Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation this evening (Journey’s End and Firstborn, we’re nearing the end, folks!), it occurred to me that there were some more shows with “The Next Generation” in the title. Although I didn’t think of many others, I think I was still surprised by how few there were, when I checked IMDB afterwards.
Roots: TNG started the trend in 1979, Trek was second in ’87, there was a TV movie “Bonanza: The Next Generation” (speculation: intended as a pilot, but failed?) in 1988, and Degrassi: The Next Generation (the one I remembered, though I’m not sure I ever watched it) was actually far later, in 2001.
There’s a reality show that started this year called “The Jacksons: Next Generation” – “Taj, Taryll, and TJ Jackson struggle to manage their lives, careers and families under the constant spotlight of their famous last name” – which could be seen as a continuation of the naming trend, and next year there’s an “Underworld: Next Generation”, which I suspect isn’t.
You may well have been happier not knowing about those last two, but I just heard about ’em, so now you have, too.
I’m tempted to copy and paste the “The Next Generation” portion of ST:TNG’s logo below a Star Wars logo, in celebration of the forthcoming movie.
One wonders what would have happened if Trek had been spun off into TV shows now. What spin-off naming convention would be used now?
The shows that immediately spring to mind, are CSI and NCIS.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Such unwieldy titles, but they say what they mean.
Equivalent? Star Trek: Starship Enterprise.
Hmm, eerily close to the last Trek show.
All right, what else have we got?
CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans. Same-but-different kinda vibe.
Equivalent? Star Trek: U.S.S. Brooklyn, Star Trek: U.S.S. San Francisco.
Alternatively, the shows could be named after where the ships are stationed in the Trek universe.
Star Trek: Along The Romulan Neutral Zone.
Oh no, that would make Deep Space Nine “Star Trek: Bajor”, or maybe “Star Trek: Cardassian Border”. Phaser me now.
This leaves one CSI spinoff title unadapted. CSI: Cyber. Presumably the team isn’t sitting around the whole time, examining millions of lines of code or transactions or data report, like one imagines cyber crimes units usually doing.
But Trek has always been partial to playing around with new technologies, and sometimes exploring the implications of them, or imagining what might be possible with technology two, three or four centuries away.
But really, there can be only one equivalent.
Star Trek: Holodeck.
Run for the hills!