Star Trek: The Next Generation


1 star

Air date: 3/21/1994
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by Gates McFadden

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

There's a saying in screenwriting that goes something like, "There are no bad plots, only bad executions." I beg to differ. "Genesis" is a bad plot. It's also a bad execution, but I hold that nothing could have saved a story so fundamentally flawed.

Of course, that all depends on what you can abide in your definition of Star Trek as science fiction. I can abide plenty of impossible Trekkian staples, like warp speed, time travel, or the transporter. What I cannot abide is Fun With DNA™ when it goes as far as "Genesis" does (or the even more unwatchable "Threshold" on Voyager, to which "Genesis" seems to have served as Brannon Braga's warm-up act). "Genesis" tells the story of how the entire crew is inflicted with a condition that starts rewriting their DNA and "de-evolving" them into more primitive forms of life. Riker becomes a Neanderthal. Barclay becomes some sortuva spider/humanoid thingy. Troi grows gills and turns into a half-woman, half-amphibian. Worf turns into a violent monster that terrorizes the ship. And so on.

The thing about Fun With DNA is that it can do anything the plot wants, so nothing that happens means anything, because it can all be undone with the wave of a hand: You don't need to see his identification. The concept of "de-evolving" (was the word "devolving" deemed too far over the audience's head?) is so silly that I rejected it outright. But then the way everything is fixed with a magical potion just makes you want to wash your hands of the entire episode, since clearly the writers were happy to do the same. In any plausible notion of this story, the changes to your DNA should simply kill you. In "Genesis" it allows the writers to explore their inner monster movie. A bad monster movie.

The first act, when the crew starts to go nuts, is actually kind of entertaining in its zaniness. Everyone starts acting strangely and bouncing off the walls. Riker turns suddenly stupid. Troi takes a bath with her clothes on. Barclay is weird — okay, weirder than usual. Worf is non-communicative and aggressive, and then sprays Crusher in the face with venom, which is actually kind of amusingly horrifying as she goes thrashing about excessively.

Picard and Data, who were away when this happened, return to find the ship is now a funhouse of mutations. This is where things turn tedious, as we find out who has changed into what and then must figure out a way to magically reverse the effects. (Naturally, there's no shortage of technobabble.) Picard, now being exposed, finds he too is "de-evolving," which for him has the initial side effect of making him a coward, which is admittedly sort of fun to see Patrick Stewart play. Meanwhile, Spot has transformed into a lizard. Why a lizard? Probably because it was easy to get a lizard and film it, and then claim it was Spot.

So, yes, this is obviously terrible. Much of the action centers on the fact that Worf is now a monster who believes Troi is his mate (hey, it's another example of Worf/Troi Will They or Won't They as filtered through unreal sci-fi machinations!) and then goes chasing Picard through the corridors after being lured away from doing unspeakable things to the helpless Troi-fish. Ah, the ignominy of being Klingon Guy Worf: When you get your DNA mutation episode, you're the first choice for the monster who eats the town.

When looking at the stretch of episodes from "Homeward" through "Genesis" ("Lower Decks" aside, of course), it's not hard to make a case for this cumulatively being the nadir of TNG. Granted, I'd rather watch this than season one, because the characters and production are more honed. But season seven should know better.

Previous episode: Eye of the Beholder
Next episode: Journey's End

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161 comments on this post

Ian Whitcombe
Tue, Dec 4, 2012, 10:20pm (UTC -6)
I must note that you gave this episode an approx. 2.5 star rating on SOS (somewhere between 5.5 - 6.5), I would have loved to have read that review, but certainly the one-star rating shows that you have come to your senses.
Tue, Dec 4, 2012, 11:21pm (UTC -6)
No Stars, for me. Worse than "Shades of Grey" by a country mile.

While "Shades of Grey" can be partially excused because of the Writer's Strike during the time of season 2, what's the excuse here? The plot is something a 12 year old would cook up. ("And the crew of the Enterprise, like, turned into monsters and it was totally cool!")

In "Identity Crisis", the transformation into another species (and back) is treated with some dramatic gravity. While as you point out is scientifically preposterous, there's verisimilitude at work here, because in the end, we see a tired still partially mutated, Geordi recovering in sickbay after a close call of completely losing his human identity.

In contrast, we have Troi and Dr. Crusher (who's face is perfectly fine from the venom!) yukking it up about Mr. Barclay. Never mind, the horrors that have been going on on the ship with people being killed (like the dead crewman found on the bridge). EVERYTHING'S BACK TO NORMAL. Dr. Crusher doesn't even stop to reflect that it was her screw-up that caused the whole situation. But, when you're the director of the episode, you can gloss over a few things!
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 12:03am (UTC -6)
"Genesis" is a guilty pleasure of mine. I recognize that it's terrible on all sorts of levels but I watched it for the first time in years about a month ago and was wildly entertained. It's certainly far more watchable than "Threshold", which used a similar concept.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 12:57am (UTC -6)
I loved this episode when it aired and I was 8 years old. Not so much as an adult. Though I always have a soft spot for disaster type scenarios where the ship is eerily abanoned with random mayhem abound.
Latex Zebra
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 3:43am (UTC -6)
Dimitris Kiminas
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 5:33am (UTC -6)
Whot? Only one star? This groundbreaking episode can be de-evolved as follows:

One Million Years BC (alas, without Raquel Welch) meets Aliens, with a touch of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Little Mermaid thrown in for added immersion! :)
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 8:40am (UTC -6)
Jammer, why does the reset button bother you here but not in "Eye of the Beholder"?

Otherwise, I agree. This was just a terrible, off-the-rails episode. When Trek goes with a goofy sci-fi idea, it usually is at least consistent within itself in that episode. But the random ways in which the crew "de-evolves" is just so dumb. Why is Riker a Neanderthal and Barclay a spider?

As for season 7 versus season 1 ...

Sure, the production qualities were much better in 1994 than they were in 1987. Sure, Wesley is largely absent from season 7. Sure, TNG doesn't feel like bad TOS in season 7. Actually, it feels like bad Voyager!

Season 1 at least had some freshness to it. Season 7 is so slow and pondering (outside of Parallels, the Pegasus, Preemptive Strike, Lower Decks and the finale). And it's equally ridiculous at its low points. Is 'Genesis' worse than 'Code of Honor'? Is 'The Last Outpost' less inspired than 'Thine Own Self'?

I think I'd take season 1 over season 7. In addition to the freshness of the new characters I feel like by 1993, Berman/Braga et. al should have known better than to put out drek like "Genesis."
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
I do hate episodes with the reset button. This was 2.5 stars.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
@Paul: I think the issue with the reset button here is that all the characters act and feel perfectly normal after having starring roles in a very bad horror movie. In "Eye", at least "it was all a dream" so if nothing had any consequence, it makes sense internally. Not so much here. To take another example, "The Inner Light" was all a "dream" for Picard alone, but the impact stands.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 4:21pm (UTC -6)
@Josh: Sure, that makes sense. I just hate the reset button pretty much universally.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 5:29pm (UTC -6)
This is a guilty pleasure of mine. The plot is ridiculous but I enjoyed the devolving none-the-less and the worf monster.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
@Paul, there are definitely degrees of "reset button." "Eye of the Beholder" was more or less plausible, since it all took place in Troi's mind. But "Genesis" is so far beyond suspension of disbelief that I just can't do it. It's not even close. The storyline is so beyond belief that I have no choice but to declare it BS. The final scene basically mocks the very notion that any of the preceding 44 minutes happened.
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Dr. Crusher was dispatched from the action decisively...and melodramatically (with a hilarity chaser) so she could free to direct the bulk of the episode.

The reset button doesn't bother me nearly as much as the umpteenth iteration of some variation of "fortunately someone(s) was offship (or immune, or exempted) so they could save us", i. e. "Timescape", "Macrocosm", "Workforce", "The Game", "Civil Defense", "Children Of Time", "One", "Bliss", "Killing Game", "Clues", "Doctors Orders", etc.
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
I always crack up at Worf's "caviar...for lunch?!?" comment.
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
Whenever I see this episode, I alternate between wanting to yell "that's not how DNA works!" at the TV screen, and actually enjoying the silliness of it all.
Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Yes, it's bad--but at least it's funny. Riker being stupid always cracks me up, and the Worfmonster actually scares me. And Beverly gets sprayed in the face--oh joy!
John the younger
Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 9:44am (UTC -6)
I agree that funny-bad is better than dull-bad.

So I'd give this 1-star instead of zero.
Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 4:50am (UTC -6)
The script is completely and utterly awful, but I like McFadden's direction and the cinematography a lot. This one has nice ambiance, which of course can't redeem such a fundamentally flawed concept.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012, 2:23am (UTC -6)
What scares me most about this episode is that it actually got made. The pitch was made, the story outline was submitted and approved, the script was written, the make-up guys worked over the holidays, the episode was shot, edited, and aired.

If all that can happen, well we are all doomed.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 9:30am (UTC -6)
Will we get the last TNG reviews before midnight tonight?

Can Jammer do it?

Tue, Jan 1, 2013, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
"Meanwhile, Spot has transformed into a lizard. Why a lizard? Probably because it was easy to get a lizard and film it, and then claim it was Spot."

Best line of the review. That is all.
Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 12:35am (UTC -6)
What if no pregnant humanoids were on-board the Enterprise? End of the show?
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
@ Ken...

