September 28 is the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the first Trek series since the original one signed off in 1969, shortly before the first moon landing. The second Star Trek series was, as was its predecessor, very much a product of its times. The Reagan 1980s were different than the 1960s when the original series first aired. However, in many ways, the second series followed quite a few of the traditions of the first.

Not your grandfather’s Enterprise

The first thing that people noticed about the new show was the cast was even more diverse than was that of the original series, which had been celebrated for that quality.

The captain was Frenchman (albeit with a British accent,) The rest of the bridge crew included an android who wanted to be more human and a Klingon, from a nation that had been the mortal enemy of the Federation in the first series. Both the doctor and the security officer were women as was the ship’s counselor, a position unknown on the original Enterprise. The chief engineer was an African American who wore a device that helped him to see.

Some missteps in the first season

The first season of Next Gen had spotty quality at best. One reason was the Gene Roddenberry, who was the showrunner for the first three seasons, kept an iron-tight control over all aspects of the series, though his involvement began to diminish after the first season. Roddenberry had started to believe his own press and would brook no one’s creative input but his own.

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This attitude caused a rapid turnover in the writing staff and an atmosphere that one writer referred to as an “insane asylum.”

Then there was the Wesley Crusher problem. Roddenberry insisted that the new Enterprise would be large enough for the crew to take family members along with them. One such was the teenage Wesley Crusher, son of the ship’s doctor Beverly Crusher. Wesley was supposed to be a version of Roddenberry as a young lad. However, he became the least favorite Trek character of all time. The role effectively wrecked the acting career of Wil Wheaton who played him.

The seven-year voyage

When Rick Berman finally took over creative control of the series, the stories became of far better quality. The series had a solid seven-year run and a number of movies afterward. Next Gen had a number of spinoff series, including “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” and “Star Trek Enterprise.” “Star Trek: Discovery” recently premiered, the first Trek in a number of years. "Next Gen" was the first Star Trek that could be considered a commercial and eventually an artistic success from the get-go.