Tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Graeme McMillian Has written a nice article in Time regarding the impact it had on pop culture - not in terms of making things like holodecks reality, but in terms of birthing the concept of the "re-boot".
Looking at the success of the Star Trek movie seriesStar Trek IV: The Voyage Home was the fifth most successful movie of the year in 1986 executives at Paramount, which owned the series at the time, asked themselves whether or not they could return the property to the small screen on a regular basis and make it profitable. In one sense, this wasn't a new idea; movies had been translated into television shows for years by this point, with wildly variable results. However, what Paramount had in mind was something less common; instead of transferring the same characters, settings and status quo of the movies to the small screen, recasted with cheaper actors, they wanted to create something that would be Star Trek, but also leave enough space (no pun intended) for the successful movie series to continue without their appeal lessened by the same material being available each week for free on TV.Perhaps by plan or perhaps by coincidence, Patrick Stewart popped up on The Daily Show last night and Rocked. The. House.
What emerged from this need was a show that was both a sequel to the original Trek, but almost entirely new at the same time. The mission survived the translation ( although "where no man has gone before" was updated for the '80s and became "no one". A surface reading of both the original Star Trek and The Next Generation could cast both shows as the same beast, but thatâs not really the case. The Next Generation was a more thoughtful series - at times, to its detriment - one that was less likely to jump into action or romance the closest sexy alien lady that week than it was to sit down and talk about its feelings before deciding that, well, maybe things are very complicated and perhaps inaction is a valid response to events after all.
I'll try to embed it here, but if I fail: here is a link to a TPM page where you can view it. [if you can tell me how do do this more directly, I'd appreciate the tip!]