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File:StarTrek Logo 2007.JPG
The Star Trek franchise logo, featuring Captain Kirk (William Shatner) (left) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy)
Creator = Gene Roddenberry
Origin=Star Trek (1966)


Star Trek is an American science fiction show, science fiction entertainment series, and media franchise. The Star Trek fictional multiverse created by Gene Roddenberry is the setting of six television series including the original 1966 Star Trek, and eleven feature films. The franchise also extends to dozens of computer and video games, hundreds of novels and instances of fan fiction, several fan-created video productions, as well as |a themed attraction in Las Vegas. Beginning with the original TV series and continuing with the subsequent films and series, the franchise has created a cult phenomenon and has spawned many pop culture references.

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Conception and setting

As early as 1960, Gene Roddenberry had put together a proposal for the science fiction series which would become Star Trek. Although he publicly marketed it as a Western in outer space, a so-called "Wagon Train to the Stars", he privately told friends that he was actually modeling it on Swift's Gulliver's Travels, intending each episode to act on two levels, first as a suspenseful adventure story, but also as a morality parable.

In the Star Trek universe, humans developed faster-than-light space travel, using a form of propulsion referred to as "warp drive", following a nuclear war and a post-apocalyptic period in the mid-21st century. According to the story timeline, the first warp flight happened on 5 April 2063, and the Vulcans, an advanced alien race, made first contact with Earth on that day after detecting the warp drive signature. Partly as a result of the intervention and scientific teachings of the Vulcans, humans largely overcame many Earth-bound frailties and vices by the middle of the 22nd century, creating a quasi-utopian society where the central role is played not by money, but rather by the need for exploration and knowledge. Later, mankind united with some of the other sentient species of the galaxy, including the Vulcans, to form the United Federation of Planets.

Star Trek stories usually depict the adventures of humans and aliens who serve in the Federation's Starfleet. The protagonists are essentially altruists whose ideals are sometimes only imperfectly applied to the dilemmas presented in the series. The conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek form allegories for contemporary cultural realities: Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s, just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective eras. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism and feminism, and the role of technology. Gene Roddenberry stated: "[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network."

Television series

Star Trek originated as a television series in 1966, although it had been in the planning stages for at least six years prior to that. It was canceled after its third television season due to low ratings. It was, however, highly popular with science-fiction fans and engineering students, in spite of generally low Nielsen ratings. During its original run, it was nominated several times for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and won twice: for the two-parter "The Menagerie" and the Harlan Ellison-written episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". (See also Awards below.) It has served as the foundation for four additional live-action television series, one animated television series and eleven theatrical films. The most recent film, simply titled Star Trek, was released on May 8, 2009. The six television series comprise a total of 716 episodes - 10 of which are feature-length - across 30 seasons.


The Original Series (1966–1969)

Star Trek, also known as "TOS" or The Original Series, debuted in the United States on NBC on September 8, 1966. The show tells the tale of the crew of the starship Enterprise and its five-year mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before." The original 1966-1969 television series featured William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, and Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov.

In its first two seasons, it was nominated for Emmy Awards as Best Dramatic Series, and Leonard Nimoy received nominations all three years for acting. Individual episodes won two Hugo Awards and six additional nominations in 1967-68, and a WGA Award for Best Dramatic Episode in 1968.

After three seasons, however, the show was canceled and the last original episode aired on June 3, 1969. The series subsequently became popular in reruns and a cult following developed, complete with fan conventions. Originally presented under the title Star Trek, it has in recent years become known as Star Trek: The Original Series or as "Classic Star Trek" — retronyms that distinguish it from its sequels and the franchise as a whole. All subsequent films and television series, except the animated series of the 1970s, the earlier seasons of Enterprise, and the 2009 film Star Trek, have had secondary titles included as part of their official names. A re-release of the series began in September 2006 with computer-generated imagery "enhancements" as a high-definition "Remastered" edition. The entire series has been remastered. The remastered episodes currently air in syndication while the originals appear on many countries' channels although these broadcasts are infrequent and irregular.

The Animated Series (1973–1974)

Star Trek: The Animated Series was produced by Filmation and ran for two seasons from 1973 to 1974. Most of the original cast performed the voices of their characters from The Original Series, and many of the original series' writers, such as D. C. Fontana, David Gerrold and Paul Schneider, wrote for the series.

