Category Archives: Television

Some enjoyable things from 2017

2017 was a pretty crap year in lots of ways; I tried to write quite a broad review of what went well and badly from my point of view in order to take stock, but that very rapidly sprawled, so I’ve cut that draft down to this post, which is about mostly about cultural things that I enjoyed in the last year.

Films

There are few things that give me so much pleasure as cinema, and so it’s rather disappointing that I didn’t see many new films in 2017. (I’ve been keeping a list of things I want to see, and added more than 50 films over the course of that year…) However, of the things I did see, my favourite films released this year were:

  • My Life as a Courgette
  • Get Out
  • Moonlight
  • The Red Turtle

They’re all amazing (in very different ways!) And I also really enjoyed:

  • The Last Jedi
  • The Lego Batman movie (which is up there with Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman returns as my favourite Batman movies. I’m happy to argue about the Christopher Nolan ones any time ;))
  • Hidden Figures
  • Arrival
  • Wonder Woman

The best film I saw for the first time this year, but which was released before 2017, was:

  • Kill List – just an extraordinary movie (though not for the faint-hearted, I should say).

The biggest cinematic disappointments for me last year were:

  • Blade Runner 2049  – beautifully made, but …  Jamie Zawinski’s review covers a lot of my problems with it, although I think there’s much more to be said about how thoughtless and exploitative the Joi storyline was.
  • La La Land – again, wonderful cinematography, but the song and dance numbers left me strangely cold, and the character of Seb (Ryan Gosling) behaved like an arse at almost every point in the movie, so I found it difficult to feel involved in the central love story.

Most re-read film criticism:

Favourite film podcast:

TV

There’s so much amazing television around at the moment, I can’t keep up at all. For what it’s worth, though, the favourite new things I saw this year were:

  • Bojack Horseman, particularly season 4
  • The Good Place

(Both are on Netflix.) The series I’ve most re-watched this year are:

  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Community

They’re both so full of joy for me, and frustratingly I seem to be really bad at getting across to people why. (Random aside: I wish people wouldn’t put so much emphasis on the paintball episodes of Community – they’re fine, but basically nothing to with what makes the series so great overall.)

Books

It’s been a while since I wrote my last summary of interesting things I’ve been reading, and I’d like to do another one soon. However, just to pick out a couple of recent highlights, I’ve probably got most enjoyment recently out of re-reading Jane Austen – in particular Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. On that subject, John Mullan’s “What Matters in Jane Austen” was great to read around the same time.

Blogging

Although it might be barely detectable, I’ve been trying to write a bit more on this blog, publishing 7 posts last year, up from just 3 in 2016. Of these, the one that took by far the most work was on postcode boundaries. Probably the most delightful thing that happened related to this blog is that someone (@columbophile on Twitter) actually spotted an error in my silly Columbo data visualization and tweeted about it after I fixed the mistake :)

I do enjoy writing here, and I’m trying to do it more. I have a long-planned post about Python’s mock library in the works, which is probably top of my list. And similarly I’ve been thinking about a long post about The West Wing for ages, which I’d really like to get done.

Board Games

The highlight of the year for me for board games was a lovely weekend away with some friends to play some games.

The game I’ve most enjoyed this year is:

It’s interesting strategically, but doesn’t feel stressful to play, perhaps because of the lovely theme. And I love games that involve tiling polyominoes anyway.

I’ve also really enjoyed playing these:

Video Games

I haven’t played many computer games this year, but one of those that I did was one of the best games I’ve played in a long time (probably my favourite since Journey) – that was:

I also had a lot of fun playing Behold the Kickmen too :)

Exercise

Climbing

I’ve been doing a lot of indoor bouldering this year and I’ve been really enjoying it – it clears my head, it’s fantastic exercise and makes you feel like a superhero :) I’m climbing at about V3 to V4 standard at the  moment, I think. I hope that by working more on lower body flexibility and losing some body fat I can improve that somewhat next year.

I also did some more indoor lead climbing this year, learned to belay with a Gri Gri, and I’m hoping to start doing some outdoor climbing over the next year.

I’ve been mostly climbing at Vauxwall, which is a nice (and very conveniently located) bouldering wall in central London. They run a friendly competition every two months called “Vauxcomp”, which I’d recommend, with excellent music and great bouldering problems.

Running

I haven’t done any big races this year (like another half marathon, or my first full marathon) but I’ve been running pretty steadily. I’m still doing parkrun every week I can, which is still a great way to keep at it and it’s nice to know some of the regulars a bit now. Injury-wise I’ve had a mixed year – I had a painful calf muscle problem which put me out for a while, but I’ve not had a relapse of that since starting doing these stretching exercises, kindly recommend by a colleague, before running.

My left knee has been hurting quite a bit about the 8km point of any run recently, and I suspect I’ll have to consult a physiotherapist about that.

I’ve started using Strava to track my running, and I’m quite liking the light social aspects of that.

Great British Bake-Off Visualizations

For the last couple of years of The Great British Bake Off, I’ve been playing Fantasy Bake Off with colleagues and friends. It’s a fun and silly thing to do: each week you pick who you think will be star baker, who’ll come top of the technical challenge, and so on. The problem with this is that it’s quite hard to get any points at all, and this got me thinking about how to assess how well the contestants were doing over the course of the competition.

Collecting Data

The problem with this is that there’s not many quantitative measures available from the GBBO. However, I wasn’t going to let this stop me – as is probably clear from other entries in this blog, I feel that making spreadsheets about TV shows as you watch them is a perfectly respectable pastime, and since this is just for fun, I didn’t really care if there was a subjective element to the numbers I was putting into the spreadsheet.

The obvious measure to use of how contestants are doing is their position in the technical challenge each week, so I included that (12 points for first, 11 points for second, etc.) As well as that, after seeing what Paul and Mary/Prue said about the signature and show-stopper challenges, I’d try to give each bake a score from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) and scaled them so that each round had roughly the same weight. I also gave the star baker a few extra points.

The data that in retrospect I really should have included, but didn’t, were the bakers whom the judges described as being also in the running for star baker and elimination each week. That’s probably quite a strong signal, and it’s even helpfully recorded in Wikipedia’s helpful results summary table.

“Predicting” Results

This is the point at which I have to admit to some geek shame: at this point I clearly should have used some of the techniques I learned this year from Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course on Coursera, to learn which combinations of features would best predict the star baker, technical winner and baker to be eliminated each week, but frankly I didn’t think of that until a point where I was already anxious to be finished with this whole silly project. (Also, given I only have data for 2016 and 2017 and the results seem pretty random, I’m not sure how well that would work anyway.) Maybe that’s a project for 2018, though.

I did combine these scores into an ad-hoc overall score, however, evaluating how well each contestant had done cumulatively (with some decay applied to earlier weeks) and picked my winners for Fantasy Bake Off from that. It’s hard to say how well this worked: for example, it didn’t work as well last year as the method of one of my colleagues, which was “ask their grandmother who would win each week”. Also this year I was beaten by a colleague who was many weeks behind in actually watching the show, but guessing each week anyway, and who amazingly managed to pick all three finalists in the first week. Nonetheless, my method was probably better than me just guessing based on my vague impressions of who was doing well at each point.

Visualization: bumps / horserace charts

I’d been really impressed by Anna Powell-Smith‘s visualization of the progress of the premier league over a season as a “bumps chart” or “horserace”, and wondered what my GBBO scores would look like if you plotted them in a similar way. My cumulative scorings up to and including each week could be considered a bit like points in a league, week-by-week. Would you be able to see the “character arc” of each contestant from this view of the data? I asked Anna if she would let me use her code to try this, and she kindly said yes, allowing me to make this:

Click on the image to go to a larger, interactive version

Getting that to work took a day or so, even with Anna’s source code, since it meant me learning more about D3, but I found that rather good fun.

However, coincidentally, Anna had recently started working at Flourish (a data visualization service that’s grown out of Kiln, whose work you will probably recognize) and she suggested that I try using their service to produce a similar visualization, using their “horserace” graph type. This turned out to be pleasingly easy to do: the preloaded example shows you what rows and columns are expected in your uploaded CSV file in an obvious way, and the results are very nice, I think. (Although there’s the odd thing I couldn’t see how to do, like adding an indication on the lines of any point where someone got star baker.) For example, here’s the 2017 competition using my “subjective” measure:

Click on the image to go to a larger, interactive version

There are some nice things that jump out at you from this visualization – obviously I’m picking things that accord with my view of the competition, so you may well disagree!

  • Steven’s incredible start to the competition
  • Sophie’s very consistent excellence later in the competition
  • Kate being extraordinarily lucky not to have been eliminated week after week towards the end
  • Liam being eliminated was very harsh given his record in the weeks up to his elimination
  • Julia’s rise and fall was pretty dramatic
  • Peter did well enough in the first round (particularly in the technical) that even though he was eliminated my scoring put him above Chris, Flo and Tom (the next three to be eliminated)

For comparison, here is what the race looks like if you just consider the bakers’ placing in the technical challenge:

Click on the image to go to a larger, interactive version

I like that slightly different things jump out here: Steven doing relatively less well in the technical challenges, and the impressive performances of Sophie, Julia and James in the technical challenges.

I had similar data from 2016, so it might be worth talking a bit about that too. Here’s the graph that includes my subjective assessments for 2016:

Click on the image to go to a larger, interactive version

… and here’s the corresponding graph just based on technical challenge placings:

Click on the image to go to a larger, interactive version

The big things that I think jump out at me from these are:

  • Benjamina being eliminated in week 8 was really tough! She’d been so consistently good up to that point. I know it’s all about what happens in a given week (except for tie-breaking) but still…
  • Candice won, of course, but my subjective measures suggested Andrew had done very slightly better cumulatively over the competition. (Again, I know what happens in the final week is what really matters, and Candice was a worthy winner :))
  • Candice did consistently very well in the technical challenges

(I’ve put those four graphs into a Flourish “story”, which is perhaps a nicer way to go through them.)

Summary

  • For something that was meant to be a quick and silly hack, this ended up taking quite a lot of time.
  • I maintain that quantifying TV programmes with dubious methods in spreadsheets is fun and worthwhile :)
  • Flourish is really nice to use – I’m excited to see how that platform develops, and grateful that they gave me a beta account to try it out.
  • The Great British Bake Off is one of the greatest TV shows ever (but that probably should be the subject of a different post).
  • D3 is excellent, and I hope I’ll come up with some excuses to use it more in future.
  • Predicting results of the GBBO is difficult, and obviously futile in one way (you’re trying to predict something that’s already happened) but that doesn’t stop Fantasy Bake Off being entertaining. I recommend it for your workplace too.

When does Columbo first appear in each episode?

I made the graph below for a short talk I gave about the TV series “Columbo”, which I think is a marvellous programme. The point was to depict the typical structure of the show for people who didn’t know it: the substantial blue section of each bar (before Columbo first appears) usually just consists of the murderer going about the crime, so you know exactly how it was committed and by whom. The red section of the bar is the part where you see Columbo trying to figure everything out. (People sometimes say this is makes it a “howcatchem”, not a “whodunnit”.)

A graph showing when Columbo first appears in each episode
A graph showing when Columbo first appears in each episode. You can click through to a larger version in which you can see which episode is which.

Anyway, I thought it might be nice to put the graph online, which is most of the point of this post, but thought I might add a few notes about why I like Columbo so much.

Update (2017-10-22): I’ve fixed an error in Columbo’s first appearance time for “Candidate for Crime”, kindly spotted and pointed out by @columbophile!

I think Columbo suffers rather from so many people remembering its clichés (e.g. his basset hound (“Dog”), the cigars, the raincoat, “just one more thing”; his never-seen wife) but not necessarily the things that made it a powerful show.

For me perhaps the most important of those is the way that class, power and wealth are treated on the show. There’s a joke on a Columbo podcast I sometimes listen to that he must work in a special department of the police force where he only deals with crimes of the very wealthy and privileged. And indeed, the privilege of the murderers is frequently emphasized by Columbo; in one scene he literally tots up the value of someone’s house and possessions and works out with them how many years he’d have to work to afford them – and yet this is without bitterness, and he never drops the persona of the enthusiastic and respectful fan.

The house from "Étude in Black"
This is the kind of house a conductor lives in, in the world of Columbo

The awfulness of the murderers in Columbo is compounded by this dynamic; they consistently have an extraordinary sense of entitlement, believing they can get away with anything because of their position in society, and have absolutely no regard for the apparently down-at-heel detective. (This makes the inevitable point where they realise how badly they underestimated him all the sweeter, of course.)

I think this partly resonates with me so much because, while I’m undoubtedly incredibly fortunate in my situation in life, my job is to work on projects that try to increase the transparency of institutions that affect our lives and try to hold people in power to account. This is difficult, frustrating work, and it often seems (particularly in the political climate at the moment) that the successes are overwhelmed by the setbacks.

But the world of Columbo isn’t like that: it’s a fantasy world in which someone who appears powerless succeeds 100% of the time in holding the powerful to account – no matter how rich they are, or how well connected, or even if they’re his own deputy police commissioner. And he does that all while being respectful, polite and enthusiastic.¹

I could write a lot more about what makes the show important to me, why I admire the character of Columbo, and the various flaws I perceive in the show, but I’m trying to get some blog posts actually finished at the moment, so I’ll just leave you with some photos of Peter Falk throughout the 35 years that he played Columbo , and a list of the occupations of the murderers in the series.

¹ If I remember right, Zack Handlen made this point well on the Just One More Thing podcast.

With the help of Wikipedia I made this list of the occupations of the murderers on Columbo. (Note that quite a few of them are “[occupation] to the stars!” where there wouldn’t otherwise necessarily be the required difference in social status :))

  • Psychiatrist
  • Attorney
  • Best-selling Novelist
  • Head of a detective agency
  • Retired Major General in the Army
  • Art critic
  • Independently wealthy (heiress)
  • Chemist / heir to a chemical company
  • Architect
  • Orchestral Conductor
  • (Unclear – retired?)
  • General manager of an American football team
  • Famous stage actors
  • Movie star
  • Cardiac surgeon
  • Chess grandmaster
  • TV chef / banker
  • CEO of a cosmetics company
  • Head of a winery
  • Senatorial candidate
  • (Subliminal) Advertising expert
  • Book publisher
  • Director of a think tank
  • Famous singer
  • Deputy police commissioner
  • Owner of a chain of gyms / fitness expert
  • Photographer
  • Head of a military academy
  • Auto executive
  • President of an electronics company
  • Psychiatrist
  • Movie star
  • Diplomat
  • CIA agent
  • Famous matador
  • Magician and club owner
  • Heir to a boat-building firm (? Fred Draper)
  • TV detective
  • Museum curator (?) in the family museum
  • Accountant (senior partner)
  • Mystery writer
  • Restaurant critic
  • TV executive
  • Mind control guru
  • Arms dealer / poet / raconteur / terrorist
  • (Fake) Psychic
  • Hollywood film director
  • Sex therapist
  • Head of a paramilitary school for mercenaries / retired colonel / head of a think tank
  • Famous artist
  • Magazine publisher
  • Political operative (previously lawyer with the DA)
  • Real estate executive
  • “Dentist to the stars”
  • Gigolo
  • Spoilt frat boys
  • TV host
  • Lawyer
  • Jeweller
  • (No murder, but the kidnapper was an ambulance driver)
  • Gambler
  • Wealthy socialite
  • Radio host
  • Insurance investigator
  • Thoroughbred ranch owner
  • Crime scene investigator
  • “Funeral director to the stars”
  • Film composer and conductor
  • Nightclub promoter

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I’ve had a long-standing affection for Star Trek: The Next Generation, since it used to be shown on TV right after I got home from school and I would watch it almost every day.  I must have seen every episode several times when I was younger, but it was only recently that I went back to rewatch them on DVD, partly out of curiosity to see how they would stand up.  I think it’s fair to say that a lot of these episodes haven’t aged well (or were dreadful even at the time), but there are still plenty of gems there. As much for my own reference as anything else, the table below marks which episodes I still thought were good after a gap of many years.

In the table, I’ve also added links to two series of reviews.  The first are Zack Handlen’s excellent reviews of every ST:TNG episode (linked from the initials “ZH” below), and I’ve also added his grade for each episode.  I’ve found myself agreeing with his reviews more often than not, and in a some cases the reviews are significantly more enjoyable than the episodes themselves.  The second set of links are to reviews by Wil Wheaton (who played Wesley Crusher) of some of the episodes from Season 1 – it’s interesting to hear his take on these very variable episodes, particularly since the writers were not good to him at all.

A few other random observations:

  • It’s often been said, but there are plenty of episodes that are completely carried by Patrick Stewart – he’s just fantastic.
  • Predictably, perhaps, given that I enjoyed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Battlestar Galactica, it seems that lots of my favourite episodes were written by Ronald D. Moore.
  • I hated the holodeck episodes when I was younger, and I still think they have no place in the series. There are any number of problems with the holodeck conceit from a science fiction point of view, and it very rarely adds anything to the story-telling.
  • The pastiches of other genres are dreadful, in particular the insultingly awful “Dixon Hill” parodies of Raymond Chandler. As a general rule, if you think you can write something in the style of Raymond Chandler, you have no idea what makes his books good. (See also the ridiculous Robert Altman version of the Long Goodbye.)

These other links might also be of interest if you enjoyed ST:TNG:

Summary Table of Episodes

The source for this table is the spreadsheet here and the HTML was generated from that with this script.

The key to this colours in this table is:

  • One of my favourites
  • An episode I liked
  • An episode I’m still undecided about
  • A quite missable episode

Season 1

1×01, 1×02 Encounter at Farpoint WP: The new starship Enterprise begins her maiden voyage by uncovering the mysteries of an advanced space station. The crew’s mission is threatened by an omnipotent being named Q, who puts them (and specifically, Captain Picard) on trial for the crimes of all humanity. ZH (B-) WW
1×03 The Naked Now WP: A mysterious, communicable contaminant causes the crew to experience symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication. ZH (D-) WW
1×04 Code of Honor WP: Lt. Yar is abducted by the leader of a people who abide by a strict code of honor, which requires her participation in a fight to the death. ZH (C-) WW
1×05 The Last Outpost WP: An unknown force immobilizes the Enterprise during the Federation’s first encounter with a new alien threat—the Ferengi. ZH (C-) WW
1×06 Where No One Has Gone Before WP: Warp efficiency tests send the Enterprise traveling far beyond known space, where the crew’s imagination takes on real form. First appearance of Eric Menyuk as The Traveler. ZH (B-) WW
1×07 Lonely Among Us WP: An alien entity possesses Dr. Crusher, Worf, and Picard while the Enterprise is transporting delegates from two feuding planets. ZH (C-) WW
1×08 Justice WP: Wesley breaks an idyllic world’s trivial law by accidentally stepping on flowers and faces the death sentence. ZH (C) WW
1×09 The Battle WP: A Ferengi captain returns the abandoned Stargazer to its former captain, Jean-Luc Picard. Picard, who experiences severe headaches, begins to relive the “Battle of Maxia” in which he lost the ship. Guest star Frank Corsentino as DaiMon Bok. ZH (C+) WW
1×10 Hide and Q WP: Q returns to the Enterprise to tempt Commander Riker into joining the Q Continuum with the lure of Q’s powers. ZH (C-) WW
1×11 Haven WP: Lwaxana Troi visits her daughter, Counselor Troi, and prepares her for an arranged marriage. ZH (D) WW
1×12 The Big Goodbye WP: A computer malfunction traps Picard, Data, and Beverly in a Dixon Hill holodeck program set in early 20th-century Earth. ZH (B-) WW
1×13 Datalore WP: The Enterprise crew finds a disassembled android identical to Data at the site of the Omicron Theta colony—where Data was found—which was destroyed by a life form dubbed “the Crystalline Entity.” The reassembled android, Lore, brings the Crystalline Entity to the Enterprise. ZH (B-) WW
1×14 Angel One WP: The Enterprise visits a world dominated by women to rescue survivors of a downed freighter. ZH (F) WW
1×15 11001001 WP: Bynars upgrade the Enterprise’s computers in spacedock. Riker and Picard become distracted by a surprisingly realistic holodeck character. ZH (B) WW
1×16 Too Short a Season WP: The Enterprise transports a legendary geriatric admiral who must once again negotiate a hostage situation involving a man from decades earlier in his career. The admiral is mysteriously growing younger; by the time the Enterprise arrives he is a young man. ZH (C+) WW
1×17 When The Bough Breaks WP: A planet formerly existing only in legend uncloaks and requests help from the Enterprise. Planet’s inhabitants are sterile and want to adopt children from the Enterprise—by force, if necessary. ZH (B) WW
1×18 Home Soil WP: The crew of the Enterprise discovers a crystalline lifeform with murderous intelligence that has been killing the scientists on a terraforming project. ZH (B+) WW
1×19 Coming of Age WP: While Wesley takes a Starfleet Academy entrance exam, the senior staff of the Enterprise are placed under investigation by Starfleet. ZH (C) WW
1×20 Heart of Glory WP: Fugitive Klingons seeking battle attempt to hijack the Enterprise, and ask Worf to join them. ZH (B+) WW
1×21 The Arsenal of Freedom WP: Trapped on the surface of an abandoned planet, an away team becomes unwitting participants in the demonstration of an advanced weapons system. ZH (C+) WW
1×22 Symbiosis WP: Picard tries to mediate a trade dispute between two neighboring planets, one of which is the sole supplier of a drug to treat the other’s apparently fatal disease. ZH (B) WW
1×23 Skin of Evil WP: An evil, tar-like creature holds Troi hostage on an alien world. During the rescue mission, one of the Enterprise crew is killed. ZH (C-) WW
1×24 We’ll Always Have Paris WP: Picard meets an old flame, whose husband has been affected by a dimensional experiment accident. ZH (B-) WW
1×25 Conspiracy WP: The strange behavior of high-ranking officers—which earlier prompted the investigation of the crew (in “Coming of Age”)—leads Picard to uncover a conspiracy within Starfleet. ZH (B) WW
1×26 The Neutral Zone WP: A derelict satellite is found containing cryonically frozen humans from the 21st century as the Enterprise is sent to investigate the destruction of outposts near Romulan space. ZH (C-) WW

Season 2

2×01 The Child WP: Dr. Pulaski joins the Enterprise while La Forge prepares the Enterprise to transport dangerous plague specimens; Deanna spontaneously becomes pregnant and gives birth to a mysterious child. ZH (D+) WW
2×02 Where Silence Has Lease WP: The Enterprise becomes trapped in a “hole in space”, where the crew encounter strange spatial phenomena and crewless ships materialising in and out of existence. The crew suspect they are akin to lab rats. ZH (B) WW
2×03 Elementary, Dear Data WP: After Data easily solves an ordinary Sherlock Holmes holodeck mystery, Geordi asks the computer to make a Holmes villain capable of defeating Data. The resultant Professor Moriarty soon becomes far more powerful than expected. ZH (B+) WW
2×04 The Outrageous Okona WP: The Enterprise is caught up in the schemes of a flamboyant space rogue on the run, while Data explores humor with the help of a holodeck comedian (played by Joe Piscopo). ZH (C-) WW
2×05 Loud As A Whisper WP: The Enterprise hosts a deaf, telepathic ambassador who mediates difficult peace negotiations with the assistance of his trio of telepathic interpreters. ZH (B-) WW
2×06 The Schizoid Man WP: A brilliant scientist and former mentor of Data’s creator, Dr. Ira Graves, cheats death by uploading his memories and personality into the android Data. ZH (C-) WW
2×07 Unnatural Selection WP: The Enterprise receives a distress call from the USS Lantree where the crew find all hands dead from, apparently, old age. The cause of the accelerated aging must be found before scientists on a research colony suffer the same fate. ZH (C+) WW
2×08 A Matter Of Honor WP: Riker is assigned to a Klingon vessel via an officer exchange program between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. ZH (A-) WW
2×09 The Measure Of A Man WP: When Data refuses orders to be dismantled for research purposes, a hearing is convened to determine if he is a legal citizen or property of the Federation. Guest stars Amanda McBroom as JAG Philippa Louvois. ZH (A-) WW
2×10 The Dauphin WP: The Enterprise hosts a young world leader and her mysterious chaperone. Wesley soon falls in love with the young leader. Guest stars Paddi Edwards as Anya. ZH (B) WW
2×11 Contagion WP: A dangerous alien computer virus runs rampant through the Enterprise after causing the destruction of her sister ship, the USS Yamato. ZH (B+) WW
2×12 The Royale WP: Riker, Worf, and Data investigate a structure on an icy gas giant. Inside, they find a casino reconstructed from a bad Earth novel. ZH (B) WW
2×13 Time Squared WP: Picard encounters his future self, when the Enterprise becomes caught in a time loop. ZH (A-) WW
2×14 The Icarus Factor WP: Riker’s estranged father visits to brief him on the command he has been offered, and Worf’s friends discover he is about to miss an important Klingon rite of passage. ZH (C+) WW
2×15 Pen Pals WP: Data befriends a child from a doomed planet, breaking the Prime Directive. ZH (B-) WW
2×16 Q Who WP: Q flings the Enterprise 7,000 light years beyond Federation space and introduces the ship and its crew to the deadly Borg. ZH (A) WW
2×17 Samaritan Snare WP: A group of seemingly dimwitted aliens, the Pakleds, kidnap Geordi to make their ship go. ZH (B-) WW
2×18 Up The Long Ladder WP: Picard must find a way to bring two radically incompatible cultures together, lest both of them face extinction. ZH (C) WW
2×19 Manhunt WP: Deanna’s mother seeks a new husband, and she has her eyes on Picard. ZH (C) WW
2×20 The Emissary WP: Worf’s former lover comes aboard Enterprise to help deal with a Klingon sleeper ship. ZH (B+) WW
2×21 Peak Performance WP: The Enterprise and USS Hathaway face off in simulated combat maneuvers. Data fails to beat a humanoid at a game of Strategema and experiences feelings of self-doubt. ZH (B+) WW
2×22 Shades Of Gray WP: Riker is poisoned by an alien plant and, as he lies comatose, he relives various memories of his life serving the Enterprise. (Clip show as a result of the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike.) ZH (F) WW

Season 3

3×01 Evolution WP: Nanites escape Wesley’s lab and form a collective intelligence, threatening an astrophysicist’s only chance at performing a stellar experiment. Guest star Ken Jenkins as Dr. Paul Stubbs. ZH (B) WW
3×02 The Ensigns of Command WP: Data must persuade a stubborn colony to evacuate their homeland under threat of a powerful and mysterious race. ZH (B+) WW
3×03 The Survivors WP: The Enterprise investigates the last two survivors of an annihilated world, as the entire surface has been transformed to dust except their one little garden and house. Guest stars John Anderson and Anne Haney as Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge. ZH (A) WW
3×04 Who Watches The Watchers WP: Deanna and Riker must rectify the damage done when two primitives from Mintaka III catch glimpse of a Federation observation team and eventually conclude that Captain Picard is a god. ZH (A) WW
3×05 The Bonding WP: A mysterious entity seeks to comfort a boy who has lost his mother in an accident on its planet. Guest star Gabriel Damon as Jeremy Aster. ZH (B+) WW
3×06 Booby Trap WP: The Enterprise falls victim to an ancient booby trap set to snare starships; while in an effort to find an escape, Geordi finds himself falling for the holodeck’s representation of a famous Federation engineer. Guest star Susan Gibney as Dr. Leah Brahms. ZH (B) WW
3×07 The Enemy WP: Geordi is trapped on a harsh planet with a hostile Romulan, and the two must work together to survive. ZH (A-) WW
3×08 The Price WP: Troi falls in love with a charismatic negotiator who vies for rights to a wormhole. But several different groups are after the wormhole as it may be the only known stable wormhole in existence. Guest star Dan Shor as Dr. Arridor. ZH (B-) WW
3×09 The Vengeance Factor WP: Riker exposes an assassin in the midst of critical peace talks. ZH (B) WW
3×10 The Defector WP: Determined to avert a war, a Romulan officer defects to warn Picard of his Empire’s invasion plans. ZH (A) WW
3×11 The Hunted WP: A genetically modified soldier reveals the social problems of a world hoping to join the Federation. Guest star James Cromwell as Prime Minister Nayrok. ZH (A) WW
3×12 The High Ground WP: Dr. Crusher is kidnapped by terrorists who need medical assistance as the technology employed in their attacks is detrimental to their own health. ZH (B-) WW
3×13 Déjà Q WP: The Q Continuum strips Q of his powers, and dumps him aboard the Enterprise. ZH (B+) WW
3×14 A Matter of Perspective WP: Riker is accused of murder, and the holodeck is used to reconstruct the events from different perspectives. ZH (B-) WW
3×15 Yesterday’s Enterprise WP: The Enterprise-C arrives from the past, causing a shift in reality—and the return of the deceased Tasha Yar. ZH (A) WW
3×16 The Offspring WP: Data creates a young gynoid, which he considers his daughter, “Lal”. But a Starfleet admiral arrives demanding she be removed from the Enterprise. Guest star Hallie Todd as Lal. ZH (A-) WW
3×17 Sins of the Father WP: Worf goes on trial to prove his father’s innocence after the Klingon High Council declares that Worf’s father is a traitor, and worked with the Romulans all along. ZH (A) WW
3×18 Allegiance WP: Aliens kidnap Picard and replace him with a duplicate, who sends the Enterprise to a pulsar. Meanwhile, the real Picard and three other captives try to escape from their prison. ZH (B) WW
3×19 Captain’s Holiday WP: Picard is convinced to take some much needed shore leave, but gets wrapped up in a woman’s treasure hunt. Guest star Max Grodenchik as Sovak. ZH (B) WW
3×20 Tin Man WP: A gifted telepath whom Deanna Troi once treated as a patient comes aboard to establish first contact with an unknown vessel near an unstable star before the Romulans do. ZH (B+) WW
3×21 Hollow Pursuits WP: Lt. Barclay’s use of the holodeck as an escape interferes with his duties. Meanwhile, the Enterprise suffers from mysterious and random malfunctions. ZH (B) WW
3×22 The Most Toys WP: An obsessed collector is determined to add Data to his private collection of unique items. Guest star Saul Rubinek as Kivas Fajo. ZH (A-) WW
3×23 Sarek WP: The Enterprise hosts Ambassador Sarek, but his deteriorating mental health causes unforeseen problems. ZH (A) WW
3×24 Ménage à Troi WP: The Ferengi kidnap Deanna, her mother and Riker. ZH (B) WW
3×25 Transfigurations WP: The Enterprise rescues a humanoid with amnesia and incredible healing powers. ZH (B-) WW
3×26 The Best of Both Worlds WP: Picard is kidnapped by the Borg, who begin their invasion of Federation space. ZH (A) WW

Season 4

4×01 The Best of Both Worlds, Part II WP: Picard is rescued from the Borg as the Enterprise races to save Earth. A great number of Starfleet ships are destroyed by the lone Borg ship, although an away team finally rescues Picard. Data interfaces with the half-Borg Picard and finds a way to shut down the Borg ship. Guest star Elizabeth Dennehy as Starfleet Commander Shelby. ZH (A) WW
4×02 Family WP: Picard visits his family in France and Worf’s human parents come aboard the Enterprise. ZH (A) WW
4×03 Brothers WP: Data is summoned by his creator Noonien Soong who is still alive, and they are joined by Lore. ZH (B+) WW
4×04 Suddenly Human WP: Picard must help a human boy, raised by aliens, to decide his fate. ZH (A-) WW
4×05 Remember Me WP: After an apparent failure of a warp-field experiment, people begin to disappear from the Enterprise with only Dr. Crusher remembering that they ever existed. ZH (B) WW
4×06 Legacy WP: Tasha Yar’s sister Ishara seeks to restore order on their conflict-ridden colony world. ZH (B) WW
4×07 Reunion WP: Worf’s ex-girlfriend returns, and along with Picard, the two mediate a Klingon power dispute and Worf discovers more family. ZH (B+) WW
4×08 Future Imperfect WP: Riker finds himself sixteen years in the future, his memory of the interim erased by a dormant virus. ZH (A-) WW
4×09 Final Mission WP: Wesley sets off on his final mission with the Enterprise accompanied by Picard, but they become stranded on a desert planet. ZH (B+) WW
4×10 The Loss WP: An unknown force captures the Enterprise and causes Deanna to lose her empathic powers. ZH (C+) WW
4×11 Data’s Day WP: Data gets dancing lessons from Dr. Crusher in preparation of Chief O’Brien’s wedding as the Enterprise brings Ambassador T’Pel to the Romulans for negotiations. ZH (B-) WW
4×12 The Wounded WP: A rogue Starfleet Captain jeopardizes the Cardassian peace treaty. ZH (A-) WW
4×13 Devil’s Due WP: A powerful mythic figure from a millennium ago returns to enslave a planet in accordance with a contract. However Picard is convinced she is an opportunistic charlatan. Guest star Marta DuBois as Ardra. ZH (B+) WW
4×14 Clues WP: The crew, with the exception of Data, is rendered unconscious for 30 seconds after going through a localized wormhole. However, various clues suggest they were unconscious for an entire day. ZH (B+) WW
4×15 First Contact WP: Riker is hospitalized during a botched pre-first contact mission. Xenophobia results in increasing hostility toward his presence. ZH (B+) WW
4×16 Galaxy’s Child WP: The Enterprise accidentally kills a space creature, and the crew rush to save its unborn offspring. Meanwhile, Geordi meets the engineer he fell in love with and finds to his shock, she’s nothing like the woman he encountered on the holodeck. Guest star Susan Gibney as Dr. Leah Brahms. ZH (C+) WW
4×17 Night Terrors WP: The Enterprise is trapped in a rift. The crew succumbs to REM sleep deprivation, while Deanna has a recurring nightmare. ZH (B) WW
4×18 Identity Crisis WP: Geordi transforms into an alien creature with strong instinct to return to its planet of origin. ZH (B+) WW
4×19 The Nth Degree WP: After an encounter with an alien probe Barclay experiences great leaps in confidence and intelligence. ZH (B) WW
4×20 Qpid WP: Q returns to test Picard’s love for an old flame. ZH (B-) WW
4×21 The Drumhead WP: A witchhunt ensues for suspected Romulan spies aboard the Enterprise. Guest star Jean Simmons as Rear Admiral Norah Satie. ZH (A) WW
4×22 Half a Life WP: Lwaxana Troi finally finds love, but discovers her man must undergo a ritualistic suicide. Guest star David Ogden Stiers as Timicin. ZH (B+) WW
4×23 The Host WP: Dr. Crusher falls in love with Odan, only to discover that Odan is a symbiote, which is implanted into Riker after his original host dies. Odan continues peace negotiations using Riker as a temporary host. ZH (B+) WW
4×24 The Mind’s Eye WP: The Romulans brainwash Geordi to carry out a covert mission. ZH (A) WW
4×25 In Theory WP: Data participates in a romantic relationship with a fellow crew member. ZH (B) WW
4×26 Redemption WP: Worf leaves the Enterprise to fight on behalf of Gowron in a Klingon civil war. ZH (A-) WW

Season 5

5×01 Redemption II WP: A fleet of 23 Federation ships blockades Romulan support to the Duras family, resulting in Gowron’s installation as Chancellor. ZH (B) WW
5×02 Darmok WP: Picard must learn to communicate with an alien captain who speaks in metaphors before a dangerous beast kills them both. Guest star Paul Winfield as Dathan. ZH (A) WW
5×03 Ensign Ro WP: After an attack on a Federation outpost, Picard is sent to locate a Bajoran terrorist, with the help of Ensign Ro Laren. ZH (A-) WW
5×04 Silicon Avatar WP: The crew, with the help of a scientist whose son lived on Data’s home world, attempt to communicate with the Crystalline Entity. ZH (B+) WW
5×05 Disaster WP: The Enterprise is without power, trapping Picard in a turbolift with three children and trapping others in various locations. Command of the bridge falls to Counselor Troi, who feels ill-prepared. ZH (B+) WW
5×06 The Game WP: Wesley visits the Enterprise, but finds the crew addicted to a mind-altering computer game. Guest star Ashley Judd as Robin Lefler. ZH (C) WW
5×07 Unification I WP: Spock is reported to have defected to the Romulans. Picard and Data travel to Romulus on a cloaked Klingon vessel to investigate. ZH (B) WW
5×08 Unification II WP: Spock attempts to unify the Vulcans and Romulans in peace, but falls into a Romulan trap. ZH (B) WW
5×09 A Matter of Time WP: A historian from the 26th century visits the Enterprise, while they help a planet prevent a nuclear winter. Guest star Matt Frewer as Berlinghoff Rasmussen. ZH (B) WW
5×10 New Ground WP: Worf tries to be a father to his son, Alexander, while the Enterprise helps to test a new propulsion technology. ZH (B-) WW
5×11 Hero Worship WP: Data saves the life of an orphaned boy, who begins to emulate him. ZH (B+) WW
5×12 Violations WP: An alien traveling aboard the Enterprise telepathically molests Troi and invades the minds of Beverly Crusher and William Riker. ZH (C+) WW
5×13 The Masterpiece Society WP: The Enterprise helps a far-flung eugenic human colony avoid destruction, but upsets its delicate balance by ending 200 years of isolation. ZH (B-) WW
5×14 Conundrum WP: The crew’s memory is erased, and they discover they are being manipulated into being the key part of a war. ZH (B+) WW
5×15 Power Play WP: Troi, O’Brien, and Data are possessed by entities who want control of the ship. ZH (B) WW
5×16 Ethics WP: Worf becomes paralyzed—and suicidal—and Dr. Crusher consults a risk-taking researcher to save his life. ZH (B-) WW
5×17 The Outcast WP: Riker falls in love with an androgynous person after rescuing some others trapped in “null space.” ZH (A) WW
5×18 Cause and Effect WP: The Enterprise becomes stuck in a causality loop, but the crew retain some memory of previous instances. Guest star Kelsey Grammer as Morgan Bateson. ZH (A) WW
5×19 The First Duty WP: Wesley is questioned over a Starfleet Academy flight-training accident. Guest star Ray Walston as Boothby. ZH (A) WW
5×20 Cost of Living WP: Deanna’s mother, Lwaxana, arrives to marry a man she has never met. Worf has difficulty rearing Alexander, which is exacerbated when Lwaxana takes the boy under her wing. ZH (C) WW
5×21 The Perfect Mate WP: Picard forces himself to resist the charms of a female empathic metamorph, who is sent to marry an alien leader as a peace offering. Guest star Famke Janssen as Kamala. ZH (B+) WW
5×22 Imaginary Friend WP: A child’s imaginary playmate takes on real form and threatens the well-being of the Enterprise. ZH (B-) WW
5×23 I Borg WP: The Enterprise rescues a Borg survivor, and Picard plans to use him as a weapon against his nemesis by exposing him to a computer virus. ZH (A-) WW
5×24 The Next Phase WP: A transporter accident traps Geordi and Ensign Ro out of phase; while the others plan their funeral they must find a way to reverse the process and save the Enterprise from destruction. ZH (A-) WW
5×25 The Inner Light WP: A space probe creates a telepathic tether and causes Picard to experience, in twenty-five minutes, a lifetime as a married man on a world that was destroyed a millennium ago. ZH (A+) WW
5×26 Time’s Arrow WP: A 500-year-old artifact is uncovered on Earth: Data’s severed head. The Enterprise investigates alien involvement in Earth’s past and Data fulfills his destiny. ZH (B-) WW

Season 6

6×01 Time’s Arrow, Part II WP: The Enterprise crew follow Data to San Francisco of the 1890s. The crew deals with Samuel Clemens (and run into Jack London), while trying to find a way to prevent aliens from interfering with 19th-century Earth. Guest star: Jerry Hardin as Samuel Clemens. ZH (D+) WW
6×02 Realm of Fear WP: Barclay must overcome his fear of the transporter to solve a mystery. ZH (B-) WW
6×03 Man of the People WP: A psychic ambassador uses Deanna’s mind to influence the outcome of his mission. ZH (C) WW
6×04 Relics WP: The Enterprise investigates a vessel that crashed on the surface of a Dyson sphere 75 years ago. An undegraded pattern is found in the transporter buffer, that of Mr. Scott. Feeling out of place and obsolete, Scotty agrees to return to his vessel with Geordi to help restore the logs, and they become the only hope when the Enterprise is accidentally pulled inside the sphere. ZH (A) WW
6×05 Schisms WP: Several members of the crew are abducted and experimented on while they sleep. ZH (B) WW
6×06 True Q WP: Q reveals a secret about a young woman from Kansas who is visiting the Enterprise. Guest star: Olivia D’Abo as Amanda Rogers. ZH (B+) WW
6×07 Rascals WP: A transporter malfunction turns Picard, Keiko, Ro and Guinan into children, who become the ship’s only hope when they are left aboard while the adult crew are forced to perform dangerous labor by Ferengi pirates. ZH (B-) WW
6×08 A Fistful of Datas WP: Data’s mind is connected to the ship’s computer, which creates unforeseen effects on the holodeck. ZH (B+) WW
6×09 The Quality of Life WP: Data observes self-guided “tools” used at a mining station display signs of sentience, and fights for their preservation, even risking Captain Picard’s life on the ground that it is unacceptable to kill one sentient being to save another. ZH (B+) WW
6×10 Chain of Command, Part I WP: Captain Jellico is assigned command of the Enterprise, while Picard is sent on a covert mission into Cardassian territory. Guest star: Ronny Cox as Edward Jellico. ZH (B+) WW
6×11 Chain of Command, Part II WP: Picard, having been captured, is tortured by a sadistic Cardassian interrogator (played by David Warner). ZH (A) WW
6×12 Ship in a Bottle WP: Barclay accidentally awakens Prof. Moriarty on the holodeck, who uses the powers at his disposal to coerce the crew into finding a way to allow him to leave the holodeck. Guest star: Daniel Davis as Professor Moriarty. ZH (A-) WW
6×13 Aquiel WP: Geordi falls for an alien Starfleet officer who is suspected of murder. Guest star Renee Jones as Aquiel Uhnari. ZH (C) WW
6×14 Face of the Enemy WP: Deanna is involuntarily recruited to assist in the transport of Romulan defectors across the border. ZH (B+) WW
6×15 Tapestry WP: An accident kills Picard, and he finds an afterlife with Q analyzing his past choices. ZH (A) WW
6×16 Birthright, Part I WP: Worf is told on Deep Space Nine his father is alive, and being held prisoner by the Romulans. Meanwhile an engineering experiment accidentally results in Data’s first dream. Guest star: James Cromwell as Jaglom Shrek. ZH (B+) WW
6×16 Birthright, Part II WP: Worf, now a prisoner, tries to teach the Klingon refugees the ways of the warrior. ZH (B) WW
6×18 Starship Mine WP: Thieves attempt to steal trilithium from Enterprise during a Baryon sweep at the Remmler Array, and Picard alone must thwart them. ZH (B) WW
6×19 Lessons WP: Picard becomes involved with a woman who is serving on the Enterprise, but he must send her into a dangerous mission. ZH (B+) WW
6×20 The Chase WP: Picard tries to solve an ancient genetic mystery uncovered by his archaeological mentor, and faces stiff competition. Guest star: Norman Lloyd as Richard Galen. ZH (B+) WW
6×21 Frame of Mind WP: Riker finds himself prisoner in an alien mental institution, which resembles scenes from Beverly’s play. ZH (A) WW
6×22 Suspicions WP: Dr. Crusher risks her career to solve the murder of Ferengi scientist Dr. Reyga and vindicate his research. ZH (B-) WW
6×23 Rightful Heir WP: Worf experiences a crisis of faith, and travels to a Klingon holy site where the mythic figure Kahless returns to lead the Klingon people. ZH (A) WW
6×24 Second Chances WP: Riker encounters a duplicate of himself created by a transporter malfunction stranded on a planet. “Thomas” vies for Deanna’s affections. ZH (B+) WW
6×25 Timescape WP: The Enterprise is caught in temporal stasis, and on the brink of destruction by a Romulan ship. ZH (B) WW
6×26 Descent WP: The crew encounter a group of Borg acting individually, and Data briefly experiences emotions. ZH (B) WW

