Today marks the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The beloved sci-fi series first beamed onto screens on 28th September 1987 as a sequel to the original 1960s Star Trek and, over the course of seven series and four feature films, became just as much of an institution as its predecessor.
And it’s clear that the drama has remained close to the hearts of viewers even after all this time, with RadioTimes.com readers voting The Next Generation as the greatest Star Trek series ever in a new poll, beating out the original series as well as follow-ups Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise (at time of voting, new series Star Trek: Discovery was not available to watch).
The original series came second in the vote closely followed by Deep Space Nine, with the animated series and critically-lambasted prequel Enterprise languishing at the bottom of the board.
Meanwhile, in a separate RadioTimes.com poll The Next Generation’s lead character Jean-Luc Picard (portrayed by British actor Patrick Stewart) was voted the best Captain out of the various Star Trek series, triumphing over the likes of Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Captain Sisko (Avery Brook), and Captain Archer (Scott Bakula), with the final results ranked in that order.
The Next Generation’s enduring popularity perhaps shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, with its philosophical take on sci-fi adventures often praised by fans as the high point of the franchise (after struggling through a shaky couple of series at the start of its run).
And recently-released Netflix data found that out of the top 10 most-rewatched Star Trek episodes on the streaming service (i.e., ones that fans had watched more than once since all Star Trek series arrived on the on-demand service in March 2016) four were The Next Generation episodes, with critically-acclaimed cliffhanger two-parter The Best of Both Worlds (where Picard is assimilated by the Borg) near the top of the pack. Clearly, this a series much loved by fans.
It’s good to know that all these years later the adventures of Picard, Riker, Deanna Troi, Worf, Data, Beverley Crusher, La Forge and even WESLEY are still engaging a whole new generation of fans. All congratulations to the actors, writers and filmmakers who made it so.
Star Trek: Discovery releases new episodes on Netflix UK on Mondays