Michael Dorn’s Underrated Classic Picks: Favorite Star Trek TNG Episodes!

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Michael Dorn, with more appearances in Star Trek than any other actor, is undoubtedly a legend in the franchise alongside icons like Shatner, Nimoy, Stewart, and Frakes. Over the years, he transformed Worf into one of the most tragic and complex characters in the series, a journey that seemed improbable from Worf’s introduction in TNG season 1.

Dorn’s two favorite episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, however, don’t particularly center on Worf, despite his status as one of the finest characters in the Star Trek universe. They are ‘The Offspring’ and ‘The Drumhead’, both recognized classics, found in season 3 and season 4, respectively. These episodes were both directed by his co-star Jonathan Frakes, marking Frakes’ first and third directorial attempts.

‘The Drumhead’ is structured as a courtroom drama, where the crew of the USS Enterprise-D faces the paranoid suspicions of Admiral Satie, serving as a cautionary tale about the dangers of McCarthyism and witch hunts. On the other hand, ‘The Offspring’ delves into Data’s successful creation of a child, his experiences as a new parent, and the prejudices he encounters. Both episodes exemplify TNG’s ability to explore real-world issues through a sci-fi lens.

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In discussing his fondness for these episodes with StarTrek.com, Dorn expressed, “I love courtroom dramas and ‘The Drumhead’ was a courtroom drama. Really wonderful. Great performances.” He went on to say, “Patrick Stewart was excellent, and I really love that one.” Transitioning to his next choice, he continued, “And ‘The Offspring’ where Data builds a child. I thought there were some wonderful performances in that.”

Dorn’s selections may come as a surprise for two reasons. First, while both episodes are exceptional, they aren’t often considered at the very top tier of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Episodes like ‘The Best of Both Worlds’, ‘The Inner Light’, ‘Tapestry’, ‘Chain of Command’, ‘The Measure of a Man’, ‘I, Borg’, and ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’ tend to dominate that discussion. Second, these episodes don’t particularly focus on Worf. Yet, Dorn’s appreciation for them, despite their divergence from his character, underscores their quality and the exceptional direction provided by Frakes.

Though Dorn’s story as Worf continues in Picard season 3, there’s always the possibility of him returning to Star Trek. Marina Sirtis has proposed a show centered around Worf and Klingon culture, an idea that Colm Meaney has expressed interest in participating in, should it come to fruition. For now, fans can relish Dorn’s contribution to what many consider the greatest TV series of all time: Star Trek: The Next Generation.