Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 3

The Naked Now

Aired Unknown Oct 05, 1987 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
346 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 41209.2 While examining the mysterious deaths of the entire crew on board the Starship Tsiolkovsky, the crew of the Enterprise is infected with a touch-transmitted virus that lowers inhibitions.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The Naked Now: still early in the series' evolution, and just average overall

    Here we see another example of the gradually building of the show finding itself. But not yet...
  • this one is awful

    I am surprised at the 7.5 average rating on this episode. This is by far one of the worst TNG episodes ever written. Just plain awful. Thank God they hired the new writers and producers that gave us the episodes we all know and love.
  • The Naked Now

    It's funny, I used to think "The Naked Time," an early episode in the first season of TOS, had a dumb title, but "Naked Now" wins out. You can give the writers credit for immediately reinforcing the new series' connections with the old, creating a stronger sense of continuity between the two and, in theory, letting some of the excellence of "Time" rub off, but in practice, the characters are still too rough, and the plotting far, far too loose for the comparison to do TNG any favors. This is a mess, and what's almost fascinating enough to be entertaining is how thorough a mess it is. We're not just talking about bad jokes, or weak plotting, or clumsy performances, or misjudged tone. We're talk about all of those problems, combining to create an ungainly, clunking forty-five minutes of television. After watching this, I'm amazed the show lasted seven seasons. Hell, I'm amazed it lasted a month.

    The Enterprise is investigating problems on a research vessel near a collapsing star--and it's funny how we're already resorting to the same tropes of the original. The "troubled science team" is such a Trek standard at this point that you wonder if script-writers aren't handed out a series of Mad-Libs at the start of the planning process: here's "TST," here's "God-like being," here's "planet which has evolved into an exact duplicate of some location and time in Earth's But familiarity isn't the issue here. Riker and an away team beam over to the science vessel to find the crew dead, and the whole ship in chaos and disrepair. Dr. Crusher insists on full quarantine procedure when the teams back, including a transporter scrub, but while her precaution is well-advised, it doesn't do any good. Soon Geordi is babbling about how much he wants to see beyond the limits of his visor, and it's not long before he manages to spread his sickness, a sickness that the Sick Bay computers don't recognize at all, to the rest of the crew.

    The progression here is roughly equivalent to the TOS episode, and that's an issue, not so much for going over the same ground as for how much illogic and laziness is required to make retracing the steps possible. Crusher pays lip service to procedure, but security in Sick Bay is hilariously lax; despite Geordi's clearly disturbed mind, and despite the fact that the science expedition team died because their minds were disturbed, Geordi is able to wander out of the Bay as soon as the doctor's back is turned. Then there's the fact that the original Enterprise recorded their encounter with this particular "disease," but it's Riker who ends up making the connection between the two and not the computer system, despite the clear and obvious relationship. I don't expect the computers to do all the thinking, but surely a search for "rapidly spreading lowered inhibitions, dead crew" would've yielded some results. And then, even once the connection is made and Beverly prepares McCoy's cure, it's another twenty minutes episode-time before she tries it out on anyone, allowing the sickness to take over most of the ship. Once she does test the cure it doesn't work, so she has to prepare a new iteration, which is a valid, if uninspired, way to drag out the threat. But why did it take so long to make that first test? Maybe she was hoping Wesley would get sick and beam himself into the star.

    Oh no, wait, that was me. I want to stress, my complaints about the Crusher brat are not directed at Wil Wheaton; true, he doesn't give the best performance, but he was young, and as written, the role is already indefensible. So, so indefensible. I was lucky enough to start watching TNG regularly only in the third season, so I think I missed most of his worst moments. But he's terrifying to me now, with his needy, grinning desperation to be noticed. In "Now," he builds a magical levitating device that he uses to lift chairs, then take over engineering, then save the ship, and even though the results are positive, I still don't trust him. I mean, sweet Jeebus, he has a machine that he uses to simulate Picard giving him orders. I can only imagine what those orders turn into, late at night, after Mom goes to bed.

    Sorry! Twisted state of mind, but that's what this episode did to me. Even overlooking Wesley's twerpitude, there's still a whole cast of actors willing and able to embarrass themselves for Tasha Yar's assault on my senses continues, as first she gets sick, then she gets horny, and then she has sex with Data, a colossally misjudged scene that threatens to derail the android's presence on the show before he can really establish himself. Even on his own, Data isn't much fun. Whenever Spiner shows emotion "in character," it comes off as oddly smug, and unlike Spock, Data needs to be humble to be likable. Smarmy Data just makes you yearn for an off switch.

    Not everybody does poorly. While Picard and Beverly's flirtation is pretty damn ridiculous, both actors are strong enough that it isn't that horrible to watch. Picard hasn't come entirely into focus yet, but Stewart is so good that this haziness seems intentional and intriguing, and McFadden proves herself again to be thoroughly reliable. And you know who surprised the hell out of me? Riker. I'm understanding his "Kirkness" more and more, as he's the only person on the Enterprise who manages to resist the disease out his sense of duty. In an episode as misbegotten as "Now" is, you have to cling to whatever sanity presents itself.moreless
  • While investigating the death of the crew of the Starship Tsiolkovsky, the Enterprise crew becomes infected with an illness that causes erratic behavior.

    It has been mentioned countless times since this particular episode first aired that it is a ripoff of the original "Star Trek" episode "The Naked Time". I might as well say that I do agree with that opinion. With that out of the way, I will say that despite the fact that I was turned off by the copycat plotline to a certain degree, I did find this episode very entertaining. The cast does very well in their parts both before and after they are infected. I like that fact that it did not get too over the top as it did in parts of "The Naked Time". I also liked the side of the crew the illness brought out. Wesley wishing he were in command of the ship, Troi revealing she still has feelings for Riker. How can I forget Denise Crosby who in this episode gave the best performance of her short time on the show. I gave "The Naked Now" an average rating because of the copycat aspect of this episode. However if you could get past that you will see that it's actually quite good.moreless
  • "The Naked Time" it is not. Trash from the back of some drunk, horny guy's fantasy, it is...

    This story is a remake of the original Trek series' episode "The Naked Time". This original episode, from 1966, used the situation to build up and flesh out characters' inner feelings. "The Naked Now" is a bit more primeval. Instead of character building, which is what TNG needed so early in its run, everyone acts drunk, stoned, or horny. Even Data nabs Yar in bed. I will give future seasons' episodes that look back on this unfortunate aspect of Data's anatomy credit for trying to play it straight, with some success. A feat in of itself remarkable, but was it wise to do in the first place? Just one of many eye rolling moments in an episode that was a truly wasted opportunity. It's "The Man Show", 20 years earlier.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby

Tasha Yar

Brooke Bundy

Brooke Bundy

Sarah McDougal

Guest Star

Michael Rider

Michael Rider

Transporter Chief

Guest Star

Kenny Koch

Kenny Koch

Kissing Crewman

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • It's established throughout that Data can't use contractions, but when Riker says "They were all sucked out into space." Data says "Correction, that's 'blown out'." He also says "I'm sure he meant now" when he goes to Tasha's quarters to escort her to Sick Bay. In the initial scene right after the hatch blows out, Data says "What we've just heard is... impossible."

    • At the beginning, Picard says in his log entry they're moving at Warp 7, but the exterior shot shows them moving at impulse speed.

    • Trivia: When Troi heads to Engineering, she refers to Riker as "Bill." This is the first time in the series anyone has called the second-in-command by that particular variation of his first name. Troi later calls him by it again in the episode "Haven."

    • When Riker grabbed Data to escort him to Engineering, they walked toward the Emergency Turbolift, which would take them directly to the Battle Bridge.

    • When the Enterprise pushed off the Tsiolkovsky with the tractor beam, the science vessel was behind Enterprise. However, in the previous exterior shot, the Enterprise was facing the Tsiolkovsky.

    • When Riker grabs Data to take him to Engineering, they head toward the emergency turbolift instead of one of the normal lifts, as the emergency lift would only take them as far as the Battle Bridge.

    • Yar asks for a "team" to help her in the Observation Lounge when she finds Geordi, yet only a single person shows up.

