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Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
The crew of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-D.note 

"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 ninety 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. 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 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 (something the original series lacked): 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.

CBS 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. The remastering of TNG has proven to be far less controversial with purists than the extensive (many argued overdone) HD revisions done to the original series.

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 series of films, which take place in an Alternate Timeline).

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

This show provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Trope-based episodes 
  • 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: the fact that he somehow managed to remain consious during the 4-year gap between activations didn't really help his mood either. Picard even laments having to thwart him, as while he was programmed to act as an arch-villain, Moriarty is still a decent man.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: "The Royale", also overlapping with The Caper and (chillingly, and hilariously) Suckiness Is Painful. The casino is based on a truly abominable novel found on an alien abductee's person.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • Yesterday's Enterprise depicted the TNG universe if the Enterprise-C had not gone MIA while 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 are 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.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In "Starship Mine," The Captain takes on a team of intruders on his own.
  • Bad Future: Or perhaps "Mediocre Future", seeing as how the TNG crew has parted ways in the future of "All Good Things..." Troi's dead (cause unknown), with Worf and Riker's relationship poisoned with bitterness over it. Picard and Beverly got hitched; got divorced. At the end, Data comments that their foreknowledge of the future is already changing the timeline, and everybody resolves to maintain their camaraderie, suggesting things might not get so bad after all.
  • 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.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • In "Unnatural Selection", the youths who were genetically engineered would have to spend the rest of their lives in quarantine because their superior immune systems that protect them against all disease also attack anyone nearby at the cellular level, causing extreme premature aging.
    • In "The Hunted", men who were chemically and psychologically programmed to be the perfect soldier (including perfect memory) were unable to return to the society they volunteered to protect because of their programming, which essentially made them lethal attack machines against their will (which means they remember killing people they had no desire to kill).
  • The Bore: Commander Hutchinson (call him Hutch) from "Starship Mine." His receptions are dreaded by the senior staff for his limitless capacity to talk about nothing at all. Fortunately for them, Data had written a program for "small talk" that needed testing.
  • 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. Riker's actor, Jonathan Frakes, was infamously furious about the way this dodged the issue, and lobbied for the alien to be played by a man as well, but was turned down by the network.
    • A number of times when the writers and actors tried to send a message about homosexual prejudice, the network inevitably interfered to nullify any homosexual subtext, which in itself is a Family-Unfriendly Aesop about how prejudice will always win out if those prejudiced are higher up the hierarchical ladder.
  • 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.
  • Chained Heat: "Attached" - See Can't Live Without You, above.
  • Clarke's Third Law:
    • 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).
    • Subverted in Q's first appearance, where it is made very clear that Q has the power of a god essentially and is willing to use it to satisfy his own whims, leaving the Enterprise crew completely at his mercy and needing to satisfy the requirements of his game to survive.
  • 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 and even fewer bare essentials actors due to a budget overrun earlier in the season.
  • 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.
  • Courtroom Episode:
    • "Measure of a Man" was based around a trial where Data's status as property or lifeform was determined.
    • "The Drumhead" was based around trials where a Starfleet admiral tries to prove there is a conspiracy on the Enterprise.
  • Cowboy Episode: "A Fistful of Datas", involving a Holodeck Malfunction.
  • 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.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Q's entire trial, distilled to its essence. Echoed in the final line of the show:
    Picard: Five-card stud, nothing wild...and the sky's the limit.
  • 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.
  • Declining Promotion:William Riker, aka "Number One." He's offered his own command in the series, but doesn't accept it.
  • Development Gag: "The Schizoid Man" was originally to have guest-starred Patrick McGoohan; the title of the episode is the same as that of an episode from his famous series The Prisoner. Even though McGoohan did not appear in the episode, the title remained unchanged as a tribute.
  • Devil's Advocate: In "Measure of a Man", a scientist wants to disassemble Data for study, and Data refuses as a sentient being. A hearing is held to determine whether Data is sentient. Picard is Data's defense counsel, and Riker is appointed as the prosecution - so he has to argue that Data isn't sentient. He risks summary judgement against Data if he slacks off on the job. Riker feels guilty about doing it, but Data is grateful - or anyway as grateful as an android allegedly with no emotions can be - since if Riker had refused to do it they would have decided against Data (for if he isn't a sentient being, he lacks the right to bodily autonomy, such are the rules of procedure in the 24th century).
  • Die Hard On The USS Enterprise-D: "Power Play" and "Starship Mine". The latter moreso than the former: it takes precisely 15 fifteen minutes for Picard to turn into Bruce Willis, and even the "Who said we were terrorists?" line is uttered.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lieutenant Kwan in "Eye Of The Beholder." The first act of the episode also counts as A Very Special Episode about suicide.
  • Do Borgs Dream: "I, Borg"
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: "Aquiel," where the crew finds out that a shape-shifting organism is behind the Mystery of the Week. Two people, a Klingon and the titular Aquiel, are suspected of being the monster, but it's really Aquiel's dog, which served as a minor comedic subplot during the episode.
    • 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.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Tasha Yar in "Skin of Evil", Captain Kirk (literally) in The Movie.
  • Dying Race: "Up the Long Ladder", "When the Bough Breaks".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Farpoint mission brought back the TOS miniskirts and knee-high boots, except with TNG coloring. You'll note also that the hand phasers are smaller here.
    • It seems Gene was a little fuzzy on the definition of "android" (as opposed to cyborg), hence a smiling Data who is susceptible to the polywater virus. Geordi the helmsman is much less staid than Geordi the engineer.
      Doc Oho: For some reason and for one episode only Geordi is behaving like a jiving MC Hammer engineer, jigging with his hands and spouting funky dialogue and exclaiming ‘oo-wee!’ when a plan comes together!
    • The first two seasons on a whole have a more low-budget and campy feel to them than the later seasons.
  • Data uses a contraction in the very first episode.
    Data: At lest we're acquainted with the judge.
  • Enemy Mine: "Darmok", also (shockingly) "The Enemy".
  • 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.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: In "Preemptive Strike", Ensign Ro goes undercover to infiltrate a Maquis resistance group, and passes on her information by meeting Captain Picard in a bar, where she tells him to pretend he's buying her sexual services. The whole thing is presented as quite uncomfortable for both of them, as while Ro shares some Belligerent Sexual Tension with Commander Riker, she's never had any with Picard whom she regards more as a stern Parental Substitute.
  • Father, I Don't Want To Fight: Young Alexander's issues in "Firstborn."
  • Fire-Forged Friends: "Darmok".
  • First Contact: First Contact (the episode and the movie. The first one reverses the polarity by having the aliens be the ones experiencing first contact with humans).
  • Fish out of Water: In "A Matter of Honor" Riker gets to be the first officer on a Klingon ship.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" shows how a previous Enterprise played a role so pivotal that its absence would cause the end of the Federation in a long, bloody and hopeless war.
    • "Tapestry" shows how Picard avoiding a fight in his youth would have changed his whole life.
  • Fountain of Youth: "Rascals".
  • Future Imperfect: Episode of the same name. An interesting Alternate History arises and thanks to a fake Trauma-Induced Amnesia Riker (now Captain of the Enterprise) can't recall any of it.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "Time Squared", the present Jean-Luc Picard is disgusted, irritated and extremely angered by the Captain Picard of the future, who abandoned the Enterprise in a shuttlecraft shortly before its destruction.
  • Generation Xerox: Romulan Commander Sela, daughter of Tasha Yar and a Romulan. Both played by same actress.
    • Justified with Data and Lore as being the products of Noonian Soong. He apparently used himself as the physical model for his androids.
  • G-Rated Drug: The game, in "The Game".
  • 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."
  • Government Drug Enforcement: "Symbiosis".
  • "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.
  • Harmful Healing: Accidentally caused everyone to "devolve" in "Genesis".
  • Holodeck Malfunction: Multiple episodes center on the holodeck failing catastrophically.
    • The very first is "The Big Goodbye," seeing parts of the crew trapped in a simulation of noir detective Dixon Hill with the safeties disengaged.
    • "11001001" features a race of aliens create a highly sophisticated simulation of a woman named Minuet to distract Riker while they steal Enterprise.
    • "Elementary, Dear Data" marked the first appearance of Moriarty, created by a poorly-phrased request by LaForge to create an opponent able to defeat Data.
    • In "A Matter Of Perspective," a holographic reconstruction of a science station used as part of a hearing as to whether Riker is to be extradited on murder charges unintentionally begins damaging Enterprise as it continues the experiments on its own.
    • "A Fistful of Datas" finds Worf, Alexander and Troi trapped in a holodeck simulation of the "Ancient West," where almost all of the characters are replaced by simulations of Data. Including his greatly enhanced strength, intelligence, speed, and reflexes.
    • Moriarty reappears in "Ship In A Bottle," and manages to take control of Enterprise to force Picard's hand in finding a way to allow him to leave the holodeck.
  • Humanity on Trial: "Encounter at Farpoint" and "All Good Things..."
    • Technically, the whole series, the movies, and everything else in the Star Trek universe. As Q points out the trial that starts in "Encounter at Farpoint" continues through "All Good Things..." and beyond.
      Q: You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends.
  • In Another Man's Shoes "The Inner Light"
  • Interspecies Adoption: Klingon Worf was taken in and lovingly raised by Sergey and Helena Rozhenko, a human couple. Later on, the Rozhenkos also took in their primarily Klingon grandson, Alexander, when Worf decided that being a single father aboard the Enterprise would be too difficult for him to handle.
  • It's A Wonderful Plot: "Remember Me" is a subversion, in which Beverly finds people she knew vanishing, and no one remembering they ever existed.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: "In "The Royale" a landing party gets trapped in events just as cliched as the book's first line.
  • Invisible Main Character: "The Next Phase".
  • Just a Machine:
    • "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.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: "Face of the Enemy"
  • Kangaroo Court: "The Drumhead"
  • Lady Land: "Angel One".
  • Language Barrier: "Darmok".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: "Conundrum", "Clues".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: "Man of the People".
  • Lower Deck Episode: "Lower Decks", the Trope Namer.
  • Made of Evil: "Skin of Evil".
  • Manchurian Agent: "The Mind's Eye".
  • Mind Rape: "Violations". More specifically, memory rape. Actually going inside someone's memories and raping them. They even classify it as rape.
    • "Man of the People" involved an ambassador who was essentially a psychic vampire.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: Ro in "The Last Phase"
  • Monster Is a Mommy: "Galaxy's Child".
  • Mortality Ensues: "Deja Q".
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: "Manhunt". More like My Biological Clock Has Gone To Red Alert! Played for laughs with Deanna's mother Lwaxana. It is revealed that Betazoid women in late middle-age experience "The Phase". This is a source of horror to Picard (the target of Lwaxana's attentions) and a source of amusement to almost everyone else, especially Riker (which might account for why he put his relationship with Deanna on hiatus for a couple of decades).
    Riker: Yes, it's something Troi warned me about when we first started to see each other. A Betazoid woman, when she goes through this phase, quadruples her sex drive.
    Troi: Or more.
    Riker: Or more? You never told me that.
    Troi: I didn't want to frighten you. (Riker smiles...)
  • My Greatest Failure: Subverted in "Tapestry".
  • Mystical Pregnancy: "The Child" may be the most perfect example of this trope ever committed to film.
  • New Media Are Evil: "The Game", an unsubtle tract about kids being too wrapped up in The Nintendo and The Contra.
  • 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
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Isabella in "Imaginary Friend".
  • One Character, Multiple Lives: In the series finale, Captain Picard is living in three alternate timelines, one in his past, one in his present, and one in his future, at the same time, and has to use information gathered in certain timelines to aid others.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: "Conspiracy".
  • "Rashomon"-Style: "A Matter of Perspective".
  • Rogue Drone: Hugh in "I, Borg".
  • Second Coming: "Rightful Heir", with the return of Kahless through a clone.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: "The Loss", where Counselor Troi loses her empathy.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: "Yesterday's Enterprisse" highlighted the morality of both sending the Enterprise C back and whether any timeline is more valid than another.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: "Disaster".
  • 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. Word of God is that ''Voyager'' was the first starship to permanently address the issue.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Used in "Darmok", as the alien race's language is entirely based around metaphors.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: "Interface", "Eye of the Beholder".
  • The Virus: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Identity Crisis".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: "Measure of a Man".

  • 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.
  • Absentee Actor: Some episodes struggle to include all the actors, even with the Mandatory Line.
  • Adaptive Ability: The Borg, by any means necessary.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Q.
  • 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.
  • Ain't Too Proud To Beg: "Q Who".
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: The Federation is a multi species organization, most of their enemies are at least a bit one dimensional. The Borg take the cake though, being a Hive Mind that removes individuality.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Downplayed in "Genesis". Sometimes they were spiders!
  • Almighty Janitor: Boothby, grounds-keeper of Starfleet Academy and trusted mentor of almost every graduate of note.
  • Alternate Universe
    • "All Good Things" depicted three universes in three different times where an anti-time disruption threatened to destroy the universe.
    • "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.
  • Alternative Number System: The Bynars use base 2.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Borg Collective, and although they're Lawful in and of themselves rather than Chaotic, their effect on everyone else is Chaotic Evil as they destroy or assimilate almost indiscriminately everyone they come across as long as their prey have a minimum of technological or biological advancement - i.e. as long as whoever they are killing or assimilating is worth the energy. They try to assimilate the entire rest of the universe into their structured collective or kill them trying, and you can't reason with them or plead for mercy. Resistance is futile. Averted with Hugh, when he is separated from the Collective and gains individuality.
