Star Trek Movie Retrospective–Star Trek: Nemesis

“To absent friends. To family”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s toast for his deceased friend Data

nemesis posterThere is a superstition among Star Trek fans and others that the odd-numbered Star Trek films are bad and do poorly at the box office, while the opposite applies to the even-numbered films. Star Trek: Nemesis disproved that belief, at least when it came to box office returns. As for its quality, well it’s not a bad film at all. It has its flaws but as the last film to feature the characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) it’s actually underrated.

The beginning takes place on the planet Romulus, the heart of the Romulan Empire. The Romulans are an evil offshoot of the peaceful, pointy-eared Vulcans and are bitter enemies with the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. In the Romulan Senate, a coup d’état occurs where the praetor and the Romulan government are killed by a device that emits an energy field that turns everyone in the Senate into ashes.

ash romulan

Next, the film jumps to Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who is on Earth giving a best man toast. He and his fellow Enterprise-E crewmembers are at the wedding reception of the Enterprise-E’s first officer Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and the ship’s counselor weddingDeanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). We learn that Riker has been promoted to captain and is about to take command of his own ship. Deanna will be joining him there while the android officer Data (Brent Spiner) will become the new first officer of the Enterprise-E.

The ship departs for Betazed, Troi’s home planet, so the newlyweds can have a traditional Betazoid wedding. As the senior bridge crew joke about the prospect of appearing naked in the Betazoid wedding as per custom, the Klingon tactical officer Worf (Michael Dorn) gets an alert that the ship picked up a positronic signature from a nearby system. That is the same kind transmitted by androids like Data, which is a rarity. With his and Data’s interest aroused, Picard orders the Enterprise-E to divert to the planet of the signature’s origin.

Picard, Data and Worf arrive on the desert planet. These scenes on the world looked otherworldly thanks to the harsh, washed out lighting from the planet’s sun. They find scattered pieces of an android who is a replica of Data and take him back to the ship.

He is assembled and activated. This android is B-4 and is a prototype android created by Data’s “father”. B-4 has no memory of how he wound up on the planet and in fact seems a bit slow. Data decides to download his own memory into B-4 in the hope that his added memories and information will help B-4 grow and become more productive.

janeway

As this is going on Picard receives a message from Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew reprising her role from Star Trek: Voyager) and is ordered to go to Romulus because the new praetor has requested a Federation envoy. Both are surprised that the praetor is a Reman.

remanThe Remans are slave caste members of the Romulan Empire. It’s never explained if they are in fact of the same race as Romulans because they look so drastically different. They seem more like the vampiric Nosferatu with their bat-like ears, fangs and pale skin. The coup d’état at the beginning of Star Trek: Nemesis was orchestrated by Shinzon (Tom Hardy) in order to liberate the Remans and seize control of the empire.

The Enterprise-E arrives on Romulus and after a long wait, this huge, hideously designed war craft de-cloaks in front of them. It’s the Scimitar, a ship secretly built by the Remans but looking more like a demented Lego toy. Picard and his senior staff are invited to beam aboard to meet Shinzon.

meeting shinzonOnce on the Scimitar, Picard and his Away Team are shocked when they discover that the new praetor is actually a young, bald human with a striking resemblance to Picard. Shinzon is gracious if a bit off–he is obsessed with Deanna, having never seen a human before, even though she is half Betazoid. He tells Picard that he wants to open peace negotiations with the Federation and offers a sample of his blood to Picard and the others.

Back on the Enterprise-E, the ship’s doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) examines the blood sample and confirms Picard’s suspicions: Shinzon is Picard’s clone.

The next day over dinner, Praetor Shinzon explains to Picard what happened. Years ago, the Romulans took a sample of the captain’s DNA and cloned him in order to have the clone replace Picard and infiltrate Starfleet. This plan was eventually abandoned, as was Shinzon who was exiled to the Remans’ homeworld to work in the dilithium mines. A Reman (Ron Perlman), who is now Shinzon’s viceroy, took pity on young Shinzon and took him under his care.

