These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Entries for the television series:
Accidental Innuendo: In "The Game", we get Troi and Crusher discussing something that Riker picked up on his latest trip to Risa, (a sex-tourist hotspot), before it's revealed they were actually talking about the titular game.
Star Trek: The Sexed Generation compiles all such instances of this in the show. A few of them do directly refer to sex, though, but are by and large outstripped by the sheer amount of the accidental mentions.
Missing from that video is when an alien asks to check out the holodeck, which he's heard is used for officer training:
Picard: It's also used for other things. Perhaps Commander Riker and Counselor Troi can demonstrate for you.
One take on the series holds that the Federation is actually rather amoral, governed by ethically dubious realpolitik rather than the principles it publicly espouses. In this view, the highly principled Picard is not a luminary of Starfleet but something of a naif whose own optimism blinds him to the increasingly horrific actions of his compatriots. This would explain why a startling percentage of the Starfleet high command turn out to be total scumbags.
Most of Trek fandom believes that the Traveller interest in Wesley makes him come off as a paedophile. Even Wil Wheaton has lampshaded how creepy this was in retrospect, in the review he did of "Where No One Has Gone Before".
Captain Jellico inspires a lot of this. Some see him as a micro-managing jerk who forces through his will just because he can and thereby alienates all who serve him, others see him as a responsible officer who had every right to run the Enterprise as he saw fit, and saved the day through his genuine competence. The funny thing is that neither interpretation is exclusive of the other.
Data does have emotions, his programming just bypasses them deliberately. This is the cause of his almost emotional moments throughout the series, the times where he states a want to do things (like become more human, serve in Starfleet, paint), expresses friendship for Geordi and the others, and lies about trying to kill Kivas Fajo. The emotion chip just removes the overwrite and allows Data to experience full emotion.
Is Geordi LaForge merely an unlucky-in-love Gadgeteer Genius, or does his biomechanical augmentation isolate him from other human beings and make him feel more attracted to machines and computers? The producers once characterized his "romance" with holo-Leah Brahams as a guy falling in love with his car. In other words, is he a closet robosexual whose attempts at romance with flesh-and-blood women are forced?
Q. Character development aside, it's easy to look at his seemingly immature meddling and misuse of godlike powers as a Mary Poppins act. There are hundreds of possible interpretations for Q out there; is he a maladjusted Sociopathic Manchild who uses mortals as toys for his amusement, Faux Affably Evil, a harmless childish prankster, a Chaotic Good rebel struggling against his people's repressive society, a supremely alien being following some Blueand Orange Morality only he understands, humanity's self-appointed Trickster Mentor, is he all? None? Is it even possible to give him labels? The appearances he's made throughout the franchise strongly imply that Q is acting as a Trickster Mentor, as he shows up with a purpose of making those he encounters more aware of the world around them and better for it. Rarely does a Q episode not result in this ending.
Ass Pull: The ending to "Sins of the Father". The whole episode practically sledgehammered the premise that Worf's actions could only end in success or his death. Then at the very last minute Worf matter-of-factly brings up a third way that everyone can live with. There is a justification for this (Worf only brings it up once he is trying to survive rather than achieve his initial goal), but it can still feel jarring.
Everyone else is wondering why they can't see that both sides are right: he is a bold, effective officer who magnificently outwitted the Cardassians, but he's also a huge Jerk Ass and a petty, not very nice person who has to control everyone, can't handle the slightest challenge from lower ranks because he gets intimidated, and changes things to suit himself no matter what that may cost other people rather than adapting to the situation at hand. In other words: brilliant tactician officer, Jerk Ass, and not a particularly good captain. Any objections?
Lwaxana Troi. Some fans think she's a really fun, vivacious character. Others hate her and dread watching any episode she's in. It doesn't help the split that just how stuck-up and insufferable she is tends to vary.
In "Haven", the "Quark-in-the-box!" that informs Deanna she's about to get married, then dumps jewels everywhere.
Broken Aesop: The Season 7 episode "Eye of the Beholder" is a bizarre and curiously awkward attempt at an Anti-Suicide PSA, but they botch it by trying to have it both ways. The first act treats the suicide of a Red Shirt completely seriously, exploring it from all angles, explaining how those that commit suicide often show no obvious signs of distress. It's fairly effective, sort of a forerunner of the subject's similar treatment on an episode of House, M.D.. And then they completely botch it by Hand-Waving the uncharacteristic suicide as being the result of Psychic Powers gone awry, using it as another pitstop in the Worf/Troi Ship Tease.
One wonders if the writers held the opinion that no one would seriously want to commit suicide in the Mary Sue Topia that is the 24th Century. This carries some potential Unfortunate Implications when you think about the prevalence of suicide in the present day...
Canon Sue: Arguably, NurseLanel from the episode (not movie) "First Contact" is this. She happens to be at the hospital where her people take Riker The Casanova after catching him infiltrating their society, and insists that he have sex with her before she'll help him escape. Sound like a common Trekkie fantasy to you? Bebe Neuwirth, who played her, all but admitted that's what it was, and it's right there in the show. In the end, this little fling doesn't really accomplish anything other than to add a little variety to the responses from the alien planet's people at discovering that space aliens really do exist among them.
