"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, almost twenty 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 primetime.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 worst of the lot still makes for compelling and thought-provoking viewing. Even boilerplate stories such as "clueless foreigner offends alien culture" or "Aliens took my Bridge Bunny" are handled in a similar manner to TOS, with Picard and company carefully explicating and deliberating over each problem. With the Federation existing in a relative state of calm and "cowboy diplomacy" no longer a viable option, the challenge is remaining true to Starfleet ideals without resorting to quick and dirty solutions.Paramount recently commissioned Mike Okuda (who designed several visual elements of the show including the main bridge design and the LCARS system used by the Federation) to oversee high quality Blu-ray transfers of the entire series from the original film stock to replace the poor quality DVD versions of the series. More information can be found at the Trek Core website, among other places. The general consensus is that the 1080p, 5.1 surround sound mixes breathe new life into the show, with the special effects work by Industrial Light and Magic looking especially stunning.Character tropes for the main characters can be found in this character page. Episode recaps can be found here. It now has a tool for gathering and voting for the Best Episode(s). 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).
This show provides examples of the following tropes:
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Acting for Two: Time Squared (Patrick Stewart plays two Picards). Second Chances (Jonathan Frakes plays two Rikers). Any episode with Data & Lore or their "father" Dr. Noonien Soong. (Also see the episode Brothers which was Acting For Three (including one stint in enough make up to make a Klingon's actor cry.) And let's not forget A Fistful of Datas, where Data plays...a fistful of Ancient-Western stock-characters.
Alas, Poor Villain: In-universe in Elementary, Dear Data and Ship in a Bottle. After being accidentally made sentient, the Moriarty hologram never does anything overtly villainous, indeed acting polite and well-mannered at all times. The reasons he hijacks the Enterprise twice are due to his frustration that he simply cannot leave the holodeck and his belief that Picard failed to keep his word about researching a way to give him autonomy. Picard even laments having to thwart him, as while he was programmed to act as an arch-villain, Moriarty is still a decent man.
Yesterday's Enterprise depicted the TNG universe if the Enterprise-C had not been destroyed defending a Klingon outpost from the Romulans.
Parallels depicted multiple universes as Worf hops between them.
Amnesia Danger: In Conundrum, the crew could avoid their situation simply by ignoring their false orders and leaving, if only they didn't have amnesia.
Amnesia Loop: In Clues, the Enterprise crew realize something is amiss, leading them to return to the source of their amnesia, a planet of xenophobes.
Archaeological Arms Race: In The Chase, several factions are after a DNA code left by Precursors. The Klingons in particular think it's a weapon. To the disgust of some parties, it turns out to be a message that all the sapient races a decended from said precursors.
In The Gambit 2-parter, Picard and Riker must prevent a crew of Space Pirates from assembling an ancient Vulcan telepathic weapon. It only works if the person it's used on is currently feeling violent, so it's basically useless if you know how it works.
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 mostly unrelated to the original crime — to the conspiracy-minded mind, it did have a connection. The original crime involved betraying the Federation to the Romulans. Tarses' secret turned out to be that rather than being a quarter Vulcan, he was a quarter Romulan. This is why the investigation against Tarses continues for a while after Tarses' secret is revealed.
Broken Aesop: The Outcast doubles as a Bitter Sweet Ending: Psychotectic treatment is basically like the "gay de-programming" techniques of today, with all the Unfortunate Implications that that implies. However, as pointed out by SF Debris, the metaphor for homosexual prejudice and coming out falls flat when you realise 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. It's notable that the actor playing Riker lobbied for the alien to be played by a man as well, but was turned down by the network.
Can't Live Without You: In Attached Picard and Dr.Crusher received implants that allowed them to share thoughts but would have killed them if they went beyond a few meters from each other.
In "Devil's Due," the "devil" is simply using technology to simulate magic. Noteworthy in that the technology isn't even sufficiently advanced; it's just been dressed-up to look more impressive than it really is.
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 civilisation 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).
Cliffhanger: 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.
Fandom reaction to all the cliffhangers was mixed, most often finding the setup episode wonderful and the resolution episode somewhat lame.
Clip Show: "Shades of Grey" was made with a bare essentials plot to show some clips due to a writer's strike.
Clone Degeneration: In "Up the Long Ladder," the driving plot for the unification of the two colonies is that the clones cannot keep copying themselves any longer.
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 be 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: Data being put on display is the plot of "The Most Toys."
Costumer: Several times; mostly holodeck adventures, although the most famous was "Q-Pid", which is decidedly not set on the holodeck.
Cruel Mercy: In "Symbiosis", Picard agrees to let the Onarans have their shipment of Felicium, but refuses to let them have the coils required to fix their freighters. Because of this, they will eventually go cold turkey, thus breaking their addiction and dependence on the Brekkians for the drug.
