Star Trek: The Next Generation

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The crew of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-D. [1]
"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."

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a science fiction show created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Set in the 24th century, about eighty years after the original series, the program features a new crew, new perspectives on established cultures (a Klingon Empire as a semi-friendly ally against a Romulan Empire emerging from decades of isolation), new antagonists and a new Enterprise (Galaxy-class starship, registration NCC-1701-D).

After struggling for a few seasons trying to establish itself apart from the Original Series, it exploded into one of the most well respected television shows ever made, partially because of a change in direction (its creator had health problems starting around season two of the show's run leading to co-producer Rick Berman taking over most of the show's daily production and his promotion to executive producer during season three) and an increased willingness to experiment with the format and scope of the show, and science fiction as a whole. At 176 episodes in length, it was the longest running Star Trek series at the time, and won many awards for everything from visual effects to writing. Additionally, the series has proved wildly popular in Syndication, despite having broadcast its final episode in 1994, well over fifteen years ago. To date, in the U.S. alone, it has been broadcast on no less than five different cable / satellite networks: G4, Spike TV, Syfy, WGN America and most recently BBC America. Three of these networks, SyFy, WGN America & BBC America still regularly air episodes of the program, sometimes against each other in prime-time.

Although much of the show shared the premise of the Original Series, there were also well-placed Story Arcs: the omnipotent Trickster character of Q would show up to put Humanity on Trial (becoming a Book End storyline epitomizing the series) or to amuse himself at the expense of others; redefining the Klingons as being Proud Warrior Race Guys instead of the original "black hats"; various encounters with the hive-mind, cybernetic Borg (creating what is regarded as the pinnacle episode for the series and even the franchise, "The Best of Both Worlds"); several episodes with Wesley that developed his character; and defining moments for several of the main cast and the odd minor character, in addition to plenty of development for the Romulans, the Vulcans, the Cardassians and the Ferengi.

The series formed the basis of the seventh through tenth Star Trek films: Generations (1994), First Contact (1996), Insurrection (1998) and Nemesis (2002). The success led to an expansion of the franchise and is single-handedly responsible for the creation of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. Though fans will usually agree that the quality of the episodes varies wildly, the best make for compelling and thought-provoking viewing.

See also the Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch, a series of novels that follow the characters after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, as well as setting the direction for the Star Trek Expanded Universe in terms of the original continuity (as opposed to the latest film, which is an Alternate Timeline).

Character tropes for the main characters can be found in this character page. Episode recaps can be found here.


Tropes used in Star Trek: The Next Generation include:


Trope-based episodes[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Adaptive Ability: The Borg, by any means necessary.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Q.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: "Q Who".
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Downplayed in Genesis. Sometimes they were spiders!
  • Alternate Universe: "Yesterday's Enterprise".
    • Also the anomaly universe in "All Good Things".
      • Then hundreds of the damn things in "Parallels."
  • Amnesia Danger: "Conundrum".
  • Amnesia Loop: "Clues".
  • Apocalyptic Log: Col. Richey's diary in "The Royale".
  • Art Evolution: A rare Live Action version, the ridge design on Worf's head changed as the show continued. This was explained as simply streamlining the make-up process.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: "Starship Mine". Absolutely.
  • Badass in Distress: "The Best of Both Worlds Part II".
  • Big Bad: Because the Klingons had become allies of The Federation by this point, their previous role of recurring antagonists went unfilled. The Ferengi were the first attempt at creating a big bad, and were found to be too comical. Then the Borg came along, but were found to be Too Awesome to Use by the writers. They eventually settled late on in the run of the show on the Cardassians, who were indeed developed into a true Big Bad on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (only for their own Big Bad status to be subverted towards the end of that show's run, following in the footsteps of the Klingons). Ultimately, the Romulans come closest to filling out this niche`, and its a bigger plot twist to find that they are not the masterminds behind the insidious scheme of the week.
    • Individually, Commanders Sela and Tomalak and the Sisters of Duras fill the role of recurring villains, though even they don't go out of their way to antagonize the Enterprise except when Starfleet interferes in their schemes. Though, it turns out that they too were just Romulan pawns.
  • Big No: "Timescape", said by Picard while suffering in temporal narcosis.
    • "Darmok", again Picard, while trapped in a transporter beam as his new friend is pummeled by the Monster of the Week.
    • "Night Terrors", again Picard, when he experiences extreme claustrophobia on the turbolift and feels as if he's rushing up towards the ceiling.
  • Big Secret: "The Drumhead". When it becomes clear Ensign Tarses is hiding something, he becomes the chief suspect in the trial with the investigative team going all out to prove he's the saboteur they're after. It's a waste of everyone's time as he's innocent, his Dark Secret being completely unrelated to the original crime.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "The Vengeance Factor". The last of the Acamarian Vornak clan is saved by Riker's intervention; that intervention consists of the vaporization of the woman for whom Riker had some affection.
  • Broken Aesop: "The Outcast" doubles as a Bittersweet Ending: Psychotectic treatment is basically like the "gay de-programming" techniques of today, with all the Unfortunate Implications that that implies.
    • As pointed out by SF Debris, the metaphor for homosexual prejudice and coming out falls flat when you realize that the entire race of genderless aliens discovering sexuality has every member played by women. The alien in question even identifies herself as a female and falls in love with Riker, who's a man.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Averted in "Ethics".
  • Butt Monkey: Next to Worf and Geordi, Deanna Troi filled this role many times. She was always being possessed by aliens, abused by aliens in crashed shuttles, abducted by aliens for political gambits, being nearly forced to marry an alien, having her psychic powers robbed by aliens, suffering nightmares at the hands of aliens, forced to listen to a virtual music box in her head for days by an alien, the list goes on. Her only real use on the show was to counsel the random crew member of the week and to tell Picard when she sensed weird things happening while on the bridge.
  • Call to Agriculture: Picard was managing his family vineyard as part of the alternate future in the Grand Finale.
  • Can't Live Without You: The Bynars are a race of being that always work and live in pairs and can't function alone; also, in one episode, Picard and Dr.Crusher received implants that allowed them to share thoughts but would killed them if they went beyond a few meters from each other.
  • Chained Heat: "Attached".
  • Character Shilling: Multiple examples, but the most well known was that of the shilling done for Wesley, which grated at the fans and became the former trope namer for the more negative and YMMV version of the trope, Creator's Pet. Apart from shilling Wesley, the story also shills a few other characters, even those who are actually popular like Riker. We are frequently assured that Riker could be a captain on any other ship in the fleet, but without a great deal of backing for the idea.
  • Child Marriage Veto: In "Haven", Deanna Troi has been arranged to be married to Wyatt Miller. It's not Deanna who breaks off the marriage, though; it's Wyatt, who has had dreams of a non-Deanna woman since he was a child...and then he finds her on a plague ship.
  • Clarke's Third Law: "Devil's Due".
    • Noteworthy in that the technology isn't even sufficiently advanced; it's just been dressed-up to look more impressive than it really is.
      • Makes sense - people pull off some impressive tricks/scams today without godlike technology, stands to reason that the same will still be (relatively) possible in the 24th Century.
      • Plus, while it's not significantly advanced than the Enterprise's technology, it is sufficiently advanced for the technology of the planet in question. And some of the tricks the scam artists set up ("beaming" a holographic image over the actor and maintaining it outside a holodeck) the Enterprise couldn't replicate. When the Enterprise crew performs this trick, it's only because they've boarded the scammer's ship and used their setup to do it.
    • The first season episode "Justice" has an idyllic planet that worships an inter-dimensional spaceship thing as their god. How advanced it really is isn't firmly established, but it's strongly implied that it's at least a match for the Enterprise.
    • The third season episode "Who Watches the Watchers?" again casts the Enterprise crew in the role of the ones with the sufficiently advanced technology, when a botched encounter with a pre-industrial civilization leaves some of them thinking that Picard is a god.
    • In "The Next Phase", Ro and Geordi are invisible and intangible after an accident. Ro is at first convinced that they're ghosts now that need to make peace before moving on to the afterlife. Turns out they're just "out of phase" with normal matter, except for the plot-convenient floors (and oxygen).
  • Cliff Hanger: One at the end of every season from year 3 onward. The first of these is probably the second most famous TV cliffhanger ever (behind "Who Shot JR?").
    • The cliffhanger in question resulted in months of speculation in the media, as the episode ended on the possibility that Captain Picard would die and be replaced by Riker. This led to rumors that Patrick Stewart was leaving the show and the episode was intended as a way to write his character out of the series. The first part even sets up a new first officer for the ship. These rumors proved untrue, and at the end of part two everything returned to normal, but the story was told so well that few viewers minded.
      • At the time, fans seemed to be divided between four possible scenarios: Picard would die and Riker would become Captain, Picard would live but remain a Borg and thus become the show's recurring Big Bad, Riker would die saving Picard's life, or things would return to normal. Quite a few fanfics (and at least one official Star Trek comic) have been devoted to exploring the alternate scenarios.
        • The alternate scenarios are also given a nod in later alternate-timeline episodes, most notably "Parallels".
      • The official story is that Stewart was renegotiating his contract and they had to leave it open for the possibility of his leaving. The ending wasn't decided until after the first part was shot.
  • Clip Show: "Shades of Grey".
  • Clone Degeneration: "Up the Long Ladder".
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The ostensible basis of Q's argument in "True Q" that Amanda Rogers should be returned to the Q Continuum, or else killed.

Q: If that child doesn't learn to control her power, she could destroy herself. Or all of you. Or your entire galaxy.

