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.

Previous episode: Encounter at Farpoint
Next episode: Code of Honor

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30 comments on this review

Joe Ford
Sun, Feb 10, 2008, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
How funny is The Naked Now? This is not just bad Trek but seriously bad television. I was trying to decide which scene was funnier...
" me to not give into these wild feelings!"
"But Geordi my job is security! No, you're right...helping people is better!"


"The virus leaves you with a severe lack of judgement...and I find you very, very attractive!" (Crusher to Picard)

Just pure cheese
Wed, Oct 1, 2008, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
The Naked Now contains a glaring wording error in a specific line of dialogue. It happens when Picard and Data uncover the information about the same virus that infected Kirk's crew in the 1960's.

PICARD: Data, DOWNLOAD this information to medic immediately.

This line makes no sense. Data is working on a bridge acces panel. He should be UPLOADING data to sickbay, not the other way around.

It's not surprising that Trek's writers were still clueless how to even write regular computer terminology, let alone the more complicated technobabble.
Fri, May 7, 2010, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Yes, some of the early TNG episodes were just ripoffs of TOS stories, but I'm actually kinder to "The Naked Now" than some others because it actually ACKNOWLEDGES that it's a replay of "The Naked Time." Like Jammer said, it's never boring & the Data/Yar sex scene has become classic.
Voyager never did this with its many ripoffs, of course I guess it would've been silly to have references to past Trek series in almost every episode.
Fri, Mar 23, 2012, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Ugh...THIS is the second ep?! Not a good sign if the second ep is such a blatant ripoff of TOS. True, they acknowledged it, but still, a bad sign.

Starting off pretty good, the ep derails around the first/second act when the crew starts to go bonkers. The Data/Yar sex scene was utterly pointless and stupid, I'm sorry. Low point of the ep.

Not that the rest of the ep fared much better. The acting from most of the cast was really subpar this time around. Especially when Riker near the end says "I can't take it anymore" when his control starts to break--completely unconvincing. And don't forget Wesley saving the ship at the end singlehandedly--no wonder why they keep replacing chief engineers each week, a drunk teenager can do stuff better than they can!

I guess it's a good thing that the ep never becomes boring, and it is structured quite effectively, but the execution leaves much to be desired. The point when Crusher cures the disease comes off as anticlimactic. I wished they'd spent just a few more minutes showing her working frantically in the lab while resisting the disease. That would have improved the ep quite a bit, IMHO.

I'm going to go ahead and call this a fail. 1.5 out of 4.
Mon, Apr 9, 2012, 11:35am (UTC -5)
I'm with NCC-1701-Z.

This one is a fail.

What annoys me the most is the fact that's just the second episode proper, and they were already making fun of the series?? (and while they were at it, ripping off the original series)

It was too soon to jump in the comedy bandwagon. The same episode, played much later, would have been better (Maybe after "The Battle" or some other pseudo serious ep of Season 1).

As one of the very first eps of TNG ever, it's an epic fail.
Van Patten
Mon, Jun 18, 2012, 12:10am (UTC -5)
I can recall, at the tender age of 15, having just begun watching TNG in earnest whilst being replayed on British terrestrial TV (First episode 'Future Imperfect') eagerly heading out to the now collapsed 'Our Price' chain and picking up the First four VHS tapes of TNg. Having watched 'Encounter' and been somewhat unimpressed by its relatively cerebral nature versus the Iriginal Trek, 'The Naked Nw' was something new for me. At the time, I would have given this about 3 stars, but with the benefit ofv20 years hindsight, how does it compare now?

I'd ave to say, the review here is on the money. The episode is of course, a blatant rip off of 'The Naked Time' but it does at least acknowledge that fact! Thus is one of the more tolerable Wesley episodes, although the assistant Chief engineer and the first Chief engineer are very badly played. The dialogue is also, at times, excruciating. However, thus us Frakes' best episode for some time (probably until 'Hide and Q', and as a while the episode is at least mildly entertaining -that said, in the current era many have pointed out, TNG would've been pulled after Season 1with current TV execs pullin the strings. Who's to say, based on this and subsequent offerings, it'd have even made it to episode 25?

A 2 star episode once again. Reasonable but too many flaws to overlook.
Mike Caracappa
Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 3:29am (UTC -5)
This episode is stupid, but it's got some amusing moments. The only part that annoys me is Picards moralizing at the end. "I think we shall end up a fine crew...if we avoid temptation." What's that supposed to mean? It's not like the crew had any control over what they were doing!
Tue, Oct 23, 2012, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Yes, this is a bad episode. But decrying the fact that it's a TOS ripoff/homage is kind of dumb. The creators were clearly TRYING to get TOS fans on board by doing this. I bet the original promos mentioned something about TOS.