Shinzon again proposes peace with Picard. The captain politely turns him down saying that trust must be earned but leaves the door open for more dialogue.

At the same time, B-4 receives a mysterious signal and begins working on a nearby computer to access information. The crew learn of this subterfuge and takes action.

Meanwhile, Shinzon, with the viceroy’s help, forms a telepathic bond with Deanna and tries to mentally rape her through her husband when they’re in bed. Shinzon is interrupted when he gets word picard shinzonthat B-4 is ready. The android is beamed aboard the Scimitar and downloads confidential Starfleet information. After this is done, Shinzon forcibly beams over Picard in order to have a medical procedure done.

Before this can happen, B-4 turns out to be Data, who gave Shinzon the wrong information, and frees Picard. Then the two escape from the Scimitar.

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Star Trek Movie Retrospective–Star Trek: Insurrection

“How many people does it take admiral, before it becomes wrong? Hmmm? A thousand? Fifty thousand? A million?”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard questioning Admiral Dougherty’s attitude about forcibly relocating 600 Ba’ku villagers

ins posterThe ninth Star Trek film, Star Trek: Insurrection, isn’t well regarded by fans and even the people who made it. However, it does have some merit. In fact, as our contributor GEO would say, here’s what’s great about Star Trek: Insurrection:

Still looking? Don’t bother. There isn’t anything great about the film.

dataIt opens in a quaint pastoral Mediterranean-looking village on an unnamed planet. The townspeople are a simple and content lot who tend to their fields, bake bread and live a quiet existence. But they’re monitored unnoticed by Starfleet personnel and mummified-looking aliens in a duck blind. They’re also tracking an invisible person who turns out to be the android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) who has gone rogue. Other cloaked officers try to stop him from reaching the village, but the android reaches it. The villagers become aware of them, especially after Data removes his invisible suit and shoots at the invisible monitoring station, making it visible to everyone.

uniform

Meanwhile, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is hosting a reception onboard his ship, the Enterprise-E, for new members of the United Federation of Planets. He runs into his old Klingon friend Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) who apparently dropped by the ship to visit. Worf at this time was a regular character in the show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) but it’s never really explained what he was doing on the Enterprise-E.

sona ship enterprisePicard gets an urgent message from Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe) who is requesting Data’s schematics and informs him of the android’s behavior. He adds that Data took hostage the Starfleet observers along with the Son’a, the aliens working with the observers. The captain offers to send his ship over to help but Dougherty discourages this since the planet they’re on is in a perilous region of space nicknamed the Briar Patch.  It got that name from its volatile gases in the system’s nebula that creates anomalies like poor communication.

His interest piqued, Picard has the Enterprise-E go to the planet anyway. When they arrive, Dougherty is with the Son’a leader Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham) on the Son’a’s command ship, which was just attacked scout shipby Data in a scout ship. Picard and Worf quickly leave their ship in a shuttlecraft and are in turn attacked by Data’s ship near the ringed planet. Both vessels enter the planet’s atmosphere during a cat-and-mouse chase. Over the radio, Picard engages Data to an embarrassingly dumb musical duet based on a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. This distracts the android long enough for Worf to board his ship and deactivate him with a modified tricorder.

Afterwards, the Enterprise-E crew arrive at the village to free the hostages. They’re surprised to find that the so-called prisoners are treated as guests and are free to leave. Picard meets one of the villagers, Anij (Donna Murphy) and a few others. They’re the Ba’ku and despite their primitive appearance are actually a warp-capable society who are up to date on science and technology but choose to live a simpler life.

Back on the Enterprise-E, Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge (Levar Burton) informs Picard that Data’s positronic brain was damaged in a firefight, which is picard data and chickwhy he was acting strangely. Data, now repaired, is activated. The android doesn’t remember much of what happened to him, so him and Picard go back to the planet to investigate. Anij and other Ba’ku, including a young boy named Artim (Michael Welch) who previously encountered Data, join them. They discover a cloaked rectangular ship that is really one large holoship that can recreate any environment inside of it. The ship has a recreated Ba’ku’s village, meaning that the villagers were to be transported there while they slept and fooled into thinking they were still in the village. The mystery just deepens.

Picard and his crew begin experiencing strange reactions to being on the planet, notably that they are getting younger. Worf breaks out in acne, First Officer William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) rekindle a dormant romance and most dramatically Geordi regains his eyesight. The scene where Geordi looks at a sunrise for the first time in his life was his best moment in all the films thanks to Burton’s quietly emotional acting.

geordi sees

Anij explains to Picard what is going on. The Ba’ku left their ruined planet centuries ago and resettled in the current world. The metaphasic radiation from the rings of the planet rejuvenated them, which explains the Ba’ku’s youthful appearance. Anij and many others are actually centuries old thanks to the rings. The Ba’ku’s world is an actual Fountain of Youth, which is why Starfleet and the sickly Son’a are so interested.

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Star Trek Movie Retrospective–Star Trek: First Contact

“The line must be drawn HERE! This far, no farther! I…will make them PAY for what they’ve done!”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard ranting about the Borg

posterWhen producers started making the eighth Star Trek film, they knew it had to deliver big. The previous film was successful but received criticisms over its quality. So for Star Trek: First Contact they brought out the big guns in the form of the Borg, the most popular villains on the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). And it worked.

It opens with a close up shot of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) looking straight ahead. The camera pulls back to reveal he’s inside the nightmarish machinery of a Borg vessel. What’s worse is his transformation into one of them and losing his identity. The Borg are a cold, and nearly invincible cyborg race made up of assorted aliens that are forcibly converted using painful looking cybernetic implants. They seek the perfect union between machine and life and assimilating other races to achieve this objective.

cast

Picard eventually wakes up from the nightmare, which was a flashback to his ordeal in the classic two-part episode “The Best Of Both Worlds”. He’s onboard his new ship, the Enterprise-E and receives news that the Borg have returned to Federation space. However, instead of being ordered to join an assembled armada to fight the Borg, he is to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone with his ship.

He and his crew are visibly restless about their orders. Later as they carry them out, his first officer Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) complains about the orders, Picard tells him that Starfleet feels that his own experiences with being turned into a Borg will compromise his ability to fight them.

Just then he and the crew pick up transmissions from the fight. Things aren’t going well for the Starfleet armada, it’s losing badly to the Borg. Having heard enough, Picard decides to disobey orders and join the fight, with his crew behind him. The Enterprise-E then warps off at its highest speed to Earth.

borg battle2

The very next scene features a mammoth and imposing Borg cube that fills the screen, accompanied by a booming score, as it nears our planet. It’s slammed by weapons fire from Starfleet ships. Unlike “The Best Of Both Worlds” the ships are putting up a better fight, but are still losing. New and eye-catching Starfleet ships abound, one of them is the Defiant, the scrappy escort vessel seen in the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). Commanding the Defiant is the Klingon Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn), who in between films, joined DS9. His damaged ship is caught in a tractor beam from the cube.

borg battleThe  Enterprise-E suddenly joins the fray, rescues the Defiant and beams aboard its survivors. Moments later, Worf joins his old comrades at the bridge, completing the film reunion. Picard takes command of the fleet and orders a simultaneous barrage of weapons fire at specific spots on the cube.

In a spectacular display, the Starfleet ships fire a vicious volley at the Borg cube and destroy it. However, before it explodes, the cube releases a smaller, sphere-shaped vessel that rushes towards Earth.

The Enterprise-E is on its tail as a temporal vortex opens up in front of the Borg sphere that leaves behind borg earthan energy wake that washes over the Enterprise-E.  After the sphere disappears into the vortex, the horrified crew of the starship see the Earth before them become Borgified. The planet’s colorful landmasses are transformed into one continuous field of metallic grey.

They  deduce that the sphere traveled to Earth’s past and assimilated the planet. The ship’s android operations officer Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) theorizes that the wake protected them from being changed with the altered timeline. Before the vortex can close, Picard orders the Enterprise-E to go through it.

The sphere emerges from the vortex and begins attacking a small, rundown town in Montana. The Enterprise-E arrives a few minutes later and destroys the sphere. They learn they’re in the mid 21st century, April 4, 2063 to be exact, about ten years after World War III. Based on that information, Picard realizes that the Borg want to stop Zefram Cochrane, the human inventor of warp drive technology, from successfully testing Earth’s first warp drive ship, the Phoenix. Its flight on the next day will attract the attention of a passing Vulcan ship, which will then travel to Earth. The resulting peaceful first contact will eventually lead to the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

Fearing the worst, Picard with an Away Team beams down to the town, which actually has a missile complex. picard dataEven though most of the personnel in the complex are dead, Cochrane’s assistant and co-pilot Lily Sloane (Alfre Woodard) is found alive but suffering from radiation poisoning. She’s taken back to the ship for treatment by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) while Picard looks for Cochrane. The Phoenix (actually a converted nuclear missile) is damaged but repairable.

Throughout the film, Picard was able to hear Borg voices in his head, a residual effect of his ordeal after being assimilated. He hears them again and returns to the ship with Data, while having Riker beam down to continue looking for Cochrane. Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge (Levar Burton) also beams down with a team to repair the Phoenix and continue with the planned flight.

Back on the Enterprise-E, the bridge crew discover that they are losing control over several systems and cannot contact main engineering. It soon becomes apparent that there are Borg drones onboard the starship. The captain theorizes that before the sphere was destroyed several Borg must’ve beamed onboard undetected to assimilate the starship. Acting quickly, Picard orders Data to lock out the main computer and heads to main engineering with a security team. Picard’s plan is to puncture the warp core’s plasma coolant tanks, which will flood engineering and liquefy all organic matter, namely the Borg’s organic parts.

ee corridors

When they get near their destination, several Borg drones, many of whom are assimilated crewmembers, attack Picard’s detail. They’re forced to retreat but Data is captured.

During his retreat, Picard runs into Lily, who evacuated sickbay and separated from Crusher’s medical team after the Borg broke into the medical facility. Lily doesn’t know what is going on and orders Picard at phaser point to be taken back home. PIcard is able to convince her that she is on a ship from the future and takes her with him to a holodeck. They briefly hide there while a 1940s detective story simulation plays until two Borg enter the holodeck. Picard begins to exhibit his inner rage and transforms into a movie action hero while killing them with a holographic Tommy gun. Then he retrieves a neural processor from one of the corpses to learn the Borg’s plans.

outer space fightOne of them is to use the ship’s deflector to contact other Borg for reinforcements. This leads to one of the film’s most suspenseful moments: a dangerous battle with the enemy outside on the ship’s outer hull. They’re truly inhuman with their capability to function without spacesuits, while Picard, Worf and a redshirt named Hawk (Neal McDonough) donned sleek, white EV suits.

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Star Trek Movie Retrospective–Star Trek Generations

Captain James T. Kirk: “I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim.”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “You could say that.”

Captain James T. Kirk: “Sounds like fun.”

Casual conversation between two starship captains on horseback

“It was…fun. Oh my…”

Captain James T. Kirk’s last words

generations poster 2The Star Trek franchise was at its high peak in 1994. Later that year came Star Trek Generations, which was supposed to be the start of a new film era starring the characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), but instead signaled the long, slow decline of the franchise.

