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
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.
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 most admirals on the show are 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.
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.
Data's brother Lore is a thoroughly unsympathetic android who summoned the Crystalline Entity to his creator's colony when the other colonists petitioned Soong to deactivate him out of fear that he would turn on them. It could be argued that he acted in self-defense, but given everything else we see of his true nature it's obvious that he mostly did it for his own sick amusement. He tried to do the same thing to the Enterprise too. He also kills his creator, reprograms his brother to follow his every command, and threatens to set Wesley on fire. And he tried to make the Borg (or at least a certain segment thereof) an even greater threat than they already were.
Kivas Fajo from The Most Toys. At first, he seems to be just another Smug Snake villain who thinks Screw The Rules, I Have ... well, something anyway. 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 it slowly destroys the body from the inside out — and later does use it on his broken, codependent slave girlfriend and threatens to shoot as many subordinates as necessary to coerce Data into obeying him. When your actions drive the emotionless android good guy to attempted murder, you're a Complete Monster. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Data afterwards is particularly devastating. Data's response is to override his own ethical programming, because he knows he cannot desire justice and so must enact it for those who do.
Fajo: "Murder me - go ahead, it's all you have to do. Fire! If only you could...feel...RAGE over Varria's death - if only you could feel the NEED for revenge, maybe you could fire...But you're...just an android - you can't feel anything, can you? It's just another interesting...intellectual puzzle for you, another of life's...curiosities."
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."
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 Klingons and Romulans, 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 show learn about their heritage, and if it includes animosity/hatred towards others, then they should accept that as part of their heritage.".
Picard/Q. In "Qpid" he states that he should have just appeared to Picard as an attractive woman instead (since as an Energy Being, he technically has no gender), and just 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.
Fridge Brilliance: Lwaxana Troi's behavior, both personality and her constant attempts to marry or push Deanna into marriage, make a lot more sense when you consider that not only did her husband die when Deanna was young, but only a few years before that, her first daughter died in a tragic accident for which Lwaxana blamed herself.
The people of Kataan in "Inner Light" are human because Picard is human. His subconscious gave them A Form You Are Comfortable With, after all, it all happened in a Mental World. Had it happened to Worf, they would have looked like Klingons.
"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.
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.
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).
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.
Indeed, it's possible that during the Mind-Meld, Sarek's own illness caused that condition in Picard.
However, given this appeared in a possible future created by Q and was later negated, it's possible that Q might have also cured this defect, much like he had done to Picard's heart in "Tapestry". As much as he likes to Troll Picard, we repeatedly see that Q isn't above Pet the Dog moments, now and again?
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.
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◊. *
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?!
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).
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.
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 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".
In one episode, Crusher is sucked into an alternate reality of her own making. As the crew starts vanishing by the hundreds, none of those remaining remember those gone. At one point, Wesley is following her, she rounds a corner, and he is gone by the time she turns back around. She is having a conversation with Picard at one point, and he vanishes as she blinks (especially creepy since she had a medical scan of him being announced over the intercom. Just before he vanished, the computer read: "SYNAPTIC FUNCTION: ZERO"). Crusher activates the viewscreen and sees a "warp energy field" around the ship. After establishing that there is no penetrating the field, she asks the computer to define the universe. In one of the most horrifying lines the show has had, it replies, "THE UNIVERSE IS A SPHEROID REGION 705 METERS IN DIAMETER". The computer says that there is nothing outside of the ship.
"Night Terrors" and "Schisms".
"Conspiracy" may be Darker and Edgier, but it doesn't tread into this trope... until Picard and Riker blast off Remic's head and a big worm-like parasite emerges from the body.
The neural interface that plugs Barclay into the main computer in "The Nth Degree".
"Datalore", where Data says "I'm" and twitches his eye, after sending Lore into empty space.
Guinan is actually rather terrifying when she encounters a depowered Q in "Deja Q." She finds him and she is enjoying herself tremendously upon seeing him Brought Down to Normal, even stabbing him with a fork. And then, after he's been attacked by the Calamarain and screaming for help, her reaction is to look down upon him: "How the mighty have fallen." It's such a shift from her usual attitude.
"Oh, please." With those 2 words, the crew realizes that Q isn't screwing around anymore and, rather than being a playful trickster, is more akin to a wrathful god that seeks to push mere mortals to their limits (and beyond) for his own designs.
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: A lot of Season 2's scripts were rehashes from the backlog created for Star Trek: Phase II due to the writers' strike at that time. In many of those stories, she effectively was Dr. McCoy.
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.
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
Strawman Has a Point: 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.
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.
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.
Took The Bad Episode Seriously: Patrick Stewart is this trope incarnate; 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.
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.
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.)
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?).
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?
In "Who Watches the Watchers", Picard has an anti-religious rant that seems to not-so-lightly imply that, on Earth, every bad thing ever was because people believed in God/religion. Gene Roddenberry himself was a proudly proclaimed Athiest and this episode may be the biggest example of Writer on Board in Star Trek.
As many have noted, this is a tad hypocritical, when one considers that the Federation by Picard's time tend to dogmatically follow the Prime Directive as if it were a Religion, often proclaiming that it is an invariable truth, always right and must never be questioned?
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 DS 9, 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.
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.
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.