While the animated format allowed larger and more exotic alien landscapes and lifeforms, animation and soundtrack quality, the liberal reuse of shots pioneered by Jonnie 'Roy' White and musical cues as well as occasional animation errors have detracted from the reputation of the series. Although it was originally sanctioned by Paramount (who became the owners of the Star Trek franchise following its acquisition of Desilu in 1967), Roddenberry forced Paramount to stop considering the series canonical. Even so, elements of the animated series have been used by writers in later live-action series and movies. Kirk's middle name, Tiberius, first used in TAS episode "Bem", was made official in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and elements of Spock's childhood from "Yesteryear" were mentioned in the TNG episode "Unification, Part 1". The holodeck also made its first appearance in TAS episode "The Practical Joker".

TAS won Star Trek's first Emmy Award on May 15, 1975. Star Trek TAS briefly returned to television in the mid-1980s when it was rebroadcast on the children's cable network Nickelodeon per the request of Nickelodeon's Evan McGuire, who had greatly admired the show, even using its various creative components as inspiration for his short series called Piggly Wiggly Hears A Sound, which never aired. In the early 1990s, the Sci-Fi Channel also began rerunning TAS. The complete TAS was also released on Laserdisc format during the 1980s. The complete series was first released in the USA on eleven volumes of VHS tapes in 1989. All 22 episodes were released on DVD in 2006.

Phase II

File:Enterprise-model-shopped.png
A replica of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), based on the original design from the never produced "Phase II" Television series

Star Trek: Phase II was set to air in June 1978 as the flagship series of a proposed Paramount Pictures television network, the Paramount Television Service, and 12 episode scripts were written before production was due to begin. The series would have put most of the original crew back aboard the Enterprise for a second five-year mission, except for Leonard Nimoy as Spock, who did not agree to return due to legal disputes with Paramount (detailed in his autobiography, I Am Not Spock). A younger, full-blooded Vulcan named Xon was planned as a replacement, although it was still hoped that Nimoy would make guest appearances. Sets were constructed and several minutes of test footage were filmed. However, the risks of launching a fourth network and the popularity of the then-recently released film Star Wars led Paramount to make a Star Trek film instead of a weekly television series. The first script of this aborted series ("In Thy Image") formed the basis of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, while two others ("The Child" and "Devil's Due") were eventually adapted as episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation during the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike.

The Next Generation (1987–1994)

Star Trek: The Next Generation, also known as "TNG", is set approximately 70 years after The Original Series. It features a new starship, the Enterprise-D, and a new crew led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes). The series introduced alien races new to the Federation as crew members, including Deanna Troi, a half-Betazoid counselor played by Marina Sirtis, and Worf as the first Klingon officer in Starfleet, played by Michael Dorn. It also featured Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, LeVar Burton as chief engineer Geordi La Forge, and the android Data portrayed by Brent Spiner. The show premiered on September 28, 1987 and ran for seven seasons, ending on May 23, 1994. Unlike the previous television outings, the program was syndicated instead of airing on network television. It had the highest ratings of any of the Star Trek series and was the #1 syndicated show during the last few years of its original run, allowing it to act as a springboard for ideas in other series. Many relationships and races introduced in TNG became the basis of episodes in DS9 and Voyager. It was nominated for an Emmy for Best Dramatic Series during its final season. It also received a Peabody Award for Outstanding Television Programming for the episode "The Big Goodbye".

Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, also known as "DS9", is set during the last years and the immediate post-years of The Next Generation and was in production for seven seasons, debuting the week of January 3, 1993. Like Star Trek: The Next Generation, it aired in syndication in the United States and Canada. It is the only Star Trek series to take place primarily on a space station rather than aboard a starship. It is set on the Cardassian-built space station Deep Space Nine, located near the planet Bajor and a uniquely stable wormhole that provides immediate access to the distant Gamma Quadrant. The show chronicles the events of the station's crew, led by Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks. Recurring plot elements include the repercussions of the lengthy and brutal Cardassian Occupation of Bajor, Sisko's spiritual role for the Bajorans as the Emissary of the Prophets and in later seasons a war with the Dominion. Deep Space Nine stands apart from earlier Trek series for its lengthy serialized storytelling, conflict within the crew, and religious themes — all of which were elements that were praised by critics and audiences but that Roddenberry had forbidden in the original series and The Next Generation. Nevertheless, he was made aware of plans to make DS9 before his death, so this was the last Star Trek series with which he was connected.

