Country of origin
Theme from Star Trek
First episode date
28 September 1987
Science fictionDramaMysteryAction adventure
Patrick StewartJonathan FrakesBrent SpinerLeVar BurtonDenise CrosbyMichael DornGates McFaddenMarina SirtisWil Wheaton
Theme music composer
Alexander CourageJerry Goldsmith
Star Trek: The Next Generation (abbreviated as TNG and ST:TNG) is an American science fiction television series in the Star Trek franchise created by Gene Roddenberry that ran between 1987 and 1994. Roddenberry, Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor served as executive producers at different times throughout its production.
- Star trek the next generation 1987 tv series
- Syndication and profitability
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 7
- Notable guest appearances
- Video games
- Blu ray
The series involves a starship named Enterprise and is set in the nearby regions of the Milky Way galaxy, the Alpha Quadrant. The first episode takes place in the year 2364, 100 years after the start of the five-year mission described in the original series, which began in 2264. It features a new cast and a new starship Enterprise, the fifth to bear the name within the franchise's storyline. An introductory statement, performed by Patrick Stewart and featured at the beginning of each episode's title sequence, stated the starship's purpose in language similar to the opening statement of the original series, but was updated to reflect an ongoing mission, and to be gender-neutral:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
TNG premiered the week of September 28, 1987, drawing 27 million viewers, with the two-hour pilot "Encounter at Farpoint". In total, 176 episodes were made, ending with the two-hour finale "All Good Things..." the week of May 23, 1994.
The series (1987–94) was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations. Three additional Star Trek spin-offs followed The Next Generation: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99), Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001), and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005). The series formed the basis for the seventh through to the tenth of the Star Trek films, and is also the setting of numerous novels, comic books, and video games.
In its seventh season, Star Trek: The Next Generation became the first and only syndicated television series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The series received a number of accolades including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award.
Star trek the next generation 1987 tv series
The series follows the adventures of a space-faring crew on board the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), the fifth Federation vessel to bear the name and registry and the seventh starship by that name. (See Starship Enterprise for other ships with the name and/or registry). The series is set about 70 years after the final mission of the original Enterprise crew under the command of James T. Kirk. The Federation has undergone significant internal changes in its quest to explore and seek out new life, adding new degrees of complexity and controversy to its methods, especially those focused on the Prime Directive. The Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets have ceased wartime hostilities and become galactic allies, while more sinister foes such as the Romulans and the Borg take precedence on the series.
The Enterprise is commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and is staffed by first officer Commander William Riker, second officer/operations manager Data, security chief Tasha Yar, ship's counselor Deanna Troi, chief medical officer Dr. Beverly Crusher, conn officer Lieutenant Geordi La Forge, and junior officer Lieutenant Worf. The death of Lieutenant Yar in the series' first season prompts an internal shuffle of personnel, making Worf official chief of security. Geordi La Forge is promoted to chief engineer at the beginning of season 2.
The series begins with the crew of the Enterprise-D put on trial by a nefarious, omnipotent being known as Q. The god-like entity threatens the extinction of mankind for being a race of savages, forcing them to solve a mystery at nearby Farpoint Station to prove their worthiness to be spared. After successfully solving the mystery and avoiding disaster, the crew officially departs on its mission to explore strange new worlds.
Subsequent stories focus on the discovery of new life and sociological and political relationships with alien cultures, as well as exploring the human condition. Several new species are introduced as recurring antagonists, including the Ferengi, the Cardassian, and the Borg. Throughout their adventures, Picard and his crew are often forced to face and live with the consequences of difficult choices.
The series ended in its seventh season with a two-part episode "All Good Things...", which brought the events of the series full circle to the original confrontation with Q. An interstellar anomaly that threatens all life in the universe forces Picard to leap from his present, past, and future to combat the threat. Picard was successfully able to show to Q that humanity could think outside of the confines of perception and theorize on new possibilities while still being prepared to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the greater good. The series ended with the crew of the Enterprise portrayed as feeling more like a family and paved the way for four consecutive motion pictures that continued the theme and mission of the series.
