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Summary

  • Star Trek: The Original Series launched an enduring franchise with 58 years of history and over 900 hours of content.
  • Star Trek has multiple generations of fans drawn to its optimistic vision of the future and endearing characters.
  • The 11 Star Trek series are ranked from worst to best, with each series offering something different to fans.

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Which Star Trek series is the best one of all? Created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek is one of pop culture’s most enduring franchises and has been a staple of television and pop culture since 1966. In fact, every decade from the 1960s onward has had at least one new Star Trek series on the air, and the franchise has enjoyed two golden ages: the 1990s and 2000s under executive producer Rick Berman when 4 Star Trek TV shows ran from 1987-2005, and the modern Star Trek on Paramount+ era under executive producer Alex Kurtzman, which has delivered 5 new Star Trek TV shows, with more on the way.

Star Trek: The Original Series spawned an epic franchise that has lasted for 58 years, encompassing over 900 hours and 46 seasons of television (and counting), as well as 13 Star Trek movies. Star Trek has multiple generations of fans who were brought to the franchise by different series or films. Every Star Trek series is someone’s favorite and each fan wants different things from Star Trek, but, at its core, audiences are drawn to its optimistic vision of the future and Star Trek‘s multitude of endearing characters. Ranking the 11 very different Star Trek series is a daunting challenge, to be sure. Some of the newer Star Trek series are still ongoing, and these rankings may fluctuate in time, but here are the 11 Star Trek series so far ranked worst to best.

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How To Watch All Star Trek TV Shows In Timeline Order

The Star Trek TV franchise has existed for 57 years and consists of 12 shows (and counting). Here’s how to watch them all in timeline order.

11 Star Trek: The Animated Series

2 seasons from 1973-1974 on NBC

James T Kirk in Star Trek Animated Series

Star Trek: The Animated Series aired on NBC for 2 seasons spanning 22 half-hour episodes from 1973 to 1974. Executive produced by Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana, The Animated Series was, at the time, considered to be the fourth season of Star Trek and won an Emmy in 1975 for Outstanding Entertainment – Children’s Series. It featured the voices of the original Star Trek actors except for Walter Koenig, who later became the first actor to write an episode of the animated series. Koenig’s Pavel Chekov was replaced by two new alien characters, Lieutenant Ares (voiced by James Doohan) and Lieutenant M’Ress (voiced by Majel Barrett).

Star Trek: The Animated Series‘ canonical status was questionable for many years, but it has been frequently referenced and rendered canon in more recent Star Trek shows.

Star Trek: The Animated Series featured multiple sequels to popular Star Trek episodes such as “More Tribbles, More Troubles”, which followed up the events of “The Trouble With Tribbles”, and “Yesteryear”, in which Spock used the Guardian of Forever from “City on the Edge of Forever” to travel back to his own past. Star Trek: The Animated Series also introduced technology like a holodeck on the USS Enterprise, which was called the “rec room” and was the forerunner to the holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was also in The Animated Series that James T. Kirk’s middle name was revealed as “Tiberius”. Star Trek: The Animated Series is relatively little seen, with primitive animation by today’s standards, but it holds a special place for longtime fans.

In 2023, a series of comedic shorts called Star Trek: very Short Treks, was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Animated Series.

10 Star Trek: Enterprise

4 seasons from 2001-2005 on UPN

Star Trek: Enterprise (originally titled simply Enterprise for its first two seasons) aired for 4 seasons from 2001-2005 on UPN. The prequel series was set in the 22nd century and chronicled the voyages of the first Starship Enterprise, the NX-01, commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Enterprise‘s main cast reshuffled the classic Star Trek ensemble, with Archer supported by a female Vulcan First Officer, T’Pol (Jolene Blalock), and his best friend and Chief Engineer Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer). Enterprise also broke Star Trek tradition with its opening credits set to the pop song “Where My Heart Will Take Me,” performed by Russell Watson.

Enterprise is more appreciated today than when aired, but other shows have simply done stronger Star Trek overall.

Once the series was retitled Star Trek: Enterprise in season 3, the show’s episodic format became more serialized to combat falling ratings, although Enterprise was canceled in season 4. Enterprise was also a more sexualized Star Trek series, which banked heavily on Jolene Blalock’s sex appeal as T’Pol and Trip entered a romantic relationship. While many of Enterprise‘s stories felt like retreads that were done better by the prior series, there were many bright spots, like its daring Mirror Universe episodes. Enterprise is more appreciated today than when aired, but other shows have simply done stronger Star Trek overall.

Star Trek: Enterprise‘s series finale, “These Are The Voyages,,,”, remains controversial and widely disliked almost 2 decades later.

9 Star Trek: Voyager

7 seasons from 1995-2001 on UPN

Star Trek: Voyager aired for 7 seasons as the flagship series of UPN, and broke new ground as the first Star Trek series with a female lead: Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway. The concept of Voyager mixed Star Trek with Lost in Space; Janeway’s starship, the USS Voyager, was lost in the unexplored Delta Quadrant, which allowed the series to introduce new aliens like the Kazon, the Hirogen, and Species 8472. Eventually, the Borg became the primary villains of the series, and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), a Borg returned to her humanity, became a popular member of the USS Voyager’s crew.

Several episodes in the latter half of Star Trek: Voyager’s run centered around Seven of Nine, whose skintight catsuit uniform brought a new kind of sex appeal and mainstream attention to Star Trek.

Star Trek: Voyager‘s legacy opened a gateway to numerous new fans, especially girls and women who became enamored with the Star Trek franchise thanks to Janeway, Seven, and the strong female characters in its ensemble. Voyager suffered from being the third Star Trek series executive produced by Rick Berman that never quite lived up to its lofty expectations as the inheritors of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s torch (or garnered TNG‘s ratings and popularity). Voyager notably had a dozen 2-part episodes that were essentially Star Trek movies, and many aspects of the series are being continued in Star Trek: Prodigy.

8 Star Trek: The Original Series

3 seasons from 1966-1969 on NBC

Star Trek: The Original Series is the show that started it all. Created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek stars the iconic William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and DeForrest Kelley as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Star Trek: TOS was a TV series very much of its era, but Roddenberry insisted on a multiracial USS Enterprise crew to show how far humanity has come in the future, and he fought the network for the alien Spock to be a lead character. Star Trek:The Original Series also hired notable science fiction novelists to write episodes; the generally acknowledged series-best episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever”, was written by the late Harlan Ellison.

Star Trek: The Original Series continues to stand the test of time and is the inspirational foundation that the entire franchise was built upon.

While its visual effects are primitive by modern TV standards, and Star Trek: The Original Series produced several episodes laden with issues, especially when its budget was reduced in season 3 due to low ratings, Star Trek: TOS‘s best episodes are still hailed as among the finest of the entire franchise. Star Trek: The Original Series continues to stand the test of time and is the inspirational foundation that the entire franchise was built upon, but many of TOS‘ best aspects have been built upon and surpassed by the Star Trek series that came after it.

Star Trek TV Series

Years Aired

Seasons

Network

Star Trek: The Original Series

1966-1969

3

NBC

Star Trek: The Animated Series

1973-1974

2

NBC

Star Trek: The Next Generation

1987-1994

7

Syndication

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

1993-1999

7

Syndication

Star Trek: Voyager

1995-2001

7

UPN

Star Trek: Enterprise

2001-2005

4

UPN

Star Trek: Discovery

2017-2024

5

CBS All-Access/Paramount+

Star Trek: Picard

2020-2023

3

Paramount+

Star Trek: Lower Decks

2020-ongoing

5

Paramount+

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

2022-ongoing

3

Paramount+

Star Trek: Prodigy

2021-ongoing

2

Paramount+, Netflix

7 Star Trek: Prodigy

2 seasons from 2021 on Netflix

Star Trek: Prodigy‘s mission is to bring the values of Star Trek to a new and younger audience, and it does so thrillingly and spectacularly. Created by Kevin and Dan Hageman, Star Trek: Prodigy is the first CGI-animated, all-ages Star Trek series. Prodigy season 1 centered on a ragtag group of alien teens who commandeer Starfleet’s USS Protostar to make their way to the United Federation of Planets. Guided by a Hologram of Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, Prodigy’s cast of young heroes led by Dal R’El (Brett Gray) and Gwyndala (Ella Purnell), soon come under the tutelage of the real Admiral Kathryn Janeway.

Star Trek: Prodigy was canceled by Paramount+ but a dedicated fan campaign helped bring season 1 and the upcoming season 2 to Netflix.

What Star Trek: Prodigy achieved in its lone streamed season thus far is remarkable. Introducing endearing new characters, Prodigy also lovingly calls back to the history of the Star Trek franchise, with a special emphasis on continuing where Star Trek: Voyager left off. While Prodigy is mind-bendingly expansive in its scope, with time travel and alternate future timelines central to its main story, Star Trek: Prodigy never loses sight of its young heroes and their coming of age as they embrace the best of what Starfleet is all about.

