Star Trek: An Introduction/Viewer Guide

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Star Trek: An Introduction


Startrekintro.png
01 The future
02 Starfleet
03 Viewer Guide
04 Learn more

 

From Star Trek's first air date in 1966 through the present, there have been 715 episodes (some feature length), six series – The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise – and 12 cinematic movies released on the big screen - not to mention the numerous fan works and movies that you can find on the internet.

Where to watch


In the United States, if you have access to Netflix, you can see all the series as part of your subscription. Amazon Prime members also get access to most of the series.

Amazon also has every Star Trek episode and movie available for purchase from just about anywhere in the world.

Viewing order


We're going to assume that you don't have enough time on your hands to dive into a full-on marathon. But for the sake of reference, here's are the viewing orders if you plan on really diving-in:

  • Recommended viewing order
    • The Original Series
    • The Animated Series
    • Feature films 1 - 6
    • The Next Generation
    • Deep Space Nine
    • Feature films 7 - 9
    • Voyager
    • Feature film 10
    • Enterprise
  • Chronological order
    • Enterprise
    • The Original Series
    • The Animated Series
    • Feature films 1 - 6
    • The Next Generation
    • Deep Space Nine
    • Feature films 7 - 9
    • Voyager
    • Feature film 10


The Top 10 episodes


Thankfully, you don't need to watch every episode to understand the show and the basics of the universe within it. In this section, we will discuss episodes that best demonstrate the Star Trek universe, as well as the idea of the show.

While we could easily make a top 30 or even 50 list, this list is pared down to 10, with recommendations, should you wish to investigate further. This list is in no particular order - feel free to skip around.

  • "Measure of a Man"
    • The Next Generation, Season 2, Episode 9
This episode showcases a bit of the structure, as well as an excellent example of one of the strengths of the Star Trek franchise - a look at contemporary and past issues given a new look, so that they can be examined. The episode is about Data, who is being ordered by Starfleet Command to surrender himself to disassembly. The trial is about his right to choose.
  • "Lower Decks"
    • The Next Generation, Season 7, Episode 15
This episode takes a brief diversion from the main cast and focuses on several minor officers, and how they see what the ship does. It contains a look into some of the main cast’s characters, and examines some of the issues of being a Starfleet officer. It’s also a very well written episode.
  • "In The Pale Moonlight"
    • Deep Space Nine, Season 6, Episode 19
This episode is more told from one character’s viewpoint, but shows the state of Starfleet during the Dominion War. It is about one man’s decision and where it leads him - to seemingly violate the Federation’s ethics in order to save it. In the end, it’s a confession.
  • "City on the Edge of Forever"
    • The Original Series, Season 1, Episode 28
One of the more powerful episodes of the series. This addresses a what-if scenario. Kirk and Spock must stop McCoy from changing the past. During it, Kirk falls in love with a woman taking care of the homeless. However, saving her changed the world, and now they have to deal with the aftermath. Sometimes.. doing what’s right, means doing something that is painful.
  • "Living Witness"
    • Voyager, Season 4, Episode 23
This tells a version of Voyager from the perspective of a race before the Doctor was accidentally activated. The result of him arguing Voyager’s case changes the two worlds forever. It deals with the conflict of two desires : the desire to see historical truth and the desire to do no harm.
  • "Best of Both Worlds"
    • The Next Generation, Season 3, Episode 26 & Season 4, Episode 1
This introduces the Borg to the Federation, with the climatic battle at Wolf 359 - but it starts with Picard being assimilated. This is a major event in the Federation’s history, to the point where you can divide the universe into post and pre Wolf 359.
  • "Nor The Battle to the Strong"
    • Deep Space Nine, Season 5, Episode 4
This follows Jake Sisko, who’s traveling with Bashir. The two are diverted to an outpost where they urgently need medical aid - they’re under attack by the Klingons. What follows is Jake trying to write about the experience as he fights off his fear of the attack.
  • "Balance of Terror"
    • The Original Series Season 1, Episode 8
One of the original classics, this contains the story of two ships in a cat and mouse game. It introduces the Romulans, and some of their ancestry to us. It also establishes the Earth-Romulan War, and the “primitive technology” of the era. Great echos of submarine drama.
  • "Duet"
    • Deep Space Nine, Season 1, Episode 19
This is an early Deep Space Nine episode. The Cardassians had just left Bajor, and they run across one of the Cardassians running a concentration camp on Bajor. The XO of the station, Major Kira, wants to try him for capital crimes. However, an investigation reveals that not all is all it seems. It is an excellent example of the terrible price that vengeance can pay, and why justice is not vengeance.
  • "Kir’Shara"
    • Enterprise, Season 4, Episode 9
This is the end of an arc episode (so if you want the fuller picture, I would start at "The Forge," which is Episode 7), but it shows the formation of the Federation in a sense - with the rediscovery of the writings of Surak. I’d say more, but it’d ruin the episode.

Additional Recommendations


  • The Original Series
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
    • "Court Martial"
    • "The Trouble with Tribbles"


  • The Next Generation
    • "Drumhead"
    • "Tapestry"
    • "The First Duty"
    • "Darmok"
    • "The Wounded"
    • "The Offspring"
    • "Rightful Heir"
    • "The Pegasus"
    • "Relics"
  • Deep Space Nine
    • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
    • "It's Only a Paper Moon"
    • "The Siege of AR-558"
    • "Visionary"
    • "Sacrifice of Angels"
    • "Whispers"


  • Voyager
    • "Dark Frontier"
    • "The Thaw"
    • "The Void"
    • "Deathwish"
    • "Life Line"
    • "Critical Care"
  • Enterprise
    • "Cogenitor"
    • "Demons"
    • "Terra Prime"


Credits


Thanks to Nicholas (Ceciri Hakashri) for compiling the viewing order.


Ensigns Orientation