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Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

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Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Old 01-25-21, 07:07 PM
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Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a well pored over subject, but dammit, it still needs more poring over! After finishing What We Left Behind documentary, and I think that TNG deserves a feature length documentary—especially since the show will be turning 40 years old in six years.

The show was that sweet spot on the Venn diagram between TOS and DS9. Gene Roddenberry laid the groundwork for the series and gave it an idealistic, humanistic heart and by the third season the show was given into the skilled hands of people like Michael Piller, Ronald D. Moore, and Ira Steven Behr (among others) to turn into a television classic. (Seasons 3,4, and 5 are some of the best television ever made, IMHO)

TNG won multiple awards including a Peabody Award (for “The Big Goodbye”) and two Hugo awards (for “The Inner Light” and “All Good Things…”) and nominated for many others (“The Measure of a Man” was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award) and the first science fiction show to be nominated for Best Prime Time Emmy (losing to Picket Fences).

It had arguably the greatest cliffhanger in the history of television:






And arguably the greatest series finale of television:






TNG’s cast were a tight knit family and their camaraderie permeated into the chemistry between the characters on screen. It was the only Trek spin-off to give The Original Series a run for its money for popularity. It was the only Trek series to get consistently high Nielsen ratings. It was the only Trek spin-off to get a theatrical series (of admittedly questionable quality).

It’s deeply sad that the series ended with the execrable Star Trek Nemesis, followed up with the equally execrable Star Trek Picard and the absolutely AMAZING Blu ray set that didn’t make as much as money as Paramount/CBS wanted. TNG deserves to go out on a high note. If they can’t get a fifth closing film (with signatures a’la Star Trek VI), but a theatrical documentary is the least Paramount can do for a TV series that really added so much life to the Star Trek franchise.

I grew up with the show in it’s original airing. No matter what walk of life, people talked about the series. Even now, people who weren’t even alive when the show originally aired have found it appealing. It’s the ultimate in televised comfort food and the one Trek show I revisit the most. No contest.

So, let’s raise a glass to Star Trek: The Next Generation! What are your favorite episodes and memories?

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Old 01-25-21, 07:08 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Also, the show had the best cheesy episode promos in the history of television:

Old 01-25-21, 08:33 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

I absolutely love TNG. One of my favorite all time shows, and probably my favorite Star Trek show in general. It was a good progression from TOS.

Picard rivals Kirk as my favorite Captain. I used to favor Kirk, but as Iíve gotten older I probably would say Picard very slightly edges him out.

The other characters are great as well. Data is every bit as good as Spock. Really liked seeing him progress through the show as he learned to become more human.

Riker is a good first officer. A bit generic maybe, but he has good chemistry with Picard and company. Also really like Geordi and Worf.

Also you canít leave out the villains. Of course there were the classic Klingons and Romulans, but we also were introduced to many new alien species like the Ferengi, Cardassians, and of course the Borg and Q.

The Enterprise D is an absolutely gorgeous ship. My favorite Starfleet ship aside from the refit NCC-1701/NCC-1701 A.

So hard to pick a favorite episode. I really like Relics. Fun episode that brought back James Doohan as Scotty. Yesterdayís Enterprise is very good. I liked how they brought back Tasha Yar for another episode. Cause and Effect is an interesting episode. All Good Things is such a great finale and a perfect send-off.
Old 01-25-21, 09:35 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

I was looking at the episode list to compile a Top 10 of STANDALONE episodes, but there are too many great ones, so here are some of my personal favs:

Darmok: Such a great premise exploring the philosophical idea of how we use language is not just as communication but to construct our understanding of reality.

The Lower Decks: The rare episode of TNG that focuses on the fact that there are more than 10 people on this giant ship. Great mix of humor and drama and character. The actress who played Sito Jaxa quit acting the next year, but I thought she was really good here.

Tapestry: The closest thing Star Trek has to a Christmas episode as the story is kind of a mix of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life.

Parallels: Obviously the idea of alternate universes was not new in 1993, even to Star Trek, but it wasn't as common idea in popular culture as it is now, and this was a great sci-fi episode with lots of humor mixed in. I remember being very shocked by the appearance of the one battered ship at the end.

Data's Day and In Theory: Who doesn't love Data epsiodes?

The Drumhead: When TNG attempted to take on social issues, it was often very ham-handed. I think this is a powerful depiction of how a witch hunt can catch fire. Wonderful acting.

The Offspring: Thematic companion to Measure of a Man, but accomplishes the rare feat of introducing a new character and making her death incredibly moving, all in one hour of TV.

Cause and Effect: Was this TNG's best pre-credit scene?

The Defector: I just think this is such a rock solid episode with a great story and the great use of a journeyman character actor in a guest role. Great ending.

I could list many more, but I'll stop there.

Oh . . . wait . . . The Inner Light, of course.
Old 01-25-21, 09:47 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

I love TNG to pieces. For a long time it took me to think of my favorite episode (that show has *so* many gems), but as time has gone on, it's not "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "The Inner Light", but season 3's "Deja Q". The episode is incredibly underrated. It took the character of Q and gave him a humorous edge and a whole new dimension than just being a mustache twirling villain as he was in the show's early episodes. There's humor, there's pathos and there's an exploration of the human condition that is as good as Gene Roddeberry could hope for. It's a clever story with delicious dialogue and the ending of the episode is f***ing classic. It's the pivot point for Q's arc in the series (yes, TNG characters actually had subtle arcs).

This scene is what illustrates why this episode into more than a mere comedy episode:


If you haven't watched this episode or at least in a long time: check it out! ("Deja Q" season 3)
Old 01-26-21, 03:31 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

DS9 remains my favorite but TNG is what turned me into a trekkie. I can't re-watch the first season but it is awful but S2's "The Measure of a Man" and "Q Who" were awesome enough to keep me hanging in there (the former is my favorite TNG episode). It was worth it.
Old 01-26-21, 08:57 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

TNG is still my favorite Trek. As a lawyer, I really connected with the episode Measure of a Man (where they held a hearing to determine whether Data was a sentient being or property of Starfleet - also the episode which introduced Bruce Maddox, part of the basis for the Picard series).

For pure fun, my favorite episode was Starship Mine (Die Hard in space).
Old 01-26-21, 11:13 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

I love TNG. Always have.

Now, the first two seasons were less than stellar (OK, but less than the seasons that followed), and the last season was half greatness, half trainwreck, but, overall, I love the show.

I prefer DS9 over TNG, and I prefer Babylon 5 to both, but that doesn't mean I don't still love TNG the way I did when it first aired. When that first run was on it was an exciting time! It was so much fun to watch the show not knowing what was coming. Even today, knowing what's coming, I still love it.
Old 01-26-21, 11:59 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

TNG was my first real exposure to Trek. I've always loved it.
Old 01-26-21, 12:26 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

For some reason I donít really recall watching TNG much as it aired. Granted I was pretty young at the time. I was familiar with TOS through re-runs, and the movies.

I knew of TNG, but my exposure to it was limited. I do recall though that I went to see Generations in the theater with my dad, grandpa, and I believe an uncle and a cousin. That may be why I have a soft spot for that film when most donít like it much.
Old 01-26-21, 12:51 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Yes. We do appreciate it, very much.



Oh, you want discussion? It's a desert-island TV series for me, all 7 seasons. So many old school fans hated the very thought of it in 1986, but it elevated Trek outside of it's nerds-only fandom and made it a mainstream thing (for better or worse). Patrick Stewart has become a bigger name than Shatner ever was, and is less of a douche-canoe than Shatner. It hit so many topics that TOS could only dream of, though not as many as DS9 and VOY touched on but didn't have the overall appeal that TNG did.
Old 01-26-21, 01:06 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by milo bloom View Post
Oh, you want discussion?
Yes please! TNG is such a multi-faceted show that all points of view are welcome here!

It's a desert-island TV series for me, all 7 seasons. So many old school fans hated the very thought of it in 1986, but it elevated Trek outside of it's nerds-only fandom and made it a mainstream thing (for better or worse). Patrick Stewart has become a bigger name than Shatner ever was, and is less of a douche-canoe than Shatner. It hit so many topics that TOS could only dream of, though not as many as DS9 and VOY touched on but didn't have the overall appeal that TNG did.
All great points! Thanks!

For me, one of the most striking features of TNG was that it was the only Trek show that seemed like the characters in the 24th century actually behaved like they were from a future time and not just transplanted from the 20th century to the Enterprise-D. While the characters of the following shows seemed to have an affinity for the 20th (or 21st century), the characters from TNG actually exhibited contempt for it like we would for the Dark Ages. The episode, "The Neutral Zone" is a prime example. When the TNG characters go back in time to the mid-21st century in Star Trek: First Contact, (where the native characters act like they're from the late 20th century) the crew of the Enterprise-E really seem out of step with Zefram Cochrane and company. The fact that our time seems so alien and distasteful to the 24th century characters gave the series a unique and frankly refreshing authenticity. ("People got sick. They needed money. Why tie yourself to that?" as Dr. Noonien Soong said.)
Old 01-26-21, 03:59 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

It came on every night just as I was getting home from my after school job. I had the biggest crush on Troi. I still like TOS more but TNG is still top notch. The series finale is also how a show should go out. I also enjoy the movies more than most people seem to.
Old 01-26-21, 08:19 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

WHo's even watching or even talking about Picket Fences....lol.
Old 01-26-21, 10:40 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by hdtv00 View Post
WHo's even watching or even talking about Picket Fences....lol.
Picket Fences was a great TV show. With PF and Northern Exposure, CBS was really doing something creative with the one-hour dramas at that time.
Old 01-27-21, 02:57 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by Count Dooku View Post
Picket Fences was a great TV show. With PF and Northern Exposure, CBS was really doing something creative with the one-hour dramas at that time.
The 90s was such a watershed decade for television. From Twin Peaks to the The Sopranos; from The Simpsons to The West Wing; from In Living Color to Family Guy; the 90s never stopped innovating. Indeed, TNG didn't really take off into a consistent quality television program until the 80s ended and the 90s began. What did they put in the water in Hollywood in 1990 onwards?
Old 01-27-21, 09:17 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

When the show startet I was still a child, but I really liked it, but did not watch it on a regular basis. A couple of years later, when I was a teenager I watched the reruns after school every day and became a big fan and watched most episodes 2-3 times but hadn't watched any episodes since Star Trek: Nemesis.
15 years later I met my wife and she knows every episode by heart, so now we watch her favorite episodes every year. Now we are fighting which is better TNG or DS9, which she didn't know, until I showed it to her. I favor DS9 because it was a little bit more serialized, which was rare in the 90s and the character development was more to my liking. But still, both shows are pretty great and hold up, to the most part.
Old 01-27-21, 12:54 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by PatD View Post
What did they put in the water in Hollywood in 1990 onwards?
I know your question is rhetorical, but I can't resist chiming in. And this is just part of the answer, which would comprise many complicated factors and developments.

Up until the mid-1980s, television --which means broadcast TV-- was just there. There were three networks providing programming and you had to watch it when it was broadcast.
By the mid-80s, enough US homes had cable TV and VCRs that it could truly be said the way people watched TV had changed, and with that came changing expectations from the audience.

It really was a meeting of the minds. Audiences were willing to take TV more seriously, and the people who "made TV" wanted to provide shows that could be taken seriously.

It seems like such a natural and obvious thing now, but it didn't use to be like this. When you consider the shows from the second Golden Age that started in the 90s, what they have in common is that you have to pay attention when you watch. And paying attention then invites the inclination to think about what you watched.
Old 01-27-21, 04:45 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by Count Dooku View Post
I know your question is rhetorical, but I can't resist chiming in. And this is just part of the answer, which would comprise many complicated factors and developments.