6 Star Trek: Lower Decks

5 seasons from 2020 ongoing on Paramount+

Star Trek: Lower Decks dares to be blisteringly funny, but it’s also a genuinely heartfelt love letter to all of Star Trek. Created by Mike McMahan, Star Trek: Lower Decks is inspired by the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Lower Decks,” and even revealed a direct link to its namesake thanks to the backstory of Lt. Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome). Mariner and her Lower Decker friends, Lt. Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid), Lt. D’Vana Tendi (Noel Wells), and Lt. Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), embody the best aspects of Starfleet while poking endless fun at Star Trek’s numerous tropes.

Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid brought Ensigns Mariner and Boimler to live-action in an acclaimed crossover episode with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The fiercely intelligent, rat-tat-tat humor of Star Trek: Lower Decks belies how rich and complex the crew of the USS Cerritos are, and the series even successfully added a fifth Lower Decker, the Vulcan Lt. T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz), in season 4. In addition, Lower Decks has deepened Star Trek lore by continuing to explore the post-Star Trek: The Next Generation 24th century, including the show’s groundbreaking depiction of Orion culture. Star Trek: Lower Decks runs the gamut of being funny, heartfelt, provocative, and ribald, but it is pure Star Trek to the core.

5 Star Trek: Picard

3 seasons from 2020-2023 on Paramount+

Star Trek: Picard is a bit of a three-headed beast that tells the post-Star Trek: The Next Generation story of Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Beginning as marginalized and embittered, Picard soon returns to his best destiny of saving the galaxy, at first with a new motley crew including Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, the synthetic Soji (Isa Briones), and the troubled Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). Star Trek: Picard season 2 delved into Jean-Luc’s childhood trauma and brought Picard and friends to the 21st century while reintroducing Q (John de Lancie) and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) in a convoluted time travel story.

Ultimately, Star Trek: Picard is a wildly uneven series buoyed by a spectacular season 3 that still featured memorable moments, bold ideas, and career-best performances.

However, Star Trek: Picard season 3 was a revelation and one of the strongest runs of Star Trek in decades. Under the guidance of showrunner Terry Matalas, Picard season 3 reunited the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and delivered what fans wanted: a resonant and wildly entertaining celebration of Star Trek’s past, present, and future. Ultimately, Star Trek: Picard is a wildly uneven series buoyed by a spectacular season 3 that still featured memorable moments, bold ideas, and career-best performances from TNG icons like Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and Michael Dorn.

Unfortunately, Star Trek: Picard‘s proposed continuation spinoff, dubbed Star Trek: Legacy, is not in development at Paramount+.

4 Star Trek: Discovery

5 seasons from 2017-2024 on Paramount+

Star Trek: Discovery launched in 2017 as the flagship series of the CBS All Access streaming service, which became Paramount+. Created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek: Discovery was controversial due to its eye-popping, feature film-quality visual effects and 23rd-century setting diverging from Star Trek’s established canon. Discovery’s redesign of the Klingons was also widely disliked. Discovery also centered on its revolutionary lead character, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the first African-American woman to headline a Star Trek series. Star Trek: Discovery‘s first 3 seasons was Michael’s journey to the Captain’s chair.

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 reintroduced Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), and Number One (Rebecca Romijn), who got their own spinoff, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

While the series remains divisive, Star Trek: Discovery’s success ushered in the new modern Star Trek era. Discovery‘s soft reboot in season 3 switched its setting to the 32nd century, allowing Discovery to chart Star Trek‘s farthest future. Star Trek: Discovery‘s thrilling, breakneck stories and complex character relationships, including the show’s pioneering LGBTQ+ characters, undoubtedly revitalized the franchise for the modern streaming era. Bowing out in season 5, Star Trek: Discovery will likely be more appreciated in the future than it currently is in the present.

Star Trek: Discovery also had two seasons of Star Trek: Short Treks spinoffs that followed up aspects of the series as well as introduced the premise of Star Trek: Picard season 1.

3 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

3 seasons from 2022 ongoing on Paramount+

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the exemplar of what modern-day Star Trek can be. A spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery, Strange New Worlds is set in the 23rd century and chronicles the five-year mission of the USS Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike. Co-showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers reinvented the Star Trek wheel by delivering what Star Trek: The Original Series would be like if it were produced in the present day, and the result is a breathtaking prequel series with vividly realized characters that is a rapturous invigoration of the episodic format and new frontier spirit of classic Star Trek.

Strange New Worlds lends a cool factor to Star Trek that the franchise has never quite enjoyed before.

Strange New Worlds’ cast is flawless from top to bottom, and their talents are pushed to the limits by the series’ bold tendency toward “big swings.” Strange New Worlds takes risks that way off wonderfully, such as a comedic crossover with Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek‘s first-ever musical that are both crowd-pleasing and boundary-pushing. Strange New Worlds imbues decades-old icons like Captain Pike, Number One, Spock, James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley), and Scotty (Martin Quinn) with the flower of youth. Best of all, Strange New Worlds lends a cool factor to Star Trek that the franchise has never quite enjoyed before.

2 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

7 seasons from 1993-1999 in syndication

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a revolutionary Star Trek series that truly took the franchise in bold new directions. DS9 was the first Star Trek series not set on a starship, but rather a space station. Deep Space Nine starred Avery Brooks as Commander (promoted to Captain in season 3) Benjamin Sisko, the first African-American lead of a Star Trek series. Sisko was also a father raising his teenage son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) aboard the station. DS9 emphasized its eclectic ensemble cast, including Quark (Armin Shimmerman) and his extended Ferengi family, Odo (Rene Auberjonois) the Changeling Security Chief, and Garak (Andrew Robinson), a Cardassian spy living aboard the station.

Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Worf (Michael Dorn) joined DS9 in season 4, which helped boost the spinoff’s popularity among Star Trek fans.

Thanks to showrunner Ira Steven Behr, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the first serialized Star Trek series, and it unflinchingly tackled heavy themes like love, death, religion, the Cardassian occupation of Bajor by the series villain Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo), and the Dominion War. Among Deep Space Nine’s greatest episodes are “Far Beyond the Stars”, where Sisko dreamed of himself as a 1950s sci-fi writer, and “In the Pale Moonlight”, where Sisko manipulated the Romulans into entering the Dominion War. Unquestionably, the risks Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took enriched Star Trek and made it a deeper, more fascinating universe than ever before.

1 Star Trek: The Next Generation

7 seasons from 1987-1994 in syndication

Star Trek: The Next Generation is, all told, the finest example of Star Trek that defines what the franchise is and can be. TNG was set in the 24th century and starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the USS Enterprise-D. Like Star Trek:The Original Series, TNG was an episodic series (with the occasional two-part episode), but it was wildly more successful during its run, regularly ranking as the number one syndicated program. Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s cast is iconic and beloved, while actors from Star Trek: The Original Series also appeared on the show including DeForrest Kelley’s Bones McCoy, James Doohan’s Scotty, and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock.

While it had a creatively rocky start in its first two seasons, Star Trek: The Next Generation soon found its creative footing and featured some of the greatest episodes of Star Trek ever, such as the Borg two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds”, the Picard-centric “The Inner Light”, the time loop thriller “Cause and Effect”, and TNG‘s series finale “All Good Things”. Star Trek: The Next Generation compellingly expanded the Star Trek universe and forged the immensely popular 24th-century era, delving into complex Klingon politics and history, introducing the Ferengi, Cardassians, Bajorians, and, of course, the Borg, who are perhaps the franchise’s greatest villains. At its best, Star Trek: The Next Generation encompasses everything fans love most about Star Trek.

  • Star Trek Voyager Poster

  • MV5BNjg1NTc2MDktZTU5Ni00OTZiLWIyNjQtN2FhNGY4MzAxNmZkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_FMjpg_UX1000_

  • Star Trek Picard Poster

    Star Trek: Picard

    After starring in Star Trek: The Next Generation for seven seasons and various other Star Trek projects, Patrick Stewart is back as Jean-Luc Picard. Star Trek: Picard focuses on a retired Picard who is living on his family vineyard as he struggles to cope with the death of Data and the destruction of Romulus. But before too long, Picard is pulled back into the action. The series also brings back fan-favorite characters from the Star Trek franchise, such as Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), and William Riker (Jonathan Frakes).

  • Star Trek Prodigy TV series poster

    Star Trek: Prodigy

    Star Trek: Prodigy is the first TV series in the Star Trek franchise marketed toward children, and one of the few animated series in the franchise. The story follows a group of young aliens who find a stolen Starfleet ship and use it to escape from the Tars Lamora prison colony where they are all held captive. Working together with the help of a holographic Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the new crew of the USS Protostar must find their way back to the Alpha Quadrant to warn the Federation of the deadly threat that is pursuing them.



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