This is the cover of the March 1987 Writer’s guide. There were at least two versions before this one and one issued after this date. I have chosen this version as my annotation baseline because I believe it encompasses most of the flavor of the origins, and yet contains tantalizing glimpses into what-could-have-been.


1988 TV Guide Next Generation Review


This is a review from the February 6, 1988 TV Guide that was republished in the TV Guide Collector's Edition Star Trek Tribute. It was written by Don Merrill.


'Star Trek: The Next Generation'


Sometime in the past, before they were both assigned to the Starship Enterprise, something went on between Cmdr. William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Starfleet Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Of course she's half Betazoid and can sense emotions around her, but when people talk about romance or marriage, she locks eyes with Riker - who resembles a young Ronald Reagan - and wow, talk about your meaningful looks!

Matter of fact, there are lots of meaningful looks aboard the good ship Enterprise - not the same one the original Star Trek's Captain Kirk and Spock and that bunch tooted around the galaxy in 85 years ago, but a newer 24th-century model built to order for Star Trek: The Next Generation (syndicated). This one is a sleek job that carries over 1000 people. The uniforms are neater (and tighter), and the dials, gauges, and buttons on the old have been eliminated. Instead of an all-knowing computer run by an emotionless Spock, we have a muscular android, aptly named Data, who remembers everything and longs for human emotions. The navigator, Lt. Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton), is blind. He wears fancy shades that hurt but endow him with splendid vision.


Some things, however, are the same, like unfriendly aliens and pointy sideburns on the men. The Klingons, by the way, those folks who seem either to have half their brains on the outside or to have had their heads run over by snow tires, are no longer the enemy. (Incidentally, you haven't lived until you've seen male and female Klingons courting.) The new baddies are the Ferengi - ruthless, greedy, ugly characters who could use a good orthodontist.


Star Trek: The Next Generation is a worthy successor to the original science fiction show that started 21 years ago and still fascinates millions of fans who watch it in reruns. Executive producer Gene Roddenberry, who created the original series, has lost none of this ingenuity or his taste in selecting stories. And the new Enterprise captain, play by English Capt. Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart, is terrific. As Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, he heads a capable ensemble, all of whom understand the secret of action in a science fiction show - believe the story, no matter how wild or unbelievable it may seem in script form. When the story calls for Stewart to become angry, his voice takes on that rich, fruity, resonant sound that good English actors produce so well.


The stories introduce strange and often fascinating characters and are packed with action. There's something restful about a nice quiet chase in outer space - no screaming tires.


The scripts are little morality plays. One week the show insists that despite man's history of warfare and destruction, in the future he can succeed in overcoming his tendency to violence. Another demonstrates that vengeance is an empty accomplishment. A third shows that friendship is more important than power. All of the stories carry a message of hope, a belief that mankind is growing - and maturing. Please, Lord, let it be so.