Star Trek has an ongoing motif of the Mirror Universe:

The "mirror universe" is an informal name for a parallel universe first recorded as visited by James T. Kirk and several officers from the USS Enterprise in 2267. This parallel universe coexists with the prime universe on another dimensional plane. The mirror universe was so named because many people and places seemed to be opposites of their characteristics in the prime universe, with numerous good aspects now evil and vice versa, thus "mirror"-like.

We See this in Star Trek TOS: The Alternative Factor, Mirror Mirror and The Tholian Web.

We see this in Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Crossover, Through The Looking Glass, Shattered Mirror, Resurrection, and The Emperors New Cloak.

We See this in Star Trek Enterprise: In a Mirror Darkly, and In a Mirror Darkly Part II.

My question is: Why didn't Star Trek TNG explore the mirror universe?

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    It did in a book: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Mirror_(Star_Trek_novel), though that doesn't really answer your question – Nolimon Nov 28 '17 at 22:44
  • As well, see memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/… – jim Nov 28 '17 at 22:47
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    Voyager also did not explore the mirror universe. Which I think was a lost opportunity for the writing team to have fun with the crew, as they did in "Living Witness". – Xantec Nov 28 '17 at 22:48
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    Some of the mirror universe episodes were super-cheesy. I think that was probably part of the reason some of the series dodged it. – Mark Rogers Nov 28 '17 at 22:55
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    Riker had a goatee and they couldn't figure out another way to make him look evil. – Josh King Nov 28 '17 at 23:02

This was addressed in an interview with showrunner Brannon Braga. In short, they recognised that the mirror universe episode in TOS was a fan favourite and didn't want to make something that compared unfavourably.

However, there was a specific line they never crossed. In response to a question on why they never did a Next Generation mirror universe episode, Braga responded:

"We were a little frightened at doing it, and doing it badly, and maybe never really figured out what the Next Generation take would have been on it."

STLV17: Brannon Braga On How Kirk Should Have Died, ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ Regrets And More

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    It's a good point really, a Mirror Universe TNG would be at best a fun retread: an evil crew working for an evil Federation. At least with DS9 their ongoing storyline gave them a cool way to change it up because the idea of the Terran empire getting defeated dovetailed perfectly with their repeated themes of rebellion/oppression with the Bajorans/Cardassians/Maquis, just changing up the sides. – starpilotsix Nov 28 '17 at 22:52
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    Given that (in my opinion, although I know I'm not alone in feeling this way), the DS9 mirror universe stuff was terrible, it seemed that the TNG writers' fears were justified. – Buzz Nov 28 '17 at 23:30
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    @Buzz agreed, however I always felt it was just a way for the cast to have some fun and play characters that were in a different situation from their usual roles, a bit like the episode where Sisko is a Sci-Fi writer in 1950s Earth... Something we shouldn't read too much in from a main story point of view. – colmde Nov 29 '17 at 9:24
  • There's also the fact that, in its first couple of seasons, TNG reused a lot of plot concepts and unused scripts from TOS. "The Naked Now" is a well-known and oft-panned example, and there were others. Once the show found its feet, they were probably worried about how fans would see them going back to the TOS well again. – Cadence May 10 '18 at 22:27

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