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This video is two different videos, sorry about that!

Some great Star Trek TNG Episodes
If you watch Star Trek TNG from the beginning, which I heartily suggest you do, you will notice that it...kinda sucks. The first and second season have very few episodes that knock it out of the park.

The good news is that Star Trek happened before TV dramas started being serialized, so with the exception of (very important and rewarding) character development and universe backstory, you can pretty much watch any episode of Star Trek TNG you want to in any order.

This is NOT the case for later series..DS9 in particular was part of the push for serialized "you must watch every episode or you will fall behind" style TV.

So, without further ado, here are some of the most "What's it About" episodes of TNG, that also have great story and (most importantly) great Picard monologues.

Season 4 Episode 21 - The Drumhead. Especially important given current political conversations.

Season 2 Episode 9 - Measure of a Man. I am a big fan of episodes that focus on Data so...this one.

Season 5 Episode 25 - The Inner Light. I think about this episode all the dang time.

Season 4, Episode 14 - Clues. Just a really inventive and exciting tale of successful diplomacy, which isn't easy.

I mean, I could keep doing this all day...but that's a good start.

Thanks the Ryan Ruark and MZ Chase for help with the title!

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Preorder John's new book, Turtles All the Way Down, out October 10th 2017! You can find links to both the signed and unsigned editions here: http://bit.ly/turtlespreorder and information on how to (probably) get a signed copy here: http://probablysignedturtles.com
Good morning, John.

What is going on here? This is a Dr. Pepper can and it's never been opened and it is doing this. And it feels like it's super thin, like it's a weird aluminum but it's only because aluminum cans are actually, they're very fragile except that they have high tensile strength so when they're being inflated by the pressure inside of them, they actually get quite strong. When they're not, they're weak and floppy, but this has never leaked.

It's never been opened, but it's not got pressure in it. So let's open the normal one. *opens soda can* So that sounded normal. Now, let's open this.

My guess is it's gonna sound different. *opens soda can* Yeah. This is a flat Dr. Pepper.

What's happening? Normal Dr. Pepper *takes a sip* it tastes like regular Dr. Pepper. And then this, *takes a sip* the barest tiniest tingle. *reading* Authentic Blend of 23 Flavors! But a- you missed one!

So I guess the carbonation is necessary to make a coke can feel like a coke can, otherwise when it gets cold, all of the gas inside contracts and then you get a weird deflated coke can. I guess. If anybody has any better theories than that, let me know.

John, I've been thinking a lot about stories recently, uh, because I've been working on my own, because i've just read yours, and because it's the day after the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the most formative pieces of media in my life. So there's a guy who I never thought about when I was a young person, didn't know he existed, but who had a tremendous impact on me. Michael Piller was the showrunner for Star Trek: The Next Generation from the third season to the end of the show. The last couple years he shared that duty with Jeri Taylor. These people wrote a lot of episodes of Star Trek but also managed the writing room. Show running is a thing that back then, in the 90s, wasn't thought about by normal people, certainly not by me. I was like, eleven.

I was just watching an interview with Michael Piller today and he was saying that, uh, they once went in with an for a show and talked to Gene Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek about it. And the episode was like an adventurous chase across the universe, and Gene said, "What's it about?" And they were like, "Well it's about an adventurous chase across the universe." But the thing about Star Trek: The Next Generation, the thing that I don't find too often these days in TV sci-fi, is that it was always about something. Like it was about the plot, but I feel like if  they were going to sacrifice plot or meaning, they were gonna sacrifice plot first.

It's so easy to write a story about good versus evil and spaceships blowing up. It's hard to write a story about disability or racism or what it means to be human or like super cheesy stuff like the value of honesty, right? That's a hard thing to write about these days. Like, we're no longer The West Wing world, we are the House of Cards world. I'm a little- I'm a little bit sick of it and I think it's kind of boring. I wanna know what's it about. And if you tell me it's about how messed up the world is and just evil people doing evil things, I'm done! I'm done with it! I don't want it anymore! Give me stories that are about something, and something I can be hopeful about. Maybe? I mean- it's hard, right, don't get me wrong.

When people ask me what Turtles All The Way Down is about, the first thing I think about isn't the plot. Which is great, like it's very interesting, like it kept me hooked throughout the whole book. It's the themes. It's how do we maintain relationships with people who have problems with their brains? How do we understand people who experience the world in fundamentally different ways than we do? How is that a thing with people's brains just working differently but also in a world with such dramatic inequality as we have right now? You know nothing about what happens in the book from what I said, but maybe you know what it's about, which is a thing that I feel like we're not necessarily asking our self in today's media enough. I think I learned from Star Trek: The Next Generation- which I hope you all will join me in watching a ton of this weekend on Netflix- that themes are as important, sometimes more important, than plots. 'Cause diversion is kind of the least of what a story can offer us. We have to think about the stories that our world is built upon and that our selves are built upon, which is, it turns out, a great way to create media, whether it's video blogs or books or TV shows.

John, I'm really proud of you and your book. I cannot wait for other people to read it, and I'll see you on Tuesday.