  • AM/FM Characterization:
    • Commander Will Riker's love of jazz shows a softer, easier-going side than his military bearing suggests.
    • At one point in "Suddenly Human", Picard walks past the guest quarters where the Talarian-raised human teenager Jono is staying, and hears this blasting in the room. Jono's enjoyment of "alba ra" seems to signify he's a typical teenager.
  • Anchored Ship: Picard and Crusher. In the post-Nemesis book series, They Do.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Lore is burdened with this sort of fate after his first appearance. In order to get rid of him, Data beams his evil brother into outer space, where the Nigh Invulnerable android will be cursed to drift around aimlessly in the endless vacuum, completely helpless. It's downplayed, since he's rescued after a "mere" few years when the crew of an alien ship discover his body floating around in space at a thousand-to-one odds.
    • The fate of Armus. He was created out of the darkest aspects of the psyches of an entire alien race and then abandoned. After he murdered Tasha Yar in a rage, the crew of the Enterprise decided that it was fitting punishment to leave him again and deploy a warning beacon that meant no-one would 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 Star Trek: Voyager revealed that 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...
    • The Ux-Mal criminals encountered in "Power Play" had their consciousness separated from their bodies, and left adrift as anionic energy to suffer in a moon's intense electromagnetic storms. They'd been trapped there for five hundred years when the Enterprise came along, so one can hardly blame them for trying to hijack the ship.
  • And the Adventure Continues: "All Good Things..." concludes on this note; though the series has ended, the adventures will continue.
    Picard: So, five-card stud, nothing wild. And the sky's the limit.note 
  • Antagonist Title: "Skin of Evil": The villain is a black liquid known as Armus.
  • Anti-Villain: Moriarty. As ruthless as he is, all he wants is to leave the holodeck and experience the real world.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Enterprise has received a few of these, including a couple from themselves.
    • Col. Richey's diary in "The Royale".
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Star Trek runs on this and all the subset variants, justified with heavy heaps of Techno Babble.
  • 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.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • In "The Measure of a Man" Picard notes how the procedure, if successful, could benefit all of Starfleet. Data's response destroys Picard's line of thought.
    Data: Sir, Lieutenant La Forge's eyes are far superior to human biological eyes. True? Then why are not all human officers required to have their eyes replaced with cybernetic implants?
    • Later, Picard delivers one at the hearing to determine Data's legal status.
    Picard:"Are you prepared to condemn him, and all who come after him, to servitude and slavery?"
  • Art Evolution: A rare Live Action version, the ridge design on Worf's head changed as the show continued. This was explained as simply streamlining the make-up process.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The episode "Genesis" was on a par with "Threshold" — demonstrating that Brannon Braga may have a PhD in this trope. Switching on Barclay's T-cells causes the Enterprise crew to — sigh — devolve to a variety of different species... most of which have common ancestors diverging HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO — and Spot the cat becomes an iguana. Apparently in Star Trek, everyone walks around with copies of not only the future evolutionary patterns of their own species but ALSO whole swathes of species that are completely unrelated to them from their home planet. The worst offender being Barclay's devolution (and presumably re-evolution) into a spider, which would only be possible if he devolved into a pre-Cambrian lifeform first.
    • Data devolving into a pocket calculator would have made more sense.
    • Rhis was already plumbed with TNG's "The Chase", which attempts to cure at least three problems at making all of the Alpha Quadrant's DNA part of a message by a progenitor race, also humanoid, that "seeded" planets with their genetic code in the hope of more sentient humanoids like themselves popping up. Cue Picard facepalm.
    • An original idea that inspired a lot of 'ancient ancestor' settings. The original humanoids found that their home galaxy (not just one quadrant) contained no life that was like them. Their own extinction fears drove them to seed the Milky Way and as a result encourage humanoid life to develop. The code was like a signature for them - they wanted the Milky Way races to find out their origin to encourage cooperation.
  • Artistic License – Physics: "The Royale". -291 degrees Celsius. (Absolute Zero, the coldest temperature theoretically possible, is -273 degrees.)
  • Ascended Extra: Miles O'Brien started out as an extra on this show before he became transporter chief and got his name.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Enterprise.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Lwaxana Troi.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Klingons, as usual, since they respect martial ability above all else. See Klingon Promotion.
  • Awesomeness-Induced Amnesia: When Barcley gets a brain upgrade by some aliens, after it wears off he tells Troi that he remembers doing everything he did, he just doesn't remember how.
  • Author Avatar: Eugene Wesley Roddenberry openly admitted that Wesley Crusher was a younger, idealized version of himself. Oddly enough, though, the character was originally envisioned as a teenaged GIRL named Leslie...
  • 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.
  • Badass Boast: The Klingon ritual of roaring at the heavens is this on behalf of one who died in battle... they are warning the afterlife that a warrior is coming.
  • Bald of Awesome: Picard.
  • Bedmate Reveal:
    • In "Tapestry", Picard (who's reliving his days as a fresh young ensign) has sex with his good female friend Marta Batanides. In the morning, a hand reaches up to stroke his ear, and Picard turns around, opens his eyes— and it's Q.
    • 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).
    • The Wesley pilot example also included another of Picard's Berserk Buttons...unauthorized people sitting in the captain's chair. At times Picard would yell at various people such as Q who would do it is said that Stewart would do to reporters on set who dared do the same thing.
  • 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. Q's personality, however, means you're not really sure whether he really means you harm or is faking it For the Lulz, furthermore, Q's nature as an time-travelling Energy Being who lives outside of time and can not only take any form he likes but can create matter and illusions out of thin air means not only that different events could be happening out of sequence with his personal timeline, but that the nature of his interactions with the crew could in fact seem very different from what is really happening - and the audience knows all this uncertainty but never gets a firm answer out of anything.
  • 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).
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • "The Vengeance Factor." The last of the Acamarian Lornack clan is saved by Riker's intervention; that intervention consists of the vaporization of the woman for whom Riker had some affection.
    • "The Perfect Mate" where a woman whom Picard has emotionally bonded with must marry another to seal a peace treaty. It's implied that the marriage isn't even necessary, as the person she's marrying is more concerned with the trade opportunities that peace will bring.
    • "The Inner Light" when Picard plays the flute.
    • After the Bynar's system is saved in "11001001", when Riker discovers that much of what made Minuet unique is no longer there.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: The Borg as originally presented in this series are a Hive Mind. Individual thought is suppressed and all the minds are linked to think as one. This is retconned in Star Trek: First Contact, where the hive has a central queen controlling the thought, who thinks more or less like a human, but the initial concept was very alien.
    • This is then further defined in Star Trek: Voyager where it turns out that the queen is simply one of the Borg who is chosen and then elevated to "Queen" to direct more long-term thought and action of the entire Hive, but is still in-tune with the same objectives and guidelines as the collective. Meanwhile, the individual mind of each borg is taken and processed so the thoughts are in harmony with the collective, each voice as loud as each other, but capable of independent thought and action in line with the imposed order of the collective. Individuality is suppressed more than individual thought.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: A common theme, as reflected by the ever-present Prime Directive, which forbids the Federation from (among other things) imposing their beliefs on sovereign nations.
    • Justice examines the Edo, a society where All Crimes Are Equal and punishable by death. It seems to work for them, as they have a genuinely peaceful and idyllic world with only a token level of law enforcement. As small as the odds of being caught committing a crime may be, no one is willing to gamble their life on it. It becomes a problem for the Enterprise, however, when Wesley has the misfortune of breaking the tiniest rule, by complete accident, in view of the police.
    • The Borg are an example, being completely ruthless in their goal to assimilate the galaxy, but only because they believe doing so is the path to perfection.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Data, though his Character Development starts to negate this towards the end.
  • Bothering by the Book: In the episode "The Ensigns of Command," Captain Picard prevents a rather bureaucratic race of aliens from wiping out a human colony by using a technicality in a treaty to deter them (specifically, naming another species as a mediator who're currently in the middle of a hibernation cycle that'll last for another 6 months).
  • 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.
  • Brain Fever: In "Qpid," the crew of the Enterprise and Picard's flame, Vash, are placed in a Robin Hood simulation. Vash is Maid Marian and is being ministered by a nurse, who says that she must have a brain sickness for sure. She offers to get some nice fresh leeches to drain the fever, which horrifies Vash.
  • Brainwash Residue: After losing his superintelligence, Barclay seems to retain some chess-playing ability.
  • Broken Aesop: More than a few episodes had members of the Enterprise's crew caught up in planetary rebellions. In at least two of them, crew members were specifically targeted for abduction because they were Federation citizens, and the Federation had access to plentiful weapons and supplies that they hoped would be traded for the hostages. In all cases, Picard refused to provide any significant aid to the party opposing the ones that took his personnel, citing the Prime Directive as his reason. The problem with that is that the abductors had committed an act of war against the Federation. One group came very close to stealing or destroying the Enterprise, the flagship of the fleet. So the moral of "You have to solve your own problems, rather than finding someone else to solve them for you", became "The strong and principled are good targets, because they won't fight someone so much weaker than them."
    • Or "good countries should do nothing when their citizens get abducted by terrorists."
    • Or, in the case of the episode referenced above; stall for time because an effective rescue was already being planned, rather than giving in to the mass-murdering terrorists or arming the desperate and brutal local police force. It doesn't take an enlightened space-faring civilisation to know that giving belligerents better guns isn't exactly a bright idea.
    • The episode The Game attempted to make an aesop that video games are EVIL. However, the game in question (a weird "put disc into bad CGI tubes" game) was actively programmed to brainwash who ever plays it. Also, holodecks are the final form of video games (can simulate ANY scenario imaginable, and stimulate all the senses while doing it), and nobody had a problem with them.
    • Picard's actions in "Q Who?" where as SF Debris points out, the moral is that with with great power Comes Great Responsibility, unless it can be used to save a little pink-clad dead girl.
    • "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. This might have been the point (reverse the discrimination to show people what it's like), but it didn't come across quite right.
      • In the crusade the couple makes to show how the love this "woman" has for a "man" is so powerful, it unfortunately came across more as "heterosexual love makes you feel alive and happy, while asexuality or same-sex love is empty of passion and meaning." And considering this was a transitory affair with Riker, who is essentially an Ethical Slut, the Unfortunate Implications got worse.
    • 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.
    • In the TNG episode "Who Watches the Watchers", Picard is mistakenly thought to be a god by a pre-warp alien civilization, and when it's suggested that he should step in and explain who he actually is, he objects, saying doing so would violate the Prime Directive, entering a monologue which seems to suggest that on Earth, every bad thing in human history happened because people believed in God/religion. This becomes extremely hypocritical when one considers that the Federation by Picard's time tend to dogmatically follow the Prime Directive, often proclaiming that it is an invariable truth, always right and must never be questioned.
    • Also in "Up The Long Ladder," Riker expresses horror and disgust at the mere notion of cloning human beings, saying "It's not a question of harm. One William Riker is unique, perhaps even special. But a hundred of him, a thousand of him, diminishes me in ways I can't even imagine." Later, in "Second Chances," he learns that a transporter malfunction created an identical duplicate of him eight years ago . . . and it turns out to be no big deal. He just has a twin brother that he didn't know about before. The option of just drawing a phaser and killing the Other Will on the spot doesn't even occur to him, because Clones Are People Too.
    • The Season 7 episode "Eye of the Beholder" is a bizarre and curiously awkward attempt at an Anti-Suicide PSA, but they botch it by trying to have it both ways. The first act treats the suicide of a Red Shirt completely seriously, exploring it from all angles, explaining how those that commit suicide often show no obvious signs of distress. It's fairly effective, sort of a forerunner of the subject's similar treatment on an episode of House, M.D.. And then they completely botch it by Hand-Waving the uncharacteristic suicide as being the result of Psychic Powers gone awry, using it as another pitstop in the Worf/Troi Ship Tease. One wonders if the writers held the opinion that no one would seriously want to commit suicide in the Mary Sue Topia that is the 24th Century. This carries some potential Unfortunate Implications when you think about the prevalence of suicide in the present day...
    • In "Homeward," the crew is ready to let the Boraalans die for the sake of the Prime Directive, stating that they 'cannot interfere in a species natural development' (never mind that this natural development is DEATH, and the crew essentially ends up using the Prime Directive as a shield from actually doing anything in this case). Nikolai Rozhenko is made out to be in the wrong by the characters and the episode never addresses that the main characters (our heroes) were basically ready to let a civilization die out for the sake of a legal document. Not only is this morally unpleasant, it flies in the face of both previous episodes ("Pen Pals") and a later movie ("Insurrection").
  • Bury Your Disabled: Averted in "Ethics".
  • 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: Geordi who gets pwned nearly as much as Worf (suffering from The Worf Effect). He's even hopeless with women. One particularly cruel episode had an alien taunt his blindness by moving his visor around, just because. The series seems to never let us go on the fact that he's blind (until the movies, well actually he gets taunted again in Generations, which may or may not have led him to go get cybernetic replacements by Star Trek: First Contact.). And apparently his mom disappears as some plot of the week. Worst yet is that nobody gives a damn about his mom afterwards. And to add insult to injury, in Voyager's "Timeless" he tries to stop Harry Kim and fails. Ouch. In one episode, he's heading on his merry way to Risa for some rest, relaxation and poontang. He gets kidnapped by Romulans and gets a Mind Rape from them. See here for further proof of his incredibly poor luck.
    • This compilation of Geordi getting hurt is 10 minutes long. This compilation of Worf getting hurt is only 6 minutes long. Think about that for a moment...
    • 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.
    • And when Troi actually said something useful, she was often ignored. In the second season episode, "Samaritan Snare," Geordi is beamed over to a disabled ship to help the apparently dim-witted aliens out. Troi walks onto the bridge, see Geordi on the ship through the viewscreen and tells Riker Geordi is in danger and needs to be beamed back immediately. Riker ignores her warning because those aliens are just so stupid and what harm can they do? Well, let's just say the main plot of the show is Riker's efforts to get Geordi back, which could have been avoided if he'd listened to the empath!
  • The Bus Came Back: Tasha in "Yesterday's Enterprise" by way of an Alternate Timeline.

  • Cain and Abel: Data has a "brother" named Lore, which turned out to contact an alien mass-killer entity and tried to let it kill everyone aboard.
  • Call to Agriculture: Picard was managing his family vineyard as part of the alternate future in the Grand Finale.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: A favourite pose for Riker.
    • Because Jonathan Frakes is freaking huge, at least in comparison to most of his costars, and if he didn't he wouldn't fit in the frame.
  • Captain Obvious: Troi does this so much it earned her the Fan Nickname of "Counselor Obvious".
  • 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. Picard leads his men in a sea shanty on not one, but two occasions: as an alien facsimile in "Allegiance", and in Insurrection (where he and Data sing "A British Tar" 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.
    • Averted in the episode Qpid, where the main characters engage in some medieval fighting in a fantasy recreation of Robin Hood. Only the men were given swordfighting scenes, in spite of the fact that the two female leads, Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden, were the only ones in the cast who actually knew how to fence.
  • Catch Phrase: Many, including:
    Picard: Make it so.
    Data: It is possible
    Data (again): Intriguing...
    Worf: I an Worf! Son of Mogh!
    Troi: I sense that...
    The Borg: Resistance is futile.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The second season episode Q Who introduces the iconic villain race the Borg, and puts the Enterprise in a desperate situation against this genocidal antagonist, one they have no chance of defeating, so they have to literally beg Q to save them. After this dark and serious episode, the next three episodes deal with, respectively, comically dim-witted aliens, comically rural Irish colonists, and the comical sex antics of Troi's mother.
  • 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.
  • Character Development: Part of the reason the show came into its own was building up the origin stories and social habits of the crew, which served to make them more real.
    • Gene Roddenberry, it turns out, wasn't so fond of character development. Some writers left after season 1 due to this and other strange restrictions he had.
    • To clarify, Roddenberry apparently felt that not only would the races and nations have made peace in the future, but individuals would have evolved beyond petty arguments and emotional disruptions. A big part of why so many early episodes revolve around technical puzzles, and why it helps to have a completely flat, stoic character (or super-sensey empath) in the cast for contrast against the "normal" people. 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, once he died. The writing staff proceeded 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.
  • Characterization Marches On: During the early first season, Captain Picard used occasional Gratuitous French and made references to France. This aspect of the character was dropped, although he's still nominally French.
  • 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.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Will Riker. (Apparently, this is his way of interpreting the Officer and a Gentleman trope.)
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: An early episode had a Sufficiently Advanced Alien known as The Traveler strengthened by the entire Enterprise crew concentrating on making him better. (Granted, they were in an area of the universe where thoughts become reality, but it still fits the trope).
  • 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".
  • Comic Book Adaptation: DC Comics published several series, including a crossover with Malibu Comics' Deep Space Nine title. Included in DC's run was an adaptation of the the TNG finale episode "All Good Things..." Later, Marvel Comics ran a series before DC took the licence back for its Wildstorm imprint, and later IDW Publishing got the rights.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Commonplace in the series. Many of the more relaxed episodes will have a brief but dramatic B Story to serve these.
  • Communications Officer: This was the original duty for Worf, perhaps owing to his bicultural background.
  • Complete Immortality: The evil liquid entity Armus in "Skin of Evil" is stated to be immortal and unkillable. He has already spent an immeasurable amount of time on a barren, uninhabited planet after his creators left him there. Picard ensures that he will be trapped there for as long as possible without any means of escape.
  • The Confidant: Guinan and Counselor Troi.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the most commendable aspects of the show. TNG is excellent at making references to previous events in a variety of contexts, including other Trek shows.
    • 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 is a reference in that episode to the anomaly focusing its attacks on Picard to the point of the crew observing that "it's personal", which would seem odd from a mindless space anomaly. This was actually supposed to actually be Q (before his actual debut in Q-Who?), but with that omission the resulting personal attacks become headscratchers.
    • 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: 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?
    • One of the episodes is titled "Genesis."
    • 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.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: On at least one occasion, Data's "brain" is shown to be entirely in his head, including an instance of his head being removed and still talking.
  • Creating Life Is Awesome: Data is an artificial person. He's a good guy, and his creator is presented as a benevolent father figure.
    • 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 DS9, 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...
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Apparently, Wolf 359 was this.
  • 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.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Deanna Troi had three different ones.
  • Cyborg Helmsman: Geordi was the Helmsman in the first season.
  • Dan Browned: In "I, Borg", Guinan and Picard are fencing. They are wearing epee costumes, using epee rules, however, the two are clearly using foils. Especially annoying because the writers did their research the last time Picard fenced in-show and had the correct weapons.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: The episode "Conspiracy" was jarringly graphic.
  • Dashed Plotline: Picard's alternate life in "The Inner Light" is portrayed with many large time-skips.
  • Data Crystal: Isolinear chips.
  • Death Faked for You: Used in the second part of "Gambit" where Troi declares Riker dead after being shot by an undercover Picard
    • In "Data's Day", we see it from the other side as the crew investigates the death of T'Pol only to realize that she was taken by the Romulans.
  • Death Ray: The Varon-T Disruptor, capable of painfully killing rather than just disintegrating.
  • Dead Guy Junior - Troi's temporary baby, Ian Andrew, after her deceased father.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Q
    • Picard is one of these to some extent throughout the series, most notably in "The Survivors", after he beams Kevin and Rishaun Uxbridge to the bridge.
      Jean-Luc Picard: My apologies if I interrupted a waltz.
  • Demoted to Extra / Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The TNG movies focused so much on Picard and Data that they might as well have been credited as them "and all the rest!".
  • Deprogramming
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: Riker starred in a play directed by Dr. Crusher wherein he's a sane man trapped in a mental institution. During the course of his next assignment, he becomes a sane man trapped in a mental institution, and starts to go crazy. After he's rescued, he destroys the mental institution set.
  • Deus ex Machina
  • 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the episode "Justice", Wesley Crusher is nearly put to death by the locals for accidentally crushing some flowers. Worth pointing out that Death was the only form of retribution on that planet.
  • 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.
  • Double Don't Know: "The Battle".
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi:
    • 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. Although the being did impregnate her without having sex with her, so it's not rape, it's more impregnation without consent (more like giving someone in vitro fertilization without their knowledge than anything else).
    • 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.
  • Dream Apocalypse: In one episode, via Cracked's 5 Horrifying Implications of the 'Star Trek' Universe, Picard is playing holodeck when one of the characters asks him: "When you're gone, will this world still exist? Will my wife and kids still be waiting for me at home?"
    • Notably this was before it was established that holographic characters aren't conscious (unless specifically made that way), so despite interacting with the crew, they are just manifestations of a computer program. The question can be asked whether sufficiently advanced computation can breed consciousness, although the episode "Ship In A Bottle" puts this to rest with the creation of Moriarty, who says that when he began as a holodeck character he didn't really have consciousness, and that his consciousness grew into self-awareness and independent thought (which are essentially the defining characteristics of consciousness), the indication that significant complexity of intellect breads artificial intelligence and significant intelligence complexity breeds awareness. See Grow Beyond Their Programming. The above example could qualify for Early Installment Weirdness depending on your interpretation of the episode.
  • The Dutiful Son: Robert Picard.

  • Ear Worm: Invoked on Troi in "The Survivors" with plot-reaching implications.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In full effect; most noticeable in Season 1.
    • 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 Samaritan Snare" in Season 2 also has a line of dialogue clearly implying that the Klingons have actually joined the Federation, rather than just becoming standoffish allies (though this was already inconsistent with several previous episodes at the time, and may perhaps have been a reference to an idea that had been rejected before the series began but slipped in by mistake).
    • The first appearance of the Trill featured hosts that looked nothing like they did in later series, as well as allowing humans the ability to serve as temporary hosts- another feature that was forgotten about later on. The episode also seemed to imply that the Trill had very little prior outside contact, although DS9 established they'd been interacting with the galaxy for some time. This episode also implies that the mind of the host is completely irrelevant, the mind and intellect almost entirely the symbiote's, and transferring the symbiote to a different host is transferring the same person to a different body. After that, it's established that implanting the symbiote into a host creates an inseparable melding of the symbiote and host's minds and that the death of the host is essentially the death of that person, whose mindset and memories continue to exist within the symbiote and then meld together with previous hosts to form the basis of the new mind with the new host.
    • The early seasons suggested that the Federation/Klingon alliance was a relatively new development. However, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country would show that the alliance officially started 70 years before TNG. Though they did show the alliance was strained at times leading up to TNG.
    • In Encounter At Farpoint we learn that Riker and Troi are so in love that they can talk to each other telepathically. Never ever brought up again despite the two dozen or so times it would have been useful - although as one internet reviewer put it: Having the power to talk telepathically to men only after she has spread her legs for them is probably something she tried to keep off the resume.
      • The reason for never using this again could be that it is shown that such communication is intensely private and the result of a very deep emotional bond. It is unlikely either of them would ever use it again when they'd broken up - except maybe in extreme circumstances.
  • '80s Hair: Troi in the first season or so.
    • The supporting cast of "Angel One". And "Haven".
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Child for Dr. Pulaski. Her highly irregular entry onto the ship and her treatment of Data establish her as the polar opposite of Dr. Crusher.
  • 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 Me Scares Me: One of Data's earliest encounters with emotion was feeling hatred when fighting the Borg. The fact that this first emotion of his was a negative one and that he apparently enjoyed indulging in the furious killing of an enemy disturbed him. Then we get his Evil Twin Lore turning up who embraces his negative emotions and so personifies them to Data (and is in fact the cause of Data's sudden unleashing of emotion, editing them so he only gets the negative ones or feels what Lore wants him to - hence sadism). Data would probably have been scared of him, if fear hadn't been saved for a later episode.
  • 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."
  • The Evils of Free Will: There was an episode about a human colony that used Social and Genetic engineering to decide each person's profession before they were born (and tweak them to fit that role). It didn't seem that bad, as everyone loved their job and the rest of their freedoms were pretty well preserved. Until a number of them realized their society had stagnated, when the much more advanced Enterprise showed up. Then they wanted to leave, and the guardians of their colony tried to stop them.
  • Exiled from Continuity: Roddenberry originally ruled that none of the TOS races and worlds (Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans...) would appear in TNG. The original characters as well as their possible offspring were also forbidden. This rule was obviously relaxed from the start, with the presence of Worf and Bones McCoy in the pilot.
  • Expositron 9000: The ship's computer.
  • 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.
  • Expospeak Gag: In "Time's Arrow":
    Data: You may retain the surplus for yourself.
    Jack: Keep the change?
    Data: Exactly.
  • Eye Lights Out: The Soong androids.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: For a surprise revelation about long lost Tasha Yar's fate.
  • Facepalm: The best known picture happens to feature Picard facepalming from "Deja Q".
  • Fanservice:
    • 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-baring 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, O'Brien and Data are mentally taken over by noncorporeal beings who claim to be Starfleet officers who have crash landed on a world, but they're actually convicted prisoners.
  • Fantastic Racism: There was an episode with an Aesop about homophobia delivered by a genderless species. Who were all played by women so that the audience wouldn't be subjected to Riker kissing someone played by a guynote .
    • Dr. Pulaski is bigoted and condescending towards Data purely because he is a mechanic life-form, and it's clear from the beginning that she believes he's nothing more than a very advanced computer, even calling him a "device." She continues to act in a manner that would be considered reprehensible from a starfleet officer considering the social mores of the show.
  • 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.
  • Fat and Skinny: Ambassador Sarek's advisors in "Sarek".
  • 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 asks a question to one of his chorus, quickly apologising that he'd never encountered this form of communication and inadvertently breached protocol.note 
    • 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.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Treaty of Algeron, and the Federation-Cardassian Treaty are plot relevant political agreements.
  • Fighting from the Inside: many incidents of this, usually when someone is under the imposed control of someone else (or even being turned into someone else) and is trying to fight for their self, identity and/or sanity. The archetypical example is Picard being turned into Locutus. In examples like Picard's this is also a form of Mind Rape, violating his mind, tearing away at the very fabric of his being, and turning it against him and the people he loves in the ultimate humiliation and pain. After Locutus, Picard tends to view such an experience as a Fate Worse Than Death (certainly so with the Borg).
  • Figure It Out Yourself:
    • A time traveler in an episode pulls this on Picard, saying how happy he is to be visiting the Enterprise. Picard, meanwhile, has a difficult decision to make and wants the time traveler to tell him how the decision turns out (the fate of a whole planet was at stake). The time traveler, naturally, refuses. Picard does make the right choice and saves everybody, but in an interesting subversion it turns out that the time traveler is bluffing about knowing how things come out: he was actually from the past and had stolen the time machine.
    • In the Series Finale "All Good Things...", Picard asks Q what he's really saying about humanity. Q begins to whisper something in his ear, then changes his mind, smiling broadly, bidding farewell, "In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello from time to time. See you... out there!"
  • Fish People: The Antedeans.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The phaser lance from the alternate future version of the Enterprise-D in "All Good Things".
  • Fling a Light into the Future
  • Flowers of Romance: It happened a few times:
    • In the episode "Haven", Deanna Troi wants to fulfill her arranged marriage promise to Wyatt Miller. He had given her a chameleon rose as a gift. It was blue when Miller held it and turned red, then white when Troi held it. It later turned purple while still in Troi's hands (which becomes Fridge Brilliance when you take into account that the marriage is called off when Wyatt found his fantasy lover, Ariana, aboard a Tarellian ship);
    • "In Theory" had Lieutenant Commander Data presenting a bunch of crystilia to Lieutenant Jenna D'Sora, when the two were "dating". Data's choice came from Commander William Riker's recommendation, since crystilia had "worked for him before";
    • In "Ménage à Troi", Dai Mon Tog presented a bouquet of pericules (aka zan periculi) to Lwaxana Troi while attempting to court her. Lwaxana tossed them in a nearby lake.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    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.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Picard in "Tapestry".
  • Freak Out: Had by Captain Picard in "Sarek", on behalf of the titular legendary diplomat. Sarek is suffering Vulcan Alzheimer's, and "borrows" Picard's emotional self-control to complete one last mission.
  • Freud Was Right: invoked 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.
  • From a Single Cell: lots of instances of this too, where a single biological or mechanical cell (or unit) multiplies and creates an entire being, consciousness, species, or, in one case, civilization (although that started from 2 nanite cells not one).
  • 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 original jumpsuits were so tight and form-fitting that they were rather uncomfortable; Patrick Stewart once mentioned that, "they... hurt." Because of this, the jumpsuits were replaced with high-necked tops and pants (at least for the main cast; background characters still wore the one-piece jumpsuits, which were later modified slightly to better resemble the main cast's uniforms).
  • Gaining The Will To Kill: In "The Most Toys," Kivas Fajo's taunts backfire when he convinces Data that the only way to stop him is to kill him.
    Data: I cannot permit this to continue.
    • Ironically, this shows another move towards more human behavior for Data.
  • Geeky Turn-On: In "The Perfect Mate," a metamorph (female who automatically becomes whatever the man she's speaking to most desires) gets Picard's interest by talking about archaeology. And Shakespeare.
  • 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 Freudian 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, and she and Riker seemed to share the volume of temporary romantic interests during that time.
  • 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 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.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The EP-607 in "The Arsenal of Freedom".
  • Good Guy Bar: Ten Forward.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Federation seem to take on this attitude after Wolf 359.
  • 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.
    • There's an element of both sides Completely Missing the Point in the above conversation, because the man in question doesn't just use his abilities to add an edge to reading people, he outright uses his powers to manipulate people into doing things that are advantageous to him, cheating his way to winning negotiations in both an unethical and illegal manner. He even used his powers to get Troi into his bed much quicker than she felt initially felt comfortable with (until he won her over). In addition, although he accuses Troi of helping Picard in combat situations, she never uses her powers in such an instance, and she also never uses her powers to affect someone's destruction, only they're immobilization - to the point: she only uses her powers to protect the ship in a non-lethal capacity, using them as an aide to reading people and situations.
    • In the conversation mentioned above when the quarter Betazoid accuses Troi of using her powers just like he does, she's disconcerted, realizing that she does use her powers to give her ship an edge, however when she realizes that he is manipulating people in amoral fashion she uses her own powers to tell everyone exactly what her counterpart is doing, to his great discomfort.
  • 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 40 years on the entire system is still a starship graveyard, as the system is uninhabited so making it part of the memorial could be considered a fitting gesture.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: The former plague cure that became a narcotic in "Symbiosis" plus the 21st-century drug-addled supersoldier Q conjures up in "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Great Gazoo: Q.
  • Grow Beyond Their Programming: Data, Moriarty and the nanomachines in "Evolution." There's also some indication (and certainly one that is reinforced in Voyager and DS9) that the more complex holograms are and/or the longer they are left on, the more they grow beyond their programming and start to attain self-aware states. The accumulation of experience eventually leads to consciousness and independent thought (of a kind), presumably as the programs become more and more complex over time until they reach a critical mass point of awareness.
  • 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.
  • Hero Killer: The Borg are an entire species like this, according to Q and Guinan. They prove it in their debut episode and nearly conquer the Federation in their second appearance.
  • 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.
    • This gets brought up in the episode where Crusher has a Trill lover. She goes through the death of his host, discovering his nature as a symbiote, and even gets past the symbiote temporarily implanted into Riker, someone she never had romantic (or sexual for that matter) intentions to, learning to rediscover the person she loves even when he's wearing Riker's skin, all because the strength of their love gets past these huge obstacles. She's all ready to be with him when he gets implanted into a new host no matter who that host is... until the host walks through the door and it's a woman. The Unfortunate Implications aren't just limited to LGBT this time.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Dateless: More than any other series, the Enterprise-D crew had rotten love lives. (With the exception of Riker. In fact, Number One was so well-adjusted that he rarely carried an episode by himself.)
    • Picard was firmly established as Married to the Job early on, despite harboring intense feelings for Beverly. "Lessons" showed us why he must never act on those impulses: He attempted a relationship with one astrophysicist, only to order her to her death. Just as he had with Jack Crusher, Beverly's late husband. As a Captain, he cannot fraternize too closely with people whose lives he might one day forfeit.
    • invoked Data attempted a domestic relationship in one episode, and it was a total wash. All of his Uncanny Valley mannerisms came out in a creepily stilted kiss. ("In Theory")
      Data: Jenna. Are we no longer a couple?
      Jenna: No, we're not.
      Data: Then I will delete the appropriate programme.
    • Geordi has incredibly bad mojo with women, to the point where if you ignored Dr. Brahams, he could easily pass for homosexual. The reason is not entirely clear; Geordi is honest to the point of folly, which often blows up in his face. LeVar Burton was perplexed about all this, although he has stated in interviews that Geordi's datelessness was due to the fact that the writers didn't know how to write black male sexuality.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Borg.
  • How We Got Here: In the episode "Suspicions", Beverly is telling Guinan how she got into professional trouble for most of the episode.
  • Humanity Ensues: The Continuum once meted out this punishment to Q. By the end of the episode he was back to his all-powerful Reality Warping self again.
  • Humanity Is Infectious
  • 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 Ambush: The Picard Maneuver.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Quite a few times, given the ubiquitousness of Warp Drive in this setting (as a general rule, if you don't have warp drive, nobody in Starfleet is terribly interested in dealing with you anyways). Occasionally subverted, either because the pursuing ship is faster, or because the heroes are trapped inside some sort of Negative Space Wedgie and literally have nowhere they can go.
  • Hypocrisy: 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.
    • Ro's appearances in general seem to indicate that these deviations from uniform can be allowed or disallowed at the captain's discretion (and first officer's, as he's in charge of discipline, at least if he's Riker), similar to the US Marine Corps' shorthand for gunnery sergeant ('gunny') which the rank holder can allow or disallow the lower ranks. Ro Laren herself acquires the right to wear her earring while in uniform later on and keeps one on for the rest of her Starfleet career.
    • Dr. Crusher qualifies for this in her application of medical ethics. Repeatedly the way she carries out her duty of care is flawed (self-oriented rather than patient-oriented, and picking and choosing what elements of her duty of care to adhere to as it suits her), her ethical approach hypocritical or one sided, often valuing sheer survival over patient autonomy, privacy, rights, their personal and cultural values, and their own choices (patient autonomy being one of the core values of medical care), and even blaming other people - often others she has duty of care over - for their decisions and/or when they are involved with the death of someone under her care (which she has no right to do).
      • In one instance an injured Romulan is brought aboard the Enterprise and requires Worf's ribozomes for neuronal and cellular repair. Worf refuses to donate his ribozomes on grounds of his own morality, and the patient refuses the donation anyway out of hatred for Klingons. Crusher disregards the values of both and their right to choose, and not only repeatedly presses Worf to donate, intending to donate the ribozomes to the Romulan against his will, but she even blames him for the death of the Romulan, repeatedly harassing him over his decision, bringing Worf into sickbay to watch him die, and continuing to firmly blame him afterwards for the death. All of this is in violation of her duty of care as ship's physician and hypocritical in terms of medical ethics.
      • In "Suddenly Human" the Enterprise comes across a ship of injured adolescent aliens on a training exercise with a human amidst them, who identifies as one of the aliens and wants to go back with them "home." Crusher sees evidence of past injuries and instead of taking into account the culture - a militant civilization which trains children from a young age to be soldiers/warriors - or what the boy says, or interviewing the other alien boys with him, or evaluating whether the other boys have similar injuries, or asking to speak to the person in charge of the boy's care, she immediately and conclusively determines that the boy was brutalised and abused, has Stockholm Syndrome, and needs to be rescued and introduced to a proper "human" way of life. Of course in the end it turns out that the boy was found and brought up by a loving family who didn't ill-treat him, the injuries were a result of the training the boys go through and quite common, and Crusher's assumptions and presumptions were harmful and traumatic.
      • In "Ethics" when Worf is injured leaving him paralysed from the waist down, Dr. Crusher doesn't listen to what Worf wants, his cultural and personal bias, his requirements for adequate quality of life or respect his autonomy, instead she not only condescendingly decides what he should want and what he should do, she compromises one of the core tenants of medical ethics and decides which options for treatment he should want and does not even inform him of all his options. She even gets angry at the spinal specialist who comes onboard because she does tell Worf all his options, putting Crusher in the uncomfortable position of performing a life-threatening procedure which is outside her comfort zone. It takes Picard having to explain to Crusher her own patient's wishes and needs, which shows just how warped and egocentric her view of medicine has become. Of course Dr. Crusher then goes on to lecture the visiting spinal doctor on her hypocritical medical practices... without realizing how she herself is repeatedly putting her own needs and desires in front of her patient's.
  • 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.
    • In "Ethics" Dr. Crusher turns on another Doctor for trying unconventional techniques to save someone's life, accusing her of choosing which treatments to give based on her own bias. When she questions this doctor's judgement she says "I made the choice that I thought gave him the best chance of surviving, isn't that what you would have done?" Meanwhile Crusher is doing the exact same thing in Worf's case: picking and choosing which options to give him... except Worf isn't unconscious, and Crusher is ignoring his opinions and patient autonomy nonetheless. This is the only "nod" to Crusher's hypocrisy when it comes to medical ethics.

  • I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Worf, Son of Mogh."
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Uttered verbatim by Riker while showing off his poker skills.
  • I, Noun: The episode "I Borg", despite lacking the comma.
  • Identical Grandson: Also overlaps with literal Generation Xerox as Data and Lore were designed to resemble their creator Dr. Noonien Soong. Its later revealed that he was also an Identical Grandson of Dr. Arik Soong from Enterprise.
    • Although given how Arik Soong was a brilliant geneticist, it's entirely plausible the resemblance is the result of genetic manipulation or all-out cloning.
    • Michael Dorn, who plays Worf, played Worf's grandfather in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • In 'The Neutral Zone', one of the revived 20th century humans tracks down one of her descendants, who is apparently identical to her deceased husband.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You
  • If You Can Read This: Many examples; the set designers had a lot of fun adding in easter eggs. See the trope page for details.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: ("Datalore")
  • 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.
  • Industrialized Evil: The Borg assimilation process.
  • 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.
  • Informed Ability: Pretty much everything about the "outrageous" Okona.
    • For the tactical officer Worf seemed to be a terrible shot both with the ship's weapons and his own phaser. Not all of this can be attributed to The Worf Effect or the necessity of the script - in one episode he's practicing on the phaser range and gets easily beaten by Guinan (although she's had a lot more years to practice, and explicitly tells him she's been doing this since before he was born). 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.
    • We rarely see Troi's counseling skills in private sessions. Her counseling sessions are only shown on-screen to either elucidate someone's plot-relevant personal/psychological problem - and this is done rarely - or, more commonly, to reveal that some issue Troi is having is affecting her ability to do her job, which normally results in her abusing the poor patient by being overtly condescending, downright hostile, or just acting really strangely. Typically when someone has a problem they need help with, they are shown talking to Guinan for advice, who uses her position as bar-tender to full effect (usually using some tough-love to manipulate or force someone to face their problems).
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • It is a cellular peptide cake... with mint frosting.
    • Mr. Data is an "artificial life form" or "android", not a "robot"
    • And his name is pronounced 'Dayta', not 'Datta'.
  • Instant Seduction: Okona again.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Q appears to be very interested in Humanity. Or maybe it's just Picard.
  • "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.
    • In "The Outcast", Riker rejects the pronoun "it" for referring to a member of the (genderless) J'naii species for this very reason.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The novel used as the basis for the titular hotel in "The Royale" begins with this phrase.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In a meta example, Patrick Stewart was so certain this series would fail that for the first six weeks of shooting he refused to unpack his suitcases. Indeed, he's said in subsequent interviews that he only took the job because he thought it would merely be a temporary adventure.
  • I Would Say If I Could Say: Data uses this on occasion based on emotions he cannot actually experience. Once he comments upon visiting his "birth" planet that he would say "Home, sweet home" if only he knew what "sweet" really was. Another time he mentions that he would find a procedure insulting if he were not an android (and thus incapable of feeling insulted).
  • Jerk Ass: Q and most of the Cardassians that show up.
    • The Cardassian culture actually values Jerk Ass qualities.
  • Joker Jury: The onlookers in Q's 'courtroom.'
  • Just Between You and Me: A lot of enemy plots are foiled when their plans are revealed, only to have the crew member in question escape and foil the whole thing.
  • Just Ignore It: The Stone of Gol 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.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: "Suspicions" is the Trope Namer, featuring a Klingon scientist named Kurak who is very touchy for this reason. She's at a private demonstration for the research of a Ferengi scientist named Reyga who hopes to overcome his race's stereotypical image and be taken seriously in the scientific community.
    Reyga: "After all, a Ferengi scientist is almost a contradiction in terms!"
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • The show killed off Tasha Yar in the first season episode "Skin of Evil". Denise Crosby left the show because she felt her character didn't have enough to do in the episodes. The producers probably felt that there were too many characters anyway and needed to trim the cast a bit. So they apparently took it pretty well. In fact, they worked with Crosby to make her departing episode special in terms of Star Trek, the show that was responsible for the Redshirt trope. Also, driven home is the fact that Yar's death was somewhat pointless and understated and not the type of dramatic heroic death usually reserved for main characters. But then, there was the episode Yesterday's Enterprise which ressurects her in a way (only to kill her again) but in an alternate timeline.
    • Spock's father Sarek, who'd first appeared in the original series nearly 25 years earlier, died in "Unification I".
  • Knight of Cerebus: Prior to late Season 2, the crew had always managed to beat the threat of the week via some combination of diplomacy, tactics, and technology. Then the Borg were introduced, and became the number one ultimate threat to the Federation for the entire series, despite only appearing in six episodes. In their first encounter with the Borg, the Enterprise was utterly defeated and on the verge of being dissected and assimilated before Q rescued themnote .
  • Knight Templar: Nora Satie in "The Drumhead".
    • Satie's inquiry into possible sabotage quickly devolves into an ever widening witch hunt. It becomes such a farce that one of the presiding officers simply stands up and walks out of the proceedings.
  • 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.
    • Actually, the Universal Translator worked exactly like it's supposed to, which is to translate "Alien Language of the Week" into English. However, the Tamarian language consists entirely of metaphors, and the crew lacked the understanding of Tamarian culture necessary to understand the references. This is actually brought up by Counsellor Troi, and Picard is able to converse with the Tamarians perfectly by the end of the episode. Because Picard is just that awesome.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "The Price," the Federation and other powers are bidding on the rights to a wormhole. One of the diplomats, in league with the Ferengi, uses underhanded tactics to get the other delegates to drop out and secure the rights, with preferential treatment to Ferengi shipping. However, right afterwards, it's found that the wormhole is not as stable as was thought and so is completely useless.
  • Late to the Tragedy: "Night Terrors." The Brittain's crew sends out a distress call and the Enterprise finds them 29 days later. The ship is adrift, most of the crew have gone insane and killed each other, and the only survivor is in a catatonic state and unable to explain what happened on the ship.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: "The Naked Now".
  • Lighthouse Point: "Aquiel", which had a space lighthouse.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: The reason why any promotions were token, or short-lived, or part of.
    • Riker has been up for promotion around seven times. He refuses because he feels it is more prestigious to be First Officer aboard the Enterprise than Captain of any other ship. He finally leaves the Enterprise to be Captain of the Titan in the last movie after 14 years of being the Enterprise First Officer.
    • Picard is overly qualified for Admiral rank, and has been pushed there many times. He refuses because he joined Starfleet to explore, not to sit behind a desk on Earth or a starbase somewhere. This creates the odd situation of Admiral Janeway giving him orders in Nemesis, despite the fact he is substantially more qualified and experienced. Meanwhile, the aforementioned admiral has plenty of reason to prefer a nice quiet desk job. That said, it should be noted that Picard is often treated as a de facto Admiral. For example, in Star Trek: First Contact, when the Enterprise-E arrives at the battle with the Borg cube and finds that the Admiral leading the fleet has been killed, Picard summarily takes command of the entire fleet — and nobody questions it!
  • Licensed Game: A Final Unity follows in the footsteps of the 25th Anniversary Adventure 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).
    • Star Trek: Bridge Commander, probably the most popular Trek of its era and a favorite among modders. (Shadow Battlecrab versus Battlestar Pegasus!)
  • 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.
  • Living Memory
  • The Load:
    • Tasha Yar. Her character's complete lack of usefulness is what led Denise Crosby to leave the show near the end of the first season.
    • In many ways, Deanna Troi filled this role too. 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. Maybe this makes her closer to Butt Monkey. Troi did manage to Take a Level in Badass during a two-episode arc where she was sent to spy on the Romulans... but left that level somewhere for the rest of the series, never to be seen again. Those episodes are the reason A Day in the Limelight used to be named "Good Troi Episode".
      • The sad thing is that Deanna had the potential to be useful however the writers always made her conveniently absent whenever her Betazoid abilities would have come in handy. There were a couple of instances when the crew made contact with an obviously deceptive alien race or leader. Deanna could have sensed their deceptive nature and warned the crew but she always managed to be suspiciously absent for those meetings.
  • Long Bus Trip: At the end of Unification, Part 2, Sela is still alive and well, though presumably she will be demoted and possibly imprisoned because of her failure. Many viewers expected her to return in later Romulan-centric stories (such as Star Trek: Nemesis), but she never did.
  • Losing Horns: Riker plays these unintentionally at the start of "Future Imperfect".
  • Lost Aesop: The episode "The Masterpiece Society" involves the Enterprise contacting an isolationist human colony that is about to be destroyed by a stellar fragment. However, exposure to the outside universe causes some colonists to ultimately decide to leave, which is damaging to their carefully structured society. Picard spends much of the episode disapproving of their closed, meticulously planned culture. Then at the end he agonizes over the fact despite saving it from utter destruction, contact with them has irreparably altered that culture. Even more bizarre when contrasted with the earlier episode "Up the Long Ladder", wherein Picard and company enthusiastically, indeed almost gleefully, imposed change on not one, but two "backwards" human colonies that they similarly disapproved of.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • "Future Imperfect": Riker is trapped in a Lotus Eater Machine by a benevolent captor who just wants to be friends with him. When he realizes it the first time, it creates a second Lotus Eater Machine, in which he's a prisoner of a recurring enemy Romulan who was behind the first one as well. Both times inconsistencies/inaccuracies are what tip Riker off.
    • In "Remember Me", Dr. Crusher gets trapped in a pocket dimension shaped by her own thoughts, in which the crew members disappear one by one and are forgotten by the rest of the crew, while weird portals (leading back to the real world) open up everywhere- eventually she's the only one left and the universe starts collapsing.
    • Poor old Riker is again trapped in one in "Frame of Mind".
    • "Ship In A Bottle". During one of Data's Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventures, Moriarty gains actual sentience. He then theorizes that he must have come to life, and he should be able to leave the holodeck, which he does. The rest of the episode is Data and Picard trying to figure out what's going on until they realize everybody on the Enterprise suddenly is left handed, like Moriarty. They manage to escape the program, and create a small subroutine so that Moriarty, still living in his dream, can dream it for as long as he wants with the love he found in his Lotus Eater Machine.
  • Loveable Rogue: "The Outrageous Okona".
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Pakleds.

  • Made of Evil: Armus, the eponymous skin in "Skin of Evil", is a being made up of an entire civilization's discarded negative thoughts and emotions. He also killed Tasha Yar.
  • Madness Mantra: "Sarek"
  • Magic Pants: In the episode "Rascals", Picard, Ensign Ro, Keiko, and Guinan are in a transporter accident that beams them onto the Enterprise as 12-year-old children while their clothes all shrink to fit their child bodies perfectly. In the end, They show Picard turned back into an adult with the transporter and again, his clothes grow with him. Even Picard's artificial heart must be magical!
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When he was younger, Picard's reaction to being stabbed in the heart by a Nausicaan... was to laugh!
  • Married In The Future:
    • 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.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: In "The Survivors"
  • Meaningful Name: "Data" is named for a word that means "facts and statistics". His evil twin is named "Lore", which means "superstition and legend", thus marking him as Data's symbolic opposite.
  • Mega Manning: The Borg have the ability to assimilate technology and knowledge from other species. It is at the very core of their philosophy. As a result most newly designed weapons or tactics will only be effective for a short period of time.
  • Mexican Standoff: A staple of later seasons. There is plenty of exposition at gun/disruptor/phaser-point.
  • Milky White Eyes: Geordi's blindness, later dropped in Star Trek: First Contact, where he gets cybernetic eye implants that instead gives his eyes a silverish color.
  • Mind Screw: Several episodes, with "Frame of Mind" being an outstanding example with a standout performance from Jonathan Frakes as Riker. Not so much a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall as breaking the fifth, sixth and seventh walls. Into little pieces.
    • Also occurs with the back-and-forth dialogue between Gul Madred and Picard in "Chain of Command (Part II)" too, along with some Mind Game Ship.
    • A probably-unintentional example: In "Datalore", they make a big deal out of the fact that Data can't use contractions and Lore can. Lore renders Data unconscious, switches clothing with him and has everyone (aside from Wesley) believing that he's Data. At the conclusion of the episode, Lore (still wearing Data's uniform) is beamed into space, and a moment later the cavalry arrives. Picard asks Data if he's all right, and Data says, "I'm fine."
    • "Ship in a Bottle" has crew defeat Moriarty, whose return threatens the Enterprise again, by creating a holodeck within a holodeck, then beaming him into an active memory core that will continue to run the program he's created with him unaware that the world he's in is not the real one. Picard later muses that Moriarty's new reality may be equally valid to there own and whether their reality is not just a story playing out in a box on someone's table. Barclay, once alone, pauses for a moment to actually check and laughs at himself when nothing happens.
  • 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.
  • Mobile Fishbowl: The Benzites are a semi-aquatic race who have a special attachment to their uniforms which blows a fine mist in the direction of their faces on a regular basis so they can continue to breathe.
  • Monster of the Week: The show had stellar anomalies of the week that were always solved by a healthy amount of Technobabble.
    • The first season started to become a ''god-like alien'' of the week show, but fortunately found sturdier footing in subsequent seasons.
  • Moral Dissonance: Beverly Crusher in "I, Borg" - it's understandable that she would want to care and help a single injured Borg, and even that she wouldn't want said Borg to be used as an instrument of destruction... But her constant complaining and refusal to treat the Borg race as what they actually are, especially considering the And I Must Scream hell Picard went through and the thousands of Borg mooks the Federation has destroyed, is not only hypocritical and insulting, but contrary to her own actions in helping to destroy or detain other alien threatsnote .
    • Crusher's decisions and view of medical ethics and patient care is often steeped in Double Standards. She professes to care about her patients, but she ignores what they want, patient autonomy and their personal, cultural and racial viewpoints. She decides what her patients want, what they need, and ignores all informed consent. In "Ethics" she even gives a patient only the options she thinks are best, and then turns around and criticizes the doctor who does. She also has a very bad habit of blaming other people when patients die under her care, such as blaming Worf for the death of a Romulan because he wouldn't donate his blood (despite the Romulan refuses to have his blood anyway), and pushes her opinions onto other people despite what they may want. It gets so bad that she not only decides what they should want, she completely invalidates their opinions and flat-out ignores them. Not a single person picks her up on this despite Picard talking about "respecting others and their cultures" just minutes before.
  • Moral Luck: In the episode "Brothers" aboy pranks his younger brother, which scares the brother enough for him to run and hide. While hiding the younger brother eats a fruit that leaves him so ill he nearly dies. The older brother is severely scolded by numerous cast members for 'nearly killing' his brother. However, while a little cruel for a prank there was no reason for the older brother to expect anything worse then his younger brother being frighted for a little while out of his prank. This feels particularly horrible since a child that young would likely already be horrible guilt ridden to the point of tears and any competent parent would go out of their way to tell the child that this wasn't his fault not further scolding or blaming him.
  • Moral Myopia: "Coming of Age" and "Chain of Command".
  • Most Annoying Sound: In-Universe example in "Suddenly Human". The Talarians and Jono all make a wailing sound as their way of mourning their dead comrades while being treated in sick bay. Picard can't stand it and after asking them nicely a couple times finally shouts at them to be quiet. They do what he says that time, much to the relief of Dr. Crusher and her staff, who weren't enjoying it either.
  • Motivational Kiss: In one away mission, Data gets such a kiss from a local girl. He is perplexed.
  • Mr. Exposition
  • Mr. Fanservice: First Officer William T. Riker, and he knows it.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Troi. Marina Sirtis said that she was thrilled with the role because "There's a little ugly girl inside of me going 'Yay! I'm a sex symbol!'"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Survivors", Kevin Uxbridge, an immortal being with incredible powers and a lifelong pacifist, admits that when he saw his wife Rishaun murdered by the Husnock, in a fit of blind rage he wiped out every Husnock, everywhere. And as heartbroken as he is about Rishaun's death, he's even more devastated by his retribution.
    • The terraformers in "Home Soil" are devastated to find out that there were lifeforms on Valera III after all.
    • Picard in "Galaxy's Child" after accidentally killing a cosmozoan in self-defense. The Enterprise ends up playing mommy to it's baby.
    • In "The Measure of a Man," Riker is forced to argue the case against Data's rights. Riker does his job very well, including a devastating moment where he turns Data off to prove his point. After sitting down, though, Riker silently laments what he's doing to one of his closest friends. Even after Picard wins the case, Riker is still hung up on his actions until Data reassures him that it's okay.
