Denise Crosby was originally cast to play Counselor Troi, and Marina Sirtis was cast as a security chief named Lt. Macha Hernandez. Shortly before filming the pilot, the two switched roles and the security chief's name was changed to Lt. Natasha Yar.
The original version of the Starfleet uniform was very uncomfortable for the actors, leading to a change of design from one-piece to a two-piece outfit in Season Three. Although the new uniforms were easier to wear, the jackets had a tendency to "ride up" when the actors were sitting down. Patrick Stewart got into the habit of straightening his jacket with a sharp downward tug as he stood up, an action that became known among the cast and crew as "The Picard Maneuver" (from a tactical maneuver mentioned in the show).
Two characters on the show were named after real people: The alien "Q" was named for Janet Quarton, a British fan; and Geordi La Forge was named after another Trek fan, George La Forge, who was confined to a wheelchair.
Picard rose to his rank of Captain when his commanding officer aboard the USS Stargazer was killed in battle. A model of the Stargazer can be seen displayed by the back wall in Picard's ready room. The ship itself was shown on Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Battle.
David Gerrold, a writer from the original series, was a consultant and uncredited story editor on the first two seasons. He left in a dispute after a script of his containing two implied gay characters and an allegorical reference to AIDS was pulled from production in the 11th hour. The story, titled "Blood and Fire", was resurrected in 2004 as a non-Star Trek novel by Gerrold.
Originally, Data was going to be the Chief Science Officer on the Enterprise (like Spock was on the original Star Trek) and wear a blue uniform. However, the color blue clashed with the android make-up and the idea was changed. Data was reassigned as the Chief Operations Officer and sported a gold uniform for all seven seasons (except for two episodes, which were; the episode Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future Imperfect in which we see him on the bridge as the First officer in the brilliantly designed computer simulation rouse of Commander Tomolak Andreas Katsulas, and the two-part episode "Chain of Command" in which he's promoted to first officer and wears a red tunic).
Running for seven seasons, the show briefly held the record for longest-running American live-action science fiction TV series (though several fantasy series ran longer). It was soon tied by its spin-offs Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. In 2002, the record was taken by The X-Files which ended after nine seasons. Stargate SG-1 has confirmed a 10th season, taking the record.
The Ferengi were originally introduced with the intention of making them the main, recurring adversaries in the series (very much like the Klingons were in the original Star Trek). However, audiences found the Ferengi too comical to take seriously as potential foes, and the race was gradually refined into the more (usually unintentionally) comical characters later typified by Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Borg eventually became infamous as Star Trek: The Next Generation's ultimate nemesis.
Many actors who originally auditioned for roles on this show later went on to star in other Star Trek series; including Tim Russ, the 2nd choice for Geordi LaForge, and Vaughn Armstrong, who auditioned for Riker.
Geordi LaForge has been promoted faster than any Star Trek character before or since. In the first season, Geordi was a Lieutenant junior grade; in the 2nd season, a full Lieutenant; 3rd season, a Lieutenant Commander. (Other characters have had that many ranks, but none were promoted as fast as Geordi was.) Star Trek: Voyager: Timeless, took place in the future, where Geordi was a Captain.
Each of the three live-action Star Trek series after the original Star Trek has had a cameo appearance by a character from its predecessor series in its premiere episode: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" had Dr. McCoy, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Captain Picard, and Star Trek: Voyager had Quark.
The character of Geordi LaForge was originally conceived to be Jamaican. When LeVar Burton was cast in the role, this plan was dropped; although a Jamaican actress (Madge Sinclair) later appeared as Geordi's mother.
Lieutenant Reginald Barclay, an Enterprise engineer, has the full name of Reginald Endicott Barclay III, according to the scripts of his episodes. This is a homage to the TV series Benson which had a character named Clayton Endicott III (played by Rene Auberjonois, who would later play Constable Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
The two-part arcs "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Unification" both contained 'graveyard' scenes full of wrecked and/or abandoned starships. These scenes were populated with study models that were considered for use in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (as possible versions of the Enterprise) and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (as the Excelsior). Some of the other wrecked ships were created via "kit-bashing," or by quickly mixing starship parts from many different models.
