Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 3, Episode 16

The Offspring (10 Mar. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 935 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 6 critic

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.



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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

child | android | flirting | confusion | fear | See more »






Release Date:

10 March 1990 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Whoopi Goldberg successfully fought to change a line of her dialog in the scene when Guinan was teaching Lal the facts of life from "when a man loves a woman" to "when two people are in love", thereby further reinforcing the belief that in the 24th century, a person's sexual orientation is unimportant. See more »


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


[Wesley is visiting Data and Lal in the Cybernetics Lab]
Doctor Beverly Crusher: [over intercom] Dr. Crusher to Ensign Crusher. Aren't you supposed to be getting a haircut, Wesley?
Wesley Crusher: I'm on my way.
Wesley Crusher: [to himself] Parents.
Wesley Crusher: [upon reflection, to Data] Nothing personal.
See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Absolutely wonderful
27 January 2012 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

Data surprises everyone by creating an android "daughter". What's so wonderful about this episode is many things, foremost the excellent performances by Data (Brent Spiner) and Lal (Hallie Todd), interesting philosophical and ethical issues brought up in the episode, as well as excellent dialog between the characters.

The ending is also very, very touching. Perhaps one of the most tender moments in Star Trek history.

At the heart of the story is one of the main concepts that Star Trek has always conveyed: that certain rights are universal, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, etc. Star Trek just adds a few new dimensions we do not have to deal with: unusual alien sexualities, inter-species relationships, inter-planetary issues, and with Lt. Cmdr Data, the rights of sentient artificial life-forms.

What I thought made this episode so superlative is the conversation that Captain Picard had early on with Data. Picard is chewing Data out for creating another life-form without first consulting him when Data points out that other crew members do not consult Captain Picard with their plans to procreate.

Captain Picard's reaction is a typical one of someone being faced with something he doesn't want to deal with and doesn't understand and he reacts accordingly. However, over time, Captain Picard learns that he in fact is wrong about his judgment of the situation. This journey from ignorance to enlightenment is exactly how an educated, thoughtful person can evolve their positions when more facts are discovered.

It helps that Data is absolutely objective since he has no emotions. Captain Picard cannot argue with Data because Data always argues from facts and logic.

In the trivia section, there is mention that Guinan changed a line of dialog describing human affection as between a man and a woman to between two individuals. This obviously ties in nicely with something that wasn't as much of a national issue in the US back in 1989 but is a big issue today, namely gay marriage and gay rights. There is a nice parallel here with Data and Lal and same-sex couples. Someone like the Admiral who wants to take Lal away for study simply cannot imagine a parental bond between the two. This is similar to those who simply cannot imagine a bond between a same-sex couple today and don't wish them to have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. The hope is that more and more people will be like Captain Picard and evolve their positions over time. Evidence shows that is happening.

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