Must-see Star Trek TNG episodes

Out of all 7 seasons of the original Star Trek series, this is my list of episodes that you must see, either because they are outstanding, exceptionally fun or because they are key episodes in the series. You can use this as a short list if you don't feel like watching the entire seven seasons.

In this list is a taste of all the basic ingredients that made TNG great. Some excellent Scifi, some Q, some Data, a few of the "just a lotta fun to watch" episodes, a little philosophy, the holodeck, some Romulans, Klingons and Vulcans and even some of the Borg. That about sums TNG up!
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Set decades after Captain Kirk's five-year mission, a new generation of Starfleet officers set off in a new Enterprise on their own mission to go where no one has gone before. (44 mins.)
“ That's what this list is about obviously. I just added this so hopefully my list will show up if people are watching the IMDb page for Star Trek: TNG. ” - RagingR2
 
2.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Encounter at Farpoint (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
On the maiden mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), an omnipotent being known as Q challenges the crew to discover the secret of a mysterious base in an advanced and civilized fashion. (44 mins.)
“ Q! There's no TNG without some Q. And it's the first episode of the series... ” - RagingR2
 
3.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Naked Now (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The crew of the Enterprise is infected with a virus that causes them to behave as though they were intoxicated. (44 mins.)
 
4.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Hide and Q (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The Enterprise encounters Q again, and he tempts Riker by endowing him with the powers of the Q. (44 mins.)
 
5.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Datalore (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Enterprise visits the planet where Data was created and discovers another android like him, but when he's assembled, he's not EXACTLY like him. (44 mins.)
“ An excellent "Data" episode. ” - RagingR2
 
6.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Elementary, Dear Data (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An attempt to provide Data with a challenging Sherlock Holmes holodeck RPG scenario backfires when its Prof. Moriarty character accidentally becomes self-aware. (44 mins.)
“ An excellent episode featuring the Holodeck at it's best. ” - RagingR2
 
7.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Outrageous Okona (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The Enterprise rescues the captain of a broken-down freighter, only to become involved in a dispute between feuding worlds--each demanding custody of their guest. Data seeks help from Guinan in understanding humor. (44 mins.)
 
8.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Loud as a Whisper (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The crew ferries a deaf mediator to Solais V to negotiate an end to a civil war. (44 mins.)
 
9.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Schizoid Man (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The Enterprise respond to a request for medical assistance from Dr. Ira Graves, considered by many to be the greatest living mind in the universe... (44 mins.)
 
10.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: A Matter of Honor (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When the Federation promotes an officer exchange program, Commander Riker decides to accept an assignment aboard a Klingon war ship... (44 mins.)
 
11.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Measure of a Man (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
When Data resigns his commission rather than be dismantled for examination by an inadequately skilled scientist, a formal hearing is convened to determine whether Data is considered property without rights or is a sentient being. (44 mins.)
“ Scifi and philosophy... Star Trek at it's best. ” - RagingR2
 
12.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Icarus Factor (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Riker's delight at being offered a command of the USS Aries turns to frustration when the man sent to prepare him for his mission is his estranged father; Worf's behavior leads Wesley to delve into Klingon tradition. (44 mins.)
“ Klingons! ” - RagingR2
 
13.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Q Who (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
Q tries to prove that Picard needs him as part of their crew by hurling the Enterprise 7,000 light years away where they encounter the Borg for the first time. (44 mins.)
 
14.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Peak Performance (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The crew of the Enterprise participates in war games. (44 mins.)
“ A little war simulation. Reminiscent of Star Trek: TOS. ” - RagingR2
 
15.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Evolution (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The Enterprise is carrying an eminent scientist, Dr. Paul Stubbs, to the site of a binary star where... (44 mins.)
“ Wesley's nanobots. ” - RagingR2
 
16.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Ensigns of Command (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
After a century of silence, the Enterprise receives a message from the Shelia system informing them... (44 mins.)
 
17.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Who Watches the Watchers (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A proto-Vulcan culture worships Captain Picard and prepares to offer Counselor Troi as a sacrifice. (44 mins.)
“ A little more about Vulcans. ” - RagingR2
 
18.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Enemy (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
LaForge gets left behind on a storm-plagued planet when the rest of his team encounters a Romulan warrior. (44 mins.)
“ An excellent episode featuring the Romulans. ” - RagingR2
 
19.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Price (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
While the Enterprise hosts negotiations for control of a stable wormhole, Troi forms a personal relationship with an opposing negotiator, unaware of his true being. (44 mins.)
 
20.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Vengeance Factor (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The Enterprise pursues a race of "gatherers" who continue to raid Federation outposts, unaware of the dangers lurking among them. (44 mins.)
“ Let's see some action... ” - RagingR2
 
21.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Hunted (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Investigating a planet applying for membership into the Federation, the crew of the Enterprise finds a group of inhabitants who used to be soldiers, but now fight for their very existence. (44 mins.)
 
22.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Déjà Q (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Much to Picard's displeasure, Q reappears on the Enterprise, claiming to have been ejected from the Q Continuum, and therefore, lost his powers. (44 mins.)
 
23.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Yesterday's Enterprise (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The Enterprise C enters the Enterprise D's time and space continuum, where they find Picard and crew in a constant state of war with the Klingons, and only Guinan knows it. (44 mins.)
“ Tasha Yar... it's too bad there was so little of her in TNG. ” - RagingR2
 
24.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Offspring (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After returning from a cybernetics conference to the Enterprise, Data creates his own "child," much to the chagrin of his captain, and without regards to the ramifications with Starfleet. (44 mins.)
“ Data creates a daughter. ” - RagingR2
 
25.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Sins of the Father (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A Klingon commander comes aboard the Enterprise in an officer exchange program initiated by Starfleet, much to the chagrin of the crew. (44 mins.)
“ An excellent episode featuring Worf. ” - RagingR2
 
26.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Sarek (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Legendary Federation ambassador Sarek visits the Enterprise to conclude peace talks with a race called the Legarans. His arrival is accompanied with a rash of unusual emotional outbursts among the crew. (44 mins.)
“ Spock's father, Sarek. ” - RagingR2
 
27.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Responding to a distress call on one of the Federation's outer-most colonies, the Enterprise arrives...only to find a big hole in the ground where the town used to be, and discovers the Borg are behind the attack. (44 mins.)
“ Picard is assimilated by the Borg. This last episode of season 2 is must-see TNG stuff! As is part 2 of this story (the first ep. of season 4). ” - RagingR2
 
28.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
Commander Riker had no choice as acting captain but fire full force on the Borg starship, despite Picard being on board of it... (44 mins.)
 
29.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Brothers (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
After an accident aboard the Enterprise leaves one of its children in grave danger, Data commandeers the Enterprise, driven to take him to an unknown origin, where an interesting figure awaits. (44 mins.)
“ Data and Lore. Always worthwile. ” - RagingR2
 
30.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Future Imperfect (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The Enterprise is conducting a security sweep in an area near the Neutral Zone when they are probed... (44 mins.)
 
31.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Data's Day (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Data tries to comprehend the complex emotions between O'Brien and Keiko, who are about to be married. (44 mins.)
“ A little fun stuff. And it features Data again, so that's always cool. ” - RagingR2
 
32.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Wounded (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After being fired upon by a Cardassian vessel, Picard races against time to find out the facts behind the Cardassian commander's claim that the Federation attacked one of their outposts. (44 mins.)
“ Featuring the Cardassians. ” - RagingR2
 
33.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: First Contact (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Commander William Riker has been on an acculturation mission under an alias for months on the Malcorian planet... (44 mins.)
“ One of the better episodes to feature a "First Contact" situation. ” - RagingR2
 
34.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: In Theory (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When a female crew member is infatuated with Lieutenant Commander Data, he decides to give a romantic relationship a try. Also, the Enterprise finds itself having to maneuver through a dangerous nebula. (44 mins.)
“ Data has a romance. ” - RagingR2
 
35.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Disaster (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
While the Enterprise enjoys a rest, just when elementary school science prize winners Patterson Supera... (44 mins.)
“ An excellent episode featuring Dr. Crusher in action! ” - RagingR2
 
