This Was Television On September 28

1987: The next generation of Starfleet takes flight

Star Trek: The Next Generation, starring Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, began a seven-season run in syndication on this date. These continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise—set about a century after the events of the original series—proved that the Star Trek franchise could remain commercially and creatively viable two decades after the flagship ended its generally low-rated run. TNG was the first syndicated program to be nominated for a Best Dramatic Series Emmy, and it remains the highest-rated installment in the venerable spacefaring franchise.

One way TNG differentiated itself from its predecessor was by portraying a future in which the Klingons, erstwhile enemies of the United Federation of Planets, have become allies. This was represented largely through the presence aboard the Enterprise of Starfleet officer Worf, who became a fan favorite thanks to a popular running joke in which he said things like, “In Klingon Empire, phasers set you to kill!” -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Maria Canals Barrera, Justice Leaguer  (46); Hilary Duff, cartoon’s alter ego (25); Janeane Garofalo, sketch player (48); Jeffrey Jones, Deadwood pressman (66).

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