Data's brother Lore is a thoroughly unsympathetic android who kills his creator, reprograms his brother to follow his every command, and threatens to set teenage Wesley on fire. He summoned the Crystalline Entity to his creator's colony when the other colonists petitioned Noong to deactivate him out of fear that he would turn on them, and since then, he's been on quest to wipe out all organic life from the universe. If he ever shows affection, it's just to manipulate Data into collaborating. He also tried to make the Borg an even greater threat to The Federation than they already were. Given everything else we saw of his true nature, it's obvious that he mostly did it for his own sick amusement.
Kivas Fajo, the villain from "The Most Toys". A Collector of the Strange who wants to add Data, the only known android in the galaxy, to his collection. To do this, he poisons the water supply of an inhabited planet so he can capture him. He treats people and sentient beings like property. Then he talks very matter-of-factly about how he'd like to try out a particularly cruel Death Ray called a Varon-T Disruptor, illegal in The Federation because of how slowly and painfully it destroys the body from the inside out. He later does use it on his girlfriend, who is really more of a broken, codependent slave. As far as Star Trek's villains of the week go, he's one of the worst.
Jev from the aptly named episode "Violations" was a serial mind rapist. Jev was part of a Ullian delegation, led by his father Tarmin, that specialized in telepathic memory retrieval, a process that restores lost memories. Jev first assaulted Counselor Troi by using his telepathic powers to rewrite her memories of a romantic moment between her and Riker into a rape and then replacing Riker in the memory. She fell into a coma after a mental attack. Later he assaulted Commander Riker and Dr. Crusher, making them experience their worst nightmares to keep them from exposing him. When Troi regained consciousness and can't remember her attacker, Jev "helps" by using the memory retrieval process and uses it to frame his father Tamrin, who is arrested. Then he goes to Troi's quarters, ostensibly to apologize for his father, but really to rape her again. This time she's able to hold him off long enough for Worf and his security team to arrive and he's finally brought to justice.
He might have been more tolerable if he hadn't been given an "important" role in so many episodes. Indeed, the episodes that actually focus on him are So Okay, It's Average, so he's a lot better when he's not shoehorned into the spotlight in everyone else's episodes.
In the case of Wesley himself, they alternated between praising Wesley for no reason and rudely dismissing Wesley for no reason, depending on which would make Wesley look better.
Considering Gene Roddenberry's middle name is Wesley, he could be a bona fide Canon Sue as well.
Crowning Music of Awesome: Besides the theme, several instances in the episode "Lessons", when LTCMDR Darren and Picard are playing together. Of particular note were turning the simple melody of "Frere Jaques" into a remarkable duet, and the beautiful rendition of the Ressikan theme from "The Inner Light."
Designated Hero: The show's main cast in most of the first two seasons. Picard especially, showing himself to a Jerkass as well a total bigot, and yet the audience was meant to agree with him. Thankfully their characterization improved when the show's writing got better.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Both Data and Worf came to share the spotlight with Picard among fans. Originally the series focused more on Picard, Riker and Dr. Crusher.
Then, there's Miles O'Brien, a completely minor character, but got so much fan attention, he became a main character in Deep Space Nine.
Q seems to have a good fanbase despite him appearing in only eight episodes on TNG and then four episodes outside of it.
Reg Barclay, who was initially written as a one-shot character but then kept coming back, ended up featuring briefly in Star Trek: First Contact, and played a significant recurring role in Voyager.
Ro Laren, big time. She made such an impact that both Deep Space Nine and Voyager used the Bajor/Cardassia/Maquis political situation as jumping-off points, and Kira Nerys and B'Elanna Torres were both Suspiciously Similar Substitutes for her when Michelle Forbes twice turned down the opportunity to reprise the character. Ro appeared in all of eight episodes.
The Borg as far as alien species go. Talk about the famous aliens in the franchise, they're bound to be among them, rivaling the popularity of the Klingons and Romulans (and arguably more well known than the latter), and they only appear in four episodes in this series and one movie. They got featured more prominently in Voyager, though in that they suffered from massive Villain Decay.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: From the two-part episode "Birthright", "Children should learn about their heritage, and if it includes animosity/hatred towards others, then they should accept that as part of their heritage.".
Picard/Q. Q is constantly pestering Picard and trying to get the man's attention and approval, challenging him with unique games/scenarios, and frequently invades his personal space. On top of this he doesn't handle rejection well and has tormented Picard when he didn't respond to his proposals, making it come off like the response of a scorned lover. In "Qpid" Q delights in the knowledge that Picard has a weakness to female beauty, as demonstrated by Picard's old girlfriend Vash, and points out that had he known about this he would have appeared to Picard as an attractive woman instead (since as an Energy Being, he technically has no gender). Also take a look at this scene from "Tapestry" out of context. Picard is actually referring to an old friend of his that he spent the night with before Q showed up, but without the other scenes it seems like he's talking about Q.
