Scenes that Make Star Trek Great: Picard Proves Data is Sentient

A Federation scientist wants to disassemble Data to learn how to create more androids like him to improve the quality of life of the entire Federation.  Only one problem — Data isn’t so keen on risking his life in the scientist’s experiment but Federation law doesn’t give a machine the right to refuse.  Paging Patrick Stewart — the scenery is in desperate need of chewing!

Unlike the first entry in this series, “The Measure of a Man” is included on just about anyone’s top 10 list of TNG episodes.  Broadcast when Next Gen was still trying to find its footing, it’s often considered to be an early example of the greatness the series would achieve in the following years.  The reason is simple.  “The Measure of a Man” is one of the finest examples of what Star Trek does best:  it tells us a story about a group of characters, but that story is actually about something much bigger.  The episode starts out being all about Data and his ability to refuse a Starfleet order.  Not even Picard, who is defending Data’s rights, realizes how much more is at stake — not just Data’s rights but the rights of any and all future artificial lifeforms in the Federation.  It takes a chat with Guinan for Picard to realize this (isn’t that always the way?), but once he sees that a monstrous injustice is unfolding in front of him, nothing will stop him from making sure his beloved Federation remains an unreproachable beacon on justice.

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