Star Trek: The Next Generation

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You may be looking for the trope: Next Generation.

Fandom
Name: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Abbreviation(s): STTNG
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Date(s): 1987-1994 (the TV show)

1994 Star Trek: Generations (seventh film)
1996 Star Trek: First Contact (eighth film)
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection (ninth film)

2002 Star Trek: Nemesis (tenth film)
Medium: Television series, movie series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links:
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Contents

Star Trek: The Next Generation was similar to the original Star Trek concept: a large, diverse crew on a ship called the Enterprise travels the galaxy, meets aliens, and spreads goodwill. This time, the ship was even bigger, and there were more aliens.

The main members of the TNG crew were:

Name Position Species
Jean-Luc Picard Captain Human
William Riker First Officer Human
Geordi La Forge Conn Officer; later, Chief Engineer Human
Worf Chief of Security and Tactical Officer Klingon
Beverly Crusher Chief Medical Officer Human
Data Second Officer Android
Wesley Crusher Conn Officer Human
Natasha "Tasha" Yar Chief of Security and Tactical Officer Human
Deanna Troi Ship's Counselor Half-Betazoid (mother) / half-Human (father)

Q, an alien with god-like powers and a rather flouncy and queenly mien, was a frequent guest star, especially in later seasons. Other recurring characters included Keiko and Miles O'Brien.

Fans spent hours deciding the exact one-to-one relationship between the original Star Trek characters and the TNG versions of them.

Early Casting

From the March 1987 issue of Comlink:

"I would be negligent if I didn't pass along some information about the new ST TV series... from a fanzine, 'This is It' by Rich Volker. I present an abbreviated version for you to read and digest. Captain Julian Piccard -- a caucasian man in his fifties who is very youthful and in prime physical condition. Born in Paris, his Gallic accent appears only when deep emotions are triggered. He is definitely a romantic and believes strongly in concepts like honor and duty. Number One (aka William Ryker) -- 30-35 years old caucasian born in Alaska. Number One, as he is usually called, is second-in-command of the Enterprise and has a very strong, solid relationship with the Captain. Lt. Commander Data -- He is an android who has the appearance of a man in his mid-30s. Data should have exotic features. Lt. Macha Hernandez -- 26-year old woman of unspecified Latin descent who serves as the ship's security chief. Macha has an almost obsessive devotion to protecting the ship and its crew and treats Capt Picard and Number One as if they were saints. Lt. Deanna Troi -- An alien woman who is tall, about 30 years old and quite beautiful. She serves as the starship's Chief Psychologist. She and Number One are romantically involved. Wesley Crusher -- An appealing 15-year old caucasian boy. His remarkable mind and photographic memory make it seem likely for him to become, at 15, a Starfleet acting-ensign. Otherwise, he is a normal teenager. Beverly Crusher -- Wesley's 35-year old mother. She serves as the Chief Medical Officer. If it were not for her intelligence, personality, and beauty, and the fact that she has the natural walk of a striptease queen, Capt Picard might not have agreed to her request that Wesley observe bridge activities, therefore letting her son's intelligence carry events further. Lt. Geordi LaForge -- a 20-25-year old black man, blind from birth. With the help of a special prosthetic device he wears, his vision far surpassed anything the human eye can see. Although young, he is quite mature and best friends with Data."

This was also published in March 1987, this time in The Propagator, note the major differences are that Wesley Crusher was supposed to have been a girl named Leslie, the further description of Data, more description of Hernandez, more physical description of Troi, and more on Geordi's voice:

"CAPT JULIAN PICARD — A Caucasian man in his 50's who is very youthful and in prime physical condition. Born in Paris, his gallic accent appears onlv when deep emotions are triggered He is definitely a romantic and believes strongly in concepts like honor and duty. Capt. Picard commands the Enterprise. He should have a mid-Atlantic accent, and a wonderfully rich speaking voice. NUMBER ONE (A.K.A. WILLIAM RYKER) — A 30-35 year old Caucasian born in Alaska. He is a pleasant looking man with sex appeal, of medium height, very agile and strong, a natural psychologist Number one, as he is usually called, is second-in-command of the Enterprise and has a very strong, solid relationship with the Captain. LT. COMMANDER DATA -- He is an android who has the appearance of a man in his mid 30's Data should have exotic features and can be anyone of the following racial groups: Asian, American Indian, East Indian. South American Indian or similar racial groups. He is in perfect physical condition and should appear very intelligent. LT. MACHA HERNANDEZ -- 26 year old woman of unspecified Latin decent who serves as the starship's security chief. She is described as having a new quality of conditioned-body-beauty, a fire in her eyes and muscularly well developed and very female body, but keeping in mind that much of her strength comes from attitude. Macha has an almost obsessive devotion to protecting the ship and Its crew and treats Capt. Picard and Number One as if they were saints, LT. DEANNA TROI — An alien woman who is tall (58" -6') and slender, about 30 years old and quite beautiful. She serves as the starship's Chief Psychologist. Deanna is probably foreign (anywhere from Italian, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, Icelandic, etc.) with looks and accent to match. She and Number One are romantically involved. Her alien "look" is still to be determined. LESLIE CRUSHER -- An appealing 15 year old Caucasian girl (need small 18 or almost 18 year old to play 15). Her remarkable mind and photographic memory make it seem not unlikely for her to become, at 15, a Starfleet acting-ensign. Otherwise, she is a normal teenager. BEVERLY CRUSHER -- Leslie's 35 year old mother, She serves as the chief medical officer on the Enterprise. If it were not for her intelligence, personality, beauty and the fact that she has a natural walk of a striptease queen Capt. Picard might not have agreed to her request that Leslie observe bridge activities, therefore letting her daughter's intelligence carry events further, LT. GEORDI LaFORGE — a 20-25 year old black man, blind from birth. With the help of a special prosthetic device he wears, his vision far surpasses anything the human eyes can see. Although he is young, he is quite mature and is best friends with Data. Please do not submit any 'street' types, as Geordi has perfect diction and might even have a Jamaican accent Should also be able to do comedy well."