For that matter, (and a much more often abused plot gimmick), what if no one was conveniently offship to come back and save the rest of the crew?
Thu, Mar 7, 2013, 7:38am (UTC -6)
Any chance we'll ever get those last six episodes?
Fri, Mar 8, 2013, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
C'mon jammer! U can do it! Been viewing your site for almost 10years and I always come back. I won't ever give up on you!
Fri, Mar 8, 2013, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Yes, I will complete the reviews. Please venture over to my blog ( for details on my hiatus.
Sun, Mar 10, 2013, 5:25am (UTC -6)
So, you'll take care of thing??
Wed, Mar 13, 2013, 10:31pm (UTC -6)
"Genesis" allowed is not -- is episode forbidden!
Fri, May 17, 2013, 3:59am (UTC -6)
"Riker turns suddenly stupid"

7 seasons does not constitute "sudden" or "turning" :)

Sorry, cheap shot.

TNG season 7 had some really cringe-worthy weird stuff, you wondered sometimes if the writers just completely lost the plot, were on drugs, or just deciding "it's the last season, let's just be silly". The correctly-rated Sub Rosa and Masks come to mind for sure. And Phantasms, which I guess is a matter of taste, but I just found the whole thing creepy and weird.

At least the finale was good :)
Sat, Aug 3, 2013, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
Did anyone else notice cromagnon Riker flipping off Picard and Data when dragging his hand down the fish bowl in the Picard's office? Lol
Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 11:45am (UTC -6)
Jammer: "The first act, when the crew starts to go nuts, is actually kind of entertaining in its zaniness. Everyone starts acting strangely and bouncing off the walls ... Worf is non-communicative and aggressive..."

So how is that any different from his normal self? :p
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 8:02am (UTC -6)
Where was Alexander during all this?

I know, of all the plot holes to point out, I picked that one :)
William B
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 1:23am (UTC -6)
This and "Masks" (and "Sub Rosa") are so out-there that I'm not even sure if these really are TNG episodes in a meaningful sense. You know, "The Game" in season five is an episode that I like in spite of myself, because I find the Wesley/Robin romance charming and some of the material exciting, but it relies on a plot premise that makes the entire ship look ludicrously unsafe and makes everyone (besides Wesley and Robin and maybe Data) look incompetent and stupid. "Rascals" I don't like all that much, but it is an episode that plays better when you drop the pretense that anything in that episode is supposed to make plot sense. "Sub Rosa" is pretty godawful in every way, because the story is supposed to be about Beverly in some way, but with "Masks" and "Genesis," I almost feel as if the episodes are in their own pocket universes. "Masks" follows Joe Menosky's obsession with archetypes to a bitter, illogical end. And "Genesis," which seems inspired by David Cronenberg's "The Fly," is actually a little similar. On display is Braga's obsession with the tenuous hold people have on their own identities and the way people have impulses that they can't entirely control or understand, which can overwhelm them entirely (see also "The Game," or "Identity Crisis," or "Phantasms," as well as classics like "Frame of Mind" and "Projections").

Put aside the "scientific" explanation here. What is happening? The crew is "de-evolving" (ick). But the way they are devolving is only ostensibly along species lines. The characters devolve in ways that fit the individual characters. And maybe this episode is best understood as characters devolving into their archetypes in purest form. Picard, Riker, Deanna, Worf and Barclay are fairly complex individuals. But in this episode we see them move into a state that reflects a single element of their character in purest form. Only Picard, because he's the hero of the story and because he comes in late, is able to fend it off. In TV-Tropes terms, this episode is an exercise in "Flanderization," in which a single trait of the character becomes totally overwhelming to all other traits; but I think it can also be read a) as a commentary on the prototypical versions of these character types in their most primitive form (from a fictional writing standpoint), and b) as, I guess, a way of showing the danger when a core trait of some of the characters takes over and becomes dominant.

- Riker is one of the least scientifically/intellectually-minded characters in the cast (a bit above Troi and Worf, but below Picard, Data, Beverly and Geordi). He's ruled sometimes by his passions rather than his intellect. He is the guy who, when making time with a pretty girl, rolls over onto a cactus. This is *before* a virus makes him artificially stupid. So Riker is a combination of many traits, but there is a little frat boy in him, which devolves back to the standard dumb-jock trope, which continues devolving to basically Fred Flintstone, which devolves back to total caveman.

- Deanna is very emotion-driven already, sensual and highly pain-conscious, hyperaware of her surroundings. And pretty fussy. I feel like there is something of a fussy blue-blooded aesthete in who Troi turns into -- caviar for lunch, belief that she should change her surroundings entirely for her comfort and no one else's -- but I think the character type is something a little different, but which I can't quite identify. I think I know: it's something like The Princess and the Pea, a royal whose sensitivity comes across in their total inability to be comfortable in their less-than-ideal surroundings. In story, she turns into a cold-blooded creature whose body temperature cannot be kept high without changing their entire environment.

- Barclay is a very nervous guy who is also a hard worker, once he gets his mind set on something. So he becomes a hyperactive panicky spider. Why a spider? Uh. Well, I do see how there is something buglike about the rapidity of his movements.

- Worf, the character, is at least a little alien, representing the integration of a dangerous, even animal, maybe even monstrous presence into a human(oid) person. He is wild, and some of the genealogy of Worf's conception actually includes monsters that have a tiny bit of humanity. Since he becomes a Klingon animal of some sort, there isn't even any need to or attempt to identify him with a human animal; he is entirely a monster of the imagination. The way the plot works out -- Worf is a ferocious monster who is eventually lured and defeated by his love of a woman -- has the rough contours of King Kong/Beauty and the Beast type stories, and I think he's that specific kind of monster here.

- Last but not least, Picard. Picard, we know, is an intellectual, and seeks peaceful resolutions to conflicts. He is mind-over-matter. The full, three-dimensional Picard combines this intellectual side with an indomitable will and physical strength & resourcefulness. But Picard turning into a coward makes me think back to the Picard who kept surrendering in season one, and how that might be viewed. His devolution turns him into a nervous, meek nerd, who is sure someone is going to come steal his lunch money any minute. Hence a lemur -- an early primate who, as Data says, was preyed upon constantly. And so this early primate, using Data's interpretation, was smart but weak. Picard is the hero of the episode because he overcomes the limitations of his character type by bringing forth aspects of his actual character -- he is turned into a coward, but he somehow finds a way to build up the courage to face down the monster.

Notably, Geordi is kind of an everyman and so it's not really as easy to take core out-of-the-ordinary traits of his and blow them up, because he is not all that out of the ordinary. (They didn't even try to have Geordi act unusual in the first few acts of the episode, when he had several scenes playing opposite Barclay and Riker.) Presumably one could find a way, if one were so inclined. Beverly's being taken out of the picture is because of Gates McFadden's direction.

So, what is the point of all this? Well, um.... Generously, one could say that with the show coming to a close there is some interest in breaking the characters down into some of the influences on them, perhaps to give us a better idea to recognize both what they bring to the show (Riker's simple pleasures, Worf's ferocity, Troi's sensitivity, Picard's intellectualism) and how they, as real three-dimensional characters, are nowhere near the devolved versions. Ungenerously, one could say there is no point, and that while it may be fun to see Riker become Homer Simpson for a little while, it turns out not to be enough fun to justify putting forth a story that makes no sense and is not sufficiently entertaining to justify its excesses. I lean more toward the latter, but hey, I had fun writing this, so that at least is worth something. Probably if I had to give it a rating as a TNG episode in continuity with the series, I'd go with Jammer's -- 1 star, yeah, mostly for the mild entertainment of the first act or two where people start acting strangely before the story (yep) devolves into total nonsense. If I were to evaluate it as a different kind of show, about character archetypes, more commentary on the series than an episode in its own right, I might look on it a little more kindly, though probably only a little.
William B
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Actually, watching this ep made me decide to revisit David Cronenberg's "The Fly" to see the story done (more or less) right. The science is still junk, but it's different, I think, to accept junk science as the premise in a story that takes place in its own world, rather than in a story (Trek) which has fairly established rules. And it follows the story through to its more natural conclusion. Anyway, I am pretty convinced that Barclay's transformation is an allusion to Seth Brundle's into a fly-man, since the transformation similarly involves the transformation into a hyperactive and eventually malevolent creature. Gates McFadden is not Cronenberg, though it's hard to imagine how someone could be in their directorial debut on a one-week schedule and with a weak script.
Sun, Nov 24, 2013, 6:29am (UTC -6)
Season 7 of TNG feels very much like a blueprint for Voyager's entire run. Self-contained stories, ridiculously bad science, minor character based episodes that really go nowhere.
Mon, Dec 2, 2013, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
For some reason I find Riker's grumpy eye-rolling reaction to Worf's torpedo masturbating at the beginning to be hilarious. Guilty pleasure episode.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
"Hey Worf, you appear to have a venom sac. Open your mouth while I stand in front of you. Say ahhh...arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" lol
Someone found an old stash of lsd and the writers had a blast.
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 10:40am (UTC -6)
William B, I think you have given this episode far more thought then it deserves, probably more thought than Braga gave himself. I believe his only intention in writing this was to make a B-movie creature feature in a TNG setting. So we get 40 minutes of lame setup followed by 5 minutes of lame monster chase through the corridors. Even if you disregard the scientific aspect, it makes no sense from a character perspective either - if something like this COULD happen to you, it would no doubt be a very traumatizing experience.
William B
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 12:17pm (UTC -6)
@Nic, believe me, I agree on the episode's quality. Ultimately, sometimes it's fun for me to see if there is something else I can make out of trash. I suspect that there is something of what I mentioned going on in Braga's thought process somewhere on some level -- the choices of which "animals" each main character become do seem to have something to do with who they are -- but I don't think there's any evidence he thought it through in any coherent way. Theorizing on one way to salvage something from the episode is just for "fun" (quotes because I acknowledge that my sense of fun is not necessarily universal).
Sun, Feb 9, 2014, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Well. Masks, Sub Rosa and Genesis - could it get any worse?? What were they thinking? I hope I've made it through the really terrible episodes of TNG season 7 by now.

