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One of the best Star Trek episodes ever is celebrating its birthday

One of the best Star Trek episodes of all time is celebrating its birthday and its's time to look back on the sci-fi episode. And, there's another surprise too.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek

If you’re a Star Trek fan, you can treat yourself to some cake and a party because today — on June 1, 2023 — one of the best Star Trek episodes of all time is celebrating its 31st birthday.

That episode is, of course, The Inner Light. Settling in right at the end of season 5 before the wonky but fun finale, Time’s Arrow, The Inner Light is widely regarded by many fans and critics (including ourselves) as one of the best 45 minutes of Star Trek The Next Generation ever created. In fact, it’s a strong contender for the crown of ‘best episode’ across any of the Star Trek series.

The Inner Light follows Captain Picard as he’s hit by an energy beam from a mysterious probe. Waking up, he finds himself transported through time and space, and lives out the rest of his life (having a family, falling in love, experiencing loss) as an astronomer named Kamin.

But, these events are only taking place in the Star Trek captain‘s mind’s eye. In reality, he’s still aboard the Enterprise-D, though unconscious, and when he awakens only 25 minutes have passed in real time despite him having lived out a whole life.

It’s emotional, poignant, and thoughtful in the way that great science fiction can be, and stands as one of Star Trek’s finest hours.

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But June 1 isn’t just a milestone for the TNG episode. The Star Trek  movie The Search for Spock was also released on the day back in 1984, 7 years prior.

So it’s a day that calls for lots of celebration, and maybe even a pint of prune juice. If you’re really feeling in the party mood, that is. You can revisit both The Inner Light and The Search for Spock on streaming service Paramount Plus.

For more on Star Trek, check out how the worst TNG episode was created by a Writers Strike. Or, take a look at our picks for the best Star Trek characters and find out what we know about the upcoming Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 release date. You can also see our choice for the best TV series of all time.