By 1986, 20 years after Star Trek's debut on NBC, the franchise's longevity amazed Paramount Pictures executives. Chairman Frank Mancuso Sr. and others described it as the studio's "crown jewel", a "priceless asset" that "must not be squandered". The series was the most popular syndicated television program 17 years after cancellation, and the Harve Bennett-produced Star Trek films did well at the box office. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy's salary demands for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) caused the studio to plan for a new Star Trek television series, as it had thought to do in 1977 with Star Trek: Phase II before making the films. Paramount executives worried that a new show could hurt the demand for the films, but decided that it would increase their appeal on videocassette and cable, and that a show with unknown actors would be more profitable than paying the films' actors' large salaries. Roddenberry initially declined to be involved, but came on board as creator after being unhappy with early conceptual work. Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced on October 10, 1986, and its cast in May 1987.
Paramount executive Rick Berman was assigned to the show at Roddenberry's request. Roddenberry hired a number of Star Trek veterans, including Bob Justman, D. C. Fontana, Eddie Milkis, and David Gerrold. Early proposals for the series included one in which some of the original series cast might appear as "elder statesmen", and Roddenberry speculated as late as October 1986 that the new series might not even use a spaceship, as "people might travel by some [other] means" 100 years after the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). A more lasting change was his new belief that workplace interpersonal conflict would no longer exist in the future; thus, the new series did not have parallels to the frequent "crusty banter" between Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy. According to series actor Patrick Stewart, Berman was more receptive than Roddenberry to the show addressing political issues.
The series' music theme combined the fanfare from the original series theme by Alexander Courage with Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Some early episodes' plots derived from outlines created for Star Trek: Phase II. Additionally, some sets used in the Original Series-era films were redressed for The Next Generation, and in turn used for subsequent Original Series films. Part of the transporter room set in TNG was used in the original Star Trek's transporter set. Many production details, such as LCARS computer interfaces and starship design, were carried through in the production of subsequent spin-offs.
Syndication and profitability
Despite Star Trek's proven success, NBC and ABC only offered to consider pilot scripts for the new series, and CBS offered to air a miniseries that could become a series if it did well. That the Big Three television networks treated Paramount's most appealing and valuable property as they would any other series offended the studio. Fox wanted the show to help launch the new network, but wanted it by March 1987, and would only commit to 13 episodes instead of a full season. The unsuccessful negotiations convinced the studio that it could only protect Star Trek with full control.
Paramount increased and accelerated the show's profitability by choosing to instead broadcast it in first-run syndication on independent stations (whose numbers had more than tripled since 1980) and Big Three network affiliates. The studio offered the show to local stations for free as barter syndication. The stations sold five minutes of commercial time to local advertisers and Paramount sold the remaining seven minutes to national advertisers. Stations had to commit to purchasing reruns in the future, and only those that aired the new show could purchase the popular reruns of the original series.
The studio's strategy succeeded. Most of the 150 stations airing reruns of the original Star Trek wanted to prevent a competitor from airing the new show; ultimately, 210 stations covering 90% of the United States became part of Paramount's informal nationwide network for TNG. In early October 1987, more than 50 network affiliates pre-empted their own shows for the series pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint". One station predicted that "'Star Trek' promises to be one of the most successful programs of the season, network or syndicated."
The new show indeed performed well; the pilot's ratings were higher than those of many network programs, and ratings remained comparable to network shows by the end of the first season despite the handicap of each station airing the show on a different day and time, often outside prime time. By the end of the first season, Paramount reportedly received $1 million for advertising per episode, more than the roughly $800,000 fee that networks typically paid for a one-hour show; by 1992, when the budget for each episode had risen to almost $2 million, the studio earned $90 million from advertising annually from first-run episodes, with each 30-second commercial selling for $115,000 to $150,000. The show had a 40% return on investment for Paramount, with $30 to $60 million in annual upfront net profit for first-run episodes and another $70 million for stripping rights for each of the about 100 episodes then available, so did not need overseas sales to be successful.