I'd hate to think what someone new to Trek would think of it if their introduction to it was any of those three episodes. At least Spock's brain has the excuse of being made in the 1960s. But this is 1990s TV?? Doesn't look like it. Terrible.
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 8:14am (UTC -6)
Fun episode with a creative premise. Originally Braga was going to turn the entire crew into Barclay's (that would have been epic!). Worf was the star of the show and from his table-side manners with Troi, to his lost torpedo to his primeval Klingon form, he was terrific. I much prefer this klingon to his typical domesticated self. Not exactly a top tier episode but a good one with good energy, pacing and creativity.

As for the reset button complaint...I don't think this is valid. Trek is about abstraction and if you lose the ability to reset, you have to take the abstractions literally and they cease to be abstractions. You then significantly narrow the canvas by which you can tell stories and things would become much more boring, simple and slow if TNG were a literal show. You would morph it from a science fiction show to a space soap opera about petty character squabbles.
Fri, Mar 21, 2014, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
You know what would have made this episode better? It would have been better if the virus caused the entire crew to transform into the band "Genesis"... that is, Genesis after Peter Gabriel left...

THAT's how bad this episode is...
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
This episode sums up some of the morons that write for Trek... imagine making an episode where you completely throw out the laws of biology and physics, and rationality. Just so you can have a monster story.

And who thought that would be a good idea? Who allowed it?
Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 2:48am (UTC -6)
Disagreeing with the general consensus, I must say that I liked this episode. Yes, it was completely implausible from a plot standpoint (yeah, sudden mutations to the DNA would have killed everyone), but I tend to give episodes with way-out-there plots the benefit of the doubt as long as they are entertaining (i.e. don't involve characters turning into lizards and making lizard babies). Doctor Who has done crazier things than "Genesis" did. And I kind of enjoyed the technobabble this time. (Granted, my major is in bioengineering so DNA/genetics stuff is like second nature to me.)

All in all, it was fun to watch. It felt like a throwback to "Cure-The-Disease" style TOS episodes. I enjoyed the heck out of watching the transformations progress, especially Riker's - I found that one the funniest. I could tell the actors must have had a lot of fun playing their "transformed" roles. Would have liked to see Crusher's transformation - maybe an Irish Setter?
Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 9:48am (UTC -6)
am i the only one that liked this episode?
Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 9:33am (UTC -6)
Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 11:57pm (UTC -6)
Oh, I think everyone is crazy. This is a really good episode. Maybe I'm just overcome by nostalgia, but I find it funny and interesting and one of the better episodes of season 7.

I think the de-evolving/devolving criticism is silly. Devolve is nowadays primarily used to mean something else - so if they used devolve they'd have to put in a sentence explaining what they were talking about.
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 7:25am (UTC -6)
For an atheist, Brannon Braga has a very poor understanding of evolution.
Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the people who recognize this episode for the guilty pleasure it is. Everything about it is patently ludicrous, but it's hard for me not to like an episode where Data tells Picard that he's eventually going to turn into a pygmy marmoset. I wonder how the hell Brent Spiner was able to keep a straight face with that one. This episode is a B-quality monster movie set on the Enterprise, and taken at that level it's fun.
Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
*Raises hand* Count me in as part of the guilty pleasure crowd. Actually, the B-horror movie part of the episode was rather boring, but the first half, with the crew slowly turning into the animals, was pretty fun. Watching the actors playing around with their new characterizations was worth the horrible science and nonsensical chase scenes. Seriously, who doesn't love to see Riker's stupidity skyrocket? That was great! And Michael Dorn got to go above and beyond his usual Worf-ness. While Troi's manifestation didn't offer much fun, it was still enjoyable seeing her playing off of Worf in 10-Forward. And there were even some minor touches too, like Ogawa getting up from the conference table by leaning on it with her knuckles...

But Dwight Schultz as the manic, frantic Spider-Barclay took the cellular peptide cake. The way he was leaning over everyone, contorting himself into odd poses, and rushing to and fro was just completely awesome. He stole every scene he was in.

Another nice scene I liked was Data and Barclay in Data's quarters. I think this is the first time we saw the two of them alone (wasn't Picard always there in Ship in a Bottle?). And, in a pleasant surprise, Barclay was not his usual stuttering, anxious self. Which makes some sense. This is yet another testament to one of Data's key personality traits: his perpetual, unfailing politeness and patience. We've seen it melt the iciness of other characters, including Pulaski and the crazy Dr from Silicon Avatar. And so it makes sense that Barclay would be at ease with Data. His anxiety is caused by the fear of what other people think about him, and fear of embarrassment regarding something he would say. But Data is never impatient or insulting or insensitive to another's feelings. So naturally Barclay would be ok with him. It's somewhat surprising that Barclay hadn't sought him out earlier. Although, then again, not seeking people out is a trademark of his type of anxiety.

Of course, Barclay's ease with Data only works when the two of them are alone. Data may be unfailingly polite, but he also has a tendency to say the wrong thing. And with everyone else around, that could cause serious embarrassment for Barclay. So even though the two were in the same scenes before, its ok that we never see this side of Barclay before.

But besides the obvious problems with the episode, I did want to point out a few other silly parts.

- Why was Alyssa Ogawa delivering the medical report to the senior staff? She's just a nurse. What happened to the perpetually off-screen Dr. Selar? I would imagine if Crusher is incapacitated, then Selar would be in charge. Oh well...

- Why did Picard and Data bother to bring Troi to sickbay?

- How many crewmembers died during this event? We know at least one did. And no one seemed to care afterwards...
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
Good grief, people, stop taking episodes like this so damn seriously! The plot was a bit ludicrous, I agree, but it was a rather entertaining episode. I really don't care how DNA works, it's not like transporters will ever be a viable technology, so give it rest already... 2.5 stars
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
What you are asking me and others to do, Shannon, is shut off our brains and accept bad writing. Criticizing people for having higher standards is plain stupid. And no, I won't stop "taking it so damn seriously". Doing that means we are in for more lamely written episodes.

Some of us want more than that, even if you don't.
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 9:14am (UTC -6)
This episode is hilarious, suspenseful, and awesome. Love it. Guilty pleasure for sure. I'm cool with having bad writing in a few episode if it means we get fun stuff with the TNG cast such as episodes like Genesis and Masks. There are 7 seasons of serious episodes, a few fun ones is a nice change.
Dave in NC
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 9:42am (UTC -6)
Every problem people have with this episode could have been resolved by saying they were genetic MUTATIONS, not evolutionary throwbacks. It's a lot easier to enjoy if you just pretend that's the actual plot.

Oh, and Gates McFadden did a GREAT job directing this episode. Lots of interesting camera angles and the atmospheric mood of dread is well-developed.

My only complaint is the Barclay spider surprise in Engineering has gotten me single every time. :)

*** 3 stars
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, I have to disagree that warp drive is an "impossible" Star Trek staple. I believe the mathematics of warp travel have already been worked out. Yes, we're far from the technology to develop an actual warp drive propulsion system, but it's theoretically possible in the future. I would hazard to say that if you could travel back to the early 18th-century and show them a lot of our everyday technology, they'd be equally dumbfounded as we are by warp drive and transporters. (I'll grant you the time travel skepticism, though.)

Star Trek is fundamentally a show about SCIENCE. Science fiction is by definition fiction that builds upon science or at least speculations about future science. In that, it is fundamentally different from fantasy. This episode was almost pure fantasy, unfortunately.

I can't help wondering if this episode was the one that gave birth to the internet meme of Picard's face palm. I'm sure that Stewart (and most of the rest of the cast) must have face palmed when he read this script. How this script ever got approved is beyond me, unless the show was suddenly re-targeted for kindergarten-aged audiences. Watching it felt like I watching a bad episode of Scooby-Doo, except at least that show had the sense to show how seemingly supernatural occurrences were pulled off with costumes and hidden projectors. Here, we find out it's all pulled off by DNA. (And the DNA virus would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for that meddling Data.)

So Riker devolves into an early hominid...OK. So what is the DNA-based explanation for a cat being descended from an iguana? And why is Lt. Barclay, who has previously been established as a human from Earth, descended from a spider-like creature? Also, it is beyond ridiculous when Data tells Picard he can expect to devolve into something like a lemur or a pygmy marmoset. First, those two are not all that alike. Second, both are a lot smaller than a human, which would necessitate the the law of conversation of mass to be violated if Picard were to shrink down to the size of a creature only a fraction of his current size. What is Data's reasoning for Picard, who was exposed to the virus much later than Riker, to evolve to an earlier stage of evolution that Riker? Finally, given how utterly bizarre the other transformations, how does Data know Picard's devolution won't have him end up resembling a parakeet or a pterodactyl?

