What is the recommended viewing order for young first-timers to watch Star Trek TV episodes and movies?

  • Some things are best read/viewed in the order of release, regardless of chronology. Some works are better taken in a sequence that reflects the order of the events represented. And for some others, it's a blend of the two.

    I'd like to introduce my 8-year old daughter to the Star Trek franchise, and hope to eventually cover it completely. That is, to fully include:

    • TV series

      • The Original Series
      • The Next Generation
      • Deep Space Nine
      • Voyager
      • Enterprise
    • Movies

      • The Motion Picture
      • Star Trek: II - VI
      • Generations
      • First Contact
      • Insurrection
      • Nemesis
      • Star Trek (2009)
      • Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

    I've found a list on Wikipedia* that seems to thoroughly cover the chronological order down to individual episodes. Should I use this, or should I go in order of release? Or, is there another recommended alternative order?

    I am not interested in any answers that recommend exclusion of any series, episode, or movie from those listed above. However, lists that add more content are certainly welcome.

    Also, unless someone offers a compelling reason to do otherwise, I'm planning on leaving the 2009 movie for last since it represents the beginning of a completely new canon.

    *On a slightly related note, it would be really nice if somebody with sufficient time and resources could add episode numbers to that list.

    The one big thing to remember is to just leave out Star Trek V. It could turn her agains the whole franchise or, worse yet, with one so young, cause serious brain injury.

    Having not ever watched a full episode of any Star Trek series or movie (though I'd seen bits here and there in syndication as a kid), I decided to watch the new movie... For what it's worth, it made me want to watch the original series... which I now plan to follow with the movies 1-6, before moving on to the Next Generation... Lots of good info here though. Thanks!

    just watch TNG, then do it again

    @Robotnik I think I remember that coming up back when this was posted, and we decided that the "for an 8-year-old girl" was sufficiently unusual/different to mark it as not a duplicate

    @Izkata - Fair enough

    I started my daughter when she was 8 with Voyager and select Star trek Episodes Like Trouble with Tribbles ect. Then I showed her the Original Kahn Episode, then Wrath of Kahn, then Into the Darkness. Now every free second that she has, she wants to watch TNG. I have officially created a future trekkie!

    Star Trek V, that's the one where Kirk finds God and discovers that he looks just like Shatner, right?

    “Some works are better taken in a sequence that reflects the order of the events represented.” Have you got an example of such a work?

    I suggest going ahead and watching the cartoon to get that over with. I watched it with my daughters, amazed by the guest authors, but not amazed by much else. They are short episodes and go quick. Not bad.

    Your girl must be, what, 16 now? How did your experiment work out?

  • HNL

    HNL Correct answer

    9 years ago

    Considering that your child is a 21st-century-born 8 year old girl, I'd suggest the following:

    Original Series - Keep for last. She will not relate to the conversational styles, the special effects, the technology or the culture. Also, the main cast consists mostly of older men. One has to develop a taste for Star Trek before one gets into this.

    DS9 - Keep for last as per OghmaOsiris. It is too depressing and the commentary on the human (and alien) condition too subtle for her.

    Next Generation - Keep for #3 spot. May be too cerebral. Try the Q episodes. Children love Q. Children also love Data.

    Voyager - This is my recommendation. It has a female captain, a female engineer, a female nurse and later a female borg. It's fairly faithful to the original Star Trek principles, which I think any child could benefit from. The plots are mostly straightforward and limited to single episodes. The cast is younger. The scenes and sets are generally colorful and vibrant.

    Enterprise - Keep for #2. I think this is a great show, but if you lead with this, she might get the wrong idea about what Star Trek is. But that's just me. You could try both Enterprise and Voyager and see which she prefers best.

    Movies - I'd say keep for later. First Contact was a great movie in my opinion, but she needs a little background on the Borg and time travel before she can understand it.

    Recommended Voyager episodes: (again, considering your daughter's demographic)

    • Learning Curve (Season 1) - Crew episode
    • The 37's (Season 2) - Timeline episode
    • Twisted (Season 2) - Spatial anomaly episode
    • Death Wish (Season 2) - A Q episode
    • Future's End (Season 3) - Time travel
    • Worst Case Scenario, Scorpion I, II and the Gift (Season 3) - Borg, Seven of Nine Intro
    • The Raven (Season 4) - Seven's history

    Beyond this, I think you can basically go any way you wish, but the following were some episodes I really loved. I think she will too:

    • Relativity (Season 5) - a good time travel episode
    • Blink of an Eye (Season 6) - a good introduction to relative time
    • Workforce (Season 7) - crew episode
    • Q2 (Season 7)

    Recommended Next Generation episodes

    • Encounter at Farpoint (Season 1) - Pilot
    • Where No One Has Gone Before (Season 1) - This episode had a profound impact on my development
    • Hide and Q (Season 1)
    • Datalore (Season 1) - About Data
    • 11001001 (Season 1) - The Binars are interesting aliens
    • The Inner Light (Season 5) - Famous episode, but one needs to understand relative time

    P.S. Voyager is what got my sister hooked on Star Trek. It's also what I used to introduce my wife to Star Trek.

    Also bear in mind that some films, like First Contact, might be unsuitable for an eight year old. Similarly, the sight of Annika Hansen being taken by the Borg may give her nightmares.

    Remarkably thorough answer. Although I would recommend skipping Voyager and Enterprise entirely :)

    That occurred to me, plus the dark 22nd century scenes from the TNG pilot (like a guard being machine-gunned inside a court). But skipping such episodes might leave holes in the continuum. In that case, the best thing to do would be to wait a few more years until the child is older. @StephenGross That's probably what I'd recommend for an adult too. But the Voyager crew suffers from a sort of childish naivete that might endear them to a younger viewer!

    _Death Wish_ is about Quinn trying to commit suicide, so that maaay not be for an 8-year-old... (Then again, I can't really say what would be good or not for that age - just cautioning)

    You're right, but him being Q, he was rather cheery about it, wasn't he? Or am I remembering it wrong? None of the ST shows ever really got the concept of "dark" quite right (not even DS9 in my opinion, which mistook serial tragedy for darkness). So let's strike that episode off the list...

    My 10yo daughter and I have been watching the original series and she totally gets it and enjoys it. At least that's what she tells me ;) and she asks to watch them. Although she is a genius...

    Disagree strongly on several points. My parents started me on TOS and TNG around age six, thereby instilling a lifelong love of the franchise. Believe me, all eight-year-old girls are already well aware that men outnumber women in media. She won't even notice. The conversation in TOS isn't difficult, and special effects and culture will go right over her head. I agree that DS9 should be last- I hated it as a child because it was poorly lit. As for TNG being too cerebral, children are smater than you give them credit for.

    Great recommendations, but "children love Q"....really? "children love pyschopaths"?

    You're probably thinking of TNG episode 1 Q. He was later 'arrested' by the Q Continuum and reformed. In the Voyager era, he is more a mischief maker, and even an occasional ally.

    I could see Voyager being great for kids. I think that's a good suggestion. I'm biased against TOS because I'm almost 30 and I still can't sit through it.

    I was a child when TOS was all there was, and I **loved it**. On the other hand, I had no interest in Babylon 5 until I saw the second to last episode of season four (Ivanova's meltdown to Dr. Franklin regarding Marcus) and that one scene was so good I had to watch all of seasons 1-4. Still, playing too much with viewing orders that are wildly different from the order of release always seems like a bad idea to me. -1

    Answer might benefit from including Discovery now

    When my daughter was 8, we started with the Animated Series. The episodes are shorter, and the quality of the stories is very good. With original episode writers and cast, it feels like TOS. She loved Mr. Spock.

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