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Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:59 pm
by Büge
Friday wrote:Season 2 isn't much better.


We can thank the Writer's Guild of America strike of 1988 for much of season 2's crappy episodes, but it did lead to some changes in the third season that allowed for some pretty groundbreaking stories.

Friday wrote:Season 2 introduces Doctor Katherine Pulaski, an older woman who replaces Crusher while Gates McFadden was on maternity leave for the season.


I thought it was because McFadden wouldn't take crap from Gene Roddenberry or, more commonly at this point, Gene's lawyer Leonard Maizlish, and was thus fired. Many other alumni of the Original Series that Gene had brought on to TNG, like David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Robert Justman, suffered the same fate - essentially Maizlish was keeping Gene isolated from his TOS staff and issuing decrees on behalf of Gene. He also did things like searching the staff's offices and making rewrites on scripts (a violation of WGA regulations) and was eventually banned from the Paramount lot, but by then the damage was done.

Friday wrote:That being said, she does get better as season 2 progresses, and by the end I found myself actually not minding her. I think if she had been given some more seasons to grow, she might have become a character that had some depth and likable qualities. But as it stands she's a janky character in a season/show that's still trying to find its voice.


I rewatched TNG about a year ago and I found myself not as harsh on Pulaski. It was a pleasant surprise to see her warm up to Data. Why, by the time "Peak Performance" rolls around, she's one of Data's staunchest supporters. Personally, my headcanon is that she came around on artificial life forms when she met Moriarty.

Friday wrote:The Child: F Tier (Bottom)


Here we see an episode that was reworked from a script dug up from the aborted Star Trek Phase II series, only there it was Ilia who gets knocked up.

Friday wrote:Where Silence Has Lease: C Tier

Another example of a C Tier that isn't forgettable, this is the episode where a Q-like alien with magic powers named Nagilum tortures and kills the crew in order to satisfy their curiosity. Highlights include Worf raving about how there's only one bridge and one Riker when confronted with a recursive illusion that loops on itself. Picard eventually just sets the auto-destruct to get Nagilum to fuck off. Could have been better, but the execution is somewhat poor and it's sort of a depressing episode watching Nagilum pick off crew members one by one while nobody can do anything about it.


You may recognize Nagilum's voice actor (Earl Bowen) from his most famous role as Dr. Silberman, from Terminator II!

Less-well-known is that the Skull Monster that Worf beats up in his holodeck program wears a modified mask of Skeletor from the 1987 Masters of the Universe film!

Friday wrote:The Outrageous Okona: D Tier

One of the episodes consistently voted as one of the lowest by aggregated fan polls, Okona is a dumb romp for sure but not without its small rays of charm. It's telling that people tolerate absolute trash like Code and The Child over this fluff as to how our society is full of racist women haters.


I don't tolerate those either, but for me, the worst parts of this episode are the grating attempts at comedy. Everything that comes close to a joke is utterly strangled to death. You'd think that Whoopi Goldberg, an actual comedian, could salvage something from it, but nope.

Friday wrote:The Schizoid Man: D Tier


This was supposed to have Patrick McGoohan in the titular role, and it would have been so awesome if it did.

Well, maybe not, since as you say, it's kind of a warmed-over plot, but still!

Awesome.

Friday wrote:A Matter Of Honor:



A Tier.


So, the Klingon captain is portrayed by Christopher Collins. You may not recognize him under that name, but he also goes by a different stage name, Chris Latta.

You might know Chris Latta better as the voice of Starscream!

Image

And Cobra Commander!

Image

And Starscream!

Image

And Cobra Commander!

Image

Okay, I'm done.

Friday wrote:The Measure Of A Man: S Tier

Here we go. The first heavy hitter of TNG. Explores the nature of AI, the rights of said AI, personhood, people as property, slavery, and the rights of the individual against the power of the state. A bit heavy handed at times, it's not a perfect episode but the themes and ideas it explores were absolutely novel at the time and still resonate today. Has a very good scene with Guinan where she turns on Picard to the idea of Androids as slaves which allows him to win his case. One of the most discussed episodes in Star Trek history.


This is one of the scripts that may never have been made into an episode had the WGA not gone on strike. Melinda Snodgrass, the writer, drew on her career as an attorney for the script, and it got passed along by George R.R. Martin's agent to the producers.

Friday wrote:The Dauphin: C Tier

I sort of like this episode. I actually think it's cute. But it's pretty boring and if you don't like Wesley, which is almost a given, you probably won't give a shit. However it also has this scene:



and this scene:



And THIS scene:



Friday wrote:The Icarus Factor: C Tier

Worf is stabbed with red hot pokers right in the nipples.



Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:50 pm
by Brentai
Friday wrote:The Child: F Tier (Bottom)


For a while I couldn't decide if The Child or Turnabout Intruder is my least favorite episode of Star Trek ever. Turnabout Intruder is gross, but The Child is gross and pointless. There's no message or theme, an alien just shows up in a gross way and then... leaves. But in the end I hate Turnabout more, not for being an incredible facepalm of a way to end a classic series (you can argue that All Our Yesterdays was the series finale of TOS, which fits, and Turnabout was some dusty ol backlot reel they dug up a few weeks later) but because Turnabout Intruder is mean. It's the only episode of Star Trek I can think of that has a straight up negative message, just one big shut up and know your place to all the feminists out there. The Child is offensive, but it's blandly offensive, and can just go ahead and be forgotten.

I do give this episode credit for having Riker and Worf repeatedly warn a character that was disregarding danger that the people he wanted to meet with were dangerous murderers be vindicated.


One of the first instances of everybody refusing to acknowledge that Worf was right, and unfortunately one of the last instances of Riker having his back.

The Riker/Klingon connection in general is one of my favorite things about the first two seasons and is just... suddenly and brutally killed in its sleep by Sins of the Father. Riker's clearly supposed to be Cha'D there, but someone had the bright idea of giving Patrick Stewart more to do in the episode which is why he now speaks fluent Klingon and knows Klingon law and is able to single-handedly fight off two trained Klingon assassins and nobody ever mentions Riker's fascination with Klingon culture or their mutual respect for him or his unique friendship with Worf ever again.

The Schizoid Man: D Tier


Schizoid Man's a lot better when you realize the titular character is Roddenberry.

beatbandito wrote:As I believe Red Letter Media put it: Worf, as the strongest member of the crew, needs to get tossed around by every monster-of-the-week. Because it wouldn't be as clear they're a threat if they just smack Pulaski around.


I always have two problems with that:
1. Worf is not the strongest member of the crew. Data is the strongest member of the crew. As far as we know, since we never got to see Guinan actually fight with Q.
2. You hardly ever see Worf actually win, so after a while it comes off not so much that all these threats are credible but more that Worf is just a loser. It also doesn't help that he sometimes loses to clowns like the Ferengi, or when he gets his ass kicked by someone who immediately then loses to a 50-year-old Shakespearean actor. Worf ends up being one of the cornerstones of my "The Klingons talk a big game but are actually just terrible fights" theory, although lately I've been toying with an alternate idea (Klingons are pretty good fighters on a galactic scale, but the surprising thing about Star Trek is that humans are actually one of the baddest things around).

Büge wrote:I rewatched TNG about a year ago and I found myself not as harsh on Pulaski.


Around The Icarus Factor she finally gets her own personality and, you know, a backstory, but up to that point her personality is "Does whatever (Season 3) Bones would have done even if it makes no sense in that context" and her only focus episode shows how skilled of a physician she is (not at all).

Büge wrote:You might know Chris Latta better as the voice of Starscream!
And Cobra Commander!
And Starscream!
And Cobra Commander!


Well okay but also he was a Klingon that one time.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:54 pm
by Upthorn
Büge wrote:
Friday wrote:Season 2 introduces Doctor Katherine Pulaski, an older woman who replaces Crusher while Gates McFadden was on maternity leave for the season.


I thought it was because McFadden wouldn't take crap from Gene Roddenberry or, more commonly at this point, Gene's lawyer Leonard Maizlish, and was thus fired. Many other alumni of the Original Series that Gene had brought on to TNG, like David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Robert Justman, suffered the same fate - essentially Maizlish was keeping Gene isolated from his TOS staff and issuing decrees on behalf of Gene. He also did things like searching the staff's offices and making rewrites on scripts (a violation of WGA regulations) and was eventually banned from the Paramount lot, but by then the damage was done.


I was just watching a video about this the other day. To the best of her knowledge, McFadden was fired at the end of Season 1, because she would stand up for herself, and occasionally submitted script ideas, and expressed interest in directing. Y'know, things that her male colleagues did all the time without repercussion, and even got praised for. Only got back on the show by virtue of Pulaski being the only character more hated than Wesley.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:00 pm
by Mongrel
Oh how did I forget "Shut up, kid."

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:03 pm
by Friday
I thought it was because McFadden wouldn't take crap from Gene Roddenberry or, more commonly at this point, Gene's lawyer Leonard Maizlish, and was thus fired.


I was just watching a video about this the other day. McFadden was fired at the end of Season 1, because she would stand up for herself, and occasionally submitted script ideas, and expressed interest in directing. Y'know, things that her male colleagues did all the time without repercussion, and even got praised for. Only got back on the show by virtue of Pulaski being the only character more hated than Wesley.


Funny, and I just got done ranting about how everyone/Mike from RLM has the wrong idea about why Crosby quit a few weeks ago!

I guess it just goes to show how everything you think you know is actually a lie told to you by people trying to cover up the truth of their shitty, slimy actions.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:45 pm
by Mongrel
Brentai wrote:Turnabout Intruder

If only all OG Trek misogyny was like Spock's Brain.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:47 pm
by Mongrel
Friday wrote:
I thought it was because McFadden wouldn't take crap from Gene Roddenberry or, more commonly at this point, Gene's lawyer Leonard Maizlish, and was thus fired.


I was just watching a video about this the other day. McFadden was fired at the end of Season 1, because she would stand up for herself, and occasionally submitted script ideas, and expressed interest in directing. Y'know, things that her male colleagues did all the time without repercussion, and even got praised for. Only got back on the show by virtue of Pulaski being the only character more hated than Wesley.


Funny, and I just got done ranting about how everyone/Mike from RLM has the wrong idea about why Crosby quit a few weeks ago!

I guess it just goes to show how everything you think you know is actually a lie told to you by people trying to cover up the truth of their shitty, slimy actions.

I think both of those reasons could be true, given that standing up for herself is a common thread of both, and that if BOTH Gene and his lawyer hated her, then that just made her even more of a marked woman.

Obviously her season 3 return was also helped by Gene being, y'know, dead.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:10 pm
by JD
Friday wrote:Fun fact: This episode's main antagonist shows up in Star Trek: Picard despite being a one-off here. While ST: Picard is a hellscape that cannot be described in mortal words, it shows how impactful this episode was that its characters and themes were brought back up 20 years later.


My theory is that the writers on Picard couldn't reasonably be expected to watch all of TNG, so they based their entire understanding of the character of Picard on a limited subset: Best of Both Worlds, All Good Things, First Contact, Nemesis, and a YouTube video of Best Picard Speeches. This is why season 1 was about the intersection of the Borg, the Romulans, Picard's retirement at his vineyard, Data's legacy, and the conflict between android rights. That's what the writers thought Picard was about.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:27 pm
by nosimpleway
Mongrel wrote:I think both of those reasons could be true, given that standing up for herself is a common thread of both, and that if BOTH Gene and his lawyer hated her, then she would surely experience Bij.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:04 am
by Newbie
Büge wrote:TNG Edits


Look, they're not all winners, but some of those clips are among my favorite things ever uploaded to YouTube.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:16 am
by Upthorn
Friday wrote:Funny, and I just got done ranting about how everyone/Mike from RLM has the wrong idea about why Crosby quit a few weeks ago!

The irony is that, right before going into the stuff with McFadden, the video I was watching repeated the cover story about Denise Crosby leaving to pursue more challenging roles...

Sigh.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:58 am
by Mongrel
Newbie wrote:
Büge wrote:TNG Edits


Look, they're not all winners, but some of those clips are among my favorite things ever uploaded to YouTube.

Next tier list: TNG Edits

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:15 pm
by Friday
Q Who: S Tier (Bottom)

Q shows back up after his defeat at the end of Hide and Q and offers to join the crew so they'd have someone to help them. Picard tells him that they're ready for whatever they find out there and Q laughs in his face, telling him that the pathetic enemies the Federation has encountered like the Klingons and the Romulans are nothing compared to what's REALLY out there. Picard is adamant that they're ready, over Guinan's warnings.

So Q snaps his fingers and throws The Enterprise into the path of an oncoming Borg Cube.

At last the REAL big bads of TNG show up, and even in their first proto-form, the Borg are terrifying.



This was before they fired Ron Jones, and I think that his work here (and especially in Best of Both Worlds) is legit some of the absolute best of television original scores. The creeping, slow paced and sinister synth of the Borg theme tells you everything you need to know about these new, HR Giger inspired aliens.

They are very dangerous, and they do not hurry.



de Lancie's delivery at 1:34 of "He may attempt to gain control of the ship. I wouldn't let him." remains one of, if not my absolute favorite of all of Q's lines.

Speaking of their HR Giger design:

Designing the first Borg costumes presented Star Trek’s resident costume designer, Durinda Rice Wood, with a challenge: these half-machine, half-human creatures were supposed to look like nothing the TV viewer had seen before.

“They said to me, ‘This is going to be the new bad guy of the universe’,” she recalled years later.

They wanted a new bad guy and they wanted it to be a cyborg. They wanted something that was cold and like an automaton, they all kind of looked alike and they didn’t have emotions. That’s what was going to be the scary thing about it. I was tired of the futuristic, clean, stainless steel imagery of the time. I was interested in more texture, the ugliness of humanity and the ugliness of nature. The idea was always that they would be half-human and half-mechanical. Their body parts would wear out and they would replace them with mechanical parts, so I wanted to make all of the mechanical parts different and unique for each person, thinking that their parts would wear out at different times. You know, when you get older one hip goes and that gets replaced and it happens differently for everyone.

Wood’s first designs were inspired by a Giger drawing, who had worked on the Alien movie.


Wood's vision payed off, big time. For the first time in Trek history, we had aliens who looked ... alien, and not just some guy in a ridiculous suit with forehead bumps. I mean, the Borg were literally dudes in suits, but you know what I mean. I think the genius of the Borg design is how grotesque they were all individually. No two Borg drones were exactly identical, but they all looked enough the same to give off the hivemind vibe. But not being -exactly- identical infuses them with something horrible and realistic. A key point in their design is that both:

1. A Borg drones face is never 100% uncovered. They will always have at least one eye covered or a mask over the jaw., or sometimes basically the whole face buried under tech.

2. No two drones have the same facial coverings.

This seems like a minor thing, but trust me when I say that both of these rules ensure maximum creepy factor.

In the end, Picard is overwhelmed and must ask Q for help directly to escape. But the Borg's first encounter with The Enterprise is not without cost. 18 crew members are killed. When Picard brings this up with Q, Q laughs at him and tells him to get fucking real. He got off light.

Later, Picard muses if Q actually did something helpful or not. Guinan reminds him that the Borg accessed and downloaded the Enterprise's computer system. They now know where the Federation is, and will be coming.

Well, they've probably got a few years before they get to Federation Space, right? It's not like they could just fly for a year at warp 9.6 without ever stopping. Nobody has that kind of power and engine efficiency.

Samaritan Snare: D Tier

Idiots kidnap Geordi and somehow outsmart the Enterprise. Honestly the worst thing about it is how boring it is.

Wesley and Picard fly in a shuttle to have Picard's heart replaced and Picard tells him about how he lost his original heart. Honestly a good scene and sets up important stuff for later. Wesley even mentions how out of character it was for Picard to laugh seeing the knife emerging from his chest and Picard agrees.

Still, this episode sucks and I don't think I'll ever watch the whole thing again.

Up The Long Ladder: S Tier

perfectly accurate representation of Irish people in space

Manhunt: B Tier (Bottom)



Lwaxana shows up and is super horny. No, ultra horny. No, super ultra horny. Picard barely survives. Before she leaves, Lwaxana casually informs everyone that the weird fish people everyone has been staring at and opining are actually assassins who are going to blow up the conference with their explosive laced robes. I love her so much.

