Today (2014 May 23) is the 20th anniversary of the airing of “All Good Things…”, the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It cannot be denied that this series is directly responsible for the resurgence of American sci-fi on television – without the Enterprise-D, there would have been no Babylon 5, no Stargate, no reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Without the evidence that “geek culture” could make real money, there might well have been no Dark Night, no Lord of the Rings (movies), no Game of Thrones (series), no Avengers assembled.
Watching it again, I was surprised how well this episode holds up as a capstone to an amazing series. Sure, there are glitches – the anomaly grows larger in the past, except when it doesn’t, after being created by tachyon pulses emitted by three Enterprises except one of them was the Pasteur. But that’s just nitpicking. The key to Trek has never been the technobabble. It’s been the intricate interplay between sharply-drawn characters who wear their humanity on their sleeve, and the ineffable possibilities of existence itself. And ST:TNG still had that ineluctable optimism that characterized the original. It had hope in the stars and hope in us. As much as I enjoy the grittier fare we generally get these days, I will admit to missing that simple faith in the future.