Fajo and Data in S03E22 'The Most Toys'. The part where Fajo comments that he'd prefer it if Data was naked.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During Data's comedy routine in "The Outrageous Okona", there is a scene where Guinan asks the comic (Joe Piscopo) "And you made a living doing this?" Modern viewers cannot help but feel a little bit of pity for Joe, considering the imminent collapse of his career.
The episode "Family" ends with Rene, Picard's nephew, declaring that someday, he'll enter Starfleet, following in his uncle's footsteps. In Star Trek: Generations, we learn that Rene, as well as Robert, both burned to death in a fire at the vineyard. What's worse is that the closing shot in "Family" has a burning fireplace in the background!
Genius Bonus: In the episode Phantasms, Data has a holodeck session with the hologram of Sigmund Freud, who quickly interprets his dreams as meaning he wishes to possess his mother and find a (possibly violent) outlet for his sexual desire. When Data tried to explain he had neither a mother or a sex drive, Freud wouldn't listen. This is a classic demonstration of unfalsifiability, a problem that many modern psychologists have with Freud's theories.
Growing the Beard: The Trope Namer. After a half-baked effort of a first season, the series started to improve dramatically beginning with Riker getting away from his Kirk clone image by suddenly sporting a full beard.
Lampshaded by Q, after he materializes two scantily clad women to fawn over Riker.
Also in the first episode of season two Geordi and Worf received promotions to Chief of Engineering and Chief of Security, which allowed their characters to grow and arguably had a much greater impact on the show's quality than Riker's beard (since, even beardless, Riker already had a reputation as a badass).
Somewhat more morbidly, some of the writers felt the series improved after the unfortunate passing of Gene Roddenberry - although they were saddened by his death they often complained that he shot down too many of their ideas and didn't give them enough room to expand and develop the characters properly, and that the one silver lining to the situation was that the series was now effectively theirs to write however they saw fit.
Harsher in Hindsight: Watching Picard break down while bonded to Sarek in the episode "Sarek", is a bit more difficult to watch knowing that Picard may very well share the same fate in his future.
During "The Host," there is the usual conference room scene where there are discussing Odan's deteriorating condition and the need for a new host for the Trill symbiont. Worf looked either impatient or bored with the conversation. Come DS9, he probably wished he paid a little closer attention.
"The Chain of Command, Part 2", in a deeply disturbing way. With the exception of the pain device, everything the Cardassians do to torture Picard could have been taken from Guantanamo Bay records. Stripping for the purposes of humiliation? Check. Deliberately acting to dehumanize the prisoner and negate their identity and dignity? Check. "Stress positions", aka suspending the prisoner by their arms in such a way that their feet barely touch the floor, for long periods of time? Check. Idea that non-official combatants aka "terrorists" are not covered by conventions forbidding torture? Check. Objective of breaking the prisoner through distorting their perception of reality, successful to the point of producing hallucinations? Check.
All the torture practices shown were taken from Amnesty International archives, making it a terrifying case of Shown Their Work. Patrick Stewart carefully studied the behavior of the victims to get the broken, defeated look just right and even insisted on being naked on set.
The episodes involving Romulus have gained a little bit of a bittersweet overtone since their airing. "The Defector" had a disgraced and banished Romulan general who'd defected to stop an all-out Romulan/Federation war (actually part of a ploy by Romulus to start said war, albeit the general didn't know that), leaving behind a suicide note to be delivered to his child; the ending played up the hopes that, one day, relations would eventually be good enough between the two sides that the Federation could deliver it personally. The two-parter "Unification" ends on a hopeful note that the young of Romulus will eventually replace their warmongering elders and embrace their relationship with Vulcan on far more friendly terms. Neither will happen; the Romulus of this universe was canonically vaporized by a supernova in Star Trek, giving Nero the impetus to go back in time and screw around with the alternate universe of the Abrams films.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In "New Ground", Geordi is excited to try out the experimental soliton wave due to its historical significance, saying "it'll be like being there... to watch Zefram Cochrane engage the first warp drive!". In Star Trek: First Contact, Geordi actually takes part in Cochrane's first warp flight.
If you just started watching the show recently and are aware of how awesome Wil Wheaton's post-TNG career became, it's actually hard to dislike Wesley.
The dialogue as the Enterprise tries to instruct a drunken captain how to repair his shuttle in "Symbiosis" sounds uncannily like a transcript from an IT support call.
"Captain, we are beaming over a replacement coil." "That's great! And that'll fix us up?" "Yes, once it's installed." "Right, and how do we do that?" (Despair, grief, and silence)
In "Measure of a Man", the JAG officer says to Riker (to convince him to act as prosecutor against Data): "Then I will rule summarily against him as per my findings. Data is a toaster, he is to report to Commander Maddox immediately."
In "The Perfect Mate" Famke Janssen played a self described mutant with mental abilities sharing many scenes with Patrick Stewart playing Picard. Eight years later she would do the same thing in the first X-Men film.
In "Phantasms", in Data's dreams, he finds himself having a telephone inside him. So that makes Data an Android phone.
In "Time's Arrow", the crew are temporarily stranded in the nineteenth century. Their cover is that they're a troupe of traveling performers putting together a production of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" Data takes the part ofPuck.
