Star Trek: The Next Generation

10 Best Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Calling all Trekkies! If you're a fan of sci-fi and space exploration, then you're in for a treat with "Star Trek: The Next Generation." This iconic TV show takes you on intergalactic adventures with Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and his loyal crew aboard the all-new USS Enterprise NCC-1701D. Since its first airing in 1987, this beloved series has captured the hearts of millions of viewers with its captivating storytelling and groundbreaking special effects. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a newbie to the Star Trek universe, get ready to be transported to new worlds and encounter fascinating alien species.

With a whopping eight seasons under its belt, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has no shortage of incredible episodes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From thrilling space battles to thought-provoking moral dilemmas, each episode offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer action-packed adventures or philosophical explorations, there's something for everyone in this groundbreaking series. So grab your favorite Star Trek mug, settle onto the couch, and prepare to embark on an epic journey through the cosmos.

Thanks to syndication, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is easily accessible for fans old and new. Whether you're binge-watching from the comfort of your living room or catching an episode during your lunch break, you'll find yourself immersed in the rich universe created by Gene Roddenberry. So dust off your tricorder and set your phasers to stun, because "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is ready to transport you to new frontiers and leave you eagerly anticipating the next episode.

Written by Sophie and last updated on nov 30, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S5E23

#15 - I, Borg (Season 5 - Episode 23)

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "I, Borg," the crew of the Enterprise stumbles upon an injured Borg. Dr. Crusher takes on the challenge of repairing him, while Geordi forms a bond with the Borg and gives him the name 'Hugh.' As time goes on, Hugh begins to exhibit signs of individuality, raising a difficult decision for Picard: should he destroy Hugh or allow him to return to the collective?

This episode has captured the hearts of viewers, with many praising it as one of the best episodes of the series. The development of Hugh's identity is captivating, leaving viewers hoping he would choose to stay on the Enterprise. However, it is heartwarming to see Hugh's empathetic nature as he ultimately decides to protect the crew by returning to the Borg. While the possibility of the Borg becoming feeling creatures like Picard imagined may be slim, fans are left hoping for future references to this thought-provoking episode.

"I, Borg" is a standout episode for many reasons. It provides a fresh perspective on the Borg, adding depth and interest to a previously perceived as bland antagonist. The episode also offers character development opportunities for Picard, Guinan, and Geordi, allowing viewers to delve into their emotions and motivations. The performance of the young actor playing Hugh is particularly noteworthy, as he portrays vulnerability and confusion without veering into melodrama. While there may be some inconsistencies with the episode's impact on later events, "I, Borg" remains a compelling and well-crafted piece of work.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 461 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S6E1

#14 - Time's Arrow (2) (Season 6 - Episode 1)


In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow (2)," the away team faces a new challenge when Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, becomes a meddling presence. As Picard digs deeper, he uncovers a surprising connection between himself and Guinan, dating back to the 1890s on Earth.

While some viewers found this double episode to be a solid addition to the series, others felt it lacked a sense of real threat or jeopardy. The highlight for many was seeing the crew navigate the 19th century, with Jerry Hardin's portrayal of Mark Twain stealing the show. The relationship between Picard and Guinan also provided some memorable moments, showcasing their "beyond friendship" connection.

However, there were criticisms regarding the confusing alien plot and the lack of a satisfying explanation for Guinan's backstory. Some viewers felt that the episode's cheesy elements, such as the encounter with Jack London, detracted from the main plot. In addition, the time travel rules and the overall narrative structure left some wanting more. Despite these flaws, "Time's Arrow (2)" still managed to provide an entertaining and fun viewing experience, earning it a solid 8/10.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 488 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S4E26

#13 - Redemption (1) (Season 4 - Episode 26)

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Redemption (1)", Worf faces a difficult decision that could have significant consequences for his future. With the Klingon Empire on the brink of civil war, Worf must choose between his loyalty to his people and his allegiance to the Federation. This episode marks a pivotal moment for Worf's character development and sets the stage for an intense and unexpected ending.

Fans of the show have praised this episode for its impact and the unexpected twists it brings to the story. The brewing Klingon Civil War and the Romulans' involvement add layers of intrigue, while also exploring the complexities of loyalty and duty. Viewers are treated to memorable scenes, including a powerful conversation between Worf and Guinan, as well as a tense diplomatic struggle between opposing factions.

