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|Star Trek: The Next Generation|
Star Trek: The Next Generation intertitle
|Genre||Science fiction drama|
|Created by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Theme music composer||Alexander Courage
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||178 + 4 films (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Gene Roddenberry (1987–1991)
Maurice Hurley (1988–1989)
Rick Berman (1989–1994)
Michael Piller (1989–1994)
Jeri Taylor (1993–1994)
|Cinematography||Ed Brown (1987–1989)
Marvin V. Rush (1989–1992)
Jonathan West (1992–1994)
|Running time||Approx 45 mins.|
|Production company(s)||Paramount Television|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (since 2007)|
|Original channel||First-run syndication|
|Picture format||NTSC 480i 4:3|
|Audio format||Dolby SR
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)
|Original run||September 28, 1987– May 23, 1994|
|Preceded by||Star Trek: The Animated Series|
|Followed by||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
|Related shows||Star Trek: The Original Series,
Star Trek: Voyager,
Star Trek: Enterprise
|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 and set in the 24th century from the year 2364 through 2370 (about 100 years after the original series timeframe). The program 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- (and even species-) 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 number of episodes is debatable because the pilot and series finale are typically shown in syndication as two episodes each, even though they were initially aired as single two-hour episodes, which gives a count of 176.
The series was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations. The show gained a considerable following during its run and, like The Original Series, remains popular in syndicated reruns. It was the first of several series (the others being Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise) that kept new Star Trek episodes airing continuously from 1987 to 2005. Star Trek: The Next Generation won 18 Emmy Awards and, in its seventh season, became the first, and currently 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. The series formed the basis of the seventh to tenth Star Trek films.
In 1997, the episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" was ranked #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 #37 on Empire's "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time".
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 time line takes place roughly 80 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, Doctor 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 successively 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, Star Trek had become the "'crown jewel'" of Paramount Pictures, a "'priceless asset'" whose longevity amazed studio executives. Seventeen years after cancellation, the show was the single most popular syndicated television program, 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.
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 both 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 had to also 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
|“||"We chose that time deliberately after we saw Once a Hero last June. It's kind of bad for ABC, but we all have to survive somehow, and ABC isn't helping us in that time period."||”|
The studio's strategy succeeded. Despite the difficulty of assembling an informal nationwide network for the new show, 210 stations covering 90% of the United States agreed to air 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. 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 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 did not need overseas sales to be successful.
The Next Generation's average of 20 million viewers often exceeded both existing syndication successes like Wheel of Fortune and network hits like Cheers and LA 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 the many other dramas that imitated its syndication strategy.:124
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 season-one episodes set the stage for serial plots. The episode "Datalore" introduced Data's evil twin brother Lore, who made several more appearances in later episodes. "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, and 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 first-season 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. 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 found a position as 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. 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 doctors 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 "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 next-to-last 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 were the show 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 #2 among all shows that week, between fellow hits Home Improvement and Seinfeld.