TNG Meta

Paramount wanted to make more money out of the Star Trek concept. Fans were...cautiously optimistic. Star Trek had been ahead of its time in many ways; fans expected TNG to update that image, and continue to make statements of its own, but TNG was a profoundly conservative creation. One place where that became very obvious was homosexual inclusion. Gay SF fans organized a national letter-writing campaign to urge Paramount to acknowledge a queer presence in the 24th century future represented on TNG. Roddenberry publicly committed himself to do so shortly before his death, but the producers never made good on that promise.[1] Another reason TNG was not taken very seriously by many SF or media fans was the way the show didn't seem to realize that Wesley Crusher was a horribly obvious Mary Sue character.

TNG Fandom

Much TNG fanfic was posted on ASC and, later, ASCEM. Picard/Crusher and Riker/Troi were popular het pairings, with a number of communities such as BONC and the Imzadi mailing list developing around them. The Data/Yar pairing also attracted some fans, including some who usually considered themselves slashers.

TNG was a less popular slash fandom than its predecessor, although there was some f/f fic, especially Crusher/Troi and Tasha/Troi, and some m/m fic, including Data/LaForge and Picard/Riker. The relatively small amount of slash may be a result of the fact that two of the central male characters, Picard and Riker, had well-developed romantic interests in canon, Crusher and Troi, respectively. Late in the series, a Picard/Q fandom also started to develop.

For an overview of Star Trek fandom's online activities from the early 1990s, including show commentary, episode guides and fan fiction, visit the textfile directory.

TNG Zines and Stories

Timeline:

  • It appears that the fanzine, This is It! published in May of 1987, was the first TNG fanzine. "In fact, it had such complete details of the characters in its stories that Paramount asked us to stop it's sale after just one issue." ~ T.A. Chafin in Early Science Fiction Fanzines: A Cover Gallery, Jan 25, 2010. Following close behind was the newsletter Data Entries, which began publishing in October/November 1987, as was The Hive, published in November 1987. A very early TNG story appeared in a Star Trek: TOS anthology was "The Keys" in Elysia #2.

Notable in content:

Cover of Pulse of the Machine (1991)

Slash:

  • In the early '90s, SF fans who'd heard of het and slash Trek fic, brought out a ST:TNG zine called Science Friction, which highlighted the gay subtext of the Borg episodes. Most long-term media fans disliked it a great deal. This led to much discussion about the difference between erotica in media fandom vs. professional erotica/pornography of the time.

Pairings:

  • Picard/Q was probably the biggest slash pairing:
  • A famous pair of early netfic stories -- His Beloved Pet & At the Centre of Things by Ruth Gifford and Atara Stein -- was published on alt.startrek.creative.erotica back in 1996. They told a love story with a very heavy s/m dynamic, featuring Q as top, Picard (relaxing from the cares of command) as bottom, with chains, whips, collars, and leather all over the place.
  • The King Who Would Be Man was a P/Q zine story by M Fae Glasgow in an Pæan to Priapus #2 (1990). Q decides he wants to experience sex after "Deja Q" (the episode where he becomes human). He picks Picard to experience it with; Picard patently refuses to cooperate and Q starts shape-shifting trying to push Picard's buttons.[2]
  • A Picard/Data story that is still recommended is Mental Traveler, also by M Fae Glascow, in Concupiscence, a Manacles Press zine.

More zines:

TNG art

Cover for Textual Poachers by Jean Kluge

When TNG came along, Jean Kluge had already been a fan artist for years, but she fell hard for Tasha Yar/Data, and it's possible that her art for that pairing is her best ever. One of her Tasha Yar/Data pictures was used for the cover of Textual Poachers.

"Worf," pen and ink drawing by Joey Rodrigues

Other popular characters that appeared in fan art were Data, Riker, Captain Picard and Worf.

TNG vids

  • Tapestry by Mary Van Deusen, a sad Tasha Yar vid, that told her whole first-season story through a frame of Data putting away her things.
  • I think I'm a Clone Now by ? On one level, a profoundly silly vid to Star Trek and TNG clips; on another, a lovely commentary on how much TNG ripped off original Trek. [3]
  • Kandy Fong's classic Riker vs. Kirk vid, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better", a rare early vid with professional video effects

Archives

References

  1. Jenkins, Henry. "'Out of the closet and into the universe': Queers and Star Trek" in The Audience Studies Reader, ed. by Will Brooker and Deborah Jermyn, p. 172.
  2. The King Who Would Be Man, on the Oblique Press site, in pdf
  3. "The video entries this year were excellent. There was only one Star Trek entry, done to a song that I think is entitled "Only a Clone Now," or something like that. It compared Classic Trek to Next Gen, to next gen's detriment. The video came in tied for first in its category." -- from a letter in Come Together #5, May 1994 from a fan describing RevelCon #5
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