The Next Generation was shot on 35mm film, and the budget for each episode was $1.3 million, among the largest for a one-hour television drama. While the staff enjoyed the creative freedom gained by independence from a broadcast network's Standards and Practices department, the first season was marked by a "revolving door" of writers, with Gerrold, Fontana, and others quitting after disputes with Roddenberry. Roddenberry "virtually rewrote" the first 15 episodes because of his "dogmatic" intention to depict human interaction "without drawing on the baser motives of greed, lust, and power". Writers found the show's "bible" constricting and ridiculous and couldn't deal with Roddenberry's ego and treatment of them. It stated, for example, that "regular characters all share a feeling of being part of a band of brothers and sisters. As in the original 'Star Trek,' we invite the audience to share the same feeling of affection for our characters."
Mark Bourne of The DVD Journal wrote of season one: "A typical episode relied on trite plot points, clumsy allegories, dry and stilted dialogue, or characterization that was taking too long to feel relaxed and natural." Other targets of criticism included poor special effects and plots being resolved by the deus ex machina of Wesley Crusher saving the ship. However, Patrick Stewart's acting skills won praise, and critics noted that characters were given greater potential for development than those of the original series. Both actors and producers were unsure whether Trekkies loyal to the original show would accept the new one, but one critic stated as early as October 1987 that The Next Generation, not the movies or the original show, "is the real 'Star Trek' now".
While the events of most episodes of season one were self-contained, many developments important to the show as a whole occurred during the season. The recurring nemesis Q was introduced in the pilot, the alien Ferengi had their sentinel showing in "The Last Outpost", the holodeck was introduced, and the romantic backstory between William Riker and Deanna Troi was investigated. "The Naked Now", one of the few episodes that depicted Roddenberry's fascination (as seen in the show's bible) with sex in the future, became a cast favorite.
Later episodes in the season set the stage for serial plots. The episode "Datalore" introduced Data's evil twin brother Lore, who made several more appearances in episodes in subsequent seasons. "Coming of Age" dealt with Wesley Crusher's efforts to get into Starfleet Academy while also hinting at the threat to Starfleet later faced in "Conspiracy". "Heart of Glory" explored Worf's character, Klingon culture, and the uneasy truce between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, three themes that would play a major role in later episodes. Tasha Yar left the show in "Skin of Evil", becoming the first regular Star Trek character to die permanently (although the character would be seen again in two later episodes) in either series or film. The season finale, "The Neutral Zone", established the presence of two of TNG's most enduring villains: the Romulans, making their first appearance since the Original Series, and, through foreshadowing, the Borg.
The premiere became the first television episode to be nominated for a Hugo Award since 1972. Six of the season's episodes were each nominated for an Emmy Award. "11001001" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, "The Big Goodbye" won for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, and "Conspiracy" won for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series. "The Big Goodbye" also won a Peabody Award, the first syndicated program and only Star Trek episode to do so.
The series underwent significant changes during its second season. Beverly Crusher was replaced as Chief Medical Officer by Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur, who had been a guest star in "Return to Tomorrow" and "Is There in Truth No Beauty?", two episodes from the original Star Trek. The ship's recreational area, Ten-Forward, and its mysterious bartender/advisor, Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg, appeared for the first time. Another change was in the opening theme, wherein at the end is a short fanfare. Owing to the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike, the number of episodes produced was cut from 26 to 22, and the start of the season was delayed. Because of the strike, the opening episode, "The Child", was based on a script originally written for Star Trek: Phase II, while the season finale, "Shades of Gray", was a clip show.
Nevertheless, season two as a whole was widely regarded as significantly better than season one. Benefiting from Paramount's commitment to a multiyear run and free from network interference due to syndication, Roddenberry found writers who could work within his guidelines and create drama from the cast's interaction with the rest of the universe. The plots became more sophisticated and began to mix drama with comic relief. Its focus on character development received special praise. Co-executive producer Maurice Hurley has stated that his primary goal for the season was to plan and execute season-long story arcs and character arcs. Hurley wrote the acclaimed episode "Q Who", which featured the first on-screen appearance of the Borg, TNG's most popular villain. Season two focused on developing the character Data, and two highly regarded episodes from the season, "Elementary, Dear Data" and "The Measure of a Man", featured him prominently. Miles O'Brien also became a more prominent character during the second season, while Geordi La Forge took the position of Chief Engineer. Klingon issues continued to be explored in well-regarded episodes such as "A Matter of Honor" and "The Emissary", which introduced Worf's former lover K'Ehleyr. Five second-season episodes were nominated for six Emmys, and "Q Who" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
Before the production of the third season in the summer of 1989, some personnel changes were made. Head writer Maurice Hurley was let go and Michael Piller took over for the rest of the series. Creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry took less of an active role due to his declining health. Roddenberry gave Piller and Berman the executive producer jobs, and they remained in that position for the rest of the series' run, with Berman overseeing the production as a whole and Piller being in charge of the creative direction of the show and the writing room. Doctor Crusher returned from her off-screen tenure at Starfleet Medical to replace Doctor Pulaski, who had remained a guest star throughout the second season. An additional change was the inclusion of the fanfare that was added to the opening credits of the second season, to the end of the closing credits. Ronald D. Moore joined the show after submitting a spec script that became "The Bonding". He became the franchise's "Klingon guru", meaning that he wrote most TNG episodes dealing with the Klingon Empire (though he wrote some Romulan stories, as well, such as "The Defector"). Writer/producer Ira Steven Behr also joined the show in its third season. Though his tenure with TNG lasted only one year, he later went on to be a writer and showrunner of spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Six third-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "Yesterday's Enterprise" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and "Sins of the Father" won for Best Art Direction for a Series. After a chiropractor warned that the cast members risked permanent skeletal injury, new two-piece wool uniforms replaced the first two seasons' extremely tight spandex uniforms. The season finale, the critically acclaimed episode "The Best of Both Worlds", was the first season-ending cliffhanger, a tradition that continued throughout the remainder of the series.
Brannon Braga and Jeri Taylor joined the show in its fourth season. The fourth season surpassed the Original Series in series length with the production of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". A new alien race, the Cardassians, made their first appearance in "The Wounded". They later went on to be featured in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The season finale, "Redemption", was the 100th episode, and the cast and crew (including creator Gene Roddenberry) celebrated the historic milestone on the bridge set. Footage of this was seen in the Star Trek 25th-anniversary special hosted by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy which aired later in the year. Seven fourth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" won for both Outstanding Sound Editing in a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series. Character Wesley Crusher left the series in Season 4 to go to Starfleet Academy. "Family" was the only Star Trek episode not to have a bridge scene during the entire episode and is the only TNG episode where Lt. Commander Data does not appear on-screen.
The fifth season's seventh episode, "Unification", opened with a dedication to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (even though the prior episode, "The Game", aired four days after his death). Roddenberry, though he had recently died, continued to be credited as Executive Producer for the rest of the season. The cast and crew learned of his death during the production of "Hero Worship", a later season-five episode. Seven fifth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys. "Cost of Living" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series, and "A Matter of Time" and "Conundrum" tied for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. In addition, "The Inner Light" became the first television episode since the 1968 original series Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" to win a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Season five had the introduction of a jacket for Picard, worn periodically throughout the rest of the show's run. The observation lounge set was altered with the removal of the gold model starships across the interior wall and the addition of lighting beneath the windows. Recurring character Ensign Ro Laren was introduced in the fifth season.
The sixth season brought a new set of changes. Rick Berman and Michael Piller's time was split between the newly created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. Three sixth-season episodes were nominated for Emmys. "Time's Arrow, Part II" won for both Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series, and "A Fistful of Datas" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
The seventh season was The Next Generation's last. The penultimate episode, "Preemptive Strike", concluded the plot line for the recurring character Ensign Ro Laren and introduced themes that continued in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. The Next Generation series finale, "All Good Things...", was a double-length episode (separated into two parts for reruns) that aired the week of May 19, 1994, revisiting the events of the pilot and providing a bookend to the series. Toronto's SkyDome played host to a massive event for the series finale. Thousands of people packed the stadium to watch the final episode on the stadium's JumboTron. Five seventh-season episodes were nominated for nine Emmys, and the series as a whole was the first syndicated television series nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. To this day, The Next Generation is the only syndicated drama to be nominated in this category. "All Good Things..." won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects, and "Genesis" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series. "All Good Things..." also won the second of the series's two Hugo Awards.
