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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the i-always-wanted-to-see-a-Tamarian-Borg dept.

Sci-Fi 512

An anonymous reader writes: "Last week, the Ars Technica ran an article listing their staff's least favorite Star Trek: the Next Generation episodes. They hit a few of the predictable ones, like Angel One — wherein Riker's chest hair takes center stage — and Up the Long Ladder — featuring space-Irish. But a surprising suggestion came from Peter Bright, who denounced Darmok, a fan favorite. (You remember: 'Darmok and Jalad, at Tanagra.') Now, Ars's Lee Hutchinson has (jokingly) taken Bright to task, showing how IMDB ratings mark Darmok (5x02) as one of the best episodes of season 5, and among the strongest in the series. He also points out a trend in some of the bad episodes they didn't pick: 'According to the data, the worst episode of TNG by a significant margin is the season 2 finale Shades of Gray, a clipshow episode famously hobbled by the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike. We also managed to not pick season 6's Man of the People (the one where Troi falls in love with a brain vampire and gets really old) or season 4's The Loss (the one where Troi loses her empathic abilities and gets really whiny) or season 2's The Child (the one where Troi has dream sex with a space anomaly and gets really pregnant).' What are your picks for best and worst TNG episode?"

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Can I vote for.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611689)

... all of them? Seriously the inclusion of a trained Shakespearian actor (Stewart) was the only saving grace of that branch-off of TOS.

Re:Can I vote for.. (1)

apcullen (2504324) | about 6 months ago | (#46611729)

... all of them? Seriously the inclusion of a trained Shakespearian actor (Stewart) was the only saving grace of that branch-off of TOS.

come on... it's not like the series didn't have any redeeming qualities at all... is it?

Re:Can I vote for.. (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 6 months ago | (#46612065)

Fez likes them big, Fez likes them small, Fez likes them all.

Re:Can I vote for.. (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 months ago | (#46612179)

... all of them? Seriously the inclusion of a trained Shakespearian actor (Stewart) was the only saving grace of that branch-off of TOS.

come on... it's not like the series didn't have any redeeming qualities at all... is it?

Forced myself through two seasons.

Nope. No redeeming qualities.

Ditto the original.

Voyager was somewhat watchable: several non-ridiculous characters, some non-ridiculous story, less of the "holodeck" ridiculousness.

Star Trek in general is too much of a soap opera to me to be enjoyable.

Re: Can I vote for.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611739)

I'll second that sentiment. And I don't even give that much weight to Stewart's presence on the show.

Can I vote for.. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 6 months ago | (#46611767)

Blake's 7.

Re:Can I vote for.. (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 months ago | (#46611829)

A snooty nerd, as if you don't get beat up enough already.

Re:Can I vote for.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612085)

A snooty nerd who probably gets beaten up by other nerds a lot...

Re:Can I vote for.. (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 6 months ago | (#46611979)

... all of them? Seriously the inclusion of a trained Shakespearian actor (Stewart) was the only saving grace of that branch-off of TOS.

All episodes after the first or second season when they started letting Patrick Stewart actually act.

Re:Can I vote for.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611985)

I don't know. I think Brent Spiner was just as good.

Anyhow, favourite episode is "Chain of Command" and least liked is any of the Troi or Dr. Crusher episodes.

Re:Can I vote for.. (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 6 months ago | (#46611999)

I don't agree with you, but I definitely think it's more probative (and interesting) to talk about people's best and least favorite DS9 episode. Best series of the franchise; TNG at its best is only an average 6th season DS9 episode.

The Inner Light (4, Insightful)

poity (465672) | about 6 months ago | (#46611697)

manly tears

Re:The Inner Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611857)

I share the opinion that "The Inner Light" is the best of the series, but "The Best of Both Worlds I/II" ranks up there pretty highly as well. I always felt "The Chase" from season 6 had an epic scope of story that would have been better suited to a feature film instead of an episode.

Re:The Inner Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612141)

"The Chase" was awful! Its reach hugely exceeded its grasp, and the characters and their motivations were so superficially drawn... none of them treat the revelation with any of the gravitas it demands.

Not to mention the premise goes against all of established evolutionary biology and genetic theory. It's just a big farking mess. I rolled my eyes the whole way through it.

Re:The Inner Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611941)

I second that emotion...

Re:The Inner Light (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46612099)

Indeed. When my DVR picks up on a TNG episode, that's the only one I will watch every single time.

Troi (5, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46611699)

So basically the worst episodes are those featuring Trio.

Re:Troi (1)

DudemanX (44606) | about 6 months ago | (#46611749)

For the most part, yes. They only mention the ones where Troi gets space raped. They don't even bring up the Luwaxana episodes.

Re:Troi (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611861)

> They don't even bring up the Luwaxana episodes.

IMHO, one of the finest episodes of the series was Half a Life [memory-alpha.org] , which centered around Lwaxana. She had to drop her facade of strength when she faced a very personal moral dilemma, and showed her true vulnerability.

Re:Troi (2)

DudemanX (44606) | about 6 months ago | (#46611891)

I enjoyed that one too but when I think Lwaxana the first things that pop into my mind are when she, Troi, and Riker get kidnapped by Ferengi and when she goes crazy because of Troi's secret sister. I did like her DS9 episodes though.

Re:Troi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612089)

Luwaxana was much more bearable in DS9.

Re:Troi (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 6 months ago | (#46611751)

There was at least one really awful episode involving Beverly Crusher too. So you could say both female leads had some zingers.

Re:Troi (2, Interesting)

DudemanX (44606) | about 6 months ago | (#46611865)

Some of the Crusher episodes were good though like the one involving the solar shielding tech(which showed up in a later episode) and the one where everyone on the Enterprise keep disappearing. I'm assuming the awful one you refer to is the one from season 7 where she gets space raped by a ghost candle. The lesson here is that stories about women can be good when the writers give them stuff to do besides being space raped.

Re:Troi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611897)

Sub Rosa was AWFUL. The kind of crap that shows up in a daytime soap opera.

Re:Troi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611835)

> So basically the worst episodes are those featuring Trio.

Da da da. They go "bum bum."

Mods didn't get the joke? (1)

gentryx (759438) | about 6 months ago | (#46611919)

Re:Mods didn't get the joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611987)

> Mods didn't get the joke?

Immer wieder wieder. :-P

Re:Troi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611947)

I would have to concur.

Re:Troi (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46612035)

They didn't know what to do with her but needed an attractive young woman on the show. Even in that capacity the terrible costumes tended to ruin it.

Re:Troi (1)

miller701 (525024) | about 6 months ago | (#46612121)

I liked Troi a lot better when she went with the standard SF uniform in the last 2 or so seasons

Bullshit Made Up Language (1, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46611723)

Ya, maybe the episode would not of sucked so bad if their made up language, that was "completely different to all other languages" was not just a pile of bull.

Oh, you mean we could not decode the language because every word was just an arbitrary sequence of sounds denoting an idea, instead of how normal words work?

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (4, Insightful)

TheGavster (774657) | about 6 months ago | (#46611745)

I think you missed the point ... the language was formed out of references to a common body of knowledge. The universal translator was doing just fine figuring out what the individual words meant, but without the common story to refer to they made to sense. It's essentially as if an entire culture communicated only in pop culture references. For example, someone might say "You're such a Samantha", but if you haven't watched many hours of Sex and the City, you would have no idea what they meant despite knowing all of those words.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about 6 months ago | (#46611795)

Interesting thought, however, since I never watched any Sex and the City, I assumed you were referring to a cute witch housewife with a twitchy nose. I guess it all depends on what generation of TV shows one was raised on.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612029)

And that's why we can't have universal translators. Try to stay up to date!

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611819)

This is how all languages work.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#46611915)

This is how all languages work.

I once watched an interview of Bob Woodward about his book All the President's Men [wikipedia.org] . He mentioned that it had been translated into other languages, including French, but the title for the translations had been changed to "Nixon and Watergate". The interviewer asked why, and he replied "Because the French don't have Humpty Dumpty".

