Star Trek: The Next Generation Easter Egg - What Season Is That From?

Have you ever been watching an episode of TNG and found yourself wondering which season it is from? Well here is one way to figure out. It probably isn't a true easter egg, but is a little relatively unknown tidbit which is still worth mentioning.

Anyone who has watched TNG long enough should know by now that in nearly every episode, Captain Picard records a log entry which contains a six-digit stardate, such as 46312.7. You can use the stardate to determine which season that particular episode of TNG came from. Here's how you do it.

During the entire run of TNG, every current stardate begins with the number 4. This has no value in the trick I am about to tell you, so ignore the leading 4. Also, ignore the digit after the decimal.

Once you eliminate the leading 4 and the number after the decimal, you will be left with four digits. It is with these four digits that you can determine which season that episode of TNG came from using the following method.

The first digit of the remaining four (The second digit of the stardate) indicates which season that particular episode came from. If it's 1, it came from the first season, 2 indicates second season, 3 third season, and so on.

You can even further narrow it down to which part of that season the show came from. The last three digits of the remaining four (The third through fifth digits of the stardate) indicate approcimately which part of the season that particular episode came from. The closer to 999 it is, the further along in the season the episode is. Proof of this are the season finales and the season premieres. During a finale the last three digits are always in the upper 900s (Like around 980), and during a premier the last three digits are always less than 100 (Like around 025).

Using the example given above, 46312.7, this means the episode which that stardate came from originated from about 1/3 of the way through the sixth season.

Now that you know how it is done, you will easily be able to identify which season an episode of TNG comes from, all because of the stardate which Captain Picard records in his log.

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  7.1/10 with 88 votes
Contributed By: Torin Darkflight on 01-23-2004
Reviewed By: Webmaster
Special Requirements: Any TNG episode (The more the better), good ability to pay attention
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mgmdrums writes:
That is so incredibly awesome!!! I am a HUGE fan of ST:TNG and I never knew that!!!! That just completely made my day! Thank you!
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dokeun writes:
It has long been known that 1,000 stardate units equal a year, so all you would have to do is figure out the thousands digit of the first season and you're good to go. This will work with any Star Trek series. Here's another, less exact way to tell what season an episode of TNG is from. If Riker doesn't have a beard, it's a first season episode (also if Tasha Yar appears). In the first two seasons, they used those crappy uniforms with the stripes on the black part that had no collars. So if they wear crappy uniforms and Riker has a beard, it's the second season. If the credited crew has nice uniforms, but all the extras are walking around in the crappy uniforms, then it's the third season. If everyone has nice collared uniforms, then its the fourth season or later.
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HD3K7.1 writes:
You can also tell it's season 2 if Dr. Crusher is not in the episode, but Dr. Polaski is. Who was in one of my favorite episodes "Elementary, Dear Data" I always liked Dr. Polaski, she seems to never be mentioned. Its like she is the forgoten doctor of Star Trek. In fact, I think she was in more episodes than Tasha, and everyone remembers Tasha. Correct me if Im wrong, but I was told Gates McFadden (who played Crusher) was pregnant durring the second season and that's why they had to replace her. They didnt want to explian how a widdow dr. was pregnant and they didnt want to hide it. Although when Nana Vistor (DS9's Kira) was pregnant they cleverly used the 'baby' of the only married couple (Miles and Keko O'Brien) and put it inside her. I guess Nana didnt want to be replaced with some temporary charactor that would just be forgotten, like poor Dr. Polaski. I was pleased, however, when I read the Star Trek novel mini series "Double Helix" to find that the good Dr. Polaski had gone on to Terak Nor (DS9 before the federation) and helped out Odo, Kira, Dukat, and the Ferengi with a strain of a terrible viris.
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anakinjmt writes:
Actually, the way I figure out which season an episode came from is my Star Trek companion guide, which had every single episode of every single season. :P But seriously, there are other ways to tell. Dr. Pulaski (yes, PULASKI, it's spelled that way in the official companion guide) is a good way to tell. Also, if the uniforms are the skintight ones with the V-like lines across the shoulders, it's season one or two. If you see those uniforms on some crewmembers, but the senior staff has the cloth ones, it's season three. If Wesley Crusher is an acting ensign, it's either season one, two, or three. If he has a Starfleet badge, it's either season two or three. If he's an ensign, it's season 4 (unless, of course, it's the "Best of Both World's" episodes, in which case it could be the season 3 finale or the season 4 premier). Starting with season 3, all senior staff members and most of the crew wear the cloth uniforms. In season 5, the captain gets a captain's jacket, which he wears with a gray colored uniform. If you see Riker without a beard, you know it's season one; if he has a beard but has the skintight uniform, it's season two. Also, Worf's hair changes from season to season. Season 1 and 2, it was short and behind his head; seasons 3-5, it was short but was around his head instead of behind it and it reached his shoulders. And seasons 6-7, it was long and tied behind his head in a ponytail. And, if you see Deanna in a standard uniform, it's season 6 or 7. See what all you can tell just by appearances?
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Sarah writes:
Actually, Gates McFadden wasn't in season two due to a "contract dispute", the specifics of which I do not know. Later, (somewhere around season four or five), Gates McFadden did become pregnant yet stayed on the show, wearing her lab coat more often than ususal. :)
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