It is always sad when a beloved show "jumps the shark" and is run into the ground by its writers and producers.
Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Good lord, I came here after talking to a friend about the worst Trek episodes and looking what this one was called. We were *both* dead sure that this was a Season One episode. I mean, come on!!!
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
As someone mentioned above, it's hard to believe that there wasn't considerable loss of life from this, particularly among the Enterprise's children.
Tue, Sep 29, 2015, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
this a great episode fun to watch well directed !! I enjoy watching it the suspense is interesting. I am surprised by the hate for this.
Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 11:05am (UTC -6)
It's interesting how changes in real modern science contradict the future scientists of the 24th century. In the teaser Crusher mentions that Barkley has 100,000 genes, whereas today it's only thought that humans only have around 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

The main criticism appears to be the implausibility of this episode. However, Science fiction should still be treated and regarded as fiction. How many episodes are resolved with the deus ex machina known as technobabble? The Star Trek setting allows for alien species to interbreed with each other, which is equally as absurd as the premise of this episode. To criticize this episode for its absurd premise misses the point.

All that said, this was pretty boring to watch. It felt like 40 minutes of set up for a 3 minute chase sequence.
Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
I love this episode; I'm watching it now. It's hilarious. Love it when Troi leaves the bridge to go take a bath and turn into a frog. Love it when Caveman Riker gives Picard the finger. Love Spot the iguana.
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
So "Genesis"....

Well, the writing is bad. The science is abysmal (you know it has to be awful when I, the non-science guy - the one who is more forgiving than most of bad science, am pointing that out). The use of Worf as the monster-of-the-week is pathetically cliched. The ease and speed with which Data solves the problem is ludicrous. The fact that the entire incident is basically hand-waved away at the end sets the stage for numerous VOY episodes. But, despite all that (and it's a lot!) I'll be damned if "Genesis" doesn't have a certain charm.

So, count this as another guilty pleasure of mine. However, unlike "Masks", which I straight up legitimately enjoy, this one more closely fits the bill as a "guilty pleasure". I can admit that it makes next to no sense either story- or character-wise. The science is laughable even for me (especially since we get yet another Trek episode that fundamentally fails to understand the concept of evolution - it doesn't happen within individuals, people!). But, this episode is firmly (with a few exceptions) in the "so-bad-it's-good" category for me. I guess that makes it my "Spock's Brain" of TNG.

I guess it all boils to down to what Jammer says - it "all depends on what you can abide in your definition of Star Trek as science fiction." Well, I can abide a lot because (I've said this before and I'll say it again) I don't watch Trek for a science lesson. I watch Trek to be entertained. And "Genesis" manages to do that despite all of its dreck, though in undoubtedly unintentional ways.

Let's compare this with VOY: "Threshold", since Jammer himself made the comparison. "Genesis" is nowhere near as bad as "Threshold". While I'm not a stickler for scientific accuracy, there are some episodes that cross the line into unforgivable territory for me. "Threshold" is one such episode. ("Elogium", with its totally nonsensical Ocampan mating cycle nonsense, is another.) However, even when the science is that bad (and make no mistake - I am saying that "Genesis" falls into that category), I'm still willing to forgive if the episode has other enjoyable elements. While the only, I repeat - the only, thing that "Threshold" had even remotely going for it was Robert Duncan McNeill acting his heart out, "Genesis" does have some redeeming aspects. The "so-bad-it's-good" campiness being one and the others being the rather enjoyable atmosphere and Patrick Stewart's performance.

Most people here seem to be of the opinion that the lead-up to Picard and Data's return, where the crew slowly goes crazy, is the enjoyable part while the B-movie set-up afterwards is tedious. Count me a the reverse of that. The lead-up was rather tedious, but once Picard and Data return to the ship I found the B-movie elements (with the two walking around dark corridors, stumbling across the mutants, the general feeling of unease, etc.) pleasant enough for what they were. And Patrick Stewart, unlike McNeill in "Threshold" does manage to elevate the nonsense somewhat. McNeill failed but God bless the man, he gave it his all! Stewart playing a coward is, as Jammer points out, an enjoyable thing to watch even if it makes no sense in the grander scheme of things.

Ugh, I'm all of the map with this one. Suffice it to say, "Genesis" has it's absolutely dreadful elements but it also has some surprising enjoyable ones. So, while I'm probably going to leave a lot of people scratching their heads again, just like I did with "Masks", I can't justify giving this a score lower than....

Fri, Oct 30, 2015, 10:12am (UTC -6)
Yay! I have kindred spirits who have this episode as a guilty pleasure too :P
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 7, 2015, 5:22am (UTC -6)
TNG does body horror, who'd ever thought you'd see that? Count me among those who don't hate it. Remarkably the plot itself maintains an internal consistency, and it's never boring. There are a couple of genuine shocks - Crusher being sprayed with venom being a spectacular highlight - and the slightly disappointing fact we never see Picard entirely de-evolve into a lemur. But his heightened fear is a nice characterisation.

On the down side the plot overall is, as I have seen it described elsewhere, "dumber than a box of hammers". But as a high concept piece at least it's fun - unlike, say, "Masks". And, whatever else you might think about this episode, you have to say that the make-up department excel themselves. 2.5 stars.
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 7:21pm (UTC -6)
I saw this episode when it first aired in the 90s and promptly promised I would never watch it again. To this day I have kept that promise. It's too horrible to watch even for laughs. There's nothing funny about an episode that so insults a loyal audience with such a pointless story.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
Every time they said "de-evolve" I cringed. Writers should have a far better command of language than that.
Greg Q
Wed, Apr 6, 2016, 1:52am (UTC -6)
I'd like to set the reset button to a time when I never saw this episode.
Greg Q
Thu, Apr 7, 2016, 12:41am (UTC -6)
"Star Trek is fundamentally a show about science,"
I have to disagree. Star Trek is an outer-space adventure show that creates new and frequently preposterous science to propel its stories and develop its characters and plot lines, very rarely does it introduce any original scientific material or ideas. Not to say it's never original and/or successful in its execution of the stories themselves, if it weren't I wouldn't be such a fan. To say it's a show about science is like saying The Walking Dead is a show about viruses.
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
I thoroughly enjoy this episode. Thanks to these reviews, I have some adulthood clarity to refine my criticism, so I agree with what Jammer et. al. have said, especially how this was Voyager's blueprint season (thanks to Braga, that ass-clown).

But the TNG characters are so much better than in VOY! So with a silly episode like this, it feels earned. I suppose that makes it a mere guilty pleasure, but I'm still laughing at the fun moments watching it today, like lizard-Spot's pink collar! Adorable. And how Picard flips out when Arachinald Barclay jumps at him, the same exact way I freaked that time a cockroach flew at me. Hilarious!

Three cheers for totally impractical palm-held flashlights! Hey Starfleet, the 20th century called; they said, "Use handles, dummies!"

It occurs to me that the "1,011 life forms" aboard have nothing to eat and probably no replicator skills anymore. What happens when you let a thousand zoo animals mingle? — How many crewmen did Worf eat alone?

And speaking of eating: sorry, kittens, no milk from Spotted Liz means rapid dying.

But, those are the only two problems I have with this episode, haha.
Fri, May 6, 2016, 11:51am (UTC -6)
The only possible explanation I can come up with, for why Barclay turned into a half spider is that somewhere down the family tree one of his ancestors was some kind of Spider alien. Otherwise I really liked this episode.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 1:28am (UTC -6)
Me watching and thinking "Monty Python could do this right" is never a good sign. And that's what I thought the first time I saw this one. That or "I bet if I had finished a couple of doobies this would make sense."
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
Even if you accept the premise at face value, I have trouble understanding why - if what's happening is a sort of rapid evolution in reverse - any of the human crew would devolve into anything *but* some sort of apelike primate. I can give them some leeway with Troi and Worf, in that I don't think we've ever been told much about how Betazoids and Klingons evolved, but Barclay becoming a spider and Spot a lizard? That's absurd pseudoscience even by the standards of absurd pseudoscience.
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 1:06am (UTC -6)
Flying Squirrel I agree with you about the nonsensicalness of having different humans de-evolve (which is a better usage than devolve because that word has come to represent situations in modern vernacular, not the opposite of evolve) into different species that have no correlation with their own.

But I have to say, this episode always entertained me because it didn't try to take itself too seriously. Clearly it was a polarizing episode among us fanboys because of the lack of even feasible science, but it was damn fun. Masks was when the show jumped the shark, but I think it came back down to just plain fun in this one. And yes, it's fundamentally better than "Threshold's" finale.

Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 1:13am (UTC -6)
Also the teaser where Data refers to his being an expectant parent as analogous to human parents expecting theirs is adorable!
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
I actually watched the first half of this on Netflix out of curiosity after the discussion here. At some point Data says something to the effect that people have excess or unused DNA that accounts for why they turn into species that aren't part of human evolutionary history. Obviously the whole "fun with DNA" concept is silly in the first place, but I don't know enough to say whether Data's explanation makes sense in context or not.

I don't disagree that the episode is OK as just goofy fun, though a few parts aside from the bogus science seemed especially sloppy:

1) Data commenting that Troi is "no longer human" - but she's only half-human in the first place, and Data of all crew members should not make a mistake like that out of absent-mindedness.