  • Come to Gawk: "The Most Toys".
  • Costumer: Several times; mostly holodeck adventures, although the most famous was "Q-Pid", which is decidedly not set on the holodeck.
  • Courtroom Episode: A number of examples. The best of which was "Measure of a Man".
    • Though not strictly a courtroom episode, a 21st-century kangaroo court was conjured up by Q in both the series premiere and the series finale.
  • Cowboy Episode: "A Fistful of Datas", involving a Holodeck Malfunction.
  • The Creon: William Riker is one of the best examples of this trope, having turned down multiple chances over the years to get his own command, just so he could stay as Picard's first officer.
  • Cuckoo Nest: "Frame of Mind".
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Deanna Troi had three different ones.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Deconstructed in "The First Duty" when one of these turns out to be the direct cause of a crash that killed a friend of Wesley's at the Accademy while practicing for a commencement-ceremony flight demonstration.
  • Data Crystal: Isolinear chips.
  • Day in the Life: "Data's Day".
  • Devil's Advocate: In "Measure of a Man", a scientist wants to disassemble Data for study, and Data refuses as a sentient being. A hearing is held to determine whether Data is sentient. Picard is Data's defense counsel, and Riker is appointed as the prosecution - so he has to argue that Data isn't sentient. He risks summary judgement against Data if he slacks off on the job. Riker feels guilty about doing it, but Data is grateful - or anyway as grateful as an android allegedly with no emotions can be - since if Riker had refused to do it they would have decided against Data (for if he isn't a sentient being, he lacks the right to bodily autonomy, such are the rules of procedure in the 24th century).
  • Die Hard On The USS Enterprise-D: "Starship Mine".
  • Do Borgs Dream: "I, Borg".
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: "Aquiel", where the crew finds out that a shape-shifting organism is behind the Mystery of the Week. Two people, a Klingon and the titular Aquiel, are suspected of being the monster, but it's really Aquiel's dog, which served as a minor comedic subplot during the episode.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In "Skin of Evil", Armus tells Troi to take her pity and shove it. Picard later exploits Armus' extreme distaste toward being pitied.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lieutenant Kwan in "Eye Of The Beholder". The first act of the episode also counts as A Very Special Episode about suicide.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Tasha Yar in "Skin of Evil", Captain Kirk in The Movie.
  • Dying Race: "Up the Long Ladder", "When the Bough Breaks".
  • Enemy Mine: "Darmok", also (shockingly) "The Enemy".
    • In "Darmok", the phrase "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" means this.
  • Evil Twin: Lore, to Data.
  • Evolutionary Levels / You Fail Biology Forever: "Genesis", which misinterprets evolution as a phenomenon that happens in individuals, as well as invoking the theory (discredited in the mid 20th century) that our DNA retains a record of our species' evolutionary tree. "The Chase" has some undertones of this as well, although it isn't Evolutionary Levels so much as Precursors with implausible sufficiently advanced skill at genetics. Plus any scene where someone mentions DNA breaking down into protein/amino acids, or vice versa.
  • Exclusively Evil: Ferengi, Cardasians, and Borg. For the most part, the Romulans as well.
  • Expospeak Gag: In "Time's Arrow":

Data: You may retain the surplus for yourself.
Jack: Keep the change?
Data: Exactly.

  • Face Palm: The one done by Picard is particularly well-known thanks to Memetic Mutation.
  • Fat and Skinny: Ambassador Sarek's advisers in "Sarek".
  • Father, I Don't Want to Fight
  • Fire-Forged Friends: "Darmok".
  • First Contact: First Contact (the episode and the movie. The first one reverses the polarity by having the aliens be the ones experiencing first contact with humans.)
  • Fish Out of Water: "A Matter of Honor".
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The phaser lance from the alternate future version of the Enterprise-D in "All Good Things".
  • Force Field Door
  • Former Teen Rebel: Picard in "Tapestry".
  • For Want of a Nail: "Parallels", "Tapestry".
  • Fountain of Youth: "Rascals".
  • Freak-Out: Had by Captain Picard in "Sarek", on behalf of the titular legendary diplomat. Sarek is suffering Vulcan Alzheimer's, and "borrows" Picard's emotional self-control to complete one last mission.
  • Freud Was Right: Inverted in "Phantasms", when Data recreates Dr. Freud in the holodeck with the hope of interpreting the disturbing images generated by his dream program. Freud, of course, proceeds to assume it's all about Data's issues with his mother and his sexuality, neither of which he has, because he's an android.
  • Future Imperfect: Episode of the same name. An interesting Alternate History arises and thanks to a fake Trauma-Induced Amnesia Riker (now Captain of the Enterprise) can't recall any of it.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "Time Squared", the present Jean-Luc Picard is disgusted, irritated and extremely angered by the Captain Picard of the future, who abandoned the Enterprise in a shuttlecraft shortly before its destruction.
  • G-Rated Drug: The game, in "The Game".
  • Ghost Ship: "The Battle", "The Naked Now", "Night Terrors", "Hero Worship", "Booby Trap".
  • God for a Day: "Hide and Q"- Q gives such powers to Riker and makes, unknown to Riker, a bet with Picard: Picard thinks that Riker will reject Q's offer and bets the Enterprise herself on him against Q offering to never bother them again. A generally well done example of the trope with the resolution not coming out of some arbitrary limit or failure of the powers. Picard wins after Riker finds every gift he tries to give to his friends rings hollow.

"But it's what you've always wanted Data, to become human."
"Yes, sir. That is true. But I never wanted to compound one... illusion with another. It might be real to Q,... perhaps even you, sir. But it would never be so to me. Was it not one of the Captain's favorite authors who wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true?" Sorry, Commander, I must decline."

  • God Test: Inverted in "Who Watches the Watchers". When the primitive alien tribe believes that Picard is God, they try to prove it by shooting him with a bow to prove that he can't be killed. Fortunately for Picard the alien misses his heart, but does hit him in the shoulder, injuring him and thereby proving to the aliens that he isn't God.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: "Symbiosis".
  • Groundhog Day Loop: "Cause and Effect" - Actually occurred two years in advance of the Groundhog Day movie.
    • And unlike the Groundhog Day movie (in which Bill Murray's character is fully aware of what's going on, and only once does anybody else mention a slight feeling of deja vu-- everyone on the Enterprise, except Data, starts to get that feeling.
  • Harmful Healing: Accidentally caused everyone to "devolve" in "Genesis".
  • Humanity on Trial: "Encounter at Farpoint" and "All Good Things..."
    • Technically, the whole series, the movies, and everything else in the Star Trek universe. As Q points out, the trial that starts in "Encounter at Farpoint" continues through "All Good Things..." and beyond.

Q: You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends.

