I have different favorites for different moods, of course, and there are a lot of really incredible episodes in that show (even if it did take two and a half seasons to produce a watchable one). But I think my actual favorite so far, towards the end of season 6, isn't a Chain of Command or a Best of Both Worlds or a Redemption or anything like that, or even the softer and more intimate ones like Tapestry or Ensign Ro or I, Borg. Or anything like that. I think it might be Fistful of Datas.
I mean, the premise is, on its face, comedy material? Alexander creates a western program on the holodeck so he and his dad can play cowboys, he asks Troi to come along and she casts herself as the mysterious stranger, and of course it goes screwy and suddenly everybody's Data. It's very silly. And it kinda ... is silly, through and through. Even when stakes are introduced, the stakes are still playing cowboy on the holodeck, and meanwhile you have Data calling Spot a varmint and spitting in potted plants. It's funny, it's a lot of fun, and it's poking fun at itself. And that means everything.
Anyway, I bring this up to mention that I've caught both episodes of Lower Decks that have aired so far, and it reminds of Trek when it's funny. It's a solid show so far. Wouldn't have thought that the half hour cartoon, of the three shows currently running, would be the one that sticks, but it's like. It doesn't have that vibe of bitterness you always see in Star Trek parodies, where they feel that they're better than the source material? It's funny, but it's fun, and it's too laden with Stuff to feel written by anyone but people who love the franchise. I mean, hell, the second episode calls back some TAS-only stuff, it's. Comedy from inside, rather than criticism from outside.
I dunno. I enjoy it, and I haven't enjoyed Star Trek since the 2000s. Worth looking at, don't pre-judge by the animation style.
Fistful of Datas
Yeah this is also one of my favorite eps. I love the fun silly stuff just as much as I love the good serious stuff.
And you're not wrong about the first two seasons being bad as fuck. There's a few eps here and there that are good (Q Who, Measure of a Man) but for the most part it's *insert Pulaski vomiting noises*
Not only is it a fun episode, but the plot is actually structured really well (IIRC) under all the silliness. The pacing is good, the reveals are all well timed, and the escalation is both funny and suspenseful. And Brent Spiner does a great job as all the different villains (anytime there was some variation on an "Evil Data" Brent Spiner always had fun with it).
In a similar vein but from a different episode, but "SIR! I protest! I am NOT a Merry Man!" has to be one of the most memorable lines from TNG.
I kinda like the over-eager orion girl, and I'd generally like the main black girl if they didn't make her insane 100% of the time. I'm hoping they tone that down a bit, because like, every scene does not need to end with everyone screaming and running away.
Seeing the influence of the S8 TNG twitter account guy in some of these deep-ass cuts at least: