26 September 1987 was the date which ushered in the rebirth and continuation of one of television's most enduring and celebrated legends. With the feature length premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Encounter at Farpoint", Gene Roddenberry's galaxy spanning concept was revived for an entire new generation of viewers across the globe.
Set seventy years after the legendary exploits of James T. Kirk and his original crew, ST:TNG featured an all new crew on an all new Enterprise, facing dangers and moral dilemmas which bore the unique hallmark of the highly detailed fictional Trek universe. As with the original series and all of its spin-offs, the key to ST:TNG's success was in the importance of the "Family" aspect of the core characters inter-relationships. Blessed yet again with a talented and committed ensemble cast, lead by Yorkshire born Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard (a choice originally resisted by Roddenerry himself, who favoured Cagney and Lacy's Stephen Mach for the role), the show took the now expected standard three seasons to define a unique identity of its own while staying true to the basic, underlying Star Trek ethos.
With the arrival of Rick Berman as guiding light following Roddenberry's departure, ST:TNG forged a standard of excellence which almost single-handedly revived the moribund wasteland of televised science-fiction that held sway at that time, and in the process actually succeeded in the near impossible task of actually supplanting the parent show as the flagship of the Trek dynasty in the eyes of many, and at times even the most die-hard of original series fans.
Published on February 4th, 2019. Written by Steve Hulse (2000) for Television Heaven.