Star Trek: The Next Generation
|Star Trek: The Next Generation|
Star Trek: The Next Generation intertitle
|Genre||Science fiction drama|
|Created by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||178 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||Approximately 44 Minutes|
|Production company(s)||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (since 2007)|
|Original channel||First-run syndication|
|Picture format||NTSC 480i 4:3|
|Original run||September 28, 1987– May 23, 1994|
|Preceded by||Star Trek: The Animated Series|
|Followed by||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation at StarTrek.com|
Star Trek: The Next Generation (often abbreviated to TNG) is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production. The show was created 21 years after the original Star Trek show.
The show is set in the nearby regions of the Milky Way galaxy, approximately during the 2360s (about 70 years after the original series) and features a new crew and a new starship Enterprise. Patrick Stewart's voice-over introduction during each episode's opening credits stated the starship's purpose, updated from the original to represent an open-ended "mission", and to be gender-neutral:
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.
It premiered the week of September 28, 1987, to 27 million viewers with the two-hour pilot "Encounter at Farpoint". With 178 episodes spread over seven seasons, it ran longer than any other Star Trek series, ending with the two-hour finale "All Good Things..." the week of May 23, 1994.
The series was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations. Three additional Star Trek spin-offs followed The Next Generation: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999), Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001), and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005). The series formed the basis of the seventh to tenth Star Trek films, and is also the setting of numerous novels, comic books, and games.
In its seventh season, Star Trek: The Next Generation became the first and only syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series. The show received numerous recognitions, including 18 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award. The Next Generation made several publications' lists of the best television shows of all time.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Production
- 3 Cast
- 4 Reception
- 5 Films
- 6 Release history
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The show follows the adventures of a space-faring crew on board the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), the fifth Federation vessel to bear the name and registry and the seventh starship by that name. (See Starship Enterprise for other ships with the name and/or registry). The show is set roughly 70 years after the final missions of the original Enterprise crew under the command of James T. Kirk. The Federation has undergone massive internal changes in its quest to explore and seek out new life, adding new degrees of complexity and controversy to its methods, especially those focused on the Prime Directive. The Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets have ceased wartime hostilities and become galactic allies, while more sinister foes like the Romulans and the Borg take precedence on the show.
The Enterprise is commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and is staffed by first officer Commander William Riker, the android Lieutenant Commander Data, security chief Lieutenant Tasha Yar, ship's counselor Deanna Troi, Klingon tactical officer Lieutenant Worf, chief medical officer Dr. Beverly Crusher, and conn officer Lieutenant Geordi La Forge. The death of Lieutenant Yar in the show's first season prompts an internal shuffle of personnel, making Worf official chief of security. Geordi La Forge is promoted to chief engineer at the beginning of season 2.
The show begins with the crew of the Enterprise-D put on trial by a nefarious, omnipotent being known as Q. The godlike entity threatens the extinction of mankind for being a race of savages, forcing them to solve a mystery at nearby Farpoint Station in order to prove their worthiness of being spared. After successfully solving the mystery and avoiding disaster, the crew officially departs on its mission to explore strange new worlds.
Subsequent stories focus on the discovery of new life and sociological and political relationships with alien cultures, as well as exploring the human condition. Several new species are introduced as recurring antagonists, including the Ferengi, the Cardassians, and the Borg. Throughout their adventures, Picard and his crew are often forced to face difficult choices and live with the consequences of those choices.
The show ended in its seventh season with a two-part episode "All Good Things...", which brought the events of the series full circle back to the original confrontation with Q. An interstellar anomaly that threatens all life in the universe forces Captain Picard to leap from his present, past and future to combat the threat. Picard was successfully able to demonstrate to Q that humanity could think outside of the confines of perception and theorize on new possibilities while still being prepared to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the greater good. The show ended with the crew of the Enterprise portrayed as feeling more like a family and paved the way for four consecutive motion pictures that continued the theme and mission of the series.
By 1986, 20 years after its debut on NBC, Star Trek had become the "crown jewel" of Paramount Pictures, a "priceless asset" whose longevity amazed studio executives. The show was the most popular syndicated television program 17 years after cancelation, and the Harve Bennett-produced Star Trek films did well at the box office. William Shatner's and Leonard Nimoy's demands for "sky-high salaries" for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) caused the studio to plan for a new Star Trek television series, as it had hoped to do so in 1977 with Star Trek: Phase II before making the films. Paramount executives worried that a new show could hurt the demand for the films, but decided that one with unknown actors would be more profitable than paying the films' actors millions. Roddenberry initially declined to be involved but came on board as creator after being unhappy with early conceptual work. Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced on October 10, 1986, and its cast in May 1987.
Paramount executive Rick Berman was assigned to the show at Roddenberry's request. Roddenberry hired a number of Star Trek veterans, including Bob Justman, D. C. Fontana, Eddie Milkis, and David Gerrold. Early proposals for the series included one in which some of the original series's cast might appear as "elder statesmen", and Roddenberry speculated as late as October 1986 that the new show might not even use a spaceship, as "people might travel by some [other] means" 100 years after the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). A more lasting change was his new belief that workplace interpersonal conflict would no longer exist in the future; thus, the new show did not have parallels to the frequent "crusty banter" between Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy. According to series actor Patrick Stewart, Berman was more receptive than Roddenberry to the show addressing political issues.
The show's music theme combined the fanfare from the original series theme by Alexander Courage with Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Some early episodes' plots derived from outlines created for Star Trek: Phase II. Additionally, some sets used in the Original Series-era films were redressed for The Next Generation, and in turn used for subsequent Original Series films. Part of the transporter room set in The Next Generation was used in the original Star Trek's transporter set. Many production details, such as LCARS computer interfaces and starship design, were carried through in the production of subsequent spin-offs.
Syndication and profitability
Despite Star Trek's proven success, NBC and ABC only offered to consider pilot scripts for the new show, and CBS offered to air a miniseries that could become a series if it did well. The Big Three television networks' treatment of Paramount's most important property as they would any other series offended the studio. Fox was "desperately eager" for the show to help launch the new network, but wanted it by March 1987, and would only commit to 13 episodes instead of the full season Paramount wanted. The unsuccessful negotiations convinced the studio that it could only protect Star Trek with full control.
Paramount increased and accelerated the show's profitability by choosing to instead broadcast it in first-run syndication:123–124 on independent stations (whose numbers had more than tripled since 1980) and Big Three network affiliates. In an example of "barter syndication", Paramount offered the show to local stations for free. The stations sold five minutes of commercial time to local advertisers and Paramount sold the remaining seven minutes to national advertisers. However, stations also had to commit to purchasing reruns in the future. As additional incentive, only stations that aired the new show could purchase the popular reruns of the original series.:222
The studio's strategy succeeded. Most of the 150 stations airing reruns of the original Star Trek wanted to prevent a competitor from airing the new show; ultimately, 210 stations covering 90% of the United States became part of Paramount's informal nationwide network for The Next Generation. More than 50 network affiliates preempted their own shows for the series pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint", in early October 1987. One station predicted that "'Star Trek' promises to be one of the most successful programs of the season, network or syndicated." The new show indeed performed well; the pilot's ratings were higher than those of many network programs, and ratings remained comparable to network shows by the end of the first season despite the handicap of each station airing the show on a different day and time, often outside prime time. By the end of the first season Paramount reportedly received $1 million for advertising per episode, more than the approximately $800,000 fee that networks typically paid for a one-hour show; by 1992, when the budget for each episode had risen to almost $2 million, the studio earned $90 million from advertising annually from first-run episodes, with each 30-second commercial selling for $115,000 to $150,000. The show had a 40% return on investment for Paramount, with $30 to $60 million in annual upfront net profit for first-run episodes and another $70 million for stripping rights for each of the about 100 episodes then available, so it did not need overseas sales to be successful.
