating a sentient villain on the Holodeck. Even if you only watch it to see Riker get out-flirted by another man, The Outrageous Okona is a decent episode. Loud as a Whisper also deals with interesting ethical dilemmas faced by telepathics.

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I loved A Matter of Honor where Riker gets to be the first officer on a Klingon vessel. And The Measure of a Man almost sees Data fall in to the hands of a scientist and be deemed property, which I enjoyed for many reasons as well as possibly applying this to artificial intelligence or other animal species. Time Squared gives you some time travel problems as well as a slightly evil version of Picard. Any episode with Lwaxana Troi is worth watching in my eyes, and Manhunt is the first to feature her this season.

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Where Silence Has Lease falls in to the category of the crew’s morals being tested by an all powerful alien being, and naturally proving themselves. Other episodes this season that fall in to this category: The Royale, Q Who, and Peak Performance.

Episodes worth skipping: The Child is quite predictable as Troi deals with the emotions of being impregnated with some bizarre alien presence and giving birth to a super child, which was definitely not up my alley. The Dauphin had a little too much teen angst for me. Samaratin Snare is another overly predictable episode. Despite it’s name and focusing on Riker, Shades of Gray was not TNG’s dive in to the world of S&M, but a boring flashback episode about Riker’s life. And to top it all off, that was the last episode of the season: way to fizzle out!

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But on to Season 3. Although the first episode, Evolution, is corny and frustrating at times, it has some great one-liners. We get to see a nanite species evolve in to a thinking, communicating community and bash humans in the process. Then the next several episodes after that are quite dull and predictable. Booby Trap is a fun episode, and The Enemy deals with Romulans and La Forge being forced to work together. I do enjoy me some alien politics.

The High Ground has some great one-on-one time with Dr. Crusher, and was one of my favorite episodes of the season. I feel like I relate to Crusher the most, and enjoyed her doing the right thing in this episode. Yesterday’s Enterprise is another great episode delving in to more time travel wonders and showing what great moral fiber those of Starfleet of all possible parallel universes have. The Offspring deals with Data’s continued quest to be more human, and in this situation to reproduce. Sins of the Father lets us learn more about Klingon culture, but has a rather sad ending. Captain’s Holiday is another must-watch, not because of Picard being in a speedo, but because of learning more about his personality and meeting one of his lovers. Hollow Pursuits introduces us to Barclay, who is a little over the top unqualified, but still a good character to add in to have these story lines of everyone trying to be supportive. The Most Toys has some great acting on Brett Spiner’s part. And we get more great Lwaxana in Menage a Troi. And this season the epic finale is one that is a cliffhanger, The Best of Both Worlds Part 1, where we first get to meet Picard assimilated with the bad-ass Borg, a villain that easily rivals the Daleks.

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There are numerous episodes where Riker gets or almost gets a little too much alien booty, including Up the Long Ladder, Manhunt, A Matter of Honor, The Vengeance Factor, A Matter of Perspective, and The Offspring. I know he makes a good first officer, but Riker is one of my least favorite human beings. Not because he sleeps around, everyone has the right to do what they like with their own body, but because he treats women like objects and conquests. In some ways, he’s worse than Kirk despite this being a more progressive TV show.

After watching these latest two seasons of TNG I find myself looking back on it and wondering what I enjoyed most. I am glad that I am becoming more cultured and learning more about the Trekkie universe, but I still find myself bored to tears about a third of the time. I will say that the show deals with some interesting possible ethical dilemmas, and overall they chose the more progressive angle when they make their conclusions in these situations, but I still prefer the inner struggle faced by those with the force over the more cut and dry politics of our supposed advanced civilization and journeys in to space.

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Posted on January 25, 2016, in TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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