The new U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew set out 'to boldly go where no one has gone before.' Their first mission is to explore the mystery surrounding the creation of the Farpoint station located on planet Deneb IV. While trying to negotiate a friendly agreement for Starfleet to use this energy-powered base, Captain Picard and his crew also attempt to discover how the Bandi inhabitants of Deneb IV built the station. En route to Farpoint, Captain Picard and his crew first meet 'Q.' The mysterious and powerful being denounces the human race as barbarians and challenges the crew of the Enterprise to disprove his belief. If Picard and his crew are not persuasive in their arguments, they will be sentenced to death.
At the trial, 'Q' continues to denounce humans, while Picard defends his race and convinces 'Q' that the upcoming mission at Farpoint will be the perfect opportunity to prove his point. 'Q' accepts the Captain's proposal but gives him only 24 hours and a reminder that failing this test will mean death for the Enterprise crew. While docked at Farpoint, Picard is introduced to his new first officer, Commander Riker, and the rest of his crew. As they begin to investigate the station, they are startled by the seemingly magical qualities of the planet where one's wish becomes reality. While the away team searches through tunnels beneath the Farpoint station, an unidentified ship begins firing on the old Bandi city, causing heavy damage and numerous casualties.
The U.S.S. Enterprise and crew are summoned to investigate strange occurrences aboard the starship U.S.S. Tsiolkovsky, which has been monitoring the collapse of a red-orange star. Once aboard the troubled research vessel, the away team finds a ship littered with food, wine, discarded clothes, several frozen bodies and no survivors. Unknowingly, Geordi energizes back aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise carrying a contagious, deadly contaminant that begins to infect the entire Starfleet crew, making them feel and act as if they were intoxicated and mentally unstable.
The U.S.S. Enterprise and crew travel to the planet Ligon II to negotiate a treaty for the use of a rare vaccine needed on Stryris IV. The Ligonians board the starship appearing friendly, but startle the crew by ruthlessly kidnapping Tasha. To get Tasha back, Captain Picard must adhere to a strict Ligonian code of honor, which results in Tasha fighting for her life at the hands of her jealous kidnapper's wife.
The U.S.S. Enterprise is rendered powerless above an unknown and mysterious planet during a mission to repossess a stolen T-9 energy converter from Ferengi culprits. Captain Picard, believing the Ferengi bandits initiated this withdrawal of energy, announces the U.S.S. Enterprise's willingness to resolve the situation. However, the Ferengi vessel reports that it faces the same predicament. In an effort to discover who or what has tampered with their energy supplies, away teams from both the Ferengi and U.S.S. Enterprise starships beam down to investigate the desolate planet.
An engineer and his alien assistant board the Enterprise to perform an experiment that would increase warp engine output. During the experiment, something goes wrong and the Enterprise ends up in a place where thoughts become real. The assistant from a race of 'travelers' with the scientific capabilities far beyond ours who tour the universe seeking those with potential. The traveler confides to Picard that Wesley is one of those beings with potential and should be guided and helped to grow. It is as a result of these comments, plus the knowledge and help that Wesley provides in Engineering that prompts Picard to make Crusher an acting ensign.
While transporting two adversary civilizations to the conference planet of Parliament, the crew of the Starship Enterprise pass through a mysterious 'cloud' containing combinations of complex energy patterns. Immediately, strange things begin to happen on the ship. It seems that both Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher have become afflicted with confusing behavior, while the ship malfunctions and repairs itself with no available explanation. Soon after entering the strange 'cloud,' Assistant Chief Engineer Singh is killed while investigating the ship's mechanical malfunctions. At once the Starfleet crew begins investigating the circumstances surrounding Singh's death. Tasha questions the visitors aboard the Enterprise and Troi puts Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher under hypnosis to determine their thoughts during their spells of strange behavior. Both Dr. Crusher and Lt. Worf reveal that 'it felt as if someone or something had invaded their minds and bodies'.
After delivering a party of Earth colonists to the Strnad Solar System, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise anxiously awaits a pending shore leave on the pastoral planet of Rubicam III. The civilization, whose inhabitants are known as the Edo, is less advanced than those on Earth but is brimming with love, health and sensual pleasure. Vacation plans are suddenly thwarted when Wesley, playing with the Edo children, innocently violates a planet law and is sentenced to death. At the same time, the crew is confronted by a mysterious vessel that appears to be existing in two dimensions simultaneously. The vessel, protesting the installation of Earth colonists in the Strnad Solar System, startles the crew by sending a powerful light object that enters Data's mind and renders him unconscious. In order to determine the origins of the vessel, the Captain beams down to Edo and negotiates to save Wesley's life for a few more hours and asks for Edo assistance in determining the origins of the mysterious vessel.Beaming aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise with a knowledgeable Edo woman, the Captain soon learns the Edo consider the vessel as 'God'.
