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Series / Star Trek: The Next Generation

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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. The show ran from 1987 to 1994 in First-Run Syndication, and proved to be one of the most successful shows ever to be offered through that distribution method. 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 the 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,note  and won many awards for everything from visual effects to writing. Like its predecessor, 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 fewer than five different cable/satellite networks: G4, Spike TV, Syfy, WGN America, and BBC America. Two of these networks, SyFy and BBC America, still regularly air episodes of the program, sometimes against each other in primetime. It also remained for a long time a near-pillar of Netflix, and was also available on several other streaming services, prior to CBS consolidating streaming of Star Trek programming to its Paramount+ service in 2022.

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 Bookend 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 went into production following the success of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and would later form the basis of the seventh through tenth Star Trek films: Generations (1994), First Contact (1996), Insurrection (1998), and Nemesis (2002). The success of the series led to an expansion of the franchise and is single-handedly responsible for the creation of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. TNG, DS9 and Voyager are often called the "Next Generation Era" in discussions regarding the franchise as a whole. Star Trek: Lower Decks (2020) is set just after Nemesis and makes many references to people and places from the Next Gen era shows.

Though fans will usually agree that the quality of the episodes varies wildly, all but the very worst of the lot usually 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... and also trying to realize when it's time to get "dirty".

Although firmly a genre show that aired during an era when the Sci Fi Ghetto was in full effect, Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of the most acclaimed television shows of its day. The episode "The Big Goodbye" won the show a Peabody Award in 1987, the only one ever received by a Star Trek show or episode. In 1994, for its final season, TNG was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, making it the only syndicated program ever to be nominated for that prize (It lost to Picket Fences).

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, 7.1 surround sound mixes breathe new life into the show, with the special effects work by Industrial Light & 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.

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).

Star Trek: Picard, which premiered in January 2020 on Paramount+, is a Distant Sequel to The Next Generation, with Patrick Stewart reprising his role of Picard, and other TNG and Voyager characters appearing in supporting roles.

This show provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • 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".
    • The two-part episode "Redemption" exists largely to introduce Sela, with the last shot of Part 1 (and the cliffhanger for the season) revealing that she is the spitting image of dead crew member Tasha Yar. But Sela (and her connection to Tasha) barely even factors into Part 2 of her introductory episode, let alone the rest of the series; she only appears once afterward, in a non-essential role.
  • Absent Animal Companion: Chief O'Brien shows Reg Barclay his pet tarantula Christina in the episode "Realm of Fear", who he got after ditching his fear of spiders. The spider is never seen in other episodes.
  • Absurdly Exclusive Recruiting Standards: When Wesley Crusher took the Starfleet Academy entrance exam with four other prospective entrants, only one of them would get in that year; Wesley failed to get in despite having already been made an honorary ensign and the pilot of Starfleet's flagship for years.
  • The Ace: Riker doesn't have any flaws. He's an Ace Pilot, a tough fighter, a wise commander, a capable leader and quite the lady's man.
  • Acting Unnatural: In "Unification: Part I", Picard and Data travel to Romulus disguised as Romulans. The owner of a diner immediately pegs them as outsiders — however, she assumes that they're members of the State Sec (later named the Tal Shiar in "Face of the Enemy"), rather than foreign agents and says their soup is on the house, "courtesy of a loyal establishment."
  • Action Figure File Card: The first two figure lines, from Galoob and Playmates Toys, both had them.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Similar to how Sisko does with baseball, Picard enjoys using Shakespeare as a metaphor for the human condition. Of course, everyone knows about Stewart's background in Shakespearean theater; he quotes Hamlet in "Hide and Q",and participates in Data's production of Henry V.
    • In "Devil's Due", Picard coaches Data in a performance of A Christmas Carol; Stewart himself performed readings of the story before playing Scrooge on film.
    • TNG had a minor in-show example: In "Descent (Part 2)" the Enterprise is forced to hide within a star's corona by using an experimental shield. The lieutenant at Tactical doesn't think that the shield will work, but is proven wrong. The actor played a different character in a previous episode who tried to make it appear that the shield didn't work.
    • In "Sarek", Wesley gets ticked at Geordi and taunts him by saying, "At least I'm not spending the night with a good book, like some people!" Geordi seems to take this remark rather personally.
    • In "Half a Life", David Ogden Stiers guest-stars as an alien scientist doing research work on the Enterprise. One of his report readouts is attempt number 4077.
    • Not the first time Dwight Schultz has played a man with mental problems.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Riker can barely keep a straight face when Worf delivers a simple but savage retort to Q's latest personal problem.
    Picard: Q, the liar; Q, the misanthrope!
    Q: Q, the needy; Q, the desperate! What must I do to convince you people?
    Worf: Die.
  • Adaptive Ability: The Borg, by any means necessary.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Turns up now and again, usually when Picard finds an opportunity to indulge his hobby of archaeology.
  • 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 Next Gen episodes to TOS's syndication package of 79 episodes and make the money back that way.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In "Q Who", when Q's object lesson finally pierces Picard's arrogant complacency far enough that he realizes he won't get his crew out of the situation they're in without an honest, humble appeal to the more or less omnipotent entity who got them into it.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: 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 conscious 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.
  • An Alien Named "Bob": Downplayed for Deanna Troi, who is only half alien, and Alexander Rozhenko, who is three-quarters alien.
  • 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.
  • 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 Crimes Are Equal: "Justice". A planet of free love, and they execute you for falling in flowers. It may have been a case of Blue-and-Orange Morality, as the alien overseers in charge of the Edo can't differentiate between the letter of the law and the spirit.
  • Alliterative Title: "The Naked Now".
  • Almighty Janitor: Boothby, grounds-keeper of Starfleet Academy and trusted mentor of almost every graduate of note.
  • Almost Holding Hands: William Riker and Deanna Troi (who used to be a couple) almost hold hands when it looks like their ship Enterprise is about to be fired upon.
  • Aloof Leader, Affable Subordinate: This is downplayed for Captain Picard and Commander Riker (the first officer). Picard is by no means cold or distant, but he's very serious, private, and kind of stern. Riker, on the other hand, is very casual, easygoing, and humorous, and he shares a lot more than Picard.
  • Alternate Catchphrase Inflection:
    • In "Unification", Sarek tries to say, "Live long and prosper" but because he's dying, he says it in a much more weak, emotional way than the usual Vulcan tone and he can't get the "prosper" part out.
    • Usually when Picard says, "Engage!" it's in a very definite voice. However, in "Angel One", he says it hoarsely due to still having a sore throat from a virus he'd gotten earlier.
  • 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. So does the title of the episode in which they appear.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • The Borg Collective 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.
    • The Crystalline Entity speaks in harmonics (like sound produced on crystal) that was never translated and roams the galaxy strip mining entire worlds of its organic material as a food source. A fully habitable and 'inhabited' planet might look like the Moon after a couple hours of its arrival.
  • Always Late: Played for Drama in "Hollow Pursuits", in which a newbie engineer named Reg Barclay is always late for work due to a combination of his paralysing shyness and his habit of going onto the holodeck as a coping mechanism for said shyness.
  • 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.
  • Amicable Exes: Riker and Troi are this in the series, although they get back together and eventually marry in the films; Star Trek: Picard establishes that they went on to have two children together.
  • Amnesiac Costume Identity: In the episode "Conundrum", after an alien ship scans the Enterprise, all of the crew members develop amnesia. Worf assumes that he's the captain because he's wearing his decorated Klingon sash.
  • 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.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And Then Picard Was A Borg: In "Best of Both Worlds". He got better.
  • 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, not to mention that as an android, he probably can't get bored.
      • Data states in one episode: "I do have a functional respiration system. However, its purpose is to maintain thermal control of my internal systems. I am, in fact, capable of functioning for extended periods in a vacuum". Lore may not have been able to remain fully aware for those two years without being able to "maintain thermal control", and even if he could have, he always had the option to switch himself off. It's also possible he ran out of power since he'd have no way of recharging himself.
    • 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 privy to everything the Borg-them is doing, but are helpless to do anything about it. That Picard was able to break through his "Locutus of Borg" personality and tell Data how to defeat the Borg was nothing short of a miracle.
    • Earlier when we see him being physically altered into a Borg - consisting of a lot of surgery while conscious, the most reaction Picard can manage is a single tear.
    • 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.
    • In the episode "Realm of Fear" Barclay gets attacked by creepy slug creatures floating inside the transporter beam. He eventually figures out that those creatures are actually crew members of the USS Yosemite trapped inside the transporter and manages to pull them out. Had Barclay not figured out what was going on, those people could have stayed trapped inside indefinitely.
  • 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 
  • Annoyingly Repetitive Child: Exploited in "Rascals" — Picard, who'd been de-aged to about twelve, demands to see Riker. When the Ferengi won't let him, he says, "I need to see him now!". Then, he keeps repeating, "Now, now, now..." and stamping his foot until the Ferengi cave in.
  • 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.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Star Trek runs on this and all the subset variants, justified with heavy heaps of Techno Babble.
  • 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 descended 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; even Worf is able to calm himself sufficiently to be unaffected.
  • 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.
  • Arc Villain:
    • 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 it's a bigger plot twist to find that they are not the masterminds behind the insidious scheme of the week.
    • Individually, Commanders Sela and Tomalak and the Sisters of Duras fill the role of recurring villains, though even they don't go out of their way to antagonize the Enterprise except when Starfleet interferes in their schemes. However, 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 a time-traveling 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.
  • 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?"
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The holodeck, a room with a series of holoprojectors and replicators that can create just about any environment or setting. The pilot episode shows Cmdr. Riker entering a holodeck simulation of a forest, crossing a stream, climbing a tree...
  • Art Evolution: A 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:
    • Switching on Barclay's T-cells in "Genesis" causes the Enterprise crew to "devolve" to a variety of different species... most of which have common ancestors diverging hundreds of millions of years ago. Spot the cat becomes an iguana. This would imply that 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.
    • "The Chase" 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.
    • "Rightful Heir" features a clone of the Klingon legendary warrior Kahless, made from a genetic sample taken from dried blood on a knife that was a couple of thousand years old. It is incredibly unlikely that any remnants of blood on a knife that old would have anything that resembled useful genetic material, let alone a complete and undamaged genetic strand especially considering it had been stored in a cave all that time.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Props and sets throughout Sick Bay are covered with logos of the caduceus, a staff intertwined with two winged serpents. The caduceus is a symbol of messengers, but it's commonly confused with the symbol of medicine, a single serpent wrapped around a staff called the Rod of Asclepius.
    • Troi and Crusher freely disclose their patients' medical information, often without any real need to do so. In the real world, sharing medical information without cause is a serious breach of medical ethics. In many nations, it's a crime!
  • Artistic License – Physics: "The Royale". -291 degrees Celsius (Absolute Zero, the coldest temperature theoretically possible, is -273 degreesnote ).
  • Artistic License – Space: In the episode "Masks", Troi says the sun and the moon both revolve around the same planet, and "only one of them can be in ascendance at any given time".
  • Ascended Extra: An odd case in Colm Meaney, who originally signed on to Star Trek: The Next Generation as a day player, and first appeared as a nameless Lieutenant in "Encounter at Farpoint." As the seasons progressed, Meaney got work more and more consistently with TNG, and positive fan response developed a single character out of Meaney's many appearances in the show. The character of O'Brien was created in Season 3, but it was not until the series finale "All Good Things..." (two seasons after Meaney left the TNG cast to become a lead character on sister show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) that it was firmly established that all of his appearances were, in fact, as Miles O'Brien.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Lwaxana Troi, Betazoid ambassador to the Federation, rarely misses an opportunity to mortify the senior staff, especially Picard and her daughter Deanna. She is an ambassador in the same sense that countries have ambassadors to the United Nations.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: The Klingons, as usual, since they respect martial ability above all else. See Klingon Promotion.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: In-Universe and meta-example with the saucer separation. In-universe, it was designed so that the Enterprise could evacuate its civilian population so that it could fight whatever was coming for it, but it was rarely used in the series - twice in season 1, once during "The Best of Both Worlds Part II" and in Star Trek: Generations. Meta-wise, the model was made without the assistance of Industrial Light and Magic and when they came in, they discovered that they had a terribly imbalanced six-foot monstrosity that could only maintain balance while upside down (ever wonder why many ship shots are from the bottom?). It's partly because of this that the Enterprise was destroyed in Generations and replaced for Star Trek: First Contact (the other reason was to replace the Enterprise-D sets, built with old TV resolution in mind, with high-res film sets).
  • Awesomeness-Induced Amnesia: When Barclay 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.
  • Awkward Poetry Reading: In "Schisms", Data tries to write emotional poetry, but due to having no emotions and a big vocabulary, his friends just find the poems funny at best and boring at worst.
  • Author Appeal: Baseball was Michael Piller's favorite sport. Shocking, we know. One of his goals was to bring that sport back to the 24th century, which had replaced it with Parrises Squares, Racket Ball and the like, hence Dr. Stubs ('Evolution'). This also inspired the DS9 episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite."
    Behr: Baseball is Michael Piller's favorite sport, but in the first episode he ever wrote for Star Trek, he killed baseball. Why, we still don't know, but we thought we owed it to him to bring baseball back, even though he had chosen to kill it.
  • 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 Meaney (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beeping Computers: The LCARS interface chirps, beeps or bleeps every time it shows a new word, plots a planet in a star chart or changes a value in a number-filled spreadsheet. There is actually a point to this: Giving feedback to the user, since an absence of mechanical keys means you cannot "feel" anymore whether you actually pressed something.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In the premiere, it was established that Picard did not allow children on the bridge, and he screamed Wesley off the bridge.
    • 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.
  • Big "NO!":
    • "Timescape", said by Picard while suffering from 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Bio Data: Klingons are NOT dumb. A Klingon scientist temporarily posted on the Enterprise-D modified a hyposyringe with an optical chip reader, and would use that to transform digital information from the ship's computers into amino acid sequences. Then he would inject someone without their knowledge, and the information would be carried in their bodies in their bloodstream as inert proteins, which could be extracted at any time by another spy.
    • It seems that by the 24th century, the Klingons have actually learned a few things. This is slightly more plausible than the Enterprise example.
    • The Ancient Humanoid Precursors in "The Chase" encoded a message to their descendants- us, as well as the Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, Bolians, Yridians, Vulcans... you get the idea.
    • In "Transfigurations," Data and Geordi examine a Zalkonian memory storage device from mysterious "John Doe's" escape pod that is stated to use a chemical matrix for data storage. It's basically the escape pod's Black Box.
  • Bite of Affection: Romance among Klingons is considered a lot more violent than human romance, with biting being a common element within it.
  • 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 who was Riker's love interest for that episode.
    • "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.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Romulans brainwash Geordi and try to will him to kill O'Brien. However, Geordi pours his drink onto O'Brien's lap instead.
  • Blatant Lies: Worf in "Q-Pid", after smashing Geordi's lute against a tree.
    Worf: Sorry.
  • 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).
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: During the first season: Tasha Yar (blonde), Deanna Troi (brunette) and Dr. Beverly Crusher (redhead).
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The episode "Conspiracy" was jarringly graphic.
  • 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.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: Data has male parts, but those parts are never referred to by name; they always describe him as "fully-functional" and "anatomically correct". In "Datalore", Riker sounds awkward when he asks Data if Lore (another android) has all of Data's parts, which implies that he's wondering if Lore has genitals. In "The Naked Now", people are getting a virus that makes them lose their inhibitions and Data overhears an infected person say a limerick. He repeats part of it to Picard: "There was a young lady named Venus whose body was shaped like a..." but Picard interrupts him.
  • Book Snap:
    • In the episode "Samaritan Snare", Picard and Wesley are taking a long shuttlecraft ride to a Starbase. At one point Picard does it in annoyance at all the questions Wesley is bothering him with.
    • In "Elementary, Dear Data", Data and Geordi are playing Holmes and Watson in the holodeck. Geordi records Data/Holmes in Watson's journal...and slams it shut in frustration as he realizes Data is just reciting an existing Holmes story instead of actually deducing clues.
    • In the episode "Captain's Holiday", Picard does this upon being harassed by a Ferengi while trying to relax on vacation.
  • Born from a Dead Woman: In the episode "Galaxy's Child" our heroes are attacked by a Space Whale. They try to dissuade it with minimal powered phasers, but even this is enough to kill it. Then they discover that the creature was pregnant, so they have to cut it open to free the infant.
  • 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 before it can be evacuated 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."
    • 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 "Hide And Q" where 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. Jonathan Frakes objected to the casting of a woman in the part, arguing that it would be more effective with a man.
    • 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! Which is fine with the PD; what they do about their issues is their businessnote .
    • 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 Utopia that is the 24th Century.
    • 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"). The central point of the Prime Directive is that interfering often does more harm than leaving things alone; death is kind of the ultimate harmnote .
  • Bury Your Disabled: Subverted in "Ethics". Worf becomes paraplegic after an accident. By Klingon tradition, he must commit ritualistic suicide (and he comes close to it). However, he takes another presented option when a research doctor wants to test her theory that she can create a new spinal cord for him.
  • 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.
    • Next to Worf and Geordi, Deanna Troi filled this role many times. She was always being possessed by aliens, once impregnated by an alien and giving birth to that same alien, 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 the show's Ms. Fanservice, that is.
  • 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-Back: In "Relics", Scotty finds the synthehol on the Enterprise unacceptable, so Data finds him some real alcohol behind the bar in Ten-forward. Scotty asks what it is, and Data replies, "It is..." (pause while he looks at it and opens and sniffs it), " is green." This is exactly what Scotty said to a Kelvin in the original Star Trek series, when bringing him a bottle of booze in the episode "By Any Other Name."
  • Call to Agriculture: Picard was managing his family vineyard as part of the alternate future in the Grand Finale.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Worf is paralyzed from the waist down and asks Commander Riker, as his friend, to do this for him in a sort of Klingon ritual assisted suicide. Riker refuses on the grounds that under the ritual, it's properly the duty of the eldest son. Unwilling to ask this of Alexander, Worf opts for a dangerous experimental surgery instead.
  • 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.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: A favorite pose for Riker, to the point where he's the former trope namer. 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. Some fans, in homage to the behind-the-scenes use of the term Picard Maneuver, call this the Riker Maneuver.
  • Capture and Replicate: A group of aliens capture Captain Picard and replace him with a double in the episode "Allegiance". This was part of an experiment to examine the nature of authority, as they were a Hive Mind with no concept of individuality or hierarchy. The real Picard was locked in a cell with three others to see if they could work together to escape; the fake Picard on the Enterprise gives his officers increasingly insane orders to test their loyalty.
  • Card-Carrying Jerkass: Q is a humanoid Reality Warper with a fixation on the Enterprise in general, and on Captain Jean-Luc Picard in particular. He is purposefully thorny, brash and difficult, yet he manages to teach important lessons to the Enterprise crew. In the pilot episode "Encounter at Fairpoint," Q put them on trial for the past murderous savagery of the human race, tested them by forcing them to decide whether to kill one of the creatures that was attacking Deneb 4, and later exposed them to the Borg collective. As Captain Picard notes, "[Q] gave us a kick in our collective complacency."
  • Casino Episode: In The Royale, the crew discover a replica of a 20th-century Earth casino on an alien planet. Turns out the aliens modeled it after a badly-written novel.
  • Catchphrase: 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.
  • Cats Are Mean: Spot, Data's cat, has scratched several members of the crew, to the point where even Riker is afraid of her.
  • Caught in the Ripple:
    • The episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" opens with the Enterprise-D coming upon a time rip with the Enterprise-C (lost decades earlier) emerging. Suddenly, reality is changed and the Federation is now involved in a war with the Klingons. On top of that, Tasha Yar (killed in season one) is still on the bridge crew. No one notices anything is different, although Guinan suspects something is wrong.
    • The episode "Conundrum" has an unknown alien ship cause a bit of Laser-Guided Amnesia on the crew and alter the computer records of the ship to make the crew think they are at war with another alien race called the Lysians, who are enemies of the race that screwed with their minds. For good measure, they also have a member of their race infiltrate the crew and pretend to be the Number Two. Everyone is initially caught in the ripple, but Picard eventually does some Spotting the Thread.
  • 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.
  • Chained Heat: "Attached" - See Can't Live Without You, above.
  • 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 fewer comments on his Starfleet uniform than he would if he were in an artificial setting. It seems holodeck characters are just rude.
  • 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:
  • The Federation as a “peaceful utopia” was also talked about a lot by the main characters, in contrast to Gene Coon writing about its imperialist aspects in the previous series, and the outright deconstruction in the next.
  • 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.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Several aliens, but most notably the leaders of Akmarian Gatherer faction from season 3 episode 9, "The Vengeance Factor".
  • Child Hater: One of Picard's most well-established character flaws is his discomfort around children. He doesn't hate children, but he has no idea how to relate to them or behave around them, so he avoids them whenever possible.
  • 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.)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Quite a few lower-level characters introduced in one episode will simply vanish from the narrative after the episode is over. What happened to all of the previous chief engineers we see in season one is anyone's guess. Dr. Selar and Ensign Gomez were both intended to be recurring characters but were quickly dropped and never referenced again. Dr. Pulaski only barely avoids this fate by being referenced a few times after her unexplained departure.
  • Civilization Destroyer: The Borg would not destroy any planet they conquer, but they would assimilate all the sentient life forms in such planet essentially eliminating any form of native culture and civilization.
  • 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 inter dimensional spaceship thing as their god. How advanced it really is isn't firmly established, but it's strongly implied that it's at least a match for the Enterprise.
    • 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 civilization leaves some of them thinking that Picard is a god.
    • In "The Next Phase", Ro and Geordi are invisible and intangible after an accident. Ro is at first convinced that they're ghosts now that need to make peace before moving on to the afterlife. Turns out they're just "out of phase" with normal matter, except for the plot-convenient floors (and oxygen).
    • 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.
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked in the episode "The Royale," where Riker, Worf, and Data get trapped in the simulation of a terribly-written crime novel set in the eponymous hotel-casino. Periodically, their attempts to escape are interrupted by scenes from the book, causing the NPCs of the simulation to start reciting the hammiest possible lines to each other (complete with a jazzy soundtrack spontaneously starting up to accompany them), all while the crew looks on in bewilderment. After these brief interactions, the music stops and the NPCs return to normal as if nothing had happened.
  • 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.
  • Collateral Angst: Carmen Davila, the woman Riker had a flirtation with at the beginning of "Silicon Avatar", would qualify. She basically exists to get killed by the crystalline entity so Riker can brood over it and argue for destroying the entity.
  • 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".
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Completely Off-Topic Report: Picard tells about a speaker at a conference who went on at length about some engineering topic "not realizing that the topic was supposed to be psychology."
    Picard: Dr. Vassbinder gave an hour long dissertation on the ionization of warp nacelles before he realized that the topic was supposed to be psychology.
    La Forge: Why didn't anybody tell him?
    Picard: There was no opportunity. There was no pause. [monotone] He just kept talking in one long incredibly unbroken sentence moving from topic to topic so that no one had a chance to interrupt it was really quite hypnotic.
  • The Compliance Game: In "The Naked Now", Wesley wants to get Data (an android) to sort some pieces of technology. However, he doesn't want to do it as he's malfunctioning and essentially acting drunk, so Wesley says, "It's like a game", which entices Data to do it.
  • The Confidant: Counselor Troi is the obvious choice, given that that's her job; Guinan the bartender serves the role more informally, but seems overall to succeed at it more often than Troi manages.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: Implied in the episode "The Game", wherein an addictive video game-like device is being played by the bulk of the Enterprise crew, which includes Worf, who usually regards games as a waste of time, so it's unclear how he got hooked to begin with. It's possible someone physically forced him to play it, but the only one stronger than him is Data, who was unconscious.
  • Continuity Nod: TNG is excellent at making references to previous events in a variety of contexts, including other Trek shows.
    • In Season 2's "Time Squared", when about to face the vortex that sent the other Picard back in time six hours, Picard draws comparisons to The Traveler from "Where No One Has Gone Before" and Manheim from "We'll Always Have Paris".
    • There are several instances during the third season that allude to the fact that Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise during the previous season— and not all of them were directly related to Wesley. For example, in "Who Watches the Watchers?", Picard asks Crusher if the Mintakan's memory can be erased, mentioning it's been done before. Crusher replies that she's familiar with Dr. Pulaski's research (as seen in "Pen Pals" with Sarjenka). Then in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I", when about to join the away team onto the Borg ship, she asks Data what kind of resistance they can expect. (The fact that she wasn't around for the first Borg encounter in "Q Who?" was even pointed out in the screenplay).
    • "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 ("Legacy"), 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.
  • 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.
    • The more campy "Devil's Due" has Picard prove that a con artist is not the god that alien legend says made a deal with their race many generations ago, and is therefore not owed the terms of the contract she's trying to collect on. Data acts as judge.
  • Court-martialed: As stated in "The Measure of a Man" Jean-Luc Picard faced a general court-martial for the loss of his previous command, the USS Stargazer, but was cleared. Truth in Television; in most modern navies, just as Louvois points out is the case for Starfleet, a court-martial is standard procedure following the loss of a ship regardless of cause. This is not so much because the captain is necessarily suspected of wrongdoing, as simply to provide a structured forum for the details of the loss to be made part of the official record.
  • Cowboy Episode: "A Fistful of Datas", involving a Holodeck Malfunction.
  • 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, if rather eccentric, father figure.
  • Creepy Child: The alien that takes the form of a little girl in "Imaginary Friend".
  • 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.
    • This is one interpretation of Worf's decision to spare Toral at end of the Klingon civil war. He lets Toral live, but Toral receives discommendation instead, the same Fate Worse than Death that Worf had received from Toral's father.
  • Continuity Overlap: Because it was the first of the post-TOS shows as well as the first 24th Century-era series, TNG (specifically Seasons 6-7) 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.
    • Technically averted with Voyager, as the second 24th Century spinoff didn't premiere until after TNG ended its run (and was intended to be TNG's successor). That being said, TNG still specifically used the above-mentioned loose Maquis crossover with Deep Space Nine to help lay the groundwork for the spinoff.
  • The Creon: William Riker is one of the best examples of this trope, having turned down multiple chances over the years to get his own command, just so he could stay as Picard's first officer.
  • Cuckoo Nest: In "Frame of Mind," Riker is captured and forced to believe that he is in an asylum.
  • 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 graduate of Starfleet Academy. I know many things," seems pertinent, especially as he was commenting on Ferengi culture.) Though it also made Starfleet less militaristic...
    • Worf also shows off his education in "The Next Phase", when he points out that the Bajoran Death Chant is over two hours long.
  • Cunning People Play Poker: It was not uncommon to see several of the characters engage in poker matches over the course of the series. Interesting opponents, too, as Data could, if he so desired, shuffle the cards in any order he wanted, and he had a Poker Face by default. Geordi's VISOR would allow him to actually see what anyone was holding (though he claimed he never peeked until after a hand). Counselor Troi could tell via her empathic abilities if someone was bluffing. And Worf, as The Stoic, was very skilled at a Poker Face. And despite it all, the consumate player was usually Will Riker. Riker's cunning was frequently put on display, such as when he was given command of the USS Hathaway during a war game, and was able to surprise the Enterprise crew with a clever sensor trick, and trick a group of Ferengi by making a split second warp jump.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Battle of Wolf 359, in which a fleet of forty Federation starships faced off against a single Borg cube; given such a wide disparity of forces, the outcome was never in doubt. Enterprise was too far away to join the fleet, but not too far for a pre-battle conversation between the senior staff and the admiral commanding. When Enterprise finally reaches the battle site, all that's left is the shattered remains of the fleet, and the exhaust trail of the Borg cube, which shows no sign of damage once it's finally caught up with, well within the Sol system.
  • 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.

  • Dangerous Drowsiness:
    • In the episode "The Battle", Picard feels tired and he has a headache. It turns out that both symptoms are the result of mind control by some materialistic aliens called Ferengi.
    • "The Arsenal of Freedom": After attempting to evade an automated hovering weapons system, Doctor Crusher and Captain Picard both lose their balance over a subterranean opening, and fall into a cavern. Captain Picard only sustains moderate injuries, but Doctor Crusher breaks her leg and cannot move. Furthermore, she keeps drifting in and out of consciousness from the shock, where Picard attempts to keep her awake by keeping her talking.
  • 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 commencement-ceremony flight demonstration.
  • Dangerously Garish Environment: Downplayed for the planet the crew visits in the episode "Justice". It's not that bright; it just has vibrant green grass and pink-clad citizens. Similarly, it's usually as happy as it looks, but the downside is that the punishment for all law-breaking is death.
  • 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.
    • A damn good one in "Redemption":
      Gowron: What are you, Worf? Do you tremble and quake with fear at the approach of combat, hoping to talk your way out of a fight like a human? Or do you hear the cry of the warrior, calling you to battle, calling you to glory [Slasher Smile] like a Klingon?
  • Dashed Plotline: Picard's alternate life in "The Inner Light" is portrayed with many large time-skips.
  • Data Crystal: Played fairly straight with isolinear chips, which are oblong, transparent, and decorated with circuitry squiggles on either flat side.
  • 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.
  • Death Faked for You:
    • In the second part of "Gambit", 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:
    • 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.
    • If the trope hadn't already been established, John de Lancie would've done it all by himself in his role as Q, which is a big part of what makes his appearances so enjoyable. (His Large Ham tendencies are another, and they're played to the full in the Star Trek: Borg FMV game, which is essentially an interactive Lower-Deck Episode of TNG. Its producers seem to have pretty much given him free rein, and the result is marvelous; he turns it all the way up to Chewing the Scenery at times, more or less carries the whole thing on his shoulders, and still manages to give the character that touch of capricious menace which sometimes seems lacking in the show proper.)
  • Debating Names:
    • In "Disaster", Keiko O'Brien is pregnant, and she and her husband Miles argue over whose father to name the baby after, while William Riker wants him to be named after himself. Eventually, the baby turns out to be a girl, so the O'Briens name her Molly.
    • In "Imaginary Friend", some men can't agree on what to name a nebula. Mr. Sutter wants to name it "Sutter's Cloud", Geordi La Forge wants to name it the "La Forge Nebula", while Data wants to name it a number.
  • Declining Promotion:
    • William Riker, aka "Number One." He's offered his own command in the series, but doesn't accept it.
    • Picard is also offered promotion to admiral, TWICE, and turns it down.
  • Demoted to Extra: 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: At the end of "The Mind's Eye", after Geordi gets turned into a Manchurian Agent, we get a brief look at Troi starting the 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.
  • Destructive Teleportation: As could only be expected in the successor show to the Trope Codifier, and extremely useful from a production perspective in making it easy for characters to flit on and off the ship without needing to spend money and episode runtime on shuttle FX. As is often the case with TNG tech, despite the essential implausibility of the conceit, the show generally manages to keep its behavior internally consistent, keeping it from crossing the line from Plot Device to outright Deus ex Machina.
  • 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).
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Guinan is not amused in the developments with Hugh in I, Borg.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Normal operating procedure when dealing with Q seems to be to regard him as an annoying neighbor. Sometimes, this works out poorly.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: "Power Play" and "Starship Mine". The latter moreso than the former: it takes precisely fifteen minutes for Picard to turn into Bruce Willis, and even the "Who said we were terrorists?" line is uttered.
  • 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.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: In the episode "Starship Mine", Picard battles a group of terrorists on the Enterprise after he's stranded on there when the ship is going through the middle of a decontamination sweep. When their leader Kelsey captures him near the end, he reveals his identity and offers himself as a hostage if she'll forget about the weapons-grade material she took. She admits that she doesn't have a political agenda, she's just a thief. This disgusts Picard even more.
    Picard: Profit. This is all about profit.
    Kelsey: I prefer to think of it as commerce.
  • Disease by Any Other Name: In one episode, Data is damaged and loses his memories while recovering a piece of a Starfleet probe that had crashed on a medieval style Rubber-Forehead Alien World. Data, with no way of knowing the piece of the probe he had with him was radioactive, has no problem letting the local blacksmith start making trinkets and jewelry out of that odd new metal. Soon the entire village is sick (as radioactive particles have seeped into the water table from smithing) and, predictably, the villagers blame the strange newcomer for their problems.
  • Disgusting Vegetarian Food: In the episode "The Wounded" much humor is made out of contrasting the culinary tastes of newlyweds Miles and Keiko O'Brien. First Keiko makes her idea of breakfast: kelp buds, plankton loaf, and sea berries. Miles isn't very enthusiastic about it (and shows an expression of shock and disbelief that this stuff is really food), but Keiko argues that it's healthy. Miles's suggestion of muffins, oatmeal, corned beef, and eggs is met with shock by Keiko. Attempts to introduce her to scalloped potatoes, mutton shanks, oxtails, and cabbage are met with equal disinterest. It's not stated whether or not Keiko is vegetarian, but perhaps she sticks to fish.
  • 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. This was made even worse by the trial, in which no one even bothered to point out that Wesley did not intentionally step over the marker (hence violating the law). He was trying to catch a ball, and tripped and fell.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Turns out they do, in "Birthright".
  • The Dog Is an Alien: In one episode, the crew of the Enterprise suspect a shapeshifting alien monster to have killed and impersonated a member of a remote science station. The two humanoid suspects (one of them Klingon) are eventually cleared by lab tests, but in a horrifying twist the dog from the station that nobody paid any mind to is revealed to be the alien, and it almost devours Geordi to take his form.
  • 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.
  • 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 an 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: In "The Battle".
    Beverly: You had no choice.
    Picard: Didn't I? I don't know anymore... I just don't know.
  • 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). Which is still a major violation, but the episode doesn't really treat it as one.
    • 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.
  • Drama Panes:
    • Captain Picard would often stare out of the windows in the Ready Room when making decisions or reflecting on the outcomes of those decisions. Alternatively, the windows of Ten Forward could also serve this purpose, too.
    • "The Child" has Guinan and Wesley engage in a conversation about duty vs. desire while gazing out of the window in Ten Forward. The ship goes into warp just as Guinan makes her point, treating the audience to a beautiful view of the heavens at FTL speeds.
  • Dramatic Downstage Turn: Occurs every few episodes, with different characters utilizing it. Most notable is Perrin, Sarek's new wife, who seems to do this at least once in each of the episodes she appears in.
  • Dream Apocalypse: In the Season 1 episode "The Big Goodbye," Picard is on the 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?"
  • Dream Episode:
    • In "Night Terrors", Deanna Troi has dreams which turn out to be caused by an alien sending her telepathic messages. She needs to lucid dream in order to communicate with the alien and save her crew mates, who have lost their ability to dream.
    • In "Birthright", Data (an android) starts having dreams because he's uncovered a program in his brain.
    • In "Phantasms", Data starts experimenting with his dream program and begins having nightmares that turn out to be because alien parasites are attacking the ship.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Taken to an extreme in "Frame of Mind". Riker shifts from the Enterprise before both his mission and role in a play to an insane asylum. This happens several times so no one, from Riker to the audience, knows what is real. At the end, it is shown that he is in a laboratory room as alien doctors are trying to get information from his brain. The shifts were due to a defense mechanism of his mind.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lieutenant Kwan in "Eye Of The Beholder." The first act of the episode also counts as A Very Special Episode about suicide.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
  • The Dutiful Son: Robert Picard preferred to stay home in France rather than go out to space.
  • Dying Race:
    • "Up the Long Ladder" features two races who were in danger of dying out: Walking talking Irish stereotypes, and a group of five upper class people who were clones of clones of clones etc. etc. of the original survivors.
    • "When the Bough Breaks" features the Aldeans who kidnap the Enterprise crew's children in order to prevent their extinction.

