Star Trek collectively refers to an American science-fiction franchise spanning six unique television series (which comprise 726 episodes) and thirteen feature films, in addition to hundreds of novels, computer and video games, fan stories, and other works of fiction—all of which are set within the same fictional universe created by Gene Roddenberry during the mid-1960s. Since its debut, Star Trek has become one of the most popular names in the history of science fiction entertainment, and one of the most popular franchises in television history.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- Star Trek: The Animated Series
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Star Trek: Voyager
- Star Trek: Enterprise
- Star Trek: Discovery
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Star Trek Generations
- Star Trek: First Contact
- Star Trek: Insurrection
- Star Trek Nemesis
- Star Trek
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- Star Trek Beyond
Internet series (Fan films)
About Star Trek
- I’m always amused when Ted Cruz says that ‘Star Trek’ is his favorite television show. Because I don’t think there is any world where Star Trek is anything but a progressive, liberal vision of the future — in which big government is a good thing, and we can all get along. It’s a utopian ethos that is a result of one world government, and not exceptionalism of any particular country.
- Mark A. Altman, "‘Star Trek’ turns 50 today. What would creator Gene Roddenberry think of life in 2016?", by Michael Cavna, Washington Post, (September 8, 2016).
- One reason why Star Trek has endured from one generation to the next is that most of the stories themselves are indeed moral fables. Though the episodes are obviously self-contained, when taken as a whole they constitute a harmonious philosophy filled with hope. While our Star Trek heroes are far from perfect, they are nonetheless essentially decent beings whose interaction with "new life and new civilizations" is always guided by nobility and morality.
- Judith Barad, The Ethics of Star Trek, (2000: xi) as qtd. in Robert H. Chaires, Bradley Stewart Chilton, Star Trek Visions of Law and Justice, (2003).
- As it turns out, it is possible to name a movie or two, in which the captain or supervisor or organization aren't a blithering idiots. The Fugitive, The Silence of the Lambs, and Apollo 13 all show institutions and public officials functioning well. Incidentally, they were all big hits. One of the core differences between Star Wars and Star Trek lies in how those two franchises treat the question of civilization. In the cosmos of George Lucas, not a single institution is shown functioning or doing its job. Once. At all. Ever. In contrast, Trek always loved to chew on questions like when and how the social compact might work, or fail, or need adjustment, or call for flexibility, or be handled differently by alien minds. Civilization — along with its laws and codes and contradictions — is often a major character in each show. A participant, subject to scrutiny, skepticism, but also sometimes praise. But of course, Star Trek always was an exception to every rule.
- I would have loved to have done a Star Trek crossover. The very first year, we talked about it. Then Star Trek finally went off air. Landing the Tardis on board the Enterprise would have been magnificent. Can you imagine what their script department would have wanted, and what I would have wanted? It would have been the biggest battle.
- Star Trek often has starships facing each other at close range, making everyone think, “That Admiral Nelson was really on to something with those sailing ships and broadside cannon battles!” While Star Trek is the archetype, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars also feature ships facing off like the British against the French at Trafalgar. After travelling billions of miles and using entire solar systems as their battlegrounds, they fight to the death at ranges of a few feet.
- Captains Kirk and Picard on Star Trek are one-man SEAL teams fighting the enemy whenever they decide to take a break from their real jobs commanding starships, even though they have crews of literally several hundred other people better suited to fighting than the ship’s captain.
- Carl Forsling, *When It Comes To The Military, SciFi Movies Are Missing The Mark", Task and Purpose, (December 1, 2014).
- Star Trek is not like any other show because it is one unique vision, and if you agree with Gene Roddenberry's vision for the future, you should be locked up somewhere. It's wacky doodle, but it's his wacky doodle. If you can't deal with that, you can't do the show. There are rules on top of rules on top of rules...Gene sees this pollyanish view of the future where everything is going to be fine...I don't believe it, but you have to suppress all that and put it aside. You suspend your own feelings and your own beliefs, and you get with his vision...or you get rewritten.
- Maurice Hurley in Starlog issue 152, p. 29.
- Because creator Gene Roddenberry believed in showing the essential humanity of all sentient species regardless of their planet of origin, extraterrestrial nonhumans also let us look at real psychological processes. While Star Trek explores many aspects of human nature, key issues keep reappearing, particularly those of importance to understanding and resolving conflicts between diverse peoples. Even the ongoing struggle between logic and emotion usually manifests as a cultural issue.
- Each Star Trek series’ cast includes a main character who seeks to understand human emotion: Spock the Vulcan-human hybrid (Star Trek, known to fans as The Original Series - TOS); Data the android (Star Trek: The Next Generation - TNG); Odo the shapeshifter (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - DS9); Tuvok the Vulcan and the Voyager's holographic Doctor (Star Trek: Voyager - VGR); and yet another Vulcan, T’Pol, a female for once (Star Trek: Enterprise - ENT). While the Vulcans suppress strong emotions beneath the veneer of logic, emotionless Data seeks to become more human and Odo, capable of mimicking human beings, dispassionately observes human nature with curiosity, rarely envy.