      • Regarding spoiler: Not so much a threat from Q, but more of a reminder that human kind must never stop thinking outside of the box, and always work hard to better themselves.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: There are shipping lanes which are the most frequently used ways of getting from point A to point B. At one point late in the series it's revealed that space is actually wearing down in those lanes; Starfleet sets a speed limit of warp five to minimize continued damage, but then they weasel out of that by giving authorization to exceed speed limits right and left.
    • In the finale, "All Good Things", even relatively low-tech medical ships easily travel at warp 13, even though the Federation's speed limit was warp 5. Either the Federation figured out how to reduce the damage from their warp drives, or the writers forgot about the speed limit.
      • Both, really. The USS Voyager had "variable warp field geometry" to minimize damage to space/time. This is why the nacelles moved before it jumped into warp, but it was stated in later episodes of Voyager and Deep Space Nine that the technology was being retrofitted to older ships with fixed-mounted nacelles. Medical ships traveling at warp 13 are still probably a writer memory lapse, considering that it was stated many times that warp 10 represents infinite speed and requires infinite energy to attain. The only possible explanation for warp 13 would be that they switch to a different speed scale in the future.
        • I suspect they recalibrated the scale because it was getting cumbersome. Voyager's top cruising speed was stated as warp 9.975. That's already a bit of a mouthful. What happens when you're routinely able to travel at 9.9999999? There was also a link explained in the Technical Manual that integer warp factors on the warp 10 scale are much more energy efficient. If the design of the engines changes and that link is no longer true, recalibrating the scale becomes even more practical. This troper may have over-thought this subject.
        • "Warp 13" was such a nonsensical term (as if FTL travel is ever sensical), I thought the writers used it in the future-Picard scenes as an indicator of a made-up (by Q) future. Again, maybe over-thinking it.
        • Word of God says that Warp 13 was used intentionally as a hint of new developments in warp technology in the alternate future.
  • If You Can Read This...: Many examples; the set designers had a lot of fun adding in Easter eggs. See the trope page for details.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: "Datalore".
  • In Another Man's Shoes: "The Inner Light".
  • Industrialized Evil: The Borg assimilation process.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Not only was Worf himself raised with loving care by the Rozhenko family, but they also adopted and took care of Worf's son, Alexander, when he realized that raising a son on the Enterprise by himself would prove to be too difficult.
  • Invisible Main Character: "The Next Phase".
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Tapestry" is a variation, in which Q shows Picard that without the recklessness of his youth and the mistakes he made, he would never have learned the balance of caution and courage he needed to become Captain and would be stuck in a dead-end job. This is still enough of an example for fans to nickname the episode "It's Picard's Wonderful Life".
    • "Remember Me" is a subversion, in which Beverly finds people she knew vanishing, and no one remembering they ever existed.
    • The future timeline of "All Good Things..." has shades of this. While Geordi and Data have fairly good lives overall, Picard is suffering a degenerative mental disease, he and Dr. Crusher are divorced, Troi is dead, and Riker and Worf had a bitter falling out. Most notably, the core characters have all drifted apart (at the end of the episode, Picard has told them what he experienced specifically to prevent that).
  • Just a Machine: "Measure of a Man". Fortunately for Data, they decide that no, he's not.
    • However, it should be noted that the the judge's ruling is extremely specific: That Data is not the property of Starfleet. The ruling actually avoids addressing his sentience, innate freewill and status as a life form. Data, both before and after the trial, viewed Soong-type androids as unique life forms, as does most of the crew.
    • In the episode "The Quality of Life", the crew discovers that a repair robot might be sophisticated enough to be considered alive.
    • "Emergence": The Enterprise computer begins using the ship's replicators and transporters to change its own circuitry around, culminating in the creation of some sort of offspring. Unfortunately, this premise mostly took place in a broken holodeck simulation.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: "Face of the Enemy".
  • Kangaroo Court: "The Drumhead".
  • King in the Mountain
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: "Suspicions".
  • Lady Land: "Angel One".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: "Conundrum", "Clues".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: "Man of the People".
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: "The Naked Now".
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Pakleds.
  • Lower Deck Episode: "Lower Decks".
  • Made of Evil: "Skin of Evil".
  • Manchurian Agent: "The Mind's Eye".
  • Matryoshka Object: In "The Chase", Picard's old archeology professor brings him a Kurlan naiskos as a gift. An ancient relic, the figure opens up to reveal several smaller versions of the figure inside.
  • Mind Rape: "Violations". "Man of the People" involved an ambassador who was essentially a psychic vampire.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: "Galaxy's Child".
  • Moral Myopia: "Coming of Age" and "Chain of Command".
  • Mortality Ensues: "Deja Q".
  • My Greatest Failure: Subverted in "Tapestry".
  • New Media Are Evil: "The Game" doesn't even try to hide its contempt for videogames, which is ironic given how many videogames the NG crew helped with later on.
    • It helps that as a rule, Star Trek games (especially ones that would involve the show staff) tend to be on the cerebral side as far as their plot and gameplay are concerned. "The Game" centers around a mindless, addictive game that takes over people's lives.
    • SF Debris made a compelling argument that this wasn't the point of the episode, since Holodecks are the ultimate expression of gaming and no-one seems to care. It was just another stupid brainwashing device.
      • Also the episode where Barclay was discovered to have a holodeck addiction (having created an Eden for himself with a sexy Troi and a bumbling midget Riker) that begins to interfere with the performance of his basic duties. Troi herself explains that everybody enjoys the fantasy of the holodeck, but it's self destructive to rely on it to the exclusion of REAL experiences and friends.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Quite literally, as the terrifying visions and paranoia in "Night Terrors" are caused by aliens who simply don't understand the effect their method of communication has on the human brain.
  • No Poverty: Or money, either. Replicators and antimatter generators with a new social philosophy did away with poverty.
  • No Sense of Humor: Data repeatedly attempts to understand humor as part of his quest to become more human.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Q. If he finds you interesting....you, uh, know.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Isabella in "Imaginary Friend".
  • Not Himself: Data in "Clues". Troi in "Man of the People" is Not Herself due to Mind Rape.
  • Not Me This Time: In the episode "Firstborn", Lursa and B'Etor of the House of Duras are suspected of an assassination attempt against Worf. It turns out a future version of Alexander, Worf's son, had traveled back in time to stage this attempt so as to motivate the young Alexander to become a Klingon warrior.
    • In the episode "True Q", Q offers Amanda Rogers the choice to remain with humans if she can resist the temptation to use the powers of the Q. Amanda agrees, but almost the moment she and Picard leave the ready room, all hell breaks loose on the planet they're orbiting, endangering the lives of millions of people, as well as Riker and Geordi on the surface. Picard immediately suspects that Q had something to do with it, but he shrugs and says, "Not this time, Picard." Of course, Q's not only an inveterate liar, but he's also omnipotent. So even if he didn't have anything to do with it (which is dubious), he could easily have known that something was about to happen and waiting to offer the choice until that precise moment.
  • Once a Season: The Q episodes and the Holodeck Malfunctions.
  • Once For Yes, Twice For No: "Darmok" ends up working this way in practice if not in theory.
  • Orient Express: In "Emergence", the train appears on the Enterprise's holodeck.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Barclay's holographic duplicates of the main crew.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Portal Door: "Contagion".
  • Public Secret Message: The name of Data's creator ("Noonien Soongh") was Roddenberry's third (and last) Real Life attempt to attract the attention of his World War II buddy, Kim Noonien Singh.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: "Conspiracy".
  • The Rashomon: "A Matter of Perspective".
  • Revival Loophole: Used to save Tasha's opponent in "Code of Honor".
  • Rogue Drone: "I, Hugh".
  • Second Coming: "Rightful Heir", with the return of Kahless through a clone.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: "The Loss", where Counselor Troi loses her empathy.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: "Disaster".
  • Snap Back
  • Space Mines: In "Booby Trap", the Enterprise is trapped in an asteroid belt seeded with "acceton assimilators".
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Beverly shows signs of this towards Finn in "The High Ground". When Picard is captured by the separatists, he's quick to point this out to her.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Used in "Darmok", as the alien race's language is entirely based around metaphors.
  • Take a Third Option: In "Samaritan Snare", the Pakleds capture Geordi and demand access to the Enterprise's computer. Their options, summarized by Data, are, "We can either respond to the Pakleds' demands, or not. We can either use force, or not." Riker ultimately comes up with a ruse, communicated to Geordi in code-- Geordi would seemingly arm the slow-witted Pakleds with sophisticated weaponry, and when the Enterprise released harmless plasma through the Bussard collectors, he would disarm the Pakleds' weapons, claiming that the Enterprise's "crimson force field" had done it.
  • Take That: "Relics" chimes in on the iconic "Kirk vs. Picard" argument (specifically, which is the better captain) that tends to plague the fandom by the simple expedient of having Montgomery Scott brought back from the transporter pattern buffer to comment on Kirk's more active, aggressive, and decisive command style versus Picard's more measured, careful style. The verdict: Both styles have their places - but look! Picard can do both!
  • Those Two Guys: Data and Worf.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Sometimes it's best not to think too hard about it.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: "Interface", "Eye of the Beholder".
  • Two Plus Torture Makes Five: "Chain of Command", with lights instead of fingers (done well enough that memetic quote of the episode has been made an honorary redirect to the trope).
  • The Virus: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Identity Crisis".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: "Measure of a Man".
  • You Are in Command Now: "The Arsenal of Freedom", "Disaster", "Descent".
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: "Booby Trap", "Hero Worship".


Tropes A-G[edit | hide]

  • Aborted Arc: The Puppeteer Parasite aliens seen in "Conspiracy". They were intended to be harbingers of the Borg, who were originally supposed to be insectoid. In the end this idea was scrapped as the special effects were impossible and the parasites were never seen again, despite the obvious Sequel Hook of them sending off a transmission at the end of "Conspiracy". They may have inspired the similar Goa'uld from Stargate SG-1.
    • The parasites would eventually show up in two divergent branches of the Expanded Universe, one being a (rather forced and painful) tie-in in the novels with the Trill, and the other being in Star Trek Online.
  • Absentee Actor: Some episodes struggle to include all the actors, even with the Mandatory Line.
  • After Show: One reason Paramount felt confident in the risk of pouring so much money into the first season episodes - they figured if the show bombed, they'd just add the 13 Next Gen episodes to TOS's syndication package of 79 episodes and make the money back that way.
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: The Federation is a multi species organization, most of their enemies are at least a bit one dimensional. The Borg take the cake though, being a Hive Mind that removes individuality.
  • Almighty Janitor: Boothby, grounds-keeper of Starfleet Academy and trusted mentor of almost every graduate of note.
  • Alternate Universe
  • Alternative Number System: The Binars use base 2.
  • Anchored Ship: Picard and Crusher. In the post-Nemesis book series, They Do.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Lore is burdened with this sort of fate after his first appearance. In order to get rid of him, Data beams his evil brother into outer space, where the Nigh Invulnerable android will be cursed to drift around aimlessly in the endless vacuum, completely helpless. It's downplayed, since he's rescued after a "mere" few years when the crew of an alien ship discover his body floating around in space at a thousand-to-one odds.
    • The fate of Armus. He was created out of the darkest aspects of the psyches of an entire alien race and then abandoned. After he murdered Tasha Yar in a rage, the crew of the Enterprise decided that it was fitting punishment to leave him again and deploy a warning beacon that meant no-one ever venture near the planet again. Armus even ends the episode screaming.
    • To say nothing of those that the Borg assimilate. As Picard implied shortly after being removed from the Collective in "The Best of Both Worlds", they're privy to everything the Borg-them is doing, but are helpless to do anything about it. That Picard was able to break through his "Locutus of Borg" personality and tell Data how to defeat the Borg was nothing short of a miracle.
    • Moriarty — the self-aware hologram intended to outsmart Data — is still conscious when he is deactivated, and speaks of "Brief, terrifying periods of consciousness... disembodied, without substance."
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Enterprise has received a few of these, including a couple from themselves.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Star Trek runs on this and all the subset variants, justified with heavy heaps of Techno Babble.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Enterprise.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Lwaxana Troi.
  • Author Avatar: Wesley for Gene Roddenberry
  • Baby Factory: One episode ends with Doctor Pulaski telling two merged colonies they have to use this trope to insure "genetic diversity".
  • Badass Boast: The Klingon ritual of roaring at the heavens is this on behalf of one who died in battle... they are warning the afterlife that a warrior is coming.
  • Bald of Awesome: Picard.
  • Bedmate Reveal: In "Tapestry", Picard (who's reliving his days as a fresh young ensign) has sex with his good female friend Marta Batanides. In the morning, a hand reaches up to stroke his ear, and Picard turns around, opens his eyes-- and it's Q.