  • Ear Worm: In "The Survivors", Troi hears music box music that she can't get out of her head, no matter how hard she tries. It turns out that Kevin planted that music into her head to prevent her from finding out the truth, he used his powers to wipe out an entire alien race.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In full effect; most noticeable in Season 1.
    • 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.
    • Season 1 featured a revolving door of chief engineers before Geordi took the job full-time in season 2. The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard (non-canon) explains this as the Galaxy-class being so complex that Starfleet thought it would need multiple chief engineers, but Picard got tired of dealing with different people all the time and put Geordi in charge of everything.
    • A great deal of it just in "Encounter at Farpoint", including:
      • Data says he graduated in the "Class of '78." Later episodes would establish the first season to take place in 2364, with Data serving in Starfleet for only twenty years.
      • Data uses a contraction, something he is specifically stated to be incapable of in a later episode.
      Data: At least we're acquainted with the judge.
      • Data in general is far more expressive than he was in the rest of the series, even smiling quite naturally in his appreciation of Riker's ability to whistle:
      Data: Marvelous! How easily humans do that.
      • We learn that Troi taught Riker to be able to hear her thoughts. Never ever brought up again despite the two dozen or so times it would have been useful.
      • The Ops and Conn stations are reversed from where they are in the rest of the series.
      • A lot of the functions of the Enterprise, including the interactive computer AI, are treated as if they're bleeding edge and something other Starfleet officers haven't encountered before being on the flagship. Riker seems altogether flummoxed by things such as it helping guide him where he's going. Later on these would be treated as standard for every ship. Justified in that many may have become standard after being tested aboard Enterprise.
    • 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 rest of the galaxy for some time (one was Sisko's mentor when he was young, and he certainly knew about the symbiont/host relationship). This episode also implies that the mind of the host is completely irrelevant, the mind and intellect almost entirely the symbiont's, and transferring the symbiont to a different host means transferring the same person to a different body.

      After that, it's established that implanting the symbiont into a host creates an inseparable melding of the symbiont 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 symbiont and then meld together with previous hosts to form the basis of the new mind with the new host. Their avoidance of transporters was also dropped after the first episode.
    • 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.note 
    • Men and women wear short skirts in the first season. The male version, nicknaked the skant, was created on the reasoning that with complete gender equality, a skirt uniform would have to be unisex.
    • Worf, Geordi, and O'Brien are all redshirts. O'Brien has held more job titles than any of them: He begins the series as a helmsman, is promoted to Transporter Chief, and leaves the series a full-fledged Chief Engineer, with no prior mention of his training in either field. (Although he mentions once fixing a Jeffries tube in TNG's "Realm of Fear".) On DS9, O'Brien explains that he discovered a knack for repair work when he was jerry-rigging a transporter beacon during the war with the Cardassians, and the series finale "All Good Things..." retcons his engineering credentials way back during the events of the first season.
    • In the first few episodes, Worf acts half-feral. He is highly emotional, resorts to wordless growling when he gets upset, and occasionally reacts with confusion or contempt for aspects of human behavior and culture. Later episodes would establish him as a stoic, highly disciplined officer who was raised by human foster parents on Earth.
    • Data is more humanlike and his android body more akin to a biological body in early episodes. He behaves more emotionally and is not established to have no emotions for some time. He references needing to eat a certain chemical compound to keep his insides functioning properly. He also contracts the polywater virus, though the crew react in disbelief and state that this should be impossible.
    • Geordi the helmsman is much less staid than Geordi the engineer and behaves in an almost Jive Turkey manner.
    • The holographic table in the conference room is pretty nifty but one understands why they stuck to a viewscreen in future seasons. (DS9 ran into a similar problem with the one-episode wonder "holo-communicator", which looked good but took ages to shoot.) Another quibble from "The Last Outpost": Dr. Bev affectionately calls by his first name, "Jean", but leaves out the Luc.
    • The first two seasons on a whole have a more low-budget and campy feel to them than the later seasons.
    • The Bajorans and Cardassians.
      • The Cardassian makeup was changed after their first appearance in "The Wounded". Initially, their complexion looks more human, with flesh-tone coloring and brown hair, compared to their gray complexion and jet-black hair in later appearances. They also wear very different military uniforms with helmets. One sports facial hair, something that was never seen after that.
      • The Bajoran makeup is slightly altered between "Ensign Ro" and later Bajoran characters, and Ro wears her earring on her left ear rather than her right, a practice favored by members of the Pah-wraith cult in DS9.Expanded universe 
      • The Occupation is portrayed as much less severe than in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
      • TNG makes no mention of the Prophets or the Bajoran religion in general.
    • Season 2's "Unnatural Selection" takes place at a Starfleet facility in which genetic research is being done to create super humans. Season 5's "The Masterpiece Society" features a colony that's been genetically engineered to be perfect. It would be pointed out many times in the future, as well as on ''DS9'' and Enterprise that the Federation has a strict ban on any such research being done thanks to the Eugenics Wars.
    • In "The Battle", one Ferengi expresses amazement that the Federation would construct their communicator badges out of gold, considering using such a valuable metal for such a utilitarian purpose as wasteful. In Deep Space Nine, it's established that gold is actually considered worthless in a society where it can be easily replicated, and that Ferengi only use gold to encase latinum, a rare liquid metal that cannot be successfully replicated. They're also described as man-eaters, later Retconned to mean in a financial sense.
    • The sets had a much more "late seventies/early eighties" vibe in the first season, with the leather seats at conn and ops looking like something out of a custom van, and some corridor walls actually having patterned wallpaper on them. The set upgrades that came later made the Enterprise look a bit less like a move-in-ready suburban home from 1982.
    • Techno Babble appears far less often in the first two seasons, and when it does show up is usually either used to depict someone as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, or is treated as a joke with Picard or Riker telling the characters who are coming out with the technobabble (usually some combination of Data, Geordi, and O'Brien) to just shut up and get on with whatever they're suggesting.
    • The first appearance of the Borg on Q-Who? features a few discrepancies from their later portrayals:
      • Q declares that the Borg "don't care about your life forms" and the Borg are presented more as a single self-perpetuating species heavily into cybernetics, rather than a hodgepodge of assimilated races. Guinan also describes them as a race that developed this way over time. No mention of assimilation is ever made, despite this being the hallmark of the Borg, just them being interested in other species' technology.
      • The Borg do not give their standard greeting upon first meeting the Enterprise, in fact remaining silent through all attempts to communicate. They only do something similar to it after boarding the Enterprise.
      • Guinan says individual Borg cubes don't just attack things in range, but instead come in force. Later depictions would have the Borg attacking basically anything that's around them.
      • Borg ship interiors are much more brightly lit and colored than in subsequent appearances, especially in Voyager and First Contact, with less emphasis on the black and green color palette.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: In "Angel One", when Riker comes out dressed in ridiculously revealing native clothing, Troi and Yar's reactions are priceless.
  • '80s Hair:
    • Troi in the first season or so.
    • The supporting cast of "Angel One". And "Haven".
    • Any number of women seen on screen, however briefly, in the early seasons.
  • Eldritch Starship: The Edo God is dimensionally transcendent and the Farpoint lifeform is a massive shapeshifter that can take the form of a starship.
  • Embarrassingly Dresslike Outfit: In "Liaisons", Worf complains about the long tunics he and his coworkers must wear on formal occasions, stating they look like dresses. Riker thinks that the belief men can't wear such garments is sexist, and besides, he looks good in a "dress".
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Worf's son Alexander joins his father aboard the Enterprise. Everybody was trying to reach Worf about his son through his communicator. Unfortunately, he was with Captain Picard who was explaining an assignment to him. It looked like the communicators couldn't be turned off, and both Picard and Worf got really annoyed.
  • Enemy Mine: "Darmok", also (shockingly) "The Enemy".
  • Episode Tagline: The episode "Darmok" is about several aliens who speak in metaphors (usually allusions to their myths). Three of the most repeated ones are "Darmok and Jilahd at Tenagra", "Temba, his arms wide", and "Shaka when the walls fell".note 
  • Escort Distraction: Minuet in the episode "11001001" is a chanteuse created by the Binars to keep both Captain Picard and First Officer Riker captivated on the holodeck while the Binars hijack the Enterprise for their own purposes. She succeeds long enough for the starship to reach the Binar homeworld.
  • 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.
  • "Everybody Helps Out" Denouement: The episode "Ensign Ro" concludes with the Enterprise crew helping support and rebuild the Bajoran refugee camp after Picard learned the horrors of their condition from Ro, who he offers a position on the ship.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Q Continuum, in spite of being a Reality Warper species, are not a malevolent force in the universe. They feel responsibility to not cause havoc in the universe with their powers. When Q gets out of line, they strip him of his powers. They're also prepared to kill a Q to prevent her from possibly running amok. And as bad as Q himself is, it's really quite amazing how harmless most of his pranks are, when you think about what he could do. Arguably the worst thing he does (getting a bunch of crewmen killed by the Borg) is part of a Hard Truth Aesop.
  • Evil Learns of Outside Context:
    • The Borg began their mission of absorbing all sentient life in the universe long ago, but are largely limited to the further reaches of space. It isn't until the Reality Warper Q puts Picard through a Secret Test of Character that the Borg become aware of the existence of the Galactic Federation of Planets, and specifically Earth—and they immediately start gunning for it. Somewhat downplayed in that Picard realizes the Borg would have eventually learned about the Federation and humans regardless of Q's actions, although the sudden discovery does cause series-spanning problems for the heroes (presumably they'd have had more time to prepare if Q hadn't been such a jerk.)
    • In a more limited example, the episode "Elementary, Dear Data" sees Data, Geordi, and Dr. Pulaski using the holodeck to simulate immersive Sherlock Holmes mysteries for fun. Data plays the detective, but since he has literally encyclopedic knowledge of the Holmes stories, he easily solves all the cases, much to Geordi's chagrin. He decides to make things more challenging by specifically asking the computer to write a program "capable of defeating Data." Unfortunately, the computer interprets this literally and grants the simulation of Professor Moriarty sentience and sapience, as only someone aware of Data's true identity could defeat him. Moriarty thus realizes two things: that he's a hologram and that there is a "real world" that he cannot access. He sets out to take control of the holodeck—and later the entire Enterprise—to keep himself alive.
  • 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.
  • Evolutionary Levels: "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.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The name of the ship's bar, Ten-Forward, is simply its location aboard the ship: the forward-most part of Deck 10.
  • Exact Words: In "Tapestry", Q promised Picard that if he was allowed to go back in time to change the outcome of his ill-fated bar brawl with Naussicaans that no one would have to die, and he alone would bear the consequences for his changes. Turns out, Q was right; by preventing the bar brawl, Picard never got stabbed, and no one died. Making this change, however, condemns him to life as a lowly junior lieutenant.
  • 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: Data and his identical brother Lore have amber irises. In Lore's final episode when Data deactivates him for good his pupils shrink until they disappear, leaving his eyes blank and sightless.

  • Face Death with Dignity: Toral after he's captured at the end of the Klingon Civil War. He's clearly scared, but he doesn't beg for his life or attempt to flee. Oddly, this is actually a Pet the Dog moment for him since it signifies that, despite all his other flaws, his heart is Klingon.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: For a surprise revelation about long lost Tasha Yar's fate.
  • Face Your Fears: Part of the Starfleet Academy entrance exam is for the prospective cadet to face his or her greatest fear. One episode depicts Wesley Crusher put through this test, being forced to choose which of two men caught in an accident to rescue, his fear being that he would be paralyzed by indecision.
  • Fake Guest Star: Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan was never a cast member but starting from season two she would show up in an episode when her schedule permitted and be included in cast photos. This was because she was a huge fan of the Original Series and accepted scale pay at a time when her career was at its peak, which others attributed to really helping the show in its formative years.invoked
  • 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.
  • Family Extermination: The episode "The Vengeance Factor" features this twice over. A century earlier, the planet Acamar was caught up in an endless series of blood feuds between rival clans, one of which, the Tralesta, was nearly completely destroyed by another clan, the Lornak. The handful of survivors agreed to turn one of their own into a biologically immortal assassin so that she could hunt down every single Lornak no matter how long it took. By the time the episode takes place, the few other remaining Tralesta are all long dead, only the assassin, a mild-mannered "young" woman named Yuta, remains. While she's long since grown weary of the killing and death, the process that made her stop aging also seems to have locked in the state of grief and pain over losing her clan and she's very close to completing her mission. As she puts it to the penultimate Lornak, "I am the last of my line, but my clan will outlive yours!". Her chemistry with Riker is almost enough to convince her to give up on the vendetta, but not quite and he is forced to vaporize her before she can finish off the last survivor (an important political leader engaged in peace talks).
  • 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, which is surprising considering that she's effectively a military officer as well as a therapist. She's finally told to wear a real uniform in season 6.
  • 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 mechanical 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.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: In "Pen Pals" Data becomes friends with a little girl named Sarjenka and saves her planet from earthquakes that would render said planet uninhabitable. In the end our crew is forced to wipe her memory before returning her to her home, but Data still puts a "singer stone" in her hand that she was admiring earlier, despite knowing that she won't remember where it came from.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • For Klingons, this is what discommendation is. They are stripped of not only their personal honor, but also the honor of the next several generations of their entire family. Their House is forfeit and they are forbidden from interacting with most other Klingons.
  • Father, I Don't Want to Fight: Worf's son Alexander is adamant on not embracing the Klingon culture, having grown up in the peaceful, functional Federation one. This causes Worf much consternation, because he knows that Alexander will be eaten alive by Klingon politics the minute he inevitably tries to initiate reform. A time-traveling future Alexander indicates that this is exactly what happens and Worf was killed by a rival house as a result. In the present, Worf consoles him that the time-traveler's presence has already begun to change their timeline.
    • In the actual future, this still becomes a problem as Alexander enlists in the Klingon military to fight the Dominion on Deep Space Nine and is no way cut out for starship duty or combat in anybody's society, let alone the Klingon's.
  • Fear Is Normal:
    • In "Night Terrors", the crew are suffering "dream deprivation", which makes them paranoid. Worf feels ashamed of this fear due to being from a Proud Warrior Race, and even tries to cut his own throat. However, Troi convinces him that he's still brave, since admitting one's fears takes courage.
    • In "Realm of Fear", Reg Barclay is afraid of transporters because they work by taking you apart and reassembling you. At first he's ashamed, but Troi assures him that this fear is normal and can be overcome.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas:
    • In "Loud as a Whisper", Picard accidentally insults Riva when he asks a question to one of his chorus, quickly apologizing 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.
    • The Solanis Convention is referenced specifically as a prisoner of war treatment document between the Federation and Cardassia.
  • 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!"
  • Finale Production Upgrade:
    • Well-known to even the general public, and one of the Trope Codifiers in itself, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1", Season 3's finale, blew the entire series up to that point out of the water, shaking up the status quo of not only characters for years to come, but also the quality and general atmosphere of future installments and spinoffs. This included the Borg threatening the existence of the entire United Federation of Planets containing billions of individuals, showing their destructive power by obliterating 39 starships (the battle of which could not be shown because of its sheer horror, and the series' budget and technology at the time would not allow it), and putting into question whether the star of the show, Captain Picard, was going to survive. What fueled this was that Patrick Stewart at this time was in talks to leave the series, and his future involvement with TNG was just as questionable as his character's survival.
    • The final season and episode all gained a softer and more-even lighting scheme, more-vibrant color mix, a more-balanced sound mix, and higher-budget special effects. The series finale even ran a double-length episode, with a pre-and-during-show retrospective to match, and the stakes of the finale expanded to not just one group, community, city, or planet, but the ENTIRE GALAXY, with an anomaly threatening to twist our corner of the universe back to the primordial ages, preventing the origin of any life! The finale was even anticipated so much that Canada's Toronto Skydome (now Rogers Center) hosted a 54,000-seat-packed event to celebrate the occasion!
  • Fire-Forged Friends: "Darmok". This is the entire point of beaming Picard and the alien captain to the planet, for them to bond through fighting an energy being together.
  • First Contact: The episode "First Contact" shows the Enterprise crew making first contact from the aliens point of view. The movie of that name reverses the polarity by having the aliens be the ones experiencing first contact with humans. In a similar manner, the episode "Homebound" involves Worf's brother sneaking a handful of people from a pre-contact dying world on to the holodeck. One of the people accidentally gets out and we see from his point of view the sheer terror of not only the situation he was in but the very premise of aliens.
  • Fish out of Water: In "A Matter of Honor" Riker gets to be the first officer on a Klingon ship.
  • Fish People: "Manhunt" has 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:
    • A variation occurs in the episode "Cause and Effect"—the Enterprise is trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where she's destined to collide with another ship and explode. Data figures out how to avoid the collision too late, so he uses Techno Babble to send a message into the next loop, which helps the crew save themselves and the other ship.
    • "The Inner Light" tells the story of an alien race doomed by instability in their sun who send out a space probe that finds Picard and forces him to hallucinate living a lifetime among their final generations before the end, and thus ensures that their species will at least be remembered. It affected Picard and no other crew member. The life he lived involved being married, having a family, and other things he's never made time for - taking it from a disturbing experience to something he sees as a gift.
    • The episode "The Chase" reveals that all humanoid life is this—a Precursor species that inhabited the Milky Way eons before life anywhere else was more complex than bacteria seeded planets all over the galaxy with DNA so that evolution there would result in people who resembled them after their eventual extinction. They left a message coded in DNA to explain all this.
  • Flowers of Romance:
    • 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.
    • "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.
  • Flying Cutlery Spaceship: The last two films, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis, had plenty of villainous ships like this. Insurrection featured a number of pointy horseshoe-crab style villain ships plus a giant, spiky weapon-ship that would strip life-supporting particles from the rings of an inhabited planet. Nemesis featured an oversized warbird with an insanely impractical (and very, very spiky) transformation sequence just to fire its main weapon.
  • 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.
    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: Captain Jean-Luc Picard was a delinquent and skirt-chaser at the Academy, culminating in a bar fight with a group of Proud Warrior Race Guys in which he got stabbed in the heart. After that, he apparently became rather more focused.
  • Fountain of Youth: "Rascals", in which a transporter malfunction turns Picard, Keiko, Ro and Guinan into children, during which time the Enterprise is captured by hostile aliens. Despite the fact that they clearly keep their adult minds, they still have to save the day using childlike cleverness rather than their usual methods. As children, they would lack the strength and speed to do many of the physical actions an adult could perform. It's established that as far as Crusher can tell, the four would develop normally with no ill effects, but this is never explored as a means of extending people's lives.
  • 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.
    • Troi had a handful of these, most severely (for her and those around her that had to suffer her) after she lost her empathic powers due to the influence of two-dimensional creatures.
  • French Accordion: The episode "Family" saw Capt. Picard go to France to see the titular family. And to let the viewer know it's France - cue the accordion.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Enemy: Q drives Picard crazy, but there are indications as the series progresses that suggest the two are headed in this direction, with Q openly admitting to helping Picard in the series finale, and even early on Picard indicates he's in Q's debt for giving the Federation advance warning of the Borg.
  • 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).
  • FTL Test Blunder:
    • "Remember Me" has Wesley testing new warp field equations to create a stable warp bubble. Unfortunately, he ends up trapping his mother in a collapsing parallel universe and spends the rest of the episode working to get her out before the warp bubble collapses completely.
    • "New Ground" has a scientist propose a new method of warp that would avoid the dangerous use of antimatter/matter warp reactors aboard ship. Using a series of field coils on a planet, a ship would be pushed into warp using a generated soliton wave, ride that wave to a target destination, and then be scattered by dispersion units at the destination planet, dropping the ship out of warp as it arrived. It would have been faster and more economical than standard warp drive, but a flaw in the experiment generated a wave far too powerful, destroying the test ship, damaging the Enterprise and would have destroyed the planet at the other end if the Enterprise crew hadn't intervened, using photon torpedoes to dissipate the wave before it could arrive.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 logical way to stop him is to kill him.
    Data: I cannot permit this to continue.
  • Gambler's Fallacy: In order to escape "The Royale", Data needs to bankrupt the house by winning at the craps tables; being an android, he can detect the loaded dice, fixes them in his hand, and can roll straight sevens. One of the other gamblers believes Data's luck has to run out sooner or later and bets against him. Of course, luck has nothing to do with it.
  • Gaslighting:
    • A famous example in "Chain of Command," in which the Cardassians use psychological torture to try to persuade Picard to say there are five lights in the room when in fact there are four.
    • "Frame of Mind" is all about aliens attempting to convince Riker he's crazy.
  • Gender Bender: In season 4 episode 23 "The Host", a symbiotic Trill diplomat named Odan and Dr. Crusher fall in love. The Trill symbiote's host dies, and the Enterprise must rendezvous with a Trill ship so that Odan can be implanted in a new host. On the Trill ship, it turns out the new host is female. The sex of the host is of no concern to the symbiote, but it makes the romance with Beverly Crusher untenable.
  • 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.
  • Gem Tissue: The Crystalline Entity, a massive snowflake-like creature that absorbed organic matter, converting it into energy in order to grow. Although the entity was shattered in its second appearance, it (or another) would later appear in the Star Trek: Titan novels and Star Trek Online.
  • 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.
  • Genocide Survivor:
    • The Borg (cyborgs with a Hive Mind who turn you into one of them by "assimilating" you) tried to assimilate Guinan's whole species, but there were a few who survived un-assimilated, such as Guinan herself, and her immediate family.
    • "The Vengeance Factor" features the last surviving member of an alien clan on a lifelong mission to wipe out every last member of the clan that wiped hers out.

  • Ghost Ship: "The Battle", "The Naked Now", "Night Terrors", "Hero Worship", "Booby Trap".
  • Gigantic Moon: Despite deserved praise for its attention to detail with modern science, they have taken artistic license with Earth's moon. From orbit, the moon is no different in size to human eyes than on land. Contrast this image from Best of Both Worlds and this NASA image.
  • Girl of the Week: No one manages to maintain a steady relationship for longer than an episode. Usually the relationship ends by the end of the episode, but sometimes the love interest just never gets brought up again, such as Christy Henshaw.
  • Glitch Episode:
    • In "Thine Own Self", Data the android has been damaged and thus has amnesia. He spends most of the episode on an alien planet with people who think he's an "ice man".
    • Downplayed for "The Naked Now". While it's mostly a Plague Episode, focusing on a strange compound making people act drunk, seeing as the compound isn't technically a disease, it manages to get into Data's circuits and make him haywire too.
  • 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 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."
  • 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: In "The Arsenal of Freedom", the EP-607, an automated weapons system designed to operate with total autonomy. It's effective enough to have wiped out everyone on the planet of its invention.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: In one episode, Deanna Troi meets a man who is a quarter Betazoid, and who, like her, has empathic powers. He uses his abilities to win in political and economic negotiations. Troi calls him out on it, but he fires back that where he's using his natural abilities to come out on top in property transactions, just like the people he makes deals with, Troi uses her abilities to increase the lethal capacity of a warship, often against beings with no way of resisting her.
  • Gorn: The death and destruction of Cmdr. Dexter Remmick and the mother parasite inside him in the first season episode "Conspiracy" caused much controversy when it first aired.
  • 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".
  • G-Rated Drug: The game, in "The Game". Mixed with a little bit of One More Level. Remember, the Game Boy first came out around this time.
  • Great Gazoo: Q has a bad habit of using his powers to mess around with the Enterprise crew, much to Picard's annoyance.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Phasers aren't designed or used like a real weapon would be. They have no sights on them and are fired one-handed, usually from the hip, which would make them very inaccurate at any kind of range. They are also fired by pressing your thumb down on the button on top of them, which would affect your aim every time you fire.
  • Hairball Humor: When Geordi tries to look after Spot, he gets mad at him after Spot apparently broke his lamp and then coughed up a hairball under his bed.
  • Hand Blast: Played with in a very unusual way: Geordi was interfaced with a remote-controlled probe in one episode, and to himself (and to the audience) it looked like he was walking around with his legs and picking up objects with his hands. In reality, that was an illusion, and it was just the probe using tractor beams. The probe was armed, and did fire a phaser blast at one point; when this happened, it looked to Geordi and to the audience like the beam came from Geordi's palm. But obviously the probe didn't have a hand to fire it from per se.
  • Harmful Healing: Accidentally caused everyone to "devolve" in "Genesis".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: In a species-wide example, the Klingons have gone from being the Federation's staunchest adversaries in The Original Series to being uneasy allies by the time Next Generation is set.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: An inversion combined with the same inversion of Bizarre Alien Biology can be found in the episode "First Contact." Riker is beaten pretty badly and is hospitalized on an alien planet that does not believe in aliens. He was on an away mission and altered to look like them, but in the hospital, they note that his "cardiac organ" is in the wrong place as well as many other anatomical abnormalities.
  • Heinousness Retcon: The Ferengi go through several versions of this during the show's run, mostly due to initial plans for them to be the shows main antagonists falling through.
    • In "Encounter At Farpoint" its heavily implied they're notorious for eating other sapient species, something which is never mentioned again throughout the entire franchise (save one novel that reconnected it as part of a propaganda campaign to make them look fearsome in preparation for meeting what they believed was a truly insane faction).
    • In their first appearance "The Last Outpost" the Ferengi are effectively caricatures of the worst parts of humanity (to contrast with how advanced and enlightened the crew of Enterprise is) and presented as manic, vicious greedy warriors, who are openly hostile and hell-bent on attacking the crew then looting the corpses. Following it being realised they were nowhere near intimidating enough to work in this role, later episodes switched to presenting them as, whilst still potentially dangerous and obsessed with greed, an overall cowardly race who only attacked when they clearly had the upper hand, and who's tactics leaned towards deception, subterfuge, and illegal activities.
    • Come Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the Ferengi were completely reimagined as a Proud Merchant Race whose only focuses are on economic pursuit and profit (albeit with not many moral scruples), with Quark outright boasting that the Ferengi had never engaged in active warfare during their entire existence, instead using their economic skills to force any opponents into making a quick (and often highly profitable) deals. With not even Chief O'Brien (who was aboard the Enterprise and involved in several Ferengi attacks) ever calling him out the discrepancy.
  • Helping Another Save Face: In one of her more generous gestures, after Worf passed out on duty from a childhood malady he considers embarrassing, Dr. Pulaski covers for Worf by telling Picard that it was due to ritual fasting.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Purpose Test:
    • Troi's engineering qualification test for her promotion is this. Rather than solve an engineering problem per se, the point is to see if she can send someone to certain death if necessary.
    • For a series-spanning example, The Q Continuum putting humanity on trial, and at least a few of the outlandish situations Q sends Picard and crew into, is the Q testing to see if the humans can be open-minded enough to truly appreciate and explore the unknown possibilities of existence.
  • Hive Mind: The Borg, a race of cyborgs all linked together in a collective, where thoughts and information are shared.
  • 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.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: In "Lower Decks", Sito (an alien, specifically a Bajoran) says, "I'd like to have been a spider under  that table ."
  • 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 who 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.
    • In "Emergence", the first problem came when the Orient Express travels through Data's production of the play The Tempest on the Holodeck. This led them to realize the ship was forming an intelligence with the holodeck acting as its imagination, and didn't take kindly to them trying to interfere.
  • How We Got Here: In the episode "Suspicions", Beverly is telling Guinan how she got into professional trouble for most of the episode.
  • Human Alien Discovery:
    • Inverted in one episode where boy was adopted by an alien as a toddler and assumes he's the same species, but he's actually a human.
    • The episode "True Q". A woman named Amanda Rogers comes aboard the Enterprise as a Starfleet intern to study with Doctor Crusher. During the course of the episode it's revealed that she's actually the offspring of two Q who assumed mortal forms to have a child together.
  • 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: Hugh from "I, Borg" seems to fit this one to a degree. And after he's returned to The Collective, his acquired humanity spreads to every drone on his ship, which is quickly severed from the rest of the hive-mind lest it cause a Galactic BSOD.
  • Humanity on Trial: This is the premise of "Encounter at Farpoint" and "All Good Things...," with Q putting humanity on trial. As Q asserts in "All Good Things...," "The trial never ends".
  • Humans Are Ugly: Humans are called "ugly giant bags of mostly water" by a sentient race of crystal.
  • Hunting the Rogue: "The Wounded" had the Enterprise forced into hunting one of their own ships, USS Phoenix, whose captain was attacking Cardassian ships without orders, on suspicion of weapons smuggling. The fact that, per Deep Space Nine, he was right, didn't change the fact he'd taken the law into his own hands.
  • 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. This speed limit gradually fades out of the franchise, however.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The "Picard Maneuver", where a ship (typically already engaged in battle) would use its warp drive to make a very short trip to another part of the battlefield. If done properly, this allowed a starship commander to allow his ship to appear in two places simultaneously, because the sensor return from the ship's previous location had not yet gotten back to the enemy ship. This tactic was notably of limited use, only being effective against enemies who did not possess subspace sensors.
  • 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 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. He does point out there's a difference between taking Troi's empathic sense of someone's dishonesty into account with other evidence and using it as the sole basis for an accusation. 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. Picard also takes Worf's side in the debate, pointing out that he is a Klingon, and for him, his life ended when he was injured.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "Ensign Ro", when Riker chastises Ro Laren for wearing her Bajoran earring—which has religious significance—only to subsequently take her into a meeting where Troi was wearing her low-cut, non-regulation uniform and Worf is proudly wearing his Klingon baldric. This may be more out of personal and professional dislike than anything; in the end, when she makes being allowed to wear her earring a condition for staying on, Picard accepts with a grin.
    • In "Attached", the xenophobic Prytt abduct Picard and Crusher, who were attempting to visit the neighboring Kes. In the course of trying to get them back, Riker abducts the security minister who ordered the original abduction. She is outraged. She actually uses the word "outrage".

  • 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.
  • I Lied: "Captain's Holiday" - Beverly is trying to convince Captain Picard to take a vacation. Picard is adamant, and she tells him that it's going on a vacation that he hates, but once he gets there, he has a great time. She reminds him of him telling her about how he had a great time during his four days on Zytchin III, to which he replies "I lied." Given that he's trying to wheedle desperately out of the vacation, this itself is likely a lie.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You
    • There's an episode where Lwaxana Troi is fascinated by someone she cannot read. He turns out to be a hologram, which quite embarrasses her.
    • Similarly, the telepath from the episode "Tin Man" spends a lot of time with Data, whose mind he cannot read. The difference here is that, unlike Lwaxana, he can't not read minds, while Lwaxana just has almost no sense of personal space in that regard. He loves having to discover who Data is as a person rather than having all that information thrust upon him at once.
  • 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.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: In "Heart of Glory", when they use a device to transmit the view from Geordi's VISOR back to the Bridge, Picard expresses surprise that Data appears to be glowing with a subtle aura. Geordi expresses surprise that no one else can see it.
  • 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).
  • Identical Grandson:
    • Also overlaps with literal Generation Xerox as Data and Lore were designed to resemble their creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. It's later revealed that he was also an Identical Grandson of Dr. Arik Soong from Enterprise.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ignorant About Fire: In Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E1 "The Child" the titular child is Counselor Troi's via an energy being. The child grows at a rapid rate and in one scene is curious about a candle and lets it burn his hand. The child recoils in pain. It turns out that the child was trying to learn how to be human.
  • Imposed Handicap Training: Subverted in episode "Lower Decks." Worf, who teaches a Klingon martial arts class aboard Enterprise, blindfolds and spars with one of his students; telling her that this is what's happening. What he's actually doing is trying to teach her to be more assertive. After Worf knocks her on her butt a few times, she finally stands up to him and protests the blatantly unfair contest; which is exactly what Worf wanted her to do.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: ("Datalore") Lore accidentally uses contractions, which the episode establishes that Data doesn't use.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: In "The Inner Light", a probe causes Picard to live the life of a man named Kamin, whose homeworld was destroyed centuries ago.
  • Incessant Music Madness:
  • Incompatible Orientation: When Crusher falls in love with a Trill, she's ready to follow him into his next host body... until it turns out that that body is a woman. Crusher explicitly claims that the host's sex isn't the dealbreaker, but her stony reaction to seeing her for the first time gives the lie to that.
  • 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.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Due to the Character Shilling, many viewers don't find Okona to be as "outrageous" as advertised.
    • Worf is supposed to be the ship's resident bruiser and a skilled martial artist, but he seemed to get his ass kicked in virtually every fight due to The Worf Effect. His stint on DS9 does a lot to reverse this.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: "Encounter at Farpoint" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Only now does humanity merit some attention by Q Continuum and the Traveller’s people: prior to this we were too uninteresting.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • It is a cellular peptide cake... with mint frosting.
    • Mr. Data is an "artificial life form" or "android", not a "robot."
  • Instant Seduction: Okona again. He very quickly ends up in bed with the transporter technician played by Teri Hatcher.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Well, almost anyone would recognize the TNG theme when they heard it.
  • 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 (3/4) Klingon grandson, Alexander, when Worf decided that being a single father aboard the Enterprise would be too difficult for him to handle.
    • In "Suddenly Human" the Enterprise away team finds a human teen boy serving on a training ship of another race, the Talarians. It was discovered he was taken as a baby after a raid by the Talarians, he was raised by a member of the military, who captained a starship. The question became whether to take him back to Earth to live with family (and threaten a war) or allow him to stay with the only family he had ever known.
  • Intimate Artistry: In "The High Ground", when the Enterprise is visiting the planet Rutia IV Dr. Crusher is kidnapped by a terrorist group. While she is being held captive, the group's leader draws sketches of her, which indicates both that he has artistic sensibilities (and is therefore more complex than simply "evil") and that he is growing attracted to her.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Q appears to be very interested in humanity. Or maybe it's just Picard.
  • Invisible Main Character: In "The Next Phase", Geordi and Ro end up invisible and intangible.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing:
    • In the season 1 episode "Datalore", Captain Picard at first feels inclined to refer to Data as "he", and to Data's newly-discovered twin brother Lore as "it". Data calls him out on this, and feels uncomfortable at the idea of them being referred to differently when they were both androids. Picard apologizes.
    • Dr. Pulaski is initially very distrustful of Data. When she first sees Data at the helm, she exclaims to the captain, "You're letting it pilot the ship?" Pulaski goes through Character Development through the course of her lone season and eventually comes to treat Data as a trusted colleague.
    • 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.
    • In the episode "I Borg", a Borg crash survivor is discovered and brought aboard the Enterprise for recovery, albeit with great concern. Although the drone is male, most crewmembers refer to him as 'it' instead. Once they spend time with the drone (partly due to plans to use him as a plot to cripple the Borg Collective), some of the crew become uncomfortable with the plan. As the crew get to know the Borg drone better (by now given the name of Hugh) many of them refer to him of the proper gender. An important point to all this is Captain Picard: Due to his capture and psychological torture by the Borg, his hatred towards them is extreme to the point where he continues to refer to Hugh as 'it', well after the time where the rest of the crew have switched over. It's not until he's persuaded to talk to Hugh in person does he finally stop seeing the individual as merely a tool for destruction.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • "Tapestry" plays out this way, but is averted because it shows what life would be like if Picard had made different choices, rather than him not having existed.
  • Jerkass:
    • Q loves tormenting people, though he's more like an unruly adolescent than malevolent, at least after the first episode.
    • Most of the Cardassians that show up. The Cardassian culture actually values Jerkass qualities.
    • Bruce Maddox in "The Measure of a Man". Until the very end, he's completely dismissive toward Data, talking about him as if he isn't even there, and constantly refers to him as "it" (even granted Maddox doesn't believe Data is sentient, he very clearly identifies as male and is, ahem, "fully functional").
  • Joker Jury: The onlookers in Q's "courtroom" cheer and jeer throughout the proceedings, trials apparently being used as a form of entertainment in the time period Q recreated.
  • "Join Us" Drone: This series was the introduction of the Borg who sprouted the infamous line when going after new victims:
    "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile".
  • 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 lifeform. Data, both before and after the trial, viewed Soong-type androids as unique lifeforms, 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 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, it works by turning a person's violent thoughts against them, and is useless against those who have no such thoughts.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: In "Face of the Enemy", Troi wakes up having been surgically altered to look like a Romulan.
  • Kangaroo Court: "The Drumhead". Admiral Satie's inquiry into an act of sabotage spins out into a witch hunt, and she relentlessly hounds a crewman who is part Romulan, then puts Picard in the hot seat for criticizing the proceedings.
  • 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.
    • Vulcan Ambassador T'Pel, who is really a Romulan spy called Sub-Commander Selok in "Data's Day".
    • Krola, the paranoid Malkorian defense minister, tries to make himself a martyr by putting a phaser in an injured Riker's hand and shooting himself with it. The phaser was set to stun and the Malkorian chancellor knows the truth, but Krola suffers no punishment, and he gets what he wanted: The Enterprise leaves at the request of the chancellor, who decides people like Krola need more time to catch up to the rest of their society.
    • Taibak, the Romulan scientist who brutally tortured and brainwashed Geordi in "The Mind's Eye".
    • In "The Next Phase", a Romulan ship thanks the Enterprise for their help by setting up a muon wave to destroy them as soon as they go to warp. As far as we see, nothing happens to those Romulans.
  • Keeping the Handicap: Q tempts Riker by giving him the Q's godlike powers. He uses the power to grant some favors to the crew, such as giving the blind Geordi normal eyes, but they all ultimately refuse the gifts, saying that the price is too high.
  • Kiddie Kid: In "Rascals", Picard, Ro, Keiko, and Guinan are de-aged into twelve-year-olds. They have the mentalities of adults, but when they (with the exception of Keiko, who never tries to act like a kid) try to act like children, they behave more like six-year-olds than twelve-year-olds. Picard, in an attempt to persuade a Ferengi to let him see Riker, stamps his foot and shouts, "Now!" over and over for instance, and Ro and Guinan jump on a bed.
  • Kill and Replace: One episode had a Monster of the Week who was described as a "coalescent organism", a shapeshifter that preyed on other lifeforms by eating all their biomass and then assuming their forms to be beneath suspicion before it repeats the process. Interestingly, the two people suspected of being the coalescent turn out to be innocent, and it's revealed to have taken the shape of a dog.
  • 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 (also an example) 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 resurrects 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 appearing in only 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 them note .
  • Knight Templar: Nora Satie in "The Drumhead". Satie's inquiry into possible sabotage quickly devolves into an ever-widening witch hunt. The Kangaroo Court becomes such a farce that one of the presiding officers simply stands up and walks out of the proceedings.
  • Lady Land: "Angel One" features Human Aliens that have the women as the dominant sex.
  • 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. The Universal Translator completely failsnote . It takes almost the whole episode for Picard and the Tamarian captain to understand each other.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In "Clues", the crew wakes up after losing consciousness for 45 minutes. It turns out they lost quite a bit more, and were deliberately given amnesia to hide the existence of a xenophobic race.
  • 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.
  • Last-Second Term of Respect: In the Season 4 Episode "Redemption" Data is tasked with commanding a starship that's part of a blockade keeping the Romulans out of the Klingon Civil War. His first officer is a Commander Contrarian because he believes that androids can't be ship captains. Data proves himself by going against orders and uncovers proof that the Romulans were aiding one side of the civil war. The first officer, Hobson, admits that Data is right and ends his apology (and final scene) by addressing Data as Captain.
    Hobson: They're changing course, heading back to Romulan space.
    Data: Make a full report to the flagship. Take the main phasers offline and begin radiation clean up on the affected decks.
    Hobson:: Yes, sir, Captain.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The season four episode "The Host" is about how there's something odd about Beverly's new boyfriend, an alien called a "Trill." The reveal is the surprise revelation that inside of him is a symbiotic organism, which has the memories of its previous hosts, and can survive after the host dies. This is a complete shock... unless you've seen Deep Space Nine, which has a Trill as one of the main cast and frequently makes mention of the symbiont's abilities.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: Aside from the standard Alexander Courage fanfare, which shows up throughout the series, and Jerry Goldsmith's TMP theme, which was featured in a few early episodes, Ron Jones wrote several, which he used in the episodes he scored.
    • The Enterprise and her crew had a three-note motif, similar to a cue from TOS, which appeared in the first two seasons.
    • For Worf and the Klingons, he used a truncated, brassy variant of Jerry Goldsmith's Klingon theme.
    • The Romulans had a sinister, repeating, four note motif which was introduced in The Neutral Zone and appeared in many episodes after, featuring prominently in The Defector.
    • One of the themes used to represent the Borg in The Best of Both Worlds got its start in Q Who?, cropping up in the climax of the episode.
  • Let's Duet: In "Lessons", the normally reserved Captain Picard finds himself opening up to a female officer though their shared love of music. In a notable scene, they find a Jeffries tube with good acoustics and (with her on a portable piano keyboard and Picard on the flute) play a duet based on the tune he learned in "The Inner Light". The scene ends in their first kiss.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Yar and Data's fling in "The Naked Now". In her funeral speech, however, she tells Data, "It did happen!"
  • Lighthouse Point: "Aquiel", which had a space lighthouse.
  • Lightning Lash: Ferengi were originally armed with electric whips.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The crew almost always wear their standard uniforms, without variation, no matter what situation they're in. Whether they're exploring a tropical jungle, surveying an icy tundra, entertaining diplomats or going on a commando raid, they'll be wearing the exact same outfits. Very rarely we'll see them wearing their dress uniforms, and this was mostly in season one.
  • 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 Ark: Picard becomes this trope in the episode "The Inner Light''. After being struck by energy from a mysterious alien probe, Picard begins to live out memories of being Kaminn, an iron weaver from a Non-Federation Planet of Kataan that was destroyed by a supernova a millennia prior to the present. Due to the alien race not possessing the technology to evacuate its people before their planet is rendered uninhabitable by the supernova, the race's leaders opt to place memories of the race inside the probe to be given to the one who finds it to keep the story of the race alive.
  • Living Memory: Picard became one of these for a long-extinct people in "The Inner Light".
  • Living Ship Gomtuu, and the shapeshifting life form from the pilot.
  • Lizard Folk: The snakelike Selay in "Lonely Among Us". They look great but were probably too inexpressive by Trek standards, so the Cardassians eventually stepped in.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the simulation are what tip Riker off.
    • "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, and a simulation of the entire galaxy to explore.
  • Loveable Rogue: "The Outrageous Okona" has Okona treated like this by everyone in-universe. The audience doesn't get to see him do anything or hear any stories to confirm it though.
  • Love Interest vs. Lust Interest: The two main characters who have expressed romantic interest in Captain Picard are Dr. Beverly Crusher and Ambassador Lwaxana Troi. While Crusher does admit to finding Picard "handsome", the feelings she has for him are more personal, since he's her friend as well as her crush, and her late husband Jack had served with him on the USS Stargazer. Troi, on the other hand, is mainly more into him because she's a very horny woman.

  • 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!
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • The Enterprise is not only a diplomatic vessel but it is also a civilian vessel, an exploration vessel, a battleship, a cargo transport, a transport for hazardous materials and whatever else the writers need it to be.
    • The standard away team for the show usually consisted of the First Officer, the Chief of Operations, and either the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Engineer or the Chief Security Officer. Sometimes all of the above.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When he was younger, Picard's reaction to being stabbed in the heart by a Nausicaan was to laugh.
  • Manchurian Agent: Geordi gets turned into one by the Romulans in "The Mind's Eye".
  • 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", an immortal alien has been married to a human woman for many years.
  • May It Never Happen Again:
    • In "Skin Of Evil", after they save Troi from Armus, the Enterprise destroys the wrecked shuttlecraft and puts a beacon in orbit warning all ships to stay away from Vagra II.
    • In "Clues", aliens erase a day from the crew's memory so they won't find out about their existence. However, it doesn't work since the crew notices some things are out of place (Crusher's moss displays a day's worth of growth, Troi is dizzy and feels her reflection isn't herself, and Worf's wrist is injured). The crew decides to let the aliens wipe their memories a second time, but this time, ensure no clues are left behind so the conflict won't start again.
    • In "Schisms", some sensor modifications attract aliens from another dimension. Once they're dealt with, Geordi says that they'll change the modifications to not interact with that particular dimension again.
    • At the end of "Descent", Data dismantles Lore, his Evil Twin, so that he can no longer do any damage.
  • 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.
  • The Meaning of Life: In the episode "The Offspring," the android Data constructs a "daughter" named Lal who asks him what her purpose or function is. He replies that it is to "contribute in a positive way to the world in which they live." This just raises further questions.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: The Bynars and the Borg. The Borg were a Hive Mind of cybernetic life forms; the Bynars were linked into binary pairs and thought and spoke Binary language. Borg forcibly assimilate technology and people; the worst the Bynars ever did was hijack the Enterprise for a couple hours.
  • Mega Manning: The Borg have the ability to rapidly analyze and 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, until the Borg have seen enough to adapt their defenses in response.
  • Mental Time Travel:
    • In the episode "Tapestry", Picard dies and to his horror is greeted by Q in the afterlife. After admitting that he regrets a lot of his brash actions as a young man, Q sends him back to the incident that gave Picard his artificial heart so he can change things.
    • In the series finale "All Good Things", Picard finds himself continuously shifting between three separate timelines, one in the "present", one several years ago when the Enterprise was just launched, and one several decades in the future when Picard is mostly retired.
  • Mexican Standoff: A staple of later seasons. There is plenty of exposition at gun/disruptor/phaser-point.
  • Mildly Military: The Federation, much more so than during the TOS era, and especially during early seasons — in-universe, before the Borg are recognized as a potential existential threat; out of it, before Gene Roddenberry got sick enough that he couldn't exert close editorial control over the series. Averted to marvelous effect in "Yesterday's Enterprise", in which we see an alternate timeline where the Federation has fought a long and bitter war against the Klingon Empire. While it's a little daffy (Enterprise is called a battleship, yet she's patrolling alone without any screen or escort) and slightly overplayed (stardates become "combat dates" and everyone wears sidearms, even on the bridge), for the most part it's an extremely effective contrast.
  • 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 Probe: In the chilling episode "Frame of Mind", Riker finds himself shifting between two realities, one where he's a starship officer acting out a play about a man locked up in a mental asylum, and another where he's a man locked up in a mental asylum who imagines being a starship officer. He eventually concludes that both realities are a Lotus-Eater Machine as he wakes up in a laboratory where the aliens who captured him are trying to probe his mind for information. Riker's mind was trying to resist the probe and created the dream as a safety measure.
  • 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.
    • "The Mind's Eye" has a variation of this that finds Geordi on the receiving end at the hands of Romulans who condition him to be mind-controlled via his VISOR implants, starting with forcing him to see horrible atrocities to break his mind.
  • Mind Screw:
    • In "Frame of Mind", Riker is shifting between different realities—one where's he's a Starfleet officer, another where he's insane. Not so much a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall as breaking the fifth, sixth and seventh walls. Into little pieces.
  • "Ship in a Bottle" has the 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.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: Ro thinks she's died and is a ghost in "The Last Phase", when actually, she's been cloaked.
  • Mistaken for Brooding: In one episode, after losing a game, Data starts spending a lot of time in his quarters by himself. Troi and Pulaski think he's just being a Sore Loser, but in actuality, he doesn't even have emotions, being an android. The reason he was sitting in his quarters was because he believed his loss was caused by a malfunction.
  • Mistaken for Insane: In "All Good Things", a future Picard keeps seeing people who aren't there and going back and forth in time. His friends wonder if he's going senile, especially since in this alternate reality he does have a brain condition that can cause senility, but it turns out he really is time-travelling.
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World:
    • Played with in "Peak Performance". Data loses a game to an alien and checks himself for a malfunction over and over again. Pulaski and Troi reassure him that it's fine to make mistakes, but Data knew that already and even if he didn't, he wouldn't be discouraged as he doesn't have emotions— he just couldn't see how it was possible because he's an android. Eventually, he "wins" the game by causing a stalemate. It turns out that Data didn't actually make any mistakes, he was simply playing against a superior opponent. It is Captain Picard who finally gets Data to realize this.
      "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life!"
    • Picard snaps Data out of a similar funk in Star Trek: Generations, after Data experiences fear and hesitation thanks to his newly installed emotion chip, by basically informing him "congratulations, you're normal." Even more poignant for the fact that Picard himself is working through his own grief after learning of his nephew's death.
      "Part of having feelings is learning to integrate them into your life, Data, learning to live with them, no matter what the circumstances..."
    • In "Coming of Age", Wesley fails his Starfleet Academy entrance exam and believes he's failed his friends too, but Picard consoles him saying that it's okay to fail as long as you learn from it and do better the next time, a lesson that Picard knows from personal experience as he confides in Wesley that he, too, failed the exam the first time he took it.
      "Wesley, you have to measure your successes and your failures within, not by anything that I or anyone else might think. But, erm... if it helps you to know this... I failed the first time, and you may not tell anyone!"
      [Incredulous] "You? You failed?"
      "Yes. But not the second time!"
  • 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 Luck: In the episode "Brothers" a boy 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 than his younger brother being frightened for a little while. This feels particularly horrible since a child that young would likely already be horribly 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, rather than further scolding or blaming him.
  • Mortality Ensues: In "Deja Q", Q gets punished by being turned into a mortal.
  • Move in the Frozen Time: In the episode "Timescape" a set of aliens from another dimension lay their eggs in a Romulan warp core (long story...), which makes time "freeze" for the Enterprise and the Romulan ship (actually it's just moving very very slowly, but close enough to frozen for our purposes). Our heroes can't move on either ship unless they're wearing a protective shield. However, one of the aliens pretends to be a Romulan frozen like everyone else, until Geordi notices that he moved when they weren't looking.
  • Motherly Scientist: Dr. Noonien Soong is the roboticist who created the androids Data and his brother Lore (in his own image, by the way) and regards himself as a father to both of them. A later episode reveals that he had a wife, Juliana, who helped him in his experiments as well as considered herself Data's mother, so they pretty much form a full nuclear family unit.
  • Motivational Kiss: In one away mission, Data gets such a kiss from a local girl. He is perplexed.
  • 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!'"
  • Mundane Fantastic: "Rascals" has Captain Picard and three other crew members turned back into children. Instead of examining the fact that they'd just discovered the proverbial Fountain of Youth, with the potential to change life as they knew it forever, the incident is treated as a droll annoyance by all involved.
  • Mundane Solution: In "Contagion", he solution to the purging the Enterprise of a virus that was going to cause a warp core breach was...turning the ship off and on again.
  • Musical Spoiler: In "Datalore", dramatic music plays as Lore uses the computer to do research. This foreshadows him as a villain before he actually does anything evil.
  • 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 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.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: "The Child" may be the most perfect example of this trope ever committed to film.
  • 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.
  • Name Order Confusion: In "Ensign Ro", Picard mistakenly addresses Ro Laren as "Ensign Laren", and she rather pointedly corrects him that Bajorans traditionally put their surname before their given name.
    Picard: I'm sorry, I didn't know.
    Ro: No, there's no reason you should. It's an old custom. Most Bajora these days accept the distortion of their names in order to assimilate. I do not.
  • 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.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Gender-swapped in "Angel One," where the men wear shirts with plunging necklines that expose most of their chest.
  • 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: Used throughout the series, especially in early seasons, when the characters and relationships hadn't yet quite jelled and writers needed an easy way to drive plots. Later episodes tended to use them as a foil to the characters, not so much a plot engine in their own right.
  • 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."
  • Never Had Toys: In one episode, Worf reveals that he never played with toys even as a kid. This fits with his gruff, Comically Serious personality.
  • New Baby Episode
    • "Disaster" has a subplot about Worf having to deliver Molly O'Brien.
    • In "The Child", Deanna Troi has a weird, alien baby who grows into a schoolboy in only a few days. Unfortunately, he has to sacrifice himself to save the ship.
  • 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. 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 episode: 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.
    • 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.
  • Night and Day Duo: "Masks" features artifacts from a civilization that has two major deities: Masaka representing the sun and Korgano representing the moon. Only one can be in control at a time. Their powers are unknown, being embodied in Data and Picard respectively, but it appears that the mythology is based on them being balancing forces for each other.
  • Nightmare Sequence: 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
  • No Adequate Punishment: In the episode "The Survivors", an ageless Actual Pacifist Sufficiently Advanced Alien is attempting to live a normal life on a colony of a planet. When said colony comes under attack by 'a species of hideous intelligence that knew only aggression and destruction' and his human wife is killed he, in a brief moment of anger, wipes out not just the attackers, but their entire species with a single thought in retaliation, and immediately afterwards has a major My God, What Have I Done? moment. Picard cannot even conceive of a punishment, and merely leaves the being alone on a planet in his self-imposed punishment.
    Picard: Captain's Log, stardate 43153.7 - We are departing the Rana system for Starbase 133. We leave behind a being of extraordinary power and conscience. I'm not certain if he should be praised or condemned; only... that he should be left alone.
  • No Antagonist: After the first few seasons, most episodes were like this.
  • "No Rules" Racing: Happens in "Tin Man" as the Entrprise races some Romulans to reach a Living Ship and make First Contact first - Romulans win by blasting the Enterprise so they're unable to continue.
  • 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 to 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. Or alternatively, 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."
  • 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.
    • We never find out why Q is so wary of Guinan.
    • We also never find out what exactly led to Jack Crusher's death, nor how Picard was involved.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jean-Luc Picard, a Frenchman played by an obviously English actor using Yorkshire idioms. Patrick Stewart had tried speaking in a French accent but sounded so ridiculous that he gave up. He very rarely will even acknowledge his French background, such as occasionally saying "merde!"
  • 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" Remark: 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 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.
    • Geordi almost falls down a long shaft after getting dizzy in "Cause and Effect", and is only in one peice because a crewman was around to grab him. One wonders why Starfleet has abandoned the use of harnesses, as OSHA would require for repairs under these conditions.
  • 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.
  • Not Wanting Kids Is Weird: In a rare male-on-male example, Wesley Crusher thinks the reason Captain Picard doesn't have kids is because he's a Child Hater.
  • Not Where They Thought:
    • Invoked in "Ship in a Bottle", when Moriarty tricks the Enterprise crew into thinking they're in engineering when really they're still on the holodeck. He also assumes he's on a boat when really it's a spaceship.
    • "Future Imperfect": After passing out on an away mission, Riker wakes up on the Enterprise with the medical staff claiming he's now the captain, having suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia of the sixteen years that have passed since the mission. Riker eventually realizes he's been tricked: the Enterprise turns out to be a holodeck illusion created by his Romulan captors. The Romulan captivity itself turns out to be a holodeck illusion cast by a lonely alien child, whom Riker takes back to the Enterprise.
    • Zigzagged in "Frame of Mind", when it's unclear whether Riker is on the Enterprise and hallucinating that he's in an asylum or the other way round until the very end.
    • In "The Neutral Zone", three people from the late 20th century, who had been frozen in stasis, are woken up on the Enterprise four hundred or so years later. When they hear they're on a "ship", they think it's a boat, but it's a spaceship.
    • Invoked when Worf's adoptive brother Nikolai kidnaps some aliens and transports them to another planet, but uses the holodeck to make them think they're still on the same planet and travelling by foot to skirt the Prime Directive.
  • 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.
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: In "The Game", Riker brings home a game you play with your mind that turns out to be addictive and mind-altering, so soon everyone but Wesley who did the research and Data who Dr. Crusher turned off are obsessed.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: This happened frequently but was particularly noticeable during the first season.
  • Oddball in the Series: Season 5 (1991-92) is the only one without any Q episodes. Some were proposed, but didn't materialize.
  • 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 Adversarial Amusement: Young Picard starts to laugh, seemingly without any reason, after a Nausicaan has stabbed his heart. Picard survives, but his heart has to be replaced by an artificial one. Many years later, this artificial heart brings Picard into a potentially lethal situation, and in what may or may not be limbo, Q offers Picard the bargain that he will live if he goes back in time (replacing his younger self) and prevents the situation that got him the artificial heart in the first place. Picard does just that, but discovers that this has steered his live into a completely different path—an unbearably boring one. After Picard has learned his lesson about not regretting your past choices, Q allows him to go back in time once again and restore the original timeline. And this time, Picard actually has a reason to laugh when he gets stabbed.
  • 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.
    • After the crew figures out they're in a time loop in "Cause and Effect", they're able to analyze "temporal echoes" and hear the future destruction of the ship.
  • One-Episode Fear: In "Realm of Fear", Reg Barclay comes to terms with and eventually drops his fear of transporters that apparently he's always had. Despite being a bit of a Lovable Coward, we'd never seen him be afraid of transporters before because the only time we'd seen him beamed before, he was unconscious.
  • Old-Timey Ankle Taboo: An episode has the Enterprise pick up a colony who live like stereotype Irishmen from centuries ago. In one scene, Riker is having a conversation with one of the women from the colony and she lifts up her skirt to show her ankles, indicating she wants a relationship with him.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: In "Future Imperfect", Commander Riker is trapped inside a 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: Q episodes, Lwaxana Troi episodes, Borg episodes (except season 1), and the Holodeck Malfunctions.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: "Darmok" ends up working this way in practice if not in theory.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: When Riker makes scrambled eggs for his friends, only Worf likes them, which isn't much of a compliment because Worf is both not human and eats unusual stuff.
  • Ontological Mystery: Used in "Clues" and "Conundrum" to great effect; both are generally seen as among the better episodes of their seasons, if not of the series as a whole.
  • 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.
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran: Data has won numerous medals and awards from Starfleet, but he is still put on trial by them to determine if he is merely property.
  • Orderlies are Creeps: In "Frame of Mind", Riker wakes up in an alien asylum where he is a patient and told that the Enterprise is an elaborate fantasy his mind created to cover up the truth about an extremely violent murder he committed. The burly orderly who supervises him doesn't have enough sense to not openly taunt the potentially psychotic person about this. Of course, this causes Riker to freak out and lash out at him before being sedated.
  • 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!"
  • 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 Dark Matter Is Mysterious: "In Theory" features the Enterprise exploring a dark matter nebula which caused bits of the ship to randomly vanish. This caused activity from Spot (Data's cat) exiting Data's room without using the doors to a crew member falling through the floor after it vanishes and then getting killed when it comes back.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Borg, arguably, with their grey pallor, soulless hive-mind and slow relentless movement.
  • Out of Focus: Vulcans rarely appear in TNG. This was a deliberate choice by Gene Roddenberry to differentiate it from The Original Series.
  • Pals with Jesus: Q, to Picard's chagrin.
  • Pardon My Klingon:
    • Worf occasionally uses Klingon curse words.
    • 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.
    • 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 there was 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 mother 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.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: Worf engages in this every few episodes, usually when speaking of something which offends his Klingon sensibilities, like diplomacy.
  • Phlegmings: Fek'lhr, the guardian of the Klingon hell, as seen in the episode Devil's Due.
  • Phrase Catcher: Whenever Data starts rambling on about some trivia, Picard will cut him off by saying, "Thank you, Mr. Data."
  • Powered by a Black Hole: The season 4 version of the Writers' Technical Manual for this series states that the Romulan D'Deridex-class warbird is believed to be powered by x-ray emissions from a captured microsingularity, rather than fusion and matter/antimatter reactors like most other ships. Star Trek canon has usually adhered to this since then, Depending on the Writer.
  • Planet of Hats: The episode "Samaritan Snare" featured the Pakleds. They're a bit of a zig-zagged example, as while they are genuinely stupid, they're still smart enough to go for Obfuscating Stupidity so they could steal technology. Pakleds do show up as non-speaking characters in later episodes, all in positions which would require at least some basic intelligence (such as mechanics — the Pakleds in "Snare" had problems with basic maintenance of their ship), it's also likely that the "Snare" group of Pakleds were dumb even by Pakled standards.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: In the episode "Inheritance", the core of the planet Atrea IV has begun to cool down and solidify, which is causing havoc on the surface. The Enterprise crew have to reignite it by injecting superheated plasma into a series of underground lava pockets.
  • 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.
  • Planetary Relocation: "Deja Q" has the crew dealing with a moon that has somehow been knocked out of orbit and is about to fall on a populated planet, as well as Q, who has been seemingly stripped of his powers and dumped on the Enterprise. The crew attempt to readjust the moon's orbit by generating a warp field to adjust its mass so the Tractor Beam can handle it (inspired by Q's suggestion to alter the gravitational constant of the universe), but it fails. By the end, Q has been restored to his place in the Continuum, and after he leaves, the crew realize that he's also fixed the moon's orbit for them.
  • Poking Dead Things with a Stick: In "Reunion", when the Klingon chancellor dies, before beginning the process of choosing a successor, they hold a traditional ritual known as "Sonchi" ("he is dead") in which the appointed arbiter of succession and the contenders for the position all take turns challenging the corpse to fight and jabbing the body with a "painstik" (a high-powered electrical prod) to confirm that the chancellor is actually dead — presumably because, being Klingons, they'd be risking civil war if he turned out not to be.
  • Powering Villain Realization: Picard realizes that an ancient Vulcan weapon that a terrorist group has been trying to reconstruct was discarded by the ancient Vulcans because the weapon relied on the aggressive emotions of the victim to power it, and the Vulcans had no use for it when they embraced a path of total logic. He orders his security team to empty their minds of any aggressive thoughts, including Lt. Worf who manages to do so, rendering the weapon utterly harmless against them.
  • Precision F-Strike: Picard utters the French swear word merde (which means "shit") several times during the run of the series.
  • Prefers the Illusion: In "Homeward", A group of relatively primitive people are tricked into thinking that they are still on their home planet when in fact they are inside a holodeck, and are the only survivors of a cataclysm that destroyed their world. When one discovers the truth, he's offered a chance to remain on board the Enterprise. Instead, he commits suicide.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: In the episode "Conspiracy", Picard uncovers an alien plot to infect the leadership of Starfleet with Puppeteer Parasites in preparation for an all-out invasion. He goes straight to Starfleet Command to scope out which of his superiors haven't been infected, but he walks into a trap and is captured. Then Riker appears and seems to have been taken over by a parasite, but it was really a ploy so he could help Picard take them out (he couldn't reveal this to Picard without blowing his cover).
  • 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, with Data as the production version. Their creator disassembled Lore before the start of the series, to stop him doing any further damage, but it didn't last, resulting in several reasonably good episodes and a lot more range for Brent Spiner than he'd otherwise have had opportunity to employ.
  • Public Secret Message: The name of Data's creator ("Noonien Soong") was Roddenberry's third (and last) Real Life attempt to attract the attention of his World War II buddy, Kim Noonien Singh.
  • Punctuality Is for Peasants: In Chain of Command, Captain Jellico keeps a Cardassian waiting for an hour before meeting him as a "show 'em who's boss" gesture. Troi can sense that for all his bluster and hardlining, Jellico has zero confidence that he can stop a war and can only hope intimidation will work.
  • 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 posing as an elderly human man 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.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: In "Conspiracy", a race of parasitic worm aliens use various Federation members as their own puppets.
  • Put on a Bus: Dr. Pulaski, though no one really explains how or why she's gone. She's only even reference a few times in the rest of the series.