Up until the mid-1980s, television --which means broadcast TV-- was just there. There were three networks providing programming and you had to watch it when it was broadcast.
By the mid-80s, enough US homes had cable TV and VCRs that it could truly be said the way people watched TV had changed, and with that came changing expectations from the audience.

It really was a meeting of the minds. Audiences were willing to take TV more seriously, and the people who "made TV" wanted to provide shows that could be taken seriously.

It seems like such a natural and obvious thing now, but it didn't use to be like this. When you consider the shows from the second Golden Age that started in the 90s, what they have in common is that you have to pay attention when you watch. And paying attention then invites the inclination to think about what you watched.
Interesting.

One thing I've noticed about our current prestige television: it's by and large oppressively jaded. From The Sopranos to Breaking Bad to Game of Thrones, there's little room for anything for anything forward thinking and life affirming (the exception of something like The West Wing). And it's a shame. It's a shame that Star Trek now can't be anything like The Next Generation. There's no way there'd be anything like the following clip in modern Trek show:

Old 01-27-21, 07:23 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

There is the theory that television is just a mirror being held up to the culture. If TV shows are jaded and cynical, then it is because the American people are that way . . . in theory.
Old 01-27-21, 11:05 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by Count Dooku View Post
There is the theory that television is just a mirror being held up to the culture. If TV shows are jaded and cynical, then it is because the American people are that way . . . in theory.
Art can be used to hold up a mirror, but art can also inspire and shine a light to a better way. I think that's what Gene Roddenberry was trying to do with TOS and TNG...and now his influence on the franchise is shockingly downplayed and even thought of as a hindrance. That's why Trek today has such an identity problem. It wants to be Babylon 5 or Lost in Space or Firefly or anything other than a crew of intrepid explorers making peaceful contact with new lifeforms and trying to better themselves. In the first 25 years, Trek was a cultural juggernaut. Gene Roddenberry died in 1991 (30 years ago this year) and by the end of the 1990s, Trek became nearly culturally irrelevant. There are many hypotheses about this. But, the lack of The Great Bird's influence is as good a guess as any.
Old 01-27-21, 11:52 PM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Part of the problem that TNG had was WAY too many episodes resolved with technobabble.

It got old.

Babylon 5 never resolved a problem with technobabble. It was all resolved with strategy and hard work - and taking a lot of risks (risks that resulted in the deaths of multiple characters).

Star Trek was not Babylon 5, or the reverse would probably be a far more accurate way of putting it. And Star Trek shouldn't try to be too much like Babylon 5. Babylon 5 is about a realistic look at the future. People will not be enlightened to the degree we see in the Federation by the 23rd century, no matter how much we may hope they will be. However, that's part of what makes Star Trek STAR TREK. The HOPE that they will be, and that's fine.

The problem that can come up from that presentation is that characters get boring. Will Riker is pretty much fault free. Picard is near perfect. Does Geordi have any faults, either? We know Worf does, but he's a Klingon!

So the trick is to come up with a way to show those characters as flawed, and give them room to grow, without making them out of place in that hopeful view of the future.

By the end of it's run, TNG was running on fumes. The sixth season was weaker than the previous two, and the seventh season was half brilliant, half trainwreck (alternating episodes between great and awful). The problem was they had to keep coming up with stuff for the crew of the Enterprise to do without actually exploring the characters in any kind of a meaningful way. The situations often got ridiculous (crewmembers devolving, Data wearing a mask and pronouncing that, "Masaka is waking").

And they TOTALLY screwed up the Borg, even before First Contact (which almost got the Borg back on track, if not for that stupid Borg Queen idea that shit all over the mythology of the Borg as a COLLECTIVE, where no one Borg is above any of the others).

The sad thing is, currently, the best Star Trek show isn't Star Trek. The best and most TNG like show in current production is The Orville! The relative success of that show proves that there are still a lot of fans who would embrace that style if Paramount's execs weren't afraid to play to the existing fanbase.

