The title as it appeared in most episodes' opening credits.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known as ST:TNG or TNG) is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. The first live-action television continuation of the 1966 Star Trek television series, The Next Generation is set nearly a century later and features a new starship and a new crew.
The series was conceived and produced by original Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. It premiered on August 28, 1987 with the two-hour pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" and ran for 7 seasons, ending with the final episode "All Good Things . . ." on May 29, 1994. The show gained a considerable following during its run, and like its predecessor, is widely syndicated.
The voiceover during each episode's opening credits was similar to that of the original series: Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
The episodes follow the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), a Galaxy Class starship designed for exploration and diplomacy but capable in battle when necessary. Its captain is the seasoned and charismatic Jean-Luc Picard, who is more intellectual and philosophical than many typical protagonists in popular science fiction.
As in the case of the original series, the crew of the Enterprise-D meets many technologically powerful races. Many episodes also involve temporal loops, character dramas, natural disasters, and other plotlines without alien encounters. This crew favours peaceful negotiation more than the original series' crew did. The Prime Directive is involved more frequently and is followed more closely; it states that the Federation must not interfere with the development of cultures that are not capable of interstellar travel. This often creates moral conflict within characters, as they are sometimes bound to ignore races in need of help.
Another noticeable difference between the original series and TNG is the continuity of general storyline arcs across episodes; events in one episode might influence events in a later episode. One major recurring character, Q, bookends the series, appearing as the first major antagonist in "Encounter at Farpoint" and closing the series by forcing the crew into an ultimate test of human resourcefulness in the final episode "All Good Things..." His Puck-like behavior and calculated mayhem in many episodes makes him the most influential antagonist of the crew, as had been planned from the series' beginning.
Previously-established alien races appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Federation is now in an alliance with the Klingons, former enemies, though vast cultural differences remain. A "cold war" with the Romulans continues throughout the series. In addition, three new recurring enemy races are introduced: the Ferengi, the Borg, and the Cardassians. The Borg are the most significant threat in this series; in the episode "The Best of Both Worlds," a single Borg ship destroys thirty-nine Starfleet vessels at the Battle of Wolf 359 then continues to Earth, where it is stopped by the actions of the Enterprise crew.
in orbit above a planet.
The series greatly expands on a secondary theme of the original TV series: the idealism of humanity's dedication to improving itself. It also continues the original series' approach of using extra-terrestrial species and science fiction elements as a means of exploring many real-world social, political, personal and spiritual issues. The series continues to mirror Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future humanity which transcends war, racism, prejudice, and poverty.
Star Trek: The Next Generation has been praised for being more in the spirit of "traditional" idea-based science fiction than other action/adventure franchises which became more common between 1970 and 2000. However, it has also been criticized for shying away from conflict and character drama and too often having the crew solve its challenges through the discovery or invention of hitherto-unknown technology (known as Treknobabble).
Gene Roddenberry continued to be credited as executive producer of Star Trek: The Next Generation though his influence lessened as the series progressed. He died in 1991. Producer Rick Berman took over, and under his guidance, the series came to rely more on action and conflict.
The series also contains many story elements that are found in all the Star Trek series. For instance, an alien or android is the member of the crew, and a lot of dialogue revolves around explaining human customs to the alien (supposedly enlightening the human viewer in the process). Critics see this as a tired cliché.
The prospect of a new live-action Star Trek series after 18 years was much anticipated by the Star Trek fan community, but for some, anticipation turned to outrage when Gene Roddenberry announced that the new series would feature a brand new cast and be set in a time long after the adventures of Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew, making even guest appearances by the original cast unlikely. Before production even began on the series, factions of Star Trek fandom were at work circulating petitions and organizing protests against the new series.
Although it is not known what, if any, impact these protests had on the producers, it is known that as early as the first season efforts were underway to arrange for an appearance by Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock (the event wouldn't happen until the fifth season), and a script was reportedly written to feature the character of Harry Mudd, a recurring minor criminal from the original series (an episode cancelled when actor Roger C. Carmel died). DeForest Kelly made a cameo appearance in the first episode as an unnamed admiral (presumably Leonard McCoy).
As late as 2004 there remain some fans who steadfastly refuse to watch any of "modern" Trek, even though TNG (and later series and movies) have all featured characters from the original series, including Spock, Scotty, and Kirk himself.
By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was produced, the term "Trekkies" had come to imply a certain nerdy fanaticism among fans and was considered pejorative by some. In response, some fans of the new series decided to call themselves "Trekkers." The terms have become interchangeable, though most Star Trek fans now view the term "Trekkies" somewhat offensive.
Four feature films have been made featuring the series' characters, starting with Star Trek: Generations. It also paved the way for three later Star Trek TV series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. The series has also inspired countless novels, analytical books, web-sites, and works of fan fiction.
See also the list of Star Trek TNG episodes.
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer (Patrick Stewart)
- Commander William Riker, executive (first) officer (Jonathan Frakes)
- Lieutenant Commander Data, an android, chief operations officer (Brent Spiner)
- Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge, chief engineering officer (LeVar Burton)
- Lieutenant Worf, a Klingon, chief security and tactical officer (Michael Dorn)
- Commander Doctor Beverly Crusher, chief medical officer (seasons 1, 3-7) (Gates McFadden)
- Commander Doctor Katherine Pulaski, chief medical officer (season 2) (Diana Muldaur)
- Commander Counselor Deanna Troi, a Betazoid/human, ship's counselor (Marina Sirtis)
- Lieutenant Tasha Yar, chief security officer (season 1) (Denise Crosby)
- Ensign Wesley Crusher, Dr. Crusher's son (Wil Wheaton)
Every episode in which Diana Muldaur appeared as Katherine Pulaski listed her as a "special guest star" rather than a primary character. She was also a guest star in two episodes of the original Star Trek series.
- Alexander Rozhenko, Worf's son (Brian Bonsall): seasons 4–7
- Nurse Alyssa Ogawa (Patti Yasutake): seasons 3–7, Star Trek: Generations, and Star Trek: First Contact
- Guinan, wise bartender (Whoopi Goldberg): seasons 2–7
- Miles O'Brien, transporter chief (Colm Meaney): seasons 1–7 (also in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Keiko O'Brien, Miles O'Brien's wife (Rosalind Chao): seasons 4–7 (also in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Kurn, Worf's half brother (Tony Todd): seasons 3–7
- Lwaxana Troi, Deanna Troi's mother (Majel Barrett): seasons 1–7
- Professor Moriarty, a sentient Holodeck character (Daniel Davis): seasons 2 and 7
- Q, omnipotent member of the Q Continuum (John de Lancie): seasons 1–7 (also in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager)
- Lieutenant Reginald Barclay, engineer (Dwight Schultz): seasons 4–7 also in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: First Contact
- Ensign Ro Laren, a Bajoran (Michelle Forbes): seasons 5–7
- Sela, a Romulan (Denise Crosby): seasons 4 and 5
- Spot, Data's cat: seasons 1–7, Star Trek: Generations, and Star Trek: Nemesis (most likely played by 3 different cats, at least)
- The Traveler (Eric Menyuk): seasons 1, 4, and 7
- Ambassador Sarek, a Vulcan and Spock's father (Mark Lenard): seasons 3 and 5 (also in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek: The Search for Spock, Star Trek: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, and provided the voice in the Star Trek: The Animated Series. Sarek was played by Jonathan Simpson in Star Trek: The Final Frontier.)
Ms. Barrett (wife of Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry), has also been the voice of the ship's computer in most Trek incarnations, and was Nurse Chapel in the original series, as well as the unnamed first officer in the first pilot of the original series, "The Cage"
- Official Star Trek: The Next Generation web site (http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/TNG/index.html)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092455/) at the Internet Movie Database
- "Star Trek: The Next Generation (http://www.memory-alpha.org/en/index.php/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)" article at Memory Alpha, a Star Trek wiki