2) I think at one point they discovered corrosion in a Jefferies tube that was supposedly from Worf spewing acidic venom, but this was before Worf lost it and attacked Troi. Did he just go wandering through a Jefferies tube for fun or something?

3) The whole thing might have been brought under control much more quickly if Ogawa, who wasn't suffering major symptoms, had thought to stay with Riker, who was, while he sends the message to Starfleet. (At least, the implication seemed to be that he never sent it because of his deteriorating intelligence.) For that matter, I'm surprised that Starfleet doesn't program its ships' computers to send some sort of automated distress signal if a ship is damaged or adrift and no input is received from the crew.
Paul Allen
Thu, Jul 21, 2016, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Far better than the previous 2 episodes at least...
Daniel Blumentritt
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 2:03am (UTC -6)
{ When looking at the stretch of episodes from "Homeward" through "Genesis" ("Lower Decks" aside, of course), it's not hard to make a case for this cumulatively being the nadir of TNG. Granted, I'd rather watch this than season one, because the characters and production are more honed. But season seven should know better. }

You know what's so rare about TNG? They knew exactly when to end it. Seasons 1 and 2 mostly blew. Seasons 3-6 were mostly great. Season 7 was uneven. Had enough good episodes to be better than 1 and 2 but it was still undeniably weak overall. They were out of ideas and needed to move on to something else. But despite the low points, ending in season 6 would have been too soon because they still had a few bullets left in the gun. How many good shows can say they ended at just the right time? Most get cancelled too soon or else refuse to call it quits when their time has gone.
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 1:58am (UTC -6)
Yet another episode where Data almost single-handedly saves the day. If this was a season one episode he probably would have "de-evolved" into a toaster or a commodore 64 or something. ;P

Star Trek is science fiction in that any "science" they portray is almost always fiction.
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 8:31am (UTC -6)
One of the most monumentally idiotic moments in Trek history (thus far). This time I have no problems with your 1 star rating. I wonder if Gates McFadden volunteered to direct this, or if they bribed her because nobody ekse would touch it?
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 12:48am (UTC -6)
As with 'Masks', I am of the minority in that I enjoyed this as well.

Many of the comments point to this episode as an example of 'bad writing', but I think bad writing is when a piece fails to convey what it meant to convey to the audience. For the episode for the most part did what it set out to do using a familiar structure: a 'disease' sweeps through the ship, altering the behavior of the crew (not unlike 'The Naked Now' or even episodes with mind-altering incidents not biologically based, like 'Night Terrors') and the last of the unaffected or not-as-affected members (usually including Data) have to problem-solve to save the ship and undo the 'infection'. I enjoyed the spooky prehistoric jungle-like shift in environment when Picard and Data return and the definite monster-movie vibes (the jump-scare with Spider-Barclay and the chase between Picard and the Worfasaurus).

Again, this isn't 'makes-you-think' Trek; this is 'bizaare-otherworldly-adventure' Trek. Still, I can understand how this can repulse people. The problem with the horror/suspense genre this episode emulates is that a successful piece is based so strongly on invoking those emotions in the audience and is often at odds with other aspects of storytelling that we find compelling, like plausibility or character development. Either the monsters fascinate and frighten you, or they're weird and silly; there really isn't much room in between.

Also, I wouldn't consider Picard 'cowardly' as some previous comments have; if he were a coward, he wouldn't have volunteered to distract Worfasaurus while Data comes up with the antedote. He is certainly more frightened by what is going on, but he still comes through when it's needed.
Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 1:18am (UTC -6)
3 stars. I remrmber back in 1994 thinking to myself finally a decent entertaining episode after such an underwhelming stretch of episodes. I could usually count on Brannon Braga to come through with something fun even when nobody else was

Liked the idea of re activating latent entrons causing the transformations

Liked the idea that Ogawa amniotic fluid could create antidote

Brannon would usually do something unsettling in his episodes. In Schosms having Riker's arm surgically amputated then reattached and here having Beverly being disfigured by Worf's acidic spray

I also quite enjoyed Picard and Datas investigation and research. As well as the fact that Barclay was the only person Spot liked. That made sense

I liked the mention that the Enterprise were testing recent tactical upgrades and conducting test in an asteroid field.

The Enterprise spinning around dead in space was neat as was the shuttle matching movement in order to board the ship. Brannon on TNG continued to impress
Mon, Jul 31, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
I'm definitely in Team 2.5 stars for this one. It's one of the few episodes I can vividly remember watching it when it was aired on TV. And I knew the Barclay/spider moment was coming, but it got to me again. Spot turning into a lizard is just great fun. On rewatching it did seem a bit silly to fly three days in a shuttle to retrieve a torpedo. Anyways: loved it again.

Also: can people stop writing ridiculously long comments? Thank you. (I know this year's too late to ask, but still. I will turn off the lights now.)
Peter G.
Mon, Jul 31, 2017, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
@ Jasper,

Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
This episode always makes me think about the concept for the Star Trek Phase II episode Savage Syndrome.
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Re-watched yesterday, and while I knew it was bad, it still had fun parts. Barclay and Troi's transformations were weirdly interesting, I wish I could have seen more of the Enterprise as an atmospherically dark biological preserve with odd creatures huddled into corners of shuttlebays and laboratories, and a lot of the setup really was funny.

Scientifically absurd? Oh yeah, definitely. But so are rubber forehead aliens that can feel Westernized notions of romantic love and morality, then crossbreed. The premise of the show is scientifically absurd. We accept it because it is dramatically useful as metaphor. In this episode in particular, I would wish for a better technobabble explanation, which should not have been that difficult, but either you can get into the sequence of events or you can't, and I could.

The two worst scenes are the first and last. The first, in sick bay, is obnoxious, cutesy, Starship Pleasantville slice-of-life that established very little that would become plot and left no tension to be resolved, which that opening scene before the title really should do. For some reason, this annoyed me more than anything else. And the last scene, with that acknowledged too-pat wrap up... I can't help but to think that if the first part of the show had been accelerated, we could have had time for something, anything, to give the episode a hint of harrowing shock that such chaos would have created. I love that TNG is so cerebral, but it shouldn't ignore trauma, just acknowledge and overcome it.

I'd give it 1.5, maybe 2, could have been 2.5 with a few minor changes.
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Some of you take these shows way too seriously! Iove this episode. It's not even a "guilty pleasure" for me. I outright love "Genesis." I also loved "Masks" and "Sub-Rosa." Those are some of my favorite S7 episodes. Yes, it didn't make sense but it was highly entertaining, which is all that matters to me!
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
Data detected 1011 individual lifeforms on the ship. Considering at least twelve of those are the aforementioned male felines, 1 is spot and 5 are the kittens...
I figure the Worfmonster must have eaten close to 2 dozen people in 3 days. I can't imagine how hungry a metamorphosis like that would make a person.
I think a better episode would have had Data manage the zoo while he flies the ship to a starbase.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
I've loved crappy sci-fi space stories since the late '50's on Saturday afternoons tv "Movies for an Afternoon". I even adore "Plan 9 From Outer Space" by Ed Woods. This episode is tantamount to Voyager's version, which Braga was probably responsible for resurrecting. He must love amphibians as in this the crew "de-evolved" & on Voyager's turn they (Paris & Janeway) evolved. Remember '70's song "Muskrat Love"? Now it's giant salamander froggy love & "Me! Caveman! Bop you on head & drag you away!" I sometimes wonder if it's, along with Riker's flip off in the office when he's pursuing sushi, that this is Braga's f.u. to everyone in that he's believing he's "The Q" of Star Trek Universe. Feeling a bit omnipotent in that "I can do what I want & they'll love it because I wrote it." Even with my love of crappy sci-fi, this is too contrived. At least Woods was a bit of a nutter & his passion for making the best (in his mind) he could is now appreciated by we who love the worst of it. Will our minds change in another 25 years on this ST TNG episode for the true believers? Meh, not.
Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -6)
To be honest I found Dark Page much harder to get through than this and masks. The concepts are slightly absured and some of the DNA science is questionable, but I suppose as Jammer says what comes under your view as Sci-Fi. (That's not me saying they're great episodes just ones I can watch with a few laughs, I particularly enjoyed Deanna's line at the end of the episode which certainly is a change)

A few side

Overall I felt genisis was well directed by McFadden the spoder scene even made me jump.

I'm suprised from my brief scroll through (sorry if anyone has) that no one has mentioned the follow up from lower decks with Alyssa it was a small moment but I enjoyed it and its unusual seeing how episodic TNG normally is.
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 1:30am (UTC -6)
I think the first act is so funny that i like it for it's comedic effect. It is TNG's Spock's Brain.

Dark Page and Sub Rosa are still worse because they are just too soap opera.
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching this now and noticed that Data states that Riker's cranial plating has increased in size and his brain is much smaller. I guess the virus reset button restored all that brain matter and its original state. :)

Also sucks to be that redshirt at the Conn who had his spine broken in multiple places though, no viral enzyme intron resequencing to correct that I guess.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Lisa that some of you take this stuff way too seriously. The characters have developed enough by this point to make this episode absolutely hilarious.

Riker losing his train of thought, Worf becoming super aggressive and agitated during lunch, Barclay turning into a spider (makes sense given his neurologic and jittery nature), and Picard experiencing an ultra sense of awareness and fear had me laughing the whole time.

Not everything has to be Earth shattering and totally plausible to be entertaining. Jmo. 3 stars.
Mon, Apr 9, 2018, 5:13pm (UTC -6)
I always hated this episode. I mean, it had some interesting parts. Like seeing monster Worf, I guess.

But the premise seems...beneath Star Trek.

This isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy. Things need to at least be plausible.
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
Rediculous but a lot of fun to watch. Great to have Barclay back, our beloved characters acting erratically, the tension, and great direction by McFadden. Call it a guilty pleasure and I think we should all take it given the lack of them in the 7th season.
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
It's interesting how GENESIS' comments are extremely negative, but get increasingly positive as the years go by. Has the generally poor quality of subsequent Trek made GENESIS now look relatively good? Has the episode been slightly misjudged?

Regardless, I rewatched it yesterday and found it to be an interesting take on the final season's obsession with family. Here we don't have an individual character meeting a family member, but an entire crew morphing into its ancestors.

Sure, everyone complains about the junk science here, but I look at it as a kind of metaphorical reverse phylogenesis; some kind of magical virus tapping into ancient junk DNA and then hand weaving it into new mutations. I thought it was a hilariously cool, high-concept and audacious idea. Wasn't surprised when I saw it was written by Braga, the king of mind-bending plots. One imagines the showrunners giving him a season brief ("Something about family, Braga") and then him writing this with a goofy grin ("Oh, Ima give you family. Ima give you a whole damn family tree!).

Obviously the episode has problems - its first act is slack and its last act "monster chases" likewise - but the middle act has a nice Cronenbergian vibe, and offers a decent take on schlocky bodyhorror. Some of the creature effects are also cool: Ogawa turns into a kind of monkey, Troi's a floppy fish and Barclay's spider-face is creepy. The final line's a hoot as well ("He transformed into a spider and now he has a disease named after him. I'll clear my calendar.")

This episode oft gets lumped amongst the worst of Trek, but I think it's fairly solid.
Sun, Jun 17, 2018, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
Has anyone mentioned this? After Data examines Froggy Troi he says to Picard, "She is no longer fully human." She never was fully human.
Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
Awful. Not as mind numbing as Masks, but still awful.

I do agree with William B that the transformation choices for each character were not random but meant to represent some basic "underneath it all" characteristic of each person - or cat, as the case may be.

Ogawa's look reminded me of Dr Zira on Planet of the Apes.
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Truly one of the worst TNG episodes -- probably requires some of the most amount of suspension of disbelief I can think of. Not a believer in evolution to begin with so de-evolution becomes even more ridiculous. Just not a fan of DNA manipulation episodes. In a way, I think of "The Naked TIme" or "The Naked Now" when all hell breaks loose on the ship because of a virus affecting people -- but here the transformations make zero sense and the ending resolution is basically waving a magic wand - wraps up far too quickly.

And if people though the green rubber Gorn costume was bad (I don't personally) then WorfMonster's costume has to be worse -- he's still wearing the same Star Fleet uniform boots as he chases Picard. And he's supposed to be 200 kilos, according to Data's scan -- didn't look at all like it. This chase scene was not suspenseful and it was like going for a cheap thrill -- look a scary monster is chasing Picard!

What also makes no sense is how different humans could devolve into different things -- like Barclay turns into some kind of arachnid, Riker a caveman, Picard was on his way to becoming a lemur? And Spot turns into a lizard?? It's really hard to take anything at face value here let alone be entertained by it.

Braga has a few good episodes but far more bad ones and this is likely the worst for me. Overall I'm not a fan of his contribution to Trek.

It was initially interesting seeing the crew start their devolution, however little sense it made. I also liked the shot as the shuttle approaches the Enterprise where the ship is tilted at an angle signalling all's not well -- kind of like the shots of Empok Nor.

0.5 stars for "Genesis" -- terrible concept and execution with the magic wand solution at the end (which also makes no sense), just too much nonsense here. Can't believe "Threshold" would borrow ideas from this turd. TNG definitely limping toward its series end in Season 7.
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 1:42am (UTC -6)

The nice thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 7:43am (UTC -6)

No, science isn't always true, but the good thing about Science is that if its principles are consistenly applied, it's self correcting.

Anyhow, I'm a lover of Science, and don't mean to give you a hard time, but that saying just hits a nerve with me. Truth, facts are always true, whether you believe them or not . . . whether they originate with Science or Philosophy or the Bible or the Koran, etc. And falsehoods aren't true, even if they are (seemingly) well-founded Scientific claims, or assertions from our most brilliant Philosophers, or statements in the most highly revered and sacred religious texts.

Science doesn't get to claim its always true, whether you believe it or not. If it does that, it's no different than religions making similar claims about the Bible, and other religious texts, IMO.
Entropic Amalgam
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 8:07am (UTC -6)
When we say a scientific fact is 'true' we are relying upon a whole range of metaphysical assumptions which science rests upon. So-called 'facts' need a substratum in order to be verified in reference to it, and because you can never get beneath the final substratum (because that would require another substratum) you cannot really call something the truth.

Most competent scientists understand this and do not consider it to devalue their work.
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 8:12am (UTC -6)
The funny thing is the episode should work better if you don’t believe in evolution because nothing shown here is how evolution works.
Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
just randomly came across this, so thought I'd post it here -- theory of evolution is a sham. Sometimes human thinking gets so set in its ways...

Anyhow, regardless of your stance on evolution "Genesis" sucked and for me not believing in evolution hardly makes it any more palatable.
Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 4:25pm (UTC -6)

I always find it funny when people link articles like that saying “life is too complex to be left to the chance of evolution” but inevitably offer no alternative scientific theory of how life progressed over the aeons.

Let me just throw an example out here: dogs. Domesticated dogs originally came from various wolf breeds that humans befriended and raised as companions. Over thousands of years humans have selected dogs that have desirable qualities (good at hunting, pulling sleds, watchdogs, beauty for showdogs) and selectively bred those dogs so their offspring would have those desirable qualities. Thus, there’s documented evidence of unnatural or man-made selection that we know works.

Now natural selection is different. Instead of an intelligent human choosing which animal survives, various other natural factors (harsh weather, food only available for animals that can jump or swim or fly, possessing adequate intelligence to avoid predators) decide who reproduces. But the outcome is similar to bred dogs; only offspring with qualities found adequate are able to survive and create offspring.

Now of course evolution is just a theory, but unless you can irrefutably debunk natural selection and offer a better alternative, the theory is going to remain predominant in the scientific community.

As to how this relates to this episode - well if any the writers made an attempt to show how deevolution works without resorting to magic technobabble then it would’ve been better received by those who believe in evolution. For those who don’t believe in evolution, at least they don’t necessarily need to dismiss their understanding of science to enjoy the episode.
Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 6:25pm (UTC -6)

For me, I just think the arguments against evolution are too powerful to ignore. And one can take that stance without having to provide a foolproof alternative scientific theory.

Who knows -- science may not be able to explain everything rigorously. And maybe there is something to the belief that God created man etc. It used to be that what science could not "explain" was sometimes attributed to the divine.

But yes, there are reasons why evolution has stuck around. No better scientific theory and examples from natural selection.

As for "Genesis" - there are so many problems with the episode and I think it's an insult to Trek. Data positing the rapid de-evolution theory is an attempt to bring some "science" to what's happening but it's hopeless.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 8:34am (UTC -6)

You realize that's a fake news website right?
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 9:15am (UTC -6)
@Iceman -

What CBS News calls a fake news site is irrelevant. It's up to the news consumer to judge. Personally, this article is the first time I've even heard of the news site in question -- I came across the article through social media where somebody I trust shared it.

I think what CBS News is doing is identifying sites which have maybe once or twice got something wrong - and calling it "fake news". I couldn't give a rat's ass what CBS's motivations are. In this case, what is more important is if the news on the site is decent journalism or not. In this case, regarding nixing the theory of evolution, I think it is -- that is if you even bothered to check out the story and the links/sources.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 9:46am (UTC -6)

This website's only "source" is a document in which 500 people who claim scientific credentials sign off that they think the theory of evolution is wrong. These credentials can't be checked, and the group's methodology is not explained. That is not journalism, good or bad; that is just propaganda. If you're going to be a skeptic about something about which there is broad consensus, you had better bother to actually understand the underlying science. Otherwise, you're just manufacturing consent for your own ignorance.
Peter G.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Having observed this topic to an extant in the past, I find speculations doubting the Darwinian story interesting and potentially plausible, which is different from saying they're correct. It's hard to say they're correct, but then again their premise is that it's hard to say that Darwin is correct because we have no literal evidence that we evolved from microbes. At best it's a black box hypothesis, at worst extreme speculation based on very limited short-term evidence. I agree it's the best we've got for now and there's no reason to treat the theory as fake, but it's also "settled" that it's a theory and not a fact, so there's nothing wrong there.

What I find funny about the article isn't the lack of methodological footnotes, especially because most popularizing journalism never has that anyhow. This kind of stuff isn't meant for science journals. What I do find funny is the mention of the origin of human life potentially being from aliens, which isn't altogether far-fetched even though it probably doesn't belong in a "scientific" article about objections to evolution. That's really out there, even though it's nice to see many bases covered and for weird ideas to be included. The main objection, though, which is that it's totally unknown how (or whether) complex systems can come about from simple ones is a significant objection.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 10:07am (UTC -6)

It's fine for a story to have just one source -- not sure why you say the credentials of the scientists can't be checked. I checked this guy's credentials and they seem to be fine: Professor Colin Reeves, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Coventry University.