Cuckoo Nest: In "Frame of Mind," Riker is captured and forced to believe that he is in an asylum.
Day in the Life: "Data's Day" is framed around this - the plot of the episode is laid out as a communique from Data to Commander Maddox.
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).
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.
Riker finds himself flashing forward through time in "Future Imperfect", but when the details don't add up, the surroundings change to that of a Romulan holodeck, with Riker as their prisoner. Actually, the real person in charge is Ethan, Riker's "son" who appears throughout each illusion. "Ethan" turns out to be an alien orphan in disguise; he was lonely and just wanted a playmate.
Enemy Mine: "Darmok", also (shockingly) "The Enemy".
In "Darmok", the phrase "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" means this.
Evolutionary Levels / Artistic License - Biology: "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.
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.
Green Aesop: "Force of Nature" focuses on how overuse of warp drive is causing permanent damage to the fabric of space and creating climate change on a planet exposed to the damaged areas.
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 favourite authors who wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true?" Sorry, Commander, I must decline."
Groundhog Day Loop: "Cause and Effect" - Actually occurred two years in advance of the Groundhog Day movie. 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.
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.
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.
"Measure of a Man". Fortunately for Data, they decide that no, he's not. 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.
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.invoked
Space Mines: In "Booby Trap" the Enterprise is trapped in an asteroid belt seeded with "acceton assimilators".
Society-on-Edge Episode: In the episode "Force of Nature", warp drive (which powers all Federation starships) was found to be damaging to the fabric of subspace. At the end of the episode, the Federation decided that until they can figure out a way to counteract the rifts in space, all ships can't go above Warp 5 except in emergencies.
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.
Actor Allusion: Similar to Sisko And baseball, Picard enjoys using Shakespeare as a metaphor for the human condition. Of course, everyone knows about Stewart's background in Shakespearean theater; he even plays a dual role as Michael Williams in Data's holodeck play. ("The Defector")
Brent Spiner was primarily a comedic actor before being cast as Data. Of all the TNG regulars, Spiner probably goofed off the most between takes, which is why Data is always wearing a semi-menacing grin in behind-the-scenes footage. However, he got to cut loose in "The Outrageous Okona", which had Data practicing his Henny Youngman routine in a comedy club.
TNG had a minor in-show example: In "Descent, Part II" the Enterprise is forced to hide within a star's corona by using an experimental shield. The lieutenant at Tactical doesn't think that the shield will work, but is proven wrong. The actor played a different character in a previous episode who tried to make it appear that the shield didn't work.
In "Sarek" Wesley gets ticked at Geordi and taunts him by saying "At least I'm not spending the night with a good book, like some people!" Geordi seems to take this remark rather personally.
In "Half A Life" Actor David Ogden Stires plays an alien scientist doing research work on the Enterprise. One of his report readouts is attempt number 4077.
Aesop Collateral Damage: "Q Who" sees eighteen crew members killed by the Borg when Q tries to teach Picard a lesson about human arrogance.
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.
Ferengi, Cardasians, the Borg, and the Romulans mostly fit as well, but are Lawful instead of Chaotic (subverting the spirit of the treaty or trying to bait the Federation into breaking it).
In later seasons this trope was actually averted to hell and back in case of the Romulans, as they are really situated somewhere between true neutral and neutral evil: While it's generally implied that they don't think highly of either the Federation or any other faction, outright hostile behaviour from their side is a rare occurrence and can mostly be attributed to individual attitudes (the notion that opinions concerning other factions and species differ wildly among Romulans is actually one of the key points of the Season 5 two-parter "Unification").
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 privvy 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." Eventually, he is trapped in a small device running a permanent simulation in which he thinks he has escaped into the real world. Geordi couldn't get him into the real world, but this is still an ignominious and condescending end. Particularly since Voyager revealed without regular maintenance, holodeck simulations eventually start to glitch, which can destabilise or even destroy the program. And if that happens to Moriarty, he has no way to signal for help...
Arc Number: the number 47 appears an inordinate number of times throughout the series. This is due to an in-joke amongst writer Joe Menosky and his alma mater, Pomona College, where it has been theorized that 47 is the ultimate random number. J. J. Abrams, who used 47 a lot in Alias and other works, has been known to say "47 is just 42 with inflation." Another mathematical proof written there claims all numbers ultimately equal 47. Other research has suggested the typical maximum attention span of humans on any one thing is 47 minutes, which is why high school and college course periods are typically 50 minutes in length. Instances of the number 47 appearing in TNG are:
In the episode "Tin Man", the number of people killed in the Garushda disaster are 47.
Baby Factory: One episode ends with Doctor Pulaski telling two merged colonies they have to use this trope to insure "genetic diversity".
