TNG Episode Tier List

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Mongrel
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jul 05, 2022 5:39 am

I love how, like, more than half of those are totally bullshit.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Friday » Mon Jul 11, 2022 7:52 am

So I debated putting this in the quotes thread, but for one it's not a chatlog, just me and friend talking, and two probably the only person would find this funny or interesting at all is the type of person who's going to click a thread titled "TNG Episode Tier List".

Anyway, I'm paraphrasing but this is the gist:

(Friend and I are discussing the Holodeck)

Friend: So it's canon that people fuck on the holodeck.
Friday: Yeah. Riker and Barclay for sure in episode, and I mean it's probably safe to assume that other people do it too. And holosex is explicitly a thing Quark sells in DS9.
Friend: So what happens to the spooge when the program ends? Does it just drop to the floor?
Friday: I assume so yeah.
Friend: So gross. Who the hell has to clean that?
Friday: Actually the ship cleans itself.
Friend: What?
Friday: Yeah, canonically. Riker mentions it very briefly in an episode. Up The Long Ladder, actually, when he's talking to the girl he later fucks.
Friend: I don't believe you.
(We pause the conversation to load up youtube and watch the relevant clip)
Friend: Wow, so do they ever show how the ship "cleans itself" then?
Friday: No, but I assume it just has some sort of auto-targetting thing that beams everything, dirt, hair, spooge, whatever, into a large storage tank. Or just directly into space.
Friend: That's absurd.
Friday: Now you see why they don't ever really delve into the full ramifications of Trek tech. Don't even get me started on the fucking Universal Translator.
Friend: I want the resolution of the "ship cleans itself" thread to be a brief shot of Data at night in the halls, carrying a vacuum and a mop.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Büge » Mon Jul 11, 2022 8:27 am

Now imagine that conversation in the voices of Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Upthorn » Mon Jul 11, 2022 8:30 am

Friday wrote:Friday: No, but I assume it just has some sort of auto-targetting thing that beams everything, dirt, hair, spooge, whatever, into a large storage tank. Or just directly into space.

So, I was the kind of kid who convinced relatives to buy him a copy of the Star Trek: The Next Generation technical manual and it's even better than that!

You were on the right track with "beams everything into a large storage tank" because it is further explained that this storage tank is where the replicators get the raw matter they use to assemble everything they create! It's perfect material-efficiency recycling!
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Büge » Mon Jul 11, 2022 8:45 am

They did kinda explain that on Enterprise...

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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Brentai » Mon Jul 11, 2022 8:50 am

No wonder Troi orders so many chocolate sundaes.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby beatbandito » Mon Jul 11, 2022 10:26 am

1) Wasn't there an episode of TNG where Picard Diehards during a regularly scheduled cleaning that just like, rearranges any molecules on the ship into a set pattern if the slow laser wall hits you?

2) Doesn't Enterprise take place before replicators? (this one you don't have to answer, I don't care about Enterprise)
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Brentai » Mon Jul 11, 2022 11:00 am

Nah that sweep field was just meant to annihilate anything that happened to be organic, since one could safely assume that the inner bowels of the Enterprise is at all times carrying a number of things that could make a humanoid act drunk, claim sentience, and/or impregnate Troi.

And although Upth is technically correct about TNG waste being recycled, my understanding is that once you've got transport technology you've necessarily perfected lossless conversion between matter and energy. I guess in TOS era they hadn't yet figured out how to convert from matter to energy into different matter yet, but by TNG they clearly have which is why TNG is a post-scarcity society. Riker's cum gets beamed into an unpatterned energy field, which charges a dilithium JO crystal somewhere in the engine room, which later powers the replicator Troi uses to print a chocolate sundae. Geordi monitors the JO crystal levels and nods with satisfaction.

Voyager's big thing was that the magical transport-replicator-waste system was broken on their ship, meaning that these post-scarcity fucks suddenly had to deal with rationing their photon torpedoes, growing their own food, and mopping up their own jizz. Unfortunately we all know how the torpedo rationing went over time, and even more unfortunately we also know what happened to all the jizz.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Büge » Mon Jul 11, 2022 11:44 am

Poor Harry...
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby nosimpleway » Mon Jul 11, 2022 3:00 pm

All the Jizz on the enterprise gets beamed into that other sci-fi universe. They make music about it.

(You can't Jizz without a good Jizz Box.)

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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Friday » Wed Jul 13, 2022 2:11 pm

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Captain's Holiday: B Tier (Top)

Picard is grumpy and overworked, so Beverly tells him to take some time off. She insists on Risa. Before he leaves, Riker casually asks if Picard will pick up a local souvenir for him, a Horga'hn.

Picard goes to Risa but takes his whole library with him. Then this happens:



The rest of the plot is about Vash, Picard's (in my opinion) best love interest. Vash is somewhat decisive in the fandom, but I for one love her. She's an excellent foil for Picard's stick up his ass stuffiness. Vash is a thief, but call her a treasure hunter or she'll rip your lungs out.

anyway, they go on an adventure involving an angry ferengi, some time travelers, and an artifact from the future that can literally destroy stars. It's far less interesting than the character stuff. Still, I love this episode and it's a personal favorite of mine.

VASH WILL RETURN

Tin Man: C Tier

The Mayor from Buffy shows up and is an extremely powerful telepath who specializes in making first contact with unusual races due to his abilities. Thing is, just like with Psycho Mantis without his mask, the guy can never turn it off. So he hates being near anyone and spends most of his time living alone.

I think this episode does a pretty good job illustrating how debilitating such a condition would be to endure. The telepath guy is acerbic and curt with everyone, constantly interrupting them to answer their thoughts and to expedite things as much as possible so he can get away from the constant toxic deluge that human thought is. The main plot is about some FarScape alien ship and it's boring. Mostly forgettable, but I did enjoy the character.

Hollow Pursuits: B Tier (Top)

Barclay's introduction episode. A surprisingly nuanced look at people with issues socializing, and also the first look at Holoaddiction and using the Holodeck as an escape from the drudgery and uncertainty of real life. Barclay eventually proves his worth as the guy you want when you need to do a REALLY thorough diagnostic.

It's debatable if this was meant to be an episode about Autism, considering it was made in the early 90s when that wasn't really an understood thing yet. But it holds up pretty well in today's meta, and manages to have some good laughs as well (short Riker on the holodeck)

Barclay would prove to be a fan favorite, so much so that he even becomes a pivotal character in VOY. But this is probably his best outing. Except that time he becomes a spider and infests the warp core.

The Most Toys: A Tier (Top)

It took me a lot of EFFORT! EFFORT! to not put this episode even higher in S Tier.

Saul Rubinek plays the episode's main villain, Kivas Fajo, with such unmitigated charisma, joy, and eccentricism that it's easy to miss that he's probably the most despicable villain in all of TNG. After kidnapping Data, Kivas enters into a contest of wills with the android, insisting that Data behave as he wishes him too.

Data is not easily swayed.

The climax of this episode, where Data decides to execute Kivas (or not, whether or not Data actually fired is still hotly debated by both the fandom and the writers) is up there in my top scenes in all of Trek.

Does Data feel rage? Does he have some sort of rudimentary "emotions" or is he, as Kivas suggests, just struggling with another intellectual puzzle? One of life's "curiosities"? Spiner plays the moment a very specific way. Data's head twitches and moves as Kivas taunts him. Is he just doing calculations? Perhaps rewriting his own code in order to allow himself the ability to use lethal force against an unarmed man?

All of this is of course up to interpretation by the viewer. I, for one, think Data was "feeling" something. His lie to Riker. His final visit to the jail cell with Kivas, where he returns Kivas' words to him, cements in my mind that Data did fundamentally grow as a character in this episode, even if Data himself isn't aware of it.



I consider this to be Data's most important and best character development episode, and it occurs long before he starts dreaming, has a relationship with a girl (while not drunk) or gets his emotion chip.

Sarek: A Tier

Absolute gigachad Mark Lenard returns from TOS (Journey to Babel) and three TOS movies (3, 4 and 6) as Sarek, Spock's father. But all is not well.

Sarek is suffering from Vulcan dementia, a condition that makes them lose control of their emotions. As Vulcan emotions are extremely powerful, this doesn't help him as far as being a diplomat. His aides have been hiding his own problems from them (one going so far as to use his own psychic power to help without Sarek knowing it) as well as his wife. (Another human, not Spock's mother.)

This episode is basically just an acting showcase by Lenard and Stewart. Eventually they mind meld so Sarek can gain Picard's mental stability, but at the cost of Picard having to host Sarek's emotions for a time. This will come into play in a later episode, when Picard meets Sarek's son in person.

I like this episode a lot for basically the same reason I like Relics. It's always fun to have a returning cast member show up, but this is probably the best episode of all the "hey it's that guy" eps. Though it doesn't have the TOS bridge set that Relics does, or Scotty berating Geordi for giving accurate estimates to his captain, so maybe it's up in the air.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Wed Jul 13, 2022 3:18 pm

I don't even know how anyone could interpret that scene as anything but Data firing? Is that really an argument fans have???

It's perfectly logical that Data put Fajo down somehow. It's established he cant just tackle Fajo (I guess he could throw something pretty hard, but now we're really getting nitpicky), Data is 100% correct that, ethically, he "cannot permit this to continue", and OH I DUNNO, O'Brian LITERALLY SAYS DATA WAS FIRING THE THING.

Data even says he can use lethal force to defend himself, and surely he must have examples in his wikibrain of shooting first being an ethically sound defensive action. Even if Soong originally programmed him not to do that, I doubt it's a difficult override given Data's relative autonomy in most respects.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Friday » Wed Jul 13, 2022 3:54 pm

Specifically Data is programmed to be able to use lethal force in the defense of himself or others if the situation warrants it, as stated by Data in the same episode (and elsewhere). This type of situation is specifically outside of his programming purview.

However, he also has the ability to learn and adapt, as is most obviously shown by his mannerisms and conduct becoming less and less "robotic" as the seasons go by and he picks up on human behavior. He even talks about how he has a blinking algorithm at one point that is designed to be semi-random (he actually spots another Soong-type android by noticing the same pattern in her blinks).

The question is, does Data alter his programming during this encounter, purely to include situations like this to authorize the use of lethal force, or is he actually experiencing some form of rudimentary anger?

There's a conversation later on where it's stated that Data may, one day, through the complex systems that govern his behavior, manifest "emotions." Without the use of the chip.

I believe that this is the one time in the whole series that Data exhibits (very subtle and muted) emotion without Q or the chip. Your interpretation may vary, and it's left intentionally open to the viewer. This is all just my own opinion.

As for whether or not he fired, I am firmly on the side of "of fucking course he did" but some say that Data did not fire as Data would never murder a humanoid like that. Personally, I think the people who say Data didn't fire and that something actually DID happen in transporter transit, and therefore Data isn't lying to Riker, are clinging to an idealized pacifist version of Data because they don't want him to be able to kill people outside of immediate threat situations.

This enters into a moral and ethical territory that a lot of people just refuse to engage in, honestly. The idea that sometimes executing a guy who has proved himself to be murderous and is currently stating that he will kill again being an ethical thing to do just doesn't sit right with a lot of human beings. It's why the bad guy always pulls a gun right before the hero kills him at the end. It's why the hero will kill 100 mooks on the way to the big bad boss but won't finish the job after the battle with said big bad boss. There's gotta be that immediate, imminent threat or some people get uncomfortable.

