In which order should I start watching Star Trek?

  • I don't know anything about Star Trek except for the fact that it's about spaceships.

    In this question the person only wanted to watch the TV series. I want to watch every movie and TV series there is about Star Trek but I don't know where to start. I found this page on Wikipedia which is about a time line. Do I need to watch it in this order? Are the movies and TV series related?

    It's set on spaceships ("starships", really), but not _about_ them. As mentioned in bitmask's answer, you'll miss the point and be extremely disappointed if you go in expecting space battles like in the Abrams movies.

    @ i'm not expecting space battles. By stating that i just wanted to tell I don't know jack about the series:)

    Someone can ask a new similar question after attaching comics... :)

    @SachinShekhar: Your attempt at reductio ad absurdum fails horribly. Adding the films is a *major* discriminator, because you have little chance of enjoying one through seven (which arguably contain some of the best Star Trek) without watching TOS. If you only want to watch the series, you can very well start without TOS (although I still wouldn't recommend it) but if you intend to watch the films, you cannot.

    @bitmask You've point..... :)

    Watch them in originally-aired-order: (not necessarily saying to download torrent, just showing aired order)

    Here's the ordered list I've been using: The Star Trek List. It includes the films on their release dates.

    @bitmask - I disagree with you completely that watching TOS is important to enjoy watching the original movies. TOS is not very deep at all, and tons of people enjoy(ed) those movies without watching TOS.

    @CharlesBoyung: Well, that is, of course, your prerogative. But by not having watched the show (maybe not completely, but at least partially), you wouldn't have any clue of the characters and how they related to each other. Sure, you will get something out of the film, but you don't have much context when starting out with *The Motion Picture*.

  • bitmask

    bitmask Correct answer

    7 years ago

    I'd like to elaborate on TOS (The Original Series) and TNG (The Next Generation). In general, I'd recommend watching TOS first, but there is a caveat;

    You have to be aware that TNG is how Roddenberry actually intended Star Trek to be like. Well, the part of TNG until he died, after that his vision was muddied (to varying degrees) by other people taking over. So, TOS has a lot of stuff in it that Roddenberry added to appeal to the station executives and possibly to the main-stream audience. His core ideology is in there, but you have to see past the occasional Cowboy-allusions and the depiction of gender roles (from today's point of view the latter is terrible, but for the time it was syndicated, it was actually progressive, but I digress).

    So, if you watch TOS, you might not "get" it (well, chances are equally, you do), but don't despair in either case --- TNG is much better, but I'd still recommend having watched TOS first. The reason for this, is that you would have to watch TOS anyway, to watch Star Trek: Generations (Film #7). And by doing it first, you see how Humanity evolved between TOS and TNG. So, this is my suggestion;

    • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • Star Trek Films 1 through 6. Not 7!
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Star Trek Film 7
    • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Star Trek Films 8 through 10
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Star Trek: Enterprise

    If you insist, you could watch DSN (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) before Voyager (where it chronologically belongs), but I found it rather dry, and very distant from Roddenberry's Star Trek. Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion; a lot of people will tell you that VOY is awful and DSN is great.

    And if you really insist, you may then watch Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT), which is the prequel to TOS, shot after VOY. It kind of goes in the opposite direction than TNG, starting from TOS. (Note that TOS, TNG and ENT take place on a ship called Enterprise, so don't confuse the series (ENT) with the ship.)

    Finally, avoid watching the "new" films and expecting Star Trek. They are called Star Trek, but they decidedly have nothing to do with the classical franchise. They're action movies, and they work as such. But they're devoid of plot and meaning. So, watch them, if you really want to have watched everything, but do it only after having watched everything else above. Also, be careful with Into Darkness as it tries very hard and partially succeeds (IMO, obviously) to retroactively destroy the second film (Wrath of Khan).

    +1 for deeper analysis. Agreed that DS9 is a bit of an oddball. I think it's great, but it does break the mold; nearly the entire series is "ship-shows".

    +1 with one nitpick: TNG seasons 6 and 7 have some crossover with DS9 seasons 1 and 2. Bashir visits the Enterprise in one episode, for example.

    No ST:Enterprise?

    @Izkata: Yes, there is also a one or two Episode cross-over between DSN and VOY (involving either the Doctor or Bashir, I forgot). Maybe one should watch the pilot of DSN, probably exactly when it aired, so, just after TNG season 5, right?

    @HorusKol: See second-to-last paragraph ;)

    @bitmask Actually, halfway through TNG season 6. Memory Alpha has the original airdates of all the episodes, if you want to go overboard like I did: TNG Season 6 and DS9 Season 1

    Although the tenor of DSN was different from the other shows, story-wise it was probably much closer to TOS then TNG, VOY or ENT were. This is because it dealt with the issues of humanity and being human a lot more than the others.

