Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek: The Original Series back in the 1960's, and a phenomenon was born. However, while the franchise is culturally embedded these days and impossible to avoid, it's easy to forget that it was not always inevitable that it would go beyond TOS and the accompanying movies. TOS had a variety of flaws built into it, and its stars were getting older and wanted to do other things.
Enter Star Trek: The Next Generation. This bold new show appeared in the 1980's and followed the adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (as played by Patrick Stewart, a true Shakespearean who could lend gravitas to a boiled egg if he wanted to) and the crew of the Galaxy-class Enterprise D. The show was transgressive and diverse, with women in many major roles and a willingness to explore new perspectives. Like TOS, it didn't draw its plots from petty squabbles among the crew but from external sources and a bolder vision of what humankind was capable of. Humanity is literally put on trial in the show and the better angels of our natures are the true heroes. Roddenberry's optimism shines through, even in series after he exited the daily running of the show. TNG is rightly regarded as, in some ways, the pinnacle of everything Star Trek is about, and it lives in the pantheon of great American sci-fi as a result. So let's find out where you belong among this inspiring crew!
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