After Kim Kardashian and her family became household names around the late-2000s, the fact that TNG included an alien race named the "Cardassians" led to more than a few obligatory jokes from the Trekkie community. Including a pretty sweet t-shirt◊.note And considering the media's obsession with certain of Kim's..."physical features", she probably still would have gotten the nickname "Kim KardASSian" even if the writers of Star Trek hadn't come up with the name first...
In "Deja Q", after being rendered mortal, during his check-up with Dr Crusher, Q snarks that he's "been under a lot of pressure, family problems". Ironically, Q would later start a family during his appearances on Voyager, where his son proved to be as much trouble as he was!
Of course, given that the Q is capable of visiting any point in time, who's to say in his own timeline, the events of "Deja Q" actually take place after his visits to Voyager?!
Set 16 years in the future, Admiral Picard tells Riker that the Federation has been in peace talks with the Romulans for the last 4 years, which is right around the time Star Trek: Nemesis takes place. And Riker's ship was in charge of the task force handling the negotiations with the Romulans.
Troi is seen in a standard uniform. She would start wearing a standard uniform again in season 6's "Chain of Command".
Magnificent Bastard: Q in all his appearances, to one degree or another, often with very entertaining results. Omnipotent, yet petty; cruel but not vicious; causing devastation yet helpful at times, you really couldn't help but love the bastard(s).
According to the Expanded Universe novel "I, Q" written by de Lancie the first time Q appeared to the Enterprise with all the 'judging humanity' bit, he was really just trying to screw with them for the lulz. Apparently after finding the Enterprise screw severely stuck up and no fun at all he went directly to a human colony on Rigel where they were celebrating Fat Tuesday. Although considering Q's sense of humor...
As Tim Lynch points out, "MacDuff" in "Conundrum" is a pretty extraordinary villain. He boards the Enterprise, manipulates the crew, and comes very, very close to single-handedly winning the war his race has been fighting. His only real miscalculation was overestimating Worf's blood-lust and underestimating his devotion to duty.
Professor Moriarty, especially in "Ship in a Bottle".
On-set example: "The Picard Maneuver," tugging the lower part of the sweater to fix its appearance on-camera. It has since been performed by many other cast members in many other versions, including Spock in the 2009 movie.
According to YTMND, Worf can't pronounce "bacaruda."
The Tamaranian sayings from "Darmok", especially "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!" and "Shaka, when the walls fell".
"SHUT UP WESLEY!". Wil Wheaton jokes that people have put their kids through college with how much money the fans made selling homemade t-shirts emblazoned with that phrase.
Due to both characters being played by John de Lancie (And one being directly based on the other), there is a running gag on the internet involving Q and Discord being the same person.
"Q got bored and decided to troll ponies!"
Riker sits down. A fan decided to make a supercut of the odd way Riker sits down (by stretching his leg over the chair, much like mounting a horse), and it quickly took the internet by storm. Tall Trekkies were quick to point out that Jonathan Frakeshad to sit down like this, due to how short the chairs were in comparison to himself (and that the one-piece uniforms and his old knee injury probably didn't make it any easier).
My Real Daddy: The series truly came into its own after Michael Piller took over the writing staff in Season 3.
Narm: The audience reaction to the Ferengi introduction as the Big Bad of the series in "The Last Outpost" was so much this, that the writers dropped them as villains in favor of the Borg.
"You shall have NO treaty, NO vaccine, and NO Lieutenant Yar!!"
In "The Best of Both Worlds" part 1, when the Enterprise's engineering section is under attack, Geordi epically rolls under the door sealing off engineering... which was still high enough for Geordi to simply crouch under. This scene has been memetically mutated on YTMND as the "Epic Geordi Maneuver".
"Oh no. Oh PLEEASE no!!"note "Eye of the Beholder"
The producers were never thrilled by the final appearance of the abductor aliens from "Schisms". Brannon Braga said "I felt they looked like monks - fish monks, and monks aren't terrifying."
Perhaps the biggest strike against her was that she was a Suspiciously Similar Substitute - not of Crusher, but of Dr. McCoy. Both are abrasive, dislike the transporter and take shots at the emotionless science officer, but Pulaski lacked the humor and likability of McCoy, not to mention Spock wasn't truly emotionless and had ways of firing back, whereas Data was truly emotionless and couldn't do anything in response to the shots Dr. Pulaski took at him.
Made all the more egregious by the fact Dr. (by then Admiral) McCoy actually did appear with Data in the first episode, and even after learning he was an android, had no trouble speaking to him as just another crewman, thus showing Data more warmth and respect in a minute-and-a-half than Pulaski did in a whole season.
But keep this in mind: Due to the writers' strike at that time, a lot of Season 2's scripts were rehashes from the backlog created for Star Trek: Phase II. In many of those stories, she effectively was Dr. McCoy.
