In the 30 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation ended, many of its writers and producers have claimed they had to work under a firm “No Conflict Rule” handed down by the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, Gene Roddenberry.
It is touted as part of Roddenberry’s vision of a perfect humanity that doesn’t quarrel among themselves. This translated into no disagreements between the main cast and an edict that all drama had to come from outside the ship.
However, the 1987 Next Generation Writer’s Guide openly demanded interpersonal disagreement between the crew based on "human faults and weaknesses". What was specifically barred was "melodrama". TNG wasn’t supposed to devolve into a soap opera of love triangles, gossip, and childish grudges.
How that morphed into “no disagreement at all” is a mystery, but the rule seemed to get more rigid and binding as Roddenberry’s influence on the franchise waned, not less. Picard became fatherly, Riker lost all his ambition, Troi turned into a sad chocolate monster, Data became lovable, and everyone fell into a pit of aw-shucks affability.
If we take a close look at TNG’s first two seasons and especially its pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, we can find a lot of interpersonal clashes Roddenberry baked right into the DNA of show. It’s time to finally put the “No Conflict” myth to rest.