Happy 30th Anniversary to Star Trek: The Next Generation
First of all, I wasn't looking forward to a reboot of Star Trek
when this show aired. I sort of thought of Star Trek
as Kirk and his pals cruising around space in their cool car, getting into scrapes. This was not going to be that.
Boy howdy, do I remember being 12 and showing up at school the next day and me and my fellow nerd friends standing around trying to make heads or tails of what we'd just watched. We knew we liked Data, Riker, Tasha Yar and Geordi. But what was up with that kid? And why wasn't the Klingon phasering and stabbing everything in sight? And, of course, the notion of Counselor Troi was a lot for a 12 year old to get their head around. And why was the Captain not a brash, emotional young man? He seemed so old... (he was, of course, only about 47, just a few years older than I am now).
But eventually I got sucked in, and by the time I got to college, one of the few posters I brought with me for my dorm room wall was a poster-sized portrait of Captain Picard that I woke up to every morning.
Mostly I watched the show in nightly reruns in syndication, catching them out of order in a way that TV could never withstand today. And, since I was living with other people during college, if I didn't catch a reference to something from a prior episode or Star Trek mythology, often someone could fill in a gap who had seen those episodes.
Man, we *all* watched this show back then. Where watching the original series still carried the whiff of nerdiness to it, the seeming omnipresence of ST:TNG
made it kind of okay, and while not everyone was super into the mythology, people mostly knew who the cast were and whatnot.
The show can be intensely uneven, everyone has things they like about it and things they don't just because of the sheer sprawl of the cast and show (I have mixed feelings about the holodeck stuff). But the good outweighed the bad to a massive degree.
I can intellectualize issues with the show, and while I continue to watch the show from time to time, I've never returned to it in any systematic way. Mostly I'll catch an episode or two on BBC or streaming. But, yeah, I still enjoy it quite a bit, even if its a clunker of an episode (but what do you want? They had around 180 episodes. Not everything is going to be gold.).
The show underwent a lot of changes over the years, with cast coming and going, plot threads and characters continuing, growing, changing, revealing themselves in episodic bits. The Trek universe expanded into new edges of the universe and contracted (lots of guest appearances by TOS
Some of you may have enjoyed Star Trek: The Experience in Vegas
, and if you did not, I'm very sorry. But in addition to a recreation of Quark's from DS9
, the experience also included a recreation of the bridge of the NCC-1701D, down to the last detail. And not a person who found themself on that bridge did get something of a shiver.