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise discovers an old style starship heading towards them shortly after a conference with a Ferengi vessel. Much to Captain Picard's amazement, it is soon learned that the old ship, the U.S.S. Stargazer, is the vessel he abandoned nine years earlier in the famous battle of Maxia. The Ferengi Captain, Bok, having since taken control of the U.S.S. Stargazer, informs Captain Picard that he is returning the vessel to Starfleet. Unknown to the Captain, a mind-altering device is also aboard the ship in his old belongings. As it turns out, Bok is seeking revenge for the death of his son during the baffle of Maxia, and the mysterious device he holds is used to inflict great pain on Picard. The Captain, his mind altered in terrifying ways, is forced to think about the horror of the Maxia battle. In an attempt to tarnish Picard's reputation, Bok also tampers with the U.S.S. Stargazer records to make it appear as if the Captain fired on an innocent Ferengi vessel in the Maxia skirmish.
While rushing to aid the survivors on a planet rocked by a lethal explosion, the U.S.S. Enterprise is stopped by the dangerous 'Q' entity who had interfered with their Farpoint mission several months earlier. The powerful 'Q' demands they abandon their rescue mission and partake in a deadly game which, according to 'Q', could result in either 'the greatest possible future' for the crew... or death! The game involves surviving a confrontation with fanged, animal soldiers created by 'Q'. Strangely, the major player in the game turns out to be Commander Riker, who is given Q's power and offered full membership in his continuum. After using his new-found power to save Wesley and Lt. Worf from the hostile creatures, Riker meets with the crew to discuss Q's proposal.
Counselor Troi's mother pays an unexpected visit to the U.S.S. Enterprise, informing her daughter of the marriage plans her late father had arranged on Deanna's behalf. Honoring the traditional Betazoid customs, Troi dutifully, yet halfheartedly, prepares to marry Wyatt, the son of her father's best friend. Wedding preparations between the two families create humorous bickering and banter, not to mention confusion and mixed feelings for Troi's former lover, Commander William Riker. The wedding plans are thwarted, however, when Wyatt realizes his long-time fantasy lover is real and aboard a Tarellian vessel containing the last survivors of a biological warfare blast.
The U.S.S. Enterprise must pass through the quadrant Korona IV, which is inhabited by the Jarada, an insect-like race that demands a precise greeting from the Captain of any ship wishing to enter their territory. Taking a break from the difficult greeting preparations, Captain Picard visits 1941 San Francisco in the fabricated environment of the holodeck. He is soon joined by Data, Dr. Crusher and Whalen, the ship's historian. But when the holodeck malfunctions, the four crew members are trapped in a 20th century murder adventure in which Whalen is killed and Picard, Data and Crusher are held at gunpoint by gangsters. While Wesley struggles to repair the holodeck and get the kidnapped crew back to the ship, the Jarada threaten to prevent the U.S.S. Enterprise from traveling through their quadrant unless they are greeted by the Captain... in one hour!
The U.S.S. Enterprise crew investigates the mystery surrounding the disappearance of an earth colony in the Omicron Theta star system 26 years earlier, which coincidentally happens to the exact same time when Lieutenant Commander Data was discovered. While visiting Data's home planet, the away team discovers a laboratory containing android body parts. When Dr. Crusher and Chief Engineer Argyle assemble the parts, they bring to life a duplicate of Data! The real Data learns that the look-alike, named Lore, was once 'alive,' but was disassembled by the colonists on the planet who were jealous of Lore's perfection. As a result, a less-than-perfect android, Data, was constructed.
The U.S.S. Enterprise crew travels to Angel One, a planet run by women, to search for survivors from a Federation freighter disabled by an asteroid collision seven years earlier. The away team soon discovers that the survivors, all men, are fugitives on the planet because they refuse to embrace the female-dominated government. Despite their oppressed status, the fugitives turn down the away team's offer to return with them to the Enterprise. The reason? The men have taken wives on Angel One. Meanwhile, Captain Picard and his crew are ravaged by a highly contagious virus that Wesley and his friends contract during a field trip. At the same time, the ship is needed in the Neutral Zone to ward off hostile Romulan Warbirds.
