There are many, MANY lists of the greatest Star Trek episodes, from the greatest of each series to the best of the Borg. As a veteran Trekkie who has been watching since I was seven, I have had over twenty years to form opinions on these matters. I’m going to spotlight my favorite episodes from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager that are among my personal favorites, those that might not agree with all the best-of lists, but are still stellar episodes that might inspire you to pull out your DVDs or fire up Netflix and have a little re-watch party. This post focuses on the unsung TNG favorites of my youth that I can watch again and again:
Thine Own Self: Now, this is not a commonly known episode so I’m gonna summarize a bit: Data loses his memory while surveying a pre-industrial world and wanders into a town carrying radioactive metal canisters. He, of course, doesn’t get sick but tries to find out why the townspeople are. He befriends and stays with a local man and his young daughter, but the rest of the town begin to mistrust him since his arrival coincided with their illness. Scared when an assault exposes his android conponents, they eventually bury him and the metal outside of town, and he’s rescued by the Enterprise crew. When he’s reactivated, his usual memories are intact but he doesn’t recall anything that happened on the planet.
This episode just completely showcases excellent dramatic work from Brent Spiner, and I enjoyed watching Data, who usually knows everything, work through the ‘mystery’ of the illness. Spiner’s praises are sung often, but rarely is this episode cited. Data’s connection with the little girl also reconnects Data with the more child-like aspects of his characters we remember from earlier seasons and those special moments of innocence he has throughout the series.
Hit the jump for the full list of TNG’s unsung greats!