Examining the mysterious deaths of the crew of another USS Starship, members of the Enterprise crew are infected by a touch-transmitted virus that causes them to lose inhibitions and display manic behaviour. A horrible remake of 'The Naked Time'...
I plan on going through the entire run of 'The Next Generation' on DVD to review. Though it had its flaws, I quite enjoyed "Encounter at Farpoint". But when I remembered that "The Naked Now" was next in line to view, I instantly thought to myself "oh no, I have to sit thought *that episode*"!!
I find the very concept behind this episode being made very strange. At the start of 'The Next Generation', Gene Roddenberry was very much set against too many direct ties to the original series, feeling that this new incarnation should stand on its own merit (heck, even Klingon Worf was only added to the cast at the eleventh hour before filming of "Encounter at Farpoint", after much debating). So it seems as bizarre that, with this, the first regular episode after EAF, they decided to directly remake one of the Original Series episodes.
Although some might hail it as such, in my opinion, in my opinion "The Naked Time" wasn't even one of the best episodes of the classic first two seasons of the Original Series anyway, but at least it had a couple of iconic moments, such as Mr. Sulu swashbuckling his way along the corridors. It seemed to have much more scope; "The Naked Now", on the other hand, mostly just feels like an excuse for the cast to "do funny", and it's hard to buy into this 'outlandish behaviour' from characters we've literally just met the previous week. And although the first episode after the Pilot is always a tough one to execute, I agree with a fellow reviewer that the sharp drop in quality from EAF is very noticeable.
This episode also does nothing to help the many who didn't like Wesley. Admittedly, his actions are affected by the virus, but even so, his brattish behaviour here won't win him any new fans, not to mention his first infamous example of "saving the ship". And then there's the convenient writing – at the start of the story, Wes shows off to Geordi his new voice replicator - ohh, I wonder how that will fit into the plot(!)
Although I didn't take a shine to Tasha until a few years later after first being subjected to- ...sorry, I mean, watching this episode, I suppose at the time I liked the sequence of Tasha sauntering along the corridors, making passes at crewmen; and then a bit later, there's that costume she's just about wearing (though I don't like the hairstyle). With that and Doctor Crusher getting all hot and bothered, at least there was something at least from this weak episode to interest me as a 12-year-old boy! (Sorry, just that just sound really sordid?!)
While I'm on the subject of female crew, I hate Troi's "severe" first season look, first seen here; they shoulda stuck with her appearance from EAF.
Handled the worst in this episode is Data. It feels totally wrong for him, an android, to be affected so severely by the virus, and while everyone has their own take on the famous scene between Tasha and himself, it really doesn't fit with the character that he's smiling. Come to think of it, if he's an android, just how does he-... what does-... actually, we probably don't need to go there!
To heavily paraphrase, the writer / producers original intent for this episode was "for the cast / crew to let their hair down after EAF, and to show a different, lighter side of themselves to the viewer". But it backfires.
If they did feel such strong need to re-work "The Naked Time" for TNG, they should have done it later in the series, where we were much more familiar with the characters, and tackled it as a direct spoof. As a first regular episode after the Pilot, it is badly misjudged; in my opinion, this first regular hour-long episode should have been planet-based. As much as I feel it was an over-used concept in TNG and spin-offs, they don't even feature the Holodeck in this one to break things up a little.
On first ever viewing, "The Naked Now" might at least hold some initial mystery before realisation that it is a direct remake of "The Naked Time" fully sets in. But for re-viewing, there is very little that is fun to go back and visit with this one. Although I haven't seen some of the episodes for a few years, I think I probably rank this as one of the weakest, most misjudged episodes of TNG. To any new viewers who were still trying to make up their minds about the new show and the new crew, this one did TNG no favours.