One of Star Trek: The Next Generation's most memorable, heartwrenching and morality-challenging hours, "The Offspring" aired on March 12, 1990—or 26 years ago today. A season-three episode that was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by Jonathan Frakes, it followed Data as he created, bonded with, taught, advocated for, struggled to save and then mourned Lal, his android "daughter."
Some interesting facts and anecdotes about "The Offspring":
- Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Gene Roddenberry 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.
- 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" was Number One for Number One. That's to say that 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."
- Leonard Crofoot played the mannequin version of Lal. The actor-dancer-choreographer also played Trent in the TNG hour "Angel One" and a Qomar spectator in the Voyager episode "Virtuoso." Discussing "Lal" with StarTrek.com in an interview last year, Crofoot said, "Lal was a fantastic part because I got to play an entity that wasn't fully formed. I was the child of Data, so I needed to be a bit like him in my movement and yet also a child that is a separate being with its own life. And I had to do this mostly without dialogue. The story is profoundly tragic; the loss of a child is the worst loss. I have received wonderful mail from Next Generation enthusiasts and it tells me that the story is universal. I'm proud to be a part of it all. "
- Viewers saw an Andorian, albeit briefly and not looking much like any other, in this episode.
- "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.
- Veteran character actor Nicolas Coster played Admiral Anthony Haftel. The Brit, who is now 82, continues to work. He was recently seen on the TV series The Bay and has completed the upcoming film Chemical Cut, due out this summer.
- And if you need one more reason to remember "The Offspring," it is this: it gave us one particularly indelible image... the Picard double facepalm.