Back for the Finale: Denise Crosby and Colm Meany (crossing over from the neighboring DS9 set) return for "All Good Things." However, this pales in importance to Troi's miniskirt, which is also back for the finale.
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.
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 also 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.
It's subtly implied in various episodes that part of the reason Picard dislikes children might be because it's an uncomfortable reminder that he has always put his career ahead of his personal life, as well as a belief that given their line of work, it's unfair to raise a child when their parent might be killed in the line of duty. Picard even states that if he had it his way, he wouldn't allow children on Starships at all because of the danger they regularly face.
One of the most extreme cases in "The Survivors." Grief on overload!
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.
Turns out to be an aversion. At the end of the episode Picard addresses Nagilum and asks if he got what he wanted. Nagilum turns out to have been interested in the crew's reaction to the prospect of being killed, rather than their actual deaths, and Picard knew it all along.
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 insidous 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.
Q seems to be set up as Picard's Arch-Enemy in the pilot and his appearances in the first season see him portrayed as malevolent and even sadistic. In later seasons, his appearances were usually played for laughs, although he would occasionally resume the role of antagonist, notably in the finale "All Good Things" which revisits the scenario of the pilot.
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.
"Sarek", yet again Picard, after he shares a mind-meld with Sarek, who is able to benefit from Picard's cool composure for some very important negotiations, while (in a simply awesome performance) Picard is exposed to the full brunt of Sarek's released emotions and regrets.
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).
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 Outcast" as a metaphor for homosexuality... except all the androgynous aliens are portrayed by women, the titular character identifies as a woman, and falls in love with a man. So the story ends up looking more like a heroic straight woman rebelling against lesbian tyranny.
In "Symbiosis", Picard cites the Prime Directive as the reason he cannot interfere, even though the Brekkians are exploiting the Onarans addiction to the Felicium, believing it to be a "cure" for a plague they have, when it's actually a narcotic. In the end, he decides to give them the drug, but refuse to help them fix their freighters, thus causing them to go cold turkey. Good ending, right? Except Picard seems to overlook the fact that once they go cold turkey and realise the Brekkians have been lying to them for centuries, this would probably result in them declaring War!
They have no working ships. By the time they get over their withdrawal symptoms and learn how to repair ships again and actually do so, they should have calmed down. Or worked themselves into such a state that they just bombard the whole planet from orbit.
Butterfly of Doom: Both mocked and utilized by Q in "Tapestry". While changing the past would certainly alter one man's future, it's incredibly self-centered to think that changing one person would change everything.
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– apart from being this show's Ms. Fanservice, that is.
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.
Both Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner get a chance to show off their pipes. A facsimile of Picard leads his men in a Drunken Song, a first clue to Riker that something's not right (though Picard sang "A British Tar" in Insurrection with relish).
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.
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.
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. As noted by SF Debris, Gene's rules ultimately hampered the franchise and the show only came into its own once he was Kicked Upstairs. Conflict breeds drama, yet Gene wanted to create a world where humanity no longer was in conflict with one another and had evolved into enlightened beings of peace... so naturally, Gene proceeded to then order the writing staff to go and write drama...
Characters introduced later in the show's run, Lt. Barclay and Ensign Ro Laren are significantly more complex and, importantly, flawed.
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.
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.
Chemical Messiah: The episode "Symbiosis" features a medicine that supposedly cures the race of a planet from some sort of illness. Except that the medicine is really a drug curing them of nothing more than severe withdrawal symptoms! The people believed that it was their last saviour of mankind, but it wasn't. OK, so yes it did cure them at one point, but now the people of the planet had become drug addicts.
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: The first season episode "Justice" has an idyllic planet that worships an interdimensional 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.
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".
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.
In Season 2's "Time Squared", when about to face the vortex that sent the other Picard back in time six hours, Picard draws comparisons to The Traveler from "Where No One Has Gone Before" and Manheim from "We'll Always Have Paris".
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.
Another example is in Season 7, Episodes 11 and 18 ("Parallels" and "Eye of the Beholder"). In the latter episode, Worf awkwardly discusses the theoretical case of being interested in someone Riker was, had been, or might want to be involved with in a Suspiciously Specific Denial sort of way. In the former episode, where Worf got stuck constantly skipping through parallel universes, Troi was his wife, and it's stated that Worf discussed the issue with Riker before officially courting her—as it would have been dishonorable to do otherwise.
Worf: Are...you involved with [the Lieutenant]? Riker: I'm not sure yet...why, you interested in her? Worf: No, no, no-–but if I were, I would of course discuss the situation with you before proceeding further. Riker: [laughs] I appreciate it, but that really wouldn’t have been necessary. Worf: I mean, I would never want to come between you and someone you’re involved with...or had ever been involved with. Riker: Is there someone in particular that you’re talking about? Worf: No...[squints eyes] is there someone in particular you’d rather I not be involved with?
Season 1 episode "Coming of Age" has an inspector question the crew about several earlier episodes in the season.
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.
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.
Continuity Overlap: Because it was the first of the post-TOS shows as well as the first 24th Century-era series, TNG only overlapped with Seasons 1-2 of "DS9".
The biggest instance of this trope is during the close of Season 7. The episode "Journey's End" establishes the Federation-Cardassian Demilitarized Zone. This leads into "DS9"'s "The Maquis", which then leads back into TNG's penultimate episode and causes recurring Bajoran Ro Laren to defect.
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.
Cultured Warrior: Picard is usually the example, but TNG basically made everyone in Starfleet this to some degree. (It's from DS 9, but Worf's comment that "I am a Starfleet officer. I know many things," seems pertinent, especially as he was commenting on Ferengi culture.) Though it also made Starfleet less militaristic...
Cure Your Gays: "The Outcast" has a variation of this, in which a monogender race uses psychotherapy to cure those who identify with being male or female.
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.
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 Academy while practicing for a comencement-ceremony flight demonstration.
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.
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.
In the episode "The Child", Counselor Troi is impregnated by an alien, and she gives birth to him. Troi later insists on carrying it to term, and once he's born he reveals that he only did it to explore human existence, and he may not have realized the implications of what it was doing.
In episode "The Host", a Trill (at that time implied to have all personality in the "parasite" part rather than a shared consciousness) who was having a sexual relationship with Doctor Crusher temporarily takes possession of Riker's body (with consent) to continue diplomatic negotiations. Doctor Crusher has trouble reconciling her romantic feelings for the Trill-personality with Riker's body — but the issue of whether Riker would consent to her having sex with his body is never even mentioned.
It's Riker. You don't need to ask permission when the answer would be that obvious...
As a specific example: Shortly after hearing about a battle that the Enterprise is about to investigate, Riker asks if they should separate the saucer. This question was hardly ever asked after the first season, and indeed, the saucer was separated twice in the first season and only once in the rest of the series, and once more in Star Trek: Generations. The Word Of God explanation is that separating the saucer section (with its attendant civilian families) was planned as a standard common-sense procedure when going into a potential combat situation. However, in practice they found out that it took too much time away from the story-telling to depict on screen on a regular basis. Hence its use was never actually written in much.
In "Heart of Glory", the Enterprise notifies Starfleet that they're entering the Neutral Zone. Notification, not approval. Also, the Visual Acuity Transmitter seen here is never used again.
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.
Evil Twin: Lore, which usually gave Brent Spiner a chance to show off more of his range as an actor outside of the stoic Data character.
Brent Spiner actually stated in an interview that he preferred playing Lore to playing Data. Why? Because "we have more in common."
Exposition Of Immortality: In "Time's Arrow", a two-part episode of The Next Generation, the Enterprise crew runs into Guinan, the El-Aurian bartender on their ship, while on a Time Travel trip to the 19th century. She's shown talking with Mark Twain and Jack London; but when Data approaches her, believing that she too, has traveled through time, she doesn't know him or the rest of the crew.
In the series 4 episode "Legacy" Tasha Yar's younger sister Ishara spends the first half of the episode wearing a thin white top and clearly no bra, several angles place her chest front & centre. She later changes into a Jumpsuit, however her aversion to underwear continues as she sports a very prominent cameltoe.
Troi wore her cleavage-bearing outfits for this purpose.
False Innocence Trick: Captain Picard is the subject of an Alien Abduction along with several others, who conspire to escape. It turns out that one of them is really a member of the alien race which captured them all.
In another episode Deanna, Warf, O'Brien and Data are mentally taken over by noncorporeal beings who claim to have crash landed on a world, but they're actually convicted prisoners.
The Farmer And The Viper: Q actually uses this against the crew when he's turned mortal by the continuum, choosing a human form and going to them for help, assuming that their values and willingness to forgive "almost any offense" will mean they are willing to protect him from the variety of less-moral creatures he has tormented in the past, and who are willing to take advantage of his newfound humanity. He's not entirely right in this assumption, but right enough for subverting this trope in "Viper part" too, when Data's sacrifice moved Q into an attempt to save the ship at the cost of his own life.
Faux Action Girl: Tasha Yar had a habit of switching from regular Action Girl to Faux Action Girl almost on a whim. The first time she meets Q, she spends much of her time scowling and hitting people. The second time she meets Q, she spends much of her time crying and apologising to the Captain for it.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: In "Loud as a Whisper", Picard accidentally insults Riva when he replies to one of his chorus, quickly apologising that he'd never encountered this form of communication and was not sure how to address them.
