Star Trek

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In its broadest sense, Star Trek is a collection of science fiction video entertainments, owned by Paramount and CBS, as well as various spin-offs. Many of these types of collections are often known as franchises.

The main parts of the Star Trek franchise are:

  • Six television series (first shown from 1966 to 2005) and
  • Twelve movies (shown in theaters from 1980 to 2013).

Other parts of the franchise are: books (both fiction and non-fiction), magazines, comics, action figures, model toys and computer video games.

Star Trek was created as a TV series in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry. He and the other authors of Star Trek have, over time, developed a whole fictional universe set in the future. Following this fictional universe is the way they have chosen to maintain continuity between the various TV series and the movies.

Trekkies or Trekkers may refer to the many fans who love the series and support this Star Trek Universe. Many conventions and newsletters exist to serve these fans. There are even amateur movies made by the fans.[1][2][3]

Creation[change | edit source]

In the 1960s, Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek. He sold it as a western (a television genre about cowboys), but in space, and compared it to the television show Wagon Train.[4] He also based it on Gulliver's Travels. After two pilots (test episodes), Star Trek was first shown on television in 1966.

History of Star Trek[change | edit source]

In 2053, World War III ended on Earth. In 2063 Zefram Cochrane, invented the warp drive, a way to travel faster than the speed of light. Because of this invention, Vulcans came to Earth to meet the humans. This is shown in Star Trek: First Contact. The Vulcans helped humans fight disease and hunger. In 2150 humans created a United Earth Government that combined all the old governments into one.

A war between Earth and the Romulans made species from different planets work together, and the Coalition of Planets was started in 2156. In 2161, the planets Vulcan, Earth, Andoria and Tellar started the United Federation of Planets.

Television series[change | edit source]

The Original Series (1966–1969)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: The Original Series is sometimes called TOS as an abbreviation (a shorter way of saying something). In it, the starship Enterprise travels through space to discover new places - "to boldly go where no man has gone before". The show was set in the 23rd century.

The main characters are:

It was shown on television for three years, and was cancelled in 1969.

The Animated Series (1973–1974)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: The Animated Series is also called TAS. It is an animated version of The Original Series. The crew are the same, and most are voice-acted by the same actors. Because it was animated, the planets and species could look more interesting.

Gene Roddenberry asked for the stories in TAS to be removed from Star Trek's canon (the official history of Star Trek that is the same in all series). It is still argued about if they are part of canon or not, but usually agreed that they are not. The official Star Trek website has added some things from TAS to their library.[5]

The Next Generation (1987–1994)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: The Next Generation is also called TNG. It is set 70 years after The Original Series, in the 24th century. The crew travel on a new starship called the "Enterprise-D". The stories are also about exploring, and often about fighting hostile (violent or angry) ships. The crew has many different races.

The main characters are:

It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1987 to 1994.

Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also sometimes called DS9. It is set in the late 24th century, at the end of The Next Generation's time line and the start of Voyager's. It is not like TOS and TNG because it is set on a space station and is not about exploring. This means it has more soap opera elements (lots of stories about the characters). Most of the stories are about the Cardassian race and the war with the Dominion.

The main characters are:

It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1993 to 1999.

Voyager (1995–2001)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: Voyager is set in the late 24th century. It is different from the other series because it takes place in the Delta Quadrant. The ship Voyager was trapped there after a chase by the Maquis (Starfleet rebels). The stories are about them trying to find their way home. This is a long journey, and will take them 75 years.

The main characters are:

It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1995 to 2001. It was made to help start a new television channel, UPN.

Enterprise (2001–2005)[change | edit source]

Star Trek: Enterprise is the newest Star Trek series. It is set in the 22nd century, which means it is before all the other series on the Star Trek timeline. It is about the humans and the Vulcans working together after first contact. The ship, Enterprise, was the first Warp 5 ship made by the humans (with some vulcan assistance). The first season famously had many continuity errors (events and technology that did not match what happens in the other series).[6]

The main characters are:

It was shown on television for four seasons, from 2001 to 2005.