The Next Generation was shot on 35 mm film, and the budget for each episode was $1.3 million, among the largest for a one-hour television drama. While the staff enjoyed the creative freedom gained by independence from a broadcast network's Standards and Practices department,:222 the first season was marked by a "revolving door" of writers, with Gerrold, Fontana, and others quitting after disputes with Roddenberry. Roddenberry "virtually rewrote" the first 15 episodes because of his "dogmatic" intention to depict human interaction "without drawing on the baser motives of greed, lust and power". Writers found the show's 'bible' constricting. It stated for example that "regular characters all share a feeling of being part of a band of brothers and sisters. As in the original 'Star Trek,' we invite the audience to share the same feeling of affection for our characters."
Mark Bourne of The DVD Journal wrote of season one: "A typical episode relied on trite plot points, clumsy allegories, dry and stilted dialogue, or characterization that was taking too long to feel relaxed and natural." Other targets of criticism include poor special effects and plots being resolved by the deus ex machina of Wesley Crusher saving the ship. However, Patrick Stewart's acting skills won praise, and critics have noted that characters were given greater potential for development than those of the original series. Both actors and producers were unsure whether Trekkies loyal to the original show would accept the new one, but one critic stated as early as October 1987, that The Next Generation, not the movies or the original show, "is the real 'Star Trek' now".
While the events of most episodes of season one were self-contained, many developments important to the show as a whole occurred during the season. The recurring nemesis Q was introduced in the pilot, the alien Ferengi first appeared in "The Last Outpost", the capabilities of the holodeck were explored, and the history between William Riker and Deanna Troi was investigated. "The Naked Now", one of the few episodes that depicted Roddenberry's fascination (as seen in the show's bible) with sex in the future, became a cast favorite.
Later episodes in the season set the stage for serial plots. The episode "Datalore" introduced Data's evil twin brother Lore, who made several more appearances in episodes in subsequent seasons. "Coming of Age" dealt with Wesley Crusher's efforts to get into Starfleet Academy while also hinting at the threat to Starfleet later faced in "Conspiracy". "Heart of Glory" explored Worf's character, Klingon culture, and the uneasy truce between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, three themes that would play a major role in later episodes. Tasha Yar left the show in "Skin of Evil" becoming the first regular Star Trek character to die permanently (although the character would be seen again in two later episodes) in either series or film. The season finale, "The Neutral Zone", established the presence of two of TNG's most enduring villains: the Romulans, making their first appearance since the Original Series, and, through foreshadowing, the Borg.
The premiere became the first television episode to be nominated for a Hugo Award since 1972. Six of the season's episodes were each nominated for an Emmy Award. "11001001" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, "The Big Goodbye" won for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, and "Conspiracy" won for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series. "The Big Goodbye" also won a Peabody Award, the first syndicated program and only Star Trek episode to do so.
The series underwent significant changes during its second season. Beverly Crusher was replaced as Chief Medical Officer by Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur, who had been a guest star in "Return to Tomorrow" and "Is There in Truth No Beauty?", two episodes from the original Star Trek. The ship's recreational area, Ten-Forward, and its mysterious bartender/advisor, Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg, appeared for the first time. Another change was in the opening theme, wherein at the end there is a short fanfare. Owing to the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike, the number of episodes produced was cut from 26 to 22, and the start of the season was delayed. Because of the strike, the opening episode, "The Child", was based on a script originally written for Star Trek: Phase II, while the season finale, "Shades of Gray", was a clip show.
Nevertheless, season two as a whole was widely regarded as significantly better than season one. Benefiting from Paramount's commitment to a multiyear run and free from network interference due to syndication, Roddenberry found writers who could work within his guidelines and create drama from the cast's interaction with the rest of the universe. The plots became more sophisticated and began to mix drama with comic relief. Its focus on character development received special praise. Co-executive producer Maurice Hurley has stated that his primary goal for the season was to plan and execute season-long story arcs and character arcs. Hurley wrote the acclaimed episode "Q Who", which featured the first on-screen appearance of TNG's most popular villain, the Borg. Season two focused on developing the character Data, and two highly regarded episodes from the season, "Elementary, Dear Data" and "The Measure of a Man", featured him prominently. Miles O'Brien also became a more prominent character during the second season, while Geordi La Forge took the position of Chief Engineer. Klingon issues continued to be explored in well-regarded episodes such as "A Matter of Honor" and "The Emissary", which introduced Worf's former lover K'Ehleyr. Five second-season episodes were nominated for six Emmys, and "Q Who" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
Prior to the production of the third season in the summer of 1989, some personnel changes were made. Head writer Maurice Hurley was let go and Michael Piller took over for the rest of the series. Creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry took less of an active role due to his declining health. Roddenberry gave Piller and Berman the executive producer jobs, and they remained in that position for the rest of the series's run, with Berman overseeing the production as a whole and Piller being in charge of the creative direction of the show and the writing room. Doctor Crusher returned from her off-screen tenure at Starfleet Medical to replace Doctor Pulaski, who had remained a guest star throughout the second season. An additional change was the inclusion of the fanfare that was added to the opening credits of the second season, to the end of the closing credits. Ronald D. Moore joined the show after submitting a spec script that became "The Bonding". He became the franchise's "Klingon guru", meaning that he wrote most TNG episodes dealing with the Klingon Empire (though he wrote some Romulan stories as well, such as "The Defector"). Writer/producer Ira Steven Behr also joined the show in its third season. Though his tenure with TNG would last only one year, he would later go on to be a writer and showrunner of spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Six third-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "Yesterday's Enterprise" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and "Sins of the Father" won for Best Art Direction for a Series. After a chiropractor warned that the cast members risked permanent skeletal injury, new two-piece wool uniforms replaced the first two seasons' extremely tight spandex uniforms. The season finale, the critically acclaimed episode "The Best of Both Worlds", was the first season-ending cliffhanger, a tradition that would be continued throughout the remainder of the series.
Brannon Braga and Jeri Taylor joined the show in its fourth season. The fourth season surpassed the Original Series in terms of series length with the production of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". A new alien race, the Cardassians, made their first appearance in "The Wounded". They would later go on to be featured in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The season finale, "Redemption", was the 100th episode, and the cast and crew (including creator Gene Roddenberry) celebrated the historic milestone on the bridge set. Footage of this was seen in the Star Trek 25th anniversary special hosted by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy which aired later in the year. Seven fourth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" won for both Outstanding Sound Editing in a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series. Character Wesley Crusher left the series in Season 4 to go to Starfleet Academy. "Family" was the only Star Trek episode not to have a bridge scene during the entire episode and is the only TNG episode where Lt. Commander Data does not appear on-screen.
The fifth season's seventh episode, "Unification", opened with a dedication to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (even though the prior episode, "The Game", aired four days after his death). Roddenberry, though he had recently died, continued to be credited as Executive Producer for the rest of the season. The cast and crew learned of his death during the production of "Hero Worship", a later season five episode. Seven fifth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "Cost of Living" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series, and "A Matter of Time" and "Conundrum" tied for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. In addition, "The Inner Light" became the first television episode since the 1968 original series Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" to win a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Season five saw the introduction of a jacket for Picard, worn periodically throughout the rest of the show's run. The observation lounge set was altered with the removal of the gold model starships across the interior wall and the addition of lighting beneath the windows. Recurring character Ensign Ro Laren was introduced in the fifth season.