After admonishing his crew for calling Barclay "Broccoli" (behind his back), Picard accidentally uses the unfortunate nickname when addressing Barclay directly. Picard feels so badly that that the normally unflappable captain is quite flustered.
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.
Freak Out: Had by Captain Picard in "Sarek", on behalf of the tiular 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.invoked
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.
This was a case of Real Life Writes the Plot - the early all in one spandex uniforms were so tight and form fitting they started causing the actors health problems, hence they were replaced with more comfortable two piece costumes.
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.
And from the episode "The Naked Now":
Data:—And there was a rather peculiar limerick being delivered by someone in the shuttlecraft bay. I'm not sure I understand it. 'There was a young lady from Venus, whose body was shaped like a...'"
Ghost Ship: "The Battle", "The Naked Now", "Night Terrors", "Hero Worship", "Booby Trap".
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.
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.
Good Powers, Bad People: In one episode, Deanna Troi meets a man who is a quarter Betazoid, and who, like her, has empathic powers. He uses his abilities to win in political and economic negotiations. Troi calls him out on it, but he fires back that where he's using his natural abilities to come out on top in property transactions, just like the people he makes deals with, Troi uses her abilities to increase the lethal capacity of a warship, often against beings with no way of resisting her.
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".
Harmless Villain: The Ferengi. Despite the original intention for them to be the Big Bad, it soon became clear that the audience found them so laughably incompetent, they doubted they could find water in an oasis, let alone possibly take over the Federation.
Harpo Does Something Funny: Joe Piscopo was reportedly solely responsible for his character's dialogue and jokes in "The Outrageous Okona."
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 reboot the system from protected memory.
Which does lead to the question of how Federation Starships manage to function, given their near-total reliance on computers, yet not a single person ever is shown to be the IT guy? Particularly baffling since even an engineering genius like LaForge seems to be genuinely unaware of such a simple concept as rebooting? Further, the episode was conceived by computer technician Beth Woods, who appears to know more about computers than LaForge, and, supposedly, the audience.
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.
Hyper Awareness: Data, due to being an android would see more into events then was actually relevant.
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.
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 travelling 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.
Word Of God says that Warp 13 was used intentionally as a hint of new developments in warp technology in the alternate future.
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.
Hypocrite: In "Ensign Ro", when Riker chastises Ro Laren for wearing her Bajoran earring, only to subsequently take her into a meeting where Troi was wearing her low-cut, non-regulation uniform and Worf is sat proudly wearing his Klingon baldric.
Hypocrisy Nod: In "The Drumhead" when Picard proclaims that it's intrusive to use a Betazoid to discern if someone is lying, Admiral Satie throws it right back in his face that he uses Troi to do it all the time. To his credit, Picard concedes the point and replies that he might reconsider this policy in the future.
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 keeps plucking annoyingly at a lute. Finally Worf has had enough, walks up, snatches the lute and smashes it against a tree.
Indy Ploy: Exemplified in the 2nd season episode Peak Performance, Riker is a master of using these whenever he has to take command. It becomes a Chekhov's Skill when Riker is in charge of the Enterprise the second time they face the Borg.
I Need to Go Iron My Dog: In the episode "Menage a Troi", Lwaxana Troi wants to spend time with Picard. Picard, preferring to be light years away, explains that he needs to show the VIP with him the door mechanism on the aft turbolift.
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). Although when he's asked to target specific parts of ships, he delivers nine times out of ten.
Although a further nine times out of ten, this results in (what could be considered) one of Worf's catchphrases:
"Direct hit, no effect"
Data is repeatedly said, and sometimes shown, to be able to think very quickly, and extremely strong and fast. However, these traits are noticeably absent on a number of occasions where they would have been of great use- specifically, any hand-to-hand or short-range combat with Data around should, by all rights, be over in about five seconds with all hostile parties neutralized.
"It" Is Dehumanizing: The series has done this several times, usually in regards to the android Commander Data.
In the season 1 episode "Datalore", where Captain Picard at first felt inclined to refer to Data as "he", and to Data's newly-discovered twin brother Lore as "it". Data called him out on this, and felt uncomfortable at the idea of them being referred to differently when they were both androids. Picard understood and apologized.
When Dr. Pulaski first saw Data at the helm, she balked at the captain: "You're letting it pilot the ship?" upon which Picard laid a verbal smackdown on her. Given the fact that Data was so popular with the fans, having a one-off character treat him like a machine quickly became shorthand for telling the audience that a character was an asshole, this scene probably was enough to doom Pulaski's character terminally.
