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People that watch science fiction seem to forget that Star Trek: The Next
Generation was filmed from 1987 to 1994, and that it accomplished the
breakthrough technical wizardry we now see in other sci-fi movies and
It was Star Trek: The Next Generation (STTNG) that accomplished the "orange screen", reducing by 2/3 the cost of shooting space sequences. It was STTNG that finally allowed for a very advanced and yet BELIEVABLE "evolved" human behavior involved in space travel.
I admired Captain Jean-Luc Picard for his reserved Brit style, and the tension between him and Dr. Beverly Crusher. Who did not like watching Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Geordi LaForge spar over human behavior? What about the short brilliant life of Lieutenant Natasha Yar? Who didn't tune in to see that? Commander William Riker was amazing to watch, as he grew a beard and a conscience -- while still being able to keep up with the great Lieutenant Worf, the only Klingon (as yet) in Star Fleet!?
Those of you out there trying still to wage the Star Wars - Star Trek battle for supremacy -- grow up! They are both inspiring stories in different universes.
Being a child of the late 20th century, I never had the chance to grow up'
with the original Captain Kirk and gang; However, lucky me I had Captain
Picard to idolize.
While Captain James Tiberius Kirk was the trigger happy, love crazed gigolo, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was (and still is) the gentle, sensitive diplomat. Realizing that you cannot simply compare Kirk's crew to Picard's crew, you must evaluate The Next Generation on it's own merits.
It's a show that had very well written stories, and each week there was a different hero from the no named ensign, to the captain himself. Several of the stories developed into true sagas and much of the plots involved many of the original cast. Bringing Spock into The Next Generation was a true piece of art.
You must keep in mind that the budget for The Next Generation was a great deal larger than that of the original show. With that in mind, the special effects were superb, not only for a television show, but for movies as well. The Next Generation brought some very cool gadgets into our lives including tricorders, androids, and, of course, the most dreamed about invention the Holodeck! What a great thing that would be!
While I would never doubt that the original Star Trek series is a classic, after all, they did name a Space Shuttle after the Enterprise, The Next Generation brought the 21st century into our homes each and every Saturday night, and helped us to believe that we can `Boldly go where no man have gone before!'
The occasional campiness of the 1960's Star Trek series was not at all
evident in Star Trek: The Next Generation, arguably the best science
television series to ever be aired. It's funny TNG wound up so brilliant,
considering the first two seasons were a bit iffy in terms of quality.
show ended up the ultimate representation of Star Trek, with an immensely
engaging crew with a great sense of camaraderie, intelligent and
stories, and special effects that were excellent by television
With the exception of Wil Wheaton, the cast was uniformly superb. Patrick Stewart had a lot to live up to as a successor to William Shatner's Kirk. With his magnetic presence and wonderful acting chops, he's crafted a very different individual from Kirk, and probably my favorite Trek character, period. Jonathan Frakes made for a likeable, intriguing Commander Riker, who's occasional rowdiness reminded me a bit of good old Kirk. Brent Spiner is simply terrific as the android, Data, who aspires to be more human. I can't imagine anyone else in the role, which is probably the highest praise you could give to an acting performance. Michael Dorn excelled as the tough Klingon Worf, Levar Burton was immensely likeable as chief engineer Laforge, and rounding out the cast were the series' two sexy and smart women, Marina Sirtis as Counselor Troi and Gates Mcfadden as Dr. Crusher (the latter of whom looks even more beautiful now than she did in her first season on TNG).
The series has had a barrage of standout episodes, whether it was with suspenseful ventures into the unknown (the first appearance of the Borg) to the ultimate cliffhanger in The Best of Both Worlds, The Next Generation was an exercise in masterful storytelling and vivid characterization. Since then, three shows have spawned from Trek lore: Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. I have only seen one episode of Enterprise (and clearly, it didn't make much of an impression on me), but I had sporadically watched DS9 and Voyager, enough to know neither of them were overall quite as compelling as TNG (the only aspect they definitely had over TNG were in the sets and visual effects). For me, that's rather odd, since I often have a preference for a TV series that follows through a central storyline, as both DS9 and Voyager have, but it simply goes to show how each stand-alone episode of TNG made an impression.
