Star Trek: The Next Generation is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry. The first live-action television continuation of the 1966–1969 series Star Trek, The Next Generation is set nearly a century later and features a new starship and a new crew. It is often referred to as ST:TNG or simply TNG.
The series was conceived and produced by original Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. It premiered on 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..." on May 29, 1994. The show gained a considerable following during its run, and like its predecessor, is widely syndicated. Its popularity led to a line of spin-off television series that would continue without interruption until 2005. The series also formed the basis of the seventh through tenth entries in the Star Trek theatrical film 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 Enterprise):Space, 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 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 capable of 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. He appears the most frequently of any antagonist, appearing in ten episodes, compared with six episodes for the second-most frequently appearing antagonists, the Borg.
Previously-established alien races appear in TNG.
The United Federation of Planets (Federation) is now at peace with the Klingons, former enemies, though vast cultural differences remain.
A "cold war" with the Romulans continues throughout the series.
Three new recurring enemy races are introduced: the Ferengi, the Borg, and the Cardassians.
The Borg are the most significant threat in this series. In the episode "The Best of Both Worlds," a single Borg cube ship 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 incorporate 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. 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). Another re-occurring theme across the different series is the idea of a temporal paradox.
- From Wikipedia