Season 7, Episode 15:
By the seventh season of “The Next Generation,” viewers were extremely familiar with all of the Enterprise’s top officers. We knew their flaws and foibles, and though their actions were usually admirable, we knew they were far from perfect. So it was a stroke of genius to do an entire episode from the perspective of junior officers who viewed their superiors in an entirely different light. As personnel evaluations were carried out, a set of younger characters were put through their paces by the ship’s elite, whom their juniors viewed with a mixture of fear, admiration, hero worship, and anxiety. By this point in the show’s life cycle, Picard and the rest of his team had very little to prove. But the literal next generation of officers had a lot to prove, and “The Lower Decks” ably explored the bonds among those characters, as well as their hopes, fears, and ambitions.
— Maureen Ryan