The 8 Most Shamefully Stupid Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes

By Rob Bricken in Daily Lists, TV
Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:05 am
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By Chris Cummins

As The Munsters Today and The New Monkees demonstrated, it's almost never a good idea to update TV classics. Yet Star Trek: The Next Generation somehow bucked this trend. Featuring a cast consisting largely of unknowns, the series debuted in 1987 to a firestorm of promotion and heavy skepticism from Trekkies who wondered where the hell Kirk and Spock were. After two rocky seasons packed with personnel changes and episodes that were more often mediocre than not, Star Trek: The Next Generation finally came into its own during its third year on the air. By the time the show ended its run in 1994 after 178 episodes, it had ushered in a new era of sci-fi TV and proven itself to be a syndication phenomenon whose success rivaled that of its predecessor. But it was hardly a perfect series. The common complaints are that it relied too much on technobabble and was lacking in conflict amongst the characters. These are fair criticisms, but they don't mention the fact that some episodes were just plain idiotic. Data wants to do stand-up comedy? Star Trek Babies? Intergalactic stereotyping? Whoopi Goldberg? Often times viewers were left wondering just what the hell was happening in the 24th century. Set a course for stupidity with this look at the most inane adventures of Captain Picard and company.

8) The Naked Now

The first episode of Next Generation to air after the two-part "Encounter at Farpoint" pilot, this direct sequel to Star Trek's "The Naked Time" has Data getting laid, Wesley making viewers hate him and some no-name chief engineer helping to save the day. There are inauspicious debuts and then there is whatever is going on here. Dumb though it may be, it's still more entertaining than Star Trek: Insurrection.


7) Up the Long Ladder

The above trailer makes this episode look like a great sci-fi adventure, complete with classic Trek moralizing about the dangers of cloning. In reality, it's packed with the most offensive Irish stereotyping this side of a St. Patrick's Day frat party. All that's missing is Warwick Davis running around the Enterprise screaming "my gold!" until Worf has to phaser his diminutive ass. You can check out a clip of the defamatory fun here. Keeping in spirit with the episode, watch it while drinking a Guinness. Or six.


6) Dark Page

During her previous Star Trek: The Next Generation appearances, Lwaxana Troi was a sex-starved pain in the ass. In a marked improvement, she spends much of this episode in a coma. Lwaxana (whose name my spellcheck really wants to change to 'Lawman') has suffered a mental collapse and only Counselor Troi can save her by telepathically entering her brain...or some such malarkey. Initiating an attempt at an emotional rescue that would make Mick and Keith proud, Deanna learns that her mother's breakdown was triggered by her suppressing of a devastating secret. It turns out that Lwaxana contracted space chlamydia during a tryst on Risa with Picard and Mr. Homm! Unfortunately, the truth isn't that interesting. The big reveal is actually that the elder Troi had another daughter whose death she had been hiding from Deanna. Other than featuring an early acting appearance by Kirsten Dunst, the only noteworthy thing about this episode is how it gave birth to the fan theory that the writing staff's solution for a flimsy plot during the show's later years was to add surreal imagery. After viewing the episodes "Birthright, Part I," "Phantasms," and "Masks" you'll agree.


5) Galaxy's Child

As a crap CGI alien humps the Enterprise's hull, Geordi tries to get it on with a visiting engineer he's been stalking via the holodeck (the future equivalent of Facebook).With the advice of Whoopi Goldberg he learns how to be less creepy -- but still doesn't get any action. Never the most developed of characters, Geordi La Forge spent the series running diagnostics and bitching about possible warp core breaches. In this episode he comes across more pathetic than usual, hammering home the point that working in the final frontier doesn't guarantee you a sex life. 

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