Movies[change | edit source]

No. Title Year Crew Director
I The Motion Picture 1979 The Original Series Robert Wise
II The Wrath of Khan 1982 The Original Series Nicholas Meyer
III The Search for Spock 1984 The Original Series Leonard Nimoy
IV The Voyage Home 1986 The Original Series Leonard Nimoy
V The Final Frontier 1989 The Original Series William Shatner
VI The Undiscovered Country 1991 The Original Series Nicholas Meyer
VII Generations 1994 The Next Generation David Carson
VIII First Contact 1996 The Next Generation Jonathan Frakes
IX Insurrection 1998 The Next Generation Jonathan Frakes
X Nemesis 2002 The Next Generation Stuart Baird
XI Star Trek 2009 The Original Series J.J. Abrams
XII Star Trek Into Darkness 2013 The Original Series J.J. Abrams

Culture[change | edit source]

The Star Trek franchise is a multi-billion dollar industry (a very large business). It has influenced (affected) many things in real life.

Trekkies[change | edit source]

Star Trek has a large following of fans who are very enthusiastic (care a great deal) about the show. They are usually called Trekkies. The word was first used by Arthur W. Saha when he saw people wearing fake Vulcan ears at a convention (an event where lots of people interested in the same thing organise to meet) in 1967.[7] Some fans like to be known as Trekkers instead.

Two documentaries (factual television shows) have been made about them, called Trekkies and Trekkies 2.

Enterprise[change | edit source]

In 1976, NASA made a prototype (test) space shuttle. It was first going to be called Constitution, but Star Trek fans wrote letters to NASA asking for it to be called Enterprise instead. Enterprise was used for flight tests, although it was never sent into space. It is now displayed (put on show) at the Smithsonian Institution.[8]

Parodies and tributes[change | edit source]

The movie Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek parody, which means it was made to be like Star Trek in a funny way.

There have been parodies on television in the cartoons Futurama, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

The video games company Blizzard Entertainment puts references to Star Trek in many of its games, like Starcraft and World of Warcraft.

Fans of the show made a new episode, Pilgrim of Eternity, in 2013. The crew were also professional film and TV people.

Themes[change | edit source]

Star Trek episodes often tell a moral story. philosophical and moral questions are common. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tuvix", a transporter accident puts two characters, Tuvok and Neelix, into one body. This makes a new person, Tuvix, who has his own personality. The crew of the Voyager must decide what to do: they can kill Tuvix by separating him back into Tuvok and Neelix, or they can kill Tuvok and Neelix by letting Tuvix live. In the end, Captain Janeway decides to save Tuvok and Neelix, although the Doctor thinks this is wrong.

Star Trek episodes also often reflect (copy) what is happening in the real world. One example is the episode "A Private Little War" in Star Trek: The Original Series. This is said to be like the Vietnam War.[9] In the episode, the Klingons threaten innocent people. Captain Kirk has to decide whether to give the people guns so that they can defend themselves. The episode asks whether you can fight evil without doing evil yourself.

One focus of all the Star Trek franchises is a Federation law called "The Prime Directive." The Prime Directive states that advanced civilizations should not change more primitive ones; societies should be allowed to develop on their own. The Prime Directive often makes for a moral conflict—for example, the Prime Directive might forbid using advanced technology to save an intelligent race.

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. Suellentrop, Chris (12 2005). "To Boldly Go Where No Fan Has Gone Before". wired.com. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.12/startrek.html. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  2. Kimmel, Daniel M. (2005-07-31). "Enterprising fans captain 'Trek' spinoffs". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117926755?categoryid=1019&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  3. Hakim, Danny (2006-06-18). "'Star Trek' Fans, Deprived of a Show, Recreate the Franchise on Digital Video". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/arts/television/18trek.html. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  4. Star Trek first draft - created by Gene Roddenberry. URL accessed March 08, 2009
  5. The Animated Series Gets Real - URL accessed 10th March, 2009.
  6. Ex Astris Scientia URL accessed 11 March, 2009
  7. Star Trek Classic on Science Fiction Buzz - URL accessed 14 March, 2009
  8. Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise (OV-101) - URL accessed 11 March, 2009
  9. BBC Interview with Robert H. Justman - URL accessed 11 March, 2009

Other websites[change | edit source]

  • StarTrek.com—The Official Star Trek website
  • Memory Alpha—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information only from canon (official history)
  • Memory Beta—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information from both canon and non-canon sources