Not everyone was a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation at first
Star Trek: The Next Generation got off to a shaky start. There were many issues behind-the-scenes that caused writers to leave, so many, in fact, that William Shatner even produced a documentary about the series called “Chaos on the Bridge.” Still, there were episodes that stood out amongst the first and second seasons like “Conspiracy,” “Elementary, Dear Data,” and “Measure of a Man.” But many fans believe that TNG didn’t get its footing until the third season, and even producer Ronald D. Moore was afraid the series was going to be cancelled after the second season.
In The Fifty-Year Mission The Next 25 Years from The Next Generation to J.J. Abrams by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross [P. 162], Moore is quoted as having said he didn’t think the second season knew what it wanted to be, and he thought it was “kind of weak.” But he didn’t just feel that way about the second season as the quote goes on to say that “the first two seasons were kind of unwatchable.”
Star Trek: The Next Generation had some episodes that were better left unwritten
Hopefully, everyone agrees that “Code of Honor” from season one was the overall worst episode of the series, and season two’s “Samaritan Snare” left a lot to be desired. But there are plenty of rewatchable episodes on both seasons, although I would tend to agree with Moore’s assessment of “Up the Long Ladder” which he loathed.
Though Moore called the second season shaky and said that it seemed to lack focus and coherent storytelling, I think season two was better than season one as it had the best episodes of the two. The Next Generation really was trying to find its place in the Star Trek franchise the year it debuted, and fans were already leery about having a Trek series trying to usurp The Original Series.
Admittedly, the second season would have been much better with Gates McFadden serving as Dr. Beverly Crusher rather than Diana Muldaur as Dr. Katherine Pulaski. Had McFadden’s character been in danger of dying from the sickness that made people rapidly age, there would have been more drama and tension in that episode alone as fans had already grown to care for her. They hadn’t had a chance to do that with Muldaur.
So even though Moore thinks the first two seasons were “kind of unwatchable,” there are plenty of fans who appreciated season two for the strides it took in making the series a separate entity and showing fans that it wasn’t trying to overshadow The Original Series.