Q: Morning, darling.

    • In "Redemption II", after Worf is captured, B'Etor wakes him up with foreplay, and he briefly responds in kind-- and then wakes up, and immediately recoils.
  • Berserk Button: In the premiere, it was established that Picard did not allow children on the bridge, and he screamed Wesley off the bridge. Wesley soon gained his acceptance, but Picard's Berserk Button was seen again in the second-season "Pen Pals", he was practically trembling with rage when Data brought Sarjenka onto the bridge (of course, Data had violated the Prime Directive by doing so).
    • A later episode involved Picard getting stranded on the ship with a group of children and relating to them poorly. By the end of the episode, he had apparently gained some understanding and acceptance of children, as the kids give him a medal on the bridge at the end, and he seems genuinely embarrassed.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: In "Where Silence Has Lease", Picard chooses to set the Enterprise to auto-destruct (thus killing the entire crew) rather than allow Nagilum to continue with his experiments, which would kill one-third to one-half of the crew.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In "The Icarus Factor", the Japanese characters written on the side of the anbo-jyutsu ring are mostly martial-arts relevant elemental characters-- 火 (fire), 水 (water), etc. "ユリ" ("YURI") is a Shout-Out to Dirty Pair. There are a few of them scattered around the show. The top of the ring says 星 (star).
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Data, though his Character Development starts to negate this towards the end.
  • Brain Critical Mass: In the episode "The Nth Degree", Barclay's brain is taken over by an ancient race from the center of the galaxy, greatly increasing his intellect. Under their influence, Barclay seizes command of the Enterprise, controlling the ship with his mind. This has the small drawback that he can't be removed from the ship's systems without destroying said mind... but the aliens who started all of this fix that too, in the end.
  • Brainwash Residue: After losing his superintelligence, Barclay seems to retain some chess-playing ability.
  • The Bus Came Back: Tasha in "Yesterday's Enterprise" by way of an Alternate Timeline.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: A favorite pose for Riker.
    • Because Jonathan Frakes is freaking huge, and if he didn't he wouldn't fit in the frame.
  • The Cast Showoff: Many episodes feature Riker playing the trombone, because Jonathan Frakes really does play trombone. And the episode "Data's Day" features Dr. Crusher teaching Data how to dance, because Gates McFadden is an accomplished dancer and choreographer.
    • Also, Patrick Stewart reciting Shakespeare. Well, they had to get it in there somehow.
    • Everyone in the cast sings, pretty well too. Brent Spiner cut an album of Jazz standards (and some new material) a few years back where his backup singers were Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton and Jonathan Frakes, It was spectacular.
  • Catch Phrase: Many, including:

Picard: Make it so.
Data: It is possible
Data (again): Intriguing...
Worf: I an Worf! Son of Mogh!
Troi: I sense that...
The Borg: Resistance is futile.

  • Changed My Jumper: Any time the cast enters the holodeck in a period setting the artificial characters are the first to comment on their strange uniforms. In one of the few actual Time Travel episodes, Data received less comments on his Starfleet uniform than he would if he were in an artificial setting. It seems holodeck characters are just rude.
    • To be fair, that time travel episode took place in San Francisco.
    • This could also be a standard holodeck subroutine meant to remind participants that they haven't changed into costume yet. It's much more polite than an "access denied" message from the computer and it helps the users get into character.
  • Character Development: Part of the reason the show came into its own was building up the origin stories and social habits of the crew, which served to make them more real.
    • Gene Roddenberry, it turns out, wasn't so fond of character development. Some writers left after season 1 due to this and other strange restrictions he had.
    • To clarify, Roddenberry apparently felt that not only would the races and nations have made peace in the future, but individuals would have evolved beyond petty arguments and emotional disruptions. A big part of why so many early episodes revolve around technical puzzles, and why it helps to have a completely flat, stoic character (or super-sensey empath) in the cast for contrast against the "normal" people.
    • Characters introduced later in the show's run, Lt. Barkley and Ensign Ro Laren are significantly more complex and, importantly, flawed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the episode "The Defector", one of the coded communications Picard receives is from a Klingon vessel. We don't see the communication and it seems to be a throwaway line in the middle of the episode. Turns out, he was enlisting the assistance of the Klingons. Three of their vessels joined the Enterprise under cloak through the Neutral Zone and defended them against two Romulan warbirds who attempted to ambush them.
    • Another example of this trope involving Klingons takes place in "Reunion". We're given our first look at the bat'leth in Worf's quarters and see him showing Alexander the right way to hold and swing it. Later on, a grieving and enraged Worf takes it off the wall again and uses it to exact lethal revenge on Duras for killing K'Ehleyr.
    • Something about Klingon weapons just seems to make it impossible to resist using them. In "Suddenly Human", Jono examines a dagger in Picard's quarters, observing that it's Klingon. Later, he uses that dagger to try to stab Picard to death in his sleep.
    • In "Genesis", La Forge and Barclay are accessing circuitry in the Jeffries tube. During dialog, Barclay, for no apparent reason other than to show the audience what he's about to work on, which tips the trope off, twirls a band of brightly-lit power cords like a lasso in his hand. Later, when Picard seeks escape from a frenzied Worf, he uses said cords to electrify the deck to electrocute Worf while Picard sits atop an insulated panel.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Will Riker (apparently, this is his way of interpreting the Officer and a Gentleman trope).
  • Clarke's Third Law
  • Combat Medic: Beverly Crusher is not only one of the best doctors in the Federation, she studies Klingon martial arts (and can drop you on your ass so fast you won't remember the trip down) and is fully capable of commanding a starship in combat. She also phasers a Starfleet Admiral in "Conspiracy".
  • Communications Officer: This was the original duty for Worf, perhaps owing to his bicultural background.
  • Complete Immortality: The evil liquid entity Armus in "Skin of Evil" is stated to be immortal and unkillable. He has already spent an immeasurable amount of time on a barren, uninhabited planet after his creators left him there.Picard ensures that he will be trapped there for as long as possible without any means of escape.
  • The Confidant: Guinan and Counselor Troi.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the most commendable aspects of the show. TNG is excellent at making references to previous events in a variety of contexts, including other Trek shows.
    • There are several instances during the third season that allude to the fact that Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise during the previous season-- and not all of them were directly related to Wesley. For example, in "Who Watches the Watchers?", Picard asks Crusher if the Mintakan's memory can be erased, mentioning it's been done before. Crusher replies that she's familiar with Dr. Pulaski's research (as seen in "Pen Pals" with Sarjenka). Then in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I", when about to join the away team onto the Borg ship, she asks Data what kind of resistance they can expect (the fact that she wasn't around for the first Borg encounter in "Q Who?" was even pointed out in the screenplay).
    • Fan Favorite episode "Relics" was written by Promoted Fanboy Ronald Moore and featured Continuity Nods to TNG and TOS in nearly every scene, most especially the holodeck recreation of the original series bridge.
    • One of the most interesting, yet little known ones is the opening Captain's Log of episode 80 where Picard mentions the ship having recently left the same planet in which the last episode of TOS (Which officially was episode 79) happened on.
    • One of the most unexpected nods is that Picard in an early Season 2 episode "Samaritan Snare" privately told Wesley Crusher that when he got stabbed in the heart by a Naussican, he inexplicably started laughing. Cut four years later to "Tapestry", when we find out why young Picard started laughing.
  • Converging Stream Weapon: The Federation develops a 'collimator beam' made of dozens of small phaser banks spread along the rim of a ship; the energy can be seen flowing along the surface of the Enterprise until it meets at one point, and then fires off from the point on the phaser bank row closest to the target.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: On at least one occasion, Data's "brain" is shown to be entirely in his head, including an instance of his head being removed and still talking.
  • Creating Life Is Awesome: Data is an artificial person. He's a good guy, and his creator is presented as a benevolent father figure. However, he also created another android, and that failed experiment goes into Creating Life Is Bad territory.
    • Also, the sentient holograms in several series. Whether A.I. Is a Crapshoot results or not varies.
  • Cultured Warrior: Picard is usually the example, but TNG basically made everyone in Starfleet this. Though it also made Starfleet less militaristic...
  • Cyborg Helmsman: Geordi was the Helmsman in the first season.
  • Dan Browned: In "I, Borg", Guinan and Picard are fencing. They are wearing epee costumes, using epee rules, however, the two are clearly using foils. Especially annoying because the writers did their research the last time Picard fenced in-show and had the correct weapons.
  • Darker and Edgier: The episode "Conspiracy" was jarringly graphic.
  • Dashed Plotline: Picard's alternate life in "The Inner Light" is portrayed with many large time-skips.
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Troi's temporary baby, Ian Andrew, after her deceased father.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Q.
    • Picard is one of these to some extent throughout the series, most notably in "The Survivors", after he beams Kevin and Rishaun Uxbridge to the bridge.

Jean-Luc Picard: My apologies if I interrupted a waltz.

