Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known as ST:TNG or TNG) was the first live-action television continuation of the science fiction television series Star Trek. (Star Trek had also also appeared as an animated series and a series of feature films starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.)
The series was conceived and produced by original Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. It premiered in 1987 with the 2 hour pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint", and ran for 7 seasons, ending with the final episode "All Good Things" in 1994. During its run, the show gained a considerable following, and like its predecessor, is widely syndicated.
Four feature films have been made featuring the series' characters, starting with Star Trek: Generations. It also paved the way for three later Star Trek TV series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Enterprise. The series has also inspired countless novels, analytical books, web-sites, and works of fan fiction.
The show followed the journeys of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D, a Galaxy Class starship designed for exploration and diplomacy but prepared for battle when necessary. Its captain was the mature and charismatic Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The character was noteworthy for being more intellectual and philosophically focused than the typical protagonist in popular science fiction. Star Trek: The Next Generation has been acknowledged for being more in the spirit of "traditional", idea-based science fiction than the action/adventure franchises which became more common between 1970 and 2000, although it has also been criticized for shying away from conflict and character drama and too often having the crew solve its challenges through the discovery or invention of hitherto-unknown technology.
The series greatly expanded on a secondary theme of the original Star Trek TV series, focusing on the idealistic theme of humanity's dedication to improving itself. It also continued the original series' approach of using extra-terrestrial species and science fiction elements as a means of exploring many social, political, personal and spiritual issues. The world of the show continued Gene Roddenberry's fictional vision of a future human race which had transcended war, racism, prejudice, and poverty.
See also the list of Star Trek TNG episodes.