The U.S.S. Enterprise docks at Starbase 74 where the Bynars, a species interdependent on computers, are scheduled to upgrade the ship's computer system. Instead of enhancing the starship's facilities, however, the Bynars program the ship's computer to read that the magnetic containment field is deteriorating and that the entire U.S.S. Enterprise will shortly be destroyed. Unable to locate Captain Picard and Commander Riker, Data evacuates the ship and launches the U.S.S. Enterprise back into space to avoid damaging the Starbase. Unbeknownst to Data, the Bynars have used a computer-generated woman to lure Riker and Picard into the holodeck, where they don't hear the alert to abandon the ship. Upon exiting the holodeck, the Captain and his First Officer realize that the ship is completely empty except for the Bynars, who have taken control of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The U.S.S. Enterprise transports a famous negotiator, Admiral Mark Jameson, to Mordan IV, where several Federation officials have been taken hostage by the planet's governor, Karnas. Although the crew is excited about having the legendary officer on board, Picard and Dr. Crusher are perplexed by Jameson. When Jameson beams onto the ship it turns out he is a terminally ill man in his eighties. As the voyage progresses, however, Jameson inexplicably begins to look not only healthier, but younger as well! When confronted by Picard, Jameson admits that he has taken an enormous dose of an experimental alien drug to treat his disease, which has resulted in a rapid de-aging process. Further, the Admiral reveals that Karnas' insistence that he act as a mediator is not coincidental. It seems that forty-five years earlier, instead of shrewdly negotiating a similar hostage deal with Karnas, Jameson gave arms to both Karnas and his enemies, thus igniting a devastating forty-year civil war. Karnas wants Jameson to return to Mordan... so Karnas can publicly execute him.
The U.S.S. Enterprise accidentally discovers Aldea, a planet with advanced technology that provides every need or want a person could have. Although Aldea has hidden itself from the universe behind a sophisticated shield, it's soon apparent that the discovery was no accident. Having lost the ability to reproduce, the Aldeans kidnap several children from the U.S.S. Enterprise, including Wesley, to perpetuate their race. When hostage negotiations fail, Picard struggles to find a method of penetrating the planet's shield while Dr. Crusher studies the cause of the Aldean sterility problem. Meanwhile, Wesley uncovers the key to the planet's sophistication-a computer known as the Custodian, whose power source is unknown even to the Aldeans.
At the Federation's request, a U.S.S. Enterprise away team visits Velara III where a group of terraformers are working to transform the seemingly desolate planet into one capable of supporting life. Tragically, a terraformer engineer is killed during their visit in a bizarre hydraulic room accident. While investigating the mishap, Data is inexplicably attacked by the laser drilling system. He escapes injury, but upon further exploration, Data and Geordi find a microscopic inorganic life form (Microbrain) that seems to be trying to communicate with them. They take the Microbrain back to the U.S.S. Enterprise where it begins to reproduce and project an energy force that compels Dr. Crusher to activate a quarantine seal around the medical lab.
Wesley is faced with a challenging test of his intelligence as he auditions to be a Starfleet cadet, but he does not realize that the psychological exam he is to receive is the more grueling barrier. Aboard the Enterprise, the Captain is investigated by a pair of Starfleet officers who seem to have one thing on their minds: finding some fault in Picard's logs with which to begin a court-martial to take him out of the command chair, suspecting Picard is part of a conspiracy within the ranks of Starfleet.
Lt. Worf must choose between his loyalty to Starfleet and his Klingon heritage when two Klingon fugitives take over the U.S.S. Enterprise. The fugitives, yearning to recapture the Klingon fighting days of the past, hijack a Talarian vessel and destroy a Klingon ship sent to capture them. Then, just as their disabled ship is about to blow up, the Klingons are rescued by the U.S.S. Enterprise. Unaware of the Klingons' true intentions, Captain Picard instructs Lt. Worf to show his Klingon comrades around the ship. During their tour, the fugitives attempt to enlist Lt. Worf in their cause. Meanwhile, a Klingon vessel approaches, and its captain informs Picard of the fugitives' crimes and demands their extradition. Before Picard can deliver them, one criminal escapes and the other is killed.
