American science fiction television series from 1987–1994
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. It originally aired from September 28, 1987, to May 23, 1994, in syndication, spanning 178 episodes and over seven seasons. The third series in the Star Trek franchise, it is the second sequel to Star Trek: The Original Series. Set in the 24th century, when Earth is part of the United Federation of Planets, it follows the adventures of a Starfleet starship, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), in its exploration of the Milky Way galaxy.
In the 1980s, Roddenberry—who was responsible for the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–1974), and a series of films—was tasked by Paramount Pictures with creating a new series in the franchise. He decided to set it a century after the events of his original series. The Next Generation featured a new crew: Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as William Riker, Brent Spiner as Data, Michael Dorn as Worf, LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge, Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar, Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, and a new Enterprise.
Roddenberry, Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor served as executive producers at various times throughout its production. The series was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations. Stewart's voice-over introduction during each episode's opening credits stated the starship's purpose, albeit altered to reflect an on-going mission:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
The show was very popular, reaching almost 12 million viewers in its 5th season, with the series finale in 1994 watched by over 30 million viewers. Following its success, Paramount commissioned Rick Berman and Michael Piller to create a fourth series in the franchise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which launched in 1993. The characters from The Next Generation returned in four films: Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), and in the television series Star Trek: Picard (2020). The series is also the setting of numerous novels, comic books, and video games. It received many accolades, including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award.
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main subject: Star Trek: The Next Generation2
Written work by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann