Star Trek

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For other uses of the term, see Star Trek (disambiguation).

Name: Star Trek
Abbreviation(s): ST
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Date(s): 1966-1969 The Original Series

1973-1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series
1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
1987-1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation
1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
1993-1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
1994 Star Trek Generations
1995-2001 Star Trek: Voyager
1996 Star Trek: First Contact
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection
2001-2005 Star Trek: Enterprise
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis
2009 Star Trek (2009)
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness
2016 Star Trek Beyond
2017- Star Trek: Discovery
2018- Star Trek: Short Treks

2019- Star Trek: Picard
Medium: Television series, movie series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Trek. The Mother Fandom. The one that boldly took us where no fandom had before. There were other sources before it that had appealed strongly to women and young adults, especially Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, The Saint, Secret Agent, The Avengers (TV), Route 66, The Wild Wild West, The Prisoner and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but nothing grabbed us quite like Star Trek. Trek became the first fanzine-based media fandom, and Kirk/Spock, of course, the first publicly acknowledged slash pairing, and the source of the word 'slash' (and 'pairing') itself.

Star Trek: The Original Series

Star Trek: The Original Series originally ran for three seasons on television. It has a very active fanbase that started from nearly the moment the show debuted and still flourishes today. Fans have not only kept this series alive after it was nearly canceled after its second season, but also kept it going through many years where there was no new material with their production of fanworks, their organization of conventions and their devotion to their fandom. The popularity of the show in reruns eventually brought about its resurrection as one of the large media franchises.

Although Star Trek featured a large (and diverse) supporting cast, the main characters were the triad -- Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock and Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy. They serve on the starship Enterprise, exploring the furthest parts of the galaxy and protecting the United Federation of Planets from hostile aliens. A product of the 1960s, the premise of Star Trek blends the then-popular Western show -- in which gunslingers traveled from town to town each week solving local problems -- with modern concerns like civil rights and the morality of war. Through science fiction, these things could be addressed in a mostly non-controversial fashion.

Gene Roddenberry was the producer and heavily involved in the first two seasons, and was replaced by Fred Freiberger. It was finally canceled in the 1969 after what many fans and critics felt to be disappointing and unsatisfying changes made to both the scripts and characterizations. [1]

Star Trek was revived as an animated series (TAS) in the 70s by Filmation & Norway Corp., and as a series of films in the 80s and 90s by Paramount. A Star Trek movie had been proposed years before, but was rushed into production soon after 1977's Star Wars. Far more successful than the TV series, the blockbuster Trek films funded the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A current trend as viewed on, as well as through other sites, is that ST:TOS is being discovered by a number of people from countries outside of the United States. Many new fans have found it through the internet, international syndication or by buying the DVDs and other media.

Another attractor to the fandom are the reboot films, Star Trek and its sequels, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation was similar to the Star Trek: TOS concept: a large, diverse crew on a ship called the Enterprise travels the galaxy, meets aliens, and spreads goodwill. This time, the ship was even bigger, and there were more aliens. TNG brings the Star Trek timeline a century forward to the 24th Century, a time in which the Federation that the characters belong to has become a stable galactic power. The militarism of Star Trek is toned down with more focus on diplomacy.

Not successful at first, the show lurched forward until the third season when it found its feet with the introduction of the Borg as arch-villains. TNG ultimately ran an unheard of (for a science fiction show) seven seasons, bowing out by choice to make way for a series of movies starring the cast. Hugely popular, TNG is the only other Star Trek series to rival the main cast in media familiarity.

TNG is what made Star Trek big in other countries, like Germany, where the Star Trek fan clubs in the 1990s grew rapidly and the fan scene was very active.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the third live-action TV show of the Star Trek franchise. It takes place on a space station on the edge of the Alpha Quadrant. DS9 is arguably the most ethnically and gender diverse show in the ST universe, with multiple characters of color and female characters in lead positions. Due to the station setting, it concentrated less on boldly going and more on dealing with the ramifications of changing alliances and reconstruction; political intrigue, religion, and conflicting loyalties are major themes. DS9 was also much darker in its depiction of both the future in general and the Federation in particular.

As a contemporary of Babylon 5, another science fiction show about a space station, these shows were often compared, the fandoms deeply divided, and there was much discussion about the influence of B5 on DS9.

Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Voyager is the fourth live-action television series set in the Star Trek universe. After three shows focusing on a male captain, Voyager features the first female captain as the main character of a Star Trek franchise. The premise of the series was a return to Star Trek roots after DS9 - ship-based exploration with Voyager being stranded and lost in the unexplored Delta Quadrant. As TNG had already established that the Delta Quadrant was the home of the Borg, Voyager's later seasons added popular character Seven of Nine and delved deeply into the backstory of the cyborg baddies.

Widely panned, Ron D. Moore would get fired from the Star Trek franchise after this show and later use his frustrations with the premise to reboot Battlestar Galactica.

Star Trek: Enterprise

Star Trek: Enterprise was the fifth live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe. It was a prequel, set earlier in the timeline than any of the other series, and intended to show how the United Federation of Planets came to be. Despite a change in showrunners in the third and fourth season, Enterprise ultimately only lasted four seasons, the first show since TOS to be canceled by the network.

Some fans followed Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap fandom, others came to Enterprise from broader Star Trek fandom.

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009) is the 11th movie in the Star Trek universe. It is a successful reboot of the original series with an alternate timeline that does not affect the preexisting Star Trek canon in the TOS era. Same characters, different actors, new adventures, and everything is possible.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness is the 12th movie in the Star Trek universe. It is set a few months/years after the events of Star Trek 2009.

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is the 13th movie in the Star Trek Universe. It is set approximately three years into the five year mission (stardate 2263.02)

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery was the sixth live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe. It was a prequel, set in 2256, earlier in the timeline than TOS. It featured a main female character who was not a Starfleet captain, Michael Burnham, but the adopted human daughter of Sarek and Amanda, and therefore a previously unknown (to the audience) sister to Spock (and Sybok). Season 1 follows her career downfall and path to redemption. Discovery was the first Star Trek series offered on the subscription service, CBS All Access (plus Bell Media's Space, Z and Crave in Canada, and Netflix internationally). During the hiatus between Seasons 1 and 2, four Short Treks were released, mini-episodes drawing on aspects of the parent show.

Season 2 reintroduced Captain Christopher Pike, Number One and Spock, not long after their adventure in The Cage, the first TOS pilot. Season 3 sees a fresh story arc following the USS Discovery in its new location in space and time, as predicted in the Short Treks episode, "Calypso".

Star Trek: Short Treks

During the hiatus between Seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, four Short Treks mini-episodes were released on CBS All Access, drawing on aspects of Star Trek: Discovery. They also became available with Season 2 on Netflix internationally. During the next hiatus, six new "Short Treks", from several points in the continuum, included three mini-episodes with Spock, Pike and Number One, and one leading in to Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard was the seventh live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe. A two-decades later sequel to events chronicled in Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek (2009), it featured Jean-Luc Picard and the political fallout from the destruction of the Romulan homeworld. It was the second Star Trek series offered on the subscription service, CBS All Access (and Bell Media's Space, Z and Crave in Canada), but the first for Amazon Prime internationally.

Star Trek Characters and Pairings

Star Trek Conventions

Star Trek Zines

Star Trek Novels

The Star Trek franchise has also spawned a series of non-canonical tie-in novels. Many fans went from writing fanfiction to pro novels for the first time.

Previously, the Star Trek novels were only allowed to be single-book adventures with no ongoing storyline or characters. With the end of Star Trek on television, these rules were relaxed. Currently, the majority of books published concentrate on the continuing adventures of the characters in the 24th Century storyline. Novel-only spin-off series include the DS9 Relaunch, an ongoing season eight for DS9, and Titan, the adventures of the now Captain Riker on his deep space exploration ship.

Starting with the "New Frontier" series by Peter David, the line expanded to include novel-only series. Other novel-only series include Starfleet Corp of Engineers and Vanguard, set on a Federation space station in Kirk's time.

The tie-in novels are not very popular with many fans and there is much discussion about them, and why they fail, in letterzines. Despite their paracanonical status, some details from the books have become fanon or canon. For example, Hikaru Sulu did not have a first name in canon until Star Trek VI, when a name used in novels was adopted.[2]

Fans have created fansites to collect information about the novels and other licensed Trek-related materials: see below.

Star Trek Canon

Star Trek's canon has been a matter of some debate for the Star Trek fandom. Some things are almost universally agreed upon, such as the non-canon status of the various novelizations[3] and the animated series, both of which were decided by Gene Roddenberry.[citation needed] In contrast, it is a good rule to say that all TV episodes (with the exception of the aforementioned animated series) as well as all movies are canon, although some argue that all content that was not specifically "Roddenberry-approved" is not canon. This would include all Star Trek media after his death in 1991: six movies, the nearly half of The Next Generation's episodes of which Roddenberry was not involved in, and every season of all proceeding three TV series, with the exception of the first season of Deep Space Nine, which Roddenberry, while not involved in the writing process, gave his approval on. The argument of approved-Roddenberry canon is also argued against by the fact that Roddenberry notoriously changed canon on an episode-by-episode basis.

Star Trek and Star Wars

from The Sehlat's Roar #5, Gordon Carleton,

"What do you mean you're all standing in line to see 'Star Wars'?! That's mutiny, mister!"

"Yes, sir -- I guess it is."

For more on the effect of Star Wars on Star Trek fandom and the differences, similarities, and conflicts between the two, see Star Trek and Star Wars.

Star Trek and Profit

Where there are fans, there is profit to be had.

The producers of Star Trek had been a little slow in realizing the profit that could be made from fans. It wasn't until Equicon 1974 that Paramount Studios began taking notice of some of the merchandising opportunities beneath the Star Trek franchise. From a notice in the pocket program:

ILLEGAL SALE OF Star Trek ITEMS cannot be constantly policed by EQUICON -- nor do we want to do it -- but infractions will be reported, and purchasers risk losing both money illegally-bought items! It's too bad the practice takes place, since sale of illegal ST items is, in fact, STEALING from people who would get the legal royalties -- the creator of the show & ST people! Supporting this very un-Star Trek philosophy is highly illogical for anyone calling himself a FAN!

AMT and Lincoln Enterprises will soon have phasers and other items for legal sale: be patient!

Anyone caught selling (legal or illegal) items anywhere on the convention floor outside of the Sales Room will be charged a $25 table fee. The ONLY exception is fanzine -- amateur publications -- which may be carried around and sold out-of-hand.
some 1994 commentary by Glenn Lash, printed in A Difficult Concept: "'1970: Star Trek?! Nobody's interested in that dog! Leave it to Lincoln Enterprises! I've got bigger fish to fry!' 1994: "... We've got the two TV series, with another in the works, the movies, 4 lines of books, 3 comics, videos, toys, board games, t-shirts, that QVC crap... Hey! Isn't it about time for a new cartoon series?!'"

The official marketing people's slow response's to fan demand regarding Star Trek merchandise was evident to Franz Joseph, a fan who'd created a set of detailed blueprints. Before the 1974 convention, Joseph had attempted to get permission to sell his creation he had titled Booklet of General Plans. These plans later became the Star Fleet Technical Manual:

...months later, with a major Trek convention approaching, Joseph had still not received official permission to sell his work. Bypassing Roddenberry, he made a one-time deal with Paramount to sell the “General Plans” (the Enterprise blueprints) at the upcoming convention. Equicon 1974 took place in Los Angeles from April 12–14. Of the 500 copies of the General Plans Joseph had prepared, 410 sold immediately; 450 requests for additional copies were taken on postcards. Paramount, which received Joseph’s royalty check shortly thereafter, sensed it was on to something, and began negotiating for a mass-market release of both the General Plans and the still-growing Technical Manual. The results exceeded all expectations. The blueprints went on sale across the nation on May 24, 1975, selling out within two hours. By May 28, 50,000 additional copies had sold, prompting Ballantine to print 100,000 more. [4]
"Rent These People," a blunt reminder in the 1976 Equicon program book that the days of the casual fancons had waned, and getting celebrity guests of honor at your con was big business

Gene Roddenberry, however, realized the untapped market early on, and it was what propelled the very successful Lincoln Enterprises.

Once TPTB observed the voraciousness of fans' desire to buy all things Trek, they swung into action. This led to a common topic in newsletters and other fan correspondence -- that of the gullible fan who'd buy anything. From a fan in 1976: "I'm sure we all shudder when we stop to think about the sheer amount of $$ we put into our collections of ST memorabilia. Yes, I know it's for love or whatever, but it's still $$$... There are dealers at all the cons selling garbage... [such as] very poor quality offset or litho photographs... I stood and talked to dealers who have admitted that... Trekkies will buy anything and they are out for the big bucks." [5] From a fan in 1979: "This month several professional magazines, which are often referred to as prozines as the opposite of fanzines, will be the target for discussion. It is an indication of Star Trek's endurability that some of these attempts are only suitable for lining birdcages - the assumption is that Trek fans will buy anything, no matter how simple-minded the content. The brevity of their appearance is eloquent testimony as to the fallacy of this opinion. [("All About Star Trek Fan Clubs" (dreadful), "Media Spotlight" (not too bad), "Science Fantasy Film Classics" (very good)." [6] From a fan in 1988: "It is true that many fans will buy anything that has the words "Star Trek" on it, and that is sad, for in their zeal to own everything Trek-ish, people are getting ripped off." [7]

It was also profit that changed the nature of conventions. No longer did the celebrities attend cons for the cost of their travel, or for a very nominal fee. Instead, convention guests demanded large fees, something that propelled all sorts of other changes in how fans interacted with each other -- socially in person, via zines and other fanworks, and visibility.


Star Trek vs. Traditional Science Fiction Fandom

See Science Fiction Fandom vs. Media Fandom.

The huge influx of Star Trek fans in the late 1960s and the 1970s were an example of some of "free range" fannishness. There were many, many instances of the old school, general science fiction fans being very unhappy with the influx of Star Trek fans who they felt to be huge mobs who were uneducated in the ways of fandom; folks who didn't know the language, didn't know the customs, hadn't "paid their dues," were female[8], hadn't learned at the knees of the "right" people, supposedly weren't interested in "real" science fiction, and supposedly invaded traditional fannish places. And vice versa: Star Trek fans found the general SF/sf fans to be hostile, unwelcoming, snobbish, rigid, and overwhelmingly male. The culture clash was huge and long-lived and a major source of discussion.

Naturally, as Star Trek / media fandom became more established, it developed its own set of "in"-speak and ground rules. With the publication of slash fanfiction in the 1980s paranoia about using U.S. mail to distribute pornography created a clandestine, underground atmosphere. "Gatekeeper" practices evolved, with the word feral used to describe people who began participating in Trek fandom without an introduction.

Star Trek and Other Early Media Fandoms

See Star Trek and Star Wars.

See: Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek.

See: Star Trek and Starsky & Hutch.

See: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Influence on the Sime~Gen Universe. (much talk about Trek)

See Darkover and Star Trek.

Meta/Further Reading

External Links


  1. See some October 1980 remarks by Fred Freiberger in an interview with Starlog #39.
  2. Hikaru_Sulu on Memory Alpha (accessed 19 October 2011)
  3. Initially, the novelizations were forced to conform to canon also.
  4. Franz Joseph and Star Trek’s Blueprint Culture posted March 11, 2012.
  5. The Halkan Council #14 (January 1976)
  6. TREKisM #3 (January 1979
  7. Beyond the Farthest Star #3 (July 1988)
  8. "For a paper on the early history of Star Trek fan fiction, I've tried to estimate the sex ratio in science fiction zine publishing during the 1960s, and the sex ratio in early Trek zine fandom: SF Fanzine Publishers of the 1960s: about 17% female. Star Trek Zine Fans: 1967-71: about 83% female" -- Fan Fiction Statistics: How much fan fiction is there on the web? How many fans? Who are they? (2000), Archived version Keep in mind that female SF fans, like female pro SF writers, often used male names and personae.