Voyager (1995–2001)

Star Trek: Voyager was produced for seven seasons, airing from January 16, 1995 to May 23, 2001, launching a new Paramount-owned television network UPN. It features Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first female commanding officer in a leading role of a Star Trek series. Voyager takes place at about the same time as Deep Space Nine. The premiere episode has the USS Voyager and its crew pursue a Maquis ship (crewed by Starfleet rebels). Both ships become stranded in the Delta Quadrant about 70, 000 light years from Earth. Faced with a 75-year voyage to Earth, the crew must avoid conflict and defeat challenges on the long and perilous journey home. Like Deep Space Nine, early seasons of Voyager feature greater conflict between its crew than is seen in later shows, as a large contingent of the crew is made up of Maquis fugitives forced by circumstance to cooperate with Starfleet regulations instead of doing things the Maquis way. Eventually, though, they settle their differences, after which it becomes more reminiscent of The Original Series. Voyager is originally isolated from many of the familiar aspects and races of the Star Trek franchise, barring those few represented on the crew. This allowed for the creation of new races and original plot lines within the series. Later seasons, however, brought an influx of characters and races from prior shows, such as the Borg, Q, the Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians as well as cast members of The Next Generation.

Enterprise (2001-2005)

Star Trek: Enterprise, originally titled Enterprise, produced for an abbreviated four seasons airing from September 26, 2001 to May 13, 2005, is a prequel to the other Star Trek series, taking place in the 2150s, some 90 years after Zefram Cochrane developed the first warp-capable starship from a ballistic missile and about a decade before the founding of the Federation. The series shows how the first extraterrestrial contact with the Vulcans and subsequent guidance led to Earth's first warp-five capable starship, the Enterprise, commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). For the first two seasons, Enterprise is mostly episodic, like the original series and The Next Generation. The third season's "Xindi mission" arc carried through the entire season. Season 4 was especially known for showing the origins of several common elements in the other series, due to the producers having recruited as writers Trek experts Mike Sussman and the writing team of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. In addition, season 4 rectified and resolved some core continuity problems in the series (some of which were created in season 1 of Enterprise), most notably the decades-old issue of the drastic change in the appearance of the Klingons between TOS and other Trek series. The fourth season's story arcs are often spread to two or three episodes. Ratings for Enterprise started strong but declined rapidly, although longtime viewers were pleased by the final season's many homages to other Trek series. As the show's viewer ratings dwindled, J. Michael Straczynski and Bryce Zabel proposed rebooting the franchise with the crew of the original series. But Paramount ignored the proposal as they were not "even willing to talk about Star Trek".