Some languages use cultural idioms more than others. English has many idioms that refer to our common culturall heritage, but Chinese has far more. You can get by in English without studying idioms specifically. In Chinese, there is no way. You have to learn them or you will fail to comprehend almost every conversation.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46611863)

You seem to have missed the point. That is the entire basis of a language, a shared body of specific knowledge. "You're such a Samantha" is from a SatC language, heavily based on English. That is why I and everyone else that know English can understand the words but not the meaning. But, lets assume we know nothing about SatC and English both. In that case "You're such a Samantha" is completely identical to "You're such a slut/bitch/smartypants" (whatever "Samantha" means to SitC fans). Samantha is just a random assortment of sounds/letters that denote an idea, No different than any other word.

Samantha in this case is just a new word that I do not know. There is nothing toilety about the word toilet, for example, the guy that designed it was probably just called Frank Toilet, that does not mean that an Alien culture would be unable to understand the word toilet because it used to be a proper noun.

Not words... Context. (3, Interesting)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 6 months ago | (#46612117)

It was not a matter of collections of sounds, but rather the societal context of those sounds.

"Where's the Beef?" when put into a literal translator will never come up with "this is insufficient", and that is precisely how the aliens communicated. No search of the words "Where" "Is" "The" and "Beef" will ever give you the meaning of the colloquialism. All the translator will do is make you think the person has lost a farm animal.

[back on the planet]

"I made a shelter for us. I think it will protect us from the storms tonight."

[exasperatedly waving arms and pointing at the flimsy shelter] "My cow is missing !"

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 6 months ago | (#46612171)

But the meaning of the word "toilet" does not (generally) depend on the whole sentence nor on the context of the sentence. "You're such a Samantha", however, does, especially since Samantha doesn't literally mean anything besides the name itself. Samantha does not mean "bitch/slut/etc., except in this context (toilet, on the other hand, retains its meaning even entirely outside any other context). As another example, one could easily translate the phrase "a New York minute" to another language, but conveying what it actually means would require using completely different words (in fact, the literal translation would be entirely different from the idiomatic meaning). A computer which tried to translate the phrase would have zero concept that it's an idiom (unless explicitly told so), and would simply translate the sentence as it was, which would create an intelligible translation, but would not convey the desired concept at all.

You could argue that single-word (such as "Samantha") could intelligently be translated by the universal translator successfully, even when used in such an idiomatic construct. But a sentence which depends entirely on the context ("Darmok at Blahblah" might well refer to an entirely different Darmok, or not even to a person at all) is vastly harder, if not impossible, to translate.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (3)

emorning (2465220) | about 6 months ago | (#46611899)

The unbelievable part is that the Tamarian's were advanced enough to built interstellar spacecraft and transporters but somehow they weren't smart enough to say to themselves "hmm, you know what, I bet they can't understand us because we only speak in metaphors".

Re: Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612111)

or it could be that they were smart to understand that, but chose to speak in metaphors because it would force picard to truly learn about their culture, instead of ingesting a whole bunch of prosaic, literal favts.

Re: Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

emorning (2465220) | about 6 months ago | (#46612137)

If that were the case then they wouldn't have gotten so pissed off when when they were not understood.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611929)

I think you are missing his point. Regardless if they are using phrases as meanings, this is still directly translatable. It is no different than any other language. In some language "Gabaraba fala" means "You don't understand." This is no different than whatever string of syllables that make up "Shaka, when the walls fell." There is no difference in principle of translation.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612041)

It's not that the phrases aren't directly translatable, it's that the Universal Translator can't handle it because it has no context to work from. If the language is entirely dependent on context, the translation will be meaningless.

For example, "Shaka, when the walls fell" might mean "happy" or "sad" depending on who Shaka was, and which side of the walls he was on. How the hell could you translate that automatically?

This is why text-to-speech algorithms will always be mediocre until AI reaches a point where the machine can understand the words instead of just doing lookups and statistical analysis.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612113)

It's not that the phrases aren't directly translatable, it's that the Universal Translator can't handle it because it has no context to work from. If the language is entirely dependent on context, the translation will be meaningless.

