Star Trek: The Next Generation is a science fiction television series, part of the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry.
Set in the 24th century, about 80 years after the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation features a new crew and a new starship Enterprise.
Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in the USA on September 28, 1987 to some 27-million viewers and ran for 178 episodes in seven seasons, ending with the finale "All Good Things..." on May 23, 1994.
The series was broadcast in first-run syndication, with dates and times varying among individual television stations.
It aired in South Africa on SABC3 originally, before going into re-runs on DStv's actionX channel.
Set almost a hundred years after the original series, The Next Generation featured an all-new cast, and a new Starship Enterprise.
The episodes follow the adventures of the crew of the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. As the United Federation of Planets flagship, the Enterprise is designed for both exploration and diplomacy but is capable of battle when necessary.
Patrick Stewart's voiceover during each episode's opening credits was patterned after that of the original series, but the phrase "continuing mission" replaces Star Trek's "five year mission", and the gender-neutral phrase "no one" replaces "no man":
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before."
The Enterprise's crew contact and discover many races and species with whom they interact as a means for exploring the "human" condition.
Dramatic devices such as time travel or temporal loops, natural disasters, holodeck malfunctions, and other internal and external conflicts often occur without alien encounters, though these, too, are used to explore issues of humanity.
The Next Generation would go on to eclipse its predecessor both in longevity and popularity, and would also lead to two spin-off series set at the same time - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, and a third, Star Trek: Enterprise, set prior to the original series.