When the TNG series premiered in 1987, it wasn't greeted well by many
of the old-time Trek fans, including myself. It didn't help matters
that one of the earliest episodes, "The Naked Now" was a superficial
retread of the classic "The Naked Time" from '66. The new episode
should have served as a way of spotlighting several of the new crew,
but all it did was show them all in heat. I wasn't too impressed. What
did work was keeping the central theme of exploration (something lost
in the offshoots, DS9 & Voyager). The new Enterprise was twice as large
as the original, with about a thousand personnel aboard. Capt. Picard
(Stewart) was a more cerebral, diplomatic version of the ultimate
explorer we had known as Capt. Kirk. Again, Picard wasn't too
impressive in the first two awkward seasons, as some may mistake his
caution for weakness. The Kirk-like first officer Riker (Frakes) was
controlled by Picard, so the entire crew of Enterprise-D came across as
a bit too civilized, too complacent for their own good. It's
interesting that this complacency was fractured by the most memorable
episode of the first two years, "Q Who?" which introduced The Borg. All
of a sudden, exploration was not a routine venture.
Other memorable episodes of the first 2 years: the double-length pilot, introducing Q; "Conspiracy"-an early invasion thriller; "Where No One Has Gone Before"-an ultimate attempt to define the exploring theme; "The Big Goodbye"-the first lengthy exploration of the new holodeck concept; "Datalore"-intro of Data's evil twin; "Skin of Evil"-death of Tasha Yar; "11001001"-perhaps the best holodeck story; and "The Measure of a Man"-placing an android on trial. Except for "Q Who" the 2nd year was even more of a letdown from the first. Space started to percolate in the 3rd season. I liked "The Survivors"-introducing an entity resembling Q in a depressed mood, and "Deja Q" with both Q & Guinan squaring off, as well as other alien beings. A remaining drawback was the 'techno-babble' hindering many scripts, an aspect which made them less exciting than the stories of the original series. As Roddenberry himself believed, when characters spoke this way, it did not come across as naturalistic, except maybe when it was Data (Spiner), the android. The engineer La Forge (Burton), for example, was usually saddled with long, dull explanatory dialog for the audience.
In the 3rd year, truly innovative concepts such as the far-out parallel-universe adventure "Yesterday's Enterprise" began to take hold, topped by the season-ender "The Best of Both Worlds,part 1" in which The Borg returned in their first try at assimilating Earth. After this and the 2nd part, the TNG show was off and running, at full warp speed. There are too many great episodes from the next 4 seasons to list here, but I tended to appreciate the wild, cosmic concept stories best: "Parallels"(s7); "Cause and Effect"(s5); "Timescape"(s6); "Tapestry"(s6); and the scary "Frame of Mind", "Schisms" and "Genesis." There's also the mind-blowing "Inner Light"(s5), "Conundrum" and "Ship in a Bottle"(s6), "Second Chances." The intense 2-parter "Chain of Command" was almost like a film, and the great return of Scotty in "Relics" was very entertaining, though it showed you can't go home again. The show also continued to tackle uneasy social issues, as in "The Host", "The Outcast", "First Contact" and "The Drumhead" as well as political:"Darmok", "Rightful Heir", "Face of the Enemy" and "The Pegasus." The series ended on a strong note, "All Good Things..." a double-length spectacular with nearly the budget of a feature film. But it wasn't really the end. A few months later, an actual feature film was released "Star Trek Generations"(94). It's rather ironic that the TNG films couldn't match the innovation and creativity of the last 4 seasons of the series. "Star Trek Insurrection"(98) for example, is a lesser effort than any of the episodes mentioned above.
Nearly twenty years after the original Star Trek was cancelled by NBC,
Gene Roddenberry and Paramount sought to capitalize on the enormous
success of TOS in syndication and on the big screen. Roddenberry
decided to make the new series with few connections to the original, so
that it could stand on its own. Many fans didn't like the idea of new
characters, but Roddenberry pressed ahead, and Star Trek: The Next
Generation was born. British stage actor Patrick Stewart assumed the
role of Frenchman Captain Jean-Luc Picard, bringing gravitas,
phenomenal acting skills, and an English accent that would become the
boon of many jokes; Jonathon Frakes became William T. Riker, the
Kirk-esque "Number One" with a love for the ladies and jazz; Brent
Spiner was cast as Data, the android who envied human emotion; Gates
McFadden was Dr. Beverly Crusher, the CMO with a complicated past with
Captain Picard; Wil Wheaton was her irritating son Wesley, who would
long annoy the fans; Michael Dorn brought a distinct presence to the
recurring role of Klingon officer Worf, so much that he was promoted to
regular. Marina Sirtis looked good as Deanna Troi, the psychiatrist who
had once been involved with Riker; LeVar Burton was cast as Geordi
LaForge, the blind Conn Officer; finally, Denise Crosby was Security
Chief Tasha Yar. Also in the pilot was an unnamed conn officer played
by Colm Meaney, who would later become Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien.
The first two seasons were of average quality, but they did a good job of setting up the characters and expanding the Trek universe. The series gathered its own following, although it continued to exist in the shadow of TOS. Q became an ongoing presence, appearing twice more after the pilot. His third appearance had him introducing the crew to the Borg, the fearsome cyborgs who would become Trek's most famous villains. Denise Crosby left TNG near the end of the first year, saying that her character wasn't being given enough to do. The producers also removed Gates McFadden's Dr. Crusher, introducing Dr. Kate Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) to induce more conflict. The fans did not take to Pulaski, so McFadden was brought back for the start of Season Three. That season was when TNG really came into its own, ending with the reappearance of the Borg. The Borg abducted Captain Picard, and turned him into one of them; Riker, now in command, gave the order to destroy the Borg Cube, while Picard was still onboard. That was the greatest cliffhanger in TV history, and TNG received a great deal of media attention as a result. Droves of new viewers tuned in for the fourth season premiere, which many perceived as a bit of a letdown after all the hype; but the viewers stayed, and TNG soared in the ratings, producing more and more quality episodes. While it did lose a bit of steam in its final year, it finished with an incredible series finale, All Good Things..., and then launched a movie franchise of its own.
TNG Top Ten Episodes: Conundrum; The Next Phase; Data's Day; The Best of Both World Parts I & II; Redemption Parts I & II; Reunion; The Defector; Face of the Enemy; The Pegasus; Elementary, My Dear Data;
Following the success of the Star Trek movies in the mid 1980s, the
producers decided to put ST back on the small screen with a shiny new
Enterprise a new crew and a whole host of new species worlds and
enemies. The first season and the majority of the second season are a
bit shaky but from the third season it picks up massively. Patrick
Stewart is now the captain, a more cerebral, diplomatic captain and
played wonderfully. This series introduced far more relationships
between the crew (Troi and Riker, Worf and his son, Crusher and Picard)
which play out beautifully over the course of the series. The Special
effects considering their now nearly 15-20 years old still look good
and the Enterprise D is a true flagship vessel.
There's so many good episodes it's kind of hard to pick out anymore than the main standouts most people have mentioned already, Yesterday's Enterprise, The Best of Both Worlds, The Inner Light are probably the most popular but everything, certainly post seasons one and two provides good solid sci fi.
This is an interesting, thought provoking, and most of all entertaining
series. Gene Roddenberry not only gave us a "Wagon Train to the Stars," but
he gave us interesting stories reflecting the great values our society holds
as truths. I know that "some" episodes were not that good, but that can be
said of any series that has a long history. For the most part this program
exceeds the mark of excellence in writing and entertainment. The delivery of
the writing by Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner et. al. truly brought the Star
Trek future to life. The casting of this program is wonderful!
I would hope that anyone with the desire for interesting intelligent science fiction would find this program enjoyable. If a person today is ONLY seeking an action packed thrill ride, then perhaps they may not find the value in Star Trek. But I have loved the program from the first day I watched Captain Kirk in "The Man Trap" from 1966. Since then I have watched the development of Trek with an open mind. I believe that ST-TNG to be the best incarnation of all Trek programs, to date.
In this day and age of terrorism, and threats of war, it would be nice if we could apply more of the philosophies from the possible future of this series. Maybe if more people watched this program the world would be a nicer place!?!
Star Trek:The Next Generation was a brilliant series. In a way it was
similar to the original but it was also fresh as well.
Firstly, there were similarity's. Data was similar to Spock and Riker could be considered similar to Captain Kirk. But the similarity's ended there. Everything else was fresh and original.
Picard was fresh-he was very diplomatic and understanding and a good negotiator. He was a good captain but preferred to stay on the ship and send Away Team's down to dangerous planets.
Worf was a Klingon which made for interesting stories. Worf may have been a StarFleet officer but he never forgot his Klingon heritage.
Data was similar to Spock but Data wanted to be human and he provided several laughs throughout the entire series.
Dr. Crusher was the ships doctor and I don't think anyone could say she was similar to Bones from the original series.
The stories were great throughout the series. It would be hard to rate individual episodes but the pilot episode and the last two-parter episodes were just awesome.
The Next Generation was truly an awesome series which did well considering it had a tough act to follow in Star Trek The Original Series.
I was originally a loyal and dedicated fan of the original series...when I'd seen all the episodes and all the movies, and needed something more to watch, I went and rented Generations...since it did still have some of the original cast. I was dissapointed by how little. I completely rejected the idea of a new cast...no one could ever replace the classics...but I went ahead and watched the rest of the movies...and then decided to watch a few episodes of TNG. Now about a year later I have seen almost every TNG episode, own seasons 6 & 7 o DVD, and own all the TNG movies with the exception of Nemesis. In my opinion, the people who said you couldn't redo Star Trek were quite mistaken. I love the way the characters interact, everyone on the show seems to have such a bond...on and off the screen. The show also deals with a great amount of philosophical ideas and moral issues. The character of Data is a perfect example of that. is he self aware? Or is he just an emotionless machine? I've always leaned towards the former...Brent Spiner does a wonderful job of giving a slight little hint of emotion that really makes you feel for the character and makes you doubt that he's nothing more than just a machine, and makes you question, just what is sentience? These are the kind of wonderful themes this show deals with. I'm not a big fan of TV in general...and there's very little on that will actually grasp my attention. But every night at 8:00 I sit down to watch TNG reruns. It's most definitely my favorite TV show out there.
I have been hooked on this show ever since I rented a couple of
episodes on video over 10 years ago. The series was shown on Norwegian
Television, but they stopped it at the end of the forth season. I then
bought the whole series, one season after another on DVD. I watched all
the episodes, and I realized how great this show is. Over the course of
the series, the characters deepen and it gets to be more and more
interesting. There is the mishap of the second season, but although it
was the worst season, it did have some very good episodes, like 'The
Measure of a Man' and 'Q Who?'. I have seen this show now five times
from start to finish (and I think that will be seeing much more), but I
have found that the episodes which are much action oriented, like the
double episode 'Chain of Command', was quite boring. I love episodes
like 'Darmok', 'The Inner Light', 'Disaster', 'The Nth Degree', 'First
Contact' and 'Who Watches The Watchers?' where the crew meet new races
or find themselves in a situation that they are not used to.
This is a series that can be appealing to people who like to see action in their science fiction and people who like to see, meet and know new races in their science fiction. This was a fantastic show.
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