As the first continuing series in the Star Trek franchise following the success of Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced a "new generation" of fans to a new crew, a new captain, and new adventures in the Star Trek Universe. As the Enterprise-D boldly went where no one had gone before from 1987 to 1994, it introduced entirely new concepts (the holodeck), while also improving upon existing ones (the universal translator).
For all of its improved technology, visual effects makeup, and storytelling practices, it still created the same sort of inconsistencies as its predecessor. Such as, if the technology exists to cryogenically freeze someone for hundreds of years, why does Geordi have to remain blind and wear a visor? Luckily fans have spent the years since its syndication speculating on similar plotholes, and come up with some pretty solid theories. Here are 5 things that make no sense about TNG, and 5 fan theories that do.
10 MAKES NO SENSE: WHY GEORDI NEEDS THE VISOR
Star Trek: The Next Generation showed us that many life threatening injuries or diseases were perfectly curable if the individual was admitted to sickbay fast enough (still no cure for the common cold, though). Voyager showed us that Seven of Nine's Borg technology could resurrect Neelix after he technically died.
So given all the amazing advancements in technology, why did it take so long for Geordi to ditch his visor? He needed the visual input from its scans of the electromagnetic spectrum, but it also caused him serious pain. After the first few seasons, this pain was never mentioned again, and in the films he just shows up one day sans visor without any explanation, probably because to continue to have it negated some of the shows best achievements.
9 FAN THEORY: DATA WAS INTENDED TO BE A SOONG CLONE
Fans have long theorized that Dr. Noonien Soong created Data as a way to prolong his own existence. This was postulated after audiences learned of one of his earliest attempts, known as the android "Lore" and Data's "evil twin," who retained a "scanned" version of Soong's personality. It was sociopathic and lacked any empathy, resulting in the next model Data not being given an emotion chip.
In the episode The Schizoid Man, we meet Soong's mentor Ira Graves, who is terminally ill and tries to transfer his consciousness into Data. He isn't successful, but his megalomaniac methods may have been passed on to his pupil, causing Soong to try to cheat death.
8 MAKES NO SENSE: WESLEY'S BRIDGE POSTING
It takes temerity, professionalism, and commitment to the principles of Starfleet to get appointed to the bridge. It usually requires graduation from Starfleet Academy, and several years aboard a starship working your way up through the ranks to earn such a prestigious post.
Yet Wesley Crusher, who hadn't even graduated from Starfleet Academy (but happened to be the son of Captain Picard's longtime friend Beverly Crusher), got a bridge posting. Yes, he is a boy-genius with the ship's technology, but it seems more likely Picard's guilt won out over, having been the commanding officer on the mission where Wesley's father died.
7 FAN THEORY: TRELANE IS A Q
In Star Trek: The Original Series, McCoy and Kirk encounter a humanoid alien lifeform known as Squire Trelane, who presents himself as a foppish retired British general from Earth's 18th century. He traps them in his fortified manor on the mysterious planet of Gothos, and when they try to escape, judges them for perceived crimes against him.
This is similar to when Q first appeared in TNG, providing the crew of the Enterprise with tests to prove the capacity of humankind for good, and judging their actions accordingly. This gave rise to the idea that Q wasn't just based on Trelane, but that Trelane himself might be a part of the Q Continuum before Gene Roddenberry had developed it.
6 MAKES NO SENSE: THE FEDERATION DOESN'T USE MONEY, BUT OTHER CIVILIZATIONS DO
In one memorable episode of TNG, a human financier who died in 1994 is brought back to life from being cryogenically frozen. Captain Picard has to explain to him that currency as he knows it isn't in circulation in the Federation, and that Earth no longer has a need for it since replicators can see to all basic human needs.
Offenhouse doesn't understand the driving force for humanity any longer if money and success aren't desirable. Picard explains the pursuit of bettering humankind is now the ultimate goal rather than materialism. Yet we also see other episodes where Riker uses some unidentified currency to barter in negotiations, and Picard offer to "buy dinner" for crew members.
5 FAN THEORY: THE PRESERVERS ARE THE ORIGINAL HUMANOIDS
Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D encounter an ancient race of humanoids in an episode called "The Chase", who reveal to them that all of the universe's planets were implanted with the seeds of early life hundreds of thousands of year prior, implying that from humans to Vulcans to Klingons, all shared a common ancestry.
This is similar to The Preservers that Captain Kirk encounters in a hologram in TOS in The Paradise Syndrome, who reveal to him that they have been taking dying humanoid races and placing them on other planets to encourage their survival. Fans have long theorized that these Preservers and the ancient humanoid race in TNG are the same beings.
4 MAKES NO SENSE: THE ADMIRALS ARE INSANE
For being the top brass with all the decision making power, Starfleet Admirals sure come from a special stock of psycho. Rarely do any of the admirals that appear on TNG have the best interest of Starfleet personnel in mind, eschewing their liberties, rights, and even livelihoods for personal gain or maintenance of the bureaucratic status quo.
Whether it's Admiral Jameson injecting himself with a youth serum that causes his death, or Admiral Satie coming aboard the Enterprise to begin a witch-hunt, or Admiral Pressman breaching a Klingon-Federation treaty to illegally test a cloaking device, they appear to hoodwink Starfleet Command without taking a proper psychological evaluation.
3 FAN THEORY: Q WANTED HUMANS TO PULL THROUGH
While part of the playful antagonism of Captain Picard and Q is what makes Q episodes of TNG so memorable, there are times when it seems that Q isn't simply materializing on the bridge to cause the captain trouble. There is another reason why he messes with humans other than finding them endlessly irritating, immature, and deserving of failure.
Fans have long speculated that Q actually wants humanity to succeed. That of all his cohort in the Continuum, he has a secret soft spot for humans, because of their determination, grit, and perseverance. He could snap his fingers and reset every blunder the crew makes, but he doesn't. He likes to be the proud father watching his favorite (but frustrating) child learn from its mistakes.
2 MAKES NO SENSE: KIDS ABOARD THE ENTERPRISE
While it's true, getting posted to a starship means sometimes months or even years in space for Starfleet personnel, they have frequent shore leave and time off to see their loved ones. So why exactly are there so many families aboard the Enterprise?
Serving in Starfleet means assuming the risks that coincide with boldly going where no one has gone before. It isn't safe for children, and they won't understand the dangers. Yet the Enterprise is like a floating city, with a school and nursery full of young children.
1 FAN THEORY: THE BORG HAVEN'T TAKEN OVER THE GALAXY BECAUSE SOME SPECIES ARE INFERIOR
The Borg are interested in one objective only: the improvement of The Collective through technological advancement. This occurs through the assimilation of technologically advanced species to create the "perfect" Borg specimen, comprised of both organic and cybernetic parts.
The Borg could technically take over the entire galaxy in this way, but fans have theorized that they don't for two reasons. One, to wait for certain species to develop to the point of ideal assimilation and, two, because certain species will never reach that point, garnering none of the Borg's concern.