  • Mysterious Past
  • Mythology Gag: The first time we see Picard in the past during the series finale, "All Good Things...", he finds himself aboard a shuttlecraft approaching Enterprise piloted by Tasha Yar, en route to his first time setting foot aboardship. The name of the shuttle? Galileo, which is the best-known of all the shuttles carried by Enterprise during the original series. This was the only episode of Next Generation to feature a shuttlecraft Galileo.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Gul Madred. (His name isn't actually mentioned in the episode.)
  • Naval Blockade: During the Klingon civil war the Federation put a blockade along the Klingon-Romulan border to keep the Romulans from supplying the Duras Sisters.
  • Near Death Experience
  • 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."
  • Negative Space Wedgie
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer. In one episode Captain Picard calls up Riker and asks what's going on and all Riker can say is "Trouble."
  • New Media Are Evil: "The Game" doesn't even try to hide its contempt for videogames, which is ironic given how many videogames the NG crew helped with later on.
    • It helps that as a rule, Star Trek games (especially ones that would involve the show staff) tend to be on the cerebral side as far as their plot and gameplay are concerned. "The Game" centers around a mindless, addictive game that takes over people's lives.
    • SF Debris made a compelling argument that this wasn't the point of the episode, since Holodecks are the ultimate expression of gaming and no-one seems to care. It was just another stupid brainwashing device.
      • Holodecks are shown to be addictive and dangerous though, as shown with Reg Barclay, see entry below.
    • In "The Game" the game itself is just a front for what is essentially a recreational drug, and a hugely addictive brainwashing drug at that. So there are two interpretations to this episodes: either videogames are senselessly pointless and as addictive and damaging as a drug; or this trope is subverted and the point is that Drugs Are Bad and recreational drugs can look as harmless as a videogame but can be addictive as crack.
    • 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.
    • In the instance of this episode, it may be an unknowing subversion. Looking at how closed-off and ritualistic the society is, we don't know that no one has ever complained before. No one is going to check that all these suicides aren't occasionally... "assisted."
    • The truly shocking point of this concept is the age at which this suicide is forced upon these people. Even with today's medical technology, 60 is still not that old, so with 24th century technology, killing yourself at 60 would be like killing yourself today at 40, which is barely middle age - hence the episode name "half a life."
  • Noodle Incident: Despite her showing up a lot throughout the series, we never do find out just what it is that Picard did to so completely earn Guinan's trust and vice versa.
    • The Expanded Universe novel Stargazer: Oblivion explains that Picard helped her overcome her "serious trouble" (and she means "serious") from leaving the Nexus in his Stargazer days.
    • It's somewhat implied that part of the reason she trusts Picard implicitly is because of the events of "Time's Arrow".
    • However, the reason why Q is so wary of Guinan is never explained.
    • We also never find out what exactly led to Jack Crusher's death, or how Picard was involved.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jean-Luc Picard, a Frenchman played by an obviously English actor using Yorkshire idioms - Grand.
    • Somewhat Truth in Television as many native speakers of other European languages speak English with a British accent.
    • Patrick Stewart had tried speaking in a French accent but sounded so ridiculous that he gave up.
    • When Picard visits his home village in France his entire family affects the same accent, which suggests that his family and perhaps the whole village or region consists of British transplants. If a sizable group fled Britain for some reason before the 24th century, they could have been established long enough for their accent to become a localized French dialect.
      • Alternately, the scenes can be interpreted as operating under a Translation Convention: Picard and his family are actually speaking French but the scenes were filmed in English for the audience's sake (just as there are many scenes in the series where Klingon, Romulan, etc. characters apparently speak to each other in English when logically they would have to be speaking their own languages), and the similar accents are just to give a sense of consistency. This would also explain why Picard's relatives have no French accents while Worf's adoptive parents (presumably speaking English aboard the Enterprise) have heavy Russian accents in the very same episode.
    • 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.
    • Or, you know...maybe he just learned English in England...
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Dr. Pulaski.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Wesley gets this treatment sometimes, most notably in "Where No One Has Gone Before", where he tries twice to tell Riker some important observations of their mysterious Alien of the Week. To his credit, Riker owns up to his mistake when he realizes what happened.
  • 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.
    • The only real difference between the Romulans and the Klingons is that the Klingons have a highly developed sense of honor and ethics, with What You Are in the Dark sentiments to their ideology, while the Romulans are far more devious and value loyalty to the empire above all else, and praise any treachery or manipulations that is necessary for it to thrive. On the surface at least...
    • In "The Vengeance Factor" as a means of building a bridge between Sovereign Marouk and Gatherer leader Chorgun, Picard notes the two really are quite similar as they are wise, intelligent, responsible leaders to their groups and seek what is best for them.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In the aptly titled episode "Imaginary Child", an alien takes the form of a young girl's imaginary friend. The imaginary friend disappears whenever an adult comes near.
  • 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.
    • Averted in Unnatural Selection. Pulaski wants to bring one of the potentially-infected children out of stasis using a force field as protection. Picard refuses to allow it, pointing out that force fields are prone to failure.
      • Which brings into question why the sickbay of the Federation flagship wouldn't be equipped with some sort of bio-hazard isolation zone - a room that could be quarantined from the rest of the ships air supply and still allow the patient to be treated. This would also have solved the issue in "The Child", where the were transporting bio-hazardous material which was in danger of escaping.
  • No Poverty: Or money, either. Replicators and antimatter generators with a new social philosophy did away with poverty.
  • No Sense of Humor: Data repeatedly attempts to understand humor as part of his quest to become more human.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Q. If he finds you, uh, know.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The Crystalline Entity is an Obliviously Evil space-faring creature that is feared for its ability to scour entire planets of life, but Picard defends its right to exist on the basis that it is merely feeding, as any lifeform must to survive.
  • Not Himself: Data in "Clues". Troi in "Man of the People" is Not Herself due to Mind Rape.
  • Not Me This Time: In the episode "Firstborn," Lursa and B'Etor of the House of Duras are suspected of an assassination attempt against Worf. It turns out a future version of Alexander, Worf's son, had traveled back in time to stage this attempt so as to motivate the young Alexander to become a Klingon warrior.
    • In the episode "True Q", Q offers Amanda Rogers the choice to remain with humans if she can resist the temptation to use the powers of the Q. Amanda agrees, but almost the moment she and Picard leave the ready room, all hell breaks loose on the planet they're orbiting, endangering the lives of millions of people, as well as Riker and Geordi on the surface. Picard immediately suspects that Q had something to do with it, but he shrugs and says, "Not this time, Picard." Of course, Q's not only an inveterate liar, but he's also omnipotent. So even if he didn't have anything to do with it (which is dubious), he could easily have known that something was about to happen and waiting to offer the choice until that precise moment.
  • Novelization: Unlike TOS and TAS, which saw every episode adapted in some form, only a handful of key TNG episodes were novelized, including its first and last episodes, and a few key episodes in-between such as the TOS crossovers "Relics" and "Unification".
  • The Nudifier: One Ferengi transporter does this when transporting women.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: This happened frequently but was particularly noticeable during the first season.
  • Offscreen Reality Warp: How Worf knows he is traveling through different parallel universes in "Parallels."
  • Oh, Crap:
    • The classic episode, "The Best of Both Worlds". The Borg kidnapped Captain Picard and are ready to conquer the galaxy, having turned Picard into their mouthpiece, Locutus of Borg. Riker steels himself and orders the Enterprise to fire its main deflector dish, a jury-rigged Wave Motion Gun capable of vaporizing a small continent. — "Mr. Worf... FIRE." The ship cuts loose with its Doomsday weapon... which does precisely jack shit against the Borg. The moment is beyond words as it slowly dawns on the crew that they've come up against the one enemy they will not defeat. Locutus even taunts them over it:
      Locutus: "The knowledge and experience of the human Picard is part of us, now. It has prepared us for all possible courses of action. Your resistance is hopeless...Number One"
    • In I, Borg, the entire senior staff has one when they realize that the wreckage they are investigating is a Borg vessel, and there's a survivor. Picard is so shocked, he briefly entertains Worf's suggestion that they kill the drone, make its death look like an accident, and get the hell out of there.
      • That honor-obsessed Worf is the one to suggest that course of action speaks to the horror of the situation.
    • In the episode where Barclay is introduced, Capt. Picard accidentally calls him "Broccoli". His reaction is quite expressive.
    • Implied in "Parallels", where a Bajoran ship begins attacking the Enterprise in a universe where they're becoming more aggressive. Cue interference with the temporal fissure causing thousands of Enterprises (at least) from other alternate timelines to suddenly appear. The Bajoran ship immediately stands down. One can only imagine this is what that ship's crew were thinking...
  • Ominous Message from the Future: In the episode "Time Squared" the Enterprise picks up a shuttle and is surprised to find it crewed by a future version of Captain Picard too incoherent to understand, while the shuttle's logs show the Enterprise being destroyed. The crew then needs to work out what sequence of events caused the destruction, and avert it.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: In "Future Imperfect", Commander Riker is trapped inside virtual reality simulator. Once he realizes the reality is strange and doesn't make sense, he is moved to another level of "real" world, but the setting has simply changed to a new illusion. The shift between several illusions uses distortion with little squares.
  • Once a Season: The Q episodes and the Holodeck Malfunctions.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: "Darmok" ends up working this way in practice if not in theory.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Troi rarely seems to do any actual councilling.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Data vs a Klingon
  • One-Way Visor: Geordi's visor is an aversion; he's blind, and the visor enables him to see.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Tasha Yar was originally from the planetary equivalent of Bosnia, but managed to get a job with Starfleet.
  • Ontological Mystery
  • 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.
  • Orphaned Punchline: The Bolian barber, Mr. Mot, has one of these in "Schisms".
    Mr. Mot: ...and she said, "If they're not squirming, I won't eat 'em!"
    • Sounds like gagh.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • Barclay's holographic duplicates of the main crew in "Hollow Pursuits"
    • Thomas Riker is this to William Riker in "Second Chances."
    • Leah Brahms in "Galaxy's Child" is extremely angry about her holographic duplicate from "Booby Trap".
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Borg, arguably, with their grey pallor, soulless hive-mind and slow relentless movement.
  • Out-of-Character Moment
  • Pals with Jesus: Q, to Picard's chagrin.
  • Pardon My Klingon:
    • Worf occasionally uses Klingon curse words. Also, in Fanon, Picard frequently swears in French (something he actually did on-screen, if only rarely).
    • Combining the two, during a tense on-screen moment on a Klingon planet, the governor of this planet accuses Picard of speaking "the lies of a taHqeq" (He claims to have confiscated Federation weapons used by separatists—they turn out to be Romulan replicas), which prompts Picard to get right up in his face and unload a barrage of unintelligible but vile-sounding Klingon back at him... leaving the dignitary (favourably) impressed enough to comment: "You swear well, Picard. You must have Klingon blood in your veins."
    • A perfect example is an exchange involving Worf, Riker, and the eponymous Romulan admiral in the episode "The Defector":
      Jarok (posing as "Setal"): How do you allow Klingon pahtk to walk around in a Starfleet uniform?
      Worf: You are lucky this is not a Klingon ship. We know how to deal with spies.
      Jarok: Remove this tohzah from my sight.
      Riker: Your knowledge of Klingon curses is impressive. But, as a Romulan might say, only a veruul would use such language in public.
  • 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.
    • Quite a number of children featured in the series also had one or both parents dead or not around. "The Bonding" had a boy Jeremy whose motehr died on an away mission. His father died earlier. Clara in "Imaginary Friend" only had a father. Alexander, Worf's son, initially only lived with his mother until she died. Worf then sent him to live with his adopted parents. Jake and Willie's parents were on a sabbatical in the episode "Brothers". The nine and eleven-year-old brothers stayed on the Enterprise.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In a behind-the-scenes clip, Michael Dorn tries this on Jonathan Frakes when the latter flubs one of his lines.
  • Phlegmings: Fek'lhr, the guardian of the Klingon hell, as seen in the episode Devil's Due.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Thank you, Mr. Data."
  • Planetary Nation: played straight usually, but one episode had an aversion. The planet was ruled by two separate governments, the Kes(not to be confused with the character on Voyager) and the Prytt, who were engaged in a cold war with each other. The Kes were applying for Federation membership and Picard lampshaded this trope when he mentioned planets that join the Federation are usually unified. It's never said whether or not the Kes would be admitted but it's implied they won't be.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Portal Door: "Contagion".
  • 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.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Parodied in "The Big Goodbye". At the denouement, after Riker asks Data what happened in the holodeck, Data puts on an exaggerated Humphrey Bogart-esque voice and manner and begins to monologue "It was raining in the city by the bay. A hard rain. Hard enough to wash the slime —" before Picard tells him to shut up and he meekly turns back to the Ops console (while still wearing his 1940s gangster costume).
  • Psycho Prototype: Lore.
  • Public Secret Message: The name of Data's creator ("Noonien Soongh") was Roddenberry's third (and last) Real Life attempt to attract the attention of his World War II buddy, Kim Noonien Singh.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Picard's "THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!!" from part 2 of "Chain of Command".
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: In "The Survivors", the Enterprise crew encounter an alien entity who committed genocide against a warlike species after they killed his human wife during an attempted conquest of the couple's colony. Picard decides the only thing they can do is to leave the immortal energy being alone. The Enterprise has no way to pass sentence on him, but he's already mad with grief over his wife's death and filled with remorse for his crime. His self-imposed isolation is its own sentence.
  • Put on a Bus: Dr. Pulaski. Also, the woman who was the head engineer in Season One, before Geordi was promoted.

  • Racial Remnant: The early episode "Haven" has a shipful of Tarellians, the last survivors of a deadly plague.
  • Random Passerby Advice:
    • After Lt. Barclay gained (and later lost) huge amounts of knowledge, as he's talking with Counselor Troi they pass by a chess game. He moves one piece and says "checkmate in nine moves."
      Troi: I didn't know you play chess.
      Barclay: I don't!
    • In the Grand Finale, Picard is in the past, on the first voyage of the Enterprise-D. He demands something of the engineering crew, and O'Brien says that they'll have to "burn the midnight oil." Data happens to be passing by and mentions that it would not be advisable to do so.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: A future version of Data in "All Good Things..." holds the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge. This post has been held by such real-world luminaries as Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Charles Babbage.
  • 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.
    • The fact that this speech is given by Dr. Crusher, who routinely flaunts Medical Ethics, her duty of care, and ignores the values, wishes, rights, autonomy and privacy of her patients, wasn't even going to inform Worf of all the options open to him because she didn't like one of them, and whose approach to medicine is based on her viewpoint, not the wants and needs of those under her care, gives this speech... an ironic overtone, to say the least.
    • Q also delivers a doozy to Picard in "All Good Things", which also doubles as Lampshade Hanging since he is basically providing a summation of common fan complaints about the show:
    Q: Seven years ago, I said we'd be watching you, and we have been - hoping that your ape-like race would demonstrate *some* growth, give *some* indication that your minds had room for expansion. But what have we seen instead? You, worrying about Commander Riker's career. Listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble. Indulging Data in his witless exploration of humanity.
  • Recycled In Space:
  • Remember the New Guy:
    • Subverted in one episode; the entire crew is hit with amnesia and forget their ranks. The executive officer is someone the audience has never before met. Turns out he is an alien intruder, trying to trick the Enterprise into attacking the enemies of his 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?
      • According to the timeline of the Federation, although all out war with the Cardassians did happen, most of the action was before the start of the series chronologically. Most of the last couple of years would have been peace talks and the negotiation of a truce. Although it is unusual that there was no mention of the Cardassians, it may be far more excusable not to see any action, particularly for a ship that functions more as a small city with children onboard. From a diplomatic standpoint, it says far more for your flagship to be out confidently exploring the galaxy than mopping up the last of a very long war.
  • 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Picard gives an epic verbal beatdown to Armus.
  • Repressive But Efficient: In "Justice," the Enterprise crew encounters a Planet of the Week with this as its hat. The place initially seems to be a Crystal Spires and Togas utopia of peace, plenty, and easy sex, until it turns out that the penalty for crimes as minor as stepping on the grass is death. Picard even credits their near-utopia to their draconian system of punishment in his Patrick Stewart Speech before going on to conclude that it's not worth it.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Lwaxana Troi brags she's "Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed", among other boasting of her position (which likely means she's high nobility at the very least.)
    • Another of her boasts is "Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix", which her daughter quite bluntly points out is nothing more than:
      "An old clay pot with mold growing inside of it."
  • Removing The Combadge
  • Revival Loophole: Used to save Tasha's opponent in "Code of Honor".
  • Robo Family: Data has a 'brother', Lore, and even creates his own android 'daughter' Lal.
    • Also, there's an android copy of his "mother" out there as well, who believes she is the REAL woman and is designed to age and eventually die like a human being
    • And don't forget his 'father', who said he never liked living anywhere without an escape route, and was last seen, apparently mortally wounded, in his fully equipped lab and he already knows he can transfer a mind from an organic body to an android, having done it with the 'mother' above.
  • Robosexual: Data and Yar.
    • Also Data and Jenna D'Sora in "In Theory", though not the sexual part.
    • Everyone's robo for Data!
  • Robot Hair: Data, and his brothers, who are androids designed to be superficially similar to human beings in many ways. Their hair is made to look artificial by heavy application of gel, and keeping Brent Spiner's hairline sharply trimmed.
  • Robots Think Faster: Data can process sixty trillion linear operations per second. On a number of occasions, he uses this speed to make decisions and calculations far faster than the average human.
    • In "In Theory", Data dates a human woman. Near the end of the episode, she kisses him passionately, then asks what he was thinking of in that moment.
      Data: In that particular moment, I was reconfiguring the warp field parameters, analyzing the collected works of Charles Dickens, calculating the maximum pressure I could safely apply to your lips, considering a new food supplement for Spot...
She breaks up with him, among other reasons because she realizes that she will never truly have his full attention.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Riva, crown prince of Ramatis, is a successful diplomat, bringing peace to warring factions no matter how long it takes, even when the telepathic "chorus" who allow him to communicate despite his deafness are killed by one of the factions.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: So much so that it is often difficult to tell alien species apart.
  • Sacrificial Planet: The Borg's arrival in Federation space is heralded by several heretofore unseen planetary outposts being wiped out and scoured of all technology.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: A frequent theme in the series.
    • The Diane Duane The Next Generation novel Dark Mirror involves an alien race that's essentially dolphins IN SPACE! (They're not related to the whales IN SPACE from Star Trek IV.)
    • The Star Trek The Next Generation: Technical Manual notes that the Cetacean tanks on board contain the dolphin and whale navigational specialists. This is pretty much shout out to Gunbuster, where cybernetically enhanced dolphins form the main navigational computer of the Eltreum.
    • One 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.
  • Satanic Archetype: In the episode "Devil's Due", an alien claims to be the Devil-figure from any number of worlds' mythologies (including Klingon) and "proves" it by taking their forms.
  • Screaming Birth: If your midwife was a Klingon, you'd be screaming too.
    Worf: [consults tricorder] Congratulations. You are fully dilated to ten centimeters. You may now give birth.
    Worf: [beat] Why has it not begun?
    Worf: The computer simulation was not like this. The delivery was very orderly.
    Worf: Push, Keiko! Push! Push! PUSH!
    Keiko: I AM PUSHING!
    • 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: These occur in the episodes "Encounter at Farpoint", "Lower Decks", "Sins of the Father" and "Coming of Age".
  • 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.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: In some episodes the dilithium crystals can develop cracks if overused, but will heal themselves as long as the warp drive is rested for a while.
  • 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.
      • Both characters were named after the same Real Life friend of Gene Roddenberry.
    • Episode 80 of Next Gen begins with Picard reporting in his log that they just left the same planet that TOS visited in their 79th and last episode.
    • "The Mind's Eye" borrows heavily from The Manchurian Candidate, most notably with a scene where Geordi is instructed to kill a holographic version of Chief O'Brien.
    • In "QPid", Q transforms the crew into characters from the Robin Hood stories. Geordi is Alan A'Dale, and as a result gets a lute to play with. After a few minutes of tuneless strumming, Worf can't take it anymore, and gets up and smashes the instrument, then hands it back to Geordi, muttering, "Sorry." Much like a certain seven-year pre-med student did once.
    • In "Arsenal of Freedom", when asked by a computer-generated image of Captain Rice what ship he's come from, Riker responds that he's serving aboard the Lollipop. "It's just been commissioned; it's a good ship."
    • The Nebula-class starship was the first new design of Federation ship seen in the series (besides the Galaxy-class Enterprise), and is similar in configuration to the Miranda-class starship (the class that the U.S.S. Reliant is), which was the first new design of Federation ship seen in the first series and the first new Federation design of the franchise.
    • In "The First Duty", the motto of Starfleet Academy is "Ex Astris Scientia" ("From the stars, knowledge"), which was derived from Apollo 13's mission motto "Ex Luna Scientia" ("From the moon, knowledge"), which, in turn, was derived from the United States Naval Academy's motto "Ex Scientia Tridens" ("From knowledge, sea power").
    • "A Fistful of Datas" should be pretty self-explanatory. The episode also borrows from Shane (which director Patrick Stewart watched to get a feel for westerns) and Westworld (wherein the holographic outlaws take the form of Data, giving each of them android-level strength and agility).
    • 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.
    • In "The Naked Now" Geordi ruminates on how unfair it is that he's never seen a rainbow.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
  • Shown Their Work: With the exception of the pain-inducing implant, all the Cold-Blooded Torture practices Gul Madred uses on Picard in "Chain of Command: Part II" are taken directly from Amnesty International archives. Patrick Stewart, who is a strong supporter of Amnesty International, was pleased by this.
  • Signed Language: The character Riva in "Loud as a Whisper", performed by Deaf actor Howie Seago.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • In "The Measure of a Man", there is a hearing to determine whether the android Data should legally be considered a person or the property of Starfleet. The admiral adjudicating the hearing is on the fence, until Picard suggests that declaring him property would be tantamount to slavery. The mere suggestion of this is enough to have her err on the side of caution and judge that even if she is unprepared to declare definitively that he is a person, she is unwilling to declare him property either.
    • In "The Most Toys", Data is captured by a Collector of the Strange and treated as just another piece of property. This is the only villain whom the Technical Pacifist Data ever attempts to kill in cold blood, as opposed to self-defense.
    • It should be noted that Data did not attempt to kill the villian to free himself - it was because the villian had already horribly murdered one of his subordinates with an extremely painful weapon and indicated that he was willing to do so to the rest of his subordinates to punish Data for his disobedience. Data was effectively trying to protect innocent lives. He even said "I cannot allow this to continue."
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The series generally operated at level 3 (Subtle Continuity). Most episodes focused on the Enterprise and it's crew discovering new planets and alien species, and solving the problem presented in each episode. However, a few of the episodes build up Fore Shadowing elements that culminate in a bigger story arc later on.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The show started with three women - after the security chief died, all that were left were in rather stereotypically feminine roles as the doctor and counselor. Recurring females were Keiko (botanist), Ogawa (nurse), Ro Laren and Guinan. Only the latter two were of any real importance, and the first eventually settled into the role of O'Brien's wife.
  • Snapback
  • Society-on-Edge Episode: In "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. Word of God is that ''Voyager'' was the first starship to permanently address the issue.
  • Solar CPR: "Half Life".
  • Solar Flare Disaster: A recurring issue in the show.
  • Space Clothes: The uniforms worn by the engineering staff (a tunic-miniskirt one-piece and knee-high boots, to be specific - and yes, men and women wear the same uniform) and several other crew members during the first season are truly astonishing. And the clothes worn by the denizens of the utopian paradise in "Justice" make them look sensible.
  • Space Friction
  • Space Is Cold
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Space Jews: In the second-season episode "Up the Long Ladder", the Enterprise is transporting an entire Irish village, complete with accents, apparel, drinking problems, and chickens.
    • The Ferengi. Alternatively, they could be interpreted as Space Americans (Eagleland, negative version) or Space Capitalists, down to a strong interest in controlling other civilizations' natural resources, and at least one episode with a Ferengi being a Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist.
    • The Space Africans of "Code of Honor" are even worse, portrayed as barbaric, patriarchal, er... matriarchal, er... some kind of savages with complex but still demeaning gender roles.
  • Space Mines: Appear in "Chain of Command Part II".
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt
  • Spiders Are Scary:
    • 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.
    • The seventh-season episode "Genesis" had Barclay devolve into one for a Jump Scare.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: "Encounter at Farpoint", with a visit from The Original Series' Dr. Admiral McCoy, who inspects the Enterprise-D and gives it his blessing.
    Dr McCoy: Now she's a new ship, but she's got the right name, y'hear? Treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home.
  • Squick: Intenional in-universe example in "Rascals", the scene between O'Brien and Keiko, his wife who is now her 12-year-old self. He has no idea how to handle the situation, especially when she tries to cuddle up to him, and is visibly extremely uncomfortable.
  • 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.
  • Status Quo Is God: While often played straight, it was first seriously averted by the episode "Sins of the Father", which episode writer Ronald Moore cited as the series' turning point towards ongoing story arcs. While permanent changes had happened before (like the death of Tasha Yar), "Sins" really sparked Worf's entire character arc, leading to "Reunion", "Redemption" and more.
  • Stock Subtitle: This was the Trope Maker for the subtitle "The Next Generation".
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Beverly shows signs of this towards Finn in "The High Ground". When Picard is captured by the separatists, he's quick to point this out to her.
  • Stoic Character Cheerful Actor: Brent Spiner, who plays the emotionless android Data, has a reputation as something of a cheerful, enthusiastic goofball off the set.
    • Likewise Michael Dorn, who plays Worf, is known for being rather gregarious and a bit geeky once he breaks character.
  • Story Arc: Both the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint" and the finale, "All Good Things" feature Q putting Humanity on Trial;
    Q: The Trial never ended, Captain! We never reached a verdict. But now we have. You're Guilty!
  • 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.
  • Still The Eighties: Wood paneling. 'Nuff said.
  • 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.note 
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: K'Ehleyr. Worf avenges her almost immediately afterwards.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: In "Ethics", Worf's spine is broken when a cargo container falls on him. The way it falls and bounces indicates that it's so light it wouldn't even hurt a human, let alone a big sturdy Klingon.
  • Sudden School Uniform: Not a "school uniform" as such, but Jellico ordering Troi to start wearing her duty uniform from now on in "The Chain of Command" is basically this trope.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The entire race of Q, and the mysterious creature in "The Survivors".
  • 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.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In the episode "Skin of Evil", both Picard and Troi express their sympathy for Armus for spending untold eons on a dead planet in pain and rage after his creators abandoned him, while nevertheless acknowledging that he is a malevolent liquid of pure evil.
  • Tainted Veins: Borg infection.
  • 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!
  • Tantrum Throwing: According to Worf, this is a stock feature of Klingon courtship.
  • The Team: The original bridge crew consisted of Picard, Riker, Worf and Yar, Data and Geordi, and Troi. Later additions are Dr. Crusher and Wesley.
  • Technobabble: Teraquads of it. Surprisingly a lot of it (particularly after the first season or so) makes a huge amount of scientific sense. Apart from the implementation of technology and some scientific ideas - and even then that isn't completely insensible - you can actually follow the scientific discussions between characters... for the most part, anyway. Even Reverse the Polarity is used in the correct context.
  • Teleporter Accident
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • Teleport Interdiction:
    • 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.
  • Terminally Dependent Society
  • That Cloud Looks Like
  • Theme Tune Extended, since the theme music is taken from Star Trek The Motion Picture, which has a longer theme.
  • This Is My Chair: Picard to Wesley in the Pilot. "Get out of my chair!"
    • 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.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The Duras Sisters.
  • Those Two Guys: Data and Worf
  • Throw Away Guns: While this happens with about as much frequency as any other TV show, one particuliarly notable case occurs in "Time's Arrow," where the crew is shown a revolver from the late 19th century at a site on Earth with evidence of Ancient Astronauts. After the crew winds up in the 1890s, it is revealed that Mark Twain, suspicious of the time travelers' motives, threatened them with it and left it behind.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: The term is never actually used on-screen but two Planets of the Week fit the bill.
    • Dytallix B in "Conspiracy" was a world inhabited only by the Dytallix Mining Company. Due to the temperature extremes on either facing of the planet the company placed its facilities in the twilight region.
    • "The Dauphin" had one distinct culture develop on the day side of Daled IV, and a different one on the night side. Their differences led to a world war that the Enterprise is trying to put an end to.
  • 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.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Sometimes it's best not to think too hard about it.
  • Tin Man
  • Tinman Typist
  • Title Drop:
    • "Skin Of Evil":
    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.
    • "Tapestry":
    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.
    • This is the only time to date that any attempt to reference the phrase "star trek" in dialogue has made it to the screen.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Tasha Yar frequently loses her temper with great potential for lethal results, including screaming at Q until he freezes her. Could be argued that her stupidity is what finally got her killed.
    • When someone is hurt, Dr. Crusher is prone to just run right up to them and start administering treatment, WITHOUT bothering to take simple precautions like scanning the area for hostiles, toxins, and so forth, or just beaming the person and herself directly to the ship right at the beginning. This tendency has gotten her kidnapped and/or nearly killed several times.
    • There was an inversion in which an alien was too dumb to die. He attempted a Thanatos Gambit by shooting himself with Riker's phaser in order to frame Riker for his murder. There were a couple of holes in his story: Riker was near death at the time of the supposed murder and Crusher could tell from the angle of the blast that the shot was self-inflicted. On top of that, his suicide attempt failed because he didn't know how the Federation's phasers worked and shot himself with the phaser set to stun.
  • 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.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: As above.
  • Touched by Vorlons
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: In "The High Ground", the Ensata terrorists resort to using a teleporter device called an inverter to carry out their attacks on the occupying Rutian forces without being tracked, although the downside is that it caused severe cumulative distortions in the cellular chemistry of anyone using it, a process which, with prolonged use, could prove fatal.
  • Trapped in TV Land: In malfunctioning holodecks.
  • Trickster Mentor: Q... usually. Sometimes he's just screwing with them.
  • 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.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Lwaxana Troi, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.
  • Turing Test: Data, as a very sophisticated AI, often demonstrates he passes this test.
    • Data tests this out on Juliana Tainer when he realises that Doctor Soong recreated his wife, and Data's mother as an Android.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher, after Tasha's death. Both had maternal and supportive roles, being the ship's head counselor and Chief Medical Officer respectively, but Troi was more exotic while Crusher was more of a down-to-earth character.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: Used for the auto-destruct.
  • 2 + Torture = 5: "Chain of Command", with lights instead of fingers. (Done well enough that memetic quote of the episode has been made an honorary redirect to the trope.)

  • Un-Person: Subverted in "Remember Me". People begin disappearing from the Enterprise, leaving no trace whatsoever of their existence. However, it is not because of any conspiracy, but because they were never real to begin with, and the entire universe is a false reality created by an Applied Phlebotinum experiment gone wrong.
  • Uneven Hybrid:
    • In "The Drumhead", Simon Tarses, an enlisted man in the Enterprise's medical department, is hounded by an admiral on a Witch Hunt on suspicion of being a spy because he has a Romulan grandfather. Tarses had claimed on his Starfleet entrance application that his grandfather was Vulcan.
    • Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko is one quarter human, from his half-human mother's side.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • "Tip O'Neill in a dress?"
    • 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.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Riker/Troi and Picard/Crusher run through the whole series. Riker and Troi are married in Star Trek: Nemesis. Picard/Crusher is never fully resolved, although a Deleted Scene from the end of Nemesis hints that they might have Hooked Up Afterwards.
    • Data and Tasha Yar gave hints of this after they hooked up in "The Naked Now", but this was curtailed by his being an Android unable to express emotion, and her eventual death.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The solution Worf comes up with against the formerly-frozen Klingons in "The Emissary" is an example of this.
  • Unwanted False Faith: In the episode "Who Watches the Watchers" Picard inadvertently becomes a deity to a group of vaguely-ancient/medieval-tech-using Vulcanoids.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine:
    • Picard orders tea from the replicator, only for it to produce a flower in a tea cup.
    • Lwaxana Troi orders tea, but the replicator produces sausages.
    • A deleted scene from one episode has one of Wesley's friends get hurt after a blast of energy is fired from a malfunctioning replicator.
    • Bugs in Data's programming cause various malfunctions aboard the Enterprise. One of them is that replicators only produce cat's supplements, meals for Data's cat Spot.
  • Villainy-Free Villain:
    • Bruce Maddox from "The Measure of a Man" wanted to disassemble Data in order to find out how to replicate his design. Although his goal is noble, Data refuses when it becomes obvious that Maddox doesn't have a very good idea of what he is doing, and Maddox spends the rest of the episode trying to legally force him into compliance. This is mostly because Maddox does not see Data as a self-determining individual and does not believe he has the right to refuse. He comes around at the end.
    • Christopher Hobson, briefly Data's first officer, constantly second-guesses his orders under the assumption that an android would not be a competent leader. He justifies this with the idea that some races are naturally more or less suited to certain tasks, which does have some validity, but since Data is one-of-a-kind and Hobson has no real knowledge of his abilities, his opinion comes off as arbitrary and bigoted. Like Maddox, Data eventually manages to earn his respect.
    • Admiral Nechayev and Picard never saw eye-to-eye on matters of policy, since Nechayev was far more hawkish than Picard. Whenever she appeared in an episode, it was usually a sign that she was about to browbeat Picard over his latest command decisions in the most condescending and jerkassy way possible.
    • Captain Edward Jellico could be considered a subversion of this trope. He is given command of the Enterprise during the "Chain of Command" two-parter and obviously doesn't get along well with the crew. His brusque and demanding style of command makes him easy to dislike, both for the crew and the audience, he appears to lack diplomatic savvy, and he even relieves Riker of his position. Despite this, Jellico is vindicated by his success in resolving the crisis of the day, saving Picard from the Cardassians and averting an armed conflict.
  • 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.
  • Voice Changeling: Data has shown this ability a few times.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Borg.
  • Volcanic Veins: The aliens in "Identity Crisis".
  • Warrior Poet
  • Water Source Tampering:
    • In one episode, Data — who has amnesia and doesn't know about his own history or Starfleet — is accused of poisoning a well in the village he's living in, but he's really trying to cure them of radiation poisoning by putting the cure in the drinking water.
    • 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.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The "Bluegill" neural parasites were controlled by "mother-creatures"- large parasites- that appeared to produce the smaller mind-controlling bug-like parasites.
  • We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: The mid-90s ad "We Didn't Start the Series".
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Tasha Yar, actress Denise Crosby felt she wasn't useful and asked to be let go. Her death was so sudden that it took a while before you realized she wasn't coming back. A Time Travel episode briefly brought her back and the subsequent timeline screw-ups resulted in a recurring enemy that looked exactly like her.
    • Leading to an amusing fourth-wall break: Her parts in the episode where she died, Skin of Evil, were shot before those shot in the episode that aired just before it. If you watch closely, during the prior episode, Symbiosis, you can see her waving goodbye—that was the last scene that they shot with her.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The Federation thought they were prepared for anything. Then Q introduces them to the Borg.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out the final fate of Geordi's mother, whose vessel completely vanishes without a trace, in "Interface".
    • Also, the alien in "Future Imperfect". At the end of the episode, he beams up with Riker, with Riker promising he won't be alone, and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • 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.
    • "The Best Of Both Worlds". In two parts, we see the arrival of the Borg way ahead of schedule. They proceed to invade Federation space, defeat any and all attempts by the Enterprise crew to defeat them, convert Picard into Locutus of Borg and then Riker orders the crew to fire on said converted captain, all in the first half. The second opens up with that failing followed by The Battle of Wolf 359.
  • 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Unique?: Many unique and rare lifeforms, Data included.
    • Reg Barclay, who repeatedly demonstrates a firm belief that holograms are real living people, worthy of recieving the same respect given to any organic.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Riker and Pulaski in "Up the Long Ladder" get mugged for DNA by a race that propagates by clones. Sure, that's bad, but their response is to massacre the clones! Odo will have a point later: "Killing your clone is still murder." The Prime Minister is highly upset with them. With so many undisputible counts against them, Riker and Pulaski would be in the slammer for, like, ever. The only way of salvaging the situation would be if the clones weren't fully developed yet and they technically committed abortion (which is possible given the abortion-heavy subtext that was going on).
    • Killing your own clone is still murder... under Bajoran law. Considering that no charges were ever brought against them its pretty blatant (like it or not) that the Federation doesn't consider the killing of an unlawfully produced clone illegal.
    • 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.
  • What Would X Do?:
    • In "Pen Pals," Riker gives some sage advice to Wesley Crusher when the latter is given his first command: "In your position it's important to ask yourself one question: 'What would Picard do?'" (The line promptly underwent Memetic Mutation, naturally enough.)
    • In "The Best of Both Worlds", Picard is captured and assimilated by the Borg. Riker is placed in command. One of the first things he does is walk into the now-his Ready Room, look at the chair and ask "What would you do?" Then walks in Guinan and tells Riker that he has to think for himself now, as the Borg now know all of Picard's tricks.
  • When It All Began: Khitomer's effect.
  • White Glove Test: Picard in "The Ensigns of Command." See the trope page for more information.
  • White Sheep: Worf.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie:
    • Betazoids, to other Betazoids at least, as lying to a fellow telepath is about as sensible as it sounds.
    • Vulcans are reputed to have this trait in-universe, but in fact freely do so if they believe it to be the logical thing to do.
  • Working with the Ex: Will Riker & Deanna Troi are ex-lovers.
  • Wrote the Book: In "The Best of Both Worlds part 2", Guinan and Riker have an extended discussion of their strategy centering around this metaphor.
  • Yandere: A piece of Phlebotinum turns Troi into one in "Man Of The People".
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: "The Inner Light" has a variation that happens in a Mental World.
  • You 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 Are in Command Now: "The Arsenal of Freedom", "Disaster", "Descent".
  • 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.
  • You Keep Using That Word:
    • The flagrant misuse of "sentient".
    Data: "And though you are not sentient, Spot, and cannot comprehend..."—Ode To Spot
    • Data also misuses the words ‘obviates’ (removes [a need or a difficulty]; avoids, prevents) in the very same poem as ‘makes obvious’.
    • 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.
  • You Look Familiar: Many examples. Often lampshaded in the spinoff novels.
    • Suzie Plakson as Selar, K'ehlyr, and the female Q on Voyager to name one.
    • Carolyn Seymour plays a Romulan in "Contagion", an alien scientist who chooses to leave her people in "First Contact" and finally reprises her Romulan role as Captain Toreth in "Face of the Enemy".
    • 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—actually called "Number One"—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, both doctors, 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.
  • Your Head Asplode: Remmick near the end of "Conspiracy". Quite gruesome for Star Trek.
  • Your Mom:
    • Riker invokes this when speaking to a holographic representation of Captain Rice in "Arsenal of Freedom", which is trying to get as much tactical information about the Enterprise and its mission as possible. When the faux 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 a fear of having a gender at all.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The episode "The High Ground" dealt with the "you say terrorists, we say freedom fighters" issue. The Ansata separatists are trying to overthrow their Rutian oppressors "by any means necessary", including suicide bombers (while the government they're fighting makes use of indefinite detention, and in the past, simply killed people). During this episode, Data notes the "historical fact"note  that Ireland was reunified in 2024 after a successful terrorist campaign (which is why this episode wasn't broadcast in its entirety in either Britain or the Republic of Ireland until years after.)
  • 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.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: "Booby Trap", "Hero Worship".
  • 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).
    • The PADD's are another example. While they seemed very impressive at the time, they often fall well short of the capabilities of real-world tablet computers post-2010. For instance, they do not appear to offer two-way communications functionality (in particular video) and like the main computer stations cannot seem to run multiple applications. It is not unusual in-universe to see people who are multitasking using more than one PADD, with each one being used for a single task.
    • In-universe. After Wolf 359 everything changed. The Federation in early series was depicted as filled with eternal optimists. After Wolf 359, the Federation leaders are shown to be clearly more jaded and should they have to, will not hesistate to remind everyone just why they are one of the dominant powers of the Alpha Quadrant.
    • 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.


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alternative title(s): The Next Generation; Next Generation; Star Trek TNG; Star Trek The Next Generation; TNG
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