Let’s get to the point and have it known that the only great thing about the seventh Star Trek film was Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). By himself he nearly saved the film. That is because Star Trek Generations only seemed to come to life whenever he appeared, which was to bookend the film.

It begins with the christening of a new Federation starship: the Enterprise-B. Joining the celebration are former crewmembers of the Enterprise-A, Kirk, Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scottie” Scott (James Doohan) and Commander Chekov (Walter Koenig).

Kirk is clearly uncomfortable being at this Enterprise, since he isn’t in command and is reminded of how empty his life has become. These are magnificent scenes with superb acting by William Shatner. He doesn’t have many lines but you could see on his face that longing to sit in the captain’s chair again. Clearly, retirement doesn’t suit him well. The captain of the vessel is John Harriman (Alan Ruck), who seems a bit like a dweeb. He isn’t a bad person, just too cautious and inexperienced. How did he get this prestigious assignment? Perhaps he’s related to someone important.

The Enterprise-B is officially launched from Earth orbit for a quick tour of the solar system and back. But the ship receives a distress call from ships with El-Aurian refugees. Harriman is hesitant to commit the ship, but as with your typical Star Trek plot inconvenience, even though they’re in Earth’s solar system, there aren’t any nearby ships that can help. Reluctantly, Harriman orders the ship to warp over to the refugees’ location.

enterprise b at nexusUpon arrival, they find two ships caught in the gravity field of the nexus ribbon. It’s a swirling, flaming band of energy that oscillates and spews out tendrils of energy, which destroys one transport ship. Harriman is clearly out of his depth and asks Kirk for help. Kirk, Scotty and Chekov spring into action. Scotty manages to beam aboard some refugees before the last ship explodes. Chekov assembles a makeshift medic crew to help the survivors. One of them is a hysterical mad man (Malcolm McDowell) who is begging to go back to the nexus. Chekov helps another refugee who turns out to be Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), the ancient bartender seen on TNG.

The Enterprise-B becomes trapped in the same gravity field. The only means of escape is to fire an energy pulse from its deflector array located in the engineering hull. Harriman volunteers to kirk harrimanmodify the array but Kirk realizes that the Enterprise-B isn’t his ship. He tells Harriman to remain on the bridge and leaves to work on the array. Kirk makes the modifications and the ship pulls free, but not before an energy tendril strikes the engineering hull, which causes a hull breach.

Once it’s realized that Kirk was in the area of the breach, Scotty, Harriman and Chekov rush down to the engineering section and can only stare horrifically at the remains of the area Kirk was on. Only outer space held back by a force field greets them as they grasp that Starfleet’s greatest legend is gone…

old shipThe film jumps ahead 78 years later from outer space to tranquil ocean waters and a quaint sailing ship named Enterprise commandeered by officers in old-fashioned naval uniforms. The entire thing is a simulation on the Enterprise-D’s holodeck. The senior Enterprise-D crew members including Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), First Officer William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and the android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) are celebrating the promotion of their Klingon crewmate Worf (Michael Dorn), who is dunked into the water. Data is perplexed by the humor of the situation especially after his attempt at humor fails to produce laughs.

old uniforms

Captain Picard then receives a personal message from Earth and becomes gloomy for most of the film. Moments later, the ship gets a distress call from the Armagosa Observatory. The Enterprise-D heads to the Armagosa system and the floating observatory, which was attacked. The crew find a survivor in the observatory, a scientist, Dr. Tolian Soran, who happens to be the same lunatic rescued on the Enterprise-B.

Meanwhile, Data tells his friend Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge (Levar Burton) that he feels stunted regarding his attempt to grow as a sentient being. He wants to experience emotions and has Geordi implant an emotion chip into his brain. Later at the Ten Forward lounge, Data begins to experience emotions after sampling a drink offered by Guinan. Data then acts like a buffoon for most of the film.

data clown

Investigations uncover that the Romulans attacked the observatory because they were looking for trilithium. It’s an unstable compound developed by them that can stop nuclear fusion in a star. It’s revealed that Soran is building solar probes with the compound to collapse stars because he wants the shockwaves to alter the course of the nexus towards a planetary body.

