Star Trek: The Next Generation celebrates its 30th anniversary today. When the show premiered on September 28th, 1987 it arrived with some skepticism from fans who were not ready yet to move on from Kirk, Spock and Bones. After a bit of a rocky start, The Next Generation managed to win over and even surpass fan expectations, along with bringing in millions of new. The show eventually ran for seven seasons and spawned four feature films.
So in honor of the 30 year legacy today TrekMovie counts down what we see as the 30 greatest moments of the first Star Trek spin-off. Some are fun, some sad, some scary, but all show how Star Trek: The Next Generation remains with us today.
30. Remmick explodes (“Conspiracy”)
Picard and Riker investigate an alien infestation in one of the show’s best and weirdest episodes during the first season.
29. Riker rejects Admiral Pressman (“The Pegasus”)
In one of the better episodes written about Riker, he chooses the right side by rejecting Admiral Pressman.
28. Shut up, Wesley! (“Datalore”)
After Wesley persists in insisting that Data has been replaced by his evil brother Lore, Picard (and his mother) have enough and tell him to shut it, creating a perhaps unintentional cathartic moment for fans frustrated with the character.
27. Alternate Riker doesn’t want to go back (“Parallels”)
Multiple parallel-universe Enterprises converge, including one captained by a scruffy-bearded Riker from a reality infested with the Borg, and he doesn’t want to go back.
26. Worf breaks Geordi’s mandolin (“Qpid”)
After Q recreates Robin Hood and his merry men with the crew, Worf makes it clear is “not a merry man” and he demonstrates this with an homage to Animal House.
25. Data meets his maker (“Brothers”)
In a great showcase of Brent Spiner’s talent, he plays Data, Data’s brother Lore and his creator, Dr. Noonian Soong.
24. “Good tea, nice house.” (“The Survivors”)
Worf shows that there is honor in being polite when visiting a nice old couple who offer him a cup of tea, which he clearly isn’t enjoying.
23. Troi tells fantasy Troi to “muzzle it” (“Hollow Pursuits”)
When the crew discover what Barclay has been up to in the Holodeck, it makes for a quite amusing experience for the crew – especially Troi.
22. Data decides Kivas Fajo has to die (“The Most Toys”)
Data shows that he is more than just his programming when he decides enough is enough with an sinister collector who had abducted him, only to have the transporter whisk him away before he can finish the job.
21. The Borg take a slice (“Q-Who”)
Q throws the Enterprise into the Delta Quadrant and shows us just how vulnerable this ship and crew are as we meet the Borg and they casually carve up the ship.
20. “No bloody A, B, C or D…” (“Relics”)
James Doohan guest stars as Montgomery Scott after being saved from a transporter loop that suspended him for 80 years. Scott recreates the bridge of the original Enterprise on the Holodeck, giving us some tears in our eyes.
19. Picard pleads love for Lwaxana Troi (“Menage a Troi”)
In order to rescue Counselor Troi and her mother, Lwaxana, Picard must confess his love for Troi’s mother to the Ferengi.
18. Data and Spock talk life choices (“Unification, Part 2”)
Two of the most iconic characters in Star Trek history finally meet face-to-face and ponder the value of a pursuit of humanity.
17. Crusher figures out she is trapped in a bubble (“Remember Me”)
This is one of the better episodes for Beverly Crusher, who utilizes her scientific skills to work out she is trapped inside a warp bubble after members of the crew keep mysteriously disappearing.
16. Q gives Data the gift of laughter (“Deja-Q”)
In a fleeting moment at the end of the episode, Q gives Data a gift, albeit brief: unbridled laughter.
15. Picard mindmelds with Sarek (“Sarek”)
In order to help Ambassador Sarek keep his emotions under control for a critical negotiation, Picard agrees to take them on, even though he risks being overwhelmed by them.
14. Admiral McCoy tells Data how to treat the Enterprise (“Encounter at Fairpoint”)
In a rare appearance, DeForest Kelley appears as Admiral McCoy to tell Data to treat the Enterprise like a lady “and she’ll always bring you home.”
13. Picard laughs after being stabbed (“Tapestry”)
In one of the many episodes where Q makes Picard question his own humanity, he makes him revisit a defining moment of his youth as a Starfleet officer.
12. Data is “fully functional” (“The Naked Now”)
In the show’s second episode – a sequel to The Original Series episode “The Naked Time” – Data lets the audience know that he’s a “fully functioning” android whilst engaging in intercourse with Tasha Yar.
11. Crusher teaches Data how to dance (“Data’s Day”)
In a tender moment between the good doctor and Data, Dr. Crusher teaches Data how to dance for the wedding of Miles and Keiko O’Brien.
10. Picard uses Vulcan nerve pinch (“Starship Mine”)
When terrorists sneak on board an emptied Enterprise, Picard gets his John McClane on shows them who is the captain, including giving guest star Tim Russ (who would later play Vulcan security officer Tuvok on VOY) a rare human-delivered Vulcan nerve pinch.
9. Picard ends the witch hunt (“The Drumhead”)
Perhaps one of Picard’s finest speeches – and finest moments – he ends Admiral Satie’s witch hunt trying to find any shred of evidence of a Romulan conspiracy. A speech that is still relevant today.
8. Riker removes Data’s arm (“The Measure of a Man”)
Picard must prove to Starfleet that Data is a sentient being with rights, but Riker doesn’t make it easy with his reluctant yet effective case.
7. “There are four lights!” (“Chain of Command, Part 2”)
After being captured and tortured by the Cardassians, Picard has a great moment of defiance and heroism by rejecting the brainwashing of his tormentors.
6. Lal dies (“The Offspring”)
In an incredibly emotional moment for Data’s quest to be human, he loses his daughter.
5. “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” (“Darmok”)
It’s one of the most memorable episodes ever. Picard gets a lesson in interspecies relations by speaking, and then understanding, this unforgettable line.
4. Picard plays the flute (“The Inner Light”)
Described by many as one of the best episodes in the entire series, after living a lifetime and then some Picard picks up the flute once more.
3. “Let’s make sure that history never forgets…” (“Yesterday’s Enterprise”)
In an alternative and darker universe a different Picard and crew sacrifice themselves to send the Enterprise-C back in time to restore the timeline, ensuring history never forgets the name Enterprise.
2. “The sky’s the limit” (“All Good Things…”)
In what became a hallmark of the show, the series ends with a card game between the senior officers. Except this time… Picard joins them.
1. “Mr. Worf, fire” (“The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1”)
In what may be television’s greatest cliffhangers, Riker tells Worf to fire on the Borg cube which carries a newly assimilated Captain Picard as Locutus of Borg.
What are your greatest TNG moments?
Well that’s our list, but we’re sure there are moments you think should be on the list. Sound off in the comments below.