They said it wouldn’t last (and if you’ve seen some of the first season episodes, you’d believe that sentiment). They said it couldn’t overshadow its predecessor (even though some of the same creators that worked on the original series were involved in the production). Despite the fuss from certain hardcore fans and the somewhat lukewarm critical response, when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted on this date in 1987 with the episode “Encounter at Farpoint”, it was an instant ratings smash that not only introduced a crop of new fans to the Star Trek phenomenon, but also gave longtime Trekkies new stories and characters to enjoy…or, at least during the first couple of seasons, tolerate.
In 1988, amid the show’s wave of success, a Seattle independent filmmaker and science fiction fan, Ryan K. Johnson, released his satirical tribute to TNG entitled Star Trek: The Pepsi Generation. Johnson’s 15-minute short film is a near-perfect encapsulation of what didn’t work in the show’s early years, from the cranky Captain Picard, the tiresome antics of Wesley Crusher and the occasional rehashing of plots from the original show. The Pepsi Generation serves as a effective reminder of the growing pains that TNG went through before becoming one of the most beloved sci-fi programs on television.
50 years ago, a strange, unique science fiction adventure show kicked off its 3 season run on NBC with the tale of a simple country doctor falling in love with a shape-shifting salt vampire. Ever since these humble origins, the Star Trek franchise has been going strong, with various additions and re-imaginings of the mythos created by both fans and professionals alike. One of the most popular Star Trek fan films is a loving, well-crafted tribute to both Trek and silent films by the name of Steam Trek: The Moving Picture. Directed and co-written by British animator Dennis Sisterson, this hilarious 1994 film details a typical mission aboard the USS Isambard gone awry, thanks to the interference of derby-donning Klingons. With a suitably whimsical score, faithful imagery and inspired characterizations (especially the Harold Lloyd-esque Spock), this short remains one of the top examples of a standout fan production!
Hope you enjoy it and…well, you know.
Captain’s log, stardate 47457.1. Today’s date matches up with the Earth date of June 16th, which is Captain Picard Day! Here are a few ways you can celebrate one of the finest Captains in Starfleet:
- Watch “Best of Both Worlds”, “Tapestry”, “The Inner Light” and any other Picard-heavy episode.
- Drink a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.
- Re-enact this scene:
- Ponder why this Frenchman has an English accent.
- Jam to this: