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

    @DVK: could well be.

    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?

    @DaveJohnson Answer: People who still have a VHS player. ;p

    @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.

  • Notes:

    • 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.

    Trek Timeline

    In large strokes:

    1. 2151 to 2155: Star Trek: Enterprise (ST:ENT)

      Finale is set in 2161.

    2. 2233 to 2258: 2009 Star Trek reboot film (Alternate universe)

    3. 2259 to 2260: Star Trek Into the Darkness (Alternate universe)

    4. 2254 to 2269: Star Trek: The Original Series (ST: TOS).

      Individual per-season in universe years can be found on the Wiki

    5. 2269 to 2270: Star Trek: Animated Series (ST: TAS)

    6. 2273 to 2273: Star Trek the Motion Picture

    7. 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.

    8. 2293 to 2371: Star Trek: Generations starts

      Movie prologue is before ST: TNG starts; the end of the movie happens after ST: TNG ends.

    9. 2364 to 2370: Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG)

    10. 2371 to 2371: Star Trek: Generations (bulk of the movie except prologue)

    11. 2373 to 2373: First Contact

    12. 2375 to 2375: Insurrection

    13. 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
    14. 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.
    15. 2379 to 2379: Nemesis

    16. 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.

    @Izkata - great, then my answer will create a time paradox :)

    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

    Memory Alpha's list of TNG episodes and list of DS9 episodes include both original airdate and Stardate in case you want to go all-out like I did ;)

    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.

    There was an episode where the EMH and its creator were major plot points in DS9. Not a full crossover, but perhaps of some note/interest. This was the DS9 season 5 episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM