Star Trek: The Next Generation
"The Naked Now"
Air date: 10/5/1987
Teleplay by J. Michael Bingham
Story by John D.F. Black and J. Michael Bingham
Directed by Paul Lynch
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
A deadly incident on a research vessel prompts the Enterprise to investigate why the crew went crazy and ended up accidentally killing themselves. The away team brings back a virus from the research ship which has the effect of severe alcoholic intoxication. Dr. Crusher must race to find a cure before the Enterprise becomes a victim of a similar disastrous event caused by drunken behavior.
The plot, let's face it, is a transparent excuse for the crew to act weird and play out the series' various would-be sexual-tension entanglements in comic form. Why doesn't Beverly detect the disease and quarantine Geordi from the outset? Because "our instruments don't show it!" that's why. How conveeeeenient.
It's probably a bad sign when you're cribbing from original series storylines by Episode 2 (see TOS's "The Naked Time"). Also probably a bad sign that you're playing the sexual tension games so early, before we've had time to learn who these characters are. Picard/Crusher, Riker/Troi, Data/Yar — that's two-thirds of the regular cast tied up in these games already, in Episode 2. The Data/Yar coupling I suppose is interesting, solely for the informative value: Data can get drunk and have sex.
And yet, there's a certain memorable quality to this episode, despite its campy, overplayed comedy. A fragment of a collapsed star is careening toward the ship, which can't move because some fool has pulled out all of the control chips from a console. Data must race to put them back in. Wesley, the boy wonder, has the dubious distinction of taking control of the ship and putting it in danger before then saving it, while everyone else looks on helplessly. No wonder the character is so loathed. Ron Jones scores the show as if it were an episode of TOS.
Ultimately, the show is too goofy for its own good, but it's at least not boring.