For example, "Shaka, when the walls fell" might mean "happy" or "sad" depending on who Shaka was, and which side of the walls he was on. How the hell could you translate that automatically?

This is why text-to-speech algorithms will always be mediocre until AI reaches a point where the machine can understand the words instead of just doing lookups and statistical analysis.

Exactly. "Temba, his arms wide." meant to offer graciously but without knowing Temba's intentions then an image of a man with his arms open could lead to the conclusion that the phrase means "Come at me bro!"

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#46612003)

I think you missed the point ... the language was formed out of references to a common body of knowledge. The universal translator was doing just fine figuring out what the individual words meant, but without the common story to refer to they made to sense. It's essentially as if an entire culture communicated only in pop culture references.

So, essentially me reading this entire thread having never seen a whole episode of Star Trek, or even seen an hours worth combined (not counting the recent lens flares).

ALL languages work that way. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46612097)

Words have specific meanings only within the culture that uses them. The sounds have no meaning of their own.

This is another case where an episode's plot depends upon the failure of a system that works flawlessly in all other episodes.

The universal translator should have had no problem with that language. The same as it had no problem with any of the other brand new languages that it had no problem with.

For example, someone might say "You're such a Samantha", but if you haven't watched many hours of Sex and the City, you would have no idea what they meant despite knowing all of those words.

And that is where that episode breaks down. Because every other time the translator has encountered a new language it has translated it.

It doesn't matter if I know what "a Samantha" means or not.

The translator in that show has never had a problem with translating such before.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

miller701 (525024) | about 6 months ago | (#46612133)

I think you're missing a big point. In Darmok their language doesn't even have a concept for "You" or "are"

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (4, Funny)

The Rizz (1319) | about 6 months ago | (#46611801)

All I can really think to say about your post, and your understanding of the episode, is "Shaka, when the walls fell".

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611811)

The concept of the "language by analogy" was brilliant. Why are you so angry about it? Can you propose another way to convey the notion of a fundamentally incomprehensible language that is truly "alien" but is also not just a bunch of babbling syllables strung together (like so many supposedly alien languages)? This was a superb episode capturing the very essence of a truly alien culture unlike anything I've seen anywhere in print or film. The audience was part of the experience of facing a culture that spoke perfectly understandable words yet we didn't have any idea what they were talking about. And then joining the journey to arrive at common understanding through grace and courage. The episode also had the courage to portray the alien culture as just slightly MORE morally mature than the Federation culture. When the TNG team got it right they really got it right. It happened only a handful of times but those few were electrifying.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (4, Insightful)

adric22 (413850) | about 6 months ago | (#46611907)

As somebody who studies language - I agree. You can't make analogies in the first place without a functional language. And if you have a functional language, why make up analogies? And seriously, how can the communicate complex ideas? Can you imagine them trying to write a book explaining microprocessor design?

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46611945)

"Can you imagine them trying to write a book explaining microprocessor design?"
Shaka, when the walls fell

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (1)

michael_cain (66650) | about 6 months ago | (#46612147)

Or enough math to do the physics for warp drive. Ask anyone who's taken math-heavy graduate classes: notation, the language, matters a lot. The British fell behind Continental Europe in terms of advancing analysis, and stayed behind, until they finally tossed Newton's notation in favor of Leibniz.

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46611957)

Can you imagine them trying to write a book explaining microprocessor design?

Bardeen and Brattain at Bell Labs. Shockley, his arms wide!

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612057)

> Bardeen and Brattain at Bell Labs. Shockley, his arms wide!

Dalvik and Joomla, on the ocean! :)

Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 6 months ago | (#46612103)

Ya, maybe the episode would not of sucked so bad if their made up language, that was "completely different to all other languages" was not just a pile of bull.

Oh, you mean we could not decode the language because every word was just an arbitrary sequence of sounds denoting an idea, instead of how normal words work?