|Actor||Character||Main position||Other positions held||Appearances||Character's species||Rank|
|Patrick Stewart||Jean-Luc Picard||Commanding Officer||Seasons 1–7||Human||Captain|
|Jonathan Frakes||William Riker||First Officer||Captain (Temporary) (Season 3 & 6)||Seasons 1–7||Human||Commander (Seasons 1–7)
Captain (Star Trek: Nemesis)
|Gates McFadden||Beverly Crusher||Chief Medical Officer||Head of Starfleet Medical (Season 2)||Seasons 1, 3–7||Human||Commander|
|Marina Sirtis||Deanna Troi||Ship's Counsellor
|Helmsman (Star Trek: Generations / Star Trek: Nemesis)||Seasons 1–7||Betazoid / Human||Lieutenant Commander (Seasons 1–7)
Commander (Season 7)
|Brent Spiner||Data||Chief Operations Officer,
|Acting Captain ("Night Terrors")
First Officer ("Chain of Command")
Helmsman ("Encounter at Farpoint")
|Seasons 1–7||Android||Lieutenant Commander|
|Michael Dorn||Worf||Chief of Security
|Seasons 1–7||Klingon||Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Seasons 1–2)
Lieutenant (Seasons 3–7)
Lieutenant Commander (Movies)
|LeVar Burton||Geordi La Forge||Chief Engineer||Helmsman (Season 1)||Seasons 1–7||Human||Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Season 1)
Lieutenant (Season 2)
Lieutenant Commander (Seasons 3–7)
|Wil Wheaton||Wesley Crusher||Helmsman||Engineering-related duties||Seasons 1–4
Guest appearances: Seasons 5 & 7
|Human||Acting Ensign (Seasons 1–3),
Ensign (Seasons 3–4)
Cadet (Seasons 4–7)
Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Star Trek Nemesis)
|Denise Crosby||Tasha Yar||Chief of Security
Seasons 3 & 7
Seasons 4 & 5 (as Sela)
|Diana Muldaur||Katherine Pulaski||Chief Medical Officer||Season 2||Human||Commander|
|Colm Meaney||Miles O'Brien||Transporter Chief||Helmsman (Season 1)||Seasons 1–6
|Human||Chief Petty Officer|
|Rosalind Chao||Keiko O'Brien||Botanist||Seasons 4–6||Human||Civilian|
|Patti Yasutake||Alyssa Ogawa||Nurse||Seasons 4–7||Human||Ensign (Seasons 4–7)
Lieutenant, Junior Grade (Season 7)
|Whoopi Goldberg||Guinan||Bartender||Seasons 2–7||El-Aurian||Civilian|
|Michelle Forbes||Ro Laren||Helmsman||Seasons 5–7||Bajoran||Ensign (Seasons 5–6)
Lieutenant (Season 7)
|Dwight Schultz||Reginald Barclay||Diagnostic Technician / Systems Engineer||Seasons 3–7||Human||Lieutenant, Junior Grade|
|Jon Paul Steuer
|Alexander Rozhenko||Civilian||Seasons 4–7||3/4 Klingon
|None (later an enlisted crewman in the Klingon Defense Force during the events of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).|
|Majel Barrett||Lwaxana Troi||Federation Ambassador||Seasons 1–7
Voice of ship's computer
|John de Lancie||Q||Antagonist||Seasons 1–7||Q
Appears as a human male
Often appears/impersonates as a Starfleet officer of various ranks.
The cast underwent several changes through the series's run. Denise Crosby chose to leave the show shortly before the first season ended. Michael Dorn's Worf replaced Tasha Yar as security chief and tactical officer. Crosby returned to portray Yar in alternate timelines in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "All Good Things...". Crosby also played Yar's half-Romulan daughter, Sela.
Gates McFadden, as Beverly Crusher, was replaced after the first season by Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur, during the second season. Muldaur never received billing in the opening credits, and instead was listed as a special guest star in the credits shown during the first act. Pulaski proved unpopular with viewers and was dropped at the end of the second season; McFadden returned for seasons 3–7 and reprised her role as Crusher.
Wesley Crusher was also written out of the show. According to actor Wil Wheaton's website, 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 the series. Wesley Crusher reappears in several later episodes.
The Helmsman position has been held the most times on this show by all members of the main cast (except the medical officers), as well as members of the secondary cast. The main character Wesley Crusher has held this position more often than any other character on this show.
