My opinion: I grew up with TNG and my life was heavily influenced by the show, so it's safe to say that I love it. It has its problems, the first season was generally poor and the crew sometimes displayed a smug sense of superiority (indicating that Starfleet is staffed mainly with Niners
) but it was a very well written show most of the time and it told some great stories. And I love the characters, even the ones that are generally considered boring or bland. TNG is like an old friend and to this day when people mention Star Trek, TNG is the show that comes to mind first, even though I prefer DS9 overall.
That sums up my opinion of TNG to a tee, with one notable exception - I couldn't stand Troi or Wesley from Day One.
My opinion of Troi did soften a little toward the end. I can pinpoint it to when she finally started wearing a standard Starfleet uniform. Once she stopped sporting those ridiculous bodysuits I could see her as a professional, not as a bimbo who miraculously got a mental health license. Of course, I also thought she was much more attractive in the uniform as well, as it left room for something called "subtlety" - which I feel DS9 nailed perfectly by not having Kira, Jadiza, or Ezri in Seven/T'Pol catsuits.
Wesley, however, grated on my nerves from the get go and never let up. I can't tell you how happy I was when they finally shipped his ass off to the Academy. I understand what they were trying to do. They wanted a character that the audience could relate to - someone who would share the audience's sense of wonder at what was going on. The problem was - they destroyed that concept by making him a wunderkind. People relate to characters that remind them of themselves, not characters who are "modern day" Mozarts.
Like you said though, it was a very well written show most of the time and told some outstanding stories. I would rank episodes like The Defector
, The Offspring
, and The Pegasus
(even though it was damaged by that episode whose name I shall not utter here) right up there with anything DS9 had to offer.
For the longest time I refused to admit to myself that I liked DS9 over TNG. TNG was, after all, the Trek I grew up with and I felt a sense of loyalty to it. But, I now like to think of it this way.... It's like my first crush. It will always have a place in my heart, but I've matured and moved on to more rewarding things.
the crew sometimes displayed a smug sense of superiority (indicating that Starfleet is staffed mainly with Niners
We're sneaky bastards that way.