In "The Measure Of A Man", an episode discussing Data's legal status; Commander Maddox constantly refers to Data as a possession of Starfleet and therefore an "it", until he slips into "he" after a court hearing formally rules that Data has free will and the right to choose.
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 in "Gambit": 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.
The 'psionic warlords' backstory came straight out of Jacqueline Lichtenberg's Kraith fan fiction series. In a 2010 interview, Lichtenberg revealed that someone on the inside had told her Gene Roddenberry kept copies of Kraith Collected in his office and requested that the staff read them also.
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.
Vulcan Ambassador T'Pel who is really a Romulan spy called Sub-Commander Selok in "Data's Day".
Taibak, the Romulan scientist who brutally tortured and brainwashed Geordi in "The Mind's Eye".
Klingon Promotion: Trope Namer. First explained in "A Matter of Honor" that an acceptable method of promotion on a Klingon ship is to kill one's superior if the superior has done something to deserve it.
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."
Language Barrier: In "Darmok", the crew encounters friendly aliens called the Tamarians who communicate solely in metaphors and cultural references. Universal Translator completely fails. It takes almost the whole episode for Picard and the Tamarian captain to understand each other.
Life Imitates Art: The Tricorders and to a lesser extent the computer PADDs seen in this version of Trek inspired all kinds of similarly-sized, touchscreen-powered devices, such as tablet PCs, Palm Pilots and the iPhone.
Licensed Game: A Final Unity follows in the footsteps of the 25th AnniversaryAdventure games based on TOS. The ship mechanics are expanded, with the player even able to eject the warp core if need be. The options are so exhaustive, you are free to meddle around other bases and star systems at will, though it accomplishes basically nothing.
Generations, based on the movie, is an FPS in which you chase Dr. Soran from planet to planet, always narrowly missing him. The Stellar Cartography room (used by Picard and Data in the film) also comes into play, with the player trying to predict where Soran will land next a la Carmen Sandiego.
Future's Past is essentially a console port of A Final Unity, though the away missions are stripped-down to a basic top-down shooter. Everything else is intact, including the multitude of window-dressing worlds to visit and the tactical battle system. One drawback of the 2-D gameplay is that the three-dimension space battles are now essentially dogfights, with the biggest risk being running out of ammo. (Enemies have infinite ammo.)
Birth of the Federation is a Turn-Based Strategy game with five playable empires: The Federation, Romulan Empire, Cardassian Union, Klingon Empire, and Ferengi Alliance (back when the Ferengi were still purportedly a threat).
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 led to that; however, by doing so, he wound up becoming a person who never developed any guts or took any risks.
In the future portion of "All Good Things" it's revealed that Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher got married...and divorced.
When Worf visited an alternate universe he discovered that he had formed a relationship with Deanna there. When he returned to his universe he decided to pursue it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Neck Lift: The first time by Data to Wesley was more of a "by the shirt collar." The next time to a Ferengi (may also be by the collar as we join him in progress with the Ferengi lifted above screen, flailing) in "The Last Outpost." The next, under alien influence, Data does this to Picard in the episode "Power Play," and under brotherly influence, to a rogue Borg before crushing its neck in "Descent, part one." Why? Both times because he got angry. Also done for The Worf Effect by Anya the Allasomorph to Worf in "The Dauphin."
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
The Bynars remove a section of infant's brains and implant them with cybernetics, against their will. Just like the Borg.
No Antagonist: After the first few seasons, most episodes were like this.
No OSHA Compliance: Quite a few instances of cargo containers not being confined or strapped down (including ones marked with radioactive or biohazard warnings!). For instance, Worf gets paralyzed by a falling container in one episode, and Riker would've gotten creamed by one rolling off a catwalk in "True Q", had he not been saved by timely intervention. There're also railings in Engineering too short to keep a person from falling off, and the long-lampshaded lack of seatbelts and circuit breakers.
Not to mention the outrageous frequency of safety failures that seem to occur on Starfleet ships. Holodecks, transporters, the ship's antimatter containment. They all supposedly have tons of redundant safety features (particularly the warp core, which is the 24th century equivalent of a nuclear reactor), yet Rule of Drama dictates that they will all fail utterly at a moment's notice.
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.
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.
The Nudifier: One Ferengi transporter does this when transporting women.
Open Mouth, Insert Foot: During the 3rd season episode, Hollow Pursuits, Capt. Picard accidentally calls Barclay by his unofficial nickname Broccoli. Data tries to put a positive spin on the situation by referencing psychology but really only makes the situation worse.
Orient Express: In "Emergence", the train appears on the Enterprise's holodeck.
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 final season). 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.
