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Ranking every season of Star Trek TNG

Doctor Anaximander

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I've seen most of the episodes at least once, and some multiple times, but I had to go to memory alpha and take a quick look to refresh my memory. So here is my ranking of the seasons, with explanations. Other people are welcome to do their own rankings. I'd thought about ranking every single season of each series in one big list, but that just doesn't feel right, and let's be real, the top 10 is gonna be mostly TNG and DS9 seasons if I do that.


7. Season 1 - it's just directionless, and there's far too many WTF, cringy episodes like "Code of Honor", or episodes that borrow too heavily from TOS, such as "The Naked Now", an almost beat for beat remake of "The Naked Time". The handful of good episodes like "The Neutral Zone" don't outweigh the ones that are a real pain to get through. The pilot is possibly the worst of any Star Trek series pilot, and feels like 2 different episode premises mashed together. Q isn't even that interesting in this season and if not for his appearances in later seasons, I'd find him to be utterly forgettable. Best episode: The Neutral Zone OR Conspiracy. Worst episode: Code of Honor

6. Season 7 - I might get some arguments for ranking this one lower than season 2, but I think it's a case that the producers and writers were playing it safe too often. This could have been a really great season to end the series on, and there's no excuse for it being so mediocre, other than that they didn't want to shake things up too much when they were about to start making the movie series. That said, I do enjoy how it got back to the monster-of-the-week feel of the first 2 seasons, establishing that space can be a very dangerous place. Dr. Crusher bones a ghost. That was weird. Best Episode: All Good Things OR Lower Decks. Worst Episode: Sub Rosa

5. Season 2 - Actually some of the best episodes are in this season, however, it's dragged down by a lot of filler episodes that aren't much better than the first season. However, I like that Wesley isn't as much of a deus ex machina in this one, and we see Geordi and Worf developed into more interesting characters. I didn't even mind Dr Pulaski that much. Best episode: The Measure of a Man (and arguably the best of the entire series). Worst episode: Up The Long Ladder OR The Outrageous Okona

4. Season 6 - This is a fun season, and you can tell the writers were being a bit more playful with episodes like "A fistful of Datas". Best episode: Chain of Command Parts I and II. Worst episode: Rascals

3. Season 4 - Almost consistent goodness, with a few WTF episodes scattered in the mix. this is the season where Picard began to be developed into a more relatable character. Best episode: The Drumhead OR Family. Worst Episode: I dunno, Devil's Due?

2. Season 3 - The leap in quality from season 2 is remarkable. This is where the show really came into its own and stepped out of the shadow of TOS, and showed signs of eclipsing TOS in greatness. Any good aspect from seasons 1 and 2 were expanded upon and set in stone, while elements that didn't work were discarded. The show takes on it's weightier dramatic tone in this season. The uniforms improved from those terrible spandex jumpsuits of the earlier seasons. Troi has mostly dropped that awful accent by now. Barclay is introduced. Best episode: Who Watches The Watchers OR The Best of Both Worlds OR Yesterday's Enterprise. Worst episode: The Bonding, but still a better episode than a lot of season 1 and 2 episodes

1. Season 5 - This one is pretty consistent in high quality. I don't have much else to say about it. Best Episode: Darmok OR The Inner Light OR I, Borg, shit they're all pretty good. Worst Episode: I honestly can't pick one, I find even the "worst" of season 5 to be pretty solid
 

Paisley

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I love the work you've put into this list, as I thoroughly appreciate ranking TV seasons. Season 1 is definitely the worst. I'd just put Season 7 #1 as All Good Things is my favourite episode of TNG and favorite season because Generations is the best of all the Star Trek movies to me, and what you call "safe", I call comfort food TV...so so comfortable and re-watchable. :giggle: I'd really need to go back and re-watch them to rank them with any accuracy, though.

Everyone fucking loves fucking DARMOK! :ROFLMAO: It's like the greatest fan favourite episode of all time. Bridging the gap between culture and language by working together to create unity and connection. I get it. It defines the spirit of the show. It's very good.

I remember watching The Measure of a Man, very vividly, on the old Sony Trinitron. It was a bottle episode. I have a couple notes, love the foam/metal bar that Data bent :LOL: and Bruce Maddox is that guy from Shawshank Redemption from the parole board who says, "Ellis Boyd Redding it says here you have served 40 years of a life sentence, do you feel you have been rehabilitated....It means you feel you're ready to re-join society..." :ROFLMAO: Anyway, it's a pivotal episode to the entire plot of the new Picard series as it creates the framework for the entire discussion of A.I. sentience. As a kid, I thought it was boring, but I liked Picard's defense and hated Rikers biased prosecution and would've declared a mistrial. "But he pulled his arm off!" meh "Then he switched him off!" Bloody favouritism! lolz.
 
