We’re now so old that we remember when “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was brand new. We weren’t sure we were ready to see anyone other than William Shatner play a Starfleet captain, and we weren’t convinced that we’d fall in love with a new crew. The “classic” Star Trek movies were still being made, and most Trek fans were happy enough with that. If “Star Trek” was going to come back to television, most of us wanted to see Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, and the rest of the gang. It’s fair to say that there was resistance among the hardcore fans – but when has that not been true about Trekkies?
These days, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” can most definitely be considered classic. It started more than thirty years ago, and it’s an old hat compared to the “Star Trek” shows that are made today. Today’s “Star Trek” is “Star Trek: Discovery,” updating Gene Roddenberry’s original vision for a new generation. TNG (as we’ll be calling it shorthand for the rest of this article) plays on rotation on “classic-orientated” television networks and hides among the collections of streaming services. Nevertheless, millions of people love TNG and dig out the old episodes to watch regularly. The level of affection people have for the characters that it created was made obvious by the excitement that greeted Patrick Stewart’s return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard in 2020. Whether or not that same level of excitement for the show still exists isn’t for us to say, but many people enjoyed it!
This article isn’t about the new “Star Trek,” though. It’s about the “Star Trek” of old, and that means TNG. Let’s see if we can catch a few Trekkies off guard with facts they didn’t know about the show!
Lore Was Supposed To Be Female
Some of the most interesting Data-focused episodes of TNG were those that involved his evil twin Lore. Quite how and why a mind as wise as Dr. Noonian Soong ended up making an evil android is never really explained, but we’ll let that slide because it was never supposed to happen. The first draft of “Datalore” presented us with a female android who would become a love interest for Data. Brent Spiner himself vetoed that plan and came up with the idea of an evil twin instead, so the whole script ended up being tossed and re-written. We guess Spiner found a way to earn himself double pay for an episode and went with it. We can’t imagine Data’s story without Lore now, so we’re glad he stood his ground no matter what his motives might have been!
The Budget For Season One Didn’t Cover Food
As we alluded to at the start of this article, nobody was sure TNG would work. Patrick Stewart didn’t even unpack his suitcase for his first few months of filming because he was sure the show would be canceled and he’d have to return home to England. The cheapness of the sets used in the first obvious is visually obvious, but that same feeling of frugality extended to catering. The cast and crew were left to fend for themselves at mealtimes, which led to some of the cast sneaking onto other sets and bringing good back. Denise Crosby, who played Tasha Yar, became notorious for pinching food supposed to have been laid on for the cast of “Cheers,” which was filmed next door. Imagine the crew of a TV show putting up with those conditions in the 2020s!
Troi Was Supposed To Have Four Breasts
This is an idea that screams “Gene Roddenberry,” whose visions for the future always seemed to involve semi-naked women of some description. As Deanna Troi was a Betazoid and therefore alien, Roddenberry originally wanted the character to have four breasts. That’s in addition to the frankly outrageous costumes that poor Marina Sirtis was forced to squeeze into during the first two seasons. DC Fontana was the only TNG writer with enough authority to stand up to Roddenberry on the matter. Fortunately for all of us (and especially Sirtis), Fontana won the argument, and Sirtis didn’t have to deal with a costuming nightmare for seven years.
The Best Episode Was Made Against Rodenberry’s Wishes
Speaking of Roddenberry, he could be a little difficult to work with. He had a particular vision of the future. Four-breasted women were in, but interpersonal conflicts between humans were out. He believed our species would have evolved past that point in the 24th century. Starfleet officers, according to Roddenberry, would behave with the utmost dignity and respect at all times and wouldn’t be portrayed as vulnerable or overly emotional. That would have made “The Best of Both Worlds” – the episode where Picard is kidnapped by the Borg and forced to serve them – out of the question. It would have made his emotional breakdown at the house of his brother Robert in “Family” inconceivable. The story told in those episodes is crucial in the development of Picard’s entire character. Roddenberry’s health was failing by the end of the third season, so his control over the show was slipping. That’s very sad, but out of that sadness came the foundations of the show’s success.
It’s Boldly Gone To Casinos
TNG was set in the future where money didn’t exist, and capitalism had been abolished – although the show itself sometimes seemed to forget that. We can’t imagine that casino websites are still around in the 24th century in the universe that TNG exists in. That hasn’t stopped the show itself from becoming a popular attraction at online slots websites featured on sistersite.co.uk – which is a website about casinos and their sister sites, though. In August 2019, a company called Skywind made an officially licensed online slots game based on TNG and released it to online casinos. Even though it was made twenty-five years after the television series came to an end, it’s been consistently popular with players since the day it came out. We had no idea there were so many TNG fans who were also fans of online slots – but we guess that shows how universally loved the series is!
We’re hopeful that we’ll see more of the old TNG crew when the second season of Picard begins in 2022. We know that Q is in it, and we’ve also heard rumors that Levar Burton will appear as Geordi la Forge, and Whoopi Goldberg will also make a guest appearance as Guinan. That’s a treat to look forward to, but in the meantime, we’re going back to our TNG box sets!