Happy 27th Birthday Star Trek TNG: Watch Rare 1987 Pre-Air Cast & Crew Interviews + Promos


Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on September 28, 1987, returning the franchise to its television roots. The success of the show spawned three additional series which ran through 2005. Today celebrate TNG’s 27th birthday by watching some of the original pre-air interviews with Gene Roddenberry and the TNG cast and crew, plus a rare pre-launch campaign video for syndicated stations.

Star Trek: TNG Pre-Launch video

In the video below Mel Harris (President of Paramount Television Group in 1987) walks Star Trek TNG’s syndicated television stations through the studio’s plans for promotion in the months leading up to the September 28th premiere.

Pre-air interviews

The following interviews (discussed in the above video) were provided to the syndication affiliates to use in their promotion of the show

Gene Roddenberry

Michael Westmore

Rick Berman

Robert Justman

Herman Zimmerman

Set Tour

ILM Visual Effects

Patrick Stewart

Wil Wheaton

Marina Sirtis

Denise Crosby

Jonathan Frakes

LeVar Burton

Michael Dorn

Gates McFadden


Countdown promos

And this video compiles the daily ‘countdown’ promos to the premiere of the show.

Thanks to the PropKing and huckbone

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The cast of TNG look so young!

There WERE!

no yeah were younger lol

just watched the first video they are so proud of star trek,so is that why tos was canceled after 3 season!!!

No Brent Spiner interview?

I remember the initial excitement leading up to the show, the eventual disappointment of the premiere and the ultimate frustration with almost each and every episode that followed. With David Gerrold’s recent revelations, at least now I know why. We threw a party when the show started and an even bigger party when it finally ended!

STNG was a personal disappointment when it first premiered for me.

STNG did not attract my attention all that much until the third season when
the actors and production staff finally got things together enough to attract
a larger following and fan base (IMHO).

Good heavens, BERMAN looks young!


I’m surprised it survived the first season, let alone the nearly disastrous second season that was somehow worse. The show looked cheap, the stories were (with a couple exceptions) very poor, and it was difficult to warm up to a cast of characters, only 2 or 3 of which are remotely interesting.

But it did survive, and did produce some of the very best episodes in the history of Star Trek (in addition to at least one of the franchise’s 3 best films).

TNG may be my least favorite of the series, but there is no denying that it brought Star Trek back into the public consciousness, recruited new fans, and defined “Star Trek” for the next 20-odd years. Without TNG there would never have been DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, 4 of the original feature films, and none of the Abrams Trek. Star Trek would have died with Undiscovered Country.

It’s aged horribly. Seems more like 37.

Happy Birthday, TNG!

It would never have made it in today’s market. They would have done 13 weeks and become a footnote in Star Trek history. I personally gave up on it midseason and didn’t come back as a regular viewer until season 3, at which point it became one of my favorite shows.

I watched the series premiere and thought it was lame. It was dorky, but not in a good way. I tried a few more episodes the first season and then gave up on it.

Then, one day, my high school lit teacher showed us “The First Duty” from Season 5 to illustrate some theme, supplementing some novel we were studying. I liked it so much that I tuned in for the next episode. And I liked that so much that I got hooked for the rest of the series. Fortunately, my older brother was a Trekkie and had taped all of the episodes of the series, so I was able to binge-watch them all and catch up in a few months.

I don’t understand at all when people say that they don’t like this series, even after it got good. It’s so thought-provoking and compelling. The good episodes, of which there are many, are so tight and entertaining. This was before the serial format of DS9, so each episode of TNG (save the rare two-parters) was more of a self-contained 3-act play. The mystery episodes, in particular, are just great. No other Trek series did mysteries like TNG. And, of course, there’s Patrick Stewart. TNG would still have had great writing, but it wouldn’t have been as compelling with a lesser actor in the role of Picard. Patrick Stewart added so much to the show just by his performance. He made even the simplest lines intriguing.

I still LOVE the early two season of TNG. I know most people hate them, but I couldn’t disagree more… best Star Trek ever… a cool new “hellworld” almostg every episode, a truly utopian vision of the future, before it got dumbed down by DS9 and the movies, turning it into some sort of dark future franchise, the first set of uniforms, the sense of wonder represented by young Wesley Crusher, the brilliant, truly out-of-this-world soundtrack by McCarthy and especially Ron Jones…

I like the later seasons of TNG as well, but it turned into a “mystery of the week” show at some point between Season 3 and 5 and although those are great episodes, they lose a lot when watched twice or more… If you know the solution, a mystery is pointless. The first season though were really about exploration, strange new worlds and utopian concepts. They had their stinkers, but which Trek series hadn’t… But they explored so many concepts worth revisiting…including travelling to other galaxies and realms of existence… THIS is what I want Star Trek to be, not evil madmen with super ships threatening to destroy Earth…

I think TNG set the standard for Star Trek series not being good until their 3rd season. I remember watching the premiere and thinking “Oh God, what are they doing?” I watched sporadically for the next couple years, and then Season 3 just hooked me and I stayed hooked until Voyager.

I wish Enterprise got the full 7 years.

Listen to David Gerrold. Terrible show.

The last third of the Pre-Launch Campaign video reminded me of that one scene in Space Balls… Imagine Mel Harris pulling out the official “Star Trek The Next Generation Flame Thrower”! ;-)

TNG got good when the Borg showed up in the episode Q-Who? We can thank Maurice Hurley for that. I don’t doubt some of what David Gerrold has to say about TNG, but I wonder how much is sour grapes. I can sympathize with him with regard to Maizelish. Lawyers should have no hand in writing scripts or determining the direction of Star Trek!

I didn’t see any of this when it aired.

Thanks for sharing!

I vividly remember when the series premiered and actually have several pre-premiere tidbits from Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight that broke the news about the show’s creation, its preproduction and the pre-show intro to the series’ premiere.

What previous posters above don’t realize or remember, or probably didn’t know was that this show was the first syndicated dramatic show on tv at the time. There were lots of risks and money spent on what I’d like to think were free little movies every week. You had ILM doing the visuals for the first few seasons until they had their library of film shots. The production values were top rate for its time.

For pretty much its entire run, the show was near the top of the syndicated show ratings. I think the Oprah show was the only program that came close to or beat it in the weekly ratings. Not bad, but remember you’re comparing apples and oranges.

For me, I thought it was a very good tv show despite its initial flaws. What show doesn’t start out with some problems. Technically, it was very good as well. I would set up my sound system at home in a surround way, with speakers in front and in back of the room and watched it on a 27″ Sony TV. In spite of the smallish size, the stereo sound gave one the feeling of watching a little movie, not a grand movie, of course. Movie soundtracks were more multilayered and directional.

What I distinctly recall are the sound effects of Q’s grid shield. At the time, the effect was kind of cool looking and different. Again, what do you have to compare it to back in the day? As the shield would ‘shimmer’ the accompanying sound effect was aurally similar to the directional lights going right to left. Very cool. Then there were the usual weapon effects; photon torpedo firings, the transporter sound, door whooshes on the right or left depending on where it was on the screen.

Musically, I was glad they brought back Jerry Goldsmith’s fanfare theme, something the movies should have maintained. BUT, what irked me was the way they truncated it for the show’s opening. That was a big mistake until they corrected it in Season Two. It felt like home..felt like Star Trek.

Anyways, the station promo bits they have above are shortened pieces from the pre-premier tv show they had on the night of TNG’s premier. The cast/production interviews and visual fx featurette are pretty much the same.

In many ways, the show was bround breaking. Since it was syndicated, it didn’t have the network censorship that a regular broadcast tv show would have had to be subject to.

A case in point is TNG’s first season’s show ‘Conspiracy’. Remember at the end of the show where Remick (or whatever his name was) turned out to be this alien and Picard and Riker phasered him to show he was being controlled by an alien! What broadcast tv show, back then, would let you get away with the burning away of a human body exposing its inner cavity showing charred ribs and organic material? None! It was shocking and riveting for its time.

Judge the tv show for its time, not now looking at it with current sensibilities and tastes. Its just not fair. TNG was a very good show. It was a continuation of Star Trek. It lasted a full 7 seasons, unlike the original. It gave us 4 decent movies. Enjoy them. I did and still do.

I remember the anticipation of waiting to see the premier, and the utter disappointment with almost everything about it. The very same feelings I had about Star Trek V.