"Redemption (1)" serves as a season finale, leaving fans on the edge of their seats with the promise of a cliffhanger. The episode not only delves into the Klingon culture and political dynamics but also highlights the themes of family, honor, and the struggle between one's heritage and the responsibilities that come with it. With its mix of intense action, political intrigue, and character-driven moments, this episode leaves audiences eagerly anticipating the next chapter in Worf's journey.

The episode was rated 8.12 from 450 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S7E12

#12 - The Pegasus (Season 7 - Episode 12)


In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus," Riker embarks on a covert mission to find the missing starship he once served aboard. Little does he know, this mission holds a secret that could jeopardize the peace treaty between the Federation and the Romulans. Fans have always wondered why the Federation never used a cloaking device, and in this episode, we discover that they actually developed the technology but made a pact to never use it. Talk about a game-changer!

The episode delves into the moral dilemma of prioritizing duty over protocol and the chain of command. Riker's former commanding officer, Admiral Pressman, arrives with a top-secret mission to recover the lost ship, the USS Pegasus. While the audience is left in the dark about what really happened, Riker knows the truth and is ordered to keep it a secret, even from Captain Picard. As the mission unfolds, Riker must decide whether to conform to orders or stay true to his ideals and loyalty to Picard. It's a tough decision that showcases the psychological depth of Riker's character and his growth throughout the series.

"The Pegasus" is a prime example of what makes a great Star Trek episode. It combines high stakes, personal reflection, and an ethical dilemma that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Riker's internal conflict and ultimate decision to do what's right, even if it means disobeying orders, demonstrate his growth as a person and an officer. This episode also highlights the leadership style of Captain Picard, who values open discussion, care for his crew, and sticking to the Federation's ideals. In the end, loyalty and adherence to moral principles prevail over misguided authority.

Overall, "The Pegasus" is a standout episode that explores complex themes within the Star Trek universe. It not only sheds light on the Federation's past with cloaking technology but also delves into the character development of Riker and Picard's leadership style. While some aspects of the episode may wrap up a little too neatly, the psychological and ethical depth make it a must-watch for fans. So, grab some popcorn and prepare for a thought-provoking journey through the galaxy.

The episode was rated 8.12 from 454 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S7E11

#11 - Parallels (Season 7 - Episode 11)

In this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, titled "Parallels," things take a mind-bending turn for Worf when he returns from a Klingon competition to find himself shifting through different realities. This episode is known for its comedic elements, and poor Worf certainly has his fair share of confusion, especially when it comes to his interactions with Deanna.

While some viewers wished for more exploration of different ideas, the episode still manages to captivate its audience with the concept of alternate dimensions. From seeing Wesley back on the bridge to subtle changes like the color of Data's eyes, the differences in each reality provide plenty of entertainment. It's hard not to enjoy spotting all the variations and wondering what could have been.

Despite the lack of a complex plot or high-stakes jeopardy, "Parallels" succeeds in keeping viewers engaged by following Worf's journey through different dimensions. The episode's use of continuity, including the pairing of Worf and Deanna, adds an extra layer of intrigue. And with nods to previous episodes and the opportunity to glimpse alternate outcomes, this episode showcases the thrill of "What If?" scenarios that make Star Trek so beloved.

The episode was rated 8.14 from 488 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S5E18

#10 - Cause and Effect (Season 5 - Episode 18)


In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect," the crew of the Enterprise finds themselves trapped in a time loop, repeatedly colliding with another starship and being destroyed. This episode, which predates "Groundhog Day," is a daring and inventive exploration of being caught in a temporal conundrum. Each loop reveals new information and brings our heroes closer to understanding and solving the mystery. The script, directed by Jonathan Frakes (who also plays Riker), is tight and engrossing, with clever use of visual techniques and editing to keep the audience engaged. The resolution of the episode is a sci-fi solution that feels legitimate and exciting, and the appearance of Captain Batesman adds an extra layer of continuity and nostalgia for fans.

"Cause and Effect" may not have deep philosophizing or character development, but it stands out as one of the cleverest episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The cold open immediately grabs the audience's attention, with the Enterprise facing a crisis and being destroyed before the opening credits. The episode then takes us through four distinct loops, each slightly different from the last, as the crew becomes aware of their predicament and tries to find a solution. The use of different angles and perspectives in shooting the same scenes, as well as unique editing choices, keeps the visuals fresh and engaging. The pacing of the episode is well-done, gradually revealing more information and bringing the crew closer to understanding and fixing the problem. The solution itself is sci-fi brilliance, utilizing phase shifts and a mysterious message to overcome the time loop. The appearance of Captain Batesman, a nod to the franchise's history, adds an extra layer of excitement and recognition. "Cause and Effect" is a well-constructed episode that keeps the audience hooked from start to finish.

