Many moons ago I did an article on movies I loved when I first saw them, only to get older and realize the films were that good after all. Sometimes when you first see a movie or TV show as a kid, for one reason or another you get the wrong impression of it. You love it initially because itâ€™s got cool effects and action, only to revisit it and realize the story sucked. Sometimes it goes the other way, an episode you initially hated turns out to be really good there was just something you didn’t get the first time around. For me, there are several episodes of the original Star Trek and Next Generation that fit this description. I had strong feelings for the show, which I would later find were misguided. I wanted to talk about the main five one’s today. This is limited to the first two series.
#5 And The Children Shall Lead (TOS)
I donâ€™t know why I liked this, but when I was a kid I did. Looking at it now, yeah I can see the bad acting and silly special effects. The story is full of holes and the ending is so corny and lame. I just donâ€™t understand what the thinking was with this one, or why it took me so long to realize just how bad it was.
#4. Genesis (TNG)
This episode was a lot like a certain Voyager episode called Threshold. It was promoted as a classic â€œcharacters transform into something” story with cool make-up effects, only problem was the story was so stupid! Just like that famous Voyager episode, nothing about this show really makes any sense. Itâ€™s also the start of the clichÃ© used in Star Trek where a crewman or two leave the ship just long enough to miss what happens, and then return in time to save the day.
#3.The Empath (TOS)
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy spend an entire episode standing on a dark stage talking. Sounds pretty boring, doesnâ€™t it? Well thatâ€™s what my first impression of this episode was when I was a kid. Truth is, this episode is one of the highlights of the third season. It is really all about the close friendship between these three guys, as we see just how much they care for each other. When the aliens decide they are going to torture one of them, Spock refuses to let Kirk volunteer but McCoy knocks them both out, sacrificing himself. A very nice moment in a real touching episode. Yeah, it’s kind of boring and a little more surreal than a typical Trek episode but if you watch it you see a real beautiful story.
#2. Lower Decks (TNG)
This really wasn’t bad, I get the premise. I just didn’t like it. However, just because I didn’t like the concept doesn’t make it a bad one. Sorry, but I don’t care what is going on when the regulars are busy or what it’s like for the other crew who arenâ€™t in on the action. I watch Star Trek to watch the regulars, not these unknowns. But, to be fair, it is kind of interesting. I also objected to what Picard does in the episode sending the ensign on such a dangerous mission but that again is opinion. This episode will never be a favorite of mine, but that doesn’t mean itâ€™s bad.
#1. Inner Light (TNG)
This one is kind of embarrassing. When I first saw this I thought it was the most boring episode. It was a confusing story that was uninteresting. Before everyone comments on how wrong that is, I know. True itâ€™s not an exciting episode it is a beautiful story. I think that this is the kind of episode that works better when you know the resolution. Once you find out that Picard is living the life of a man from a now dead world, suddenly it works. Yeah, itâ€™s hard to buy how this society built this thing that locks on to Picard and just how real the experience was for him, did it really feel like thirty years had passed? Despite the question this is a beautiful episode and very well written.
Honorable mentions include Time Squared, Who Watches the Watchers, and The Menagerie.
I guess that what happens when we get older, we get wiser and realize things we thought were cool werenâ€™t so great and the things we thought were dull were, actually, pretty good. Funny how age alters our perceptions.