Now, beyond that, a lot of what's done in the episode is stupid. Data getting drunk is clearly just ridiculous. It would have made more sense to have Data man ops for the length of the episode and not involved Worf at all (at this point in the series, it wasn't odd to not have one of the secondary characters appear in an episode).

Still, I'll take this over "Code of Honor" or "Haven" any day of the week. It's campy and dumb, but at least it's somewhat entertaining.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
"The Naked Time" put thought into the characters and what happens if their ability to control themselves is put aside.

"Naked Now" turns everything into a brainless foreplayfest, and given how early in TNG's run this was, they really missed out on an opportunity to hit a home run...

1 star, mostly because of LeVar Burton's performance as the compromised Geordi is the closest thing this episode got to making use of how people feel and act without the social protocols and graces. It's the one thing the story got right. Riker getting Data down to Engineering would be the other moment... Jonathan Frakes plays it all straight, thankfully!
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
I forgot to add; the contrivances to make Data succumb to the virus were just pathetic...

And Yar seeking affection from an android? Indeed, what did Dr Soong intend when deciding to make Data anatomically correct and "fully functional"? He's not a mobile fire hydrant meant to extinguish burning buildings...
Nick P.
Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 9:14am (UTC -5)
I love this episode. 3.5 stars. I have the same opinion of this I do "genesis" from season 7. Just FUN. Stupid, campy, implausible, but ridiculous fun. I really do wish there were more fun episodes like this over the next 7 years.

I love that there was a "core?" flying at the enterprise, and a drunk data had to put the chips in something to save the day! Who cares that it is stupid.

And Jammer, Jones didn't score this like it was TOS, he scores like it is Star Wars!

I say this all the time, but I would take this innocent, bombastic fun style of season 1 episodes any day over the monotonous, boring, endless, tiring, methodical style of season 7 any day of the week.
Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
The best thing about this episode: Benjamin Lum as Shimoda playing with the control chips as if he were a toddler with toys.

The worst thing: nearly everything else.

It was important to character exposition but served little actual value otherwise.
Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 7:11am (UTC -5)
The less said about this episode, the better.

I think Wil Wheaton made a good point when he talked about "The Naked Now." We barely knew these people at this point, so were we really supposed to truly *know* that this was out of character behavior for them, or were we just told that it was so and just shrugged and went with it?
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 11:07am (UTC -5)
I liked some of the scenes in this episode, but also thought a lot of the acting was still weak.

I also don't like the fact that in order for the events of the episode to even occur, the crew has to act incompetent rather than than professionals. Their scans showed no life signs. Likely causes are 1) aliens boarded and killed crew 2) contagion 3) severe mechanical failure aboard the science vessel. The crew detected no signs of an alien, therefore 2 or 3 were pretty likely. So as such, the crew should have boarded in environmental suits. In the TOS episode, Spock and a red shirt DID wear an environmental suit, and for the Enterprise crew to not take such a simple precaution makes them look like amateurs. Two star episode, at best.
William B
Mon, Mar 18, 2013, 4:29am (UTC -5)
I think 2.5 stars is somewhat generous, but it's nice to see someone who doesn't dismiss the episode entirely. There are some good things here -- I actually enjoy some of the flirty dialogue between Picard and Crusher, which might put me in a minority. Well, not the "I have gone so long without a husband!" line, but the "Beverly."/"Jean-Luc."/"You will address me as Captain!"/"You will address me as Chief Medical Officer or Doctor."/"Oh right, I started by calling you Beverly so of course you are going to...." exchange was something of a highlight.

Still, it's a bad idea to show the crew acting "out of character" this early -- I particularly love the crew talking about how they know Geordi is acting unusually because there's nothing in his file about being sad he can't see, because they clearly have not had time to find out any of this. The gender politics of the episode are also deeply weird -- all three female characters are distracted by sex and are the pursuers of all three of those relationships, whereas the male characters are actually given individualized desires (Geordi's sight, Wesley's desire to control the ship, the assistant chief engineer's desire to play with those chip things). It is nice to see women as the sexual aggressors, though.

Probably 1.5 stars from me, though I might go up to 2.
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 5:11am (UTC -5)
Worf: I don't understand their humor, either.
Wesley: It was an adult who did it!
Those two quotes can sum up most of this episode.

Wesley I liked. He is a bright kid who for some reason (through most of season 1) is surrounded by professional adults who act very stupidly: Why would the assistant engineer leave him in charge (It was before the infection took hold of him)? Why would his mother not notice her son sweating buckets after she knew about Geordi's and Tasha's condition?

Wesley being a very smart kid made sense for him doing all the things apart from the last 'saving the day' act. That just range false. I also loved this being a carefree Wes, drunk, happy and naughty. Much more enjoyable that his anxious to please everyone demeanor in later episodes.

The other good thing besides Wesley was Data's "If you prick me would I not leak." Love the Shakespearean paraphrasing. Also, that small part foreshadows great episodes to come in the future.

