Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Franchise: Star Trek
- Directed By: Gene Roddenberry
- Original Release Date: September 28, 1987
- Total Episodes: 178
Geordi La Forge
John de Lancie
Star Trek: The Next Generation is the third television series in the Star Trek universe. It followed Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-69) and Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-74). The series ran for seven seasons (1987-93), totaling 178 episodes, and is routinely considered to be the best of the 12 Star Trek television series.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION TAKES PLACE ABOUT 100 YEARS AFTER THE ORIGINAL
Inspired by Star Trek: The Original Series, we find the crew of the Starfleet starship, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) adventuring and exploring inside the Alpha Quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy. As he did with Star Trek: The Original Series, Gene Roddenberry created the second live-action Star Trek series.
The series timeline was set in the later part of the 24th Century, meaning the adventures of the D-class USS Enterprise began nearly 100 years after those of the original series.
One of the many noticeable differences between the two series is the D-class enterprise. No longer limited to a five-year mission, this Enterprise is much bigger with the crew being able to enjoy various recreational activities and quarters now large enough to share with spouses and children if they so choose.
Their mission, though, remains unchanged as they continue to explore the depths of the Milky Way seeking out new life and new civilizations.
One slight difference in episodes between Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation is that the original series was mainly filled with standalone episodes. While The Next Generation was largely filled with those as well, TNG also had a fair share of great story arcs and some episodes also had sequels to them.
PATRICK STEWART STARRED IN TNG AS CAPTAIN JEAN-LUC PICARD
When Roddenberry and crew decided to go with a new cast, they really went with a complete reset. Patrick Stewart, a virtual unknown in America at the time, led the way as the stoic Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Teaming up with Stewart was his Number One, Johnathan Frakes, playing Commander William T. Riker. LeVar Burton played Geordi La Forge and during the first season was the Enterprise’s helmsman but at the start of season two he moved over to the chief engineer.
Denise Crosby played Lt. Tasha Yar in season one before moving on to other projects. She did return as a guest star for seasons 3 and 7. Michael Dorn played the Klingon Worf, Gates McFadden was on board as the ship’s doctor, Beverly Crusher, Wil Wheaton played her son Wesley in seasons 1-4 and returned as a guest in seasons 5 and 7, and Marina Sirtis was the half-human, half-Betazoid ship counselor Deanna Troi. Finally, Brent Spiner was the fun android Data.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION WAS A VERY POPULAR SERIES IN THE FRANCHISE
The idea for a new Star Trek Series was born after the Original Series hit syndication and became the popular show Roddenberry had always thought it could be. The idea was to bring back the original cast and have them star in Star Trek: Phase II but the salary demands for the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by both OG William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy scared off the network. So instead of bringing back the original cast, they instead decided to come in with a whole new cast.
It was a move that completely paid off. The show was popular from its premiere and by the time it hit the fifth season, Star Trek: The Next Generation would boast 12 million viewers. When the series finale came in 1994, it was seen by over 30 million viewers.
Although the series ended in 1994, its popularity continued, enough so that four feature films followed. The first came in 1994 with Star Trek: Generations. After that was Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and finally Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
Sir Patrick Stewart, as Picard, was one of the most popular Star Trek characters of all time. In fact, his character was so popular that Paramount+ revived Captain Jean-Luc Picard for the series Star Trek: Picard.
Although the series lagged at times, the series’ third season features the return of Star Trek: The Next Generation stalwarts Jonathan Frakes (Riker), LeVar Burton (La Forge), Gates McFadden (Crusher), Michael Dorn (Worf), Brent Spiner (Lore), and Marina Sirtis (Troi).
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