Counselor Troi improved significantly during the sixth-season two-parter "Chain of Command", where the substitute Captain orders her to put on a standard uniform. She continues to appear in uniform when on-duty for the rest of the series... and apparently started taking her career in Starfleet seriously beyond being just a counselor, beginning to take command training and becoming certified for conn duty. Troi wearing one of her little jumpsuits or a uniform is usually an indicator of if you're getting "I sense emotions, Captain!" Troi or "Emergency power to shields, return fire!" Troi.
The Expanded Universe novel Q Squared pretty much states outright that, had Tasha lived, "one time" would have turned into "a regular thing", as it did with at least two other Tashas and two other Datas in alternate timelines.
Dr. Pulaski. The answer to the question, "Can a female actress convincingly play a likable Dr. Jerk?" Answer: Absolutely! ... on Grey's Anatomy. Pulaski replaced Wesley's mother as the ship's doctor for a single season before fan outcry got them to bring Dr. Crusher back. As often happens in life, first impressions are everything. Not only was she a Replacement Scrappy, but the writers made a major miscalculation in their attempt to make her a Distaff Counterpart of Dr. McCoy from the original series. Since McCoy's arguments with Spock were such a fan favorite aspect of the character, the writers tried to duplicate it by having Pulaski take a dislike to Data and toss him similar insults about being so logical all the time. Unfortunately, unlike Spock, Data couldn't even really understand that he was being insulted and could not respond in kind. Also, Data is very rarely wrong, so Pulaski's mockery of Data's aping of human traits makes her seem like a bigot. Other than Pulaski, every TNG character who has expressed doubt in Data's sentience has been labeled a villain. Worse, Pulaski behaved boorishly to Captain Picard in her very first scene. If an incoming department head tried that in a Naval ship, she'd probably be tossed overboard. The character mellowed out by her second episode, but the damage was done. Diana Muldaur left the show on less-than-harmonious terms; a mess all around. However, some fans at least acknowledge that she was a competent and intelligent doctor. (And a good actress, as her two parts in classic Trek show.)
Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher. A classic case of a (and Trope Namer of) Creator's Pet. He could have been a fun character, embodying a dream of many a fan. A geeky teen genius who's allowed to be a part of the crew and explore the universe. He could have provided insights and solve some problems, but no. He had to meddle in everything, he had to be shamelessly praised by everybody and he solved virtually every major problem or crisis, which at times occurred in part because of him. As with Muldaur, Wesley's reputation as a Scrappy can be traced back to his first appearances: As early as Season Two, Wesley was portrayed as fallible and prone to self-doubt. Referenced in The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon referred to actorWil Wheaton as "the Jar-Jar Binks of the Star Trek fandom".
Will Wheaton himself wrote in his Next Generation episode reviews that he frequently yells "Shut up Wesley!" at his younger self.
Seasonal Rot: Season 7 is widely agreed to be by far the show's weakest season post-Growing the Beard. Although some have blamed this on new showrunner Jeri Taylor abandoning the show's previous "anyone can submit a script" policy, TNG veteran Ronald D. Moore has admitted that the writers were just plain running out of ideas by that point, along with early work on the upcoming Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: Voyager causing the staff to be spread too thinly.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: It's hard to understand how hard-hitting and terrifying the Cliff Hanger ending of "The Best of Both Worlds part I" was, especially after TNG and the subsequent Trek spinoffs DS9, VOY, and ENT started making regular use of such endings.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The two-part episode "Chain of Command" drops a massive anvil against the use of torture. It shows the experience of torture is so absolutely dehumanizing and horrific that it can break even the strongest person. People like to quote Picard's "THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!" but tend to forget that he said this after another Cardassian came in with orders for his release, and what he said to Troi after he was back on the Enterprise:
Picard: What I didn't put in the report was that at the end he gave me a choice - between a life of comfort or more torture. All I had to do was to say that I could see five lights when, in fact, there were only four. Troi: You didn't say it? Picard: No! No. But I was going to. I would have told him anything. Anything at all! But more than that, I believed that I could see five lights.
"Tapestry": Don't be too regretful of your past. Through better or worse, it shaped you into who you are today.
Star Trek was big in season one; but it wasn't the world-spanning multi-billion dollar Goliath it is now. Casting Data with an actor who ages as an immortal android is pretty easily explained by the fact the producers had no reasonable way of knowing just how long-running the series would eventually become.
For a more obvious example, the episode "Conspiracy" has a very laughable puppet that bursts out of Dexter Remmick's chest. The fact that it was blue screened atrociously into the scene makes the effect even more laughable than it already was.
This is mainly due to Enterprise flybys from the pilot being reused throughout the series. One even shows up in Star Trek: Generations.
Strangled by the Red String: In S7 Ep 11, "Parallels" Worf is sent multiverse-hopping, and he briefly winds up in a world where he and Troi are very Happily Married. While he had never considered this before he decided to give it a try when he got back. This was the starting point of the writers developing a bizarre obsession with hooking them up despite the two never having any kind of romantic chemistry before despite Troi serving as a mother figure to Worf's son, Alexander, as well as Troi having a long standing Will They or Won't They? with Riker. In what's probably a an Author's Saving Throw, none of the TNG films have any mention of the relationship, despite the Series' finale including a possible future where Worf and Riker are at odds over Troi even after her death.