Small thing: both here and on Haven, Deanna calls Riker 'Bill'. Doesn't really suit him and I'm glad they changed that.

I didn't watch the show in episode order so for me it wasn't the second episode and the first time seeing it was quite amusing. But the unsophisticated humor fades very quickly after a couple of viewings. I found myself now laughing derisively at it rather than with it.
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 11:21am (UTC -5)
2 and a half stars? Seriously? For comedy value, maybe. Or how not to write.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
I find much of seasons 1 to be pretty bad television objectively but enjoyable for all of it's silly campiness and bad acting. Tasha's scene with Geordi is one of the worst written, acted and directed in the entire series and absolutely hilarious. AND we are shown that Wesley has obsessively recorded and pieced together Picard's words so that he can pretend that he is on the bridge! I don't even have words for that.
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Oh, they clearly didn't know what they were capable of yet. This was "Next Generation," but didn't believe it yet. This was a TOS show made in the '80s, that's all.
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
I think if they were determined to give a nod this early to TOS, a better episode would have been a follow-up to "The Doomsday Machine" or "The Immunity Syndrome."

Either would have kept them off a planet and put the crew into an intense situation similar to -- but not exactly like -- what TOS crew faced.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
It's bad enough to have a "let's show the characters get drunk" episode before we get to know them, but to also have Data be affected by it was a huge mistake as well. He's an android, not a cyborg. And the explanation of how the intoxication works makes no sense whatsoever in Data's ability to get it.

That being said, their were some genuinely amusing moments in what is, at best, a pedestrian episode. Namely the classic Tasha/Data scene. The ones involving Beverly/Picard were great (more-so the ones that take place in sickbay). Also Picards numerous reactions as everything just seems to fall apart around him. And Wesley actually being utilized quite well rather than being a plot device.

Sure it's oft-campy to the point of being almost absurdly so, but as Jammer said, at least it's not boring. Nope. It sure isn't. And there's definitely worse episodes of Star Trek than this. I don't think I'd rate this as high as it's rated here, though. It's worth a peek but you won't miss out on anything if you skip it. But I did grin a little more than I cringed. That's got to count for something, right?

2 stars.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Vylora: " also have Data be affected by it was a huge mistake as well. He's an android, not a cyborg. And the explanation of how the intoxication works makes no sense whatsoever..."

DPC had the same objection earlier, but at the time nobody noticed. The series didn't establish how mechanical Data was until "Datalore." In fact, IIRC the previous episode stated that, short of a medical examination, Data was indistinguishable from organic beings. Like a Blade Runner replicant, perhaps, and therefore plausibly susceptible to illness and intoxication. If anything, the later revelation that he was full of wires & blinking lights was kinda dopey.
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 9:08am (UTC -5)
Grumpy and Vylora:

Data also stated somewhere in season 3 or 4 that he regularly eats and drinks regular meals / beverages as some sort of lubricant. Also Lore and he drink champagne in "Datalore". No word on whether he processes his food into robo-poop, though (might be included in his being "fully functional"...). Still, his biology can't be all too human, since we know from "Data's Day" that he doesn't require sleep. Which brings me to the question: What does Data run on, anyway? I don't remember ever seeing him ingesting any sort of energy source.
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 10:47am (UTC -5)
CPUFP: "What does Data run on, anyway?"

Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
i am glad gene Roddenberry didn't have as much control in later ep like he did with session 1 and 2 if he did the show wouldn't have been as good was it was. sure he came up with tos but he also had a lot of bad idea and most weren't done it seems. should say i hatted tos too btw.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 6:33am (UTC -5)
As others have noted, basically a TOS episode in disguise. And a slightly curious decision to have an out of character episode before the characters have really been established. But at least its carried off with flair and a fair degree of humour, and it rattles along at a decent pace. 2.5 stars.
Thu, Jan 21, 2016, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Tasha Yar really stands out as the most interesting character in these early episodes, shame she left.
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 12:07am (UTC -5)
Hard to imagine how this series got renewed past the first few weeks with Farpoint and this to start it off!

Oh well, Tasha had a great mid section at least :)
Thu, Mar 17, 2016, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, being very young when I saw it, and I still do. I personally think I was distracted by how much I was face palming and laughing through out the episode to see it's faults. I like Data' reaction to the virus. He has this sort of swagger that makes him seem on the verge on stupid and sassy, and it's incredibly funny. I honestly don't like Tasha all that much, but this did give me a (sort of?) positive light. The sex scene with her and Data raised my eyebrows with this line:

"And what I want now is gentleness. And joy. And love. From you, Data."
Not the best choice, honey. Love the reply, but it made it even more eyebrow-worthy:
"I am programmed in multiple techniques, a broad variety of pleasuring."

Oh dear.
Thu, Mar 17, 2016, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Although it does make him sound like a prostitute. (Is that even possible for him?)

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