TNG has been selling quite well as far as it's remastered Blu Ray's are concerned. So I don't know where the idea that it was "long forgotten" comes from. I say that as a huge fan of the original crew, too. TNG has a big audience.
Star Trek is not cemented to just one ship, just one crew. It can break out from there if the story is compelling, the visuals interesting, and the characters, above all else, well written.