"Star Trek: The Next Generation," debuts (1987)
The Next Generation was a gamble for Paramount. The first few seasons got off to a rocky start. But once the series got over some initial behind-the-scenes chaos, it blossomed into one of the most popular sci-fi TV shows of all time. When Stephen Hawking was visiting the Paramount lot during the video release of the film A Brief History of Time when he requested a tour of the Next Generation set. Once writers found out he was a big Trekkie, Hawking himself was written into the sixth season finale episode “Descent – Part I”.