Star Trek: the Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) was the second and highest-rated prime time television series in the Star Trek entertainment franchise. Aficionados call it "TNG" to differentiate it from Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) with William Shatner. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) with Avery Brooks.
The action takes place approximately one hundred years after the close of the first voyage of the Starship Enterprise. In The Next Generation, a new Enterprise has a continuing mission to explore strange new worlds; an introduction derived from TOS but changed slightly to be gender-neutral.. Patrick Stewart starred as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Jonathan Frakes played his First Officer, William Riker.
Its style was more deliberate than that of TOS. While Shatner, playing Captain James T. Kirk, was a swashbuckling adventurer, Picard was deliberate. Many watchers commented that Picard was believable as someone who would be given command of a major vessel, where Kirk would have been more appropriate to command a raiding party, possibly by fraternity on a sorority house. TOS would occasionally have a brilliant drama (e.g., (City on the Edge of Forever) or complex comedy (e.g., A Piece of the Action), but was often best in slapstick such as The Trouble with Tribbles.
The series had significant character and plot development over its run.
Picard's character has sometimes been described as derived from Horatio Hornblower, but with far more self-confidence and social skills. While he usually acted as ship commander, and sometimes of larger forces, he occasionally had superb performances in roles away from his crew. These included being in the same time and space but as representing the Federation (e.g, Darmok), or, perhaps, traveling into an alternate reality to receive the memories of a destroyed civilization, (e.g., The Inner Light).
Michael Dorn portrayed Worf, the first Klingon officer in Star Fleet. He began with a relatively minor role, but after another cast member left and his character was promoted to Security Officer, the character of Worf became increasingly complex. While born of a warrior race, the Klingons, he was raised on Earth, and constantly dealt with being part of two cultures. Klingons, quite different in TNG than TOS, drew significantly from ideas of samurai, including the problem that samurai were not necessarily effective parts of large organizations.
Where Mr. Spock was the alien Science Officer in TOS, Commander Data, played by Brent Spiner, had that role in TNG. Rather than being an emotion-avoiding, logical, Vulcan as was Spock, Data searched for emotions and to become more human.