One of the biggest science fiction franchises around is Star Trek, which has been around since 1966. Impressively, the series still has a large cult following and episodes still regularly air both on traditional cable television and on streaming services. At the centre of the story is the USS Enterprise, a starship which is on a five-year mission ‘to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before’. The original series was inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift, not to mention westerns such as Wagon Train.
There have been a number of spin-offs and further series since the original series aired several decades ago. For example, there is Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Further down the line, series such as Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, have been created, and these are available exclusively on online platforms. There are also films which have been made, and further TV series set to come out include Star Trek: Lower Decks for CBS All Access and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
There are a number of different premises for Star Trek, depending on which series is being focused on. For example, the original series simply focuses on the crew of the starship USS Enterprise as they embark on a five-year mission to explore the universe. The Next Generation saw a number of races and relationships become the springboard for inspiration in Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Deep Space Nine was set on a space station as opposed to a starship, and takes place after the Cardassians brutally took over the planet Bajor. With Voyager, the series run begins at the same time as Deep Space Nine and goes on after this timeline. There is much conflict seen due to the Starfleet crew and the Maquis fugitives being forced to work with them.
Cast and characters
The Original Series:
- William Shatner – James T Kirk
- Leonard Nimoy – Spock
- DeForest Kelley – Leonard McCoy
- James Doohan – Scotty
- Nichelle Nichols – Uhura
- George Takei – Hikaru Sulu
- Walter Koenig – Pavel Chekov
- Majel Barrett – Christine Chapel
The Next Generation:
- Patrick Stewart – Jean-Luc Picard
- Jonathan Frakes – William Riker
- LeVar Burton – Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby – Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn – Worf
- Gates McFadden – Beverly Crusher
- Diana Muldaur – Katherine Pulaski
- Marina Sirtis – Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner – Data
- Wil Wheaton – Wesley Crusher
- Kate Mulgrew – Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran – Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson – B’Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien – Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill – Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips – Neelix
- Robert Picardo – The Doctor
- Tim Russ – Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan – Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang – Harry Kim
The concept for Star Trek started way back in 1964, when Gene Roddenberry came up with a science fiction premise which was a Western taking place in outer space. The show makes use of morality, as most stories seen in the episodes involve humans and aliens serving in Starfleet – a humanitarian and peacekeeping mission set up by the United Federation of Planets. The beings who serve in Starfleet have altruistic elements on their moral compasses, and they take on scenarios where they feel their morality must be acknowledged. Interestingly, the original series took on issues which were contemporary to the 60s, and issues from later decades have been seen playing out according to the decade in which the series in question was being produced.
Episodes and reception
There are over 700 episodes of Star Trek across all of its series, and there are also 12 movies. Each of the series is generally highly rated, and many people have grown up with the show. It has been seen as a cult phenomenon for a number of decades now, with a number of museum exhibits travelling the world and a history of an attraction in Vegas. Furthermore, it has managed to generate a staggering $10 billion in revenue.
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