Personally I think the mission originally intended for the E-D -- spending 15 years in uncharted space, making new discoveries, never dealing with the familiar races or politics back home -- could've been more interesting than the series we ended up getting.
Totally agree. I recall the night a large group of us got together to watch an air-freighted tape of "Code of Honor", hot off a US video recorder, and we suddenly realised the "Let's see what's out there..."
aspect had been seemingly dumped for local milk runs in familiar territory.
However, for me, it meant that the chances of seeing an Andorian or two in TNG might have increased. (Not by very much, as it turned out, but I didn't know that then.)