Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Next Generation!

“YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, DAYTON!”

Sorry, folks, but it’s true. 35 years ago tonight, the 24th century began.

Star Trek: The Next Generation opening title

I’ve told this story before, but on the evening of September 28th, 1987, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s premiere episode, “Encounter at Farpoint,” in the TV room of my barracks at Camp Pendleton. The room was stuffed with Marines, and maybe it was because of the beer, but we all stayed to watch the whole thing.

Our first look at the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-D, from the opening credits of “Encounter at Farpoint,” which for the premiere ran before the opening scenes.

It was a new era, with a new captain and crew aboard a new Starship Enterprise, something all but unthinkable just a couple of years earlier. “What’s that? It’s not Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the gang? BLASPHEMY!”

:: ahem ::

While “Farpoint” certainly had its problems, it was Star Trek, by golly. And, it was new Star Trek, and little did we know at the time what that really meant, or would come to mean.

Anybody remember this bit, which ran before the episode?

Man. How time flies.

So, yeah. The show got off to something of a rocky start, and took a while to find its footing. Still, even with this first episode, it was easy to see the potential in this new show. A big part of that is due to Patrick Stewart, who carried much of the load that first year and who as Captain Jean-Luc Picard brought a gravitas to the series which helped us forgive some of the hokier storylines. The other actors soon settled into their roles, of course, in time becoming a comfortable ensemble and even a family. By its third season, the show cemented itself as a worthy bearer of the Star Trek torch.

Seven television seasons, four feature films, a return of the cast early next year with the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard, and merchandising out the wazoo, including a whole bunch of novels published by Pocket Books. As one of those responsible for foisting more than a few of those on an unsuspecting reading public, I’ve always enjoyed my time spent with Captain Picard and his merry band. Here’s hoping they let me do a few more.

Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Go. Go see what’s out there.

Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 cast publicity photo

4 thoughts on “Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Next Generation!

  1. Man, even 35 years later, Don LaFontaine (I think that’s him in the trailer?) still gets me excited to see this show. Gotta love some of those cadence and intonation choices – “Data – an AN-drooooooiiiiid” 🙂

    I recorded this premiere on my VHS VCR (!) and watched it over and over and over in the months ahead, even once weekly episodes were coming out. (I watched those ad nauseam, too.)

    The next day, in my 10th grade English class, our teacher asked if anyone had watched the new Star Trek and what we thought. I just applauded. Gosh, I was a geek. (“Was”?)

    Tempus fugit. Thanks for this commemoration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah yes! I was working for an entertainment company in Hollywood at the time. The screening room in the office was set up to broadcast the show on the large screen (not as simple a feat back then as it would be today) and the room was packed, from the president of the company to some of the on-staff producers/creators of other films and shows, to the mailroom guys (like me). My buddy who worked at the video/tech guy recorded it and gave VHS copies to those of us low on the totem pole.

    35 years already. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

Lay it on me.

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