Few fans are aware of this, but Star Trek: The Next Generation was actually the product of a super secret formula known, until now, only by the show’s creators: Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman. Having hobbled together parts for a homemade Tricorder (left behind by a certain Klingon’s son and a mysterious crystalline entity) I have been able to slowly and methodically crack the underlying code that makes each episode function successfully – well, to varying degrees. Ever wonder what makes Star Trek: TNG one of the most spectacular and engrossing shows of all time? Wonder no longer. The code has been cracked.
Each episode relies upon several consistent (but essential) elements. If any one of them is missing, the formula is off and the episode suffers as a result. There are only two exceptions to the above rule, though I cannot reveal (just yet) what accounts for the anomalies. The secret formula is as follows:
- The opening shot must begin with an external view of the ship and either a Captain’s log entry or the personal log entry of one of the principal crew members.
- There must be at least one bleach-blond character (or extra). The gender of the character is not relevant.
- At least one, though usually two, complete absurdities are required in order for any story to work. This is the maximum acceptable quantity permitted by the viewing audience before the entire storyline unravels and goes to shambles. Note: These are not merely absurdities in the context of reality, but absurdities even within the fictional universe in which the story takes place.
- There is a 30 to 40% chance that, without intervention on the part of Data, key members of the crew or the Enterprise herself would otherwise be doomed. The percentage drops to less than 2% if Brent Spiner plays more than one role.
- If one of the actors is directing then all bets are off.
For more detailed information on the numbers and analysis behind these findings please summon “Q” by asking aloud why the crew doesn’t begin floating around even when all but the essential Life Support functions of the ship have gone down.
Or learn more about the show at the official website.
Related content: More of my favorite television shows.