|Erich Anderson||Commander Keiran Macduff||"Conundrum"||One of the original choices for the role of Commander William Riker besides William O. Campbell; played Rob Dyer in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.|
|Merritt Butrick||T'Jon||"Symbiosis"||Played David Marcus, ill-fated son of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701/1701-A in the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.|
|William O. Campbell||Okona||"The Outrageous Okona"||Portrayed Cliff Secord in the film The Rocketeer. Campbell was the second choice of the Star Trek: The Next Generation producers to play the role of William Riker, but lost the role to Jonathan Frakes. His first prominent role was that of Luke Fuller, Steven Carrington's lover on the soap opera Dynasty.|
|Nikki Cox||Sarjenka||"Pen Pals"||Has played various roles in television and film. Best known for playing Tiffany Malloy on Unhappily Ever After, Nikki White on Nikki, and Mary Connell on Las Vegas.|
|Ronny Cox||Captain Edward Jellico||"Chain of Command, Parts I and II"||Best known for appearing in the films Beverly Hills Cop, Total Recall, Deliverance and RoboCop; played Henry Mason in the Desperate Housewives episode "Don't Look at Me" and Senator/Vice-President Robert Kinsey on Stargate SG-1.|
|James Cromwell||Prime Minister Nayrok
"Birthright, Part II"
|Plays Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Enterprise as well as Minister Hanok in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Starship Down"|
|Robin Curtis||Tallera/T'Paal||"Gambit"||Portrayed Lieutenant Saavik in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and a brief cameo in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.|
|James Doohan||Captain Montgomery Scott||"Relics"||Played Montgomery Scott, Chief of Engineering/Second Officer of the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series).|
|Olivia d'Abo||Amanda Rogers||"True Q"||An English actress and singer-songwriter, best known for portraying Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years and Nicole Wallace, the recurring villain in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.|
|Kirsten Dunst||Hedril||"Dark Page"||Plays Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man films.|
|Mick Fleetwood||Antedean Dignitary||"Manhunt"||Drummer and co-founder of the British rock band Fleetwood Mac.|
|Matt Frewer||Berlingoff Rasmussen||"A Matter of Time"||Portrayed 1980s TV character Max Headroom and Edgar Jacobi/Moloch the Mystic in the film Watchmen. The role of Berlingoff Rasmussen was originally going to be portrayed by Robin Williams. Holds a continuing role as Jim Taggart in Eureka (2006–2010)|
|Walter Gotell||Kurt Mandl||"Home Soil"||Known for playing Head of KGB Operations General Anatol Gogol throughout most of the Roger Moore-era James Bond films.|
|Kelsey Grammer||Captain Morgan Bateson, USS Bozeman (NCC-1941)||"Cause and Effect"||Played Dr. Frasier Crane in TV series Cheers, and Frasier; voiced Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons.|
|Bob Gunton||Captain Benjamin Maxwell, USS Phoenix (NCC-65420)||"The Wounded"||Best remembered for his role as Warden Norton in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption; starred as Noah Taylor on Desperate Housewives.|
|Teri Hatcher||Lt. Bronwyn Gail Robinson||"The Outrageous Okona"||Played Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; currently starring as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives.|
|Stephen Hawking||Himself (Hologram of)||"Descent, Part I"||Noted scientist; author of A Brief History of Time.|
|Famke Janssen||Kamala||"The Perfect Mate"||Was a choice to play "Jadzia Dax" in the spinoff Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but replaced by Terry Farrell. Also has acted with Scott Bakula (Lord of Illusions) and Patrick Stewart (X-Men films), both of whom played captains of the starship Enterprise.|
|Mae Jemison||Transporter Room Chief||"Second Chances"||Former NASA astronaut, first African-American woman in space. Flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of the STS-47 mission crew. First actual astronaut to appear on Star Trek.|
|Ken Jenkins||Dr. Paul Stubbs||"Evolution"||Known for portraying Dr. Bob Kelso on Scrubs.|
|Ashley Judd||Ensign Robin Lefler||"Darmok"
|Daughter of Naomi Judd and half sister of Wynonna Judd, noted country musicians. Played Claire Kubik in High Crimes. Played Charlene Shiherlis in the 1995 film Heat. Made a statement on Late Night with David Letterman that Lefler was to have been married to Wesley Crusher, however this was later proven to be false.|
|DeForest Kelley||Admiral Leonard "Bones" McCoy||"Encounter at Farpoint, Part I"||Played Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Chief Medical Officer of the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series)|
|Sabrina Le Beauf||Ensign Giusti||"Gambit"||An American actress best known for her portrayal of Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux on the NBC situation comedy The Cosby Show.|
