Picard season 2 crashed and burned with a journey back to the 21'st century that ended up staining the reputation of the honorable Jean Luc Picard. As such, the best way to cleanse our minds is to travel back even farther to the glory days of Star Trek The Next Generation and to bask at the best it had to offer.
While not always perfect, When it was clicking, TNG provided some of the finest hours of television in Star Trek history. It expanded the optimistic vision of the original series while delivering multiple memorable episodes with high concept sci-fi plots and a strong devotion to themes of peace and understanding. It also had an iconic crew of characters like the charming William Riker, the delightful Data, the loveable Worf, and the morally upright Jean Luc Picard played with Shakesperean relish by Patrick Stewart.
These 12 classic adventures contain everything that made Star Trek The Next Generation venerated by fans; strong moral principles, an optimistic outlook on the potential of humanity, interesting aliens, unique science fiction concepts, and smart writing. So lets teleport back to the prime years of Picard's life and relive these 12 beloved episodes again and again.
12. 11001001 - Season 1 Episode 15
Amidst the rubble of season 1, is a gem featuring the Bynars, one of Star Trek The Next Generation’s most interesting species. They are a binary species that constantly walk and work in pairs. Their short stature and large craniums instantly set them apart from the myriad of alien humanoids with slightly differing foreheads. They're also so interconnected with computer technology that they communicate with each other in digital code. Finally, their reasoning for not simply asking for help because they only see things as a yes or no equation and thus couldn't risk rejection turns out to be simple yet poignant.
Other aspects of the episode, like the hijacking of the Enterprise, also benefit from a high attention to detail. When the Bynars stage an imminent engineering catastrophe that requires everyone to evacuate, we see the step-by-step sequence in which the ruse was set up and how it plays out. The editing between decks is smooth, the cinematography crisp, and the execution of the plan so impressive that we buy that the crew truly were outsmarted.
Meanwhile, the Holodeck, which would eventually turn into a generic plot device, is utilized smartly as the Bynars use it to distract Riker by creating a New Orleans jazz bar simulation with the charismatic Minuet as its centerpiece. It's shot with an appropriate sense of wonder with Picard and Riker displaying a strong admiration for how realistic it all looks. Their conversation with Minuet also has a fun relaxed vibe as we get to see them both as themselves adding more layers to their characters.
These elements combine to make 11001001 The Next Generation’s first great episode and an appetizer for what the show was truly capable of.