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  Star Trek: The Next Generation

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> Description 
The episodes follow the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), a Galaxy class starship designed for exploration and diplomacy but capable in battle when necessary. Its captain is the seasoned and charismatic 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 temporal loops, character dramas, natural disasters, and other plotlines without alien encounters. This crew favors peaceful negotiation more than TOS's crew did. The Prime Directive is involved more frequently and is followed more closely; it states that the Federation must not interfere with the development of cultures that are not capable of interstellar travel. This often creates moral conflict within characters, as they are sometimes bound to ignore races in need of help.

Another noticeable difference between TOS and TNG is the continuity of general story arcs across episodes events in one episode might influence events in a later episode. One major recurring character, Q, bookends the series, appearing as the first major antagonist in "Encounter at Farpoint" and closing the series by forcing the crew into an ultimate test of human resourcefulness in the final episode "All Good Things...". Since Q could control where he appears in time, the first and last episodes could actually be contiguous from his point of view, both being part of the initial test. His Puck-like behavior and calculated mayhem in many episodes makes him the most influential antagonist of the crew, as had been planned from the series' beginning.

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. The series continues to mirror Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future humanity which transcends war, racism, prejudice, and poverty.

TNG has been praised for being more in the spirit of "traditional" idea-based science fiction than other action/adventure franchises which became more common between 1970 and 2000. However, it has also been criticized for shying away from conflict and character drama and too often having the crew solve its challenges through the discovery or invention of hitherto-unknown technology (known as Treknobabble).

Gene Roddenberry continued to be credited as executive producer of TNG though his influence lessened as the series progressed. He died in 1991 and producer Rick Berman took over, and under his guidance, the series came to rely more on action and conflict.

The series also contains many story elements that are found in all the Star Trek series. For instance, an alien or android is a member of the crew, and a lot of dialogue revolves around explaining human customs to the alien (supposedly enlightening the human viewer in the process).

The prospect of a new live-action Star Trek series after 18 years was much anticipated by the Star Trek fan community, but for some, anticipation turned to outrage when Gene Roddenberry announced that the new series would feature a brand new cast and be set in a time long after the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew, making even guest appearances by the original cast unlikely. Before production even began on the series, factions of Star Trek fandom were at work circulating petitions and organizing protests against the new series.

Although it is not known what, if any, impact these protests had on the producers, it is known that as early as the first season efforts were underway to arrange for an appearance by Leonard Nimoy as Spock (the event would not happen until the fifth season), and a script was reportedly written to feature the character of Harry Mudd, a recurring minor criminal from TOS. The episode was cancelled when actor Roger C. Carmel died. DeForest Kelley made a cameo appearance in the first episode as Admiral Leonard McCoy.

Strangly enough; to this day (currently 2005) there remain some fans who steadfastly refuse to watch any of "modern" Trek, even though TNG (and later series and movies) have all featured characters from the original series, including Spock and Scotty.

By the time TNG was produced, the term "Trekkies" had come to imply a certain nerdy fanaticism among fans and was considered pejorative by some, in spite of the fact that it was coined by creator Gene Roddenberry himself, with no such negative connotations. In response, some fans of the new series decided to call themselves "Trekkers." The terms have become interchangeable.

Show Description Credit: Wikipedia
 
> Airing History & Information 
Last Airing May 29, 1994
Premiere September 28, 1987
Episodes 178
Network syndicated
Format/Time Color / 60 Minutes
Country United States
Upcoming Airs Not currently airing
 
> Cast 
Patrick Stewart....   Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes....   Commander William Riker
Brent Spiner....   Data
Gates McFadden....   Doctor Beverly Crusher
Diana Muldaur....   Doctor Katherine Pulaski (1988-1989)
LeVar Burton....   Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn....   Word

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> DVD Releases & Reviews
The Jean-Luc Picard Collection (Paramount Home Entertainment)
(August 3, 2004)
 


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