One of the best things about Star Trek actors is that they aren’t just world-class performers: they are also fans of the very same franchise they are bringing to life. For example, Patrick Stewart enjoys revisiting Star Trek: The Next Generation from time to time, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the man behind Captain Picard has the same excellent taste as his biggest fans.
Patrick Stewart recently revealed that his favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode is the top-rated “The Inner Light.”
We didn’t need an empath like Deanna Troi to figure that out because in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Patrick Stewart revealed his favorite Star Trek episode was “The Inner Light,” which is IMDb’s top-rated TNG episode.
Patrick Stewart was always the noble heart at the center of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it sounds like he enjoyed “The Inner Light” because it helped that heart beat stronger than it had before. For example, he praised the “beautiful script” which involved Captain Picard being zapped by an alien beam.
While his faithful crew tries to revive him from what could be a fatal blast, Picard himself lives out an entire lifetime as a different man on an alien planet, and he is shocked to later discover that only 25 minutes of time had passed while he lived out a lifetime in his mind.
The young man who played Picard’s son is Daniel Stewart, the real-life son of Patrick Stewart, and this gave extra resonance to their scenes together.
In addition to the killer writing, Patrick Stewart loved this episode of Star Trek because it took place almost entirely away from the starship Enterprise. Fans might gush over those beautiful sets, but for the actors on the show, those beige, hotel-like walls and sets could get pretty boring week after week. Stewart sounded like he had real fun not being cooped up inside the familiar set, but that’s not the primary reason that he loved the episode.
Instead, the primary reason that Patrick Stewart enjoyed the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light” so much is that it helped him explore a fictional path not taken: as he says, he did his best to act out “what Picard would have been like if his life experience had been different.”
Part of that road not taken included having a wife and a son, and the casting of Stewart’s son certainly helped make this episode extra special. After all, the young man who played Picard’s son is Daniel Stewart, the real-life son of Patrick Stewart, and this gave extra resonance to their scenes together.
In short, Patrick Stewart is quite likely the finest actor Star Trek has ever had, and “The Inner Light” gave him a chance to flex dramatic muscles that don’t normally get enough of a workout. And he certainly wasn’t the only one who loved the episode.
This ep is the top-rated TNG episode on IMDb, which goes to show that Patrick Stewart has the same excellent taste as the Star Trek fans who helped transform him into a household name.
In addition to the killer writing, Patrick Stewart loved this episode of Star Trek because it took place almost entirely away from the starship Enterprise.
If you’ve never seen “The Inner Light,” we recommend that you go watch that one right away. It has a tight script, amazing acting, and the kinds of tear-jerking moments that are few and far between in the series. In fact, if you need a good cry, treat yourself to a double-feature of this episode and Deep Space Nine’s “The Visitor”…just be warned that you’ll probably end up tearfully calling your dad up as soon as the credits start rolling.