- Star Trek is an optimistic franchise, full of hope for the human race collectively and as individuals. Gene Roddenberry envisioned many struggles ahead of us and many advancements for the whole of humankind. He expected great things for the human condition. Positive psychology can make great use of Roddenberry's creations.
- Travis Langley, “Star Trek: The Mental Frontier”, Psychology Today, (Sep 05, 2012).
- Moore: Star Trek has very, very strong bones. The original concept was just very strong and, at the same time, flexible. You could play a lot of different kinds of stories in the idea of a starship boldly going, arriving in a new society, a completely alien world. You could play with a whole series of sets of problems and adventures with a starship crew and this society and then leave at the end of the episode and go do it again next week. There’s just a huge canvas of stories you can tell. You can just keep riffing on that. It wasn’t such a challenge to reinvent it. Even J.J.’s work… there just had been so much Star Trek by that point that it kind of needed to wipe the slate clean and start over. It wasn’t that Trek lacked imagination; it was just that the franchise had been burdened down by its own continuity.
- Interviewer: Frank Hunt asks: What were the most important lessons you took away (as a writer and producer) from your time working on Star Trek?
- Moore: That it’s all about the characters and that you really have to be willing to dig into the characters and make it about the people and understand them. That means sitting in rooms for hours on end and arguing about who these people really are. It’s about trying to challenge the characters and challenge yourself. It’s really the lifeblood of television. It’s what it’s all about. People tune into these shows again and again not for the plot of the week and not because they want to be wowed by visual effects. They tune into the show because they fall in love with the characters. They fall in love with Kirk and Spock and Sisko and Janeway and Picard and Data. They want to see those people again. So it’s all about the characters, and that’s the most important thing I learned at Trek.
- Ronald D. Moore "You Ask The Q's, Ronald D. Moore Answers, Part 2", StarTrek.com, Apr 3, 2013
- Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.
- Believability is everything, is it the most essential element of any Star Trek story.
- While the Enterprise's mission is ostensibly "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before," its function is really more akin to that naval vessels in the early age of mercantilism. In describing the similarities, series creator Gene Roddenberry noted: "In those days ships of the major powers were assigned to patrol specific areas of the world's oceans. They represented their governments in those areas and protected the national interests of their respective countries. Our of contact with the admiralty office back home for long periods of time, the captains of these ships had very broad discretionary powers. These included regulating trade, fighting bush wars, putting down slave traders, lending aid to scientific expeditions conducting exploration on a broad scale, [and] engaging in diplomatic exchanges and affairs....
- “It’s made clear and emphasized several times in the course of the show that the Federation does not have money,” Saadia says in Episode 205 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “You have Captain Picard saying, ‘We’ve overcome hunger and greed, and we’re no longer interested in the accumulation of things.'”
- “What really makes sense in the Star Trek universe and Star Trek society is to compete for reputation,” he says. “What is not abundant in Star Trek’s universe is the captain’s chair.”
- I love the Ferengi because they are sort of a parody of the 1990s or 2000s American acquisitive businessman. … The Ferengi are really ignoble, really awful people, and they’re really funny as a result. But they do change over time. When you watch the whole arc of the Ferengi in Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi, just by contact with the Federation, become more like the Federation, they become Keynesian social democrats, by the end. Suddenly you have the right to have unions and strikes, and there’s health care for everybody. … I always thought that this story of the Ferengi becoming more humanitarian just by contact with the Federation was a metaphor for all of us becoming better by watching Star Trek.
- The Borg are such great villains because they’re so similar to the Federation, when you think about it. The Borg have perfect allocation of goods, and supply and demand, and everybody is connected to everybody in the beehive, and they just seem to be extremely efficient. They’re also the other society in Star Trek that could be characterized as ‘post-scarcity.’ Any Borg drone never wants or needs anything, it’s always provided by the Collective. So it is the mirror image—and the dangerous image, almost—of what a society that is both redistributive and satiated could look like. It’s almost as if the writers tried to incorporate the criticism of the society they propose.
- Manu Saadia in "The Economic Lessons of Star Trek’s Money-Free Society", WIRED, (5/28/2016).
- The truth is that, in certain ways, Thiel’s philosophy of tech aligns well with “Star Trek.” In the Trekiverse, technological progress is inseparable from society and politics. As even quasi-fans will recall, the TV shows and films feature a machine called the replicator, which can produce any inanimate matter on demand—food, drink, warp-drive parts. (In his interview with Dowd, Thiel calls this device the “transporter,” in what can only be a swipe at nerds. Surely he knows better.) The replicator solves, albeit fictionally, what John Maynard Keynes once called “the economic question”—that is, the imbalance between supply and demand, and the resulting need for markets and price mechanisms to allocate scarce resources. The society of “Star Trek” has decided not to exact a fee for the use of the machine. Thus the replicator can be an engine both for the equal distribution of wealth and for personal enrichment. It does not bring about social change on its own. The post-scarcity world in “Star Trek” is the result of a political decision, not of pure technological progress.
What is anathema to Thiel in “Star Trek” is the notion, drawn from Isaac Asimov’s fiction, that the market is but a temporary solution to imbalances in supply and demand, and that technology and plenty will eventually make it obsolete. “Star Trek” replicators are nothing but Asimov’s robots disguised as coffee machines, let loose on the world as a public good. They dissolve the need for a pricing mechanism. They represent the logical endpoint of the Industrial Revolution, when all human labor has been offloaded onto machines. “Star Trek” and Asimov remind us that the market and all the behaviors associated with it are temporary and historically contingent. If that is so, then what Thiel thinks of human nature and motivations—that people are competitive, acquisitive, greedy—is temporary and contingent, too.
- “Star Trek” points to a future in which human civilization is advanced enough to provide everyone with the basic necessities of life. It also shows us the ways in which we have already achieved that society, even if we have not decided to make it available to all.
- Manu Saadia, “Why Peter Thiel Fears “Star Trek” ‘’Newyorker.com’’, (January 13, 2017)
- The destiny of Google's search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that's what we are building.
- Amit Singhal, the head of Google's search rankings team, at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival "Julian Assange Says "Apolitical Futurism of Star Trek" Fits Google" Matt Novak, Paleofuture, 9/15/14.
- 'Star Trek' fans totally accepted my sexual orientation. There are a great number of LGBT people across 'Star Trek' fandom. The show always appealed to people that were different — the geeks and the nerds, and the people who felt they were not quite a part of society, sometimes because they may have been gay or lesbian. 'Star Trek' is about acceptance and the strength of the Starship Enterprise is that it embraces diversity in all its forms.
- George Takei "Here's why George Takei says ‘Star Trek’ fans are 'totally accepting' of sexual orientation", Aly Weisman, Business Insider, Jun. 30, 2015.
- Well, you know, Star Trek and the Starship Enterprise was supposed to be a metaphor for Starship Earth. It was supposed to be an idealized representation of what our society should be. In our society, we have a lot of minorities. Asians, African-Americans, women getting on the upward mobility escalator. They're making progress going up, whether it's in the professional world or the business world, or in other various careers. But the problem seems to be that think called the glass ceiling. They make it up to a certain point and then it stops. I kept lobbying to the powers that be at Paramount saying to them, "if Starfleet is to represent that ideal, you just can't keep giving us advances in rank." By that time I was a Commander. The movie before that I was a Lieutenant Commander, but I was still there at the helm punching those same buttons. I said to them, "it's very important that if we are supposed to be that kind of bright, eminently capable people...professionals....we have to get that advancement. We have to be able to show that this idealized society truly works. It's very important than, that we see one of the characters moving up and becoming a captain. Of course, my character being Sulu, I lobbied most vigorously for him. Finally after 25 long years of lobbying, we were able to reach that idealized representation of Starfleet. The glass ceiling doesn't exist with Starfleet. He was a captain then.
- ...there's really two things that we can say about that Trekonomics, that economics of Star Trek. The first being that you can't, on logical grounds, actually have an economics in such a world. And the second being that you can, but it will be the sort that Karl Marx was talking about. For the basic premise of the Star Trek universe is that we've conquered scarcity. And as Marx was most insistent about pointing out, communism couldn't arrive until the absence of scarcity.
- There is also the problem of the dignity of work -- people enjoy feeling needed. But human values change over time, and there seems no obvious reason why people couldn’t get their self-worth from artistic self-expression, or from hobbies.
This is the basic Star Trek future. But actually, I think that the future has a far more radical transformation in store for us. I predict that technological advances will actually end economics as we know it, and destroy scarcity, by changing the nature of human desire.
So, there's that one sense that we can't have an economics of such an environment. For economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. But if resources aren't scarce then how can we study the allocation of something that doesn't exist? Of course, you might think that most economists are only discussing angels on pinheads anyway. And if we're honest about it all economists would insist that at least one current major theory is nothing more than that. But in the entire absence of scarce resources, economics would be even more like that. Akin to asking whether those angels could waltz or jitterbug upon their pinhead.
However, we do have another guide to what would be happening at this point, in the absence of scarcity. And that's the Bearded One himself, Karl Marx. And the answer is True Communism. Or at least, the way would then be open for True Communism to finally arrive.
- Tim Worstall, “Star Trek Economics Is Just True Communism Arriving”, Forbes, (5/10/05).
Pop culture references
- Skinny Pete: What do you think all those sparkles and shit are? Transporters are breaking you apart right down to your molecules and bones. They're makin' a copy. That dude who comes out on the other side? He's not you. He's a color Xerox.
- Badger: So you're telling me every time Kirk went into the transport he was killing himself? So over the whole series, there was, like, 147 Kirks?
- Skinny Pete: At least. Dude, no, why do you think McCoy never liked to beam nowhere? 'Cause he's a doctor, bitch! Look it up, it's science!
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