In 1966, a bold new television show appeared on the tube: "Star Trek," set in a futuristic version of our galaxy. The show featured a crew of a hundred people traveling through space, and exploring new worlds and peoples, in a ship called the U.S.S. Enterprise. With the support of loyal fans, the Enterprise and her crew continued their voyage through space for 73 episodes. Then, in 1969, "Star Trek" went off the air. But, amazingly enough, interest in the short-lived series continued to grow and in 1987, fans were rewarded with a new "Star Trek." "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is set some eighty years after the original. There is a new Enterprise and new crew, but she still travels through space discovering new worlds and peoples.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (ST: TNG) is a syndicated show, so it is shown on different channels throughout the country. Many people across the continent have the opportunity to watch the show, usually shown on Saturday or Sunday nights. What is disappointing is that so many people have never watched "Star Trek." I believe that more people should try "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Why? Because ST: TNG deals with issues and problems important to us now, only in a futuristic setting. "Star Trek" is one of the few shows today that deals with current problems and issues. In each episode, both sides of an issue are shown, and though a solution may not be found or a decision reached, the viewer comes away with a better understanding of the issue itself and some good ideas to think about. One may also have a more positive outlook on the future. We can survive to see a future where our problems have a better chance of being solved, and where violence is not an everyday occurrence.
One reason many people do not watch "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is they watched the original show and don't like to see a new crew on the Enterprise. These people should give the new show a chance, because they will find a lot of similarities. They both have strong, idealistic captains, Kirk and Picard. They both have a logical mind among them, Spock, the vulcan, and Data, an android officer on the new Enterprise. This is not to say that the two shows are exactly alike since there are many differences. Picard is less phaser-happy than Kirk, and there are many new cultures on the Next Generation's Enterprise. The truth is, as unforgettable and irreplaceable a tradition as the original crew had, the "Next Generation" crew is creating their own unforgettable tradition with every episode.
"Star Trek" is a TV program with a long history. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is a new version that deals with current problems and issues and gives people a positive outlook on the future. More people should tune in to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and give an excellent show a fair chance. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.