  • Death Ray: The Varon-T Disruptor, capable of painfully killing rather than just disintegrating.
  • Demoted to Extra / Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The TNG movies focused so much on Picard and Data that they might as well have been credited as them "and all the rest!"
  • Deprogramming
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Did Pulaski Just Have Tea With Moriarty?
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In "Man of the People", Ambassador Alkar has been using young women as receptacles to store his unwanted negative emotions, turning them malevolent and unnaturally aging them. After Troi dies, Picard tells him that he intends to see that Alkar pays for what he's done. Alkar replies that the Federation Council has guaranteed his safe passage back to his homeworld, and he expects Picard to follow those orders. His diplomatic immunity is revoked when Troi is resuscitated while Alkar attempts to bond with someone else, and then they beam his intended victim out of his reach.
    • The trope is played straight earlier in the episode when Alkar refuses to return with Picard and Worf to the Enterprise and hides behind the security field put up by the parties he's negotiating a peace agreement for.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Picard learned the hard way that if you refuse a nigh-omnipotent being's offer to join your crew, don't be a arrogant jerk about it lest he throw you into the path of The Borg.
  • Double Don't Know: "The Battle".
  • The Dutiful Son: Robert Picard.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In full effect; most noticeable in Season 1. Just a few examples:
    • The Enterprise has eighties art-deco wallpaper in some of the corridors, instead of the smooth walls that would become normal in later seasons. Various other dated design choices also continued for awhile.
    • Starfleet Academy is treated as being ridiculously, extremely elite, accepting only a handful of supergenius cadets each year, rather than the fairly standard university/military academy it would be shown as in later years. (Someone probably realized that it would become rather difficult to staff a fleet of ships when each graduating class might have about a hundred cadets in it, no matter how amazing those cadets were.)
    • A lot of things about Worf and the Klingons fly in the face of later characterization. Klingons in early TNG were basically portrayed as a small step up from cavemen... and yet, simultaneously, were portrayed as either full members of the Federation, or a co-ruling power considered to be one half of the whole. Later seasons and series would instead show them as merely (somewhat uneasy) allies joined by a handful of treaties and armistices, primarily the Khitomer Accords.
    • Data emotes fairly heavily in the first episode, and continued to do so more subtly for at least a handful of episodes. It wasn't until after "Datalore" that Brent Spiner really developed Data's distinctive manner. (Leonard Nimoy similarly took awhile to get a handle on Spock in TOS.)
    • The Chief Engineer wasn't a large part of the show, and in fact seemed to change at least once without remark. Geordi seemed to randomly spend time in Engineering later in season one until he was (just as seemingly randomly) promoted to the position of Chief Engineer he's so heavily associated with.
    • Picard was extremely... well, "dickish" is really the best word to describe it, especially in the first season. This may have had something to do with the fact that Patrick Stewart himself had a bit of a stick up his butt during this time, even at one point gathering the cast and chiding them for their "unprofessional" behavior (read: camaraderie). As Stewart relaxed, Picard grew into the warm and compassionate patriarch most people remember when they think of the character.
  • Eighties Hair: Troi in the first season or so.
    • The supporting cast of "Angel One". And Haven.
  • The Everyman: Reg Barclay. He's clearly not who you'd pick as the poster child for Starfleet, but in a crunch he's shows he's just as capable, if not more so, than the main characters. This is lampshaded by Picard:

Picard: And yet he chose this way of life. He's made the same commitment to Starfleet we all have.

Picard: There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of... there were loose threads... untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads... it had unraveled the tapestry of my life.

  • From a Single Cell
  • The Future Is Noir: The first two seasons often had this; the Enterprise bridge was usually floodlit, but everywhere else tended to have very minimal lighting levels. Inverted starting with the third season, when the lighting became uniformly bright and vivid.
  • Future Spandex: Early-season uniforms; later seasons replaced them with something looser.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There are a few instances of Picard using swear words in French that would never have been allowed on network TV if they were in English, most notably "merde" (French for 'shit').
    • Another example of radar dodging is in "Masks". One scene involves Picard examining some artifacts, and when he grabs a rather phallic one, it is positioned suspiciously close to his crotch. Patrick Stewart also makes sure to put extra special focus on the word "enormous" in the speech he gives while holding the Fruedian artifact. Jonathan Frakes is doing his best not to smirk during this whole scene.
  • Girl of the Week: This trope was in full force with Riker, especially in the first and second seasons. And then it got reversed, and Troi had a Guy Of The Week going on for several seasons.
  • A God Am I: Q plays with this in "Tapestry". Picard dies and enters the "afterlife", where he finds Q awaiting him, who informs him that he's dead and that Q himself is God. Picard rejects this, because he doesn't think that "the Universe is so badly designed". Q just snarks that Picard is lucky Q doesn't smite him for his blasphemy.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The EP-607 in "The Arsenal of Freedom".
  • Good Guy Bar: Ten Forward.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Federation seem to take on this attitude after Wolf 359.
  • Gorn: The death and destruction of Cmdr. Dexter Remmick and the mother parasite inside him in the first season episode "Conspiracy" caused much controversy when it first aired.
    • The aftermath of Wolf 359. Star Trek Online reveals that 20 years on the entire system is still a starship graveyard, as the system is uninhabited so making it part of the memorial could be considered a fitting gesture.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: The former plague cure that became a narcotic in "Symbiosis" plus the 21st-century drug-addled supersoldier Q conjures up in "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Great Gazoo: Q.

Tropes H-M[edit | hide]

  • Have You Tried Rebooting: In the end, the simple solution to the Iconian computer virus threatening to destroy the Enterprise in "Contagion" was to shut down the computer and reimage the system from protected memory.
  • Hide Your Gays: Yes Star Trek is about tolerance, but even at that time, homosexuality could only be portrayed through metaphor.
    • Through no fault of the writers or actors, however; they tried several times, and Whoopi Goldberg even changed some of her dialog. When explaining the concept of love to Lal, which was initially written from a purely heterosexual viewpoint, she pointed out that homosexuality would not be stigmatized in the 24th century of Star Trek, and so the lines were changed to be more gender-neutral and inclusive. However, a plan to have a same-sex couple in the background in that scene was nixed by someone on the set calling out the producers in secret, who stood around to make sure that nothing slipped by. The issue would have to wait for Deep Space Nine to get any real exposure at all.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The kidnapping aliens in "Allegiance" are placed in a restraining field on the bridge to give them a taste of their own medicine. To put it mildly, they didn't like it; they were practically having a panic attack.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Borg.
  • Hot Mom: Beverly Crusher.
  • Humanity Ensues: The Continuum once meted out this punishment to Q. By the end of the episode, he was back to his all-powerful Reality Warping self again.
  • Humanity Is Infectious
  • Humans Are Ugly GIANT BAGS OF MOSTLY WATER.
  • Hyper Awareness: Data, due to being an android would see more into events then was actually relevant.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Picard Maneuver.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Quite a few times, given the ubiquitousness of Warp Drive in this setting (as a general rule, if you don't have warp drive, nobody in Starfleet is terribly interested in dealing with you anyways). Occasionally Subverted, either because the pursuing ship is faster, or because the heroes are trapped inside some sort of Negative Space Wedgie and literally have nowhere they can go.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Worf, Son of Mogh."
  • Identical Grandson: Also overlaps with literal Generation Xerox as Data and Lore were designed to resemble their creator Dr. Noonien Soong. Its later revealed that he was also an Identical Grandson of Dr. Arik Soong from Enterprise.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You
  • Incessant Music Madness: In "Q-Pid", Q turns the bridge crew into Robin Hood and his merry men. Geordi becomes the Alan a-Dale analog, and keep plucking annoyingly at a lute. Finally Worf has had enough, walks up, snatches the lute and smashes it against a tree.
    • In "The Survivors", Troi is being driven to maddened despair by a constantly repeating music box tune, which is coming from the music box in Kevin Uxbridge's house. It turns out to have been "psychic chaff", designed to keep her (and presumably other telepaths/empaths) from learning the truth, though Uxbridge didn't know it would hurt her so.
  • Informed Ability: Pretty much everything about the "outrageous" Okona.
    • For the tactical officer Worf seemed to be a terrible shot both with the ship's weapons and his own phaser. Not all of this can be attributed to The Worf Effect or the necessity of the script - in one episode he's practicing on the phaser range and gets easily beaten by Guinan (although she's had a lot more years to practice, and explicitly tells him she's been doing this since before he was born).
      • Worf does, however, generally succeed more often than he fails when it comes to weapons fire, especially in episodes with the Borg (though everyone became a crack shot in those) and the movies. And when he's asked to target specific parts of ships, he delivers nine times out of ten.
        • Worf is also likely hampered by the fact that he's usually under orders not to destroy whatever he's shooting at, which is a rather delicate request and somewhat unfair to ask of someone with an aggressive personality and the firepower to wipe out a planet at his fingertips. When he's asked to target something specific, at least it's not his fault if the other ship blows up.
  • I, Noun: The episode "I Borg", despite lacking the comma.
  • Instant Seduction: Okona again.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune
  • It Will Never Catch On: In a meta example, Patrick Stewart was so certain this series would fail that for the first six weeks of shooting he refused to unpack his suitcases.
  • Jerkass: Q and most of the Cardassians that show up.
  • Joker Jury: The onlookers in Q's 'courtroom'.
  • Just Between You and Me: A lot of enemy plots are foiled when their plans are revealed, only to have the crew member in question escape and foil the whole thing.
  • Just Ignore It: The Stone of Gol: a device that can kill anyone with a single thought. However, being a Vulcan invention, it only works on the aggressive.
    • In more detail, it's a Vulcan superweapon from before they embraced logic and the planet was ruled by psionic warlords. Part of the success of Surak's movement for pure logic was that his followers were immune to such weapons.
  • Karma Houdini: The solanogen-based lifeforms in "Schisms", who experimented on several crewmembers and caused the death of one of them, weren't really retaliated against. The crew simply sealed the rift into their universe. The writers decided they looked too non-threatening to ever be brought back, too.
    • Armus, who killed Tasha Yar, was immune from any attempts at physical retaliation. Ultimately, the worst thing they could do to him was to leave him alone (Your Mileage May Vary on whether this is A Fate Worse Than Death).
    • Vulcan Ambassador T'Pel who is really a Romulan spy called Sub-Commander Selok in "Data's Day".
    • Taibak from "The Mind's Eye".
  • Killed Off for Real: Aside from Tasha Yar, Spock's father Sarek, who'd first appeared in the original series nearly 25 years earlier, died in "Unification I".
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "Ensigns of Command", while getting more and more frustrated in attempting to deal with the Sheliak-- or even communicate effectively with them at all-- Picard exclaims, "Ludicrous!" Troi calmly replies, "No, sir, the fact that any alien race communicates with another is quite remarkable."
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: The reason why any promotions were token, or short-lived, or part of.
    • Riker has been up for promotion around seven times, He personally refuses because he feels it is more prestigious to be First Officer aboard the Enterprise than Captain of any other ship.
    • Picard is overly qualified for Admiral rank, and has been pushed there many times. He refuses because he joined Starfleet to explore, not to sit behind a desk on Earth or a starbase somewhere. This creates the odd situation of Admiral Janeway giving him orders in Nemesis, despite the fact he is substantially more qualified and experienced. Meanwhile, the aforementioned admiral has plenty of reason to prefer a nice quiet desk job.
  • Literal Change of Heart: Picard has an artificial heart as a result of a fight in which he was stabbed in the chest. During a near-death experience in a later episode, he was asked by Q if he would like to change that part of his past that lead to that; however, by doing so, he wound up becoming a person who never developed any guts or took any risks.
  • Living Memory
  • Matron Chaperone: In "The Dauphin", Salia, the future queen of Daled IV, is accompanied by her governess Anya, who is very protective of her. When Wesley is attracted to Salia and they get together, Anya turns into a giant monster and breaks into Wesley's cabin to stop them.
  • Meaningful Name: "Data" is named for a word that means "facts and statistics". His Evil Twin is named "Lore", which means "superstition and legend", thus marking him as Data's symbolic opposite.
  • Mega Manning: The Borg have the ability to assimilate technology and knowledge from other species. It is at the very core of their philosophy. As a result most newly designed weapons or tactics will only be effective for a short period of time.
  • Mexican Standoff: A staple of later seasons. There is plenty of exposition at gun/disruptor/phaser-point.
  • Milky White Eyes: Geordi's blindness, later dropped in Star Trek: First Contact, where he gets cybernetic eye implants that instead gives his eyes a silverish color.
  • Mind Screw: Several episodes, with "Frame of Mind" being an outstanding example with a standout performance from Jonathan Frakes as Riker. Not so much a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall as breaking the fifth, sixth and seventh walls. Into little pieces.
    • Also occurs with the back-and-forth dialogue between Gul Madred and Picard in "Chain of Command (Part II)" too, along with some Mind Game Ship.
    • A probably-unintentional example: In "Datalore", they make a big deal out of the fact that Data can't use contractions and Lore can. Lore renders Data unconscious, switches clothing with him and has everyone (aside from Wesley) believing that he's Data. At the conclusion of the episode, Lore (still wearing Data's uniform) is beamed into space, and a moment later the cavalry arrives. Picard asks Data if he's all right, and Data says, "I'm fine."
    • "Ship in a Bottle" has crew defeat Moriarty, whose return threatens the Enterprise again, by creating a holodeck within a holodeck, then beaming him into an active memory core that will continue to run the program he's created with him unaware that the world he's in is not the real one. Picard later muses that Moriarty's new reality may be equally valid to there own and whether their reality is not just a story playing out in a box on someone's table. Barclay, once alone, pauses for a moment to actually check and laughs at himself when nothing happens.
      • "Computer, end program." And that's when the episode ends. Roll credits.
        • As an aside point, when he says "Computer, end program", the computer apparently does not see fit to respond. It evidently realize that Barclay is just being a nervous yutz again and chooses to ignore him.
  • Misblamed: The racist undertones of "Code of Honor" have been pinned on near everyone on the production staff, but it has been shown that the script only called for a few token Scary Black Man bodyguards. The director of the episode (who was fired mid-way) decided to cast every guest star as black and make the alien race an African Tribe In Space. Wil Wheaton mentioned in his blog that if it wasn't for that, the stereotypical accents and their human appearance it might have been a rather good, if derivative, episode.
  • Misery Builds Character: Subverted in the episode "New Ground", when Worf tells his son Alexander that the rigors of Klingon schools are meant to build character -- but that their staying together will be an even greater challenge.
  • Most Annoying Sound: In-Universe example in "Suddenly Human". The Talarians and Jono all make a wailing sound as their way of mourning their dead comrades while being treated in sick bay. Picard can't stand it and after asking them nicely a couple times finally shouts at them to be quiet. They do what he says that time, much to the relief of Dr. Crusher and her staff, who weren't enjoying it either.
  • Motivational Kiss: In one away mission, Data gets such a kiss from a local girl. He is perplexed.
  • Mr. Exposition
  • Ms. Fanservice: Troi. Marina Sirtis said that she was thrilled with the role because "There's a little ugly girl inside of me going 'Yay! I'm a sex symbol!'"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Survivors", Kevin Uxbridge, an immortal being with incredible powers and a lifelong pacifist, admits that when he saw his wife Rishaun murdered by the Husnock, in a fit of blind rage he wiped out every Husnock, everywhere. And as heartbroken as he is about Rishaun's death, he's even more devastated by his retribution.
    • The terraformers in "Home Soil" are devastated to find out that there were lifeforms on Valera III after all.
    • Picard in "Galaxy's Child" after accidentally killing a cosmozoan in self-defense. The Enterprise ends up playing mommy to it's baby.
    • In "The Measure of a Man", Riker is forced to argue the case against Data's rights. Riker does his job very well, including a devastating moment where he turns Data off to prove his point. After sitting down, though, Riker silently laments what he's doing to one of his closest friends. Even after Picard wins the case, Riker is still hung up on his actions until Data reassures him that it's okay.
  • Mysterious Past

Tropes N-S[edit | hide]

  • Near-Death Experience
  • Negative Space Wedgie
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer. In one episode, Captain Picard calls up Riker and asks what's going on and all Riker can say is "Trouble."
  • No Antagonist: After the first few seasons, most episodes were like this.
  • Nobody Ever Complained Before: In "Half a Life", the entire species of people who ritualistically kill themselves on their 60th birthdays seems shocked and baffled when one of their own refuses to do so so (because he needs more time in order save the whole planet - also, he'd fallen in love with Lwaxana). Apparently none of their 60-year-olds had ever had any qualms about dying before.
    • Though this may be a "polite fiction"... such things may actually happen fairly regularly, but both for the sake of the family's pride and the tradition itself, everyone just acts like it never, ever happens.
  • Noodle Incident: Despite her showing up a lot throughout the series, we never do find out just what it is that Picard did to so completely earn Guinan's trust and vice versa.
    • The Expanded Universe novel Stargazer: Oblivion explains that Picard helped her overcome her "serious trouble" (and she means "serious") from leaving the Nexus in his Stargazer days.
    • However, the reason why Q is so wary of Guinan is never explained.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jean-Luc Picard, a Frenchman played by an obviously English actor using Yorkshire idioms - Grand.
    • Somewhat Truth in Television as many native speakers of other European languages speak English with a British accent.
    • Patrick Stewart had tried speaking in a French accent but sounded so ridiculous that he gave up.
    • When Picard visits his home village in France his entire family affects the same accent, which suggests that his family and perhaps the whole village or region consists of British transplants. If a sizable group fled Britain for some reason before the 24th century, they could have been established long enough for their accent to become a localized French dialect.
    • This actually happened in reality. Due to the Norman Conquest, during the 13th to 14th Century the English had inherited so much land in France that they owned more of the country than the French did.
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Dr. Pulaski.
  • Not So Different: The Romulans and the Klingons. Despite their intense loathing, the two races actually have a lot of cultural similarities, both run authoritarian Empires, frequently under military coups, and are the main two powers in the Alpha Quadrant to equip their vessels with cloaking devices (which is implied in some non-canon sources that their initial development was due to a previous technology-sharing agreement, also stated as the reason for Romulans having occasionally been seen in the 23rd century with ship designs resembling Klingon D7s).
  • Not So Harmless: Q in some instances, but especially after the Enterprise's first encounter with the Borg (which he engineered).
  • The Nudifier: One Ferengi transporter does this when transporting women.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Sarek in "Unification I".
  • One-Sided Arm Wrestling: Data vs a Klingon.
  • One-Way Visor: Geordi's visor is an aversion; he's blind, and the visor enables him to see.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Tasha Yar was originally from the planetary equivalent of Bosnia, but managed to get a job with Starfleet.
  • Ontological Mystery
  • Orphaned Punchline: The Bolian barber, Mr. Mot, has one of these in "Schisms".

Mr. Mot: ...and she said, "If they're not squirming, I won't eat 'em!"