When a writer's strike hit the series at the start of the second season, several stories from the proposed late 70's series "Star Trek: Phase II", which was eventually dropped in favor of becoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture, were quickly dusted off and adapted for the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew.
The number 47 pops up an inordinate amount of times on computer screens, serial numbers, dates and so on. This tradition was started by writer/coproducer Joe Menosky and was soon picked up by the rest of the production team. Menosky said that he choose that particular number because when he was a graduate student at Pomona College, Professor of Mathematics Donald Bentley proved as a joke that all numbers are equal to 47.[See also Trivia entries for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager]
Most of the characters underwent minor changes before the show debuted: Picard's first name was Julien; Riker was spelled 'Ryker'; Data's name was pronounced 'dat-uh' instead of 'day-tah'; Wesley Crusher was Leslie Crusher, Dr. Crusher's daughter.
The sliding doors were very loud on the show and have been compared to sliding glass doors. The actors were instructed to hold their dialogue until the doors stopped; you will rarely see an actor delivering lines while a door is opening or closing.
Whoopi Goldberg (the re-occurring mysterious bar-keeper Guinan, seasons 2-6), was given the role after being a fan of the original Star Trek and expressing interesting in having a re-occurring role in the new series.
Jonathan Frakes returned to rehearsals at the start of the second season sporting a beard with the intention of shaving it off before shooting began, but the producers liked it and asked him to keep it. It remained for the rest of the show's run. (He eventually shaved it off during an ending scene of the movie Star Trek: Insurrection). In one segment Q sarcastically notes Riker "was more fun before the beard".
Many displays and readouts in this series also have smaller printing or sight gags that are actually too small to be read on a TV screen. These were known internally as "Okudagrams," after production designer Michael Okuda. One such joke is on the medical displays and reads "Medical Insurance Remaining".
Early in the planning stages of the series, Roger C. Carmel was offered the chance to return as his original series character Harry Mudd, but he died long before production would have begun on such an episode. Attempts were also reportedly made to get Leonard Nimoy to appear during the first season, but fans had to wait a few years for that to happen.
As of fall 2003, pieces of the original bridge including the chairs and consoles, and a large Enterprise schematic, are preserved and on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Close inspection of an oversized Enterprise schematic which was shown in nearly every episode reveals a detail invisible to TV audiences: the image of a mouse on a wheel in Engineering (the schematic is on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum). A Porsche can also been seen in the Main Shuttlebay.
Characters on the Enterprise frequently access hidden ship's mechanisms by removing "Mees Panels" from the walls. This is two-pronged inside joke: Jim Mees was TNG's set decorator, and "Mees Panels" are a reference both to him and to the original series' "Jefferies Tubes", named for original prop master Walter M. Jefferies.
The character of Tasha Yar was originally going to be a Latina named Macha Hernandez, inspired by the tough female marine Vasquez in Aliens. In fact, Jenette Goldstein (who played Vasquez) auditioned for this character, and later played the Enterprise-B science officer in Star Trek: Generations.
In this series, the uniforms worn by Romulan military officers have a variety of patterns and colors on them. These do not appear to have anything to do with the Romulan's position or rank; a popular fan theory is that Romulan uniforms are patterned according to family or clan affiliation.
As a running gag, bathrooms are never shown on Enterprise schematics. This joke is referenced in Star Trek: First Contact when Zefram Cochrane asks Geordi, "...don't you people from the 24th Century ever pee?" Also, in an interview during the mid 70's on Tomorrow Coast to Coast with 'Tom Snyder', James Doohan stated that bathrooms weren't needed in the future because "that's what phasers are for".
