Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. The Star Trek fictional universe created by Gene Roddenberry is the setting of six television series including the original 1966 Star Trek, in addition to ten feature films (with an eleventh in production), dozens of computer and video games, hundreds of novels and other fan stories, as well as a themed attraction in Las Vegas. The original TV series alone is one of the biggest cult phenomena of modern times.
In the Star Trek universe, humanity developed faster-than-light space travel, using a form of propulsion referred to as "warp drive", following nuclear war and a post-apocalyptic period in the mid-21st century. According to the story time line, this happened on April 4th, 2063. Later, humans united with other sentient species of the galaxy to form the United Federation of Planets. As a result of the intervention and scientific teachings of the Vulcans, an advanced alien race, humanity largely overcame many Earth-bound frailties and vices by the twenty-third century. Star Trek stories usually depict the adventures of human and alien beings who serve in the Federation's Starfleet.
The protagonists are essentially altruists whose ideals are sometimes only imperfectly applied to the dilemmas presented in the series. The conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek form allegories for contemporary cultural realities; Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s, just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective eras. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, human rights, sexism and feminism, and the role of technology. Gene Roddenberry has stated that by creating "a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network" 
- For a complete list of episodes, see List of Star Trek episodes
Star Trek originated as a television series in 1966, although it had been in the planning stages for at least six years prior to that. Although The Original Series was cancelled after its third season due to low ratings, it has served as the foundation for five additional Star Trek television series. Altogether, the six series comprise a total of 726 episodes and ten theatrical films (with an 11th in the works) across twenty-two different television seasons (twenty-nine, if one separately counts seasons running concurrently), making it the second most prolific science-fiction franchise in history after Doctor Who. See Lengths of science fiction film and television series for more on comparative series lengths.
Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
- Main article: Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek debuted in the United States on NBC on September 8, 1966. The show, starring William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, tells the tale of the crew of the starship Enterprise and that crew's five-year mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before." In its first two seasons it was nominated for Emmy Awards as Best Dramatic Series. After three seasons, however, the show was canceled and the last episode aired on June 3, 1969. The series subsequently became popular in reruns and a cult following developed, complete with fan conventions. Originally presented under the title Star Trek, it has in recent years become known as Star Trek: The Original Series or as "Classic Trek" — retronyms that distinguish it from its sequels and the franchise as a whole. All subsequent films and television series, except the animated series of the 1970s, have had secondary titles included as part of their official names. A re-release of the series began in September 2006 with CGI enhancements as a high-definition "Remastered" edition.. The remastered episodes currently air in syndication while the originals appear on TV Land, MyNetworkTV channel, G4 (TV channel), Sci Fi in Australia, The Sci-Fi Channel in the UK, in Poland on TV Puls and, additionally, on BBC2 in the UK, although these broadcasts are infrequent and irregular.
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–1974)
- Main article: Star Trek: The Animated Series
Star Trek: The Animated Series was produced by Filmation and ran for two seasons from 1973 to 1974. Most of the original cast performed the voices of their characters from The Original Series, and many of the original series' writers, such as D. C. Fontana, David Gerrold and Paul Schneider wrote for the series. While the animated format allowed larger and more exotic alien landscapes and lifeforms, animation and soundtrack quality, the liberal reuse of shots (pioneered by Jonnie 'Roy' White) and musical cues as well as occasional animation errors has detracted from the reputation of the series. Although originally sanctioned by Paramount (who became the owners of the Star Trek franchise following its acquisition of Desilu in 1967), Roddenberry forced Paramount to stop considering the series canon. Even so, elements of the animated series have been used by writers in later live-action series and movies (e.g. Kirk's middle name, Tiberius, first used in Bem was made official in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and elements of Spock's childhood from Yesteryear, referenced in the TNG episode Unification, Part 1) while the holodeck makes its first appearance in the TAS episode The Practical Joker. TAS won Star Trek's first Emmy Award on May 15 1975. The TAS series briefly returned to television in the mid-1980s on the children's cable network Nickelodeon and in the early 1990s on cable network Sci-Fi Channel. It was released to DVD in 2006.