After failing to convince Picard to let him return to the observatory, Soran goes anyway there and kidnaps Geordi, who was there to investigate the attack. Data was with Geordi but is so overcome with his new emotions that he can only cower in fear when confronted by Soran. The scientist then launches a solar probe with the trilithium at the Armagosa star.

enterprise d

In his quarters, Picard tells Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) why he is so morose. His brother and nephew died on Earth and he is despondent over that and the realization that he is without any family. Before the scene can devolve into an intergalactic episode of Dr. Phil, they witness the collapse of the Armagosa star. The Enterprise-D crew manages to rescue Data  and leave the system, but Geordi and Soran are beamed aboard a Klingon bird-of-prey ship.

Soran is working with the commanders of the ship, the ugly and annoying Duras sisters Lursa (Barbara March) and B’Etor (Gwynyth Walsh) who appeared on TNG. They stole the trilithium from the Romulans and gave it to Soran to develop a weapon for them. The Klingon ship leaves for the Veridian system, where Soran can continue his work.

cartographyBack on the Enterprise-D, Picard learns about Soran and his plan for the nexus. It’s made of temporal energy (don’t ask) and is actually an interdimensional realm where time has no meaning and you can live out your fantasies. Soran was briefly there before his rescue by the Enterprise-B and desperately wants to return. Picard and Data deduce that with the nexus will now travel to the Veridian system. If that star is collapsed, the shockwave will push the nexus towards a nearby planet Veridian III. Picard orders the ship to head to that planet.

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Top 25 Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes

Star Trek Next Generation Crew

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, here’s a look at the 25 best episodes from that show’s seven-year run.

25. “Conspiracy” This paranoid episode has the Enterprise  D crew fighting against a conspiracy to takeover Starfleet by worm-like aliens.

24. “Face Of The Enemy” Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) is captured and forced to impersonate a Romulan officer to help transport Romulan defectors.

23. “Future Imperfect” First Officer Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) wakes up sixteen years in the future without a memory of what has happened in all that time.

22. “The Pegasus” Riker and the Enterprise crew must assist his former commanding officer (Terry O’Quinn) to salvage an experimental starship before the Romulans do.

21. “Remember Me” Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) finds herself in a reality where people begin to disappear without anyone remembering the losses.

20. “The Defector” A Romulan officer defects to the Federation with a warning of a pending war. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) must decide if he’s trustworthy.

19. “The Wounded” The Enterprise is sent into Cardassian space to stop a renegade Starfleet captain with his ship from starting a war with the Cardassians.

18. “The Most Toys” The android Commander Data (Brent Spiner) is captured by an eccentric and heartless collector who thinks of him as a priceless commodity.

17. “Relics” Scotty (James Doohan) from the original Star Trek is rescued by the Enterprise crew and must adapt to a life that is very different from what he knew.

Relics Scotty and Picard

16. “The Ensigns Of Command” Data has to evacuate unwilling, prejudiced colonists from a world before a malevolent alien force arrives.

15. “Redemption II” The Klingon Civil War concludes as Picard leads an armada to aid Worf’s (Michael Dorn) side and deals with intervening Romulans.

14. “The Inner Light” Picard unwittingly lives out an entire lifetime in his mind as a member of a long-dead alien race as a means of preserving their entire culture.

13. “Cause And Effect” The Enterprise is caught in a nasty time loop where it’s destroyed over and over again.

12. “Hollow Pursuits” This episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation spotlights on Enterprise crewmember Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz), who is addicted to the holodeck where he creates perfect scenarios for himself.

11. “A Fistful Of Datas” One of the best broken holodeck episodes has Worf, his son and Troi trapped in a wild west setting against a town full of Datas portraying various characters, complete with all the great Western clichés.

