By Justin Higginbotham
March 16, 2021
Star Trek began as a nearly rejected pilot in 1966 and has prospered into one of the world’s most renowned franchises with 7 shows, 2 animated series, and 13 films. With 5 separate completed shows, there are bound to be some that work better than others, and there absolutely are. Starting with those that don’t are:
5. Star Trek: Enterprise
Airing in 2001, Enterprise is the most recent of the completed series, and in my opinion, is the worst. Enterprise follows the crew of the First exploration vessel to leave earth, the U.S.S Enterprise. The crew of the ship all lack personality and any traits worth of interest, the crew is mostly made up of humans who completely disregard the multicultural open-mindedness of the series’ predecessors. There is no single episode worth watching, the show is a boring drag across space already explored in other series with a bland crew whose only character traits seem to be reactionary.
4. Star Trek: The Original Series
Airing in 1966, Star Trek serves now as a hallmark of the era. Booming in popularity, the multicultural crew of the Starship Enterprise heavily influenced the viewers’ perceptions of the world around them with the crew’s open-minded and progressive views and interactions with new alien species. With the set and special effects of a 1966 TV show, much of the poor quality effects add to the charm and style of the show. Despite its incredible legacy, Star Trek fails when it comes to the writing on many episodes, boring and confusing plotlines litter the show with few gems hidden within.
3.Star Trek: The Next Generation
Often hailed as the greatest series in the franchise, the next generation follows the adventures of the Next Generation of the Enterprise crew. The Next Generation is renowned for oftentimes tackling strong philosophical issues and problems. The crew, though more developed than the crew of the Original Series, is often criticized as being static and unchanging throughout the series. Many of the characters do seem to get stale throughout the show, yet this is balanced by the never-ending interesting and thought-provoking stories throughout the show that oftentimes can be missed in the action and techno-babble of a sci-fi show.
2. Star Trek: Voyager
Taking place on a starship stranded on the other side of the galaxy, the crew of the Voyager is made of two opposing forces who must work together out of necessity. The Maqui, an anti-colonizer rebel terrorist organization who the Voyager was sent to apprehend must learn to get along with the ship’s crew and assimilate themselves into a Starfleet setting. Though at first the crew seems bland and uninteresting with little development, this is proved wrong as you slowly learn more and more traits of the crew that give them more intrigue and depth, eventually featuring what proves to be one of the most well-represented autistic coded characters in modern television. Voyager is often regarded as one of the worst series in the franchise, oftentimes those critics seem to care more about the show featuring the franchise’s first female captain than they do about the quality of the writing or production.
1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The most unique of the franchise, Deep Space Nine takes place on a space station near a planet that has recently gained its independence from their colonizers in a bloody rebellion who now live under an unstable provisional government. The crew consists of a large amount of black and LGBTQ+ representation for its time with the inclusion of multiple gay or gay coded main characters and the first Black captain and his family. Many issues and struggles black people face are clearly discussed in this show, instead of taking the form of analogies on alien worlds. Every single character is given heavy consideration and care in their writing, the show’s creator states “There is more development in the least developed character on DS9 than there is on the most developed character on The Next Generation” anyone who has seen the shows can easily see the truth in this statement as a villain’s background henchman one season can develop into an interesting and well-written character with astounding depth and quality in the next. Deep Space Nine is easily the best show in the franchise, and most likely always will be.
With a multitude of new Star Trek series in development, the franchise is soon to expand once more. Regardless of their quality, all of the series have helped to explore and develop the universe of the show, and have even helped to explore many issues not often discussed in television, with this, the generations of Star Trek show creators use their writing to “Go where no man has gone before.”