The nerd is strong with this one.
Make It So
In 1987, Star Trek re-launched the franchise with a whole new series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not only did TNG show us the next generation of characters in the Star Trek saga, it brought in the next generation of Star Trek fans who would grow up with the series. I was just a little kid sitting on the couch between my original-Trekker parents when the show premiered. I never imagined that, twenty-five years later, I would be in the room with the entire cast as they reminisced about their TNG experiences at Grand Slam XVIII. Here are some of the best moments from the reunion.
The above photos of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain William T. Riker (actually two still frames from an animated GIF, reproduced after the jump) have been making their way around Tumblr lately. Among TNG fans, the inexplicable emergence of Riker's beard in Season Two of the series actually marked a pivotal moment in its history: An Urban Dictionary entry with 125 upvotes and 3 downvotes defines a Riker's beard as "The opposite of jump the shark, i.e. when a TV show goes from unspectacular/boring/outlandish to completely awesome. It references Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was unspectacular until season 2, when Commander Riker grew a beard. The show kicked ass from then on." (Another UD entry defines Riker Syndrome as when a person "only looks good with a beard.") The full story behind the iconic beard, which basically stemmed from TNG star Jonathan Frakes deciding he didn't feel like shaving anymore: