When I was very little - I'm talking two or three here, - my family had very little money.
My dad was posted overseas and would often be in the field for days at a time, leaving me and my mom basically alone in a foreign country.
Sometimes Mom would read to me from anything she could get her hands on - books far above a child's reading level, let alone understanding, - but other times we'd watch taped episodes of TNG her parents had sent from the States. The same episodes, over and over again.
I think I imprinted on those classic, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek ideas: Humanisim. Optimisim. Muliculturalism. Multi-species-sim. The power of science. The Federation. The belief that, somehow, humanity might manage not to destroy itself.
Such was it's influence on my early life that, when I started school and time came to learn "The Pledge of Alliegence," when the teacher asked if any of us already knew it, I stood up and recited Kirk/Picard's "These are the Voyages..." speech instead.
Don't get me wrong. I love dark!science fiction, perhaps more so at times than the bright optisim of Roddenberry's STs, but none of them have influenced me, as a person and writer, as much as TNG. And, sometimes, I just wish that other people would remember these things - that humanity is not neccessarily evil, that we will not neccessarily destroy ourselves, and that apocalyptic futures are not the only ones that might come to pass.