Star Trek: Phase II
- Main article: Star Trek: Phase II
Star Trek: Phase II was set to air in 1978 as the flagship series of a proposed Paramount television network, and 12 episode scripts were written before production was due to begin. The series would have put most of the original crew back aboard the Enterprise for a second five-year mission, except for Leonard Nimoy as Spock, who did not agree to return due to a disagreement on how many episodes he should appear in. A younger, full-blooded Vulcan named Xon was planned as a replacement, although it was still hoped that Nimoy would make guest appearances. Sets were constructed and several minutes of test footage were filmed. However, the risks of launching a fourth network and the popularity of the then-recently released film Star Wars led Paramount to make a Star Trek film instead of a weekly television series. The first script of this aborted series formed the basis of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, while two others were eventually adapted as episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation during the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
- Main article: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation is set about 85 years after The Original Series. It features a new starship, the Enterprise-D, and a new crew led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart. It also features the first Klingon in Starfleet, Worf. The show premiered on September 28, 1987 and ran for seven seasons, ending on May 23, 1994. The Next Generation Unlike the previous television outings, the program was syndicated instead of airing on network television. It had the highest ratings of all the Star Trek series and was the #1 syndicated show during the last few years of its original run. It was nominated for an Emmy for Best Dramatic Series during its final season. It also received a Peabody Award for Outstanding Television Programming. The series currently airs on HRT in Croatia, AXN Sci-Fi in Bulgaria and Poland, TV6 in Sweden, Viasat 4 in Norway, SBS NET in Denmark, ETV in Estonia, Bravo in the UK, Sci Fi in Australia, Mexico, Argentina and in Brazil, SIC Radical in Portugal, SPACE in Canada, as well as G4 in the United States.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)
- Main article: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is set during the same time frame as The Next Generation and ran for seven seasons, debuting in 1993. Like Star Trek: The Next Generation, it aired in syndication in the United States and Canada. It is the only Star Trek series to take place primarily on a space station, rather than aboard a starship, set on board the Cardassian-built Bajoran spacestation Deep Space Nine, near a uniquely stable wormhole that provides immediate access to the distant Gamma Quadrant. The show chronicles the events of the station's crew, led by Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks. Recurring plots include the repercussions of the lengthy and brutal Cardassian Occupation of Bajor, Sisko's unique spiritual role for the Bajorans as the Emissary of the Prophets and a war with the Dominion. Deep Space Nine stands apart from other Trek series for its lengthy serialized storytelling, conflict within the crew, and religious themes — all of which were elements that Roddenberry had forbidden in earlier Trek programs. Nevertheless, he was made aware of plans to make DS9 before his death, so this was the last Star Trek series with which he was connected. The series currently airs on Virgin 1 in the UK and soon on TV4 Science Fiction in Sweden..
Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001)
- Main article: Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Voyager was produced for seven seasons from 1995 to 2001, launching a new Paramount owned television network UPN. It is the only Star Trek series to feature a woman as the commanding officer: Captain Kathryn Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew. Voyager takes place at about the same time as Deep Space Nine. The series' pilot shows the USS Voyager and its crew stranded in the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 light years from Earth. Faced with a 75-year voyage to Earth, the crew must avoid conflict and defeat challenges on its long and perilous journey home. Like Deep Space Nine, early seasons of Voyager feature greater conflict between its crew than is seen in later shows, as a large contingent of the crew is made of up of Maquis fugitives forced by circumstance to cooperate with Starfleet. Eventually, though, they settle their differences, after which it becomes more reminiscent of The Original Series. Voyager is originally isolated from many of the familiar aspects and races of the Star Trek franchise, barring those few represented on the crew. This allowed for the creation of new races and original plot lines within the series. Later seasons, however, brought an influx of characters and races from prior shows, such as the Borg, Q, the Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and even multiple instances where members of the Next Generation crew appear in the series. The series is currently airing on SPACE in Canada, Spike TV in the United States, Virgin 1 in the United Kingdom, Canal Jimmy and Sci-Fi in France.
Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005)
- Main article: Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Enterprise (originally titled as "Enterprise" prior to season 3), produced from 2001 to 2005, was a prequel to the other Star Trek series, beginning over one hundred years before the original Star Trek series. The series is set aboard Earth's first warp-five capable starship, the Enterprise commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Enterprise shows the origins of several elements that are common in the other series.
