25 Years Later: "The Offspring"

25 Years Later: "The Offspring"

"The Offspring," one of Star Trek: The Next Generation's most memorable, heartwrenching and morality-challenging episodes, aired on March 12, 1990—or 25 years ago tomorrow. The third-season hour, written by Rene Echevarria and directed by Jonathan Frakes, follows Data as he creates, bonds with, teaches, advocates for, struggles to save and then mourns Lal, his android "daughter."

Some interesting facts and anecdotes about "The Offspring":

  • Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman and Michael Piller all had a hand in shaping "The Offspring," which Rene Echevarria brought to TNG as a spec script. He later became a valuable member of the Trek writing-producing team. Echevarria went on to work on Deep Space Nine, as well as such shows as Dark Angel, The 4400, Medium, Castle, Terra Nova and Teen Wolf.
  • "The Offspring" was Number One for Number One, if you will. In other words, Jonathan Frakes made his directorial debut with "The Offspring."
  • "The Offspring" features one of Star Trek's most touching exchanges of dialogue:
    • "I feel," Lal says.
      "What do you feel, Lal?" Data asks.
      "I love you, father," she replies.
      "I wish I could feel it with you," Data says, helplessly.
      "I will feel it for both of us...," Lal offers, warmly. "Thank you for my life."
  • Veteran character actor Nicolas Coster played Admiral Anthony Haftel. The Brit, who is now 81, continues to work. He was recently seen on the TV series The Bay and has three films in the can, including A Winter Rose, which also features Trek guests Andy Dick and Paul Sorvino.
  • "The Offspring" aired the week after one of TNG's finest hours, "Yesterday's Enterprise," and the week before the powerful "Sins of the Father," a remarkable one-two-three punch that set the bar high for all Trek series that followed.
  • Viewers saw an Andorian, albeit briefly and not looking much like any other, in this episode.
  • Hallie Todd, who played Lal, was the stepdaughter of Guy Raymond, who guest starred as the K-7 bartender in the TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Todd went on to a long run as Jo McGuire, Lizzie McGuire's mom, in the popular Lizzie McGuire series and film starring Hilary Duff. These days, Todd continues to act, while also producing films, teaching acting classes and attending the occasional Star Trek convention.
  • "The Offspring"... forever the home of the Picard double facepalm.
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