The Emissary: C Tier

Worf meets his ex, a half Klingon half human who honestly is ten million times better characterized as that hybrid than B'elanna from VOY ever was. They kill some holodeck monsters together, fuck, and then Worf proposes. K'Ehleyr laughs and says no and Worf is like "dude, we had sex though."

Do you think Worf ever told Alexander that he was conceived on the holodeck atop the corpses of a bunch of Skeletor look alikes?

Peak Performance:



B Tier.

Shades of Gray: -No Rating-

I am not going to rate this as an episode, because it's not. It's a clip show, and it only exists because of the writer's strike. There's maybe 15 minutes or so of new footage and it's all Pulaski being told to make Riker remember even hornier memories.

Man, two dud season finales in a row. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:13 pm
by Mongrel
Mick Fleetwood was one of the fishmen assassins!

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:36 pm
by Brentai
Friday wrote:Do you think Worf ever told Alexander that he was conceived on the holodeck atop the corpses of a bunch of Skeletor look alikes?


Every day.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:53 pm
by Mothra
The only good TNG episode is the one where the starship Enterprise encounters a haunted temple in space and it turns the ship into a temple, and Brent Spiner plays like 4 increasingly insane characters.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:40 pm
by Mongrel
Hey! Yesterday's Enterprise wants a word with you buddy!

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:32 pm
by Friday
okay, okay, let's actually talk about Up The Long Ladder, one of TNG's most batshit insanely entertainingly bad episodes.

Up The Long Ladder: A Tier

The episode opens with a long zoom in on the bridge, with no dialog. The camera zooms and zooms to a close up of Worf, who sneezes.

Someone comes in and asks if he's feeling well. He says yes and then immediately faints.

Awakening in Sickbay, Pulaski and him talk about poison tea. Worf insists he did not faint. "Klingons do not faint!"

Meanwhile, the Enterprise picks up a distress signal in morse code that I am 99% sure they used Space Invader sfx for.

They find a bunch of Irish Peasants called the Bringloidi, who are sort of luddites who reject technology. They pick them up because their sun is exploding. They take over the cargo bay with a bunch of barnyard animals and shit. One of them is a super feisty, super hot Irish lass named Brenna Odell who asks Riker what he's looking at.

"And what are you staring at? You never seen a woman before?" she asks him.

"I thought I had," Riker replies, in perhaps the best pick up line ever uttered by a human being.

Later she shows up in his quarters to get a foot massage "from the top down."

Then they go to another planet of all clones. They need new clones and genetic material, so they stun Riker and Pulaski and steal their DNA. Riker and Pulaski respond by beaming into their cloning vats and phaser-vaporizing their clones. This is overtly presented as an abortion analogy. The writer even got death threats!

A solution is found: The Bringloidi will settle on clone-planet and breed with the clones. However to encourage genetic diversity, each woman will be encouraged to have at least three kids with three different fathers/husbands. At first Brenna is resistant, but as she contemplates getting spitroasted, she agrees. That's the end of the episode. An attractive redhead making a joke about group sex and polygamy.

So.

As Brentai puts it, this episode is "a tour de force" of fucking insane nonsense. And it's wonderful. So much absurdity packed into one little episode almost strains belief. Do I give the depiction of the Irish people in this episode a pass because the rest of the ep is such an entertaining train wreck? Absolutely not. I'm Scots-Irish myself, at least more than I am anything else, after all.

The clone murder/abortion shit is just so absolutely crazy. Worf getting sick and having a character bonding moment with Pulaski and drinking lethal to human poison tea with her is insane. The whole episode is like a fucking fever dream. Even Picard has a line in this ep: "Sometime you just have to bow to the absurd."

Well, Up The Long Ladder, I bow to you. You are in no way a "good" episode, but you sure do entertain.

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 2:15 pm
by nosimpleway
"What, haven't you ever seen an episode of TNG before?"

"I thought I had."

Re: TNG Episode Tier List

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:02 pm
by Caithness
Büge wrote:the aborted Star Trek Phase II series


I have never heard of this before