I've often thought about what I would do to "reboot" TNG. Believe I've outlined my thoughts before in this forum. That being said here are a few of my ideas.
I'd mine the original TNG bible, using many of the ideas that were either altered or dropped when the series actually went into production, such as the Enterprise
being on a 15 to 20 year mission, alone and without much contact with Starfleet Command. I would explore the community that would be built around the idea that the ship was alone, with only each other to truly rely on.
In other words, I'd find stories among the crew, both Starfleet and civilan, what life truly would be like on a great starship sailing the stars. Much like the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER really portrayed what life was like on an 18th century Royal Navy frigate.
While I wasn't overly fond of the families concept, I'd keep it since it's a great source of conflict and something that would add occasionally tension on the ship. TNG never really dealt with the concept well.
Who are the people that would bring their families? How does that come into conflict with other characters? Does that create strife between the "military" officers and the civilian population, both of whom will occasionally have competing agendas and, of course, different worldviews?
One thing that always bugs me about TNG is the lack of conflict, or Roddenberry's "perfect human" idic. The "band of brothers", which can be squarely rested at David Gerrold's feet since he wrote the original bible, was something I never quite understood. Sure they can get along, even like each other but that doesn't mean they aren't going to disagree.
Human beings whether today or 400 years from now will still have their own personalities, their own experiences that shape their worldviews. Conflict isn't who slept with whom — that melodramtic, soap operish idea of conflict. No, it's when one worldview rubs against an opposing one. Or how those worldviews approach problems. Think about McCoy and Spock, who had an underlying conflict because of the different worldviews. Even Kirk and Spock didn't always see eye-to-eye. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" had a wonderful tension between the two, which I wished had been seen more in the actual series.
That's what I mean by conflict. How each character views a problem and how they'd solve it, how that differs from another characters? How one character's goals may stand in the way of another?
TNG missed the boat by eliminating any tension between Picard and Riker. EaF set up a potential strife with the idea that Riker didn't allow his former captain to beam down. You were waiting for something like that to happen with Picard and him, but it never did only the lip service of "you can't beam down, regulations, blah blah."
Not to say they'd be entirely the same characters from TNG. There'd be some changes.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard:
Much younger than in the original. Perhaps late 30s. This would allow him to drive much of the show's action. Still thoughtful, perhaps not as reserved. He is still very much of a different era of Starfleet where captains lead away missions, didn't hesitate to put themselves into harm's way. An era that is slowly going away.
He is primarily driven by the need to protect his ship and crew at all cost, even at the sacrifice of his own life. This worldview has been shaped by the loss of his previous command, the Stargazer
, which nearly resulted in his being booted out of the fleet. He is an explorer at heart, who has learned to be a warrior. And those two personality traits often cause him internal conflict.
Commander Wilhelmina T. Ryker, aka "Number One":
Yes, a woman. TNG lacked a lot of strong women in command roles. Always wanted to see Shelby as first officer after BoBW. Either replacing Riker or becoming his XO.
She is ambitious. She is driven by her desire to get her own command. She believes that she should be the captain of the Enterprise. She is very much an officer of the new era of Starfleet, which is less military and less formal. Her worldview and her own ambition often puts her into direct conflict with Picard.
They don't always see eye-to-eye on command decisions. She occasionally challenges him in front of others.
Like Riker in the original bible, she'd find it a little hard to accept ...
Never liked that a human built Data. Really liked the concept that his origins were a bit more mysterious in the original bible. I'd bring back that concept. I'd return him to being more an artificial biological being as he was in the early episodes, rather than the mechanical automaton he later became.
Still a childlike quality, Data would make some humans uncomfortable. Yet he'd be a reasoned, logical creature, which could at times make him dangerous and a bit unpredictable. He could use reason to sacrifice a life because it was logical to do so to save a greater good. Without empathy, he'd be someone that could do harm but not realize that he is doing so.
She'd be a civilian First Contact specialist. An advisor to Picard on contact with alien lifeforms. Bring back some of the more reserved aspect of the character from the first season. Yet that aspect would only be for when she's on duty. Off-duty she is very much aware of her own sexuality, especially since there are little taboos regarding sex on Betazed. She is a sensual creature, sultry but very much in control of it.
However, there are those humans that are intimidated by Troi because of her telepathic skills. Since she is from a planet without inhibitions, some fear that she'd invade their privacy.
Dr. Beverly Crusher:
Less Janice Rand with a medical degree. While she'd still have a past with Picard, she'd be a research scientist in her own right, aboard Enterprise
because of that.
Slightly older than Picard, her husband, Jack, was his mentor. Picard replaced him as captain of the Stargazer
when he was killed on an away mission. Part of Beverly blames him for Jack death since it was his duty to protect his captain. The other is guilt for having an affair with Picard while her husband was alive.
However, she is driven by a need to save life, no matter what, to uphold her oath as a physician. More than that, she is also strongly driven to complete a comprehensive work on xenomedicine. This agenda creates conflict between her, Picard and Ryker.
Midshipman Wesley Crusher:
Roddenberry gave lip service that Picard, Riker and Wesley represented the three stages of an officer's career. Less genius, Crusher is truly Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. Eager, unexperienced and a bit of a self-doubter, who is constantly thrown into situations where he has to prove himself. Picard can be overly hard on him, as he trains the young Crusher to become an officer.
And the Rest ...
Haven't really given much thought to the other characters. I much liked Geordi on the bridge rather than when he was the chief engineer. I'd maybe explore him a bit and how having a device as an extension of himself informs his worldview.
Not sure if there would be a Tasha. Although, I'd probably make her Hernandez to make the cast more ethnically diverse. Worf would be there, not sure how.
Less episodes per season, to stretch the budget and tighten up the storytelling. The series would still be episodic, but with the occasionally planet exploration taking place over the course of several episodes.
It would be episodic like MAD MEN, where each episode stands on its own but pushes the conflict between characters a bit further or to a head in the last episode of the season. You can watch an individual episode and still get the story, but watch the entire season and you see a greater tapestry.
The characters would change and evolve over the episodes, much like MAD MEN. I'd bring the sophistication of today's television storytelling to the action-adventure of STAR TREK.
I'd also buy LitSF short stories, from today and yesteryear, and adapt them. Bring on contemporary writers like John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow and Neil Gaiman as contributors. Maybe even as consultants.