While Star Trek: Picard is reintroducing viewers to the major characters of Star Trek: The Next Generation, many fans are reminded of the show’s other great characters that came along later in the series’ run. While most of the cast was introduced in the first season, some followed later but still left a big mark on the series.
From distant relatives to recurring villains, TNG had its fair share of interesting characters who were introduced after season one. Though there is a veritable wealth of great characters, only the best left an impression of fans and are fondly remembered today.
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One of TNG’s best ongoing storylines was Worf’s relationship with his fellow Klingons and his struggle between his duty to Starfleet and his heritage. The episode “Reunion” was not only a great Worf episode, but it reunited him with his estranged son, Alexander.
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Alexander Rozhenko would fall into his father’s custody when his mother died, and Worf would often struggle to be a good father to the young boy. Alexander was a mirror for Worf’s character, and he too struggled with his mixed heritage.
Lursa And B’Etor
The Duras sisters were a constant thorn in Worf’s side throughout the run of TNG, and their politicking even followed him to his time on Deep Space Nine. The eldest daughters of the house of Duras, the sisters often showed that they would stop at nothing to establish their house as the dominant force in the Klingon High Council.
First appearing as part of the amazing two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Redemption”, the sisters were determined to see Worf’s family name dragged through the mud to keep their family’s reputation strong. Though they were somewhat one-dimensional, the sisters were nevertheless an interesting addition to any episode that they appeared in.
Star Trek: The Next Generation was known for its great Holodeck episodes, and it was in one of those episodes that they introduced one of their most intriguing villains. Professor Moriarty was created when Data and Geordi asked the computer to create a more challenging nemesis for their Sherlock Holmes program.
First appearing in “Elementary, My Dear Data”, and then “Ship in a Bottle”, the hologram of the classic literary figure was nonetheless a dangerous foe. Gaining sentience, Moriarty even attempted to escape his holographic confines, and presented the crew with a moral conundrum. Though he only appeared in two episodes, Moriarty was given a brilliant pay-off, and his mini-arc is still one of the show’s most memorable.
Of all the characters to have extended family on the show, Worf always seemed to have the most. Kurn first appeared as part of an officer exchange program in the episode “Sins of the Father”, and he soon revealed himself to be Worf’s younger brother.
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Kurn appeared sporadically on TNG, but became a major figure in the Klingon Civil War storyline on DS9 a few years later. Though he was as determined to rehab his family name as Worf, Kurn’s methods often led the brothers to butt heads. Played by the brilliant character actor Tony Todd, Kurn’s appearance also helped Worf’s character to further develop.
When Gates McFadden departed the show after season one, Dr. Pulaski was written in as Dr. Crusher’s replacement for the entirety of the second season. Pulaski was an extremely skilled doctor, but her gruff bedside manner made her unpopular with other characters and fans alike.
Even though the show’s second season was somewhat weak, Pulaski’s character actually helped to elevate it. While she lacked the softness of Dr. Crusher, her confrontational nature actually made for more interesting stories. Her interactions with Data were particularly noteworthy, and she struggled to grasp his humanity. Though she isn’t the most likable doctor in Star Trek history, she is certainly one of the most memorable.
Captain Picard is most known for his stoic leadership skills, but characters like Vash helped him relive a bit of his adventurous side. The lovable rogue first appeared in the episode “Captain’s Holiday” but would return on a few occasions to ruffle Picard’s feathers.
Vash is a unique character because she isn’t as black and white as the Starfleet officers fans are used to seeing on the show. Her thieving ways are unethical, but she is shown to also have heart and the spirit of adventure as well. Picard’s love of rules was definitely tested whenever Vash was around, but he never seemed to mind that much.
Standing out amongst his Klingon brethren with his recognizably piercing eyes, Gowron would play one of the most important roles in the ongoing Klingon power struggle. Introduced in the episode “Reunion” where he became the Klingon High Chancellor, Gowron’s reactionary decisions would have lasting impact on the Trek universe going forward.
Cagy and ruthless, Gowron lives up to his Klingon heritage for better or worse. He is shown to be more of an ally to the Federation than his counterparts, but he was far from a friend. As he continued to appear, Gowron’s leadership would cause major conflicts on Deep Space Nine and he would be at the center of some of Star Trek’s best Klingon episodes.
Lt. Reginald Barclay
Though most Starfleet officers are shown to be capable and outgoing, Lt. Barclay was unique in that he lacked strong social skills. First appearing in the episode “Hollow Pursuits” Barclay’s extreme introversion lead him to struggle with his day to day tasks aboard the Enterprise.
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Throughout the show, Barclay would be at the center of several episodes, most of which dealing with his interpersonal problems. Though he could be difficult to get to know, Barclay was nevertheless a likable person on the inside, and he even appeared later on in the movies as well as in Star Trek: Voyager.
Ensign Ro Laren
As TNG wrapped up in its final three season, it overlapped with Deep Space Nine, and Ro Laren was the perfect character to bridge the two series. Though she only appeared periodically in TNG’s last three years, the rebellious ensign was a great introduction to the Bajoran struggle.
Like a predecessor to fiery Bajorans like Major Kira on DS9, Ro Laren chafed against Starfleet’s regulations but was still an excellent addition to the crew. Her dark past helped her stand out on the show, and she usually had a good reason for her insubordination. She softened somewhat as she integrated more into the crew, but she never lost that edge that made her unique.
Perhaps the most recognizable side character in all of TNG, Guinan often acted as the moral compass for Captain Picard, and their ongoing friendship was legendary. First appearing in the premiere episode of the second season, Guinan hid her wisdom behind the facade of being a simple bartender in Ten Forward.
Hailing from a mysterious race of beings that live for millennia, Guinan’s wisdom often transcended the simple moral tales of Starfleet and she could picture things on a universal scale. Though she rarely got involved in the plots of episodes, she was never too far away from some of the show’s most gripping installments. Considering the fact that even the worldly Captain would turn to her for advice, Guinan more than earned her spot on the Enterprise.
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About The Author
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Dalton Norman is a senior writer at Screenrant who authors lists on a variety of topics from movies and TV, to comic books, and pretty much anything that strikes his fancy. He is an avid lover of film history, and enjoys imparting as much trivia onto his readers as possible. He has also contributed several essays to various online publications that pertain to film theory and criticism, and he brings his filmmaking experience to the table as a writer for the site.
A graduate of the exclusive BFA Film Production program at the University of Central Florida, Dalton specialized in screenwriting and producing with an eye towards low budget filmmaking. In his free time, Dalton writes novels which he independently publishes online. His influences include the works of authors like John D. MacDonald and Tom Wolfe, and he tries to channel a bit of their unique energy whenever he writes.
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