Season 4 was the final season
Star Trek collectively refers to six science fiction television series spanning 726 episodes, ten motion pictures, and hundreds of novels, video games, and other works of fiction all set within the same fictional universe created by Gene Roddenberry in the early- to mid-1960s. It depicts an optimistic future in which humankind has overcome sickness, racism, poverty, intolerance, and warfare on Earth; the central characters explore the galaxy, finding new worlds and meeting new civilizations, while helping to spread peace and understanding. Star Trek is one of the most popular names in the history of science fiction entertainment, and one of the most popular franchises in television history.
Star Trek originated as a television series in 1966. There have been five live action Star Trek series and an animated series, altogether comprising (as of May 2005) a total of 725 individual aired episodes (not including the original unaired pilot) and thirty seasons worth of television.
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701
Star Trek debuted on NBC on
The first episode aired, "The Man Trap," was actually the fifth produced. Originally, Roddenberry created a pilot entitled "The Cage" with a very different cast, led by veteran actor Jeffrey Hunter, which was rejected by the three major television networks of the time. However, the NBC network liked the pilot enough to commission an unprecedented second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which featured an almost entirely new cast led by Shatner. Only the character of Spock remained, at Roddenberry's insistence. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was the third episode aired, while "The Cage" was reworked into a two-part episode, "The Menagerie."
The last original episode aired on
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701 in animated form
The series was aired under the name Star Trek, but it has become widely known as Star Trek: The Animated Series (or abbreviated as ST:TAS or TAS). It was produced by Filmation and ran for two seasons with a total of twenty-two half-hour episodes. It featured most of the original cast performing the voices for their characters. While the freedom of animation afforded large alien landscapes and exotic lifeforms, budget constraints were a major concern and animation quality was poor. A few episodes are especially notable due to contributions from well-known science fiction authors. The series is not considered to be canon, which has caused controversy among some fans. However, the episode "Yesteryear" is considered a partial exception concerning the events depicted in Spock's youth. In addition, elements of the animated series have worked their way into canon, such as Kirk's middle name, "Tiberius," first revealed in TAS and made official in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Star Trek: Enterprise has also incorporated several TAS concepts into canon.
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. This series would have put most of the
original crew back aboard the Enterprise for a second five-year
mission, save for Spock as Leonard Nimoy did not
agree to return; a 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, partly due to the
popularity of the recently-released Star Wars,
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known, colloquially, as The Next
Generation, ST:TNG or TNG) is set
nearly a century later and features a new starship (also named
Star Trek: The Next Generation was the highest rated of all the Star Trek series, and was the number one syndicated show during the last few years of its original run. Many fans, both casual and "hard-core" often treat The Next Generation as a kind of Golden Age of Star Trek, primarily because of its broad acceptance and viewer base.
Space station Deep Space Nine (DS9)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9 or DS9) ran for seven seasons and was the first Trek series to be established without any direct input from Gene Roddenberry. It introduced Avery Brooks as Commander (and later in the series, Captain) Benjamin Sisko, the first African-American in the commanding role of a Star Trek series. It chronicles the events surrounding the space station Deep Space Nine. In the first episode, the crew discovers the presence of a nearby stable wormhole which provides immediate travel to and from the distant Gamma Quadrant. This immediately makes the station an important tactical asset, as well as a vital center of commerce with the largely-unexplored area of space. Deep Space Nine sheds some of the utopian themes that embodied the previous versions of Star Trek, and focuses more on war, religion, political compromise, and other modern issues. Although its ratings were never as high as The Next Generation, DS9 remains the most critically acclaimed of the Trek spin-offs.
USS Voyager NCC-74656
Star Trek: Voyager (also known as ST:VOY, ST:VGR or VOY) was produced for seven seasons, and is the only Star Trek series to have had a female captain as a lead character. The series follows the adventures of the USS Voyager and her crew, joined by Maquis resistance fighters, who have all become stranded in the Delta Quadrant, seventy-five thousand light-years from Earth. Unless they can find a shortcut, it will take them seventy-five years to return to known space. Although Voyager's ratings were initially solid, they fell dramatically as the show progressed. It was during this show's run that criticism towards producer Rick Berman began to gain steam, coinciding with the growth in popularity of online discussion forums that amplified the message of a vocal group of fans who felt Berman was no longer welcome as the franchise leader. Under threat of cancellation the character Seven of Nine was added and the series continued for several more seasons.
A total of ten Star Trek movies have to date been produced by Paramount Pictures.
