Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of the most important works of sci-fi television ever. It’s success made it the flagship of the reborn Star Trek franchise in the 1990s. But that wasn’t always the case. There were plenty of fans of Star Trek: The Original Series who felt the very idea of Star Trek: The Next Generation was offensive, despite Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s involvement with the series. The Next Generation has earned its place in pop culture history, which has erased a lot of that negativity from our collective cultural memory, but star Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Deanna Troi, hasn’t forgotten.
Sirtis was a guest on Graham Norton’s BBC radio show. During the episode, she recalled the hate she and the rest of the cast got from fans early on in the show’s life.
“The fans hated the fact that we were on,” she says. “I mean people assume because we became so successful that it was always that way. But no, I would go to conventions where there were like 30 people and they’d all be sitting with their arms crossed going, ‘how dare you take the place of our heroes.’ So we really had to win our audience.”
Some might draw comparisons between the early reactions to The Next Generation and the early reactions to the debut of Star Trek: Discovery. As with The Next Generation, many fans assumed the new flagship of the reborn Star Trek franchise would somehow trample over everything that came before without due reverence, that it wouldn’t be “real Star Trek.” After two seasons, Discovery has won over many fans, becoming one of the most-streamed television series in the world.
Sirtis’s The Next Generation co-star Patrick Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard in the second new Star Trek television series of the new era, Star Trek: Picard. Fans got their first look at the new series when CBS All Access revealed the first teaser trailer last week. Sirtis doesn’t know much else about it for certain but hears it will be darker than The Next Generation.
“I know that it’s 25 years into the future, and it’s not like hearts and flowers as TNG was,” she says. “Apparently Patrick, when he told us he apologized for doing it without us…He said it’s a little more dystopic, a little more reflective of how society is now.”
What do you think of how fans reacted to Star Trek: The Next Generation? Let us know how you feel in the comments.