This Day in Television History – March 20th, 1989 – Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Contagion” Airs

A computer virus has infected the Enterprise, and could destroy it in an episode that aired on this day in television history.

star trek tng contagion

The Yamato is obliterated in an antimatter explosion. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS

“Contagion” is the 11th episode of the 2nd season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Written by Steve Gerber and Beth Woods and directed by Joseph L. Scanlan, it first aired in syndication on March 20th, 1989.

In the episode, the Enterprise-D meets up with their sister ship, the USS Yamato. They have found possible evidence of the ancient Iconian civilization, but suddenly the Yamato is destroyed, just before a Romulan ship appears. Are the Romulans responsible, or is it a computer malfunction—something that the Enterprise itself begins to experience.

The Iconians, introduced here, would go on to be an important part of Star Trek lore, reappearing in a Deep Space Nine episode, novels, and even the Star Trek Online video game. The USS Yamato, which appeared as an illusion in “Where Silence Has Lease,” appears here for real. Some of the soundtrack, composed by Dennis McCarthy, was released as part of a special 50th anniversary collection from LaLaLand Records.

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