After returning from a cybernetics conference to the Enterprise, Data creates his own "child," much to the chagrin of his captain, and without regards to the ramifications with Starfleet.



(created by), (as Rene Echevarria)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Ballard
Diane Moser ...
Ten Forward Crew
Hayne Bayle ...
Ten Forward Crew
Maria Leone ...
Ten Forward Crew


After a visit to a cybernetics conference on an asteroid belt, Data returns and presents the human crew to the android Lal, which he considers his- child. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is appalled, to Data's utter surprise, that life was created without prior permission of any kind. Meanwhile Lal is allowed to choose, advised by Data and Troi, its own gender and racial appearance- human female. Data and others find educating and refining her software fascinating, but she makes progress no-one anticipated. Admiral Anthony Haftel comes to investigate, is impressed but wants this unique specimen removed from her 'parent', which proves no lesser drama then in a human family... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

10 March 1990 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 2366. See more »


Data teaches Lal how to blink, but earlier when Data and Wesley are discussing Lal she is already visibly blinking. See more »


Lt. Cmdr. Data: Admiral, when I created Lal, it was in the hope that someday she would choose to enter the Academy and become a member of Starfleet. I wanted to give something back in return for all Starfleet has given me. I still do. But Lal is my child. You ask that I volunteer to give her up. I cannot. It would violate every lesson I have learned about human parenting. I have brought a new life into this world, and it is my duty, not Starfleet's, to guide her through these first difficult steps to maturity,...
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

This is the Episode That Made Me a Star Trek Fan
2 April 2016 | by (L.A. (more or less)) – See all my reviews

A little back story: Through my teens I was an ardent fan of films and sci-fi (primarily Star Wars), and Star Trek always piqued my interest, but I was too intimidated to invest the time to acquaint myself with a franchise that stretched over television and film since the 1960s.

That being said, I came across this episode while scanning TV channels and was immediately drawn to the character of Data, an singular android who dedicates his improbable existence to evolve and grow in order to be more "human." His quest in this episode included creating a new android in the hopes of improving upon his own limitations through his designated "offspring" (as most true parents do), including having this android eventually find a way to develop authentic emotional reactions.

However, when Starfleet grows impatient with the development of Data's new android, they threaten to confiscate it, instigating a surprisingly emotional struggle over the philosophy of sentient rights and acceptance that ultimately becomes overshadowed in the face of tragedy. It's all the more astonishing to consider the most emotionally devastating moments of the episode feature characters who can't project any emotions at all.

Brilliantly written, performed, and directed, this is one of the finest hours of television that succeeded in appealing to an outsider of the franchise and making them a fan for life.

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