TNG got better after Roddenberry died, but then it ran out of gas a couple seasons before it ended. DS9 is my favorite Trek show, but it's not pure Trek - it's part TNG, part Babylon 5 (and we all know why).

I think that the one thing that could have made TNG better would have been if they actually worked out a long term strategy - a plan for each character, and a direction for the show to go in. Plan it out in advance, give the show a focus and a direction. It kind of wandered aimlessly, scattershot over different ideas, some that worked, some that didn't - but completely lacking in an overall focus or goal.

They figured that out on DS9 when they saw what was going on with Babylon 5. The style doesn't have to be the same, but the methods should. HAVE A PLAN. Map out all of the seasons ahead of time so you know where you're going and what you have to do to get there. It can still mostly incorporate standalone episodes, but an overall plan will keep a show focused. TNG lacked that.

The funny thing is, even on TOS they showed some cracks in that society. It wasn't perfect. People weren't perfect. Phinney wasn't dead - he faked his death to frame Captain Kirk. He was bitter, jealous, and angry. That's just one example. They could have (and should have) done more of that on TNG.

And if it seems like I'm shitting all over TNG, I'm not. It was brilliant more often than it wasn't. It's just that somewhere along the line they lost focus, lost the plot, and it became clear that they were out of new ideas a lot of the time and forced stuff into production even though it wasn't very good, and they changed stuff with the Borg just to change stuff, not because it was better.
Old 01-28-21, 12:42 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

^^
These are really brilliant, thought out observations. Some of these things are things I never considered. Thanks for sharing!

However, I would say that sometimes the phenomenon of serendipity helped Star Trek in certain ways. Q had an arc on TNG (As a one dimensional villain in "Encounter at Farpoint" to a getting massive wake-up call in "Deja Q" to one of a guide for Picard and humanity to bigger and better things in "All Good Things...". Was is planned? Not at all. But it works beautifully. The TOS movies have some of that too with Spock realizing that logic was not enough for him in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and embracing a certain level of faith in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. None of that was planned in advanced but it works as effectively as anything from B5.
Old 01-28-21, 04:34 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by PatD View Post
^^
These are really brilliant, thought out observations. Some of these things are things I never considered. Thanks for sharing!

However, I would say that sometimes the phenomenon of serendipity helped Star Trek in certain ways. Q had an arc on TNG (As a one dimensional villain in "Encounter at Farpoint" to a getting massive wake-up call in "Deja Q" to one of a guide for Picard and humanity to bigger and better things in "All Good Things...". Was is planned? Not at all. But it works beautifully.
And if the writers had stopped there, I might have fond memories of Q. Unfortunately, they kept going on VOY and Q devolved into a sexist jerk for no real reason.

One thing I like about the newer Treks is the fact that even though the situations are dire and the future isn't a paradise, the characters keep trying to make things better. They don't always succeed but they keep trying and personally, I find that more interesting. As previously mentioned, on TNG, everything and almost everyone was already perfect which didn't always make for interesting drama hence the reliance on technobabble. They made it work though.
Old 01-28-21, 11:06 AM
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Re: Star Trek: TNG Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by lisadoris View Post
And if the writers had stopped there, I might have fond memories of Q. Unfortunately, they kept going on VOY and Q devolved into a sexist jerk for no real reason.
Voyager bent a few things of theirs over the table. They neutered the Borg and turned them into barely a threat. Barclay got turned into kind of a bit of buffoon. And of course Q got turned into a goofy, sexist, character akin to something from Bewitched. Voyager was essentially TNG with mediocre-to-bad writing.

One thing I like about the newer Treks is the fact that even though the situations are dire and the future isn't a paradise, the characters keep trying to make things better. They don't always succeed but they keep trying and personally, I find that more interesting. As previously mentioned, on TNG, everything and almost everyone was already perfect which didn't always make for interesting drama hence the reliance on technobabble. They made it work though.
TNG had their share of interpersonal conflicts, BUT they were about things that were important. See episodes like "The Loss", "Ethics", "The First Duty" or "The Pegasus" for a few examples.

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