Like many people, Star Trek: The Next Generation feels like ‘my’ Star Trek. It’s what I watched after school as a kid, the books I used to check out of the library, and I’ve even got a battered Worf action figure tucked away in a box somewhere.
Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the show’s debut, with ‘Encounter at Farpoint’ premiering on a variety of syndicated channels back in 1987. The first episode saw impressive viewing figures of 27 million (with a 15.7% Nielsen rating), though both fans and critics had some issues with what would become iconic characters.
For example, The Washington Post said Patrick Stewart was a “grim bald crank who would make a better villain” and that Jonathan Frakes “verges on namby-pamby”. Fans also complained that Star Trek was now too politically correct, proving that some things never change.
But we all know that any first season wobbles were ironed out and The Next Generation became a truly beloved show. Here’s how fans marked the occasion online:
The Next Generation has been revisited in Star Trek: Picard, whose second season is currently in post-production. Indications are that the show will resolve the friendship/rivalry between Picard and Q, possibly involving a trip to an alternative universe where things turned out very differently for the crew.
That’s set to air in February 2022, but if you’re in the mood for Star Trek: The Next Generation the entire show is available to stream on Paramount Plus.