A Real Man Is a Killer: Let's face it, Picard was lectured to this effect many times over the years. (This was Worf's primary function, repeatedly getting shot down when he suggested hitting people.) Whenever the Federation indulged in this philosophy, the results were less than satisfactory; Data's forced relocation of human settlers in "The Ensigns of Command" paved the way for a similar problem with Maquis, opening up a whole new can of worms.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: At the end of "Ethics", Beverly has a beautifully scathing one for Dr. Russell, and does it without even raising her voice:
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?
Really 700 Years Old: Guinan. In "Time's Arrow" Data notes that he knew that Guinan's species was long-lived, but he had no idea that she was actually on Earth during the 19th Century.
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:
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.
The Diane DuaneThe 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 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.
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.
Worf: Push, Keiko! Push! Push! PUSH!
Completely averted in "The Child", when Troi feels no pain at all during her birth. Of course, her child wasn't exactly normal.
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.
Sequential Symptom Syndrome: In "Realm of Fear" Barclay has the computer read the symptoms of "transporter psychosis" and acts out the symptoms as he hears them.
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 certainseven-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."
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.
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 wornby the denizens of the utopian paradise in "Justice" make them look sensible.
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.
Averted, where Chief O'Brien tells Lieutenant Barclay at the end of "Realm of Fear" about how he overcame his own fear of spiders to work a repair in a spider-infested crawlspace. The episode ended with O'Brien's pet tarantula crawling on Barclay's arm.
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.
Start X to Stop X: In one episode, a scientist intentionally causes a tear in space with a self-destructed warp drive, just to convince the Federation to stop using warp travel so she can prevent that very type of tear from occurring elsewhere.
Stealth Pun: * In yet another Star Trek film, the commanders of a Klingon vessel give the order of "Fire at will." There is an immediate cut to the bridge of their target, the Enterprise, currently commanded by Commander Riker. Will Riker.
Picard did the same thing in the series during a training exercise.
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. *
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.
Surprise Party: In "Parallels," the senior staff of the Enterprise D throws Worf a surprise party for his birthday after he comes back from a bat'leth tournament. The party manages to catch him off-guard, because Riker lied to him and told him that there wasn't going to be a surprise party. However, the story is about Worf shifting through various parallel realities, and whether or not there was a party varies based on which reality he's in. When he returns to his proper reality, it turns out that Deanna Troi talked Riker out of throwing the party because she didn't think Worf would like it, but the two end up spending some time together over champagne in Worf's quarters.
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!
Talking to Himself: Riker in "Second Chances". Any time Lwaxana Troi interacts with the computer.
Tantrum Throwing: According to Worf, this is a stock feature of Klingon courtship.
In the episode "Attached", the Enterprise's transporters are redirected by an alien force, so Picard and Crusher end up on the opposite side of the planet from where they intended.
In another episode, the Enterprise is in a confrontation with a Romulan warbird. There is a severely injured Romulan on board the Enterprise who can't be beamed to the Romulan ship unless the ship not doing the beaming lowers its shields.
Played with the time Worf was temporarily put in command of the Enterprise to deal with recently thawed Klingon Popsicles who were unaware that the war between the Empire and The Federation was over.
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, although they let Stephen Hawking sit in it when he came to film his cameo.
Throw It In: Skin of Evil was Denise Crosby's last aired episode, with her character being killed off. In the previous episode, Symbiosis (which was actually filmed later), she's in the background at the end, as Picard and Crusher enter the turbolift. Just as the doors close she waves goodbye to the camera.
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.
Armus: I am a skin of evil, left here be a race of titans, who believed if they rid themselves of me, they would free the bounds of destructiveness.
"Ship in a Bottle":
Moriarty: Your crewmates here in my little ship in a bottle, seem a bit more optimistic.
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.
"All Good Things...":
Q: Goodbye, Jean-Luc. I'm gonna miss you... you had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end...
Q: The time has come to put an end to your trek through the stars.
Torture Always Works: Deconstructed in the episode "Chain of Command." The Cardassians capture Picard, trying to find out information for the defenses of a system. Picard literally knows nothing about the defenses, giving all the other information he has under drugs, but unable to give information he already has. They torture to try to get the information Picard resists to give, but it becomes very clear that the information isn't the reason they are doing it anymore, they simply want to break him.
Translation By Volume: The episode "Darmok" deals with Universal Translator failure and an encounter with friendly, yet absolutely incomprehensible aliens. Both crews and especially captains try this approach of speaking slowly, clearly and somewhat loudly. It slightly works, but both could grasp only very, very little.
The doomed science vessel in "The Naked Now", the SS Tsiolkovsky, has a plaque stating that it was built in the USSR.
In "The Royale", Picard refers to Fermat's Last Theorem as having been unsolved for over 800 years. Whoops. This was later corrected in the DS9 episode "Facets".
