TNG was in many ways similar to TOS in that both featured adventures that occurred during the Enterprises travels throughout our own galaxy. But looking back at the early series, as well as developments in the franchise shortly before TNG, make me wonder if originally the creators had something else in mind: Traveling and visiting other galaxies.
Not long before TNG premiered, the concept of Transwarp Drive was introduced TSFS. In the thread Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model
, some ideas of what Transwarp did were discussed. And while TNG was conceived and developed by a completely separate team than the TWOK-TUC movies, TNG has shown it was willing to cherry pick ideas, props, models, effects, etc. from the TOS movies.
The fact that the set the series roughly 80 years after the movies, indicates there was expectation that the technology would be better. What ultimately happened was mixed -- certainly effects were better than TOS, things like the holodeck and the sophistication of the computers and communicators seemed more advanced than TOS. However, once again only a portion of the galaxy has been explored, and warp speed, while always working as fast as the plot needs it to, appears in some cases to be even slower than depictions in TOS.
This makes me wonder if there were plans and ideas to take a giant leap ahead of TOS and actually travel to other galaxies (which, in early 60's may not have been all that well known as our observational data was much more limited.
- Is designated as a Galaxy class starship.
- In EoF, Picard indicates that beyond Deneb IV lies the "great unexplored mass of the Galaxy"
- Only a few episodes later, the Traveler inadvertently throws the Enterprise across several galaxies.
This may all just be coincidence, but it seems like the writers were testing the waters a bit and left a doorway should they decide to pursue that direction more. It would be very easy to have an episode where the Enterprise was retrofited with a new drive incorporating the Traveler's formulas/theories/whatevers and could now travel between galaxies easily.
To go to another galaxy, where things were so different, and then turn away and spend the rest of the series in our galaxy, seems a little disappointing.
Production wise, I can see where it would be challenging to commit to having the Enterprise out in truly unexplored space for long term, when there was so many opportunities to use familiar elements like Klingons, Starfleet, Romulans, all of which became storytelling centers within their first season.
I would have loved them attempt a series that visited other galaxies. By the late 80s was known that our galaxy, though nonvenomous, was still just a very tiny dot in the whole universe.