It is certainly not propaganda (maybe you should take a history lesson and see what the USSR did during the Cold War and what the Chinese Communist regime does today for what propaganda is). I suspect you have some ulterior motives or some bizarre agenda to push.

All I'm saying is I don't buy the theory of evolution. I don't have to provide an alternative scientific theory to say I don't buy it. If you want to believe in evolution go ahead.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
"What CBS News calls a fake news site is irrelevant. It's up to the news consumer to judge. Personally, this article is the first time I've even heard of the news site in question -- I came across the article through social media where somebody I trust shared it."

Except it kind of is. CBS news has a high factual reporting. What a reputable news source said about a fake one is absolutely relevant. And perhaps you shouldn't trust them if they use psuedoscience and conspiracy theory-spreading websites such as Yournewswire.

"I think what CBS News is doing is identifying sites which have maybe once or twice got something wrong - and calling it "fake news". I couldn't give a rat's ass what CBS's motivations are. In this case, what is more important is if the news on the site is decent journalism or not. In this case, regarding nixing the theory of evolution, I think it is -- that is if you even bothered to check out the story and the links/sources."

A "news source" that blatantly lies is not trustworthy. If they could lie once, they could lie again. And, in fact, they have.

I read it. I don't see five hundred trustworthy scientists. I see a few. Like Elliott said, that's not real journalism. is known for spreading pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 8:31pm (UTC -6)

So now you're the expert on journalism and can discern science from pseudoscience...interesting.

I'm actually a professional journalist and I'd much rather trust what somebody like Professor Colin Reeves, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Coventry University has to say about science than you or Elliott.

If you want to put a lot of stock in what CBS says, go ahead. Just don't necessarily expect me to. This particular article on is fine and who says that news site "blatantly lies"? CBS? Like I said, I could not care less what CBS says. I just consider the article.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 8:30am (UTC -6)
"So now you're the expert on journalism and can discern science from pseudoscience...interesting."

Two logical fallacies in one sentence! First of all, straw man. I never claimed to be an expert in either of those things. People who *are* experts in those things agree. Second of all, ad hominem. Attack the argument, not the character, especially not in the condescending and obnoxious way you've done in the past.

"I'm actually a professional journalist and I'd much rather trust what somebody like Professor Colin Reeves, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Coventry University has to say about science than you or Elliott."

That's cherry-picking unverified sources.

" This particular article on is fine and who says that news site "blatantly lies"?"

People whose job it is to point out toxic media.

It's clear I'm not going to change your mind. I really shouldn't have entered this to begin with. I'm leaving this here. I apologize to Jammer for clogging up his site with a pointless argument.
Mon, Oct 22, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -6)
YourNewsWire... famous for being a kind of troll site. It proliferates on social media, where algorithms, and targeted ads running on mined/harvested data propagate click-baity links to it, and other (often far-Right) websites.
Mon, Oct 22, 2018, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
What I cared most about: the peril of the newborn kittens effectively without their mother. Apparently Spot was herself long enough to clean them, at least . . .
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Nov 1, 2018, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
So um, how did Barclay make those spider webs? Never mind, I don't want to know.

I also found Crusher's reaction to getting sprayed in the face with Worf's venom to be quite terrifying.
Fri, Nov 2, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -6)
"how did Barclay make those spider webs? Never mind, I don't want to know."

*sings* Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can, spins a web, any size, catches thrives just like flies
Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
It is a simple reason to explain "Genesis":

I mocked the Enterprise!!! :-P Gnah gnah gnah ghan ghan ghan!
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 12:02am (UTC -6)
I don’t mind this ep. it’s not science; it’s science fiction. But if we are to believe Star Fleet is a reputable institution then this ep should have been Crushers last after being court marshalled all the way to the Alpha quadrant. The entire crew almost died as a result of her mistake... at least one bridge crew member did die. And Spot’s cute cuddly kittens likely died of starvation.
Sun, Dec 2, 2018, 1:02am (UTC -6)
Jamie. Good point. What about the guy on the bridge Worf killed? And me too about the kittens. I kept thinking somebody feed them please. Was a big distraction. Weird ep especially so close to end of season.
Jer Jer
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:52am (UTC -6)
How could Spot get pregnant?

1. Why wasn't she neutered?
2. Where did Data find another cat for mating?
3. I thought Spot was male.
Fri, May 17, 2019, 9:10pm (UTC -6)

Enjoyable but degraded by technobabble in sickbay as they worked one solution after another. I like the creepy jungle atmosphere. Outer Limits?
Jamie Mann
Tue, Nov 5, 2019, 7:10am (UTC -6)
Another hot mess which foreshadows shows such as Lexx and Farscape.

Sadly, it's more magic-fiction than science fiction, as people devolve into strange animal hybrids, and magically return back to normal with little or no emotional or physical impact. Though Troi's scene as a semi-conscious mer-thing is entertaining purely for the fact of how ridiculous it is.

And once more, the civilian crew are completely ignored, as are the deaths (both those explicitly seen and the fact that there would almost certainly have been significantly more off-screen)

Another one which isn't particularly worth rewatching, except perhaps for the comedy value.
Pleasure Gelf
Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
In over 100 reviews, not one person has drawn a parallel with the movie "Altered States" ... nor with that Cheech & Chong movie where the detective turns into a lizard from smoking too much weed.

Incidentally, Altered States was well done (if silly), but this ST:TNG episode was just dreck.
Deborah Katz
Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 8:38pm (UTC -6)
The essence of science fiction, a true and original thought experiment. Love this episode, come back to it again and again
Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 12:37pm (UTC -6)
Picard: ‘Before I start swinging across the ship’

Guilty pleasure episode.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -6)
What the hell ?
Sun, May 17, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
I'm with Iceman on this one. Aggressive, "I can believe what I want" nonsense in relation to a theory generally backed by actual experts, quoting from possibly one of the least credible sites I've seen. Big whoop, someone from Coventry University doesn't believe in evolution. And they're a credible academic. Do you know how academics there are out there? That you've managed to dig one or two out that don't believe in evolution as a theory means absolutely nothing. It's like the climate change deniers that dig out a scientist who doesn't believe in anthropomorphic climate change and go "SEE! SEE! This respected expert says it isn't true, that totally counters your 99.9% of ALL OTHER EXPERTS who say it is!".

You're entitled to believe what you want. But you're sure as hell going to come off as a monumental jerk if you insist flimsy evidence isn't actually flimsy, and get angry about someone calling you on bad logic.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
They have the ability to reverse deevolution but not fix Geordies eyes.
Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
@Moegreen Ummm, ok.....
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
The opening was intriguing but quickly became gross and dumb, with Worf belching crudely over his heaped plate of animal parts.

I don’t mind the wacky DNA science. I mostly mind the tedious expository device of Data and Picard walking slowly from room to room, pointing, describing, and painstakingly explaining the plot to each other and the unfortunate audience.
Wyatt M.
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Totally a guilty pleasure episode. Always loved it despite it's obvious setbacks.
James G
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Really an awful episode. The notion that some sort of virus could cause any single creature to devolve in the manner depicted here is laughable, even of "introns" are a real thing.

I quite enjoyed watching things unravel initially, but it turns into an absolute farce. And the solution is even more laughable than the problem, with everyone returned to their original form completely intact and no worse for wear. I sort of like the idea of the crew being saved by a retro-virus made from Nurse Ogawa's personal body fluids, though. But it all happens so suddenly.. one minute Data is asked to unleash the retro-virus, next scene - everything restored to normal.

I thought Picard seemed unusually calm when confronted by the spectacle of what had happened to his ship and its crew. Even Riker with a bigger skull and smaller brain doesn't bother him unduly.

Anyway - just nonsense. Very slow, as well. Awful.
Hotel bastardos
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -6)
Q: are we not men? No, we are devo ! Guilty pleasure's are not a thing- ya either like something or you don't, regardless of who was behind it etc. And as it happens I thought this was a good romp, especially Monsieur Picard's cowardly trip and early on Worf on interstellar overdrive Worfness. And Troi gasping in the tub was a freaky visual. If proto Worf had managed to jump in the bath with her, well, draw yer own disturbing conclusions....
Frake's Nightmare
Sat, Jan 2, 2021, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
Yay! 'Altered States' exactly !
Interesting to see how quickly the coments de-evolved (?????) into a evolution denia !
Crazy episode leads to craziness!
(At least the Ferengi were not involved).
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
Semi reptilian Worf hissing and spitting venom cobra like all over Crusher's face: absolutely priceless.
And then all the way downhill from there on. Semi frog Troi in a bog bathtub: can it get any lower than that?
OMG: what were they thinking?
Paul C
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
No of TNG episodes: 178

No directed by women? 2.

Although the ST message of equality for all is within all episodes, it didn’t seem to reach the production staff who were male dominated and wrote women in a weak way. An early episode shows an alien who’s surprised that a woman is chief of security... yet he might have asked, ‘a woman, as a director?’

Plus it says something that only 2 female directors were ever invited... one of whom was this episode’s director: Gates McFadden, a MEMBER OF THE CAST. Who was also fired in S1 for speaking up about her character too often. Gates was already an experienced director & choreographer, with academic qualifications and a theatre background. Yet she was only given ONE opportunity to direct in 178.