    Amused by "the TOS series" :)

    @bitmask with all these people discussing about star trek it seems it's very intresting. Maybe better than star wars :) I'm following your order. thanx

    It'd be great to start from TOS, but isn't TOS dull & dry? Today's Audience may loose interest, I think..

    @SachinShekhar: it isn't so much dull & dry as...simplistic. The plots, characters, etc are simpler. The good guys are good, though they sometimes think about doing bad things, the bad guys are bad, very few characters are fleshed out, and it sometimes seems like it's trying to force "It's the future, SEE! FUTURE!" down your throat. Excellent show, but definitely from the 60s.

    Totally agree with your assesment of the series'! I'm a fan of all of them (yes even, *gasp* Enterprise) I think they all have merits that can be tied back in to Roddenbery's original concept. DS9 was probably the dryest series, as you said.

    Concerning the TNG/DS9/Voyager/movies interleaving, this excellent answer suggests a more precise viewing order

    @PeterL: Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

    "Also, be careful with Into Darkness as it tries very hard and partially succeeds (IMO, obviously) to retroactively destroy the second film (Wrath of Khan)." It helps if you start to think about the Abrams movies as parodies.

    @Bobby Alternatively, a revitalisation that accepts that "a bunch of people discussing things calmly in rooms" is not terribly cinematic, no matter how well it worked on TV. Personally, I can't see how Into Darkness even damages WoK. An audience who haven't seen TOS cripples WoK, but that's not really Into Darkness' problem.

    The only thing I would add is to be aware that TOS was aired in a different order than it was written. Or if you prefer, the star dates jump backwards and forwards in time if you watch TOS in the aired order. SO you can actually watch TOS in two different orders:-)

    @deworde: Actually it is. I'd watch it immediately. And it has been done) very successfully before (okay, maybe you have to stretch the definition of "calm" there). What I meant by "it damages Khan" is that for me, it destroys the climatic scene with Spock and Kirk by turning it around a 100% degrees and having Spock state the exact opposite. It's just plain stupid. You cannot re-watch Khan without slightly feeling lied to by Spock if you take ID seriously.

    @bitmask Twelve Angry Men is a Very Special Film. Comparing it to the ultra-professional padding that is the TNG briefing room scenes merely highlights the issues involved.

    @bitmask Regarding the turn, you're basically saying that the scene in WoK should be accepted at face value, which is a very different reading than the one I took. And they are very different Spocks, one a lot more scarred and a lot younger, but that's a different discussion. It's certainly not *stupid*, even if you dislike it.

    Also, I'd dispute that TNG S1 is more like what Roddenberry wanted Trek to be like. I'd like to think he probably wanted less *Code of Honour* and *Justice*, and more *Tapestry* and *The Wounded*. Y'know, good episodes.

    I agree with this except that I did feel the two reboot movies really were in keeping with the spirit and ethos of both TOS and TNG, and I loved them. And the cameos by Nimoy were heartwarming. :-)

    I agree with this except for the part about the new films. I did feel the two reboot movies really were in keeping with the spirit and ethos of both TOS and TNG, and I loved them. And the cameos by Nimoy were heartwarming. :-)

    @Jaydee Actually, TOS was written like that. Roddenberry told the writers that as long as the Stardates increased within a script, and generally increased over the course of a season, it was fine. The way he described how Stardates work, it was similar to jumping time zones on Earth.

    @Izkata Interesting, I didn't know that.

    @Jaydee Actually, sorry, I'm mistaking my own memory. You're correct about written/airdate order - the explanation I remembered was come up with after the fact. I had even posted an answer about it, in the second quote.

    Thanks, your answer about star dates is very informative. It hadn't really occured to me that GR had thought about changes in reference frame.

    Nice answer. But care to edit your answer and explain your last paragraph? Why don’t the new movies have nothing to do with the “classical” franchise? Why are they devoid of plot and meaning? You are rather harsh about them, but you don’t support your opinion with anything. +1 if the last paragraph was removed or improved.

    @davor: As I said in that very paragraph: Because they're action movies, no more, no less. Star Trek was never about shoving as much action as possible into the film but about conveying ideas. But action is the primary focus of the reboots.

    Yes i.m.h.o. the emphasis on action started already with First Contact in 1996. Better and cheaper CGI allows more spectacle which results in less time for talking and character development. Conveying idea’s also stopped partly with death of the original crew, where each crewmember had his own eccentricness and an unique point of view. Since generations, the crewmembers (apart from Data) are hardy different and all convey the same idea. Pushing your argument you could say that Start Trek died with the first generation. But Gene R. is no more, time goes on and so too does Star Trek evolve.

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