For the first two seasons, Enterprise was mostly episodic, like the original series and The Next Generation. The third season's big epic arc "Xindi mission" carried through the entire season. Fourth season's story arcs are often spread to two or three episodes. Ratings for Enterprise started strong, but declined rapidly. The show continued to lose ratings mainly during the third season, and Paramount canceled the show in early 2005. It currently airs on HDNet, Sky Two, Virgin 1 in the UK, the SciFi Channel in the US, Star World in INDIA, and SPACE.
Paramount Pictures has produced ten Star Trek feature films, with an eleventh film currently in production, set for release on May 8, 2009. The first six films continue the adventures of the The Original Series cast, the seventh was an amalgam of "The Original Series" and "Next Generation" casts, and the next three were exclusively Next Generation's cast. Although North American and UK releases of the films were no longer numbered following the sixth film, European releases continued numbering the films. The eleventh film is a prequel about the early lives of Kirk and Spock.
Some fans consider the even-numbered Star Trek films to be superior to the odd-numbered Star Trek films (the so-called "Star Trek movie curse"); the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth films are considered fan favorites, whereas the first, fifth, seventh, and ninth are often considered the weaker films.
Notable film appearances
- Main article: Cultural impact of Star Trek
The Star Trek franchise is a multi-billion dollar industry, currently owned by CBS. Gene Roddenberry sold Star Trek to NBC as a classic adventure drama; he pitched the show as "Wagon Train to the stars" and as Horatio Hornblower in space. Though set on a fictional starship, Roddenberry wanted to tell more sophisticated stories using futuristic situations as analogies to current problems on Earth and rectifying them through humanism and optimism. The opening line, "to boldly go where no man has gone before," was taken almost verbatim from a US White House booklet on space produced after the Sputnik flight in 1957. The central trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy was modeled on classical mythological storytelling. 
Roddenberry explicitly intended the show to have a political agenda, as can be heard in phrases like "Those who hate and fight must stop themselves, otherwise it is not stopped." (Spock in 'Armageddon'). Harking of human diversity and contemporaneous political circumstances, Roddenberry included a multi-ethnic crew. Star Trek showed mankind what it might develop into, if only it would learn from the lessons of the past, most specifically by ending violence. An extreme example are the Vulcans, who had a very violent past but learned to control their emotions.
Star Trek and its spin-offs have proved highly popular in television repeats and are currently shown on TV stations worldwide. The show’s cultural impact goes far beyond its longevity and profitability. Star Trek conventions have become popular, though now are often merged with conventions of other genres and series, and fans have coined the term "Trekkie" to describe themselves. Others, however, prefer the term "Trekkers". Fans of Deep Space Nine are better known as "Niners". An entire subculture has grown up around the show which was documented in the film Trekkies.
The Star Trek franchise is believed to have motivated the design of many current technologies, including the Tablet PC, the PDA, mobile phones and the MRI (based on Dr. McCoy's diagnostic table). It has also brought to popular attention the concept of teleportation with its depiction of "matter-energy transport." Phrases such as "Beam me up, Scotty" have entered the public vernacular. In 1976, following a letter-writing campaign, NASA named its prototype space shuttle Enterprise, after the fictional starship.
Riverside, Iowa has proclaimed itself the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, a character from the television show Star Trek played by William Shatner. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, asserts in his book The Making of Star Trek that the character of Kirk had been born in the state of Iowa. In March 1985, when the town was looking for a theme for its annual town festival, Steve Miller, a member of the Riverside City Council who had read Roddenberry's book, suggested to the council that Riverside should proclaim itself to be the future birthplace of Kirk. Miller's motion passed unanimously. The council later wrote to Roddenberry for his permission to be designated as the official birthplace of Kirk, and Roddenberry agreed.
The city of Garland, Texas is the first city known to have an official place name based on the TV series: "Star Trek Lane," located off of Apollo Road and east of North Jupiter Road.. The city of Birmingham, Alabama also boasts a "Star Trek Lane," and "Star Trek Circle," in the Sunrise East subdivision of its Roebuck neighborhood.
An unincorporated area near the Las Vegas Strip contains a residential street named "Roddenberry Avenue." While the "official" address lists the avenue as being located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the actual location is an unincorporated township called "Enterprise". There is no indication that the township's name has any connection with the Star Trek series, and it is unknown whether or not the street name is a deliberate tribute to the Star Trek creator.
Current status and future
After Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled in 2005, the Star Trek franchise found itself for the first time in over 25 years without a series or film in production or development. In April 2006, the official announcement of an eleventh feature film made it probable that the franchise has not yet ended. Filming was also completed in 2006 for an unofficial mini-series, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, which contains many cast members from the TV series and movies and is Directed by Tim Russ (Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager); it will be released free of charge on the internet in stages, starting on December 22, 2007. The enhanced version of The Menagerie was in limited theatrical release, with an introduction by Gene Roddenberry's son, Eugene Wesley, Jr.
In 2006, CBS Paramount Domestic Television began syndicating an enhanced version of the original 79 Star Trek episodes. State-of-the-art visual effects replaced those in the series (created in-house by CBS), the original theme music has been rerecorded, and the show was transferred from the original negatives in high definition. The show is currently syndicated in HD.
Also in 2006, it was announced that there was a pitch in the works for a new animated series that would, if produced, be released as several 6-minute episodes, available online (similar to The Animatrix and Star Wars: Clone Wars). The series is to be set 150 years after the Star Trek: The Next Generation time line, during an era of upheaval and strife in the Federation. The Romulans have used several "Omega Particle" explosions to render much of Federation space impassable by traditional Federation vessels. Many Federation worlds have been isolated and some races, including the Vulcans, have withdrawn from the Federation altogether. The series is, as yet, untitled and there has been no full confirmation.
Perpetual Entertainment was also developing a MMOG based on Star Trek called Star Trek Online, the licence has been sold to an unknown publisher. IDW Publishing have also bought the rights to the comic book. The original series' characters are also featured in two volumes of manga by publishers Tokyopop.
Star Trek also continues in many Star Trek fan productions.
Major reference works related to the production and influence of the franchise include:
- Whitfield, Stephen PE; Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. New York: Ballantine Books. OCLC 23859.
- Gerrold, David (1973). The Trouble with Tribbles. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0345234022.
- Gerrold, David  (1984). The World of Star Trek — Revised Edition, Bluejay Books, Ballantine Books. Template:ASIN.
- Lichtenberg, Jacqueline; Marshak, Sondra; Winston, Joan (1975). Star Trek Lives!. Toronto: Bantam Books. ISBN 0552099147.
- Winston, Joan (1977). The Making of the Trek Conventions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Books/Playboy Press. ISBN 0385131127.
- Turnbull, Gerry (1979). A Star Trek Catalog. Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 0441784771.
- Asherman, Allan (1981). The Star Trek Compendium. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671791451.
- Trimble, Bjo (1983). On the Good Ship Enterprise: My 15 Years with Star Trek. Donning Starblaze. ISBN 0898652537.
- Shatner, William; Kreski, Chris (1993). Star Trek Memories. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060177349.
- Shatner, William; Kreski, Chris (1994). Star Trek Movie Memories. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060176172.
- Nichols, Nichelle (1994). Beyond Uhura. Putnam. ISBN 0679435093.
- Krauss, Lawrence M (1995). The Physics of Star Trek. Basic Books. ISBN 0465005594.
- Ellison, Harlan (1996). City on the Edge of Forever. Borderlands Press. ISBN 1880325020.
- Edited By (1996). in Harrison, Taylor; Projansky, Sarah; Ono, Kent A.; Helford, Elyce Rae: Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek. Boulder: Westview Press. ISBN 0813328993.
- Solow, Herbert F.; Justman, Robert H. (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671896288.
- Greenwald, Jeff (1998). Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth. Viking Press. ISBN 0670873993.
- Shatner, William; Kreski, Chris (1999). Get a Life!. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671021311.
- Barad, Ph. D., Judith; Robertson, Ed (2000). The Ethics of Star Trek. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060195304.
