But Roddenberry was very reluctant to put in too much TOS into TNG. Vulcans were pretty much ignored, the Chief Engineer position wasn't suppose to be important, the Security Chef position was given to a main cast member, and any hints to TOS characters were discouraged with the exception of the Naked Now Kirk reference.
But I'm not talking about specifics like that. I'm talking about the same creators applying their recognizable style and approach to new ideas. There's bound to be some similarity there, just as there are similarities between Buffy
or between The West Wing
and The Newsroom
. Creators can evolve and take on new challenges and new ideas, yet still have a consistent voice and employ certain recurring patterns or themes.
Heck, if Gerrold had had free rein with TNG, it might've been nearly as much a deconstruction of TOS as Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica
was a deconstruction of TNG and Voyager
. The last chapter of Gerrold's The World of Star Trek
was all about what TOS failed to do and how he thought it could be improved on, and a lot of those ideas ended up in the TNG series bible (notably leaving the captain behind on the ship while others went into danger). So there's no question it would've been fresh and different. But with Justman and Fontana working on it too, there would still have been some stylistic continuity with the original. And we might've heard musical contributions from more TOS composers than just Fred Steiner, since Justman was the one who'd hired the composers for TOS and brought Steiner back for "Code of Honor." (Steiner's score is a large part of what gives the episode such a TOS flavor.)