36.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: A Matter of Time (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Reaching Panthara IV after an asteroid wreaks havoc of catastrophic proportions, the Enterprise crew deals with trying to save the planet as well as deal with someone who claims to be a historian from the future. (44 mins.)
“ Wesley and captain Picard in the spotlight. ” - RagingR2
 
37.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The First Duty (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Wesley Crusher's team has an accident at Starfleet Aacademy. Picard offers to help a Starfleet investigation as to what happened, and begins to suspect they are hiding something. (44 mins.)
“ Featuring Barclay; one of his better episodes. ” - RagingR2
 
38.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Rascals (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Captain Picard, Ensign Ro, Keiko and Guinan are returning to the Enterprise aboard a shuttlecraft when they encounter a deadly energy field... (44 mins.)
“ A really fun episode. Featuring Ro, Guinan and Picard. And the Ferengi! ” - RagingR2
 
39.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: A Fistful of Datas (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
While the crew is experiencing some much needed down time, Worf and his son go on an Old West excursion in the holodeck, where they meet several versions of Data serving as the bad guy after an experiment in Engineering goes wrong. (44 mins.)
“ Data, and the Holodeck. ” - RagingR2
 
40.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Chain of Command: Part 1 (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise so he, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher go on a top-secret mission into Cardassian space. Meanwhile, his replacement, Captain Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew. (44 mins.)
“ Excellent double episode featuring The Romulans. ” - RagingR2
 
41.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Chain of Command: Part 2 (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
While the humorless Captain Jellico leads the effort to prevent a Cardassian invasion, Picard is captured and tortured by a ruthless interrogator in an attempt to break him. (44 mins.)
“ Part 2 of this story. Must-see stuff. ” - RagingR2
 
42.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Ship in a Bottle (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Diagnosing anomalies in the recreative Sherlock Holmes hologram game programs, Lieutenant Reginald 'Reg'... (44 mins.)
 
43.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Birthright: Part 1 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
While the Enterprise helps repair Cardassian damages to space station Deep Space Nine, Worf is approached by an alien... (44 mins.)
“ Another excellent double-shot. This time featuring Worf, Data, and the Romulans. ” - RagingR2
 
44.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Birthright: Part 2 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Having discovered survivors from the Romulan attack on Khitomer (the infamous attack that established peace between the Klingons and the Federation)... (44 mins.)
“ Part 2 of this story. ” - RagingR2
 
45.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Timescape (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Picard, LaForge, Data and Troi return from a sadly boring scientific conference to the Enterprise. They... (44 mins.)
“ Some excellent scifi. And some good action thrown in for good measure. ” - RagingR2
 
46.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Descent: Part 1 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After an encounter with the Borg, Data feels his first emotion when he gets angry with the Borg. Data... (44 mins.)
“ Data and Lore in action, in this excellent cliffhanger to season 6. ” - RagingR2
 
47.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Descent: Part 2 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Picard, Geordi and Troi try to find a way to escape their cell after being imprisoned by Lore, whilst... (44 mins.)
“ The first episode of season 7, and the second part of an excellent story. ” - RagingR2
 
48.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Gambit: Part 1 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
While investigating the apparent death of Capt. Picard, Riker is abducted by a group of intergalactic archaeological thieves, only to find Picard has apparently joined their ranks. (44 mins.)
“ Double episode featuring Picard en Riker as smugglers. ” - RagingR2
 
49.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Gambit: Part 2 (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Riker and Picard must find out why this intergalactic gang is looting archaeological sites. (44 mins.)
“ Double episode featuring Picard en Riker as smugglers. ” - RagingR2
 
50.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Inheritance (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
On Federation planet Atrea IV, Data encounters the former wife of his creator Noonian Soong who claims to be his "mother". (44 mins.)
 
51.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: Parallels (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
On his return from a bat'leth competition in the Klingon Empire, Worf finds himself shifting realities where events and details are in a constant state of flux and only he is aware of the changes. (44 mins.)
“ Worf experiences quantum-flux. ” - RagingR2
 
52.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 TV Series)
Episode: The Pegasus (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Riker finds out his former commander from the starship Pegasus has orders that entail more than what is revealed to Picard, who thinks the Enterprise is en route to recover the lost ship. And Riker is ordered to secrecy. (44 mins.)
“ Finding a cloaking device... ” - RagingR2