A common urban myth among fans is that the even-numbered Star Trek films are superior to the odd-numbered Star Trek films. This rule of thumb is most easily applicable to the first few films: Star Trek II and IV are usually at or near the top of the fan favorites, while I and V are usually at the bottom (though I has since received quite a bit of positive re-evaluation in the wake of an acclaimed "Director's Edition" revision released on DVD). This is not wholly applicable, however; III followed on from the success of II which continued into IV, and VII (Star Trek: Generations) is regarded as a firm fan favorite. Another exception is X (Star Trek: Nemesis), which is the most critically derided of all the Star Trek feature films, many critics accusing it of attempting to imitate the plot (and success) of Star Trek II. Despite fetching the lowest revenue at the box office in Star Trek history, it sold well on its DVD release in 2003.
As of March 2005, work has begun on a script as a possible basis for an as-yet untitled Star Trek XI. Although American releases of the films were no longer numbered following the sixth film, European releases continued numbering the films.
Predictions of the demise of Star Trek
are nothing new. As early as 1993-1994, when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
failed to generate the high ratings of its predecessor, magazines such as Entertainment
Weekly predicted the end of the franchise. The near-cancellation of Star
Trek: Voyager in the mid-1990s led to more such predictions.
However, due to the cancellation of
Many Trek fans want Berman and the other
executive producer Brannon Braga to be replaced. Babylon
5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, former Star
Trek writer Ronald D. Moore, and current
Reruns of The Next Generation and Deep
Space Nine are aired regularly on Spike TV in the
Cast members and fans have suggested that even if there are no further Star Trek series or movies, the franchise may continue in television movies, mini-series, specials, and other forms of media.
There is some desire among fans to bring back the character of Captain Kirk, as played by William Shatner, to give him a more dignified end than that shown in Star Trek: Generations.
George Takei and fans have made frequent attempts to convince the studio to create a series based on Captain Sulu's voyages on the Excelsior, but, despite support from fans, it has enjoyed little success. Sulu and the Excelsior originally appeared in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as well as in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager ("Flashback") but this did not lead to a new series. Sulu later appeared in the video game Star Trek: Shattered Universe set in the Mirror, Mirror alternate universe.
Next Generation stars Marina Sirtis,
Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes have suggested
that no more TNG films will be produced; Brent Spiner is also no
longer interested in reprising the character of Data. However, Spiner
portrayed Arik Soong, an
ancestor of the creator of his character Data, in
In November 2004,
There is some consensus among Star Trek fans that the fourth and final season of Enterprise was far superior and more "Trek-like" to the previous three seasons, and that continuation of the program under the new writing style would have stood a chance of acquiring better ratings during a fifth season.
A campaign by
One campaign, Trek United, attempted to
raise funds to finance a fifth season, raising pledges and cash donations of
more than $3.1 million (U.S.) but its proposal which would have seen a fifth
season jointly produced by Paramount along with Canadian and British
production houses, was rejected by the studio. It has been reported that the
decision to cancel
Rick Berman revealed in 2003 that
preliminary work had begun on an eleventh Star Trek feature film.
Rumors circulated that this film would be a prequel, perhaps titled
In late 2004,
In late February 2005, Berman told Variety
that pre-production of an eleventh Star Trek film was underway and
that screenwriter Erik Jendresen, producer Jordan Kerner, and former Paramount Television president Kerry McCluggage were attached to the project. Berman said the
film would focus on new characters, rather than any from previous series, and
would take place in a time period before the original Star Trek (as
In a May 2005 interview for the
In 1998, Viacom entered into an agreement with Activision to produce Star Trek video games. Many games were released under this agreement, but in 2003, Activision filed a lawsuit against Viacom stating that they were not holding up to their end of the bargain because the Star Trek franchise was not as valuable as it once was. Activision cancelled the contract and sought compensation for losses. In March 2005, an agreement was reached and all lawsuits were dropped, but the other terms have been deemed confidential.
In 2004, Perpetual Entertainment announced plans for an MMORPG based in the Star Trek universe. This will be the first game of this type to be based on Star Trek. Currently, the game is tentatively titled Star Trek Online and is expected to be set roughly ten years after the events of Nemesis.
Pocket Books, current publishers of officially licensed fiction based upon all the series (as well as numerous original Trek series of its own), plans to continue publishing original novels for the foreseeable future.
However, soon after
Despite this, however, the company
maintains that it has ambitious plans for the line, including (in May 2005)
the confirmation that an
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