Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard has a special place in the history of SF. But it was not like that from the start. Let’s take a look at few interesting TNG-related facts.


Star Trek & Gene Roddenberry & George R. R. Martin

Talking about Star Trek and not mentioning Gene Roddenberry would be like Batman without Robin, like Sherlock without Watson, like a day without a night. OK, not so bad. Well, Gene was a genius behind the Star Trek. He was behind the Star Trek: The Original Series and, at first, he didn’t want to start working on the new show. The main reason was that he simply wanted to retire and starting a new 7-years long project definitely was not the step towards that direction. Finally, he came to an agreement with Paramount and the rest is history. Like that is usually the case with most geniuses, he was hard to work with, in some aspects. Still, he was a secular humanist who imagined better future without superstition, religion and religion-related wars. I’ll let Gene speak for himself using his quotes through this article.

“We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” (Gene Roddenberry)

“‘Star Trek’ episodes always insisted that humanity is on its bumpy way to what will be a glorious future in the 23rd century, in which we will have left most of our old selfishness – and old hatreds and prejudices – far behind us.” (Gene Roddenberry)

There is also a fun fact that George R. R. Martin was rejected for the writing job.


Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard

Picking the right crew to man a spaceship is never the easy task but Patrick Stewart was the right man for the job. There were a few factors besides Patrick being simply great as he was and still is. When Gene selected him for the job, he gave him Cecil Louis Troughton Smith novels, describing the adventures of Horatio Hornblower, a fictional Napoleonic Wars-era Royal Navy officer, to read. And he did. And he became Jean-Luc Picard, a captain of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D).

“‘Star Trek’ says that it has not all happened, it has not all been discovered, that tomorrow can be as challenging and adventurous as any time man has ever lived.” (Gene Roddenberry)


Star Trek: TNG Jean-Luc Picard

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Jean-Luc Picard


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This is a Kirk (William Shatner) related quote, but it still proves the point.

“My model for Kirk was Horatio Hornblower from the C.S. Forester sea stories. Shatner was open-minded about science fiction and a marvelous choice.”

And this is what Patrick said about himself and William.

“William Shatner has one style. We have completely contrasting personalities. We’re very good friends. I adore him, but we’re very different people, so they were smart enough to write characters that reflected that.” (Patrick Stewart)


Star Trek: TNG Jean-Luc Picard

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Jean-Luc Picard (episode Darmok)


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Patrick stayed professional not only during acting. You can only imagine how he felt when he saw the Red Dwarf on the screen. The first idea was to sue them, but I guess he soon realized that Star Trek and Red Dwarf are both SF but in pretty different categories 🙂


There were some significant problems at first

“Earth is the nest, the cradle, and we’ll move out of it.” (Gene Roddenberry)

Catchphrases like “Make it so.”, “Engage.”, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” are today well-known, but there were serious troubles along the way. Most of them were, of course, of the financial nature. Nobody expected that show would become so popular and it was treated, at least at the start. The first season was so low on a budget that we could enjoy cheap special effects and cheap costumes. What we couldn’t see was the fact that the cast could rest in non-air-conditioned spaces and that they stole food from other sets, e.g. Denise Crosby was an unplanned guest on the Cheers set.


“‘Star Trek’ was an attempt to say humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in lifeforms.” (Gene Roddenberry)


Star Trek: TNG Jean-Luc Picard

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Jean-Luc Picard & TNG crew


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Besides that, Star Trek fans were not happy with new characters. They wanted more Kirk and Spock and got these new imagined characters. There were even protest letters written. Luckily for us, there were no results regarding these letters.


“It is important to the typical ‘Star Trek’ fan that there is a tomorrow. They pretty much share the ‘Star Trek’ philosophies about life: the fact that it is wrong to interfere in the evolvement of other peoples, that to be different is not necessarily to be wrong or ugly.” (Gene Roddenberry)


The Borg

“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

Yup, Borg first appearance was in Star Trek: TNG in the season 2. We’ll also meet them later, in other seasons as well in other series and movies.


“Star Trek’ speaks to some basic human needs: that there is a tomorrow – it’s not all going to be over with a big flash and a bomb; that the human race is improving; that we have things to be proud of as humans.” (Gene Roddenberry)


Star Trek: TNG Borg

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Borg cube


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In most cases, they are antagonists with the idea of achieving perfection by assimilating every race they meet into the Collective. They share thoughts and use cubes to travel through Space. Later we’ll find out they also use other types of ships and structures.


“We stress humanity, and this is done at considerable cost. We can’t have a lot of dramatics that other shows get away with – promiscuity, greed, jealousy. None of those have a place in ‘Star Trek’.” (Gene Roddenberry)


Cats, cats and more cats

Well, SF can be weird enough, especially if you’re not into SF at all. But if you decide to go with cats as the main characters in the story, then you simply took it to the completely new level.


“Normal television limits what you can do. With science fiction, you can exercise your imagination more. I fell in love with it.” (Gene Roddenberry)


Star Trek: TNG Cats

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Star Trek: The Next Generation Cats


Denomination: 0.50 to 2 USD


Jenny Parks wrote Star Trek: The Next Generation Cats books where our protagonists face various space adventures wearing their fur and space suits.  What more to add, just take a look at these stamps. You’ll see Captain Picard, Commander Data, Counselor Troi and the rest of the crew boldly going where no cat had gone before.


Star Trek: TNG Cats

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Star Trek: The Next Generation Cats


Denomination: 0.50 to 2 USD


Let’s conclude the today’s article with a few more quotes from Gene:

“Because something or someone looks or acts differently from us does not necessarily mean that it is ugly or bad.”

“No, ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids – human beings built them because they’re clever and they work hard.”

Time is the fire in which we burn.


Continue reading: Agatha Christie

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  1. Milos · September 27, 2018 Reply

    Excellent story,

  2. Dave Rodrigues · September 29, 2018 Reply

    A very interesting article…
    Remember the television series from my younger days.

  3. StampNinja · October 3, 2018 Reply

    Thank you for nice words. Each comment means really a lot and gives some more energy to continue 🙂

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