Data, his technospeak halted! Vanna White, her job made easy. A function calling itself:

Spock at his station, one brow raised. Free flaming hairdos from a biblical tower. Einstein, his M and squared C: A Pulp Fictional briefcase, it's contents unshown. A babbling brook's fish swims in 42 ears. Buddha his belly grown large.

A pig eats pearls at the library of Alexandria. Riker and Picard, both faces palmed. A geek and his card divided.

Oh look, the new Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46611725)

It's facebook for nerds, guiding socialization one step at a time.

Apart from shades of grey... (2)

spike1 (675478) | about 6 months ago | (#46611731)

I'd go for the royal. Hated that one.

Re:Apart from shades of grey... (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 6 months ago | (#46611799)

Skin of Evil was pretty bad too. That's the one where Tasha Yar was killed by an oil slick. I also wasn't too fond of Manhunt. Bloodlines was a real stinker too, especially disappointing since it came so near the end of the series.

Re:Apart from shades of grey... (2)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 6 months ago | (#46611823)

The series premier was by far the worst non-shades-of-grey episode.

Re:Apart from shades of grey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611881)

The one that followed was worse. Whose idea was it to have the second outing with the crew feature them all drunk and acting like complete morons? At least TOS had the forethought to put a little more time to establish character and I don't think they acted near as stupidly as the TNG crew.

Greatest episodes: whenever Tasha gets killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611741)

If Tasha or her space / time relatives are brought back to be killed again, that was a good episode.

Re:Greatest episodes: whenever Tasha gets killed (1)

pinzvidz (3520933) | about 6 months ago | (#46612055)

Now she needs to be killed at Terminus.

Re:Greatest episodes: whenever Tasha gets killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612169)

holy crap! thanks for pointing that out. i totally didn't recognize her.

Stopped caring early on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611785)

They lost me at the end of season 1. Saw a few later episodes, still never liked it much, even the borg battles.

Saw first contact as well; and that was it.

Saw some episodes of DS-9 which had like one character I liked; and was pretty much nonsense the rest of the time.

And I even forced myself to sit through a couple of episodes of Gilligan's Starship.

On the bright side, Star Trek looks absolutely brilliant compared to Hayden's Christianson 's whiny bitch Vader.

Who is an absolutely lovable character compared with Shinji Ikari from Evangellion. managed 8 episodes of that.

So yeah, I guess STNG is pretty good when you compare it to the most a lot of stuff from the past 20 years.

The stuff i remember; before the fucking ewoks:

Han didn't shoot first. That statement implies that Greedo got a shot off. Han shot Greedo dead.

That's the way badass heroes work.

best / worst? (4, Informative)

Amigan (25469) | about 6 months ago | (#46611787)

I've always been partial to "Who watches the watchers" and thought that "Genesis" (final season) was one of the worst..

Re:best / worst? (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46612013)

The Drum Head is highly underrated, and just as relevant as ever.

Re:best / worst? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612043)

Who Watches the Watchers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9VwKogaWGs [youtube.com]

For those of you who have 45 minutes to spare. ;)

Have People Forgotten 'Force of Nature' (1)

glennrrr (592457) | about 6 months ago | (#46611791)

Because I wish I could.

My problem (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 6 months ago | (#46611803)

Is the translation software suddenly doesn't work for this alien race. They had a mini crystal civilization living on a rock inside the lab and the computer had no problems translating that never before heard language. Now all of a sudden nobody can figure these people out?

Re:My problem (3)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 6 months ago | (#46611849)

Language is glossed over in the whole series. For a single episode they decided to address that one elephant in the room, and they did it well and in a memorable way.

Re:My problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611869)

The whole episode was based on magic technology. Normally the magic technology works. Here the magic technology fails. Why? Well, magic is the answer.

The silly arguments about expression by allegory.
Like Tormak with Onion -> means picks a knife and cuts it.
If the magic translator can learn phrases and expressions then the silly allegorical language can learn them just as well. As the references would generally remain fixed. The magic translator has to be a mindreader to begin with. Mind reading to get the concept of the intent is not any harder.

The whole setup is the magic technology failing becuse of who the magic technology works. *sigh* They could have replaced the whole plot with *technobabble*.

