Five Crossovers Between The Next Generation and The Original Star Trek

The amount of time between the eras of the original Star Trek and The Next Generation would, on the face of it, suggest that fans of the former series would be disappointed if they hoped to see characters from the former show up in the latter. Of course, in the worlds of science fiction, everything is possible, leading to these five crossovers between the old and the then-new designed to celebrate the franchise’s history.

Encounter At Farpoint
The idea of launching a new Trek without some kind of nod to the original seemed unthinkable at the time, and there was something about the low-key cameo from DeForrest Kelley as an aged and even-crankier-than-usual Dr. McCoy that seemed particularly fitting. He brought a wonderfully funny cynicism to the overly sincere, optimistic proceedings that may just have reflected some of the audience’s feelings as they watched the pilot for the first time.

Sarek
It took two seasons for the show to return to source material from the original (In part, perhaps, from backlash against “The Naked Now,” which was essentially little more than a rewrite of the original series’ “The Naked Time”), and it did so with a character who could be described as little more than a minor character from the original: Spock’s father, Sarek. The result was something surprisingly moving that didn’t rely on any “OMG, It’s That Guy From The Old Show!” revelation that nonetheless connected the two series together slightly further without stepping on the toes of the still-ongoing movie series at the time.

Unification (Parts 1 & 2)
With the 25th anniversary of the entire Trek franchise upon them, the writers and producers of TNG knew that they had to come up with the goods for the show’s fifth season, and a two-parter reintroducing one of the original show’s main characters seemed like a great idea at the time. Sadly, the finished product gets too bogged down with political infighting and a story that seems too talky to be entirely successful, making the whole thing seem overlong and a slight letdown, really.

Relics
A season later, and things got better when the original show’s magical engineer managed to bridge the decades between series with the aid of a jury-rigged transporter. Like “Sarek,” “Relics” plays things more low-key and more melancholy – Not entirely without action and intrigue, because this was a Star Trek show, after all – and is all the better for it. Maybe my favorite of all of the original Trek crossovers with TNG, this is also one of the better episodes of the show’s final two seasons, and a pretty great example of Trek keeping things turned down in general.

Star Trek: Generations
And then, there’s this: The first of the TNG movies and… maybe the worst? Actually, considering Nemesis, that may not be true, but Generations is the kind of movie that can best be described, politely, as “uneven.” Perhaps it was exhaustion brought on from having to write this so close to the (in almost every way superior) “All Good Things” finale to the series, maybe it was the numerous rewrites and story changes that happened along the ways, or it might even have been that the presence of William Shatner just managed to undo some delicate balance, but the final adventure of James T. Kirk entirely overwhelmed everyone and everything else in this outing, and made it just plain a chore to watch. Everyone involved deserved better, especially Malcolm McDowell, who could’ve been an awesome bad guy if given the chance…

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Comments

  • Paul

    Kirk is a big fat cheeseball.  There.  I said it.

  • Joe35

    “Generations” was pretty awesome. My second-favorite of the TNG movies. Nothing disappointing about it to me.

  • sandwich eater

    I really like Unification.  In another sci-fi franchise this type of anniversary episode would have been action-packed (which is fine, I love action), but Star Trek is about a future where humanity is more advanced and avoids using violence to solve it’s problems (except when absolutely unavoidable).  An episode surrounding diplomacy and complex politics is the exemplification of Star Trek.  There is still a daring and dangerous mission, but instead of sneaking onto Romulus to blow stuff up Picard and Data head there and meet dissidents agitating for freedom; they do not to foment a rebellion but instead they lay the groundwork for better relations between the Federation and Romulus, and things did seem to be getting better between Vulcan and Romulus (at least until Nemesis and J.J. Abrams showed up).

  • Turtletrekker

    Don’t forget First Contact and the character of Zephram Cochrane, who first appeared in the TOS ep “Metamorphisis”, although the character was played by different actors. in TOS and FC.

  • Chris Peavey

    Generations will never be the worst TNG film in a universe where Insurrection exists.