  • Rash Promise: In the episode "Hide and Q" Picard asks the Q-empowered Riker to promise not to use these new powers, and he does. It doesn't take long before he regrets it, as on an away mission he finds a recently deceased child that he could save if it weren't for this vow.
  • Ray Gun: Phasers return, bearing multiple forms and up to sixteen settings for handheld phasers alone:
    • The Paralyzer - Settings 1-3, to different levels
    • A generic heat ray on settings 4-6, capable of varying degrees of damage
    • Death Ray - setting 7
    • Disintegrator Ray - settings 8 through 10
    • Stuff Blowing Up - settings 11 through 16, exclusive to type-2 phasers and above. Worth noting is that setting 11, which features a blast radius of ten cubic meters, is considered "slight explosive effects"... and this is for a handheld phaser!
  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The characters received new two-piece uniforms starting in Season 3 because the original one-piece suits were intentionally made one size too small (to look good on camera) and were causing serious back problems.
    • "The Defector" was supposed to open with another Sherlock Holmes pastiche, but legal issues forced the writers to retool it into a holodeck simulation of Henry V. This doubles as foreshadowing: Jarok, like King Henry, is forced to go undercover as a 'commoner' in this episode.
    • "The Best of Both Worlds" introduces a job opening for Riker on another ship, as well as a new female commander for him to butt heads with. The showrunners were grooming Riker to take over as Captain if Patrick Stewart didn't want to return.
  • 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.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The fighting style used in the series of striking with open palms and the base of the hand is often mocked as ridiculous and unrealistic by audiences. However striking in this manner is widely recommended in self-defense training as it minimizes the chances of breaking one's own hand when hitting someone's face.
  • "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.
    • 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.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: "The Arsenal Of Freedom" has the Enterprise visit the very green planet Minos to investigate the disappearance of the starship Drake. Scans indicate no life forms anywhere on Minos, but an away team finds signs of an advanced civilization there, all long overgrown by native flora. The planetary defense system, still running in demonstration mode, is the only active thing on that world that isn't vegetation.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: In the episode "The Naked Now", Wesley has created a device that can splice together sound bites that he's recorded from the ships comm system. He uses it to create recordings of Picard "ordering" the Chief and Assistant Chief Engineers away from Main Engineering.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Cardassians are introduced in the season four episode "The Wounded," where it is explained that it has been only a year since the end of the long, costly war between the Federation and the Cardassian Union. However, this information means that the first two years of the show occurred during a war that was never seen, heard or experienced. Just where, exactly, was the flagship of Starfleet while the rest of the fleet was engaged in active operations?
  • Really 700 Years Old: Guinan. In "Time's Arrow" Data notes that he knew that Guinan's species was long-lived, but he had no idea that she was actually on Earth during the 19th Century.
  • 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.
  • Residual Evil Entity: "Skin of Evil". On an uninhabited planet, the Enterprise crew encounters Armus, a being that looks like an oil slick. It says that it is the result of a process that the original inhabitants of the planet used to shed all of their negative traits. It acts in a capriciously evil way, including murdering Tasha Yar.
  • Restricted Rescue Operation: In the episode "Qpid" Q sends the crew to Sherwood Forest to prove to Picard that he does Love Vash, by casting Vash as Maid Marian who has been taken hostage by the local Lord, and Picard as Robin Hood must save her. Unfortunately for both Q and Picard's plans Vash isn't interested in being rescued by Picard and turns Picard over to the Lord when he's discovered sneaking into her chambers to rescue her. This throws the whole scenario so off the rails even Q is powerless to get everyone back on track with his goals, though he is more amused by this turn than outright angered.
  • Retirony: An interesting example - the person doesn't die, and we actually find him after it happened: before being rescued by the Enterprise, after being stuck in a teleporter stream for over 75 years, Montgomery Scott wasn't even serving on the ship he was trapped on: he was on his way to be dropped for his retirement. He decides not to after the events of the episode.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: "The Battle" has Ferengi Captain Daimon Bok gift the derelict Federation ship Stargazer to the Enterprise. The captain's underlings murmur that gifting a prize is "bad business." The Captain has plans to avenge his son's death by creating in-fighting between the Stargazer and the Enterprise via Mind Control. The scheme unravels, and Captain Bok is relieved of command by his First Officer for "conducting an unprofitable venture."
  • Reversible Roboticizing: Picard's extensive Borg implants are removed offscreen and he physically looks back to normal afterwards, though the psychological scars persist.
  • 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. 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.
  • Robosexual:
    • Data and Yar, on one occasion only, which provided the trope's current page and left a lasting impression on Data. That, in turn, made a critical difference in an otherwise unrelated circumstance later on.
    • Data and Jenna D'Sora in "In Theory", though not the sexual part. (And not really the "relationship" part, either, since Data couldn't really hold up his end, try though he did.)
  • 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. She breaks up with him, among other reasons because she realizes that she will never truly have his full attention.
      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...
  • 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, who held the rank of commander in Starfleet. At one point, after having failed in several other attempts, Riker gets its attention with a loud cab-hailing whistle. This earns Riker a compliment on his grasp of swearing in Delphine.
  • 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.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: In "Time's Arrow" Data is carrying an anvil with one hand. His assistant (who doesn't know he's an android) is surprised at this feat of strength. Data quickly tries to cover by letting the anvil pull his arm down to the ground. He grabs his shoulder as if it's been strained and says "ouch".
  • Scary Science Words:
    • In the episode "Genesis", Reg Barclay the neurotic engineer thinks that he's got a terminal disease when he actually has the flu. He freaks out when Dr. Crusher tells him that his "K three cells" and "electrophoretic activity" are abnormal because he doesn't know what those words mean.
      Reg Barclay: "Electrophoretic activity? Is it serious?"
    • In the episode "Violations", Troi and Riker go into comas shortly after some telepathic aliens visit. Dr. Crusher brings Keiko, whose mind was voluntarily read by the aliens, to Sickbay for a checkup and tells her that there is no indication of "electropathic residue". Keiko nervously asks, "Is that good?". Crusher says that it is; the residue was found in the coma victims, so since Keiko has none, she's fine.
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: In "All Good Things", we see the future versions of the characters and they're all elderly. They talk in their regular voices, but when Q mocks them for being old by acting like a stereotypical old man, he speaks in a high, croaky voice.
  • 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!
  • Searching for the Lost Relative: In "Interface", Geordi seeks out his mother, who disappeared along with her entire spaceship. Eventually, however, he gives up after finding an alien pretending to be Mrs. La Forge.
  • Second Coming: "Rightful Heir", with the return of Kahless through a clone.
  • 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 Botched Catchphrase: In "Unification", a dying Sarek tries to say, "Live long and prosper", which is what all Vulcans say. However, due to his senility, he can't remember what goes after "live long and—".
  • 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.
  • Self-Soothing Song: "The Wounded", Capt. Ben Maxwell is reminiscing about the war with the Cardassians with Chief O'Brien, and recalls a young man who was killed during the war, who went by the nickname of "Stompy", and the song he used to sing. As Maxwell is preparing to surrender to Picard, he and O'Brien begin to sing that same song, The Minstrel Boy.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: "The Loss", where Counselor Troi loses her empathy.
  • Sequel Episode: "The Naked Now" is a direct sequel to TOS' "The Naked Time". (Surely the oddest request anyone has ever given Data is to look through all known records for an instance of Starfleet officers showering in their clothing.) George Takei wasn't too impressed with this one; his opinion of the episode is one you should seek out. Funnily DS9 also had a stab at this sort of episode ("Fascination") and it wasn't too hot, either.
  • 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.
  • Serious Work, Comedic Scene: The Offspring is a very sad episode since it involves the Death of a Child. There is, however, one scene where said child (before she dies) mistakes a man kissing a woman as her biting him.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" highlighted the morality of both sending the Enterprise C back and whether any timeline is more valid than another.
    • Most of the episodes where someone from the Enterprise went back in time, this trope was invoked. "Time Squared", "Timesape" (barely fits), and "Firstborn" are three examples.
  • Set Wrong What Was Once Made Right: Q once gave Picard a chance to go back to his college days and avoid a near lethal stab to his heart (he survived, the heart did not). The resulting timeline ended up too boring for Picard's taste so he redid the incident a 3rd time.
  • 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.
    • 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 "Up the Long Ladder", there is a ship listed as the SS Urusei Yatsura.
    • 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 can't 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.
    • In "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I," the Borg are confronted at the Federation colony world of Wolf 359.
    • "Redemption: Part II" has a subtle nod to the Horatio Hornblower novels, which were a significant inspiration for the characterization of Star Trek captains. Data is placed in command of the Sutherland and set to blockade duty, where he behaves as a Military Maverick, hearkening to Hornblower's assignment in Ship of the Line.
    • Picard is a fan of Shakespeare and will occasionally quote or reference him. This was clearly written in because Patrick Stewart is a trained Shakespearean actor.
  • 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.
    • in "The Battle", Data begins a surprisingly accurate and Techno Babble-free description of a checksum, a computer science technique used to verify the authenticity of a piece of data—before being cut off by Riker saying he doesn't need a computer science lesson. The subject of the checksum issue is a forged log entry.
  • Significant Name Shift: Worf initially only calls Deanna Troi "Counselor Troi", but when they start dating in later seasons, he begins calling her "Deanna".
  • Silicon Snarker: Lore is an android, who is often insulting others, teasingly mimicking them, and saying rude rhymes.
  • 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 captain 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 villain to free himself — it was because the villain 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 permit this to continue."
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The series generally operated at level 3 (Subtle Continuity). Most episodes focused on the Enterprise and its crew discovering new planets and alien species, and solving the problem presented in each episode. However, a few of the episodes build up Foreshadowing 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.
  • 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 Flare Disaster: A recurring issue in the show.
  • Somber Backstory Revelation: In "The Wounded", O'Brien, in the first episode to really flesh out his character beyond a background extra, is talking to a Cardassian observer about his experiences on Setlik III, and how he had been forced, for the first time, to kill someone in the line of duty. It hadn't even been an intentional act. O'Brien had grabbed a phaser to defend himself, not knowing it was on its highest setting and not stun. He'd had to watch as the Cardassian he'd fired on was vaporized in front of him.
    O'Brien: It's not you I hate, Cardassian. It's what I became because of you.
  • Soulful Plant Story: Downplayed for "The Inner Light", where Picard is being sent telepathic messages from a planet that was destroyed years ago, via a probe, and he sees himself as one of these deceased aliens. The aliens have a tree which is said to symbolise hope, but the tree is only a minor part of the plot.
  • Soulless Bedroom: Downplayed for Data's quarters. He does have the odd painting on the walls, but there still aren't that many decorations, to the point where Troi described them as "Spartan". In addition, Data isn't creepy, he's just an emotionless (but morally righteous) android.
  • Soup Is Medicine: In the episode "The Icarus Factor", Dr. Pulaski says that a flu patient can be cured with a foreign hypospray and some P.C.S., which stands for Pulaski's Chicken Soup.
  • Space Cossacks: Tasha Yar was raised by human dissidents on Turkana IV, where various factions were constantly at war and gang rape was a common occurrence.
  • 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.
    • Civilian fashion zigzags this. While futuristic jumpsuits have become very popular in the 24th centuy, most civilian fasion seems to try very hard to avert this and look very old-fashioned rather than futuristic, making characters resemble 18th century farmers rather than space cadets. Tunics seem to have come back in a big way.
  • Space Friction: Averted for the most part, as in "Cause and Effect", where the plot's central crisis revolves around Enterprise and another ship, both unable to maintain steerage way, repeatedly finding themselves on a collision course resulting in the destruction of Enterprise.
  • Space Is Cold: Played more or less straight, as in the first-season episode "The Naked Now", wherein a ship's crew, intoxicated by the same infectious disease as in the TOS episode "The Naked Time", shut off their ship's life support system. Not long after, the Enterprise crew finds them frozen solid, complete with a thick layer of snow all over everything.
  • Space Is Noisy: As with most sci-fi of the era and before, space combat features plenty of "pew pew" noises and loud explosions as phasers fire and photo torpedos hit their targets.
  • Space Jews:
    • 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.
    • "Code of Honor" features an alien race that looks indistinguishable from human black people, and their culture has a stereotypical African flavor. The fact that its values are portrayed as extremely regressive makes the episode come off as rather racist.
  • Space Mines:
    • Appear in "Chain of Command Part II".
    • In "Booby Trap" the Enterprise is trapped in an asteroid belt seeded with "acceton assimilators".
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt
  • Speed Echoes: The "Picard Maneuver", wherein a ship performs a short-range warp jump directly in front of an enemy vessel, is an example. For a brief moment, the ship appears to be in two locations simultaneously: its location before the warp jump and its location after. Ships with low-grade sensors, such as the Ferengi vessel Picard was facing off against when he first used the maneuver, may also erroneously register the ship performing the maneuver in two locations, rendering them vulnerable to attack.
  • Spiders Are Scary: 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.
    • And Captain Picard sent off DS9 by having Sisko come to terms with Picard's involvement in Wolf 359 (where Sisko's wife was killed).
  • Standard Alien Spaceship: Romulan ships ("warbirds") resemble giant avians, green in color. Klingon and Cardassian ships skirt the edge of this trope: they're hard-edged for the most part, but their hulls are painted green-grey and yellow-beige in color, respectively.
  • Staredown Faceoff: Sarek deals with the titular Vulcan whose emotions are bleeding out into his surroundings due to an exotic brain disease, finding new hosts in the people in his vicinity. At one point leads Picard and Riker to go from talking to the crew in the cockpit to facing each other, voicing irritations and concerns with increasingly louder and louder tone of voice, to the point of shouting, neither backing down before Data snaps them out of it.
  • 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.
  • 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: Picard orders to "fire at will" during a training exercise. Cut to Will Riker.
  • Two Decades Behind: Wood paneling. 'Nuff said.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: The Tamarians in "Darmok", who speak mostly in metaphor. The universal translator can easily deliver the literal meanings, but without knowledge of the myths upon which the sayings are based, it's still near-impossible to understand.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: In "Ethics", Worf's spine is broken when a cargo container falls on him. The way it falls and bounces indicates that it's so light it wouldn't even hurt a human, let alone a big, sturdy Klingon.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The entire race of Q, and the mysterious creature in "The Survivors", as well as several other incorporeal species and Energy Beings.
  • 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: A side effect of inoculation with Borg assimilation nanomachines, albeit less so in TNG than in later outings, whose improved special effects could make it look considerably more horrifying.
  • Take a Third Option: In "Samaritan Snare", the Pakleds capture Geordi and demand access to the Enterprise's computer. Their options, summarized by Data, are, "We can either respond to the Pakleds' demands, or not. We can either use force, or not." Riker ultimately comes up with a ruse, communicated to Geordi in code — Geordi would seemingly arm the slow-witted Pakleds with sophisticated weaponry, and when the Enterprise released harmless plasma through the Bussard collectors, he would disarm the Pakleds' weapons, claiming that the Enterprise's "crimson force field" had done it.
  • Take That!: "Relics" chimes in on the iconic "Kirk vs. Picard" argument (specifically, which is the better captain) that tends to plague the fandom by the simple expedient of having Montgomery Scott brought back from the transporter pattern buffer to comment on Kirk's more active, aggressive, and decisive command style versus Picard's more measured, careful style. The verdict: Both styles have their places - but look! Picard can do both!
  • Talking Is a Free Action: in a notable example in Encounter at Farpoint, Picard is somehow able to record a log in the middle of his first encounter with Q, while Q is right in front of him, and without moving his lips.
    Picard: The question now is the incredible power of the Q being. Do we dare oppose it?
    • Averted in "Data's Day" since Data is the only character who could maintain a perfect mental record of his own internal dialog.
  • 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.
  • Teasing Parent: A dark version. In "Violations", Jev's father Tarmin finds amusement in publicly humiliating his son by deriding his telepathic abilities while boasting about his own. It's implied that revenge for this is the reason Jev turned to Mind Rape and attempts to frame his father for it.
  • Technical Euphemism:
    • In "Up the Long Ladder", Worf passes out on the bridge due to having an illness which Dr. Pulaski likens to measles. Worf objects to her use of the term "fainting" to describe the incident, since fainting is considered shameful among Klingons (his species). So, she says that he "suffered a dramatic drop in blood pressure, his blood glucose level dropped, there was deficient blood flow resulting from circulatory failure. In other words, he curled up his toes and lay unconscious on the floor."
    • In "Rascals", when Ro and Guinan (along with two others) have been turned into kids, Guinan asks Ro if she plans on going to her quarters to "pout". Ro says that while she may physically be twelve years old, she's actually not, and thus she's not pouting, but "contemplating her situation".
  • Technobabble: Teraquads of it. While it's only very rarely at all concerned with any correspondence to reality, it is for the most part internally consistent; you can actually follow the scientific discussions between characters, which is of course the primary purpose of technobabble. (Besides, there's only so close to real science that a sci-fi show with FTL travel can hew.) Even Reverse the Polarity is used in the correct context.
  • Teleporter Accident: Lots! A recurring plot device, often handled with a surprising degree of subtlety.
  • 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.
  • Temporal Suicide: One episode involves Picard meeting his past double and killing him with a phaser set to "kill" to keep the timeline smooth.
  • Temporary Substitute:
    • After Gates McFadden quit the show after the first season, Dr. Pulaski took over as the Chief Medical Officer of the Enterprise, with Dr. Crusher being explained as being transferred to a space station. Following the poor reception to Pulaski, McFadden was convinced to return.
    • The final script draft for "Haven" contained several lines for Worf and Wesley that were either cut or reassigned to other characters.
    • Geordi only appears via Stock Footage in "Suddenly Human". LeVar Burton had surgery shortly before filming began on "The Best of Both Worlds (Part 2)" so his scenes for that episode were shot in post-production, and many of his lines were given to O'Brien. "Suddenly Human" was the first episode filmed after "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", but was switched in order and aired after "Family" and "Brothers".
  • Test of Pain: The show's expansion of Klingon culture includes showing important tests that involve pain:
    • The Rite of Ascension is a two-step ritual which formally recognizes a Klingon as a warrior. In the second step, the Klingon must demonstrate the depth of his inner strength by walking between eight warriors wielding painstiks, who deliver powerful jolts to the Klingon's torso while he expresses his most deeply-held feelings. Worf undergoes this step in "The Icarus Factor", since he hadn't had an opportunity to go through it at the time that a Klingon normally would.
    • The first step in the Rite of Succession is the Sonchi ceremony. The Arbiter of Succession and all those who are vying for the position of Chancellor give a formal challenge to the corpse of the former Chancellor and shock him with a painstik. The thought process is that between the pain from the painstik and the challenge, no living Klingon would dare back down lest he lose his honor, and this confirms that the former Chancellor is indeed dead and not faking it. This ceremony is shown in "Reunion" being done to K'mpec by Duras, Gowron, and Picard (named Arbiter by K'mpec before his death due to suspicions that Duras was the one who masterminded his poisoning).
  • That's No Moon: In "Encounter at Farpoint" we get our very first empathic reading inside the phony space station (later revealed to be a shapeshifting alien) when Troi looks like she’s straining under terrible pain or anger from a creature nearby.
  • Theme Tune Extended, since the theme music is taken from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which has a longer theme.
  • There Is No Cure:
    • When Vulcans reach around 200 or so, a rare few develop a condition called Bendi Syndrome, where every emotion they've bottled up gets telepathically transmitted to everyone within range, causing them to act violently and angry. Sarek is revealed in the titular episode to experience this condition, and continues to decay when he boards the Enterprise-D for a diplomatic mission. Since there is no treatment or cure, all Picard can do is willingly mind-meld to take the brunt of these emotions on himself until Sarek can complete his mission. Sarek later succumbs to the disease in Season 5.
    • In the episode "Reunion", Klingon Chancellor K'mpec reveals that his enemies have poisoned his bloodwine. He's rather cavalier about there being no cure, since he keeps drinking it even as he talks to Picard about it.
    • In "All Good Things", Picard's older self in the Bad Future is suffering from Irumodic Syndrome, a degenerative neurological disease which causes delusions, and which has no known cure.
  • 13th Birthday Milestone: In "The Icarus Factor", Worf explains that the first of two rounds of the Rite of Ascension, where a young Klingon is accepted as a warrior in training, is supposed to happen on or before their 13th birthday.
  • 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.
  • This Is Not My Life to Take: Inverted in an episode: the life of his enemy's son may be Worf's to take, but that means it's also his to spare.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: A somewhat humorous example in season 1 episode 10, "Haven"; a message from Deanna Troi's mother takes the form of a box with a talking head on the side, and one side explodes off of the box after the message is complete, revealing wedding gifts in the form of jewelry.
  • 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 the two faces 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.
  • Time Travel Episode: There's "Time's Arrow", where the Enterprise find Data's centuries-old head lying in a cave in San Francisco in the 24th century. It turns out Data went back in time to the 19th century to follow two aliens and became Trapped in the Past.
  • Time-Traveling Jerkass: A Matter of Time" features a time traveler from the future named Rasmussen who wants to observe the Enterprise at a historic mission, but spends most of the trip stealing equipment from the crew, badgering them with annoying questions, and even inappropriately hitting on the ship's doctor. It turns his real mission from the future is a sham, he killed the real time traveler and stolen his machine to use for fun and profit.
  • Tin Man: Played absurdly straight with Data. In "I, Borg", he not only notices and is concerned by Picard's unusual behavior in the wake of an away team having found and rescued an injured drone, but with a Meaningful Look passes Troi a suggestion that she follow him into his ready room and try to talk it over with him. If he understood emotion as poorly as he's so often at pains to suggest, even the former would be unlikely at best, to say nothing of the latter.
  • Tinman Typist: Also played absurdly straight with Data, in too many episodes to enumerate here.
  • Title Drop:
    • "Skin Of Evil":
    Armus: I am a skin of evil, left here by 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.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Borg were this for the show's creators. The Borg were so awesomely powerful (and impossible to negotiate with) that they only got used four times (6 episodes, because of 2-parters) over the entire 7 seasons of the show. It was just that hard to come up with a way to defeat the Borg without making them seem less awesome. Of those 4 times the Borg show up, the crew is saved once by essentially Divine Intervention, once they are merely facing an individual drone and the challenge is to make him an individual, not to defeat him, and only twice during the run of the TV series do they actually defeat the Borg.
  • 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 running right up to them and 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.
      • Similarly, when Worf was stabbed with a bayonet, Wesley rushed to his side without regard for, you know, the aliens surrounding him with more bayonets, one of which promptly impaled him. He would have died if Riker hadn't healed him with the power of the Q.
    • 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.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: In "Imaginary Friend", Troi feels guilty about trying to wean a little girl off her imaginary friend, so she doesn't want her cake.
  • 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 doesn't. They torture him to try to get the information and Picard resists, 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: Zigzagged in "Chain of Command". Gul Madred initially tortures Picard for information which Picard doesn't actually have, but it soon becomes clear that the Cardassians just want to break him mentally. Picard confesses to Troi that Madred nearly succeeded, but being freed brought him back to his senses enough for his final, defiant "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!"
  • 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.
  • Toy-Based Characterization: In the episode "Booby Trap" Captain Picard compares visiting an ancient starship to "climbing inside the bottle." Nobody present, other than Chief O'Brien, has any clue what he's talking about. Riker thinks O'Brien is feigning knowledge to suck up to Picard, but O'Brien defends his knowledge. The interesting thing is that ships in bottles characterize Picard and O'Brien in different ways. For Picard, they represent a more romantic age and the opportunity to dream about the possibilities of exploration. For O'Brien, they represent pride in constructing something that is intricate and beautiful because it is more than the sum of its parts.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Counsellor Troi is always eating chocolate desserts, or drinking hot chocolate.
    Riker: Chocolate ice-cream, chocolate fudge, and chocolate chips. You're not depressed are you?
  • Tragic Intangibility: Georgi and Ensign Ro's intangibility in "The Next Phase" makes it impossible for them to interact with their friends and co-workers as they begin to mourn them. The whole incident causes Ro a bit of religious crisis, since she assumes their status is the first stage of passing into the afterlife.
  • Training the Pet: In one episode, Geordi babysits his friend's cat, only for her to cough up a hairball and break a vase. He tells said friend, Data, that Spot needs to be trained, so Data tries verbal commands, but they don't work. We never learn what became of Data and his attempts to train Spot.
  • Trapped in TV Land: In malfunctioning holodecks.
  • 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.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: Episode "The Vengeance Factor". While searching for the Gatherers, the Enterprise crew explores a facility with several barrels full of burning material.
  • Trickster Mentor: Q... usually. Sometimes he's just screwing with them, but often he teaches the crew, Picard in particular, something in a roundabout way. "Tapestry" is a prime example, when he helps Picard see that the mistakes he regrets from his youth shaped him into the man he is today.
  • Truce Trickery:
    • "The Wounded" revolves around the captain of the USS Phoenix going rogue after accusing the Cardassians of trying to subvert the recent ceasefire in the border dispute between them and the Federation by shipping additional weapons to the front lines. Though he's stopped and arrested by the Enterprise, Captain Picard tells his counterpart Gul Macet that he thinks the accusations are valid and warns him to get his government to knock it off. "We will be watching."
    • The Romulan Star Empire is established to have signed an additional treaty with the Federation since TOS, the Treaty of Algeron—which keeps the peace in exchange for the Federation banning its own use of cloaking devices—but repeatedly pushes the limits of it during the series up to and including trying to launch an invasion of Vulcan in "Unification, Part 2". Conversely, in "The Pegasus", we find out that the eponymous ship was experimenting with cloaking technology, likewise violating the treaty (which the captain in question opposed).
  • True Companions: It was inevitable the characters would become this way, because the actors were as well. This extends to even how they treated the set: Patrick Stewart was The Captain, and his chair was the captain's chair; the only people who ever sat in it, besides Stewart himself, were either guests visiting the set or actors whose characters had been asked to do so. (Even decades later, Wil Wheaton, hosting a Star Trek aftershow, hesitated to do so until one of the others, in this case Jonathan Frakes, gave him permission.)
  • 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.)

