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It is true that seasons 1 and 2 of TNG are not as strong as the others, but 'just skipping them' is an absolutely silly idea. There are some great gems, and a bunch of at-least-decent episodes that set up future developments.
Season 1 - 11 episodes:
Season 2 - 8 episodes:
When I decided to go through Star Trek, this is where I started, and I think it still holds up for reasons a lot of people have already ennumerated: good scripts, good actors, decent special effects and set design and what-have-you. However, I don't really line up with how I'm supposed to think about the series.
Yes, I left supposed to out of air quotes. I don't doubt someone's going to pitch a fit about that, but I can't help it. The fact is, while seasons one and two have a few clunkers, they also have some good episodes. Yes, season one has Code of Honor and Datalore, but it's also got The Battle, 11001001, and Heart of Glory. Even several bad episodes had something good come out of them, like Lore. And regarding the charge of arrogance, I just can't agree. In the day and age of political punditry a la Tumblr and Facebook, they don't even make a blip. They're too nice to the other side, for one.
Season two was overall worse, yeah, but not outright awful. While it had Shades of Grey, it also had The Measure of a Man, Where Silence Has Lease, and Pen Pals (and Q Who, though I'm more mixed on that one). Again, even the underwhelming episodes had things I liked, such as Data's subplot in The Outrageous Okona (which my autistic self found pretty relatable). I don't hate Pulaski, either. I think she had more character than Crusher and a solid concept that could've killed with the right episodes. I also didn't think she was that bad bar when she was supposed to be bad or when it worked for the story (Peak Performance aside). And if her good moments were supposed to go to Crusher, tough; they're hers now, and I think they fit her well enough.
Seasons three to six were good, not too much to say. Personally, though, I was getting a little annoyed with Data around this point. He seemed a little too capable, like when he shut down the whole ship by himself. Also, I never hated Wesley Crusher. He just wasn't that grating and he didn't save the day as often as everyone seems to claim (bar season 1, and even then he only does it, like, three times in twenty-six episodes, which is OK for an untrained genius). Season seven is the weakest one for me, but that's just because it had the most episodes I hated (Force of Nature, Homeward, and Journey's End). Even then, it still has a bunch of great episodes (Dark Page, Thine Own Self, and Preemptive Strike), and it ends on a high note.
So, yeah. Despite what everyone tells me, I like the whole series. The worst parts aren't super bad (mostly) and the good parts really shine. Even when it's OK, it's still above-average. Give every season a try, decide for yourself.
I usually don't like doing things like this, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to make an exception here. The first season, save Skin of Evil, isn't very good. Gene Roddenberry was still a big moderating force in the writing at this time, and it shows, as most of the characters come off as aloof, alien, and practically dripping with smugness. They love giving speeches on how much better they are than the humans of the past, how superior their non-capitalist lifestyle is, and how evil and stupid we are. I understand that Gene wanted to show *his* perfect future, but making your characters flawless and preachy does not make for interesting television. The only episodes that you'll really need to watch are the two part premeire, Datalore, and 'skin of evil', and I'm only recommending those because they have events which come up in later seasons.
Season Two isn't much better, but for different reasons; a writers strike at the time lead to much lower quality writing (hell, the season finale was a glorified season recap clip show), culminating in the simply awful 'The Outrageous Okana', but there are still plenty of episodes worth watching. If you want to skip this as well, then I'd cherry pick a few out that you should watch: A Matter of Honour (has pivotal moments for Worf's character), The Measure of a Man and Where Silence has Lease (Great all-round episodes), Q-Who (possibly the best Q story ever and the first appearance by The Borg). Season 3 was the point where the show really found its footing, and churning out quality stories.
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