Writer Shari Goodhartz related, "I asked Brent Spiner whether he thought Data purposefully pulled the trigger or not, and he was adamant that Data did fire the weapon, which was my intent as well, but the powers-that-be wanted that kept ambiguous, so it was. If I had a chance to do it over, with all the experience I have behind me now, I would argue passionately for Data's actions and their consequences to have been clearer, and hopefully more provocative."


Also, perhaps the largest and most obvious Dirty Pair ref is in that ep:

On the floor of the cargo bay room on board the Jovis, there is a repeating pattern of what appears to be Zibalian language writing. However, on closer inspection, two of the sets of characters are the Japanese words ケイ and ユリ (Kei and Yuri), who are the two protagonists of the anime The Dirty Pair. This is one of many references to this anime, of which the writers and staff of the show were huge fans.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Wed Jul 13, 2022 4:17 pm

Or, y'know, Greebo's about to haul you off at gunpoint to be turned into a wall ornament.

EDIT: But then... that IS at gunpoint.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby JD » Wed Jul 13, 2022 6:06 pm

My interpretation was that Data weighed the odds and decided that killing Fajo was the most morally correct course of action. If Data did nothing, Kivas Fajo would continue his crimes indefinitely, including murder and slavery. If he killed Kivas, Data would be morally compelled to turn himself in for murder, which would be the end of his career in Starfleet, but so would living his life as property of Kivas Fajo.

What Data ends up doing is attempted murder of Kivas, followed by lying to his superior officer in order to cover up that crime so that he can keep his Starfleet career. Riker is essentially complicit by failing to report it, as is O'Brien, who should know that transporters don't normally cause weapons to discharge. They caught the bad guy, and Data didn't kill anyone, so all's well that ends well.

There's a script for the episode online, but it's also ambiguous.

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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Brentai » Wed Jul 13, 2022 7:28 pm

Yeah, the "emotional" part of that sequence isn't the attempted murder of Fajo - that is coldly logical and, as mentioned, a human would be actually less inclined to do it if they weren't in the grip of some sort of rage. The part that shows Data isn't as perfectly robotic as he claims to be is the part where he lies about it afterwards. This is something a human being would clearly do for reasons, but the more you analyze it the more nonsensical it becomes for Data to do it. But he totally did it. He totally tried to merc a guy, lied about trying to merc a guy, and then went and told off the guy he tried to merc, all because unbeknownst to himself he was experiencing what we like to call "being fucking pissed off as shit at that unbelievable douchebag".
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Wed Jul 13, 2022 9:13 pm

Yeah, that's the way I read it too. Like Friday said: it's a subtle, but huge moment of character development for Data.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Friday » Thu Jul 14, 2022 3:52 pm

Ménage à Troi: A Tier (Bottom)



The Lady Who Does The Computer Voice's best outing, except for her better outing on DS9.

This is a pure fluff episode but I don't care, it's amazing. Mostly for the above scene of course.

Transfigurations: D Tier

The only notable thing about this episode is that it establishes that O'Brien goes kayaking on the holodeck and constantly dislocates his shoulder doing it. The episode is very, very boring. So much so that I actually demoted it a tier, even though the episode itself isn't as bad as most D Tiers. But it's just so a nothing happens episode.

Welp, next up is the season finale, and I'm going to give it its own post and tackle it when I have more time to write, because boy do I have a lot to say about it.
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jul 14, 2022 5:39 pm

I mean, the title actually making it to air on American TV is also amazing.

(whereas on British TV, every other spoken line is a cheap double entendre)
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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jul 14, 2022 5:45 pm

One of the things I enjoy remembering from time to time, is how, in an attempt to make a starship captain who was the polar opposite of Kirk, they actually managed to create a character who is, even after all these years, pretty unique.

He is still a white male, but making your heroic leader a highly educated and cultured Frenchman, who is not just intelligent, but intellectual, is to this day very weird territory seldom trodden by American TV.

(we will ignore a certain current TV show which does not, in fact, exist).
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