    • Why is Riker the only person who seems to be able to will himself to not feel the effects of the virus? He is able to function normally while no one else is able to.

    • Everybody seems surprised and astonished that Wesley can use a tractor beam to repel things, but they did it in the original Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonis."

    • After the intoxicated Geordi wanders out of sickbay, the bed he was on continues to show his lifesigns.

    • When Geordi is put onto a bed in sickbay there are two pillows - when he gets up to leave a little later they have disappeared.

    • When Data brings up a picture of the original Kirk-era Enterprise in conjunction with the log talking about the water-intoxicant, the picture is of the refitted movie-style Enterprise - not the original round-nacelled model that was involved in the events of "The Naked Time."

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Picard: Beverly.
      Beverly: Yes, Jean Luc?
      Picard: Now I've told you before, you will address me as captain.

    • Data: The vague reference of someone showering in their clothing is...
      Riker: Yeah, it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack
      Data: Commander, why would someone choose to waste their time in such a manner?

    • Wesley: So you mean I'm drunk! I feel strange... but also good!

    • Picard: Ah, good, Data. At least you're functioning.
      Data: (in an odd tone) Fully, captain.
      Picard: Data, intoxication is a human condition. Your brain is different. It's not the same as...
      Data: We are more alike than unlike, my dear Captain. I have pores; humans have pores. I have... fingerprints. Humans have fingerprints. My chemical nutrients are like your blood.

    • Picard: Effective immediately, I have handed over control of this vessel to Acting Captain Wesley Crusher.
      Picard: "Acting Captain"?!?
      Wesley: Thank you, Captain Picard, thank you. And with that order dawns a brave new day for the Enterprise.

    • Picard: Number One, it seems our security chief has the equivalent of a snootful.
      Data: Inquiry, sir. Snootful?
      Picard: Forget it.

    • Troi: Sir, I think Tasha's been infected, too. She just left my quarters.
      Picard: Counselor, it's not actually an infection.
      Troi: Yes, sir. More like an intoxication. But whatever it is, she's got it.

    • Riker: You were right. Somebody blew out the hatch. They were all sucked out into space.
      Data: Correction, sir. That's "blown out."
      Riker: Thank you, Data.
      Data: A common mistake, sir.

    • Yar: You are fully functional, aren't you?
      Data: Of course, but...
      Yar: How fully?
      Data: In every way, of course. I am programmed in multiple techniques.

    • Data: There was a young lady from Venus, whose body was shaped like a...
      Picard: Captain to security, come in!!
      Data: Did I said something wrong?
      Worf: I don't understand their humor either.

    • Crusher: My dear Captain, you owe me something. You do realize that, don't you? I'm a woman. I haven't had the comfort of a husband, a man...
      Picard: Not now, doctor. Please.

    • Data: If you prick me, do I not leak?

  • NOTES (7)

    • Deanna Troi's clothing has changed from the blue skirt-type uniform she wore in "Encounter at Farpoint," to a dark grey jumpsuit that she would wear for the remainder of the first season.

    • The limerick that Data quotes, was written by Star Trek writer David Gerrold. The complete version of the limerick can be found in the third book of his War Against the Chtorr series: A Rage for Revenge.

    • During the scan of the records, we see a parrot wearing a Starfleet shirt, complete with insignia and nacelles; a reference to Gene Roddenberry, known among fans as "The Great Bird Of The Galaxy."

    • This is the only appearance of Lt. Cmdr. Sarah MacDougal as Chief Engineer. After this episode, Lt. Cmdr. Argyle would be Chief Engineer, followed by Lt. Logan. Geordi took over the position when the second season commenced.

    • This is the first time Captain Kirk is referenced by name in the series.

    • D.C. Fontana used her pseudonym J. Michael Bingham on this episode because she was relatively unhappy with Gene Roddenberry's additions to the shooting script.

    • The virus in this episode was originally introduced in the Star Trek episode, "The Naked Time".


    • Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
      Data's line "If you prick me, do I not . . . leak?" is an obvious play on the famous line from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice: "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"