Hating on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Ok, so somebody resurrected a thread about hating Deanna Troi (a.k.a. Counselor Cleavage). But some of the posts seem to be drifting into all-purpose hating on the series itself. So I thought an all-purpose ‘hating on TNG’ thread seems a logical next step.

Confession - Back in the day when it was in first-run, I was a die-hard TNG fan. Of course, I was also in college for a lott of the time I watched it and my friends & I created a drinking game to go along with the show. So my love for the show may have been…influenced by certain factors. Nevertheless, I have seen every episode of this run of the series, most of them several times over.

Anyway, whenever I see the show nowadays, I can barely stand to look at it. It’s horribly, awkwardly dated in ways that not even the original series suffers from. My main grievances with the show:

  • Might as well as go ahead and state the obvious: Wesley Crusher. (And if you don’t know why he was a problem, you simply don’t belong on the internet!)

  • Counselor ‘Cleavage’ Troi. But since there is already a three-page thread on her, let’s move on.

  • Commander William Riker - Supposedly a charismatic, Kirk-like ladies’ man. I never saw him as anything more than smug, oily and unnecessary. I know he was originally meant to go on away missions while Picard stayed on the bridge. But Picard ended up on more than his fair share of away missions, thus making Riker redundant. Also, after season one the actor playing him got so fat that they almost never shot him below the neck. And yet to the end they continued to write him as this lady-killing hunka hunka burning man-love.

  • Worf - I didn’t hate Worf per se; more the fact that the show constantly wanted to show how badass the alien villains were by having them beat the shite out of him. And thus he ended up looking like the wimpiest Klingon ever.

  • Virtually every alien species they came across was simply a human with funny bumps on the forehead or nose. Just how lazy was that make-up department?

  • Godawful dated special effects and atrocious sets / costumes. I can’t really fault the production team for the effects as the show simply had the bad timing to air just before major advances in CGI effects became available for SF television shows. Still, it’s really hard to look at some of the tractor beams, etc. now. I can even forgive the woefully bad effects of TOS or classic Doctor Who more easily (since they have the excuse that those shows were done on shoe-string budgets.) TNG was supposed to be a cutting edge affair. But everything now, even the sets and costumes, just look cheap.

  • TOS embodied the maverick, free-wheeling, iconoclastic, wild west attitude of the 1960s, showing Kirk stepping up and taking charge in every situation, and the Enterprise crew seeking out and exploring strange new worlds. Conversely, TNG universe just looks like the blandest of corporate 1980s office places. Picard negotiating peace treaties, and the Enterprise hosting diplomatic policy-making conferences simply aren’t the stuff of thrilling adventures.

I think that’s enough to get the ball rolling. I could list more things I hate about the show (nowadays, as an older, wiser sci-fi fan), but I’ll turn it over to you all…

We’re apparently the same age - I was in college when it aired the first time too.

I can’t hate Wesley Crusher anymore since I heard Wil Wheaton’s side of the story. That doesn’t excuse the terrible writing and character development given to his character. The writing improved after a few seasons and Wesley’s less prominent role was more tolerable.

The difference between the original series and TNG is night and day. The Original Series is still watchable and entertaining. The stories were more morality tales with action scenes which translates well from decade to decade. The Next Generation built it’s stories around contemporary social issues of the 80’s and 90’s. It gives the show a preachy attitude that locks it into its time (like Archie Bunker). It was good at the time, but has lost relevance.

I’ve read that Gene Roddenberry envisioned Wesley Crusher as a version of himself (had Gene Roddenberry lived in an era such as the one depicted in Star Trek) but I’m with you - I was never a fan of that little wiseguy.

Counselor Troi was a big reason why I watched ST:TNG!! Matter of fact I got an autograph from her (uh, I mean, from Marina Sirtis) when I was serving in the navy in San Diego (hubba hubba!!).

I was never a fan of Riker’s, either. Smug, yes, but I also found him to be undiplomatic and generally just not very nice (except to all the creatures with quims that he was trying to seduce). Matter of fact in some ways he reminded me of my dad. I told my dad that once and he DIDN’T take it as a compliment (and it wasn’t meant as one. My dad and I hardly communicate these days).

Worf - “wimpiest Klingon ever.” Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Did Worf ever actually beat anybody/anything in hand-to-hand combat during that show’s run?

I actually missed quite a few episodes during its first run since I was in the navy. I’ve caught a few of them since. Not all of them are award winners, it is true, but in general I have no hard feelings about the show. Personally I feel that its series finale was pretty good (I still watch it from time to time).

Had to wait until Gene was no longer in charge before it got good. Certain episodes of Seasons 6 and 7 were absolutely stellar. And each season had some stand out eps. So, I will never agree with a blanket hating.

What was annoying:

Throw away tech, aliens, and procedures. Used once and never seen again

Worf can’t hit the broadside of a supernova from Mercury’s orbital distance

Data’s Pinocchio shtick

“I sense aggression…” [while taking phaser fire]

Did Picard and Dr Crusher do it or not!?

Kids on a battleship (Phil Farrand’s Nitpicker’s Guild had a long running discussion on whether Starfleet is military or not, many threads here, too)

Interpretation of Prime Directive

Where are the Orion space babes!?


Tactical skants

5 minute resolutions instead of just carrying over a story arc (later fixed in other series)

UPN scheduling issues

Needed more jerks. I mean, I say that knowing that Roddenberry’s vision of the future kind of hamstrung the writers in that regard. But everyone on the ship played SOOOOO nice with each other, it’s irritating in retrospect.

ST:TNG wasn’t on UPN. It was syndicated and stations ran it on their own schedule. UPN didn’t exist until 1995 when Voyager was the first Star Trek series to run on it. The Next Generation had already ended its run before then.

One letter: Q.

Could there be a bigger SF cliché?</Chandler>

It’s a fair nitpick. I meant Paramount and the problems associated with First Run Syndication.

Desilu, Gulf+Western, Paramount, Viacom, etc… could be it’s own multi page thread. Maybe a “Behind the Scenes” Trek thread is in order again

Yeah, but I really liked how John de Lancie portrayed him thru-out the different series, even with some lame storylines.

I’ll have to agree with most of this. It simply has not aged well. I find most episodes to be too boring to sit through. And I’ve tried.

Hating on TNG? Them’s fightin’ words. Well, we’re not going to fight as such. Instead we’ll have a diplomatic meeting in which we talk about our feelings, incessantly.

Tell me, what is it like for the hunter to lie down with the prey? Have they tamed you? Or have you always been docile?

I still prefer TNG to any of the other ST series. In fact, I’m working through it now on NetFlix, as background while I work on tax returns and the like.

Of course, I’m not much of an ST fan to begin with, so the fact that I like it best probably explains why so many people like it least.

Also, I think I have slightly different takes on some characters. For example, I know that Riker was intended as the action-hero/ladies-man role, and he does fail at that miserably. But I always thought of him as a foil to Picard. Just in case we thought old baldy didn’t have it in him, he did twice the away missions and bedded twice the babes. We might not appreciate just how awesome Picard is if we didn’t see how truly lame Riker comes out. In that sense, the Riker character has a fairly important role.

Hey, Riker got to boink Lilith! Can’t hate on a man for that!

I gave up on it when every damned episode seemed to take place in the holodeck. Lame.

Fucking Whoopi Goldberg.

Bumpy forehead aliens. I mean, I know why they did it-save money, later invented an in-universe excuse for it, but no it didn’t really work. In general the show lacked any sort of compelling vision, often seemed to cop itself out of awkward plot developments (such as Data shooting that evil trader guy, but having the transporter bail him out, and then compounded all that by then having him lie out of character).

I personally hated the oh-so-phony star backdrops-no nebulas, galaxies or such ever in evidence-no sense of vastness and mystery of space in the slightest, both visually and plot-wise…

I haven’t watched the show in 15 years, and I’d be afraid to do so, for fear that I would also be a hater (I think that it takes a few decades before you can view something as a product of its time and SFX capabilities, instead of comparing it to modern entertainment). But my memory agrees with this:

Whatever the intent for Riker may have been, his purpose on the show was to be the perfectly adequate Starfleet officer, completely outstripped by his commanding officer. You always had to feel sorry for him every time they talked about him getting his own ship, because he’d have to go from being a perfectly serviceable second-in-command to the greatest ship captain ever to the protegee that can never live up to the master. You always know why he chooses against leaving.

So ubiquitous that Worf is the trope namer for “guy who exists solely to get beat up the new villain to establish that new villain is powerful.”