Television series in America have become quite popular over the past decades. With many famous television programs and shows being aired, these have gained global popularity. Since TV programs and series were much cheaper to produce as compared to movies, many of them were produced in the 60s and 70s.
One of the most famous shows of all time in the American television history is Star Trek. It was a science fiction television series based on the exploration of space. Star Trek series is considered as the most successful television series of all times by many critics due to the franchise being big, having many successful television programs, exhibits, movies, shows, comics, novels, and popular games as well.
Overview of Star Trek Series
As mentioned above, there have been many popular programs and movies for the Star Trek franchise. However, the most popular response by the audience has been on the television series.
The television series have been categorized into 5 different series. The first one was Star Trek : The Original Series which was aired between 1966 and 1969. The second one was Star Trek : The Next Generation which was aired between 1987 and 1994. The third series was Star Trek : Deep Space Nine which continued between 1993 and 1999. The fourth series was launched in 1995 just during the time when Deep Space Nine was also being aired and ended in the year 2001. The last television series was Star Trek : Enterprise aired from 2001 to 2005.
Following this, the Star Trek television series was not held for a long time until 2017 where Discovery was started and 2020 where Picard was started. Both series are still on air. Many of the television shows are expected in the future as well. Planning and shooting for the United Section 31 Show and Strange New Worlds is already under progress. Let’s have a look at a few of the most famous Star Trek Series in detail.
Star Trek : The Original Series
The first series in line was the Star Trek : The Original Series. Despite the fact that it is considered the main reason as to why Star Trek got successful at television, this series was a major failure in the start. There were 79 episodes over a period of three years after which NBC suspended the contract. It ultimately got famous due to the broadcast syndication that took place in the 70s which is why it also became a cult classic for the fans and a major element of pop culture for that era.
The story line of this series was quite interesting since it showed an element of the far future as it was set in the 2260s. This series is set in the Milky Way Galaxy. Under the United Federation of Planets, the crew members of a spaceship go on an exploration of outer space or “the place where no man has gone before”. The story has an interesting turn of events where Nero, a Romulan commander, becomes a threat to humanity as he plans to destroy Earth.
The lead roles in The Original Series of Star Trek have been played by William Shatner as Commander James T. Kirk. Leonard Nimoy as Commander Spock and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard Bones McCoy. William Shatner’s voice was used for the starting credits in each episode which explained the purpose of the voyage.
Star Trek : The Next Generation
The second series was much more successful than the first one but only towards its end where the final season was watched by over 12 million viewers. Since the original series created by Gene Roddenberry had not become a success at this time, he brought in many tweaks so as to change the storyline a bit, modify the roles of characters, and change the cast of the series as well.
This series was one of the longest ones as it was held for over 7 seasons with a combined 178 episodes. The lead roles of the television series were played by the new cast and crew that included Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker, and Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data. Many other side roles were also played. This was the first series for the broadcast syndication which helped it in its growth. Executive Producers of the series Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor played a critical role this time for the series so that it does not fail like The Original Series.
Budget of shooting one episode of this series was kept significantly higher than the prequel at about $1.3 million. The Next Generation was a huge success which is why a film was also made on this series. It also received various awards such as multiple Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, Five Saturn Awards, and many others as well. Of 87 nominations, Star Trek : The Next Generation won 33.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek : Deep Space Nine also known as DS9 was the third series in the line. By this time, the Star Trek franchise had grown big and emerged successful with many new films being released. Star Trek series was being watched round the globe and it was being a bigger influence on the global pop culture as well. Paramount Pictures was the company behind its production. 7 seasons were held for this series with 176 episodes. However, many critics said that this series did not have that spark which was in the previous two series. One of the main reasons for this was the fact that Gene Roddenberry was not having much involvement in this series as he was ill.
The story of this series is based on a space station called the Deep Space Nine which was adjacent to a wormhole that connected Federation to the Gamma Quadrant. This was the first series where the story was set on a space station rather than a spaceship. The role of Captain was played by Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko. However, since the captain was shackled to the space station the space station, he did not have much of a lead role.
Other major roles such as Chief Officers were played by René Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, ColmMeaney, Armin Shimerman, and Alexander Siddig as well. Many changes were made throughout the series. Many novels and video games were produced during the time this series was being aired.
Star Trek: Voyager
The fourth series in Star Trek was created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor. This ran for over 6 years with a total of 172 episodes. In this series, the Starfleet Vessel USS Voyager goes into adventures after attempting to come back to Earth but being stuck at the Delta Quadrant. Graphical illustrations, cinematography, and video editing were really good in these series. This series overlapped with Star Trek : Deep Space Nine as it was launched in 1995 when DS9 was already being aired.
It was the first series in Star Trek which featured a female captain called Kathryn Janeway, the role of whom was played by Kate Mulgrew. The Voyager was considered a different one because the writers were now given the flexibility to add new alien characters. It was also set in a different part of the galaxy compared to other Star Trek series that were launched before.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek : Enterprise was the last television series that was released on September 26, 2001 and continued till May 13, 2005. After this series, a long gap came, and new series were released in 2017. This series comprises 98 episodes and four seasons. Surprisingly, the last series was set in the time of the 22nd century which is 100 years fewer than The Original Series which is why it is commonly considered as a prequel rather than a sequel. The series focused on the Earth’s first starship, Enterprise, which could travel at Warp.
Since further sequels were just not being distinctive, a prequel was the last shot of reinstating the interest of the audience. It was more of a basic and character-drive series. The Captain of the ship was Jonathan Archer whose role was played by Scott Bakula. Other roles included Commander Charles Trip Tucker which was played by Connor Trineer and Sub-commander T’Pol played by Jolene Blalock. One of the best things about this series was the song “Where My Heart Will Take Me” which became very popular.
The different types of Star Trek series have played their own part in the formation of the entire franchise as well as bringing in business for the producers. With each series being unique and distinctive in one way or the other, the audiences’ interest was constantly there.