Really most of the 'sterile culture' criticisms of TNG apply to the first season where six year olds learn calculus. After that they really laid off that angle.
That was memorably extreme. Agreed that Bashir/O'Brien, Quark and Tom Paris especially brought the tone more down-to-Earth.
I like Trek and in particular TNG
in part because I don't think it's entirely realistic for how we could live today but provides well-done, thought-provoking ideals, some that we should live by already and some that we can make progress toward.