  • Uncertain Doom: Geordi's mother. She was last seen on a ship called the Hera, which disappeared, but there were no bodies or debris found. In "Interface", in which she disappears, Geordi thinks he's seen her, but it turns out to be an alien, so he gives up. While the books explain what happened to her, they're non-canon, so it's still a mystery.
  • 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.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In one episode, a man is suspicious of Troi, since she describes herself as a "counsellor", and that was also the job title of a man who abused him. Troi, however, is nothing less than helpful to the guy.
  • 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.
  • Updated Re-release: The series got a "remastered" version similar to the one done for TOS, with an HD film transfer and redone special effects.
  • 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 supplements, meals for Data's cat Spot.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: All over the place, played mostly straight. Notably, the series mostly averts the "gorilla arm" problem by putting its touchscreens in a natural position for touching.
  • 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 extraterrestrial species 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 what Data is or isn't capable of, his opinion comes off as arbitrary and bigoted. Like Maddox, Data eventually manages to earn his respect.
    • Admiral Nechayev and Picard don't see eye-to-eye on matters of policy, since Nechayev is more hawkish than Picard. Whenever she appears in an episode, it's usually a sign that she's about to browbeat Picard over his latest command decisions. However in the later seasons, Picard manages to make peace with her, and their relationship is much improved, though she's still often relegated to delivering bad news and hard truths.
    • 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, 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 accidentally created by Riker's own fears.
  • The Virus:
    • "The Best of Both Worlds" introduces the Borg's ability to "assimilate" life-forms, implanting them with cybernetic components which override the life-form's free-will.
    • "Identity Crisis" has a species which reproduces by spreading some kind of parasite which turns other humanoids into them.
  • Volcanic Veins: The aliens in "Identity Crisis" have glowing blue veins all over their bodies.
  • Was Just Leaving: In "The Vengeance Factor", Deanna excuses herself so that Riker and Yuta can have some private time.
  • 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 a specific substance so that the Enterprise would have to deal with him as he (conveniently) had a supply of the extremely rare antidote.
  • Watsonian vs. Doylist: Early in the shows' development, people were talking about whether the Enterprise should have a cloaking device (being a well established piece of technology with the Romulans and Klingons, as well as several instances of acquiring such an item they could study) and Roddenberry was against it, saying that Starfleet are scientists and explorers, they don't go sneaking around. In part because of all the fan questions, it wasn't until the seventh season episode "The Pegasus" where an In-Universe explanation was given; a treaty between the Romulans and the Federation decades prior banned the Federation from using or developing cloaking technology. When illegal development of Federation cloaking technology was discovered, Picard affirmed that the treaty kept them in peace. In later episodes, various circumstances permitted the use of cloaks on Federation ships:
    • A future depicted in the TNG Grand Finale "All Good Things..." said that the Romulan Empire was overthrown by the Klingons, rendering the original treaty obsolete and the Enterprise had a cloak.
    • In Deep Space Nine, every local Alpha Quadrant superpower had a vested interest in the discovery of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant and the Romulans loaned a cloak to the Starfleet ship Defiant with a dedicated Romulan operator and with the caveat the cloak could not be used in the Alpha Quadrant.note 
  • 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's 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.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The Federation thought they were prepared for anything. Then Q introduces them to the Borg.
  • We Will All Be History Buffs in the Future:
    • In order to be a Starfleet cadet you already have to be the best and brightest the Federation has to offer. Study of various historical periods seems to be something of a hobby amongst Starfleet officers. Picard and Janeway both loved Earth's history and were trained terrestrial and xenoarchaeologists.
    • In the episode "The Royale" the away team finds an old astronaut's spacesuit that has the United States flag on it with 52 stars. It is Riker who instantly tells the years when that number of stars was in use, even though Data is accompanying him. The reason is that Riker was born and raised in the United States, so he probably got US history classes at school.
  • 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".
    • 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.
    • The clone of Kahless from "Rightful Heir". It's set up as though he'll have a fair amount of indirect influence on the direction of the Klingon Empire, but he's barely ever mentioned after this episode.
  • 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.
    • "Descent: Part 1": Data begins to feel emotions after coming across a splinter group of Borg who exhibit individuality. Data becomes so addicted to the feelings of anger and pleasure he felt when killing one Borg that he is coaxed by another Borg into meeting "The One", the splinter group's leader. That leader is revealed to be none other than Lore, Data's Psycho Prototype brother, whom Data has joined...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The plot of "Measure of a Man" is Picard has to prove that Data is a sapient being.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Unique?: Many unique and rare lifeforms, Data included.
  • 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! The Prime Minister is highly upset with them.
    • Picard's refusal to commit genocide on the Borg gets him chewed out by his superiors.
  • 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?'"
    • 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.
  • White Glove Test: In "The Ensigns of Command," as the Sheliak are urgently trying to hail the ship, Picard casually wipes at some imagined dust on the bridge as he delays answering them and makes them sweat a little.
  • White Sheep: Thanks to being raised away from his people, Worf subscribes to an idealized version of his culture. The truth is, for all their talk of honor, there's a lot of dishonor at the highest levels of Klingon society, and Worf stands alone as a truly honorable warrior.
  • 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.
  • Witch Hunt: "The Drumhead" centers on a witch hunt against a Starfleet member whose grandfather was Romulan. When Picard speaks in the defense of the accused, the accusers turn their attention to him, bring up when he accidentally handed a Romulan spy over to enemy forces (the events of "Data's Day") and his short-lived assimilation into the Borg to question his loyalty. They also bring up the times he's violated the Prime Directive, but he says each incident is detailed in a report to Starfleet, leaving implicit that Starfleet agreed with his decisions, or at least didn't disagree strongly enough to reprimand him formally. They answer that they'll be looking very closely into those reports.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The nigh-omnipotent Q spends a few of his early episodes as a malicious prankster, but he gets temporarily stripped of his powers by the Q Continuum for abusing them. In the episode "True Q," he reveals that the Q Continuum feel responsibility to rein in the use of their powers. The evidence of this is the fact that the universe seems to run along by itself without noticeable interference from the Q.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Subverted by Worf in "Hide and Q". When Riker (temporarily in possession of Q's powers) conjures up an attractive Klingon woman for Worf, after a bit of mutual snarling he promptly backhands her, throwing her several feet across the room. Everyone looks horrified until they realize that they're not fighting; this is what Klingon foreplay looks like.
  • The Worf Effect: Trope namer. To establish that a problem can't be solved simply by attacking it, Worf usually tries and fails.
  • Working Through the Cold: Justified in "The Naked Now", when Dr. Crusher still works on her cure for the disease that makes the victim uninhibited despite being infected. She may have been infected, but she was the only one qualified.
  • Working with the Ex: Will Riker & Deanna Troi are ex-lovers.
  • Worth It: After Worf kills Duras at the end of "Reunion", in revenge for Duras' killing K'Ehlyr, Picard calls him out and puts a formal reprimand on his record. Worf's attitude makes it clear that he doesn't really give a shit about the reprimand.
  • 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:
    • Picard leaves La Forge in charge during "The Arsenal of Freedom".
    • "Disaster" sees Troi in charge of the bridge, albeit while it's cut off from the rest of the ship.
    • Dr. Crusher gets her turn in "Descent", fighting off the Borg.
    • Data takes command during the season 7 two parter, "Gambit."
  • 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: For a species so obsessed with "honor", many Klingons depicted in the series seem to be perfectly comfortable with stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. Worf gives several epic verbal putdowns on just why this sort of behavior is hypocritical and just what having true honor 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.
  • 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 Nausicaans 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" — turns out having this on display is a signal that you're looking for some loving.
  • 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" features a starship trap in the form of an field that prevents the victim from moving. The designers figured that most people's instinct would be to try to generate enough power to break free, so the trap is designed to counter any increase in power. The solution turns out to be using maneuvering thrusters to gently extricate themselves.
    • "Hero Worship": The Enterprise keeps getting hit by waves that are powered by, it transpires, their own shields. Increasing power to the shields makes it worse.
  • Zeerust:
    • So far the show's managed to avoid falling into this trap quite as hard and as quickly as TOS did. Mind you, there is a general sense of fashion victimism on the Enterprise. The bridge set feels like the epitome of Eighties luxury, all beige leather seats and wood paneling, and cozy-looking seats that lounge waaay back... given that all they are doing is pushing the odd button on an armrest, it's surprising half the crew doesn't fall asleep.
    • The biggest exception, though, is painfully noticeable to the kind of computer nerds who tend to love Trek. In the late 80s and early 90s, the LCARS computer interface looked incredibly slick and high-tech (touchscreen controls?!)... but as of the 21st century, 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 PADDs are another example. While the show did predict tablet computers almost two decades before their rise in popularity, the tablets seen in the show were already less functional than real tablets upon their invention. The show versions 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.



Video Example(s):


There Are Four Lights

In "Chain of Command, Part II" from "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Captain Jean-Luc Picard is captured by the Cardassian Gul Madred. Madred subjects him to torture - using a device to cause him pain and trying to get him to tell him that he sees five lights when there are, in fact, only four. Seemingly defiant to the end, as he is being released, he shouts at Madred that there are four lights. Afterwards, however, on the Enterprise-D, he admits to Troi that what he didn't put in his report was that he was given a choice: to keep saying there were four lights, or give in and get a life of comfort. He tells her that he was ready to say that there were five lights, just to the end the pain, but more than that, he actually could see five lights.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / TwoPlusTortureMakesFive

Media sources: