Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the franchise to a whole new fanbase, and in doing so, introduced a whole new legion of actors and actresses to the fanbase as well. A whole new list of incredible actors got introduced to television viewers in the late 1980s, with maybe the most well-known being LeVar Burton, who was a long-time host of Reading Rainbow before The Next Generation came along.
The biggest name that came from the show, however, was easily Patrick Stewart, who would go on to star in Star Trek properties for nearly 20 years, and later as Professor Charles Xavier in the Fox-owned X-Men film franchise.
He's since gone on to feature in American Dad and all sorts of other roles. His legacy and reputation precede him and people often cite how kind he is, but that hasn't always been the case. Speaking in his autobiography; Making It So: A Memoir (via Express.co.UK), Stewart recounted how much of a "bastard" he could be, saying;g
"I could be a severe b*****d. My experiences at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre had been intense and serious. On the TNG set, I grew angry with the conduct of my peers, and that's when I called that meeting in which I lectured the cast for goofing off and responded to Denise Crosby's, 'We've got to have some fun sometimes, Patrick' comment by saying, 'We are not here, Denise, to have fun.
In retrospect, everyone, me included, finds this story hilarious. But in the moment, when the cast erupted in hysterics at my pompous declaration, I didn't handle it well."
It seems pretty spot on, as that's how he played his character Jean-Luc Picard in the very early seasons. He's far tighter and rigid, less emotional, but as the series goes on, Picard becomes far more entuned with his emotions, almost as if art imitated life.