The episode was rated 8.16 from 529 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S6E4

#9 - Relics (Season 6 - Episode 4)

Stardate: 46125.3 - Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott is discovered suspended in a transporter beam 75 years after he disappeared. After the Enterprise crew re-materialise him, he has a hard time adjusting to the new society.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 520 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S2E16

#8 - Q Who? (Season 2 - Episode 16)


Stardate: 42761.3. In the episode "Q Who?" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q takes the Enterprise on a wild ride into the Delta Quadrant, introducing the Federation to a formidable new enemy - The Borg. This episode, which marks the debut of the half-mechanical monsters, presents an unprecedented challenge for Captain Picard and his crew. The Borg are unlike any adversary they have faced before, with a single-minded determination to strip-mine humanity for its technological resources. This encounter with The Borg forces Picard to question the very ethos of Starfleet and the Federation, as they represent the complete opposite of exploration, diversity, and individuality.

While "Q Who?" may not be the most action-packed episode, it offers insights into the characters and the larger themes of the show. We witness Q's usual mischief and his interactions with the Starfleet crew, particularly the humorous exchange with Worf. The episode also introduces Ensign Gomez and hints at Guinan's deeper backstory, adding layers to the worldbuilding. However, the heart of the episode lies in Picard's journey towards humility. Despite warnings from Guinan and the loss of eighteen crew members, Picard's curiosity and desire for knowledge compel him to confront The Borg head-on, ultimately leading him to seek help from Q. This episode serves as a reminder that the wonders of the universe come with perils and costs, and that humanity must be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Although the first encounter with The Borg may seem underwhelming by today's standards, "Q Who?" lays the groundwork for future storylines and explores themes of risk, humility, and the price of exploration. It may not be the most thrilling standalone episode, but it sets the stage for the ongoing battle against The Borg and raises intriguing questions about the nature of humanity's journey through the stars.

The episode was rated 8.31 from 675 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S3E15

#7 - Yesterday's Enterprise (Season 3 - Episode 15)

Stardate: 43625.2 A rift in the space/time continuum brings the U.S.S. Enterprise - C forward into the 24th Century, and alters the timeline. In this future, the Federation is at war with the Klingons, Tasha Yar is on the bridge, Worf did not join the Federation, and only Guinan's unique perception of reality may restore the timeline.

The episode was rated 8.40 from 680 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S2E9

#6 - The Measure of a Man (Season 2 - Episode 9)


Stardate: 42523.7 When Data's rights as a sentient individual are placed under trial, Starfleet forces Riker into a position where he must prove that Data is only an Android.

The episode was rated 8.49 from 624 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S5E25

#5 - The Inner Light (Season 5 - Episode 25)

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light," Captain Picard finds himself in an extraordinary situation that challenges his understanding of reality. Struck by an alien probe's energy beam, he is transported to the planet Kataan, where he lives an entire lifetime in just minutes. Despite his initial efforts to find a way back to the Enterprise, Picard decides to embrace his new life as a citizen of Kataan. He forms a deep connection with his Kataan wife, has children and grandchildren, and immerses himself in the local culture. However, he soon realizes that the planet is dying due to an imbalance in its sun.

Unable to evacuate the people, the Kataan government constructs a probe that will preserve their memories and share their way of life with others. It is the same probe that initially transported Picard to Kataan. Just as he has fully embraced his new identity, Picard wakes up back on the Enterprise, his entire lifetime on Kataan now just a memory. The probe, having completed its mission, leaves him with a parting gift: a flute that symbolizes the depth of his experience.

"The Inner Light" is widely regarded as one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It delves into the themes of discovery and reflection that define the series, leaving a lasting impact on viewers. The outstanding acting, particularly by Margot Rose as Captain Picard's wife, adds an emotional depth to the episode. This thought-provoking installment showcases Picard's character development and reminds us of the capacity for love and warmth within him. Overall, "The Inner Light" beautifully encapsulates the essence of Star Trek and its ability to touch hearts.

The episode was rated 8.58 from 513 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S4E1

#4 - The Best of Both Worlds (2) (Season 4 - Episode 1)


In the thrilling conclusion to the two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds," Riker is faced with the daunting task of saving Earth from a Borg invasion led by the assimilated Captain Picard, now known as Locutus. The episode kicks off with Riker being field-promoted to captain and appointing Shelby as his first officer. With the Borg now in possession of all of Picard's knowledge, the Enterprise must find a way to rescue him and stop the Borg from destroying Earth. Riker devises a new strategy, utilizing Data's connection to the Borg network. The intense showdown between Riker and the Borg takes unexpected twists and turns, leading to a thrilling rescue mission and the ultimate defeat of the Borg threat.

