I always wondered why Star Trek: The Next Generation took a formula of being militaristic (and the scores got more militaristic too) in later seasons?

I'm thinking "Best of Both Worlds" and "The Wounded" might have something to do with this, as the latter is what introduced us to what would become a recurring enemy in Star Trek franchise in the years to come, the Cardassians. Is that why?

  • 4
    The in-universe answer seems obvious; they responded to a change in the political climate. Are you specifically asking for an out-of-universe answer like why did the production execs push the overall storyline into more inter-species conflict? Can you edit your question to specify what you expect as a response?
    – user18935
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 20:18
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    Is it possible once Roddenberry died and his influence began to wane they went to more violent storylines? Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 2:57
  • @kingofpanes - From what I understand the Original Number 1/Nurse Chapel/Computer voice/Lwaxana Troi was a woman not to be trifled with and she shared Roddenberry's vision of the future.
    – user18935
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 5:17
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    I am not sure that the premise of this question is correct. Seasons 4+ still contain lots of examples of episodes where a non-aggressive solution is chosen (such as I, Borg) and episodes where communication and diplomacy is more important than war (such as Darmok).
    – tbrookside
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 13:10
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    And even when militaristic elements were present, they certainly weren't glorified. For example, in The Pegasus, the hawkish wing of Starfleet (represented by Admiral Pressman) is pretty much the villain. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


I think this question is confusing Star Trek TNG intentionally choosing a militaristic theme; with the general tendency for a show to raise the stakes as it gets more seasons, simply because the viewer will have adapted to the previous stakes, and their senses have dulled. Viewers need bigger stakes in order to be kept on the edge of their seats. The same stakes would become boring. This is true of pretty much every narrative.

Star Trek TNG has always been a show that's oriented on interpersonal exploration and solutions. Only rarely does the solution come from violence, and when it does it's a last resort after all else has failed.

However, in order to raise the stakes, there has to be more danger in this interpersonal conflict. The human condition inevitably escalates conflict into armed conflict when the stakes are sufficiently high.

This isn't a showrunner's choice to focus on militaristic plots. It has always been the showrunners' choice for Star Trek TNG to realistically model the human condition, and in the natural tendency to raise the stakes over time, this increases the inclusion of armed conflict as an escalation to non-violent interpersonal conflict.

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