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Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I've seen most of the episodes at least once, and some multiple times, but I had to go to memory alpha and take a quick look to refresh my memory. So here is my ranking of the seasons, with explanations. Other people are welcome to do their own rankings. I'd thought about ranking every single season of each series in one big list, but that just doesn't feel right, and let's be real, the top 10 is gonna be mostly TNG and DS9 seasons if I do that.


7. Season 1 - it's just directionless, and there's far too many WTF, cringy episodes like "Code of Honor", or episodes that borrow too heavily from TOS, such as "The Naked Now", an almost beat for beat remake of "The Naked Time". The handful of good episodes like "The Neutral Zone" don't outweigh the ones that are a real pain to get through. The pilot is possibly the worst of any Star Trek series pilot, and feels like 2 different episode premises mashed together. Q isn't even that interesting in this season and if not for his appearances in later seasons, I'd find him to be utterly forgettable. Best episode: The Neutral Zone OR Conspiracy. Worst episode: Code of Honor

6. Season 7
- I might get some arguments for ranking this one lower than season 2, but I think it's a case that the producers and writers were playing it safe too often. This could have been a really great season to end the series on, and there's no excuse for it being so mediocre, other than that they didn't want to shake things up too much when they were about to start making the movie series. That said, I do enjoy how it got back to the monster-of-the-week feel of the first 2 seasons, establishing that space can be a very dangerous place. Dr. Crusher bones a ghost. That was weird. Best Episode: All Good Things OR Lower Decks. Worst Episode: Sub Rosa

5. Season 2
- Actually some of the best episodes are in this season, however, it's dragged down by a lot of filler episodes that aren't much better than the first season. However, I like that Wesley isn't as much of a deus ex machina in this one, and we see Geordi and Worf developed into more interesting characters. I didn't even mind Dr Pulaski that much. Best episode: The Measure of a Man (and arguably the best of the entire series). Worst episode: Up The Long Ladder OR The Outrageous Okona

4. Season 6
- This is a fun season, and you can tell the writers were being a bit more playful with episodes like "A fistful of Datas". Best episode: Chain of Command Parts I and II. Worst episode: Rascals

3. Season 4
- Almost consistent goodness, with a few WTF episodes scattered in the mix. this is the season where Picard began to be developed into a more relatable character. Best episode: The Drumhead OR Family. Worst Episode: I dunno, Devil's Due?

2. Season 3
- The leap in quality from season 2 is remarkable. This is where the show really came into its own and stepped out of the shadow of TOS, and showed signs of eclipsing TOS in greatness. Any good aspect from seasons 1 and 2 were expanded upon and set in stone, while elements that didn't work were discarded. The show takes on it's weightier dramatic tone in this season. The uniforms improved from those terrible spandex jumpsuits of the earlier seasons. Troi has mostly dropped that awful accent by now. Barclay is introduced. Best episode: Who Watches The Watchers OR The Best of Both Worlds OR Yesterday's Enterprise. Worst episode: The Bonding, but still a better episode than a lot of season 1 and 2 episodes

1. Season 5
- This one is pretty consistent in high quality. I don't have much else to say about it. Best Episode: Darmok OR The Inner Light OR I, Borg, shit they're all pretty good. Worst Episode: I honestly can't pick one, I find even the "worst" of season 5 to be pretty solid

My favorite season 1 episode was the one with the crystalline aliens, although I suppose that was just The Devil In The Dark again.

Worst season 2 episode was "Manhunt". "Up the long ladder" is bad but it has some parts that aren't terrible. Best season 2 episode is something I agree with you on.

I thought "The Bonding" was pretty good. I liked that it explored the crew dealing with death. The fact that it's the worst suggests how much better that season is.
 

Totenkindly

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I haven't watched the series through since around 2000 or so, but I would just agree that the TNG really found its spot in Season 3 and continued through Season 5 and a bit into Season 6, where it started to ebb.

Ro Laren was one of my favorite characters and one of the high points of the final few seasons, especially with her arc not ending in a happy little bow. I was really happy they did something more complex with her.

I watched Season 1 at college with friends as it aired -- every week we met in one of the lounges to watch. It was partially happiness, partially a heckling session. They really were trying things out and making alterations as they went. Riker got better established after the first season (and, well, the beard); Wesley got pulled back quite a lot.
 
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