This episode showcases Riker's growth as a leader, proving that he is more than just a first officer. It also delves into the psychological impact of the Borg invasion on Captain Picard. While the episode wraps up quickly, it leaves the door open for future repercussions and character development. Despite some minor inconsistencies and the lack of massive action scenes, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" remains a standout episode in Star Trek history, delivering high drama, compelling character arcs, and a satisfying conclusion to the Borg storyline.

Fans of the show will appreciate the tension and excitement that builds throughout the episode. The conversation between Riker and Guinan adds depth to Riker's character, while the resolution of the Borg threat keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Although the Battle of Wolf 359 is not shown, its impact on the Star Trek universe is hinted at, adding to the lore of the series. Overall, this episode is a solid conclusion to the two-part story and sets the stage for the events to come in season 4.

The episode was rated 8.61 from 588 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S3E26

#3 - The Best of Both Worlds (1) (Season 3 - Episode 26)

In the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "The Best of Both Worlds" (Part 1), the Enterprise faces a new and terrifying threat: the Borg. As a Federation colony mysteriously disappears, Lt. Cmdr. Shelby, an expert on the Borg, joins the crew to investigate. However, the situation takes a dark turn when Captain Picard is abducted and assimilated into the Borg Collective. Now, it's up to Commander Riker to lead a daring rescue mission and save his captain.

This episode is a fan-favorite, and for good reason. The tension is palpable as the crew realizes that their usual technological prowess may not be enough to defeat the relentless Borg. The guest character, Shelby, may be a bit overzealous, but she leaves a lasting impression. Meanwhile, Riker is faced with a difficult decision: whether to take his own command or continue serving as the Enterprise's first officer. The episode delves into Riker's personal struggles and his growth as a leader.

"The Best of Both Worlds" is a turning point for the series, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with. The Borg, though their appearance may seem dated now, add an imposing presence and raise the stakes for our beloved characters. With the cliffhanger ending, viewers were left eagerly anticipating the resolution. This episode showcases the show's ability to balance action, character development, and thought-provoking storytelling, making it a standout installment in the Star Trek universe.

The episode was rated 8.69 from 647 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S7E25

#2 - All Good Things... (1) (Season 7 - Episode 25)


In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "All Good Things... (1)," Captain Picard finds himself facing a daunting challenge as he is diagnosed with a brain disorder. This disorder leads to bizarre shifts in time, transporting him 25 years into the future, a few days before a crucial mission, and back to the present. As Picard unravels the mystery, he discovers that the mischievous Q is behind these temporal disturbances. Q reveals that humanity is still on trial, tasking Picard with preventing an event in the future that would disrupt the formation of life on Earth billions of years ago.

Fans of the show were treated to a solid ending with "All Good Things... (1)." Q's appearance was a welcome sight, leaving viewers hopeful for his return in future series. While the plot initially seemed complex, the episode expertly tied everything together, showcasing the quality that made Star Trek: The Next Generation such a beloved series. And let's not forget the heartwarming moment when Beverly finally marries Jean-Luc in the future timeline. It's a long-awaited development that had fans cheering. As the show bids farewell, fans reminisce about the overall greatness of Star Trek: The Next Generation, acknowledging that while some episodes may have missed the mark, the crew's chemistry and the captivating stories made the journey worthwhile.

The episode was rated 8.74 from 448 votes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - S7E26

#1 - All Good Things... (2) (Season 7 - Episode 26)

Stardate: 47988.1 - After his encounter with Q, Picard assembles the senior staff, and wonders if Q is actually giving him a chance to save humanity by showing him that the spatial anomaly also exists in the past. As they talk, the ship reaches the Neutral Zone, then Picard returns to the future, where Beverly's ship is also on the edge of the Neutral Zone. He convinces a reluctant Worf to accompany the group into Klingon territory, and then travels to the past, where he orders the crew into the Devron system. Finally, he returns to the present, where he is able to get Tomalak, the Romulan Commander on the other side of the border, to agree to entering the Neutral Zone together. Now heading for the anomaly in all three time periods, Picard learns that it exists in the present, and is larger in the past, but does not exist in the future.

The episode was rated 8.84 from 288 votes.

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