I don't think anyone disputes that TNG's cast was fairly homogeneous and light in the conflict department; I'm just saying that there was at least some effort to individualize them, although a lot of the early potential for differentiation was squandered. But DS9 and VGR definitely tried to create casts that had more basis for conflict, people who came from a variety of different backgrounds. The various people on DS9 had all sorts of different reasons for being there, and a number of them didn't initially want to be there at all. And VGR's crew was also designed to have a mix of backgrounds and goals to provide a similarly rich basis for conflict. In both cases, the creators were reacting to the relative homogeneity of the TNG crew and trying to build conflict potential into the series from the start. Although, again, VGR fell pretty far short of this aspiration because UPN insisted on downplaying the character conflict, preferring that the show be more like TNG.
So again, Knight Templar, I don't buy the assertion that Star Trek never had what you're asking for. Sometimes it didn't, but sometimes it did.
I haven't seen enough of Voyager to have an opinion, but I think Deep Space Nine didn't just try
, they succeeded. I don't think it gets much more diverse, in whatever way you'd like to think of it, than DS9. Let's look at the characters:
- Regular human made Emmisary. He had to really expand his thinking and beliefs for that one.
- A Trill that's lived 7-8 lives, one of which as Sisko's best friend, and ended up working on 2 in that department. She had the most open outlook on everything out of everyone. To be a Trill accepting that many lives inside of you (and being able to manage that and still hold onto yourself) would require being open.
- A genetically enhanced human.
- A Changeling raised by Bajorans and ended up having to work for Cardassians and then with Starfleet. Then he had to work out what being a Changeling meant for him when he finally met the other Changelings and differed with their ideals and philosophies on race relations.
- The first Ferengi Starfleet officer. And there was some conflict about that.
- The regular human that remained "ordinary" for the entire series run.
- Bajoran who is deeply religious and loyal to her own people after they'd been enslaved by the Cardassians for 50 years.
- A Klingon that was raised by humans.
No one or "type" is ever represented twice! This is the MOST diverse cast, any way you want to put it, in the history
of Star Trek, if you ask me. They really did succeed in the diversity department.