Also in "The Royale", debris from a NASA spacecraft, which according to this episode took part in a mission in the mid 21st century, are beamed aboard the Enterprise. However, the NASA "Worm logo"◊ seen on the debris was actually replaced by the "Meatball logo"◊ in 1992.
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.
Virtual Reality Interrogation: Subverted an episode where Riker thinks he is a victim of one (he is supposedly in the future but his supposed wife is a woman of his dreams, that he knows never existed outside the holodeck. The hostile aliens reveal themselves when he calls them out on it. However, as it turns out the aliens aren't real either - there is just one alien, highly psychic and very lonely, keeping Riker in a Lotus-Eater Machine to have some company and conjuring things from his mind - the whole espionage plot was accidently created by Riker's own fears.
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.
In the episode The Most Toys, also dealing with Data, an unscrupulous trader poisons a water supply with specific substance so that the Enterprise would have to deal with him as he (conveniently) had a supply of the extremely rare antidote.
We All Die Someday: In an episode a historian from the 26th century comes to watch what happens during a crisis on the Enterprise back in the 24th. Picard wants him to tell him what the future says happened, but he's reluctant.
Rasmussen: You must see that if I were to influence you, everything in this sector, in this quadrant of the galaxy could change. History, my history, would unfold in a way other than it already has. Now what possible incentive could anyone offer me to allow that to happen?
Picard: I have two choices. Either way, one version of history or another will wend its way forward. The history you know or another one. Now who is to say which is better? What I do know is here, today, one way, millions of lives could be saved. Now isn't that incentive enough?
Rasmussen: Everyone dies, Captain. It's just a question of when. All of those people down there died years before I was born. All of you up here, as well. So you see, I can't get quite as worked up as you over the fate of some colonists who, for me, have been dead a very, very long time.
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.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out the final fate of Geordi's mother, whose vessel completely vanishes without a trace, in "Interface".
Wham Episode: Fifteen minutes into one episode, the crew beam down to rescue Deanna trapped inside a crashed shuttle. A strange alien lifeform is blocking the way. The crew try to reason with it, as per usual. The creature isn't very friendly with them. Then, it kills Lieutenant Yar.
Wham Line: "Oh please." With those 2 words, Q changed from an trickster jackass to an omnipotent being with infinite power and infinite contempt for humanity.
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.
In "Hide and Q", Picard's insistance that Riker not using the power of the Q to save a dead little girl is a good thing.
You Are a Credit to Your Race: Q, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, more or less feels this way about Picard. At every possible chance he gets Q makes fun of the inadequacies of the human race, but shows special interest in Picard whom he frequently tests to prove the worth of the human species. As Picard passes these tests Q praises Picard for his abilities and tells him that he above all other humans he has met proves the potential for greatness that humanity possesses. Beyond even that Q actually went so far as to say Picard is the closet thing he has to a friend in all the universe, above even his own race!
You Have to Believe Me: In the series finale, "All Good Things," Picard finds himself jumping back and forth between different points in his life a la Billy Pilgrim. Unfortunately, in the future he's an old man with the beginnings of an Alzheimer's-like disease. If he wasn't Jean-Luc Picard, no one would give his ravings about temporal anomalies and the destruction of humanity a second thought.
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 Know Who Said That: Jean-Luc Picard, facing a Witch Hunt of a trial, quotes the prosecutor's father speaking out against just such actions. The prosecutor doesn't take her father's quote being thrown in her face well.
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" and 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", another Ferengi, Bractor in "Peak Performances", and the better known Quark — also from Deep Space Nine.
Majel Barrett (who played Nurse Chapel in Star Trek TOS, 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.
Michelle Forbes played a small role in season 5's "Half A Life" before coming back in Season 6 as semi regular Ensign Ro Laren.
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 Rice asks who sent them there, Riker says, "Your mother. She was worried about you."
In "Samaritan Snare," Picard mentions this as one motivation for his fight with some Naussicans in his academy days:
"I stood toe-to-toe with the worst of the three and I told him what I thought of him, his pals, his planet and I possibly made some passing reference to his questionable parentage."
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 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 TNG, the problem is usually figuring out which search hits are the relevant ones (just like in real life). Not coincidentally, in the The Naked Now Data spends hours trying to find the reference Riker vaguely recalls about "someone showering in his or her clothing" that connects to the episode's problem. He finds it almost immediately after his mentioning of the number of just historical references being huge triggers Riker to recall that it was in a history of ships named Enterprise (leading back to the TOS episode The Naked Time).
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 dominantpowers of the Alpha Quadrant.
A great in-universe example of zeerust is seen in the episode Booby Trap. A derelict alien ship that is 1000 years old is discovered in an asteroid field. Picard and the team visit the wreck out of curiosity. The bridge interior looks like something that wouldn't be out of place in The Original Series.