The super starfleet officers were trained how to start a fire (or make gunpowder) in the case where their technology did not work. Training for first contact without language support should not have been any harder to accomplish.

Inner Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611809)

"Inner light" is my all time favorite from the Star Trek series.

Temba, his arms wide/open (1)

PPNSteve (1287174) | about 6 months ago | (#46611817)

Kiteo, his eyes closed!

Kadir beneath Mo Moteh
shaka, when the walls fell.

Not a good episode (2, Interesting)

ildon (413912) | about 6 months ago | (#46611839)

Darmok is not a good episode. To be fair, it's not among the worst episodes. It's about average or below average. But it's not a good episode, because it's dumb and goofy. But it's dumb and goofy in a way that's fun, so I still enjoy this episode, but it's a guilty pleasure.

reminds me of a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611845)

One of my friends was a great star trek fan.

As a joke some colleagues assembled a play list of all the worst star trek episodes from TNG, DS9 and Voyager.
And made him watch them over the course of a few months. Needelss to say the lions share of it was voyager. eg: episode where janeway and paris devolve into salamander like amphibious creatures and procreate.

From TNG the i think it was an episode involving wesley and his mum. Lying about killing a co-cadet in a training accident.

There's plenty of bad episodes but all in all thats what long running sci-fi series do well.

the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611851)

needs a 'stupid' tag.

Tapestry (4, Interesting)

sunyjim (977424) | about 6 months ago | (#46611875)

Darmok was a great episode but I also really like Tapestry where we see that Pickard only got to be captain because of the risks he took http://www.imdb.com/title/tt07... [imdb.com]

There. Are. (4, Informative)

pinzvidz (3520933) | about 6 months ago | (#46611885)

Four. Lights.

Masks - the worst episode ever (1)

adric22 (413850) | about 6 months ago | (#46611895)

period.

Re:Masks - the worst episode ever (1)

DogSqueeze (3592869) | about 6 months ago | (#46612039)

I thought the same thing at first but I've come to enjoy watching it every once in a while because it's so outrageously absurd. The actors must have known that as well and were probably laughing a lot during the production of this episode.

One of my favourites is Frame of Mind (riker/mental hospital). That one had me guessing the first time I saw it..

Cause and Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611909)

Watching the same six minutes over and over for an hour episode...

Re:Cause and Effect (1)

pinzvidz (3520933) | about 6 months ago | (#46611943)

Actually, the episode ran for 44 minutes. :P

Worst: when they use magic (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | about 6 months ago | (#46611911)

I rewatched the whole series last year, and I got really annoyed at the episodes where magic is featured. There are quite a few, considering it's supposed to be a science-fiction show.

That's about every episode where Troi uses her magic powers, incidentally. I especially hate when she can sense an alien being's emotions at a distance of A FEW LIGHT-YEARS.

Re:Worst: when they use magic (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46612025)

...whereas "life signs detectors" are perfectly fine and plausible?

Re:Worst: when they use magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612143)

How do you distinguish between magic and science fiction in Star Trek?

What about inertia stabilizers, that basically cancel inertia? Heiseberg compensators, that compensate for the uncertainty principle? Deflector shields, that deflect electromagnetic radition? Transporters*, that take a human apart, put him together somewhere else and then also 'magically' transfer his soul? In "Real of Fear" Troi counsels Barclay on his thoughts on transporters and states that the person that is transported is the same and not some "weird copy", which it technically should be, like in "Second Chances" where Riker practically was cloned in a transporter accident.

These things are mostly scientific nonsense, yet it is considered science fiction somehow. It must be the technobabble that makes the difference.

Now lets put some technobabble into Trois ability. Lets say that she has a naturally evolved ability to create entangled particles in her mind and her 'target', and this way she can read, under certain circumstances, their emotions and stuff. There we go, it's nonsense, but I've used a few sciency terms, that should make it fine.