This show inspired one of the very first fandubs ever created, "Star Trek: Sinnlos im Weltraum" (German for "Star Trek: Pointless in Space"). Two fans used a VCR, a microphone and some Star Trek sounds (which were embedded in a merchandise key fob) to create their own version of some episodes. At first, in the mid 90s, they were distributed on VHS and were only available to a small group of Star Trek fans. But with the rising popularity of the Internet, the episodes got a much wider audience, subsequently gained cult status and, to this day, are shown at Star Trek conventions. Meanwhile they were approved by Paramount and it's legal to download them.
Marina Sirtis, a Londoner, initially delivered her lines in what was supposed to be an alien-sounding accent because Troi was half human/half Betazoid. However, when Majel Barrett appeared as her mother, Lwxanna, she spoke in her American accent. Sirtis then developed Troi's accent into an Eastern-European sound, as it was decided that was where Troi's human father came from.
According his own diagnostics, Commander Data's data storage capacity is 800 quadrillion bits. This translates into 100 petabytes or 100 PB. For comparison purposes, the HTML content of the internet ca. 2005 is estimated at 1-2 PB.
A "Grand Corridor" set, intended to go around the perimeter of the Enterprise-D's saucer section, was conceived but scrapped before being constructed because it would have been too expensive to maintain. It was resurrected as part of Star Trek the Experience: The Klingon Encounter.
Along with other humorous readouts, the table in Engineering has an item labeled "Infinite Improbability Generator" in a reference to the propulsion system aboard the Heart of Gold in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
When the cast decided to lobby for a salary increase, actor Wil Wheaton's first offer from the producers was to instead have his character's rank raised to Lieutenant. His response was, "So what should I tell my landlord when I can't pay my rent? 'Don't worry, I just made Lieutenant'?"
A different piece of theme music was composed for the series before the decision was made to reuse Jerry Goldsmith's theme. This unused title music was later issued on one of the Next Generation soundtrack CDs produced by GNP Crescendo records in the US.
When the Enterprise was initially being designed for Star Trek: The Next Generation, the producers conveniently located a transporter room directly off the main bridge. Gene Roddenberry nixed the idea, saying he wanted the characters to have conversations in the turbolifts before/after embarking on a mission. The in-bridge transporter concept would eventually appear in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
At the suggestion of the producers, Patrick Stewart wore a hairpiece for his first meeting with Paramount executives. Evidently, the creative staff on the show worried that Paramount would veto Stewart's casting if they knew the actor was bald. After the meeting, the executives agreed to cast Stewart, on the condition that he not wear the same ridiculous toupee.
When Gates McFadden originally signed on for Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was on the understanding that her character would ultimately become a romantic foil for Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This did not materialize and she was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of character development for Dr Crusher. Clashes with the producers led to her being released from her contract, hence Dr Crusher's absence from Season 2 and replacement by Dr Kate Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur. Ironically Muldaur would later decide that serial television was not for her, so producer Rick Berman personally phoned McFadden to try to convince her to return for Season 3. A call from her dear friend Patrick Stewart clinched the deal for McFadden.
Lt. Worf wears a golden Klingon baldric (sash) during the show's first season. At the start of the second season after Worf is promoted to Chief of Security, he wears a silver baldric, and wears the same one through the rest of the series run, as well as on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The only exception is in the final episode during the past timeline, where Worf wears the gold baldric one more time.
Although Diana Muldaur's character of Dr. Pulaski appeared as a regular character for the entire length of Season 2, her name was never listed in the opening credits for the series. Her name always appeared in the Guest Stars under "Special Guest Appearance".
From the beginning of the series until the end of Season 4, the wall opposite the windows of the Enterprise-D's observation lounge featured an "alto-relievo"-style display of scale sculptures of six of the Earth vessels previously commissioned as the USS Enterprise. At the beginning of Season 5 and up until the end of the series, the Enterprises sculptures were replaced with a standard wall, with no explanation ever provided about their removal. The previous Enterprises display would not return again until Star Trek: First Contact, where the Enterprise-E's observation lounge has a glass-covered display with seven golden models of the previous Enterprises. The only exception is in the final episode during the past timeline, where we briefly see the Enterprise sculptures one more time.
Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) is the only regularly appearing doctor from any of the five series not to say "I'm a doctor, not a ____" in some capacity. Diana Muldaur (Dr. Pulaski) never said it either, but she was not credited as a regularly appearing cast member.
Early on in the series broadcasts, there were disputes among Star Trek fans as to which series at that time were superior, the original series or the next generation. The 80's sitcom, Night Court, spoofed this in a segment where a group of Trekkies are brought before Judge Stone (Harry Anderson) for getting into a fist fight over this dispute. Brent Spiner, who plays Lt. Commander Data, appeared in several episodes of Night Court as Bob Wheeler, the patriarch of a hillbilly family that kept getting hauled before Judge Stone for one wacky reason or another.
Some characters have their origins from the proposed Star Trek Phase II series. Riker and Troi appear based on Decker and Ilia from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and originally intended for Phase II. Data is based on Xon, a full Vulcan lacking emotion with high intelligence who aspires to learn about and attempts to mimic human behavior. In addition, Phase II would have seen Kirk as mostly ship bound, matured and tempered by experience, while mellowing with age, traits given to Captain Picard.
Before the decision was made to air the series in first run syndication, producers considered an offer to air the show on the FOX Network, which was launched at roughly the same time the series was. Many FOX affiliated stations, particularly those just going on the air, broadcast the series as part of their non FOX Network programming.
Tasha Yar was the first regular Star Trek character to be permanently killed off. This is in line with the original Star Trek, which had developed a reputation for killing off Enterprise Security Officers during the course of an away mission.
When producers decided not to bring back Diana Muldaur for Season Three, they considered introducing a new Doctor to the series. Fans had expressed their disappointment over Gates McFadden's departure after Season One, and rather than introduce the third doctor in as many seasons, Producers decided to bring back McFadden as Dr Crusher.
Initally, Worf wasn't to be a part of the series, and when first created only meant to be a recurring character. To set the series apart from the original Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry did not want to use any of the aliens from the original series in any capacity. Worf was created as a compromise between Roddenberry and the other producers, and Roddenberry's sanction of excluding original series aliens was gradually dropped.
The Next Generation was an apt term for at least two of the series crew members. First season regular Denise Crosby was the granddaughter of entertainer Bing Crosby, and series writer Tracy Tormé was the son of singer/songwriter Mel Tormé.
After the second season, producers planned to establish that Geordi had undergone an experimental medical procedure to permanently restore his natural eye sight and eliminate use of his VISOR. However, recognizing that the character had become a positive role model for the disabled community, producers dropped the plan.
The motto of Starfleet Academy, "Ex Astris, Scientia" ("From the stars, knowledge") is based on the motto of the United States Navy, "Ex tridens scientia" (From the sea, knowledge). The crest of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission was "Ex Luna, Scientia (From the moon, knowledge)".
After authorizing Paramount to do a new Star Trek TV series, Gene Roddenberry initially was to have no involvement with the show. After hearing some of the original ideas and concepts for the show, he changed his mind and signed on as Executive Producer.
Paramount felt that a Star Trek sequel/spin-off series would ultimately be cheaper to produce than a direct revival of the original series. Specifically it was felt that lesser or unknown actors wouldn't have the same salary demands that the existing actors would.
Denise Crosby left the series due to feeling dissatisfied with the proper development of her character, and the desire to pursue film roles. Crosby credits with understanding her reasons and respecting her wishes to leave the series. Crosby also maintains that most other producers would have made her stick to her contract and stay with the show.
