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Star Trek: The Next Generation was the first spinoff of the popular Star Trek series. Launched in 1986, after studied by Paramount executives revealed that fans of the original series had even more disposable income than previously estimated, it ran for seven largely successful seasons. It improved markedly halfway through the second season when creator Gene Roddenberry died, taking his curious obsession with "pleasure planets" with him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is set more than 100 years in the future from the original series, when the starship Enterprise is even shinier, special effects are far more convincing, the toupee technology employed by the original series' Capt. James T. Kirk has been banned following the Hairpiece Wars of the late 23rd century, and science has still has not found a cure for male pattern baldness.

Cast and CharactersEdit

  • Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart): A thoughtful and eloquent diplomat, Picard dazzles friend and foe alike with his commanding presence, his encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare, and the radiant glare from his shiny bald head. After filming of the series concluded, Stewart, born Patrice Le Stuart in a suburb of Paris, was revealed to have been a spy for the French government, regularly sending them detailed reports on America's sophisticated science-fiction TV show technology. "Stewart" sent these reports in an inegnious visual code, varying the frequency and duration of Picard's tugs on the front of his uniform according to prearranged patterns. As part of his cover, "Stewart" deliberately affected a British accent despite his character's French origins.
  • Cmdr. William Riker (Jonathan Frakes): A being of pure testosterone, Cmdr. Riker is a descendant of one of the many illegitimate love children scattered throughout the galaxy following Capt. Kirk's original five-year mission. He is referred to as "Number One" among the women of the Enterprise for reasons that cannot be discussed in polite company. In the first season, producers found Frakes' clean-shaven chin too overwhelmingly hypnotic; concerned that it might distract viewers from the plot of any given episode, they required him to grow a beard from the second season onward.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Data (Brent Spiner): A sophisticated android with a positronic brain, Data pretends not to understand concepts such as "humanity," "love," and "second base" in order to make a succession of hot, gullible ensigns.
  • Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn): A Klingon who rejected his species' centuries-long vendetta against Doctor Who for a career in flower arranging. Worf was driven into exile in Starfleet following a tragic pruning accident. His poignant history was explored in the fourth-season classic, "Let This Be My Last Bouquet."
  • Lt. Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton): As chief engineer, Geordi wears a high-tech visor that allows him to overcome his natural blindness. Unfortunately, Geordi was also born with a rare form of brain damage that leaves him incapable of uttering a sentence that does not contain the words "dilithium warp matrix" or "positronic antiproton field generator."
  • Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis): Empathic powers passed down from her Betazoid mother allowed Counselor Troi to make vague, generally unhelpful guesses about someone's emotional state, sometimes by surreptitiously reading their Livejournal. She attempted to conceal her insecurity regarding her frankly disappointing abilities by wearing low-cut uniforms. It worked spectacularly.
  • Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden): Dr. Crusher spent most of her time in Sickbay, waiting for someone to suffer hideous radiation burns or contract an alien virus. She would then cure them with a single injection, sigh heavily, and go back to hearing other crew members talk about the exciting things going on elsewhere on the ship. McFadden was briefly allowed to make her character a complete and total badass in the fourth-season premiere, taking command of the Enterprise and flying it into a sun to outwit pursuing enemies, by distracting the entire writing staff with a particularly shiny ball of tinfoil.
  • Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton): An instant hit among fans, the character of young genius Wesley Crusher became so popular that Wheaton was forced to leave the show in its third season, after producers could not meet his skyrocketing salary demands.

Notable Supporting Characters and ConceptsEdit

  • The Holodeck: An artificially generated environment for crew members' recreation, the Holodeck was designed to periodically malfunction and threaten the safety of the entire ship, just to keep the crew on its toes.
  • The Borg: A highly unimaginative collective of cyborg modern artists, the Borg grew frustrated when their Cube Series Nos. 1-1.23 million were poorly received by critics. They launched a galactic campaign to assimilate all known species in hopes of improving attendance at their gallery shows. It is now difficult to believe, but prior to their exhaustive overuse by subsequent series' writers and producers, the Borg were actually frightening.
  • Q: A representative of an ethereal race of omnipotent jackasses, Q showed up to annoy the crew of the Enterprise and eat out of their refrigerators whenever he got bored. He could only be banished back to his home in the Fifth Dimension by being tricked into saying his name backwards. This was considerably more difficult than it sounds.
  • Guinan: Whoopi Goldberg played the Enterprise's bartender, the last surviving member of a race that went extinct after being devoured by their own enormous, sentient hats.

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