Star Trek: The Next Generation first beamed onto our screens a whopping 27 years ago, revolutionizing the sci-fi genre in its wake!
Like many others, I idolized the intrepid Enterprise crew more than any other fictional role-models, and it seems like only yesterday that I avidly tuned in to watch them boldly go where no man has gone before.
The Next Generation took us to exotic planets and introduced us to unknown species - but there was almost as much excitement going on behind the camera! To prove it, here are 8 insane fact about the series you probably never knew...
1. Worf's Head Was Robbed
Worf's prosthetic forehead - which took 2 whole hours to apply before shooting - changed in the show's second season, after the original was stolen. No one quite knows who took it, but it's safe to say that someone out there has an awesome pilfered heirloom to pass on to their grandkids!
2. Picard didn't Believe in the Whole Enterprise
When The Next Generation began, Patrick Stewart didn't have much faith in the success of the show. In fact, he was so convinced it would fail, he didn't unpack any of his suitcases for the first 6 weeks of filming! I guess he was happy to be proved completely wrong.
3. Dr. Beverly Crusher Had a Secret Pregnancy
Gates McFadden, the actress who portrayed Dr. Beverly Crusher, was pregnant for the majority of the fourth season, but since the writers didn't incorporate this into the series, the directors had to improvise in order to hide her bump on screen.
4. Patrick Stewart Wore a Toupee to Get the Job
In a casting meeting with Paramount executives, the show's producers convinced Patrick Stewart to wear a hairpiece to hide his baldness. Paramount were incredibly impressed by the British actor, but they made one important request: that he take off the ridiculous wig when playing Picard!
5. Wesley Snipes Was Almost One of the Crew
Wesley Snipes, who played the vampire slayer Blade, was originally set to play Geordi LaForge. He didn't get the role, swapping the VISOR for Blade's iconic tinted sunglasses.
6. Picard Had a 'Special' Dress Code Technique
It's not surprising the entire Enterprise crew looked so slim on camera - the original Starfleet uniform was designed to be one size too small in order to appear 'skin-tight.' They turned out to be extremely uncomfortable for the actors, and the jackets had a tendency to ride up when they sat down.
But the ever resourceful Patrick Stewart developed a habit of straightening his jacket out with a quick tug. This characteristic trait became known on set as 'The Picard Maneuver,' named after his character's fictional battle tactic from the show!
7. Did You Spot the Hitchhiker's Guide Reference?
Filled with humorous easter eggs, the table in Engineering displayed one item named "Infinite Improbability Generator:" a cheeky nod to Douglas Adams' influential novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
8. Patrick Stewart Had NEVER Watched Star Trek!
Shockingly, before he was cast as Picard, Patrick Stewart had never seen an original Star Trek episode in full, and was largely ignorant of its legacy! He later commented that this allowed him to approach the role with fresh eyes, and wasn't at all intimidated by living up to the franchise's history. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
And finally, Merry Christmas Star Trek fans, from the Captain and his crew...