Unfortunately she wasn’t given a lot to work with, but from this point of view I think she did a good job. She also wasn’t mentored - just left on her own. The episode is ok. Far from great, but ok, and there are some noticeable differences in feel and touch. The busy sick bay and use of the red & blue jars... great make up, and a couple of comedy moments - Data interrupted when laying out what he’s going to do when he finds out who the father is...and how.

Great side view on the bridge of Picard and notice he appears behind Worf. He’s also pretty scathing of Worf.

Enjoyable for me.
Dave in MN
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
Things were different 30 years ago and it's not Trek's fault there wasn't a large pool of qualified female directors to choose from in 1993.

Judging everything in the past by today's standards is a fool's errand.
Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 10:06pm (UTC -6)
You can see how bridge officers rate on the good 'ol Enterprise. One them is found at his station brutally murdered and does Picard or Data say something like "Oh no, Ens. Davies has been killed!". Nah, the poor sap doesn't even have a name. Picard's like "hey Data what killed uh ... this ... guy?"

Good luck writing that note to the grieving parents Jean Luc...
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:29am (UTC -6)
One thing about this episode is that we finally got a chance to see Worf's pajamas. Not exactly the pajamas of a warrior; they look like something you would find in the discount aisle at Target.
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
“...they look like something you would find in the discount aisle at Target.”

So, in other words, like all 24th century civilian clothes. LOL!
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 1:10am (UTC -6)
I watched this first run and hated it.

Never saw it again until tonight and actually had fun with it. Knowing it's utterly absurd helps a lot.

Riker trying to eat Picard's Ready Room fish is pretty comical. And later above is right, Riker totally gives Data and Picard the bird!

I just take this one as a pulp holonovel by Tom Paris.
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 1:19am (UTC -6)
You got to love the completely improbable lines in this one:

PICARD: So Spot was giving birth to the kittens at the same time that she was changing into a reptilian lifeform.
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 8:27am (UTC -6)
"Ribo-sciatic flux"

Is this term peak Braga?
Tue, Aug 3, 2021, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
One thing stands out for me in this episode that solidify Riker as being the absolute worst Star Trek crew member *of all time*:

While testing the new proton torpedos at the start of the episode (prior to any outbreak), one veers of course. Riker orders Worf to destroy it with phasers, to which Worf replies he cannot as the torpedo is out of range. Riker, second in command to the Federation’s flagship vessel, responds with unwarranted sarcasm to Worf, “even for your ‘newly improved’ phasers?”

Now look here you little shit: Worf is not your enemy, nor did he design the prototype weapons the Federation sent to you to test. You are second in command - act like it you fucking ass.

Riker is the absolute worst.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Worf was gloating about how he had "enhanced the targeting system for increased accuracy."
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
The Riker quip seems fine to me, but I thought the whole point about photon torpedoes v phasers is that the former are faster than light. They effectively travel at warp speed. So his original request is like asking someone to chase after a bullet or something.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
@ Tomalak,

"I thought the whole point about photon torpedoes v phasers is that the former are faster than light. They effectively travel at warp speed."

I hate to be that guy, but in principle I believe torpedoes are *potentially* faster because, at warp speed, the torpoedoes are likewise fired at warp (i.e. retain the speed of the ship plus their own speed), being projectiles. Phasers move at the speed of light regardless of the speed of the ship, and so cannot be used at warp. But while under impulse power, it stands to reason that phasers would hit their target much quicker. That is, unless they are doing mini-warp bursts just before firing to severely ramp up the acceleration. Or maybe they have a mini-warp bubble generator in the torpedo bay. Or maybe...actually, maybe getting into this was a mistake...
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
@ SkepticalMI "But Dwight Schultz as the manic, frantic Spider-Barclay took the cellular peptide cake. The way he was leaning over everyone, contorting himself into odd poses, and rushing to and fro was just completely awesome. He stole every scene he was in."


I realize your comment was from years ago but I agree completely. I was cracking up watching him. How did he do it? Seriously, I hope he was paid enough. For that matter, how did any of them? They must have been cracking up every few minutes.

This episode is memorable. I'll give it that much. And reading through the comments makes me notice that Star Trek has some very generous, forgiving fans.
Tue, Nov 9, 2021, 5:28pm (UTC -6)
TNG's Season 7 was every bit as much of a "to hell with it" as Roseanne's Season 9...
Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 10:39pm (UTC -6)
For me, this episode is as wildly enjoyable as it is stupid, and it's pretty fuckin' stupid. For the life of me, I cannot hate an episode in which Data tells Picard that he's going to turn into a pygmy marmoset.
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 11:21am (UTC -6)
This episode started off so well. We're in sickbay, people with ailments minor and major coming and going, variety, pace... - all good. Even the ridiculous Barclay--who's too neurotic to be a hall monitor--didn't spoil it. How Data's damn cat got pregnant is anyone's guess; I don't care enough to want to hazard one. (Okay, we get told later the ship is teeming with puddy-tats.) His bloviation about how the cat's pregnancy somehow equipped him to be able to advise the junior doc on her own pregnancy... - oh, puh-lease. Still, we're all good.

Then, at around the 8-minute mark, it all falls apart.

Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
As entertaining as I found "Genesis", I must say that I'm even more entertained by the level of plot line snobbery I've read here, including what must be a 1500 word treatise earlier in the thread. I've always considered myself a consummate Star Trek nerd, but I've been colossally outclassed by you lot, with the intensity of a war crimes tribunal. Well done.
Tue, Oct 18, 2022, 7:19pm (UTC -6)
Why didn't Riker immediately turn command over to someone when he realized he couldn't remember anything, or why did someone relieve him of duty. Geordie saw that he was turning into a simpleton and he just walked away and did nothing. It may have given them more time to find a cure, but probably not.

Of course if Data had been there the whole time he could have cured them all long before they turned into bats and squirrels, but he was conveniently away for three days chasing a photon torpedo through a dense asteroid field, and don't ask me how the torpedo managed to avoid crashing into any of them or why it was so important to retrieve it in the first place.

I don't think they ever explained how Barkley's T-cells were spreading all over ship either. Finally why didn't Data just use the transporter to fix everyone the way they fixed Pulaski when pretty much the same thing happened to her in Season 2 (except she got old instead of turning into an iguana).
Thu, Oct 20, 2022, 11:40pm (UTC -6)

You seriously think CBS isn't part of the fake news cabal?
Shane H
Tue, Dec 6, 2022, 6:33am (UTC -6)
Count me in as one who rather enjoyed this episode. I can look past the nonsense when it's a fun episode, and this one for me was.

I will say that I also don't hate the likes of Rascals, Sub Rosa, Threshold, Masks, Ex Post Facto, etc. Like others have pointed out, I wouldn't want this all the time, but I don't mind the occasional break in serious science fiction for the sake of a good time.

I'll take Genesis over much of what we've been getting lately in recent Trek.
Gorn with the Wind
Tue, Dec 6, 2022, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
“Masks” is a masterpiece (a maskerpiece) compared to DISCO and PICARD
Wed, Mar 29, 2023, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
I'm going to echo a lot of the comments here and say I enjoyed it quite a bit when it first aired...and I was 9 years old. Even considered it pretty scary.

But boy oh boy, it does not hold up well.
Sun, Nov 12, 2023, 7:30pm (UTC -6)
Since when has Worf been an engineer? The story becomes a wuuuh right off the bat for me because Worf is inexplicably doing something much more appropriate of Geordi.
Wed, Dec 6, 2023, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
I wonder how fun it was to watch this one when it first aired. Some commenters say they loved it when they were kids. Maybe that's the target audience. The crazy stuff only unravels in the second act. It surprised me in a good way. It's a type of horror never attempted before on TNG, and for that alone, it's an interesting watch. A silly monster piece not meant to be taken too seriously. It's not very good, sure, but comparing this to Shades of Gray is quite unfair.

The review and the comments made it even more amusing. You can't seriously complain about this episode being scientifically inaccurate. Just pick any episode; it's all nonsense most of the time in that regard. If you want to be scientifically accurate, you won't even get past the intro.

There's virtually nothing scientifically accurate on ST. I mean, there's not even an attempt. There is an enthusiasm for the scientific method. There's a respect and reverence for science as an idea, and there's definitely an unbound optimism regarding scientific progress, but not actual science. There's playful use of some scientific theories and wording, but the goal of ST, in my opinion, is not to be scientifically accurate but to create a fantasy that's internally consistent. TNG doesn't quite manage to do that either, but it's so fun!

My favorite line from this episode comes from Dr. Crusher, right at the end. They're talking about how the disease first developed.
Barclay: So it's my fault?
Crusher: No. In a way, it's mine.

In way? In a way!? This is totally on you, doc!

With only a few more episodes, I will have watched every single TNG episode out there. I'm already getting a little sad about it. TNG is my first ever ST show, and I've grown incredibly fond of it. I'm already planning a re-watch.
Scott C.
Wed, Dec 6, 2023, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
Deanna Troi ordered some caviar in Ten-Forward while Worf was gorging out. She eats it with...get this...a metal spoon. Certainly if they are serving caviar, in a proper serving dish, they would know to bring a Caviar Spoon made of inert materials, such as animal horn, gold, mother of pearl, or wood. Caviar should not be served with a metal spoon, because metal may impart an undesirable flavour. Everybody knows this. Certainly someone on set should have caught this, if not director McFadden herself. Aghast.

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