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Star Trek: 25 Ridiculous Things About TNG That Make No Sense

Why did James Doohan, the actor that played Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, receive an honorary degree in Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering? During a survey of their students in 2000, about 50% of the students cited Scotty as the reason for them pursuing their degree. When Nichelle Nichols thought about leaving Star Trek, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke with the actress about the importance of staying on the show, sighting the need for positive portrayals of people of color on television. A young girl watching television saw Nichols on the bridge of the the Enterprise and was excited to see a black woman on tv that wasn't a maid. That moment was instrumental in the girl's life, and she would eventually grow up to become Whoopi Goldberg, who also contributed to the Star Trek Universe by playing Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Star Trek came out in 1966, but the impact of the show can still be felt today. When the spinoff Star Trek: The Next Generation, launched in 1987, fans were skeptical, but eventually won over the hearts and minds of millions of fans. We here at CBR are giant Trekkies and Trekkers but even we are going to admit that there are some pretty ridiculous things going on with The Next Generation. Lots of plotlines were introduced that were never mentioned again, such as the amazing technology provided by the Cytherians or the parasitic aliens that tried to overthrow the Federation. Then there's weird character details, like Troi's accent, or the fact that Picard is a Frenchman with an English accent. Our nitpicking comes from a place of love, we promise!

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25 THE ENTERPRISE CAN'T BE THE FLAGSHIP OF THE FEDERATION

In Star Trek Generations, Picard states that the Enterprise-D is the Flagship of the Federation. The Enterprise-D is an iconic vessel and her Captain is legendary, so why can't the vessel be the Flagship for the United Federation of Planets? There's a simple reason why not.

A Flagship requires a flag officer, which means someone with a rank of Admiral. Picard is just a Captain, and the even easier fix would have been to make Picard Admiral and Riker Captain!

24 DID SOMEONE SAY CHIEF ENGINEER?

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation had a lot of ups and downs while the writers were trying to find the show's voice. What was one of the things that the show didn't have in the first season? A Chief Engineer as part of the main cast.

No Engineer was cast due to the assumption that most of the action would occur on the Bridge. In the first season, a total of four Chief Engineers appeared in rotation until Geordi took over in season two.

23 WHY DIDN'T DATA HAVE A HUMAN SKIN TONE?

In the Next Generation episode "The Offspring" Data constructed a Soong-type android that looked exactly like a human woman. Data later meets Julia Tainer in the episode "Inheritance" and deduces that she's an android, even though she looks completely human.

Given how it's clearly possible to make an android look human, and Data strives to be human, why doesn't he have a human skin tone? Do they not have concealer in the 24th century? Can Data not tan?

22 WHAT'S UP WITH GEORDI'S VISOR?

Yes the device on Geordi LaForge's face looks like a visor, but it's actually an acronym for Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement? Similar to Lion-O's Sword of Omens, he had sight beyond sight. But why?

Why didn't Geordi just get an ocular replacement? Unlike Star Wars where Jedis opt to have mechanical replacements, we don't often see people in Star Trek with prosthetic parts. So why did Geordi take the VISOR, especially when it's so painful to wear?

21 WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR RIKER TO DECIDE TO BE A CAPTAIN?

If the Riker/Troi dynamic felt familiar, it's because it somewhat borrowed from the relationship between Decker and Ilia from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Riker, like Decker, was a young officer eager to command his own ship.

If Riker was so eager to be a Captain, why did it take him so long to accept the command of the USS Titan? What was so appealing about the Titan that made him accept that command and not the USS Melborne?

20 HOW CAN A RACE ONLY SPEAK WITH METAPHORS?

"Darmok" was an amazing episode in which Picard tries to decode the language of the Tamarians, a race of aliens that speak in metaphor. It's a high concept and made for great television, but how practical can that be?

Could a society actually function by speaking only in metaphors? How do they develop warp technology or solve mathematical equations only using metaphors? Is that the equivalent of only communicating using memes? Shaka, when the walls fell!

19 DID ENGLAND INVADE FRANCE IN THE 24TH CENTURY?

Yes, there is a La Barre, France. There is also legit a wine company called Chateau Picard that is no associated with Star Trek and sells wine for you to purchase. If you do find the Picard Winery in France, find out if they're speaking with a British accent.

Perhaps things will radically change in 400 years, but according to Star Trek: The Next Generation, the French (or at least those living in La Barre) will speak with a British accent. Any explanation for this?

18 HOW DOES ANYONE IN THE FEDERATION CONDUCT BUSINESS WITH OTHER RACES?

In Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard explains to Zefram Cochrane's assistant, Lily Sloane, that there is no money in the 24th century. Gene Roddenberry's future consisted of no conflict, no wars, no starvation and no need for money.

That's great for humans, but what about other cultures, such as the Ferengi, whose society functions in a free-enterprise system? Most cultures use latinum or credits, but how do Federation citizens get them? What's to stop people from replicating currency?

17 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE NEXUS RIBBON?

In Star Trek Generations we learn about the Nexus Ribbon. It appeared in the galaxy every 39.1 years and if you got inside the ribbon, you found yourself in a dimension that would turn any of your fantasies into reality.

In Star Trek, we've revisited such things as the Mirror Universe, wormholes and even the Iconian Gateways. Why is it that we've never heard any future references to this Ribbon? Besides being entertaining, it sounds like it could have tactical value to whomever harnesses it.

16 WAS IT REALLY A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE FAMILIES ABOARD THE ENTERPRISE-D?

In the episode "Disaster" the Enterprise-D was crippled when it collided with two quantum filaments. Rogue Ferengi were able to take over the ship after attacking the Enterprise with Klingon Birds of Prey in the episode "Rascals."

Given all of the hazards in space, why would someone want to bring their family aboard the Enterprise? Space is a dangerous place, and if a warp core breach doesn't get you, Q just might! Leave your kids back on Earth!

15 WHY DOES TROI HAVE AN ACCENT?

Although Marina Sirtis has been playing Counselor Deanna Troi since 1987, she was originally hired to play the Chief Security Officer. She was going to be Lieutenant Macha Hernandez, but when she swapped roles with Denise Crosby, the character was changed to Tasha Yar.

When Sirtis developed the character, she wanted to cover her British accent with an alien one. The problem is she's the only one with the accent! No other Betazoid has one. Also, wouldn't the Universal Translator eliminate accents?

14 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE ADVANCED CYTHERIAN TECHNOLOGY?

In the episode "The Nth Degree" Reginald Barclay makes his return to the Next Generation and due to an accident becomes hyper-intelligent. He makes insane modifications to the Enterprise's engines and the ship travels over 30,000 light years.

A monumentous event! It's an event so big that we never mention it again in all of Trek! What about the technology that the Federation was introduced to? Couldn't they have used that to rescue the USS Voyager?

13 WHY DOESN'T SCOTTY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO KIRK?

The first episode of Next Generation was "Encounter at Farpoint" and it aired in September 1987. To everyone's joy, it featured an appearance by DeForest Kelley as an aged Dr. McCoy. Even Spock would make an appearance in the two part episode "Unification."

Legendary Engineer Mr. Scott appeared in the episode "Relics." Before this, Scott appeared in Star Trek Generations and thought Kirk perished due to a hull breach. So when he was rescued by Geordi and Riker, why did he think Kirk would be there too?

12 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DR. PULASKI?

Gates McFadden played Doctor Beverly Crusher for the first season of Next Generation, but was let go due to a conflict with one of the producers. When that producer left, McFadden returned to the series, but what about her season 2 replacement?

Dr. Katherine Pulaski was played by Diana Muldaur for just one season. Yes, Muldaur left when McFadden returned, but there was no explanation or no reference to what happened to Pulaski's character.

11 WHY CAN'T THE BORG SHIELDS STOP BULLETS OR SWORDS?

The Borg shields are notoriously strong. Not only can they adapt to phaser attacks, but they're also resilient enough to withstand a photon torpedo. What are they vulnerable to? A number of odd things.

In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard is able to take out a Borg with bullets from a holographic Tommy Gun. Even Worf was able to shut down a drone with a physical strike from a mek'leh. What gives? Borg shields can't stop an angry Klingon with a sharp blade?

10 WHY CAN'T DATA USE CONTRACTIONS?

We get it: computers aren't perfect. Some of you may remember the Y2K bug that threatened to shut down computers at the end of the 20th century. So is it feasible that Data has some weird bug that prevents him from using contractions in his speech?

Given all the amazing feats he's accomplished over the years, it seems very strange that Data can't do something as simple as say the word "can't" or "don't." Forget Data's emotion chip, can there be a grammar chip as well?

9 WHY DOESN'T THE EARTH HAVE BETTER DEFENSES?

In the Star Trek Universe, Earth has been attacked multiple times. Besides the Borg attacking Earth twice, two unknown alien probes also came to our solar system to threaten the planet. The Enterprise saved the planet 3 out of those 4 times.

Why doesn't the Earth have better defenses? We're not asking for the Federation to build the Death Star, but can't you put some drones in orbit? For the place that houses the headquarters for the Federation, you think there would be better security.

8 HOW DOES THE ENTERPRISE-D FIRE PHASERS AT WARP?

No, those aren't lasers that the Enterprise is firing, they're phasers. Although they're a type of energy weapon, it's still a beam of light, and even made-up physics has to adhere to real physics every once in awhile.

The warp engines allow vessels to travel faster than light, so if the Enterprise-D is traveling at warp speed, how is it possible that they can fire phasers? Wouldn't they be outrunning the beams they were firing at other vessels?

7 WHO WANTED TO INFILTRATE THE FEDERATION?

Gene Roddenberry wasn't very big on Next Generation running multi-episode story arcs. However, early in the series there was an implication that something fishy was happening in the Federation and people couldn't quite put their finger on it.

In the episode "Conspiracy" we learn that an unknown race of worms literally have been inhabiting Starfleet officers in an attempt to take over the Federation. Before they're defeated, they sent a signal to their homeworld. An important event... that's never discussed or referenced again!

6 WHY WAS THERE ONLY ONE COUNSELOR ON THE ENTERPRISE-D?

During the run of The Next Generation, some fans felt Troi's presence was superfluous, but in hindsight it was very forward-thinking to involve in the main bridge crew a person who was concerned about the mental health and mental well-being of over 1,000 people.

So, if we can agree that her role as ship's counselor was so important, why was there only one ship counselor? Troi went on away missions and even commanded the ship on several occasions, so who fills in for Troi when she's unavailable?

5 HOW TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED WERE THE SATARRANS?

In the episode "Conundrum" the Enterprise crew found themselves with complete memory loss. Even Data had no idea of who he was. However, they all retained their skills and abilities to operate a complex starship.

This actually was a ploy by the Satarrans to use the Federation's superior technology to defeat their enemies, the Lysians, who were 100 years behind the Federation. Wait, they had inferior technology, but could still mind-wipe over 1,000 people aboard the Enterprise?

4 WHY WAS Q SO AFRAID OF GUINAN?

When comedian Whoopi Goldberg said she was a fan of Trek, Gene Roddenberry wrote her the part of Texas Guinan, who was in charge of the Enterprise's bar located on the forward end of the saucer section on Deck 10. Who was not a fan of hers? Q.

What was it about Guinan that troubled Q? At times he looked downright frightened by her, and he's virtually omnipotent! She's got a long life span and can perceive time and space differently, but why would that make Q antagonistic towards her?

3 WHEN DID WESLEY LEAVE THE TRAVELERS?

The Traveler was a being that could travel through space time using the power of his mind. He used his mental abilities to modify the Enterprise's engines, allowing the ship to travel over 2 million light years in a single warp jump.

In the episode "Journey's End" Wesley leaves Starfleet and decides to go exploring with the Traveler. However, he's seen wearing a Starfleet uniform at Riker's wedding and serves aboard the USS Titan. So what happened during his time with the Traveler?

2 WHY DIDN'T TROI WEAR A UNIFORM?

Picard, Dr. Crusher and Worf went on a secret mission, and while Picard was gone, Edward Jellico was assigned to be the new Captain of the Enterprise-D. He constantly butted heads with the crew and "asked" Troi to wear a uniform.

Why wasn't Troi in uniform to begin with? She's a Starfleet officer, correct? When did Picard tell Deanna it was ok for her to wear dresses while on the bridge? How come no one else was doing that? Not every day can be casual Friday, Jean-Luc!

1 SHOULDN'T THE FEDERATION BE DESTROYED BY NOW?

Jean-Luc Picard was assimilated by the Borg and turned into Locutus. Riker may have saved Picard from being a Borg, but his knowledge and experiences were already assimilated into the Borg hive mind. Those things you can't remove from the Borg Collective.

If the Borg has most of the Federation's secrets, then what's stopping the Borg from invading Federation space? The longer the Borg wait, the more opportunities the Federation will have to prepare, so why not strike already?

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