(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion is a reference book published by Pocket Books that provides an extensive episode guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation, beefed out with production background information, researched and compiled by its author.
- From the third edition book jacket
- On September 8, 1987 – more than twenty years after the original Star Trek series first aired – millions of Star Trek fans across the country sat down in front of their television sets for the debut of an all-new Star Trek series. No expense had been spared in bringing this new show to life – the creator of the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry, was back producing the new show. Yet even the most faithful of Star Trek fans had their doubts – could the magic be duplicated?
- The answer to that question proved to be a resounding yes. Led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D blazed a trail of exciting adventures across the galaxy. In show after show, Star Trek: The Next Generation brought to life a future where cooperation and mutual understanding proved the keys to solving humanity's problems – and enabled galactic civilization to flourish.
- Here is the complete official guide to every episode of the television adventures of the Starship Enterprise and all four of the major motion pictures from Star Trek Generations to the latest, Star Trek Nemesis. This companion is a compendium of information including plot summaries and credits for each show and motion picture, as well as fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of The Next Generation. Take a glimpse into the show's incredible seven-year run, during which it reigned at the very top of the syndicated television ratings. Illustrated with more than 150 photographs, this is the official reference guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Writer Larry Nemecek had originally intended to publish a collated version of his TNG season reference books A Concordance and Episode Guide, which were intended to be updates of the Star Trek Concordance by Bjo Trimble, a reference book that concentrated on Star Trek: The Original Series. "After four years of those annually, self-published zones and then later made slick by Stargate Denver and sold... I got the Companion deal," Nemecek recalled. "But it was making-of, not encyclopedic, so it was only a partial help." (Information from Larry Nemecek) This book was also fashioned to some extent after the earlier The Star Trek Compendium, another reference book which focused on TOS.
- This book was first published in November 1992 and provided episode summaries and production information from "Encounter at Farpoint" through "Time's Arrow" at the conclusion of the fifth season. Appearing as Season 5 ended and following the 1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, it was only the second, by Pocket Books, licensed non-fiction tome of the "modern" Star Trek era, and the first to provide a more detailed look into the production aspects of the series, though Larry Nemecek's previous writings and the review magazine Cinefantastique had already blazed pioneering paths in this respect with their in-depth Next Generation season theme issues.
- A later, expanded edition was published in May 1995 and included information through the end of the series and inclusive of the first Next Generation movie, Star Trek Generations. In 2003, yet another edition was released, this time covering Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek Nemesis. Extensive use of quoted and paraphrased insights from writers, producers and designers first appeared in the Next Generation book, limited only by the format size. However, due to budget limits imposed by the publisher, the later film chapters were shortened in comparison to the earlier content and were simply added on to the 1995 edition of the book, with no updates to those sections.
- The use of quoted creators' material pioneered here was greatly expanded upon in a following trade paperback for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, and then scaled back greatly, virtually abandoning it altogether, for the Star Trek: Voyager Companion. No companion book has yet been issued for Star Trek: Enterprise.
- To date, two internationally released editions are known to exist: a 1997 Italian-language second edition Guida a Star Trek: The Next Generation, translated from English by Paola Cartoceti for Fanucci Editore, and a 2005 expanded Japanese-language third edition.
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The Star Trek Compendium
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion