Star Trek is not just a TV show, or 5 TV shows; it is a
cultural experience. The original "Star Trek" began in the 1960's
when there was little scifi around in TV or movies. NBC viewed the
show as a children's show, even though it was clearly written on an
adult level. The show was canceled after two seasons but brought
back for a third season after a massive fan write-in campaign.
you've been living in a cave, you know that the original Trek was about
a starship exploring space. Captain Kirk and his crew met new
aliens every week. The show was one of the first of its kind to have a
multi-racial cast and deal with "issues" of the day. Many of us
grew up watching the show in re-runs and its fan base grew larger and
larger, even though it was off the air. It's optimism about the
future and a better mankind are just part of what makes the show so
popular. The cast returned for their first movie in 1979, due in
part to the success of "Star Wars". 6 more movies followed with the
In 1987, the first spin-off, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" debuted
in syndication. It was hugely successful, even more than the
original series, and lasted for 8 years. The show followed the
same basic formula as the original Trek. The Next Gen cast took
over in the movies, starting from "Star Trek: Generations" in 1994.
They made 3 more movies, but each was less successful.
In 1993, the next spin-off, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" debuted,
also in syndication. This series was still about a Starfleet crew,
but they ran a space station instead of a starship. This was the
first and only Trek series to have a black commander, and his
second-in-command were both women. Two of Next Gen's characters (Worf
and O'Brien) joined the cast of DS9. The show featured many aliens
and also an intergalactic war. The show lasted 6 years.
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of all of the Star Trek series, died
just toward the end of Next Gen, but DS9 was already in the works.
His vision lived on. His second-in-command during Next Gen, Rick
Berman, took over, assisted ably by Michael Piller.
The next Trek spin-off was "Star Trek: Voyager". This show went
back to the original formula of a starship that was exploring space.
However, this crew was stranded in another galaxy, the Delta Quadrant.
While they tried to get back home, they explored and met up with aliens,
many of them hostile. This was the first Trek show to have a woman
The last Star Trek spin-off was "Enterprise" (later renamed "Star
Trek: Enterprise"). This was a prequel show about Captain Archer
and his crew, the first Starfleet Enterprise to explore space. It
is set in the near-future, at the beginning of the formation of
Starfleet and the Federation. Writers had to be careful not to
mess with the history that fans already knew from the other shows.
It was canceled in May, 2005 after 4 years.
A new Star Trek movie came out in 2010. It was very successful and there
will be a sequel.