Feature films

Title Synopsis Release date Rotten Tomatoes score American Box Office Results
The Motion Picture Kirk, now an Admiral, retakes command of the refitted Enterprise to stop a hostile and sentient massive energy cloud advancing toward Earth. December 7, 1979 50% $82,258,456
The Wrath of Khan While exploring test sites for the Genesis terraforming project, the U.S.S. Reliant is hijacked by Khan Noonien Singh, bent on revenge against Kirk who frustrated his plans to seize control of the Enterprise fifteen years earlier. Khan attacks the Enterprise on a training cruise with inexperienced Starfleet cadets led by Kirk who has not commanded a starship for some time. June 4, 1982 90% $78,912,963
The Search for Spock Concerned about McCoy's unstable condition since Spock's death, Kirk learns that in his final moments, Spock transferred his katra, or spirit, to the doctor. To reunite Spock with his soul, Kirk must violate a quarantine law and steal the Enterprise to retrieve Spock's body from the rapidly dying Genesis planet. June 1, 1984 76% $76,471,046
The Voyage Home Kirk and his crew head for Earth to stand at their court martial for the theft of the Enterprise, and its subsequent destruction, when they find Earth under siege by a giant probe transmitting a destructive signal—intended for the extinct humpback whales. Kirk takes his crew back to the late 20th century to retrieve some whales so they can respond. November 26, 1986 84% $109,713,132
The Final Frontier Exiled from Vulcan, Spock's emotional half-brother Sybok believes he is called by God and hijacks the partially-retrofitted Enterprise-A to take it to the Great Barrier at the centre of the Milky Way to meet his maker, while an ambitious young Klingon captain sets his sights on Kirk. June 9, 1989 21% $52,210,049
The Undiscovered Country After their homeworld is wracked by an environmental disaster, the Klingons attempt to make peace with the Federation though many on both sides are opposed. Just before the summit conference, Kirk and McCoy are arrested for the murder of the Klingon chancellor. December 6, 1991 82% $74,888,996
Generations An energy ribbon cuts a swath through the galaxy on the day of the maiden voyage of the newly commissioned Enterprise-B, and Kirk is presumed killed in an encounter with it. 78 years later, Picard and his crew race against time to stop Tolian Soren, a scientist intent on deflecting it into a planet to gain immortality inside it. November 18, 1994 49% $75,671,125
First Contact The crew of the Enterprise-E pursues the Borg back in time as they threaten to prevent first contact between Humans and Vulcans, thus destroying the Federation before its founding. November 22, 1996 91% $92,027,888
Insurrection The crew of the Enterprise aids a rebellion on the Baku homeworld against Picard’s superior officer, Admiral Dougherty, who wants to relocate the Baku to gain possession of the medicinal cosmic radiation that floods their planet. December 11, 1998 55% $70,187,658
Nemesis Captain Picard confronts the villainous new Reman leader Shinzon, a younger genetic clone of himself who kidnaps Picard to replenish his own DNA and uses an earlier prototype of Data to spy on the Enterprise while plotting to destroy Earth. December 13, 2002 36% $43,254,409
Star Trek Fresh from Starfleet Academy, James T. Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew must stop Nero, a Romulan from the future whose quest for vengeance threatens the Federation. The movie creates an "alternate reality" for the Enterprise and its crew. May 7, 2009 95% $183,000,000
*as of May 24, 2009

</div> Paramount Pictures has produced eleven Star Trek feature films, the most recent released in May 2009. The first six films continue the adventures of the The Original Series cast; the seventh was designed as a transition from that cast to The Next Generation; the next three were exclusively Next Generation. Although North American and UK releases of the films were no longer numbered following the sixth film, European releases continued numbering the films. The eleventh film is a semi-prequel set prior to Captain Kirk's graduation from Starfleet Academy and promotion to the rank of Captain. It is about his first mission as Captain of the Enterprise and its crew, though according to writer Roberto Orci, ([1]) the film is not set entirely within the original Star Trek canon and features an alternate timeline created through the actions of the main villain.

Spin-off media

The Star Trek franchise has a large number of novels, comic books, video games, and other materials, which are generally considered non-canon.

Books

Since 1967, hundreds of original novels, short stories, and television and movie adaptations have been published. The very first original Star Trek novel to be published was Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds, which was published in hardcover by Whitman Books in 1968.

The first publisher of Star Trek fiction aimed at adult readers was Bantam Books. In 1970, James Blish wrote the first original Star Trek novel published by Bantam, Spock Must Die!. Pocket Books is currently the publisher of Star Trek novels.

Prolific Star Trek novelists include Peter David, Diane Carey, Keith R.A. DeCandido, J.M. Dillard, Diane Duane, Michael Jan Friedman, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Several actors and writers from the television series have written books: William Shatner, and John de Lancie, Andrew J. Robinson, J. G. Hertzler, and Armin Shimerman have written or co-written books featuring their respective characters. Voyager producer Jeri Taylor wrote two novels featuring backstory for Voyager characters, and screen authors David Gerrold, D. C. Fontana, and Melinda Snodgrass have also penned books.

Comics

Almost continuously since 1967, a number of companies have published comic book series based on Star Trek and its spin off series. Several comic book companies have published Star Trek comic books including Marvel, DC, Malibu, Wildstorm, and Gold Key. Tokyopop currently is publishing an anthology of Next Generation-based stories presented in the style of Japanese manga. (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/04/14/star-trek-the-next-generation-goes-manga-but-will-picard-lose-the-captains-chair/) As of 2006, IDW Publishing secured publishing rights to Star Trek comics and published a prequel to the 2009 film, Star Trek: Countdown.

Games

The Star Trek science franchise also has numerous games in many different formats, beginning in 1967 with a board game based on the original series and continuing through 2009 with online and DVD games. The series' most recent video games of the series are Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Conquest. An MMORPG based on Star Trek called Star Trek Online is being developed by Cryptic Studios. No release date has yet been set.

Cultural impact

The Star Trek franchise is a multi-billion dollar industry, currently owned by CBS. Gene Roddenberry sold Star Trek to NBC as a classic adventure drama; he pitched the show as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and as Horatio Hornblower in Space. The opening line, "to boldly go where no man has gone before," was taken almost verbatim from a US White House booklet on space produced after the Sputnik flight in 1957. The central trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy was modeled on classical mythological storytelling.

Roddenberry intended the show to have a progressive, almost radical political agenda reflective of the emerging sexualized counter-culture of the youth movement. However, his efforts were largely thwarted by the network's concerns over marketability. Star Trek showed mankind what it might develop into, if only it would learn from the lessons of the past, most specifically by ending violence. An extreme example are the Vulcans, who had a very violent past but learned to control their emotions. Spock's split-fingered "Live long and prosper" salute references a sacred hand position used by the ancient Jewish priestly class.

Star Trek and its spin-offs have proved highly popular in television repeats and are currently shown on TV stations worldwide. The show’s cultural impact goes far beyond its longevity and profitability. Star Trek conventions have become popular, though they're often merged now with conventions related to other genres and series. Some fans have coined the term Trekkies to describe themselves. Others, however, prefer the term Trekkers. Fans of Deep Space Nine are better known as Niners. An entire subculture has grown up around the show Trekkies (1997) URL accessed August 24, 2006</ref> which was documented in the film Trekkies.

The Star Trek franchise has influenced the design of many current technologies, including the Tablet PC, the PDA, mobile phones, and the MRI (based on Dr. McCoy's diagnostic table). It has also brought to popular attention the concept of teleportation with its depiction of "matter-energy transport." Phrases such as "Beam me up, Scotty" have entered the public vernacular. In 1976, following a letter-writing campaign, NASA named its prototype space shuttle Enterprise, after the fictional starship.

Parodies

Notable parodies of Star Trek include the Star Wreck movie series, the internet-based cartoon series Stone Trek, the Star Wreck novel series, the song Star Trekkin' by The Firm, the feature film Galaxy Quest, an episode of Futurama which featured several characters from the original series, and the episode of Family Guy titled "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", which featured the entire cast of Star Trek The Next Generation.

Awards and honours

Of the various science-fiction awards given for drama, only the Hugo award dates back as far as the original series. Although the Hugo is mainly given for print-media science-fiction, its "best drama" award is usually given to film or television presentations. The Hugo does not give out awards for best actor, director, or other aspects of film production. Prior to 2002, films and television shows competed for the same Hugo, before the split of the drama award into short drama and long drama. In 1968, all five nominees for a Hugo award were individual episodes of Star Trek, as were three of the five nominees in 1967 (the other two being the films Fahrenheit 451 and Fantastic Voyage). The only Star Trek series to not get even a Hugo nomination are the animated series and Voyager, though only the original series and Next Generation ever actually won the award. No Star Trek film has ever won a Hugo, though a few were nominated.

The prestigious science-fiction Saturn award did not exist during broadcasting of the original series. Unlike the Hugo, the Saturn award does give out prizes for best actor, special effects, music, etc. Also unlike the Hugo (until 2002) movies and television shows have never competed against each other for Saturns. The two Star Trek series to win multiple Saturn awards during their run were The Next Generation (twice winning for best television series) and Voyager (twice winning for best actress- Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan). The original series retroactively won a Saturn award for best DVD release. Several Star Trek films have won Saturns including categories such as best actor, actress, director, costume design, and special effects. However, Star Trek has never won a Saturn for best make-up.

Franchise future

A new movie, simply titled Star Trek, was released in May 2009. The film's major cast members have signed on for two sequels, which is standard practice. Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof began writing the script for a sequel in March 2009, with the hope to complete it by December and produce the film for a mid-2011 release. J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk will produce, although Abrams has not signed to direct again. He explained with the alternate reality set up in Star Trek, it would be "ridiculous to not be open" to ideas like resurrecting William Shatner's James T. Kirk or recasting Khan Noonien Singh. "The idea, now that we are in an independent timeline, allows us to use any of the ingredients from the past — or come up with brand-new ones — to make potential stories," he said.

Notes

References

External links

  • StarTrek.com—The Official Star Trek website
  • Memory Alpha—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information only from canon sources licensed by Paramount.
  • Memory Beta—A Star Trek encyclopedia that uses information from both canon and non-canon sources licensed by Paramount.