|Christopher McDonald||Lt. Richard Castillo||"Yesterday's Enterprise"||Known for playing "Shooter McGavin" from the 1996 film Happy Gilmore.|
|Robert Duncan McNeill||Cadet Nicholas Locarno||"The First Duty"||Later plays the character Lt. Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager, which is based on his performance of Nicholas Locarno in the TNG episode "The First Duty".|
|Bebe Neuwirth||Nurse Lanel||"First Contact"||Known for playing "Lilith Sternin", the ex-wife of Dr. Frasier Crane in TV series Cheers and Frasier.|
|Leonard Nimoy||Ambassador Spock||"Unification, Parts I and II"||Played Spock, Chief Science Officer/First Officer of the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series).|
|Terry O'Quinn||Admiral Eric Pressman||"The Pegasus"||Known for playing the title role in The Stepfather and Stepfather II, as well as Peter Watts in Millennium. In recent years, O'Quinn has portrayed John Locke on the ABC TV series Lost.|
|Michelle Phillips||Jenice Manheim||"We'll Always Have Paris"||Singer, songwriter, and actress. She gained fame as a member of the 1960s group The Mamas & the Papas, and is the last surviving original member of the group.|
|Tim Russ||Devor||"Starship Mine"||Known for portraying Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager as well as having made several appearances throughout the Star Trek franchise as different characters. Has had speaking lines (as different characters) with Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, Captain Sisko, Captain Sulu and Captain Janeway. Was also a serious runner up to play the character of Geordi La Forge but lost to LeVar Burton.|
|Judson Scott||Sobi||"Symbiosis"||Played Joachim, Khan Noonien Singh's right-hand man, in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan|
|Siddig El Fadil/Alexander Siddig||Lt. J.G. Julian Bashir, MD||"Birthright"||Played Dr. Julian Bashir in the spinoff series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also went on to star in several films, such as Reign of Fire and Syriana.|
|Jean Simmons||Admiral Norah Satie||"The Drumhead"||Acclaimed English actress known for such roles as Varinia in Spartacus and Ophelia in Hamlet. She also starred in North and South alongside a young Jonathan Frakes.|
|Paul Sorvino||Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko, human adopted brother of Worf||"Homeward"||Father of actress Mira Sorvino. Starred as Sgt. Phil Ceretta on Law & Order, along with numerous film and television appearances.|
|Brenda Strong||Rashella||"When the Bough Breaks"||Currently starring as Mary Alice Young on Desperate Housewives. Played Capt. Deladier in Starship Troopers.|
|Tony Todd||Kurn, house of Mogh||"Sins of the Father"||Several film appearances, including the role of the Candyman (Daniel Robitaille) in the film series of the same name. Also played William Wright, Dean of Security at Eastside High School in Lean on Me. Also played the adult Jake Sisko in the Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor". Most recently he voiced The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He is also well known as William Bludworth in the first, second, and fifth entries in the Final Destination series, in addition to his voice talent as the same character off-screen in the third.|
|David Warner||Gul Madred, Cardassian interrogator||"Chain of Command"||Played an Earth ambassador in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Klingon Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country|
|Paul Winfield||Captain Dathon||"Darmok"||Played Captain Clark Terrell in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Lt. Traxler in the 1984 film The Terminator|
|James Worthy||Klingon "Koral"||"Gambit"||Basketball star, University of North Carolina and Los Angeles Lakers.|
|"The Last Outpost"
|Played "Malak" in Conan The Destroyer with Olivia D'Abo (Amanda Rogers from the episode True Q) and "Bob the Goon" in Batman (1989). Also played "Sheriff Walter Chechekevitch" in the TV series Reno 911!|
|Liz Vassey||Kristen||"Conundrum"||Known for playing Captain Liberty/Janet on The Tick, and Wendy Simms on the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation|
|David Ogden Stiers||Timicin||"Half a Life"||Known for playing Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in TV series M*A*S*H|
|Ray Wise||Liko||"Who Watches the Watchers"||Known for playing "Leland Palmer" in the TV series Twin Peaks, and "Leon Nash", the sidekick to Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) in the film Robocop, and as "Arturis" in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Hope and Fear"|
The Next Generation has other similarities to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, itself spun from the plans for Star Trek: Phase II. The movie's Willard Decker and Ilia bear similarities to The Next Generation's Will Riker and Deanna Troi. The series's second-season premiere was based on a Phase II script, as was the courtroom drama "Devil's Due".