The sixth season brought aboard a new set of changes. Now Rick Berman and Michael Piller's time was split between the newly created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. Three sixth-season episodes were nominated for Emmys. "Time's Arrow, Part II" won for both Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series, and "A Fistful of Datas" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
The seventh season was The Next Generation's last. The penultimate episode, "Preemptive Strike", concluded the plot line for the recurring character Ensign Ro and introduced themes that continued in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Next Generation series finale, "All Good Things...", was a double-length episode (separated into two parts for reruns) that aired the week of May 19, 1994, revisiting the events of the pilot and providing a bookend to the series. Toronto's SkyDome played host to a massive event for the series finale. Thousands of people packed the stadium to watch the final episode on the stadium's JumboTron. Five seventh-season episodes were nominated for nine Emmys, and the series as a whole was the first syndicated television series nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. To this day, The Next Generation is the only syndicated drama to be nominated in this category. "All Good Things..." won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects, and "Genesis" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series. "All Good Things..." also won the second of the series's two Hugo Awards.
Although the cast members were contracted for eight seasons, Paramount ended The Next Generation after seven, disappointing and puzzling some of the actors, and an unusual decision for a successful television show. Although doing so let the studio begin making films using the cast, which it believed would be less successful if the show were still on television, the main reason was that additional seasons would likely have reduced the show's profitability due to higher cast salaries and a lower price per episode when sold for stripping. The decision also encouraged viewers to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the forthcoming Star Trek: Voyager, both of which were much cheaper to make than The Next Generation. The show's strong ratings continued to the end; the series finale was ranked No. 2 among all shows that week, between fellow hits Home Improvement and Seinfeld.
- Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker, the ship's first officer. The Riker character was influenced by concepts for first officer Willard Decker in the Star Trek: Phase II television series. Decker's romantic history with helmsman Ilia was mirrored in The Next Generation in the relationship between Riker and Deanna Troi. Riker also appears in an episode each of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. In addition to William Riker, Frakes played William's transporter-created double, Thomas, in one episode each of The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge. La Forge is initially the ship's helmsman, and the character becomes chief engineer beginning in the second season. Burton also played the character in an episode of Voyager.
- Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar, chief of security and tactical officer. Crosby left the series at the end of the first season, and the Yar character was killed. Yar returns in alternate timelines in the award-winning episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" and the series finale, "All Good Things...". Crosby also played Sela, Yar's half-Romulan daughter.
- Michael Dorn as Worf, a Klingon. Worf initially appears as a junior officer fulfilling several roles on the bridge. When Denise Crosby left at the end of the first season, the Worf character succeeded Lieutenant Yar as the ship's chief of security and tactical officer. Michael Dorn reprised the character for four seasons of Deep Space Nine.
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher, the Enterprise's chief medical officer. McFadden left the series during the second season to pursue film roles, but she returned in the third season and remained for the remainder of the series.
- Diana Muldaur as Doctor Katherine Pulaski. The Pulaski character was created to replace Dr. Crusher for the show's second season. Muldaur, who previously appeared in two episodes of the original Star Trek, never received billing in the opening credits; instead, she was listed as a special guest star during the first act.
- Marina Sirtis as the half-human, half-Betazoid ship's counselor, Deanna Troi. The character's relationship with first officer Riker was a carry-over from character ideas developed for Phase II. Troi also appears in later episodes of Voyager and in the finale of Enterprise.
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data, an android who serves as operations officer and third-in-command. Data's "outsider's" perspective on humanity served a similar narrative purpose as Spock's in the original Star Trek. Spiner also played his "brother", Lore, and his creator, Noonien Soong. In Enterprise, Spiner played Noonien's ancestor, Arik.
- Wil Wheaton as Beverly Crusher's son, Wesley. Wesley becomes an acting ensign and, later, receives a field commission to ensign before attending Starfleet Academy. After being a regular for the first four seasons, Wheaton appeared sporadically as Crusher for the remainder of the series. According to Wheaton, he wanted to leave the show because he was frustrated by having to fit other roles around his Trek schedule despite his character's diminishing role.
In addition to the series regulars, other recurring characters include
- Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi, Deanna Troi's mother and Betazoid ambassador to the United Federation of Planets. Barrett, married to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, previously appeared in the original Star Trek. She also voiced the computer in The Next Generation and other spinoffs.
- Brian Bonsall as Alexander Rozhenko, Worf's son. Jon Paul Steuer played Alexander in the character's first appearance, and James Sloyan played an older, time-traveling version of Alexander in another episode. Marc Worden played the character for his appearances in Deep Space Nine.
- Rosalind Chao as Keiko O'Brien, Miles O'Brien's wife and a botanist. She also made recurring appearances in Deep Space Nine.
- John de Lancie as Q, an omnipotent antagonist from the Q Continuum. de Lancie continued playing the Q character in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
- Michelle Forbes as Ro Laren, a Bajoran helmsman. Forbes' character was considered for use in Deep Space Nine, although producers eventually developed a new character, Kira Nerys.
- Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien. O'Brien is an unnamed helmsman in the show's pilot, and appears several times in other positions during the first season. The character eventually was developed into the transporter chief. Meaney portrayed O'Brien for seven seasons as a series regular on Deep Space Nine.
- Robert O'Reilly as Gowron, leader of the Klingon High Council. O'Reilly also appeared as Gowron in Deep Space Nine.
- Dwight Schultz as Reginald Barclay, a technician and engineer who also plays a prominent role in the later seasons of Voyager.
Notable guest appearances
The Next Generation included several guest characters who appeared in other iterations of Star Trek, and also introduced characters who appeared in later spinoffs and films. James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Mark Lenard, and Leonard Nimoy appeared as the original Star Trek characters Montgomery Scott, Leonard McCoy, Sarek, and Spock, respectively. Merritt Butrick, Robin Curtis, Judson Scott, David Warner, and Paul Winfield played characters in various Star Trek films and later had roles in The Next Generation. Additionally, Alexander Siddig and Armin Shimerman played their Deep Space Nine characters, Julian Bashir and Quark, in episodes of The Next Generation. Prior to being cast in Deep Space Nine, Shimerman had played several Ferengi characters in The Next Generation. Jennifer Hetrick (Vash), Barbara March (Lursa), Richard Poe (Evek), and Gwynyth Walsh (B'Etor) reprised their Next Generation characters on Deep Space Nine.
Several actors who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation later played other roles within the franchise. These include Robert Duncan McNeill, Ethan Phillips, and Tim Russ, who played Tom Paris, Neelix, and Tuvok, respectively, on Voyager. Salome Jens and James Sloyan appeared in episodes of The Next Generation before landing recurring roles in Deep Space Nine. Suzie Plakson and Tony Todd also appeared in The Next Generation, and they later played roles in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Marc Alaimo, who depicted one of the franchise's first Cardassians in The Next Generation, later played the Cardassian Dukat throughout Deep Space Nine's seven seasons. Like Armin Shimerman, Max Grodénchik played a Ferengi in The Next Generation before being cast as a recurring Ferengi, Rom, in Deep Space Nine. Emmy Award-winner James Cromwell appeared twice in The Next Generation, and he played Zefram Cochrane in the second Next Generation film, First Contact.
Other notable guest actors in the show in show include Erich Anderson, William O. Campbell, Nikki Cox, Ronny Cox, Olivia d'Abo, Kirsten Dunst, Mick Fleetwood, Matt Frewer, Walter Gotell, Kelsey Grammer, Bob Gunton, Teri Hatcher, Stephen Hawking (as himself), Famke Janssen, Mae Jemison, Ken Jenkins, Ashley Judd, Sabrina Le Beauf, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Terry O'Quinn, Michelle Phillips, Gina Ravera, Jean Simmons, Paul Sorvino, Brenda Strong, James Worthy, Tracey Walter, Liz Vassey, David Ogden Stiers, and Ray Wise.
The Next Generation's average of 20 million viewers often exceeded both existing syndication successes such as Wheel of Fortune and network hits including Cheers and L.A. Law. Benefiting in part from many stations' decision to air each new episode twice in a week, it consistently ranked in the top ten among hour-long dramas, and networks could not prevent affiliates from preempting their shows with The Next Generation or other dramas that imitated its syndication strategy.:124Star Trek: The Next Generation received 18 Emmy Awards and, in its seventh season, became the first and only syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series. It was nominated for three Hugo Awards and won two. The first-season episode "The Big Goodbye" also won the Peabody Award for excellence in television programming.