Jonathan Frakes (Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Troi) apparently disliked the idea as well, and were quite happy to have their characters get married in their last film. Michael Dorn (Worf), on the other hand, refused to forget it, and, when given a line about how Riker and Troi's feelings for each other had never gone away, subtexted it like mad. Then Worf went aboard DS9, fell for Dax, and acted as if he never even liked Deanna.
The Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Triangle: Imzadi II by Peter David pretty much gave us the end of Worf/Troi. It involves Lwaxana Troi putting him through the paces, and a complex plot involving Sela and Thomas Riker.
Back when the Federation forcibly relocating a people was considered a bad thing, Picard had to relocate some people descended from Native Americans from a planet that was about to become Cardassian territory. The problem for the aesop was that the Federation really was doing this for the colonists' own protection was not some thinly-veiled excuse, as the episode tried to imply by historical comparison, but because the Cardassians were brutal to the inhabitants of planets they occupy. The Federation citizens in question opted to join the Cardassians so they wouldn't have to relocate, but had acknowledged the dangers involved.
And what happened next? In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, we saw the Maquis revolt, the Cardassian crackdown, and all the predictable atrocities these caused. They chose Cardassian rule so they wouldn't have to move, but then once the consequences of living under Cardassian rule kicked in, they regretted their choice and bloody revolts and atrocities kicked in. The straw man forced-relocation position turned out to be right—albeit not because the writers intended it that way.
Contrast this with the message of Star Trek: Insurrection, in which Picard and his crew mutiny rather than remove people who aren't even native to a planet, number less than 1000, who're sitting on a literal fountain of youth that could save the lives of millions...all during the Dominion War, a conflict the Federation is badly losing at this point, where it could turn the tide in their favor. What's even worse, is that if the Federation and its allies lose the war, they predict that over a hundred billion people will die. Of course, strawman villains are used to shore up Picard's side as being right. Even many cast members (including the director, Jonathan Frakes), felt that in this case removing the Baku would have been acceptable.
In "Time Squared", Dr. Pulaski (who, to put it mildly, was not well-liked by the crew) tells Troi that she's concerned Picard's fear and doubt over the situation with the future Picard could be potentially paralyzing, and says the time may come that she'd have to relieve him of duty. Troi basically tells her to shove it, but when the vortex shows up, Pulaski is proven right: Picard, uncharacteristically, keeps going back and forth with himself out loud about what to do.
In "Chain of Command", the audience is expected to side with Riker against Captain Edward Jellico, who's making many radical changes to the way the Enterprise is run, culminating with his decision to refuse to negotiate with the Cardassians for Picard's release. In fact, being the captain, Jellico has every right to make alterations as he sees fit; and to negotiate with the Cardassians that way would leave the Federation at their mercy, and actually make it less likely to get Picard back, so Riker ultimately comes off as a massive crybaby.
In Riker's defense, he tolerates it all. Jellico just senses Riker's fuming underneath his calm exterior.
The other officers didn't like the changes either, but they eventually got with the program. Riker has no excuse for his perpetually wangsty behavior during that episode.
Except that it is Geordi and the other officers who complain to Riker and tell him that he needs to do something about Jellico's unreasonable demands while Riker spends most of the time saying "Aye, Captain" ... so, no? Oh, and also, Jellico actively thinks badly of Riker and goes out of his way to rile him up because he thinks he's a pathetic officernote And it's because he doesn't follow his orders blindly, so there's that.note The only time Riker actually flies off the handle at Jellico is when Jellico refuses to send out a rescue mission for Picard, something that goes against Riker's moral integrity and he can't be a part of on any level.
If wangsty is meant to mean continuously angry, belligerent and combative, then he does actually. Riker is the second-in-command. It is his job - by Starfleet standards anyway - to look after the ship, crew and Captain, to make sure everyone is working cohesively and is on the right track. He is the only person in a position to challenge the Captain if he feels the captain's actions are shaking up the crew or are going against the core ethical values of Starfleet. The second-in-command is there to check the captain if needed and to take over if necessary - if any of the crew challenged the captain, though, they would be way out of line. Although Jellico was in the right, Riker wasn't wrong in his actions either. If he'd countermanded Jellico's orders or mutinied then he would have been wrong.
In addition, despite how intelligent or competent a Captain Jellico is - and he is a brilliant strategist against the Cardassians - he's still an abrasive Jerk Ass who has no regard for other people's feelings or situations as long as he gets what he wants, and it is Riker who has to deal with him one-on-one and convey his orders to the rest of the crew and try to help them accommodate to Jellico's whims and demands - which he is entitled to as the Captain. Anyone who wouldn't be pissed off and belligerent after dealing with Jellico constantly in a high-tension situation where everything he's doing is going against your better judgement, please make your presence known. No, seriously, that would have to be some awe-inspiring emotional control, damn!
Troi also made an effort to talk to Jellico and convey the attitudes of the crew toward his leadership, and suggested he tone things down or at the very least be more aware of the crew's limitations and feelings. Like Riker, this is part of her job, making sure everyone works together nicely and limiting internal conflict on board the ship (which if left unchecked could lead to insubordination, incredible lack of teamwork, and even mutiny), but Jellico simply blew her off.