  • Adam

    There was more to “Unification” than just “Spock shows up on TNG.”  The episode was released around the same time as Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  That film had the conference at Khitomer (sp?), where “Unification” indicated that Spock first started working with the Romulans.  STVI also had Michael Dorn appear as Worf’s grandfather, who defended Kirk and McCoy at their trial by the Klingons.  So STVI and “Unification” had a few nods to each other, suggesting that the two were sort of a bridge to each other.

  • Hube

    “Relics” is unintentionally hilarious in that the Enterprise discovers a freakin’ DYSON SPHERE — a construct of unimaginable dimension — and all they’re concerned about is an old engineer from 75 years ago. *Sigh*

  • the Dagman

    Really, the conclusion of Generations made no sense.

    If Picard could have left the Nexus at any point of time that he wished as stated in the story, why go back to the planet where Soran’s plan was about to come to fruition, and the Enterprise-D was crashing? Why not simply go back to the point where Soran was sitting in 10-Forward after he was evacuated from his lab, have security arrest him right then and there, and then go confiscate all his equipment before Lursa and B’Etor ever got there? The drama was undone by this blatant mistake on Picard’s part, and made the death of Kirk pointless and meaningless.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dholyer Dean Holyer

     If you could jump into a Star Trek film which one would it be and why would you prefer that story to become your life?

  • Jimmy

    Paul is… well… umm… honestly no one knows or cares who Paul is. Better a big fat cheeseball than Paul then…

  • Jimmy

    Exactly. It has everything you need in a Star Trek film. Once again Graeme proves how out of touch he is with the genre he writes about.

  • Jimmy

    Wow – thank god you`re not a screenwriter. What a boring climax that would have been.

  • Chris Peavey

    No, thank God you’re not a screenwriter because exciting isn’t everything.  It also has to make sense logically.  If the script had bothered to throw in any kind of explanation for why Picard doesn’t take this tactic, then it’d be fine.  Even something as half-ass as him not wanting to corrupt the timestream anymore than absolutely necessary is better than nothing.

  • the Dagman

    Right Chris. If a story’s ending can be rendered trivial by applying a bit of internal story logic, the screenwriters have failed in their initial task of setting up the finale.

    I wasn’t trying to write a new ending for the story Jimmy. I was just poking a big hole in the one already there. It’s just a thing I do to Star Trek.

    Like, why is the Borg even a threat? Remember the OS episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”? McCoy was carrying a vial of cerenide in his medkit on that planet. So it has to be something readily at hand elsewhere, and used for other purposes as well, for him to have done so. Starships are equipped with environmental controls. So, why doesn’t every starship have theirs set to mimic the planet the Platonians colonized, and it’s captain kept dosed with highly concentrated cerenide? Borg cube? Throw it out of orbit and into a sun with telekinesis while you make all the drones dance around and kiss each other for your pleasure. No threat.

    Or, how about the time Voyager made it back to Earth only hundreds of years in the past? They were home. Why not just slingshot around the sun and travel to the correct time from there instead of going back to the Delta Quadrant to get back to their present? Spock was able to make such calculations to do that while using a Klingon Bird of Prey rust-bucket and dilithium crystals that were breaking down. while guessing at the total mass involved, and nailed it. And that was 75+ years in Voyager’s past. The algorithms for time travel have to be in the main computer for such emergencies, you’d think.

    And why don’t starships carry a couple backup sets of dilithium crystals, just in case they might need them? You don’t go on a long trip without a working spare tire and maybe a gas can so you don’t get stranded somewhere. It makes no sense to have triple redundant systems without carrying a few spare sets of crystals along when going alone into deep space. Duh.

    Star Trek’s producers should hire someone like me to poke these holes into stories while they are still in production. So that the screenwriters can fix them then to have the drama make sense and make the story internally sound. And if they already do that, they need to get better people.

  • Jimmy

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…

  • Zor-El of Argo

    Okay, I didn’t understand your Borg reasoning at all. However, I never understood why the Borg queen was able to keep causing trouble on Voyager after the events of Star Trek First Contact.
    As for Voyager not slingshotting around the sun from 1990′s Earth: that was explained in episode. There was a 29th Century time-cop there insisting that they had to return to the Delta Quandrant in order to properly protect the timeline.