Although the cast members were contracted for eight seasons, Paramount ended The Next Generation after seven, which disappointed and puzzled some of the actors, and was an unusual decision for a successful television show. Paramount then made films using the cast, which it believed would be less successful if the show was still on television. Another reason was that season eight would likely have reduced the show's profitability due to higher cast salaries and a lower price per episode when sold for stripping. The decision was also intended to encourage viewers to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the forthcoming Star Trek: Voyager, both of which were much cheaper to make than The Next Generation. The show's strong ratings continued to the end; the series finale was ranked no. 2 among all shows that week, between fellow hits Home Improvement and Seinfeld.
In addition to the series regulars, other recurring characters include
Notable guest appearances
The Next Generation included several guest characters who appeared in other iterations of Star Trek, and also introduced characters who appeared in later spinoffs and films. James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Mark Lenard, and Leonard Nimoy appeared as the original Star Trek characters Montgomery Scott, Leonard McCoy, Sarek, and Spock, respectively. Merritt Butrick, Robin Curtis, Judson Scott, David Warner, and Paul Winfield played characters in various Star Trek films and later had roles in The Next Generation. Additionally, Alexander Siddig and Armin Shimerman played their Deep Space Nine characters, Julian Bashir and Quark, in episodes of The Next Generation. Before being cast in Deep Space Nine, Shimerman had played several Ferengi characters in The Next Generation. Jennifer Hetrick (Vash), Barbara March (Lursa), Richard Poe (Evek), and Gwynyth Walsh (B'Etor) reprised their Next Generation characters on Deep Space Nine.
Several actors who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation later played other roles within the franchise. These include Robert Duncan McNeill, Ethan Phillips, and Tim Russ, who played Tom Paris, Neelix, and Tuvok, respectively, on Voyager. Salome Jens and James Sloyan appeared in episodes of The Next Generation before landing recurring roles in Deep Space Nine. Suzie Plakson and Tony Todd also appeared in The Next Generation, and they later played roles in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Marc Alaimo, who depicted one of the franchise's first Cardassians in The Next Generation, later played the Cardassian Dukat throughout Deep Space Nine's seven seasons. Like Armin Shimerman, Max Grodénchik played a Ferengi in The Next Generation before being cast as a recurring Ferengi, Rom, in Deep Space Nine. Emmy Award-winner James Cromwell appeared twice in The Next Generation, and he played Zefram Cochrane in the second Next Generation film, First Contact.
Other notable guest actors in the show include Erich Anderson, Billy Campbell, Nikki Cox, Ronny Cox, Olivia d'Abo, Kirsten Dunst, Mick Fleetwood, Matt Frewer, Walter Gotell, Kelsey Grammer, Bob Gunton, Teri Hatcher, Stephen Hawking (as himself), Famke Janssen, Mae Jemison, Ken Jenkins, Ashley Judd, Sabrina Le Beauf, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Terry O'Quinn, Michelle Phillips, Joe Piscopo, Gina Ravera, Jean Simmons, Paul Sorvino, Brenda Strong, James Worthy, Tracey Walter, Liz Vassey, David Ogden Stiers, Ray Walston, Ray Wise, and John Tesh.
The Next Generation's average of 20 million viewers often exceeded both existing syndication successes such as Wheel of Fortune and network hits including Cheers and L.A. Law. Benefiting in part from many stations' decision to air each new episode twice in a week, it consistently ranked in the top ten among hour-long dramas, and networks could not prevent affiliates from preempting their shows with The Next Generation or other dramas that imitated its syndication strategy.Star Trek: The Next Generation received 18 Emmy Awards and, in its seventh season, became the first and only syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series. It was nominated for three Hugo Awards and won two. The first-season episode "The Big Goodbye" also won the Peabody Award for excellence in television programming.
In 1997, the episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" was ranked No. 70 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, Star Trek: The Next Generation was ranked #46 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list, and in 2008, was ranked No. 37 on Empire's list of the 50 greatest television shows.