    • Sounds like gagh.
  • Out-of-Character Moment
  • Pals with Jesus: Q, to Picard's chagrin.
    • He even helped God with making life on Earth, Q's contribution? The platypus.
  • Parental Abandonment: Of the nine series regulars who had their names in the opening credits for all or part of the show's run, only Geordi had two parents as of the series's opening (and his mother died in the middle seasons). Worf, Beverly, and Tasha were all orphaned as children (though Worf wound up with a great set of adoptive parents). Riker, Troi, and Wesley each lost one parent when they were children (Riker's mother, Troi's father, Wesley's father). Picard's parents were both dead long before he became captain, though they probably died when he was an adult. The inventor who built Data disappeared when his home planet was attacked and was presumed dead until the middle of the episode "Brothers," then really died just a handful of scenes later. We also get to meet a woman who claims to be Data's "mother" in the Seventh season. She really is, after a fashion. She's actually an android duplicate of the (long-dead) woman who was both Data's co-creator and Noonien Soong's wife.
    • Also, Guinan's family either died or were assimilated when the Borg all but destroyed the El-Aurians. Alexander, the only semi-regular child other than Wesley, lost his mother as a toddler (and was raised by her alone up to that point). And whenever we had a one-off guest star whose parentage was some sort of plot point, be it a child (Jeremy Aster, Salia) or an adult (Amanda Rogers, Jason Vigo), they had an excellent chance of being Conveniently an Orphan.
  • Phlegmings: Fek'lhr, the guardian of the Klingon hell, as seen in the episode "Devil's Due".
  • Principles Zealot: Captain Picard (and thus his crew) in "Homeward" where he chose to let an entire civilization die, one that they could easily have saved. They commit this genocide-through-inaction for the simple reason that the rules say so. Of course, it doesn't take long before a sympathetic civilian The Professor character goes all What the Hell, Hero? on them.
  • Psycho Prototype: Lore.
  • Racial Remnant: The early episode "Haven" has a shipful of Tarellians, the last survivors of a deadly plague.
  • Random Passerby Advice:
    • After Lt. Barclay gained (and later lost) huge amounts of knowledge, as he's talking with Counselor Troi they pass by a chess game. He moves one piece and says "checkmate in nine moves."

Troi: I didn't know you play chess.
Barclay: I don't!

Dr. Crusher: I am delighted that Worf is going to recover. You gambled. He won. Most of your patients aren't so lucky. You scare me, Doctor. You risk peoples' lives and justify it in the name of research. But genuine research takes time... sometimes a lifetime of painstaking, detailed work to get results. Not you-- you take shortcuts... right through living tissue. You put your research ahead of your patients, and as far as I'm concerned, that's a violation of our most sacred trust. I'm sure the work you've done here will be hailed as a stunning breakthrough. Enjoy your laurels, Doctor. I'm not sure I could.

  • Remember The New Species: The Cardassians are introduced in the season four episode "The Wounded", where it is explained that it has been only a year since the end of the long, costly war between the Federation and the Cardassian Union. However, this information means that the first two years of the show occurred during a war that was never seen, heard or experienced. Just where, exactly, was the flagship of Starfleet while the rest of the fleet was engaged in active operations?
    • It makes sense that the Federation's flagship would be one of exploration as opposed to one of war. At many points throughout TNG it's been made clear that the Enterprise's mission is one of peace. Keeping it on this mission in a time of conflict may be Starfleet's way of demonstrating their commitment to diplomacy. Moreover, the Cardassians aren't exactly the Borg.
      • It may also be that the last few years of the war weren't that "hot", but mostly involved a lot of glaring across borders while the peace was negotiated. It's entirely possible they were even in a ceasefire, but still technically at war. (This would make sense from the way some characters act in Deep Space 9 during the Dominion war... they talk about the Cardassians pulling back behind their borders when on the verge of defeat to rebuild for future aggression like it might not be the first time it's happened.)
  • Removing The Combadge
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Lwaxana Troi brags she's "Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed", among other boasting of her position (which likely means she's high nobility at the very least).
    • Another of her boasts is "Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix", which her daughter quite bluntly points out is nothing more than:

"An old clay pot with mold growing inside of it."

  • Robo-Family: Data has a 'brother', Lore, and even creates his own android 'daughter' Lal.
    • Also, there's an android copy of his "mother" out there as well, who believes she is the REAL woman and is designed to age and eventually die like a human being.
    • And don't forget his 'father', who said he never liked living anywhere without an escape route, and was last seen, apparently mortally wounded, in his fully equipped lab and he already knows he can transfer a mind from an organic body to an android, having done it with the 'mother' above.
  • Robosexual: Data and Yar.
    • Also Data and Jenna D'Sora in "In Theory", though not the sexual part.
    • Everyone's robo for Data!
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens: So much so that it is often difficult to tell alien species apart.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: A frequent theme in the series.
    • The Diane Duane Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Dark Mirror involves an alien race that's essentially dolphins IN SPACE! They're not related to the whales IN SPACE from Star Trek IV).
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual notes that the Cetacean tanks on board contain the dolphin and whale navigational specialists. This is pretty much shout out to Gunbuster, where cybernetically enhanced dolphins form the main navigational computer of the Eltreum.
    • One Star Trek: The Next Generation novel had a dolphin as a supporting character, which held the rank of commander in Starfleet. At one point, Riker whistles a specific sequence of notes to get its attention, implying he can speak (or at least swear) in Dolphin.
  • Screaming Birth: If your midwife was a Klingon, you'd be screaming too.

Worf: [consults tricorder] Congratulations. You are fully dilated to ten centimeters. You may now give birth.
Keiko: THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING!
Worf: [[[Beat]]] Why has it not begun?
Keiko: I DON'T KNOW! I DON'T THINK IT'S UP TO ME! IT HAPPENS WHEN IT HAPPENS!
Worf: The computer simulation was not like this. The delivery was very orderly.

  • Secret Test: When Wesley is taking the Starfleet entrance exam his final test is "facing his biggest fear." While he's waiting for the test to start, a fire breaks out in a nearby lab and he can only save one of the techs working there. It turns out that that was the test, his fear was having to make a decision like that, since his own father died in a similar situation when Picard chose the other guy.
  • See the Whites of Their Eyes: This trope is most prominent with this show as most ship-to-ship conflicts were tense stand-offs rather than the more action oriented battles of later series.
  • Shout-Out: Due in large part to Rick Steinbach being a huge otaku, there are tons and tons of shoutouts to 80s anime, in particular Dirty Pair and Gunbuster, some blatant, some very very subtle.
    • Noonien Soong, the scientist who created Data and Lore, is named after Khan Noonien Singh, the prominent villain from the original series.
    • Episode 80 of Next Gen begins with Picard reporting in his log that they just left the same planet that TOS visited in their 79th and last episode.
    • "The Mind's Eye" borrows heavily from The Manchurian Candidate, most notably with a scene where Geordi is instructed to kill a holographic version of Chief O'Brien.
    • In "QPid", Q transforms the crew into characters from the Robin Hood stories. Geordi is Alan A'Dale, and as a result gets a lute to play with. After a few minutes of tuneless strumming, Worf can't take it anymore, and gets up and smashes the instrument, then hands it back to Geordi, muttering, "Sorry." Much like a certain seven-year pre-med student did once.
    • In "Arsenal of Freedom", when asked by a computer-generated image of Captain Rice what ship he's come from, Riker responds that he's serving aboard the Lollipop. "It's just been commissioned; it's a good ship."
    • The Nebula-class starship was the first new design of Federation ship seen in the series (besides the Galaxy-class Enterprise), and is similar in configuration to the Miranda-class starship (the class that the U.S.S. Reliant is), which was the first new design of Federation ship seen in the first series and the first new Federation design of the franchise.
    • In "The First Duty", the motto of Starfleet Academy is "Ex Astris Scientia" ("From the stars, knowledge"), which was derived from Apollo 13's mission motto "Ex Luna Scientia" ("From the moon, knowledge"), which, in turn, was derived from the United States Naval Academy's motto "Ex Scientia Tridens" ("From knowledge, sea power").
    • In "Phantasms", Data has a nightmare where Counselor Troi is a cake being eaten, which is an awful lot like the music video for Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More".
    • In "The Nth Degree", Barclay who has integrated his mind into the computer responds to an order from Picard with "I'm afraid I cant do that, sir", in a manner very reminiscent of HAL9000.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Alexander. He had several leaps in age to make him more suitable for the role he played to Worf each time, and by the time he was a surly, rebellious teenager over on Deep Space 9, he was all of nine years old. The creators said Klingons mature faster.
  • Solar CPR: "Half Life".
  • Space Clothes: The uniforms worn by the engineering staff (a tunic-miniskirt one-piece and knee-high boots, to be specific - and yes, men and women wear the same uniform) and several other crew members during the first season are truly astonishing. And the clothes worn by the denizens of the utopian paradise in "Justice" make them look sensible.
  • Space Friction
  • Space Is Cold
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Space Jews: In the second-season episode "Up the Long Ladder", the Enterprise is transporting an entire Irish village, complete with accents, apparel, drinking problems, and chickens.
    • The Ferengi, oh so much. The Space Africans of "Code of Honor" are even worse, portrayed as barbaric, patriarchal, er... matriarchal, er... some kind of savages with complex but still demeaning gender roles.
  • Space Mines: Appear in "Chain of Command Part II".
  • Spinoff Sendoff: "Encounter at Farpoint", with a visit from The Original Series' Dr. Admiral McCoy, who inspects the Enterprise-D and gives it his blessing.

Dr McCoy: Now she's a new ship, but she's got the right name, y'hear? Treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home.

Q: The Trial never ended, Captain! We never reached a verdict. But now we have. You're Guilty!

  • Strange Syntax Speaker: The Tamarians, who speak mostly in metaphor. The universal translator can easily deliver the literal meanings, but without knowledge of the myths upon which the sayings are based, it's still near-impossible to understand. [2]
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: K'Ehleyr. Worf avenges her almost immediately afterwards.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: In "Ethics", Worf's spine is broken when a cargo container falls on him. The way it falls and bounces indicates that it's so light it wouldn't even hurt a human, let alone a big sturdy Klingon.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The entire race of Q, and the mysterious creature in "The Survivors".

Tropes T-Z[edit | hide]

Riker: How did you like your first command?
Worf: ...Comfortable chair.