The first season features four different Chief Engineers: MacDougall; Argyle; Logan; and Lynch, who all appeared in separate episodes. At one point it was indicated that the Enterprise had a team of rotating Chief Engineers. Argyle was the only one to make two appearances, and in addition was portrayed as Chief Engineer in the earliest novels and DC Comics Limited Series based on the show. This lead to speculation that he would become a permanent character, but the Chief Engineer's position was given solely to LaForge beginning with the second season.
As rights holders to the Star Trek franchise at the time, DC Comics published a six issue limited series based on the show from late 1987 to early 1988. This was followed up by a regular comic book series by DC which lasted from 1989 to 1996, and included this adaptation.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is the only captain in a Star Trek series who did NOT originate from the United States, as he came from the town of Labarre in southern France. Captain James T. Kirk (Star Trek) was from Riverside, Iowa, Captain Benjamin Sisko (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) was from New Orleans, Louisiana, Captain Kathryn Janeway (Star Trek: Voyager) was from Bloomington, Indiana, and Captain Jonathan Archer (Star Trek: Enterprise) was from Upstate New York.
Picard often called Riker Number One. This stems from British Naval history in which first officers were traditionally called Number One. The term had also applied to the otherwise nameless Enterprise First Officer in the original series pilot Star Trek: The Cage. Picard's French heritage is also an homage to that country's history of noted explorers.
The genesis for the creation of Data stemmed from an earlier TV project by Gene Roddenberry. In 1974, Roddenberry created an unsold pilot for a proposed series called The Questor Tapes, which centered around an Android studying humanity while seeking his creator.
As the show progressed, writers had hoped to depict a shipboard wedding involving one of the show's characters. Producers at one point considered having Picard being permanently married, but ultimately decided to have lead recurring character O'Brien married instead. At one point O'Brien's wife was to be a female crew member who replaced Wesley as the ship's Con Officer.
Using simple math and the Year 2364 reference point established in the Season One finale Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Neutral Zone, one can easily convert a Stardate given in any episode into standard calendar format. The 5-digit stardate format used in this series calculates to 1000 units per year (i.e. the time span between Stardate 41000.0 and 42000.0 is one full Earth year). Take for example the first episode Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint_. The first stardate given in the episode is Stardate 41153.7. As this is the first season, we know it takes place in the year 2364. As for month and day, take the last 3 digits plus decimal (xx153.7) and divide it by 1000 (to get 0.1537), then multiply it by 365 (366 for leap years such as for 2364) and you will get the day of the year (56th day of the year in this case). Therefore Stardate 41153.7 translates to February 25th 2364. Using this same method, the last episode of the series, the Season 7 Star Trek: The Next Generation: All Good Things... takes place on Stardate 47988, which translates to December 26th 2370 (xx988 divided by 1000 times 365 = 360th day of the year).
Prior to being cast as Picard, Patrick Stewart had never seen a full Star Trek episode or movie, and was largely unaware of the series' iconic status. As a result, he said he felt no intimidation in taking the part, which made it easy for him to settle into the role.
Michael Dorn has said that being cast as Worf enabled him to finally break away from the "nice guy" roles he had primarily played prior to the series. Dorn's voice also got naturally deeper as a result of the vocal inflections he used for the part of Worf.
When first introduced, Worf's son Alexander was played by Jon Paul Steuer. After deciding to add Alexander as a recurring character, Producers wanted the role to be played by a more experienced child actor. Brian Bonsall was cast in the role on the strength of his experience in episodic television on the 80s sitcom Family Ties.
While there were negotiations to sell Star Trek: The Next Generation to one of the major TV networks, it was ultimately decided to air the series in syndication as that was how the original Star Trek ultimately found success. In addition, Gene Roddenberry maintained resentment over network interference with the original series, as well as other attempted series, and wanted to work independently from the networks.
Whoopi Goldberg first inquired about appearing on the show prior to its debut. It was nearly a year before she heard back from anyone on it, as producers initially didn't think her inquiry about a role on the show was serious.
Beginning with season three, each season ended with cliffhanger episodes. Initially the first season was to end in a cliffhanger, but the plans were scrapped due to the impending Writers Strike. Had the cliffhanger happened, season two would have begun with the introduction of The Borg, who would debut in the latter half of that season.
Wil Wheaton left the show towards the middle of the fourth season to pursue film opportunities. Wesley was written out by being accepted into and departing for Starfleet Academy. Wheaton would reprise his role as Wesley in guest appearances during each of the show's remaining seasons, as well as brief cameo in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Gene Roddenberry initially refused to cast Patrick Stewart for Picard. Roddenberry had envisioned a younger captain with a full head of hair. But Stewart so impressed producer Robert H. Justman that Justman campaigned for him to be cast. Roddenberry finally relented after every other considered actor auditioned and Stewart was the only one who was right for the role.
When Gates McFadden was dismissed for the second season, it was explained that Dr. Crusher had left the Enterprise to take a post at Starfleet Medical. Other than Crusher's return in the third season, no explanation was given for Dr. Pulaski's departure. Pulaski was barely mentioned and largely forgotten throughout the rest of the series, and nothing was said of her post-Enterprise whereabouts.
When the show's cast was first announced, some print media reports described Patrick Stewart as an unknown British Shakespearian actor. Brent Spiner made up a poster for the door of Stewart's dressing room reading "Beware: Unknown British Shakespearian actor!"
The original concept for Counselor Troi (at the time called Lieutenant Commander Troi) portrayed her as a sexually voracious, four breasted alien. D.C. Fontana personally lobbied Gene Roddenberry that this concept was ridiculous and would require unfeasible make-up, so the idea was dropped.
Original series writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold both brought separate WGA arbitration suits against Gene Roddenberry, alleging that they both had authored large portions of this show's series bible, and deserved co-creator credit. Fontana and Gerrold had been among the first people contacted by Roddenberry to work on the series and develop early concepts for the show. Both suits were settled in favor of the writers who each received undisclosed settlements while Roddenberry retained sole creator credit. The terms of each settlement also prevent Fontana, Gerrold or anyone else associated with either arbitration suit from discussing the details of the settlement.
The original Starfleet uniforms were one-piece spandex jumpsuits that, per Gene Roddenberry's request, were made one size smaller than that of the actors wearing them. Roddenberry had wanted the suits to be perfectly skin tight over the actors' bodies, like a second skin.
Gene Roddenberry had made public his plans to add gay characters to the show, and had even commissioned scripts to introduce them at the start of the series' run. However, with his declining health and subsequent death leaving Executive Producer Rick Berman in charge of production, these plans were scrapped and as of 2012 no gay characters have appeared in any "Star Trek" TV series or film, though several were originally scripted as such. Though no public reason has ever been cited for this omission, writers David Gerrold, Ronald D. Moore, and actors Leonard Nimoy, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula have all implied that Berman has personally blocked all attempts to integrate LGBT characters into the "Trek" universe.
A year after the series ended, Michael Dorn reprised his role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine making Worf the only character featured regularly on two Star Trek series. Chief O'Brien was also a regular character on Deep Space Nine, but only a recurring one on TNG.
The series attracted a number of actors and other celebrities/public figures to play guest starring or cameo roles at their own request, since they were fans of Star Trek. Most notably of these was Whoopi Goldberg's frequently recurring role as Guinan. However, the producers were unable to fulfill every request they received, the most notable being one by Robin Williams. Due to Williams' schedule filming Hook, he had to forfeit his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Matter of Time, and Matt Frewer took his place.
Though all the live action sequences were shot on 35mm film, the special effects sequences were shot on video to reduce production costs. This later posed an enormous obstacle when Paramount decided to release the show on Blu-Ray, as the quality of the picture of the original master tapes was not high enough resolution to undergo the transition to Blu-Ray format. In order to confront this problem, Paramount had to recover all the original live action and special effects footage and use digital techniques to restore and upgrade the picture quality. Essentially, this meant every episode had to be re-edited from scratch.