On October 7, 2006, one of the three original filming models of the USS Enterprise-D used on the show sold at a Christie's auction for USD $576,000, making it the highest-selling item at the event. The buyer of the piece was Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, owner of the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. The piece is on display within the Science Fiction Museum.
In 2012, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at No. 7 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years", saying, "The original Star Trek was cult TV before cult TV was even a thing, but its younger, sleeker offspring brought, yes, a new generation into the Trekker fold, and reignited the promise of sci-fi on television."
Video games based on The Next Generation TV series, movies, and characters include: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future's Past (1993) Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993) Star Trek: The Next Generation: Echoes from the Past (1993) a port of Futures Past for the Sega Genesis Star Trek Generations: Beyond the Nexus (1994) Star Trek Generations (1997) Star Trek Invasion (2000)
All episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation were made available on VHS cassettes, starting in 1991. The entire series was gradually released on VHS over the next few years during the remainder of the show's run and after the show had ended.
Paramount published all episodes on the LaserDisc format from October 1991 using an extended release schedule that concluded in May 1999. Each disc featured two episodes with Closed Captions, Digital Audio, and CX encoding. Also published were four themed "collections", or boxed sets, of related episodes. These included The Borg Collective, The Q Continuum, Worf: Return to Grace, and The Captains Collection.
There was a production error with episode 166, "Sub Rosa", where a faulty master tape was used that was missing 4½ minutes of footage. Though a new master copy of the episode was obtained, no corrected pressing of this disc was issued.
Star Trek: The Next Generation was also released on LaserDisc in the non-US markets Japan and Europe. In Japan, all episodes were released in a series of 14 boxed sets (two boxed sets per season), and as with the US releases were in the NTSC format and ordered by production code. The European laserdiscs were released in the PAL format and included the ten two-part telemovies as well as a disc featuring the episodes Yesterday's Enterprise and Cause And Effect. The pilot episode, Encounter At Farpoint, was also included in a boxed set called Star Trek: The Pilots featuring the pilot episodes from Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager.
The first season of the series was released on DVD in March 2002. Throughout the year the next six seasons were released at various times on DVD, with the seventh season being released in December 2002. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the series, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series on October 2, 2007. The DVD box set contains 49 discs. Between March 2006 and September 2008, "Fan Collective" editions were released containing select episodes of The Next Generation (and The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager) based on various themes. The individual episodes were chosen by fans voting on StarTrek.com. In total, six "Fan Collectives" were produced, along with a boxed set containing the first five collectives. In April 2013 all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation were re-released in new packaging featuring a silhouette of a different cast member on each box. However, the discs contained the identical content that was previously released in 2002.
The original show was shot on high quality 35 mm film, but had to be downscaled during editing and postprocessing to standard 80s and 90s TV resolution (video quality) for broadcast, so the show's final visual effects (e.g. all exterior shots of the starship Enterprise, phaser fire or beaming fade-ins and -outs) were composed only in standard resolution video. All previous home video and DVD releases used this severely downscaled version. To include such footage on Blu-ray, using only upscaling, would have resulted in a larger but blurred image, so CBS decided to use a more detailed approach to bring the show to high-definition. They also opted to adhere to the show's original 4:3 aspect ratio.
A news release on the official website announced on September 28, 2011, in celebration of the series' twenty-fifth anniversary, that Star Trek: The Next Generation would be completely re-mastered in 1080p and 4k high definition from the original 35 mm film negatives (consisting of almost 25,000 reels of original film stock). All the visual effects for each episode would be digitally recomposed from original large-format negatives and newly created CGI shots. The release would be accompanied by 7.1 DTS Master Audio.
An initial disc featuring the episodes "Encounter at Farpoint", "Sins of the Father", and "The Inner Light" was released on January 31, 2012 under the label "The Next Level". The six-disc first season set was released on July 24, 2012. The remaining seasons were released periodically thereafter, culminating in the release of the seventh season on December 2, 2014.
The entire re-mastered series is available on Blu-ray as individual seasons, and as a 41-disc box set titled The Full Journey. Eventually, all remastered episodes will also be available for television syndication and digital distribution. Mike Okuda believes this is the largest film restoration project ever attempted.