10. “Transfigurations” In many ways, this episodes best exemplifies Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful vision for humanity. The Enterprise crew rescues an amnesiac alien with healing powers. The nascent would-be romance between him and Dr. Crusher was very tender and uplifting. As was his metamorphosis into a higher state of being and his high regard for humanity.

9. “Chain Of Command, Parts I & II” Captain Picard is unceremoniously reassigned to infiltrate a Cardassian bioweapons facility and is captured. Meanwhile, Riker has to contend with Picard’s acrid replacement (Ronny Cox). The acting by Stewart while Picard is tortured by the Cardassians was exceptional, as was the level of tension onboard the Enterprise as war loomed.

8. “Ship In A Bottle” The best holodeck episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation. A self aware holographic simulation of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Prof. Moriarty holds the Enterprise crew hostage until a way is found for him to leave the holodeck. See the episode’s end when Picard wryly wonders if their reality is actually a form of entertainment for someone else!

7. “Parallels” Lt. Worf finds himself drifting through several different realities. One has Riker commanding the Enterprise while Worf is married to Troi. At one point, the starship’s viewscreen is filled with many alternate Enterprises. One of them coming from a shocking reality which has a desperate and haggard Riker on the run from the triumphant Borg.

6. “Tapestry” The god-like entity Q (John DeLancie) comes to Picard after the captain dies and offers him a chance to rewrite his own history. The result being that Picard’s life isn’t so wonderful. He learns the hard way that he needed pain and adversity to help him succeed in his life and career. A sobering lesson for anyone who want to play it safe in life.

Darmok

5. “Darmok” This is a high bar for a first-contact scenario show. What made “Darmok” so memorable was Paul Winfield’s sympathetic performance of an alien Picard meets. The problem is that the alien speaks in confusing metaphors which cannot be translated. The alien risks his and Picard’s life by transporting the themselves down to a hostile world so that they can find a way to communicate. It’s something rarely seen in Star Trek where universal translators always come in handy.

4. ” Q Who?” The cold and powerful cybernetic race called the Borg make their debut in this second season episode. Feeling that the Federation and Picard were getting too pompous, Q transports the Enterprise into deep space and a first-time encounter with the horrifying Borg. Before long, Picard realizes that his ship is outmatched by the superior Borg cube ship and has to swallow his pride and beg for Q’s help.

3.”All Good Things…” One of the very best series finales for any show. It ended the show just right and left many wanting more. In this finale, Q returns and bounces Captain Picard across three different time periods; the present, the future and to the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to figure out what will cause the universe’s destruction. It was great seeing the future versions of the crewmembers and how they looked at the beginning, which illustrated how far they and the show had come.

2. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” One of Star Trek’s best time-travel episodes mostly takes place in an alternate universe. Picard’s Enterprise is a strictly military vessel and part of a Federation that is losing a brutal war against the Klingons. The Enterprise encounters a time rift where its predecessor, the Enterprise C, emerges. It turns out that the vessel and crew were critical for cementing peace between the two galactic powers and needs to go back to its original time period to correct the timeline. Picard has to decide if he should risk sending the older ship back in time. Viewers got to see a more militant and harder edged crew including a very much alive Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby), who died back in the first season.

Yesterday's Enterprise

1. “The Best Of Both Worlds, Parts I & II” The Borg at their best! Before being overused and watered down by Star Trek: Voyager, the Borg are shown in their nearly invulnerable, terrifying glory. The third-season ender has the Borg sending a cube towards Earth. Picard and his crew grapple with the fact that they or even the Federation may not survive the invasion. The first part of the storyline ended with the best Star Trek cliffhanger as Captain Picard was captured and assimilated, forcing Riker to turn against him. The second part has the Enterprise crew desperately trying to keep the Borg from invading Earth and saving Picard. Both episodes were chilling, exciting and glued fans to the TV sets.

José Soto