It's hard to shake a feeling of deja vu upon watching this episode. It's a theme oft repeated throughout TNG's run: what happens when computers become intelligent and who will stand up for their rights? It's a virtual remake of season one's 'Home Soil' and the theme is trotted out again in the sixth season episode 'Quality of Life'.
The episode is still reasonably effective (and definitely more engaging than 'Home Soil'), and features some nice special effects and of course some cosmetic changes as the season begins: swanky new uniforms and the return of Beverly Crusher (although frankly I kind of wish Pulaski had stayed - although she was initially unlikable, she eventually mellowed and some spice and zest to the series, unlike the rather bland Beverly).
It was nice to see Scrubs star Ken Jenkins as obsessive scientist Paul Stubbs, although to be honest the character was rather annoying and almost completely unsympathetic. I was actually kind of rooting for his experiment to fail, just because he was such an irritating jerk!
Overall, a reasonable but unexceptional season premiere, dealing with some interesting (if unoriginal) themes. Thankfully, it marks the beginning of one of TNG's best seasons. Bring it on!