While investigating the disappearance of the U.S.S. Drake on the planet Minos, the crew battles aggressive energy spheres, swallowing sinkholes and invisible attackers. Arriving at Minos, the crew is met by a prerecorded sales pitch for highly-advanced weaponry. While exploring the planet Riker, Data and Yar are attacked by an energy sphere. Then, after Picard and Dr. Crusher beam down to investigate the crisis, the ground swallows them into a subterranean cavern. Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise comes under serious attack by an invisible enemy, which Lieutenant La Forge desperately fights to contain. Until the ship can adequately defend itself from the attacker, La Forge cannot beam up the crew members on Minos.
While studying magnetic changes in the Delos system's sun, the U.S.S. Enterprise receives a distress signal from a disabled freighter ship. The starship beams four of the passengers on board, along with the ship's cargo. Two of the guests are from the technically advanced planet of Ornara, and the other two are from its neighboring planet of Brekka. The crew is puzzled when the two groups immediately begin to argue over the cargo. Picard learns that the precious cargo is in fact a remedy for a plague which has gripped Ornara for two centuries. The 'cure' is manufactured exclusively on Brekka, whose citizens provide it to the Ornarans in exchange for food and other basic necessities. However, in this instance, the Brekkians claim the Ornarans did not pay for their cargo, and they prepare to take it back to Brekka. Pleading that their civilization will be wiped out without the medication, the Ornarans convince Picard to mediate. However, Picard is able only to convince the Brekkians to give doses to the two Ornarans on the Starship Enterprise. But as the Ornarans take the remedy, Dr. Crusher realizes that the alleged cure is nothing more than a narcotic...and that the Ornarans are a race of drug addicts!
While the U.S.S. Enterprise is en route to rendezvous with Troi's shuttlecraft, a bizarre malfunction causes the transport vehicle to crash on Vagra II. The only life form on the planet is Armus, a sinister entity that derives pleasure from human suffering. Picard orders Commander Riker, Dr. Crusher, Data and Lieutenant Yar to the planet to rescue Troi. Upon arrival, they discover that a strange entity has surrounded the crash site with a forcefield, preventing the away team from helping her.
While traveling to Sarona VIII for shore leave, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew experiences a bizarre phenomenon in which a moment in time mysteriously repeats itself. Shortly thereafter, the ship receives a distress signal from Vandor Four, where Dr. Paul Manheim has been conducting experiments in non-linear time. After rescuing Dr. Manheim and his wife Jenice, who turns out to be Picard's first love, the crew learns that Manheim's experiment not only caused the time distortion they experienced, but cracked a window into a new dimension. As a result, Manheim's days are numbered, since his neurochemistry has been damaged from floating between two dimensions. To save Manheim's life and prevent the aborted experiment from ripping into the fabric of the galaxy and confusing everyone's perception of reality, Picard must devise a plan to seal the hole into the other dimension.
While journeying to Pacifica, the U.S.S. Enterprise receives an emergency message for Captain Picard from Starfleet Captain Walker Keel, who requests a secret meeting. At a rendezvous on an uninhabited planet, Captain Keel and two other Starfleet officers tell Picard that they suspect a growing conspiracy in the upper ranks of Starfleet. Alarmed by Keel's accusations, Picard orders Lieutenant Commander Data to review all Starfleet directives during the past six months. Picard's concern escalates when Keel's vessel mysteriously explodes, killing all aboard, and Data's research reveals abnormalities in the highest levels of the Starfleet command. Convinced the Federation's security is at risk, Picard steers the Starship Enterprise toward Earth to confront Starfleet's top admirals. After requesting a meeting with the officers, Picard and Riker are invited to dinner to discuss the problem.
Waiting for Captain Picard's return from a Federation conference, the Enterprise crew discovers a disabled 20th century Earth satellite containing three perfectly preserved bodies, frozen for over 300 years by cryogenics. Upon his return to the Starship Enterprise, Picard informs the crew that they are being sent to the outskirts of the Neutral Zone, where two Federation outposts have been destroyed. The ship has been chosen to investigate the potentially volatile incident, which may or may not have been executed by hostile Romulans as a prelude to war. After Data beams back aboard with the three bodies, Dr. Crusher revives them. They are a housewife, businessman and entertainer from the 20th century, who must each struggle to cope with their new surroundings. Picard, preoccupied with the situation in the Neutral Zone, tolerates the visitors, but warns Riker to keep them at bay until a decision can be made about their future. Arriving at the edge of the Neutral Zone, the crew discovers that the Federation stations have simply vanished.