What is the chronological order for the Star Trek series?
A while back, my dad got a couple volumes of Star Trek Voyager. Out of the entire series he's only seen some of Next Generation and the Star Trek: First Contact, so he never knew about Voyager. During his holiday break he walked into my room while I was on the computer, he does this on occasion when he passes my room, after having to explain why Sono Hanabira has only girls kissing girls he noticed that on my TV, Star Trek Deep Space 9 was on (it had been on for the entire time).
He said he hasn't "seen these Voyager episodes before" so i had to correct him. He then asked me when it occurs in relevance to Star Trek Voyager. Since I'm not entirely into Star Trek and I only had the TV on as ambiance for my room, I couldn't answer. I know now that now he knows of yet another Star Trek series, he'll be wanting me to find sources for him to buy DVDs/VHSs from.
Because he'd rather watch a series or franchise in its chronological order, I think it would be better if I started sourcing the DVDs/VHSs chronologically. However, since I'm not entirely into the series i have no idea the chronological order for the entire franchise apart from that Star Trek (2009) is a new continuity and Into Darkness follows after it.
So I am wondering, what is the chronological order for the Star Trek franchise. I am mainly just looking at the Movies and TV Series.
Depends whether you (or your dad) means the in-universe chronology, or the first-broadcast-in-the-real-world chronology. Could you specify?
@PaulD.Waite - based on "he then asked me when it occurs in relevance to Star Trek Voyager" it's pretty clear that in-Universe was what was asked about
I'd just like to point out, if you really want to watch all the Star Trek TV series in order, they are all on Netflix, with no need to purchase DVDs (unless you want hard copies of them, which is also reasonable)...also that you should point out to your dad that the order they occur in in-universe is different than the order in which they were made - that TOS came first, but is second in chronology.
@Zibbobz: they are also on Amazon Prime Instant video. Side note: who the hell still buys VHS tapes?
@Zibbobz: “they are all on Netflix” — in the US, maybe. In the UK, they currently only have seasons 4–7 of *Star Trek: The Next Generation*. So you can watch *The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2*, but not Part 1 :(
@DVK: to make a distinction between any in- and out-of-universe chronological order, you must first know that a prequel serie ("Enterprise") has been produced. From his question, we clearly see that he didn't knew anything about that and therefore, it's impossible to conclude in if he would prefer to watch these series in either their in-uiverse or out-of-universe order (or a combination thereof).
In general, watching franchises by their release/air date is the best way to consume the media (even if there's a remake or reboot, unless it's something like Evangelion, where you really don't need to watch the original at all). When there are concurrent series, the airdates will themselves be in in-universe chronological order. But, otherwise, strict in-universe chronological order will cause problems such as spoilers and VFX/culture whiplash (e.g. watching a retro program like TOS immediately after a fairly modern series like ENT makes it less believable).
While it's not what you asked, I highly recommend watching them in production order. The writers wrote things in, knowing that the other episodes and movies had already happened. You won't pick up on those if you watch in chronological order. ENT is especially (bad, IMO) thick with this kind of thing. So many of the first season episodes are "oh! THAT'S where that came from!" stuff that just wouldn't feel the same if you watched it first.
Because of the (over)abundance of time travel in the franchise, the "chronological" order is actually completely jumbled up. E.g. some episodes/movies are set in far future or far past for a part or nearly entirety of the episode. I will be omitting those from the first part of the answer..
The question is very extensively answered in a very good Wikipedia article - the answer below is merely a useful distillation.
- Also, the following pages have great chronologies: Memory Alpha Timeline and The Star Trek Chronology Project
In large strokes:
2151 to 2155: Star Trek: Enterprise (ST:ENT)
Finale is set in 2161.
2233 to 2258: 2009 Star Trek reboot film (Alternate universe)
2259 to 2260: Star Trek Into the Darkness (Alternate universe)
2254 to 2269: Star Trek: The Original Series (ST: TOS).
Individual per-season in universe years can be found on the Wiki
2269 to 2270: Star Trek: Animated Series (ST: TAS)
2273 to 2273: Star Trek the Motion Picture
2285 to 2293 Star Trek movies #2-6
The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country; in that order.
In-universe years on the Wiki.
2293 to 2371: Star Trek: Generations starts
Movie prologue is before ST: TNG starts; the end of the movie happens after ST: TNG ends.
2364 to 2370: Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG)
2371 to 2371: Star Trek: Generations (bulk of the movie except prologue)
2373 to 2373: First Contact
2375 to 2375: Insurrection
2369 to 2375: Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (ST: DS9)
- Partially overlaps with TNG, Generations and 2 TNG movies
- Season 1 is same time as TNG season 6
- Season 3 follows the end of TNG
2371 to 2378: ST: Voyager
- Partially overlaps with DS9, Generations and 2 TNG movies.