In 1997, the episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" was ranked No. 70 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, Star Trek: The Next Generation was ranked #46 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list, and in 2008, was ranked No. 37 on Empire's list of the 50 greatest television shows.
On October 7, 2006, one of the three original filming models of the USS Enterprise-D used on the show sold at a Christie's auction for USD $576,000, making it the highest-selling item at the event. The buyer of the piece was Paul Allen, owner of the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. The piece is on display within the Science Fiction Museum.
In 2012, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at No. 7 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years," saying, "The original Star Trek was cult TV before cult TV was even a thing, but its younger, sleeker offspring brought, yes, a new generation into the Trekker fold, and reignited the promise of sci-fi on television."
All episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation were made available on VHS cassettes, starting in 1991. The entire series was gradually released on VHS over the next few years during the remainder of the show's run and after the show had ended.
The first season of the series was released on DVD in March 2002. Throughout the year the next six seasons were released at various times on DVD, with the seventh season being released in December 2002. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the series, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series on October 2, 2007. The DVD box set contains 49 discs.
In April 2011, CBS and Netflix announced a deal to add all Paramount-produced TV series, including TNG, to the American version of Netflix's streaming service for a period of 2 years, beginning on July 1, 2011 (with an additional two-year option available). The show is now available on Netflix outside the U.S. (as of September 2012).
The original show was shot with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and edited and postprocessed with standard resolution in mind. The final visual effects were created only in standard resolution, e.g. all exterior shots of the starship Enterprise, phaser fire or beaming fade-ins and -outs. To include such footage on Blu-ray, using only a picture blow-up, would have resulted in a larger, but blurred image and, when watched on a wide-screen TV set, the common black bars on the left and right edge of the image.
Paramount decided to use a more detailed approach to bring the show to high-definition, adhering to the 4:3 aspect ratio for different reasons (mainly original intention when filming).
A news release on startrek.com announced on September 28, 2011, in celebration of the series' twenty-fifth anniversary, that Star Trek: The Next Generation would be completely re-mastered in 1080p high definition from original 35 mm film negatives (consisting of almost 25,000 reels of original film stock). Effects would be recomposed from their large-format negatives specifically for each episode, accompanied by 7.1 DTS Master Audio.
An initial disc featuring the episodes "Encounter at Farpoint", "Sins of the Father", and "The Inner Light" was released on January 31, 2012 under the label "The Next Level". The six-disc first season set was released on July 24, 2012, and the second season was released in a five-disc set on December 4, 2012. The third season was released on April 30, 2013. Eventually, the entire re-mastered series will be available for Blu-ray release, television syndication, and digital distribution. Mike Okuda believes this is the largest film restoration project ever attempted.
|Season||Release date||Special features|
|Season One||July 24, 2012||Documentaries "Energized!" (about the VFX remastering) and "Stardate Revisited" (Origin)|
|Season Two||December 4, 2012||Extended version of "The Measure of a Man" deleted scenes from "The Icarus Factor" and "Up the Long Ladder."|
|Season Three||April 30, 2013||TBA|
|Season Four||July 30, 2013||TBA|
|Season Five||November 19, 2013||TBA|
- Cultural influence of Star Trek
- List of post-Star Trek: The Next Generation stories
- List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes
- List of comic books based on Star Trek: The Next Generation
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- Star Trek: The Next Generation at the Internet Movie Database
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- Star Trek: The Next Generation at StarTrek.com
- Star Trek: The Next Generation at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation at Memory Beta
- Star Trek: The Next Generation at CBS.com
- Star Trek: The Next Generation on Hulu.com
- Star Trek: The Next Generation at TVGuide.com
- TrekCore.com – Library of DVD screen captures (still images) from every episode of the Next Generation.