Most didactic episode of Star Trek TNG

Which do you think was the episode that struck the most heavy-handed moral tone during Star Trek TNG’s seven seasons?

“The Outcast”.

While it addressed LGBT issues, it was neither subtle nor particularly thought provoking about it, and worst of all, it made for a boring episode, as the plot was more or less secondary to beating everyone over the head with the message.

I suppose it’s possible that I’m remembering it through 1992-colored lenses, but I suspect it wasn’t entertaining then, and it’s less so now.

God, there were a lot of them and TNG is largely gone from my memory banks, but there was this one episode I particularly hated which… and I’ll likely get this wrong… Wesley goes all native on some planet where he ends up yelling at Picard to the point that, really, the dumb shit should’ve been tossed into the brig.

Talk about an embarrassment of riches…

“The Outcast” was what first came to mind for me, too, although I’m sure there are worse.

Is that the one with the Native Americans, which ends with Wesley ascending to a higher state of being? Because that one sucked.

Holy shit, did I forget a lot. Like that Wesley was supposed to be this super genius and he had an alien watching over him (who then takes Wesley away at the end of this episode), and holy hell, it sounds even dumber than I remembered.

Yup. Your link makes the episode sound more idiotic than my link. Didn’t know that was even possible - good job!

I think episodes involving the Prime Directive. I remember one where data heard a distress call from a child and, upon investigation, discovered that the planet was being destroyed through natural causes. Since the PM dictates that there be no contact with pre-warp drive civilizations, the conflict was pretty strong.

It was resolved when the Enterprise was able to reverse the process without anyone on the planet knowing it was them except the girl, and then they erased the girl’s memory of the event.

“The High Ground” was a particularly bad bit of moralizing about Northern Ireland.

I liked “The Outcast” and thought it was well done. “Journey’s End”, on the other hand, was a bad episode. They were both moralizing, but IMO one did it well and the other did not, so I’ll vote for the latter.

Oh yeah, The Outcast is particularly cruddy because horndog Riker just can’t keep it in his pants for 5 minutes while visiting another planet, tries to “rescue” Soren and then just kind of shrugs and goes back to the ship at the end of the episode. There’s something to be said about making an episode with an LGBT message but what was the message? Plus the episodic nature of TNG made it feel more pointless because there are no consequences or growth and nothing else to take to future episodes.

Another episode was Force of Nature. Driving over 55 mph, I mean going over warp 5, is bad for the environment, m’kay? And to prove it, the one scientist has to sacrifice herself to give the story a little heft. Then it was mentioned maybe once more after that and then kind of dropped. Environmental messages are fine, but this one had implications that would affect every episode after since being able to warp from one story to the next is kind of the point of the “wagon train to the stars” aspect of Trek. Not a bad message overall, but a little “bonk bonk on the head” as they say over at Mission Log.

Symbiosis. It actually was pretty good up until Tasha reminded Wesley that drugs are bad.

Definitely “Symbiosis”. Complete with Wesley’s “Gee Willikers, why are Drugs so bad?” ham handed question and Yar’s “Drugs are Bad Mmm’kay” answer.

ETA: I swear that other post wasn’t there when I started typing :slight_smile:

Well, the obvious ones have been taken, so I’ll toss out “Who Watches the Watchers”, although Jasmine mentioned “Prime Directive” episodes, of which this was one. So, I’ll go with “The Drumhead”. Maybe it doesn’t meet the OP’s premise because it’s didacticiveness (hey, I coined a word) creeps up rather than being there from the get-go. But when they get there…

Still, I must confess that I do really like the episode, especially how Worf gets sucked in by the paranoid Admiral.

“Symbiosis” is irksome because the people in that episode weren’t aware that they were addicted; they thought they were receiving medication to treat a disease, and the withdrawal symptoms were symptoms of their illness. So who was Tasha preaching to? Wesley?

I don’t think the OP was asking which episode with a moralistic point was the worst episode to watch. I think the OP was asking which episode was the most preachy. That might have been a good episode.

Episodes that come to mind: “I, Borg”, an examination of racism and ethics in war; “Chain of Command, Pt. 2”, an examination of the effectiveness of torture (a VERY prescient discussion, given the events to come in Iraq), “The Measure of a Man”, an examination of what will happen when AIs become capable of independent thought, and what it means to be “human” (not to mention a moral play on “human rights”), “Ethics”, an examination of medical ethics, etc.

I do have to say, however, that the episodes that addressed the supposed ethics of terrorism tended to be very heavy-handed. :frowning:

“Planet of the Blond Joggers” or whatever it was called.

The one where Q gives Riker superhuman powers, and it’s a “good thing” when he allows a child to die at Picard’s orders. I wanted to shoot both of them when that happened.

Many good choices, but The Outcast wins the award. Aside from the already mentioned heavy-handedness, the producers wimped out by casting a woman in the Soren role. They couldn’t even commit to their own cause.

Jonathan Frakes himself wanted Soren to be played by a man. Honestly, that episode is as much about “gay rights” as that song from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

I’m not gay, but if I was, I’d want equal rights;
I’m not gay, but if I were, I’d marry who I like…