- Season 1 starts the year after TNG ends and same year as DS9 season 3
- Season 5 follows the end of DS9.
2379 to 2379: Nemesis
2387 to 2387: 2009 ST reboot - before time travel backwards to 2233.
Individual episodes, as mentioned above, featured time travel to vaious past and future dates. Full list on the Wiki, but some random ones:
- 3.5 Billion years ago (TNG)
- 2840 BC (TOS)
- 1893 (TNG)
- 1930 (TOS)
- 1986: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- 2063: First Contact Cochrane timeline.
- 31st Century (ENT)
Please note that Wikipedia has a much better formatted table; as well as further details.
One note that I think would be good to include: Because of the nature of the relationship of the reboot movies to the primary timeline, I tend to place them _after_ everything when listing chronologically, despite the absolute year being relatively early.
A second note on the TNG/DS9/VOY overlaps: TNG and DS9 had crossover episodes, DS9 and VOY did not have crossover due to the nature of VOY
That's a good summary of the in-universe chronological order, but is that necessarily the best viewing order? Would one really watch ENT before TOS, for example?
@Izkata The very first episode of Voyager was a crossover with DS9! Quark tried to con Harry Kim. I can't recall off the top of my head if any other DS9 characters appear, but they were docked at the station before starting their original mission...
@Algernon_Asimov - the question clearly asked about chronology, not subjective best viewing order. There are other questions on the site discussing ST suggested viewing order.
It depends what you mean by "chronological". Do you mean the in-universe chronology (as covered very well by DVK's answer), or the real-life chronological order the various shows & movies were released? Because, even though the 'Enterprise' series was made as a prequel to everything else, it was produced last. Going from the last-made series (ENT) to the first-made series (the original 'Star Trek'), as per the in-universe chronology, would be quite jarring.
A better order for viewing the series and movies would be to follow the order in which they were produced (with some minor variations for consistency):
1) The original live-action 'Star Trek' series from the 1960s. (TOS)
2) The sequel animated 'Star Trek' series from the 1970s. (TAS)
3) The TOS movies: Star Trek I to VI.
4) 'The Next Generation' series. (TNG)
5) The TNG movies: Star Trek VII (Generations) to X (Nemesis).
6) 'Deep Space Nine' series. (DS9)
7) 'Voyager' series. (VOY)
8) 'Enterprise' series. (ENT)
That mostly follows the in-universe chronological order, but with ENT placed last because it was made last.
I agree with Algernon_Asimov, in that really it should be best viewed in the order it was produced, which chronologically is mostly accurate anyway. Viewing them in the order they were produced is a much more satisfying experience.
You also might want to interleave some of the TNG movies with DS9 and Voyager to avoid spoilers, as there are minor crossovers from those series in the 8th, 9th and 10th movies (if memory serves).
Oh, yes: a couple of mentions of a "Dominion War". I don't think the complications of trying to view the movies at the right times during the series is worth the minimal pay-off of knowing what a Dominion War is when it's only a one-line mention in the movie.
True true; I was thinking more of the fact that characters from the TV shows appear in the movies, so if you watch the TV shows afterwards, you'll know that those characters survive, which is (admittedly very vaguely) spoiler-ish.
The only cross-over characters I can think of from DS9 or VOY who appear in the TNG movies are Worf, Janeway, and the Doctor. And, given that they're main regular characters in their respective series, it's almost a given that they're going to survive (anyway, the movie Doctor is a copy!). Any spoiler aspect involved in seeing these characters turn up in the movies is, as you say, only vague. :)
based on "he then asked me when it occurs in relevance to Star Trek Voyager" it's pretty clear that **in-Universe** was what was asked about.
For viewing purposes, I would watch the movies/episodes in the order they were produced, except I would move the TNG movies First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis after watching Voyager and before Enterprise. This feels like the most organic viewing order to me.
@vx_01 As someone who _did_ watch in in-universe chronological the first time through, there's things you miss out on by sticking to production order. For example, Vulcans had a consistent "how do they deal with emotions" arc from ENT through TNG that, if you start in the middle with TOS, you're not as likely to pick up on, and it causes them to just look inconsistent between TOS and TNG.
The order in my mind, when you combine the TV series timelines you come up with:
- The Original Series
- The Next Generation
- Deep Space Nine
But for this to make sense, you have to watch the whole Voyager series.
Could you explain a bit more why you would put them in this order, given that it seems to contradict the currently accepted answer?