    • Truth in Television to a degree. It was an accepted custom during the series run that none of the actors except Patrick Stewart himself sit in the captain's chair unless it was as part of a scripted scene.
  • This Is Sparta: Picard's "THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!!" from part 2 of "Chain of Command".
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The Duras Sisters.
  • Throw-Away Guns: While this happens with about as much frequency as any other TV show, one particuliarly notable case occurs in "Time's Arrow", where the crew is shown a revolver from the late 19th century at a site on Earth with evidence of Ancient Astronauts. After the crew winds up in the 1890s, it is revealed that Mark Twain, suspicious of the time travelers' motives, threatened them with it and left it behind.
  • Time Is Dangerous: In "Timescape", Picard is injured when he sticks his hand across the edge of a "time bubble", which causes his fingernails to age faster than his arm. Later, he experiences symptoms of "temporal narcosis" due to a malfunction of the equipment protecting him from being frozen in time.
  • Tin Man
  • Tinman Typist
  • Touched by Vorlons
  • Trickster Mentor: Q... usually. Sometimes he's just screwing with them.
  • Try to Fit That on A Business Card: Lwaxana Troi, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.
  • Turing Test: Data, as a very sophisticated AI, often demonstrates he passes this test.
    • Data tests this out on Julianna Tanner when he realizes that Doctor Soong recreated his wife, and Data's mother as an Android.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: Used for the auto-destruct.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Riker/Troi and Picard/Crusher run through the whole series. Riker and Troi are married in Star Trek: Nemesis. Picard/Crusher is never fully resolved, although a Deleted Scene from the end of Nemesis hints that they might have Hooked Up Afterwards.
    • Data and Tasha Yar gave hints of this after they hooked up in "The Naked Now", but this was curtailed by his being an Android unable to express emotion, and her eventual death.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The solution Worf comes up with against the formerly-frozen Klingons in "The Emissary" is an example of this.
  • Unwanted False Faith: In the episode "Who Watches the Watchers?", Picard inadvertently becomes a deity to a group of vaguely-ancient/medieval-tech-using Vulcanoids.
  • Voice Changeling: Data has shown this ability a few times.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Borg.
  • Volcanic Veins: The aliens in "Identity Crisis".
  • Warrior Poet
  • Water Source Tampering: In one episode, Data -- who has amnesia and doesn't know about his own history or Starfleet -- is accused of poisoning a well in the village he's living in, but he's really trying to cure them of radiation poisoning by putting the cure in the drinking water.
  • We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: The mid-90s ad "We Didn't Start the Series".
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Tasha Yar, actress Denise Crosby felt she wasn't useful and asked to be let go. Her death was so sudden that it took a while before you realized she wasn't coming back. A Time Travel episode briefly brought her back and the subsequent timeline screw-ups resulted in a recurring enemy that looked exactly like her.
    • Leading to an amusing fourth-wall break: Her parts in the episode where she died, Skin of Evil, were shot before those shot in the episode that aired just before it. If you watch closely, during the prior episode, Symbiosis, you can see her waving goodbye--that was the last scene that they shot with her.
    • This all becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you realize that Denise Crosby was pretty much the first Next Generation actor to return and do voice acting for Star Trek Online, where her character Sela is pivotal to the entire metaplot of the game. That's right... if she'd never asked to be let go for not feeling useful, it's unlikely that she ever would have become such an important part of the only part of the franchise currently in constant, active development.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The Federation thought they were prepared for anything. Then Q introduces them to the Borg.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out the final fate of Geordi's mother, who's vessel completely vanishes without a trace, in "Interface".
  • What Measure Is a Non Unique: Many unique and rare lifeforms, Data included.
    • Reg Barclay, who repeatedly demonstrates a firm belief that holograms are real living people, worthy of recieving the same respect given to any organic.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Riker and Pulaski in "Up the Long Ladder" get mugged for DNA by a race that propagates by clones. Sure, that's bad, but their response is to massacre the clones! Odo will have a point later: "Killing your clone is still murder." The Prime Minister is highly upset with them. With so many undisputible counts against them, Riker and Pulaski would be in the slammer for, like, ever. The only way of salvaging the situation would be if the clones weren't fully developed yet and they technically committed abortion (which is possible given the abortion-heavy subtext that was going on).
    • Picard's refusal to commit genocide on the Borg gets him chewed out by his superiors. YMMV on who was right.
  • When It All Began: Khitomer's effect.
  • White Sheep: Worf.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Betazoids.
  • Working with the Ex: Will Riker & Deanna Troi are ex-lovers.
  • Wrote the Book: In "The Best of Both Worlds Part II", Guinan and Riker have an extended discussion of their strategy centering around this metaphor.
  • Yandere: A piece of Phlebotinum turns Troi into one in "Man Of The People".
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: "The Inner Light" has a variation that happens in a Mental World.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The flagrant misuse of "sentient".

Data: "And though you are not sentient, Spot, and cannot comprehend..."--Ode To Spot

    • For a species so obsessed with "honour", many Klingons depicted in the series seem to be perfectly comfortable with stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. Worf defies this trope, however, as he gives several epic verbal putdowns on just why this sort of behaviour is hypocritical and just what having true honour actually means.
  • You Look Familiar: Suzie Plakson as Selar, K'ehlyr, and the female Q on Voyager to name one.
    • Look out for the future Tuvok (Tim Russ) playing a human terrorist in "Starship Mine" (and, ironically, being the recipient of a Vulcan nerve pinch).
      • He also plays an unnamed human bridge crew member in the 23rd century in Generations.
    • Marc Alaimo who would become, in Deep Space Nine, Gul Dukat, played 4 different characters in TNG, including the first Romulan seen in TNG in "The Neutral Zone". Most notably he played the first ever Cardassian seen in Star Trek (Gul Macet in "The Wounded").
    • Robert Duncan McNeill, Voyager's Tom Paris, as Nicholas Locarno in "The First Duty". The character of Locarno was the inspiration for Paris. The Voyager creators say they didn't plan to hire the same actor; once they realized they had, they considered making McNeill Locarno on Voyager, but reformulated him into Paris, feeling that Locarno "couldn't be redeemed enough" (read: they didn't want to pay royalties) for what they planned with Paris.
    • Ethan Phillips, Voyager's Neelix, as Dr. Farek in "Ménage à Troi".
      • He also plays the holographic maître d' in First Contact.
    • Most jarring of all is James Cromwell as the leader of a potential new Federation alliance world in "The Hunted", when he later played Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact.
    • David Tristan Birke, who played Rene, Picard's nephew in "Family", later played the young Picard himself in "Rascals".
    • Max Grodenchik as the very typical conniving, treacherous Ferengi Sovak in "Captain's Holiday"; better known for his later role as the very atypical (and somewhat dim) Rom from Deep Space Nine.
    • Armin Shimerman played both Letek, one of the first Ferengi ever shown onscreen in "The Last Outpost", and the better known Quark -- also from Deep Space Nine.
    • Majel Barrett (who played Nurse Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series, as well as Number Two in the original pilot) as Lwaxana Troi, and also the voice of the ship's computer in both series.
    • Diana Muldaur, who played Dr. Pulaski in Season 2, had two previous spots on the original series (as different characters, no less).
    • Christopher Collins, AKA Chris Latta played a Klingon Captain in "A Matter of Honor" and later plays a Pakled in "The Samaritan Snare". Might be more of a case of You Sound Familiar.
  • You Need to Get Laid: This is the real reason why Riker asked Picard to buy him a Horg'ahn on Risa in "Captain's Holiday".
  • Your Head Asplode: Not for the faint of heart.
  • Your Mom: Riker invokes this when speaking to a holographic representation of Captain Rice in "Arsenal of Freedom", which is trying to get as much tactical information about the Enterprise and its mission as possible. When the faux Drake asks who sent them there, Riker says, "Your mother. She was worried about you."
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Riker falls in love with an alien woman who gets really hated by her own people for their love. Not because he's a human, but because he's a man. Her culture require her and her partner to both be intergender. Essentially, it's inverted homophobia and inverted heterophobia, a fear of having a gender at all. Which is also a cisphobia, an inverted transphobia.
  • You See, I'm Dying: Evil Twin android Lore is about to walk out on his creator Dr. Soong when the latter reveals that he is dying — as Lore, for all his faults, does have emotions, this makes him stop.
  • Zeerust: So far the show's managed to avoid falling into this trap quite as hard and as quickly as TOS did... but the biggest exception is noticeable for the kind of computer nerds who love Trek. In the late 80s and early 90s, the LCARS computer interface looked incredibly slick and high-tech (touchscreen controls?!)... but as of 2010, many people would wonder why there doesn't seem to be tabbed displaying, the apparent inability to have multiple applications running at once, and the laughably slow speed at which text appears on screen, line by line, although the latter could easily simply have been implemented as a form of Extreme Graphical Representation.
    • The Original Series was, naturally, far worse. Not just aesthetically - searches of the computer database for particular terms also seem to be conducted manually- by hand- and can take hours (such as in "The Naked Now"), suggesting that the Enterprise's computer lacks the handy indexing of a modern search engine. In TNG, searches were generally instant or a few seconds, even for a species' entire recorded history or similar, unless they had to process a truly colossal amount of data.
    • In-universe. After Wolf 359, everything changed. The Federation in early series was depicted as filled with eternal optimists. After Wolf 359, the Federation leaders are shown to be clearly more jaded and should they have to, will not hesistate to remind everyone just why they are one of the dominant powers of the Alpha Quadrant.

Notes

  1. From left to right: Geordi, Troi, Data, Picard, Worf, Dr. Crusher, Riker. Wesley's holding the camera. Better than anyone else could, no doubt. Especially Yar.
  2. Tamar, when speaking of the lost and remembered. Harry, with speech beyond the Alley. Picard, his brow furrowed, his mind clouded.