I truly loved Star Trek until I went to university and learned a few things about physics. Today I still enjoy it, but mostly not as Science Fiction, more like something like a Science Fantasy, since the science part often appears to be used as some plot device and is bent and broken to fit the whims of scientifically inept writers. As I see it today the technobabble stuff in Star Trek is mostly appealing to people with superficial knowledge who are easily impressed by technological ans science terminology.

Sadly this applies to a lot of the Science Fiction genre, which makes me wish for more shows like the new Battlestar Galactica, where they severely cut back on the technobabble, but made some other mistakes.

Re:Worst: when they use magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612187)

> Transporters*, that take a human apart, put him together somewhere else and then also 'magically' transfer his soul?

Can you think of a way to transport a soul that's not 'magic'? :)

At least the transporter is based on a real physical principle: the equivalence of matter and energy. The rest of the problems are insurmountable, but the notion of converting matter to energy, beaming it somewhere, and re-making the object from it is basically sound. Yes, it does imply philosophical materialism is true (since the beamed subjects don't fall over dead or become drooling vegetables at the other end).

One nerds opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611949)

Best: Measure of a Man
Meh: Anything focusing on Worf.
Worst: Anything focusing on Troi, Wesley, Riker, or the Holodeck. So most of the rest of the entire show.

Another nerd's opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612115)

> Meh: Anything focusing on Worf.

Best Worf episode: Redemption [memory-alpha.org] Part II is also a good Data story, when he gets command of the Sutherland and has to smack-down his first officer.

> Worst: Anything focusing on Troi, Wesley, Riker, or the Holodeck. So most of the rest of the entire show.

Best Troi episode: Thine Own Self [memory-alpha.org]
Best Wesley episode: The First Duty [memory-alpha.org]
Best Riker episode: First Contact [memory-alpha.org]
Best holodeck episode: Ship in a Bottle [memory-alpha.org]

One of my favorite episodes (2)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about 6 months ago | (#46611973)

I frequently refer to it when discussing what the internet will make us into, except instead of mythohistorical metaphors like "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra", the 22nd century's equivalent of Crime and Punishment will be composed entirely in lolcat snowclones and rageface comics.

Peter Bright: His anus WIDE open... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46611977)

His brown-eye then closed (over another man's pencil).

Worst episodes? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#46612033)

I hated pretty much all of seasons one and two.

Fortunately the series improved significantly after that, and I'd argue it finished very strong overall - which is very unusual for TV shows in general.

The Drumhead (1)

Chad Smith (3448823) | about 6 months ago | (#46612037)

Nice message. Thhttp://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/14/03/29/2010214/why-darmok-is-a-good-star-trek-tng-episode?utm_source=slashdot&utm_medium=facebook#e dangers of the law has been hijacked by an overzealous individual whose judgment is suspect.

All the bad episodes have Q in them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612053)

Q was an incredibly lazy invention of bad script writers. The ultimate deux ex machina.

OK, there were a few other bad episodes :-)

Kevinformatics Graph for TNG (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612119)

http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0092455

The one with the space retards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612123)

I mean seriously, they had an episode with a bunch of aliens that were a stereotype of the mental challenged.

TNG good and bad (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | about 6 months ago | (#46612145)

For the most part, TNG was competent. At its best it was brilliant. I'm with people on episodes like The Inner Light and The Measure of a Man. Add in, for me, Cause and Effect, The Emissary, a few others. The human condition, in space. Good stuff.

Unlike many, I actually liked The Dauphin.

I thought Darmok was an interesting idea. How do you make aliens who are, well, alien, but not so alien that you can't interact with them? This was an issue with the Borg, badass aliens who could kick the shit out of Klingons and not work up a sweat, but who were so alien that no meaningful interaction was possible.

Bad episodes? Yeah, there were a few. I prefer to remember the good ones.

...laura

Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612149)

His cheeks spread wide.

Been twenty five years (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 6 months ago | (#46612153)

Some of these episodes are from over 25 years ago.

Although Star Trek TNG was outstanding, the real problem is that there hasn't been much high quality science fiction TV series in the last 25 years.

Ugh that listing sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46612155)

You can really tell those write-ups were written by 'youngsters' that are totally clueless, especially the one about Up the Long Ladder.

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