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"I bowl every Wednesday with the Wesley Crushers."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

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STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a television series set in the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry. The first live-action television continuation of the original (1966–1969) series Star Trek, The Next Generation is set nearly a century later and features a new starship and a new crew.

The series was conceived of and produced by original Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. It premiered the week of September 28, 1987 with the two-hour pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" and ran for seven seasons, ending with the final episode "All Good Things..." the week of May 23, 1994. The series was broadcast in first-run syndication, so air dates and times varied among individual television stations. The show gained a considerable following during its run, and like its predecessor, remains popular in syndicated re-runs. Its popularity led to a line of spin-off or prequel television series that would continue without interruption until 2005. The series also formed the basis of the seventh through tenth movies of the Star Trek theatrical film series, which were related to the first six movies that starred the cast of the original NBC series.

The voiceover during each episode's opening credits was similar to that of the original series and was narrated by Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise):

Star Trek - Next GenerationSpace, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

The Next Generation version of this narration ends with "where no one has gone before," in contrast with the original series' "where no man has gone before". This change is the result of changed perspectives on the roles of females in the series, particularly as leaders. For instance, in the original series, women were usually limited to playing seductresses or their on ship duties were reduced to secretarial positions, as in the case of Uhura. In the Next Generation, women often confront the captain and advise him, which seldom happened in the original series.

The episodes follow the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), a Galaxy class starship designed for both exploration and diplomacy but quite capable of battle when necessary. Her captain is the seasoned and charismatic Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who is more intellectual and philosophical than many typical protagonists in popular science fiction.

As in the case of The Original Series (TOS), the crew of the Enterprise-D meets many technologically powerful races. Many episodes also involve time travel or temporal loops, character dramas, natural disasters, and other plotlines without alien encounters. In contrast to the original series, in which the ship was exploring unknown areas of the galaxy, the Enterprise-D serves primarily as a vessel for diplomacy, defense, and humanitarian aid. TNG's crew seems to have a greater dedication to peaceful resolution to conflicts, and takes a more rigid approach to following Starfleet's Prime Directive established in the original series. The ship is frequently threatened by unexpected phenomena, but as the Enterprise-D is much more powerful than the previous ship, the stories are often able to focus more on moral implications, rather than the immediate need for survival.

Q DVDAnother noticeable difference between TOS and TNG is the continuity of general story arcs across episodes - though the show is still episodic and not serialized, events in one episode might influence events in a later episode. For example, a major recurring character, Q, bookends the series, appearing as the first major antagonist in "Encounter at Farpoint" and closing the series in the final episode "All Good Things...". Characters also deal with evolving interpersonal relationships, as well as ongoing political stories, such as the power struggles within the Klingon government.

The United Federation of Planets (Federation) is now at peace with the Klingons, their former enemies, though vast cultural differences remain. A "cold war" with the Romulans, similar to that in the Original Series, continues in TNG. Three new major recurring races are introduced into the mythology: the aggressively capitalist Ferengi; merciless cybernetic hybrids, the Borg; and the corrupt and imperial Cardassians, loosely modeled after early 20th century fascists. The Ferengi, originally introduced as villainous characters, were soon downgraded to comic relief and as such thrived on the TNG spinoff Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

The Borg are the most powerful threat in this series, though they do not appear frequently until the spin-off series Star Trek: Voyager. In the episode "The Best of Both Worlds", a single Borg Cube is initially challenged (ineffectually) by the Enterprise, abducts and assimilates Captain Picard, destroys thirty-nine Starfleet vessels at the Battle of Wolf 359, and continues to Earth, where it is stopped by the last-ditch actions of the Enterprise crew.

The series greatly expands on a secondary theme of TOS: the idealism of humanity's dedication to improving itself. It also continues TOS's approach of using extra-terrestrial species and science fiction elements as a means of exploring many real-world social, political, personal and spiritual issues. Most episodes have an intentional philosophical or moral message. The series attempts to depict Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future in which the human race has done away with racism, sexism, prejudice, greed, and poverty, and dedicated itself almost entirely to peaceful scientific pursuits.

Gene Roddenberry continued to be credited as executive producer of TNG though his influence lessened due to his declining health as the series progressed, with responsibility for the show gradually shifting to producer Rick Berman. When Roddenberry died in 1991, Berman officially took over.

 

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More so than with The Original Series, the cast of The Next Generation was subject to some change, most notably in the later half of the first season following the death of the Enterprise's security chief and tactical officer, Tasha Yar, after actress Denise Crosby chose to leave the series. The scripts were quickly adapted, with the character of Worf, originally a junior officer, promoted to serve as Yar's replacement as security chief and tactical officer. Crosby returned to portray Tasha Yar in the alternate timeline episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" and as part of a trip back in time to Picard's first days on the Enterprise in the series finale "All Good Things...".

Wesley Crusher was also written out of the show in order to join Starfleet Academy, after a few years of serving as helmsman under the rank of Acting Ensign and then as a full Ensign (after the result of a field promotion) (Actor Wil Wheaton has revealed on his website that he left the show because he was frustrated by having to fit other roles around his Trek schedule, when he had increasingly little to do on the series). Actress Gates McFadden was essentially fired after one season, and was replaced by Diana Muldaur, who had earlier been featured as a guest star in two episodes of The Original Series ("Return to Tomorrow" and "Is There in Truth No Beauty?," playing different characters). Muldaur's character, Dr. Pulaski, proved unpopular with viewers and was dropped at the end of the second season without explanation. After Muldaur departed for the NBC series LA Law (where her character would suffer similar fan dislike), Gates McFadden reprised her role as Dr. Crusher for subsequent seasons.
Also, not all of the main characters had a place on the bridge, the ship's command center. After being promoted from helmsman, Geordi La Forge, the Chief Engineer, spent most of his time in engineering, while Dr. Crusher, although holding privileges as a bridge officer, primarily resided in sickbay. The show did not have a regular Chief Engineer character for the first season, although various engineers appeared.

On Star Trek Enterprise what was Captain Archers dog's name?

Spot
Arnold
Lassie
Porthos

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Content intended for informational and educational purposes under the GNU Free Documentation Areement.
"Star Trek", the Star Trek logos and images copyright © CBS Studios Inc.

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