I always thought the "superior human society" aspect of early TNG (which I agree was a bad idea) was largely one of Gene's brainchildren at that point in time.
It was, which is exactly why I do not worship Gene Roddenberry to the extent a lot of Trek fans do.
Over the years, I have heard a lot of Trek fans (particularly TNG and VOY fans, but others also) bitch about how certain aspects of DS9 (particularly the darker parts, the war, etc) were 'not in keeping with Gene Roddenberry's vision' and are therefore abhorrent on their face.
And my response to that has always been "And not keeping with Gene Roddenberry's vision is a problem, WHY, exactly?"
Now, Gene Roddenberry was a great man who gave us TOS - a show that has turned into one of the most profitable cult followings in the history of TV and has made possible all the other Trek shows, including DS9.
But the man is NOT god.
He made mistakes - the grossest one being to make the TNG characters all 'evolved' - evolved well past the point of 'tedious and pompous' and into the realm of "I wouldn't even want to KNOW these people, they are so arrogant and annoying!". And in doing so, ignoring one of the key factors that made TOS (and in particular, James T. Kirk) so great!
The best thing about Kirk, after all, was that he was a flawed hero. He was a womanizer, a guy who cheated at the Academy, a guy who by all accounts lived by a sort of 'wild west' mentality and more than sometimes played fast and lose with the rules. Shatner's Kirk was certainly like this...but if any doubt remained, Chris Pine's Kirk makes it blatantly clear.
And those flaws are EXACTLY what makes him interesting and lovable. And I'm talking here about Shatner's Kirk as well as Pine's - both of whom I adore. And as a woman, I have to also state that these 'bad boy' components of his personality don't exactly hurt him in the sexiness arena either!
Then TNG comes along and Gene decides to go all Kumbaya on us. The result - Patrick Stewart's Picard. Who is an interesting character to the extent we knew him, I suppose (I never thought much of the character development on TNG - we knew more about some of DS9's recurring characters than we did about Picard!), but NOTHING like the 'technicolor' personality and presence James T. Kirk.
James T. Kirk was FUN. He's the guy you'd want with you in a bar fight. Or even hangin' out in the bar BEFORE the fight. Or if you are a woman, even going home with AFTER the fight, if you get my drift.
Picard is the guy you'd want to be your lawyer if you ever went to tax court or something.
The fun factor for Picard is WAAAAAAYYYY down.
Instead, we had the speeches. The endless speeches made to countless, hapless races about how they all needed to be like HIM! Or like 'us'. "Us" being "the Federation". You get the idea.
You know, I never realized it until this very moment, but I think Trek XI was yet another factor in my diminishing enjoyment of TNG. Because I REALLY loved Chis Pine in that movie. Or more accurately, Chris Pine's Kirk. Don't get me wrong, Zach and the rest of that cast did a bang-up job also, and they deserve mega-props for that. But Chris Pine's Kirk just made me fall in love with that adorable rogue of a character all over again. He was FUN to watch. More fun to watch than any character I have seen in any TV show or movie in a VERY long time.
Flawed? Absolutely. Evolved? Not so much.
But what a GREAT character. And one which I continue to enjoy watching, no matter how many times I see that movie.
And the thing is, guys like Kirk really have no place in the TNG universe. They do in the DS9 universe - kickin' ass and takin' names with The Sisko. But Kirk would be pitched off the Enterprise-E for not making proper hospital corners so fast he wouldn't even have time to pack his bag.