Season 7

7×01 Descent, Part II WP: The Borg are being led by Lore. Data falls under his control by being fed negative emotions. ZH (B-) WW
7×02 Liaisons WP: Worf and Troi reluctantly play host to two Lyraan ambassadors, while Picard crashes in a shuttle with another Lyraan. He is rescued by a human female who exhibits strange behavior. ZH (B-) WW
7×03 Interface WP: Geordi tries to rescue his mother’s starship via a remotely controlled probe. ZH (C+) WW
7×04 Gambit, Part I WP: The Enterprise crew investigate the apparent murder of Captain Picard during an archaeological trip. Riker is kidnapped by mercenaries and finds Picard working as part of their crew. ZH (B) WW
7×05 Gambit, Part II WP: Picard and Riker help mercenaries collect archaeological artifacts to prevent an ancient Vulcan weapon falling into the wrong hands. ZH (B-) WW
7×06 Phantasms WP: Data experiences strange dreams, while the Enterprise has issues with its new Warp-core. But all is not as it seems. ZH (B+) WW
7×07 Dark Page WP: A psychic breakdown puts Lwaxana Troi in a coma, and Deanna works to save her life. Features a young Kirsten Dunst, playing the little girl Hedril. ZH (B-) WW
7×08 Attached WP: Reclusive aliens imprison Picard and Dr. Crusher on charges of espionage, and experimental implants linking their minds telepathically cause them to face their latent feelings for each other. ZH (B+) WW
7×09 Force of Nature WP: A pair of scientists show that warp drives are harming the fabric of space. ZH (B) WW
7×10 Inheritance WP: Data encounters a woman claiming to be his “mother”. ZH (B-) WW
7×11 Parallels WP: Worf finds himself randomly shifting between alternate realities. ZH (A-) WW
7×12 The Pegasus WP: Riker’s former Captain boards the Enterprise to retrieve the USS Pegasus. Picard investigates the circumstances of its loss and finds that there has been a cover-up. Features Terry O’Quinn as Admiral Eric Pressman. ZH (A-) WW
7×13 Homeward WP: Worf’s human foster brother violates the Prime Directive to save a doomed primitive race. ZH (C+) WW
7×14 Sub Rosa WP: Dr. Crusher attends her grandmother’s funeral, and takes on an unusual family tradition. ZH (D) WW
7×15 Lower Decks WP: Junior officers buck for promotion as one of them is assigned the dangerous task of helping a Cardassian spy. ZH (A) WW
7×16 Thine Own Self WP: Data loses his memory after retrieving radioactive fragments on a planet’s surface and endangers the humanoid settlement he encounters, while Deanna studies to become a bridge officer. ZH (B+) WW
7×17 Masks WP: The Enterprise finds an ancient library that recreates its civilization by taking possession of Data and transforming the ship. ZH (C) WW
7×18 Eye of the Beholder WP: Deanna investigates the suicide of a crewman and uncovers a murder that took place during construction of the Enterprise. ZH (C-) WW
7×19 Genesis WP: A routine medical treatment inadvertently creates a virus that begins to de-evolve the Enterprise crew while Picard and Data are on an away mission. This is the first and only episode to be directed by Gates McFadden, who plays Dr. Crusher. ZH (C-) WW
7×20 Journey’s End WP: Wesley considers his future, as the Enterprise is ordered to remove Native American colonists from a planet that is about to fall under Cardassian jurisdiction. Guest star Richard Poe as Gul Evek. Final appearance of Eric Menyuk as The Traveler. ZH (C) WW
7×21 Firstborn WP: Worf attempts to convince his son Alexander to embrace his warrior heritage. Guest star James Sloyan as K’mtar. ZH (C+) WW
7×22 Bloodlines WP: DaiMon Bok returns to exact revenge on Picard, by trying to kill the son Picard never knew he had. Guest star Lee Arenberg as DaiMon Bok. ZH (C+) WW
7×23 Emergence WP: The Enterprise becomes an emergent intelligence. ZH (B-) WW
7×24 Preemptive Strike WP: Ensign Ro graduates from advanced tactical training, and is sent by Picard to lure Maquis terrorists into a trap. Guest star Richard Poe as Gul Evek. ZH (A) WW
7×25 All Good Things… WP: Picard finds himself alternating between three time periods thanks to Q, with a spacetime distortion that threatens to destroy reality growing larger in the past, and smaller in the future. ZH (A) WW