Worf. As noted in this compilation, Worf's frequently the Only Sane Man in any situation by suggesting they be prepared for hostile or belligerent aliens that might threaten the ship, only for the others to ignore him completely, then suffers an ass-kicking for his trouble when it invariably turns out he was right all along. Michael Dorn even mentioned having seen the video in a Q&A and found it hilarious.
Worf's job is to evaluate security threats or possible attacks to the ship and crew. He has to recommend this evaluation and his solution with security as his priority to the Captain. The captain then deliberates and decides on a course of action with Worf's security recommendation in mind while evaluating other priorities as well. And yes, following Worf's solution all the time might keep the Enterprise safer, but this would compromise the core ideals of peaceful exploration that the Enterprise protects. Does Worf count anywhere as a Strawman Political?note And yes, knowing this does make the fact that he's nearly always right Hilarious in Hindsight and much funnier, because suddenly we have an explanation for why Federation ships are always disappearing and found dead in space.
In fact, its pre-beard episodes (often derided as the worst) are the ones with the most resemblance to the original, including plenty of Space Hippies and woodenly-delivered aesops.
Suspiciously Similar Song: Some fans have noted that the Ressikan melody from "The Inner Light" sounds very similar to the Scottish folk song "Skye Boat Song".
Take That, Scrappy!: One mistaken example is in the episode "Datalore". At one point Picard yells a big loud "Shut up, Wesley!", but only so that it makes Wesley look more heroicwhen he insists on being heard, and when he's still ignored, he goes against Picard's orders and as a result, and saves the ship and everyone on it from being killed. None the less, it was just about one of the funniest scenes that season, and satisfying to hear. (Wesley himself, Wil Wheaton, wrote that there are Star Trek fans who put their children through college on the proceeds of selling t-shirts and badges reading "Shut up, Wesley!")
In the novel Contagion, Troi and Worf are assigned to investigate a murder, and enlist Wesley to assist. He gets stuffed into an airtight container and left for dead. He does manage to rig up an alert from the inside, but it's a near thing.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The two-part episode "Descent" is a direct sequel to "I Borg", and it features Geordi and Hugh, but not together. They should've had at least one scene together, since Hugh had become resentful of what the Enterprise crew made him, and Geordi was the one he was closest with.
Did they ever revisit what was attacking the colonies along the Romulan Neutral Zone, as mentioned in the episode where they unfroze the 3 cryogenically frozen people from the 2oth century?
Yes, the Borg. They were being set up for quite a while. Though originally they were supposed to be the insectoid aliens seen in Conspiracy.
The Outrageous Okona: A Han Solo style pilot comes on board the notoriously dull season 2 Enterprise, has sex with 1980's Teri Hatcher, teaches Data about humanity, nearly starts an interplanetary war and at the end has to come to terms with his responsibilities... completely ruined by some of the flattest and cheesiest jokes of the entire franchise; including a cringe-worthy and racist stereotypical Japanese impression courtesy of Joe Piscopo. He even has the novelty teeth.
SF Debris thought "A Matter of Time" would've been better if Dr. Rasmussen actually was a historian from the 26th century instead of being a 22nd century conman.
Took The Bad Episode Seriously: Patrick Stewart; his greatest strength as an actor, as the old cliche goes, is his ability to deliver bad dialogue with utter conviction. Nowhere was that more evident than during the low points of this series.
One could say that he's a victim of his own talent?
Considering he's a highly respected actor with a knighthood, it's hard to say he's actually a victim.
Tough Act to Follow: Averted and played straight. It managed to step out of TOS's shadow as a highly successful series, but it made every subsequent Trek franchise feel rather lacking.
Unless you're a "niner" (Deep Space Nine fan) but that's only because that show is so different from the others and so is the only show to provide what some fans want.
Not to mention that gender-identifying J'naii are "evolutionary throwbacks" and Soren undergoes "re-education" at the episode's conclusion.
The reaction of the crew to this "re-education" (and that of Riker in particular) was meant to show that they considered the re-education wrong. Whether or not this came across in the episode as transmitted is one of those pesky hot-button issues. (FWIW, Jonathan Frakes pushed hard for Soren to be played by a man instead of a woman.)
The fact that in a community of asexual beings the issue isn't that Riker falls in love with an asexual or male but that his partner has to be female comes across as basically trying to make a socially-conscious statement about sexuality while avoiding absolutely anything that could possibly imply homosexuality or bisexuality. In fact, the whole episode comes across as if its trying to reinforce that heterosexuality is the only right sexuality, considering the focus they put on females being inherently different and desiring only males. Hence, the episode basically confirms the production staff's homophobic views. It's pretty insulting all round.
On the other hand, Trek has a long history of making social commentary through their aliens (remember the half-white, half-black aliens from TOS?).
And it amazes me how many people apparently don't find it obvious that the episode was doing a reversal of the situation, i.e. "the homosexual-allegory aliens are forbidding heterosexual behavior - how does it feel to be on the other side of the oppression for a change?" Where the episode went wrong was the romance plot in the first place. If the episode was just portraying "genderless aliens oppress anyone who identifies as male or female" it could have been a lot better.
No, because the entire point of the episode was trying to reinforce that the "genderless aliens" were wrong. So in fact by that interpretation, the writing staff not only emasculated the homosexual-allegory aliens, but made a point that their way of life was limiting and wrong when compared with the freedom and wonders of heterosexual romance. Wow, the Unfortunate Implications just keep getting worse and worse...
Speaking of failing at tolerance of LGBTQ people... there's the episode The Offspring. During a WalkAndTalk, Data's offspring Lal sees a female humanoid, a male humanoid, and then jarringly says I am gender neuter — inadequate, and then Data of all people, the perfect ethicist that he is, says That is why you must choose a gender, Lal, to complete your appearance. Heaven forbid that that world have transsexual and transgender people without their being considered incomplete. I don't know WHAT message they were trying to send, but episode writer Rene Echevarria comes across as a huge gender-normative transphobe with that dialogue. Major ValuesDissonance, possible SocietyMarchesOn.
Note we only saw 5 of the appearances and genders selected, so a number may have been neutral gender or others, so it's possible he just wished her to have a choice in the matter. Lals own reaction could easily be construed as a child wanting to integrate.
Transgender and transexuals aren't 'neuter'. They've picked a gender, even if it isn't what they were born as. Lal wasn't even finished yet, hence the 'inadequate'.
The much-loathed "Code of Honor" features a race of savage black people. How much of this was due to an honest miscommunication between the director and the script-writer is debatable, but either way, director Russ Mayberry was fired mid-filming for racist behaviour and being abrasive with the actors.
Much like the above, but without so good an excuse, "Justice" from later in Series 1 has the Edo repeatedly described as a "perfect society" and is populated solely by blond haired, blue-eyed, white people?
Then there was the episode "Angel One", which has a female-dominated planet in a kind of gender role Aesop. However, the women are all portrayed by beautiful, feminine actresses who simply behaved in an assertive manner. So in order to demonstrate their gender dominance, the males on their planet were all Camp Straight to emphasize how emasculated matriarchal society makes them. Just to make it worse, the women were very attracted to the more stereotypically masculine human men.
Not within the show mind you, but on the Closed Captioning (at least on Netflix and original syndication), some season 5 episodes have Nissan Motors, the sponsor reading "Built for the Human Race." Nice to have this on a show with aliens; borders on Comically Missing the Point. (Netflix streaming episodes of DS9, have a similar thing in some earlier episodes, but with Toyota, and their slogan, "I love what you do for me." Of course, given the huge Toyota recalls recently, that slogan could be also edging into unsafe territory as well.)
It's heavily implied that the different humanoid species on the show are innately predisposed to certain personalities- Klingons are aggressive, Vulcans are logical, etc. As a result, it can feel sketchy when there's an analogy drawn between inter-species relations and real-life race relations, since a lot of the arguments against racism in real life are predicated on the fact that human brains are pretty much the same regardless of race.
In "The Last Outpost", Riker talking to the Portal is depicted as physically attractive and standing tall, representing the Federation ideals and best of humanity. The Ferengi on the other hand are physically repulsive and hunched over, demonstrating cruelty and rampant paranoia. Guess which one the Tkon choose to accept?
Making this more unfortunate is the fact that the Ferengi embody many negative Jewish stereotypes, such as being small people with large features, particularly large ears and noses, and especially being obsessed over money.
As noted under The Woobie, it's implied that the crew likes Reg Barclay only when they're able to bully him.
Guinan is a pretty textbook Magical Negro, coming from an entire species who are described as living their incredibly long lives simply listening to others and helping them.
The Woobie - Several throughout the series' run, but special mention has to go to medical technician Simon Tarses in the episode The Drumhead. Accused of conspiracy against the Federation, put through a witch-hunt trial, and suspended for 6 months for falsifying his application - those adorable ears came from a Romulan grandfather, not a Vulcan one... but admitting that would have made a career in Starfleet out of the question. Sure, lying is bad, but holy disproportionate punishment. And just look at that face.◊
Data. You'd think an android couldn't have a Dark and Troubled Past. You'd be very wrong. A human would probably break after everything that's happened to him.
The crew takes pity on Hugh once they discover how he reacts to being removed from the Hive Mind.
Troi. She's been raped no less than three times throughout the franchise (once when she was impregnated by an energy being and twice mentally but still represented as a sexual assault) and frequently falls victim to the psychic powers of the Villain of the Week.
The truly terrible irony is that the same empathy and compassion that makes her a great counselor means that she's usually trying to help the Villain of the Week and gets violated and abused for her trouble instead and sometimes because she's such a great empath. It really is amazing that she's still such a nice person by the end of the series considering how many times she was violated and outright broken.
Barclay. The episode "The Nth Degree" seems to imply that the crew actually likes him better when they're able to beat up on him.
Worf, this may just be the opinion of this Troper, but he frequently seems to need a hug.