- Shatner, William; Walter, Chip (2002). I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 067104737X.
- Sackett, Susan (2002). Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry. Hawk Publishing Group. ISBN 1930709420.
- Lake, M.N. (2005). Picard: The Academy Years. Dragon Publishing.
Notes and references
- ↑ E.g. Hillel Italie (AP National Writer), Potter Reaches Cult Phenomenon Status, ABC News, 30 June 2007, in which Star Trek's status as a cult phenomenon is repeatedly taken as read.
- ↑ Star Trek: A Phenomenon and Social Statement on the 1960s URL accessed April 7, 2007
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Johnson-Smith, Jan (2005). American Science Fiction TV: Star Trek, Stargate and Beyond. I B Tauris & Co Ltd, p57,pp79-85. ISBN 1860648827.
- ↑ Whitfield, Stephen E.; Roddenberry, Gene (1970). The Making of Star Trek. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345216210.
- ↑ Robert Wilonsky. "The trouble with "Trek"", salon.com, Oct 1999. Retrieved on 2007-02-07.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 'Star Trek' turns 40 (2006-08-18). Retrieved on 2007-12-20.
- ↑ Star Trek TV show URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ Paul Davidson. "Original Star Trek Getting Upgrade?", IGN, Aug 2006. Retrieved on 2007-02-07.
- ↑ Andy Dursin review of DVD release at The Aisle Seat
- ↑ Awards for "Star Trek" (1973) by imdb
- ↑ The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series
- ↑ Star Trek Animated — The Series that ran from 1973–1974 URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Star Trek Phase II, Planned but never executed Star Trek Series URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ Trivia for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ Judith and Garfield Reeves-Steven, Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p.235 ISBN 0-671-56839-6
- ↑ Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Show URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ The Next Generation series is arguably the best of the other series and became a springboard for subsequent additions to the Star Trek franchise. Many of the relationships and races introduced in TNG became the basis of episodes in DS9 and Voyager. Star Trek — A Short History URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ BBC Online — Star Trek: The Next Generation URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ SPACECAST / SHOWS URL accessed January 21, 2007
- ↑ G4 — Shows URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ Star Trek: Deep Space Nine TV Show URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM: Emissary. URL accessed August 21, 2006
- ↑ Review of "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". Retrieved on 2006-10-29.
- ↑ Trivia for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. IMDB. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
- ↑ As well as the only series to feature a Native American officer.RevolutionSF — Star Trek: Voyager : Review URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Star Trek: Voyager TV series reviews URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM : Episode (Scorpion) URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM : Episode (Q2) URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Star Trek: Enterprise Summary URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM : Article URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM : Article URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ STARTREK.COM : Article URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Social History :Star Trek as a Cultural Phenomenon URL accesses August 24, 2006
- ↑ Introduction to Outer Space (1958) URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ TREK NATION RTF URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Trekkies (1997) URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ 40 years since the Enterprise's inception, some of its science fiction gadgets are part of everyday life URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Articles: Beam me up, Scotty! URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise (OV-101) URL accessed August 24, 2006
- ↑ Yahoo Maps. Retrieved on 2007-02-27.
- ↑ Google Maps: Roddenberry Ave.
- ↑ Star Trek: Of Gods and Men
- ↑ Remastering Star Trek: TOS FX, Music Enhanced. StarTrek.com (2006-08-31). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
- ↑ CBS Considering New Animated Trek Series For The Web. TrekMovie.com (2006-12-13). Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
- ↑ Star Trek: CBS Considers a New Animated Series. TVSeriesFinale.com.com (2007-01-03). Retrieved on 2007-10-23.
- ↑ CBS Forms Blu-ray/HD DVD/DVD TV Unit; Classic 'Star Trek' to Lead Title Brigade.
- ↑ IDW Boldly Goes.... IGN.
- StarTrek.com—The Official Star Trek website
- StarTrekLinks.net—Official Star Trek actor links website
- Memory Alpha—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information only from canon sources licensed by Paramount.
- Memory Beta—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information from both canon and non-canon sources licensed by Paramount.
- CBS Video—Free full-length Star Trek: The Original Series episodes provided by CBS