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.
Variants of Enterprise's LCARS computer interface appear in the Deep Space Nine and Voyager spinoffs and the Next Generation-era films. The series also established the five-number stardate, with the second digit corresponding to the season; Deep Space Nine's opening stardate of 46379 aligns with The Next Generation's sixth season, and Voyager's 48315 places it in what would have been The Next Generation's eighth season.
Three original Star Trek main actors appear as their original series characters in The Next Generation: DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy in "Encounter at Farpoint", Leonard Nimoy as Spock in both halves of "Unification", and James Doohan as Montgomery Scott in "Relics". Mark Lenard played Sarek for both "Sarek" and "Unification, Part I", and Majel Barrett reprised her role of voicing the Enterprise's computer, as well as playing Deanna's mother, Lwaxana Troi. The Romulans reprise their antagonistic role in The Next Generation, although the Klingons reappear as Federation allies.
The Next Generation introduces two characters who would later have lead roles in Deep Space Nine: Miles O'Brien (played by Colm Meaney) and Worf. The character who eventually became Kira Nerys was initially intended to be a reprisal of Michelle Forbes's Next Generation character, Ro Laren. Additional Next Generation characters who appear in Deep Space Nine include Q, the Duras sisters, Klingon Chancellor Gowron, Kurn (Worf's brother), Alexander Rozhenko (Worf's son), Keiko O'Brien (Miles's wife), Molly O'Brien (Miles's daughter), Lwaxana Troi, Thomas Riker, Vash and Gul Evek.
Reginald Barclay, Deanna Troi, Q, William Riker and Geordi La Forge appear in Voyager. Tom Paris, a main character in Voyager, was based on the Next Generation character Nicholas Locarno; Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Locarno, went on to play Paris.
Deanna Troi and William Riker appear in the Enterprise finale "These Are the Voyages..." Data has a voice over cameo in that same episode.
The Ferengi, conceived but panned as The Next Generation's recurring antagonists, appear in subsequent Star Trek spin-offs. The Next Generation also introduces the Borg, Cardassian, Trill and Bajoran species, all of which, along with the Maquis resistance group, play a part in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
The following Next Generation cast members have appeared as various other characters in other Star Trek productions.
The following actors from other Star Trek productions have appeared in guest spots on The Next Generation as other characters.
Four films feature the characters of the series:
Three other Star Trek TV series succeeded The Next Generation:
The series has also inspired numerous novels, analytical books, websites, and works of fan fiction.
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.
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 not available on Netflix outside the U.S.
A news release on startrek.com officially announced on September 28, 2011 that Star Trek: The Next Generation would be completely re-mastered in 1080p high definition (aspect ratio 4:3) from original 35mm film negatives (consisting of almost 25,000 reels of original film stock) with all effects recomposed from their large format negatives specifically for each episode, accompanied by 7.1 DTS Master Audio. The completely re-mastered episodes of all 7 seasons of the series will eventually be released on the Blu-ray Disc format, starting with a single Blu-ray Disc consisting of the episodes "Encounter at Farpoint," "Sins of the Father," and "The Inner Light" to be released on January 31, 2012. The complete Season 1 set will be released on July 24, 2012. Eventually the completed re-mastering of TNG will become available for Blu-ray release, syndication on television and distribution digitally.
|Season||Release date||Special features|
|Season One||July 24, 2012||TBA|
During the remaster process it was feared that 13 seconds of footage from Sins of the Father were missing, meaning that the high definition release would contain upscaled footage from the Betacam SP TV master. The footage was later recovered and will be included in the remastered release. 
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