Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. It originally aired from September 28, 1987 to May 23, 1994 in syndication, spanning 178 episodes over the course of seven seasons. The third series in the Star Trek franchise, it is the second sequel to Star Trek: The Original Series. Set in the 24th century, when Earth is part of the United Federation of Planets, it follows the adventures of a Starfleet starship, the USS Enterprise-D, in its exploration of the Milky Way galaxy.
In the 1980s, Roddenberry—who had been responsible for the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–74), and a series of films—had been tasked by Paramount to create a new series in the franchise. He decided to set it a century after the events of his original series. The Next Generation featured a new crew that starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker, Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data, Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf, LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Marina Sirtis as counselor Deanna Troi, Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, and a new Enterprise. Roddenberry, Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor served as executive producers at various times throughout its production. The series was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations.
The show was very popular, reaching almost 12 million viewers in its 5th season, with the series finale in 1994 being watched by over 30 million viewers. Following the show's success, Paramount commissioned Rick Berman and Michael Piller to create a fourth series in the franchise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which launched in 1993. The characters from The Next Generation returned in the four films: Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), and for the forthcoming television series Star Trek: Picard. The series is also the setting of numerous novels, comic books, and video games. The series received a number of accolades, including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award.