It's a false equivalence to compare the fan backlash of Discovery to that of The Next Generation

Jonathan Frakes lived through Star Trek: The Next Generation's life and still forgot all about it.
15th Annual Official Star Trek Convention
15th Annual Official Star Trek Convention / Gabe Ginsberg/GettyImages

Star Trek: Discovery is considered the worst Star Trek series of them all, and rightfully so. It's at times dull, disinterested, insulting, and worst of all, not Star Trek. The series went as far away from the tone of Star Trek as possible, and not only dropped the compelling melodrama that was but instead made it a mess of varying genres, few of which were able to capture the essence of what made Star Trek what it is.

Not only that, it took big, bold swings that didn't need to be made and dramatically altered aspects of established, accepted, and most importantly, beloved lore. It's one thing for Klingons to look different in the original film franchise, as it was a progression of events. We found out that something happened to the Klingons.

Yet, to go back to events prior to the original film franchise and the original series, and change the Klingons again in a time period where we have an accepted idea of who and what they are, was seen as a serious misstep. As was making the lead, Michael Burnham, the surrogate, adopted sister of Spock. A character that had never been mentioned before in 50+ years of entertainment.

Fans hated the show for these reasons and so many more. And the cast and crew knew it. They know their show isn't seen in the same vein as Strange New Worlds or even Lower Decks. They know their run wasn't embraced, really, at any point by the fandom at large. It became some people's favorite show, absolutely, but by and large, fans were left unimpressed.

Hence it's cancelation.

Due to all this, Jonathan Frakes, the Star Trek: The Next Generation star and long-time member of the franchise, tried to cheer up the cast and crew, reminding them that The Next Generation was once hated too. He told the cast and crew apparently that TNG was hated for "three seasons" and tried to show that Discovery may one day be seen in a better light.

Except, it won't. It's unfair to compare The Next Generation's struggles to that of Discovery's, as The Next Generation truly found it's rhythm in seasons two and three, and by the close of the franchise, the series was as popular as anything. It was one of the biggest toy movers of its era, it launched four blockbuster films and launched three spinoff series off of the back of its success alone.

Deep Space Nine wouldn't have happened without The Next Generation's commercial success, while Picard and Lower Decks were always planned, regardless of how well Discovery did.

Comparing the two series isn't a smart one at all, as it's clear that one series catered to a small aspect of the fandom, while The Next Generation was intended for every fan. Discovery didn't the needle the same way that the Next Generation did, and there are a thousand-odd reasons for that.

But for Frakes to try and spin that parallel between the franchises is hollow. Fans in the 1980s didn't like the new characters, at first, but it was still Gene Roddenberry's vision. It no longer is. Discovery is so far from what Roddenberry had in mind for a variety of reasons, and that's why fans hated it. The unnecessary changes to the series lore felt like the showrunners were telling fans "Your thing wasn't good enough, now it's better" and that's not the kind of message you want to tell people.

Because of that, and so many other reasons, Discovery will remain at the bottom of many lists when series get ranked, and the only defenders of the franchise will be those that need to defend it for one reason or another. Not necessarily because of its quality but more what it meant to those who liked it.

The Next Generation doesn't need those types of defenders, it's peak science fiction and that's its legacy.