Star Trek is the name of a science fiction franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, originally developed in 1963, and finally released on television in 1966. It ran for 4 seasons before being cancelled, but spawned five spin-off series and eleven movies.
The Original Series
Originally cast with Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike, the original pilot, "The Cage" was shot, as was one additional test episode, "The Orion Trader," also having been shot, but no special effects produced until the remastering of the original series in 2007.
NBC ordered the series to be recast, and William Shatner was brought in as Captain James T Kirk, with the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before." This pilot was more successful, and the studio ordered production of the series. It was unique in that Yeoman Rand was given a promotion to officer, to return in the third season as a communications officer, and featured the first interracial kiss on television between Kirk and Uhura. The series began slipping in ratings in the third season, though it featured many of its best episodes in this season. The fourth season was the last for the show, which produced several memorable episodes, including "First Captain," with Captain Robert April having a cameo, having been the first captain of the Enterprise in 2245.
The series ended in 1970, and was followed three years later by an animated series featured most of the original cast, which lasted for two years, mostly filling in stories during the original four years, and providing a 'fifth year' to the series' mission. The studio planned to open a fourth network, with Star Trek II as its flagship series, but plans fell through for the network. When Star Wars was released in theaters, the studio brought Star Trek out for a studio released movie. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a financial success, mixing both action and an intellectual tale. The studio wanted a more action-packed second film, viewing this again as "too cerebral."
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan brought back a popular character from the first series, and was also a financial success. Star Trek 3 and 4 continued the story with the Search for Spock and Voyage Home. Star Trek 5 was directed by William Shatner, though with heavy re-writes, and was another successful story with tight editing and scripting. Star Trek 6 was the final movie with the entire original cast, titled 'The Undiscovered Country.'
Beginning in 2006, with the advent of HD television and HD-DVD technology, Paramount wanted to bring back Star Trek to TV, but realized the original series would not transfer well to HD resolution, and brought Michael Okuda and a team of artists to re-do the special FX on the series. The first test, Balance of Terror, was broadcast on UPN in November 2006, and encouraged Paramount to continue the project, to complete the entire original series. Over the next two years, the team expanded to a total of 60 CG artists who would replace the original FX and correct any fx errors they found. They even took the time to complete the special FX on "The Orion Trader" - the only unreleased episode of the series. The first season was released on HD-DVD in November 2007, with the second, third, and fourth following in 2008 and 2009.
The Next Generation
In 1986, Gene Roddenberry wanted to bring back Star Trek to the small screen, and began working on what became Star Trek: The Next Generation. It featured a new Enterprise 80 years in the future of the original series, and a new captain, Jean-Luc Picard. This series introduced the Borg, Ferengi, and numerous other species. This series ran for seven years before being ended to make room for a TNG movie.
Generations was the first movie, which was a commercial success, but the studio felt it could have been better. First Contact, which revisited the Borg arch from several years prior, was a success, and the next movie provided a tie-in to the DS9 Dominion War story arch, with the Enterprise providing a tie-in to the series finale of Deep Space Nine with Star Trek: Dominion. Insurrection provided a breather movie, with a slower pace in 2001, and the final TNG movie, Nemesis (2003), brought the Sela Yar storyline to a close.
- Capt. Picard - Captain of the Enterprise; he had a family, but they left and he never remarried.
- Cdr Riker - Riker commanded the Enterprise at the Borg Incident after Wolf 359; he was promoted to captain and given command of his own ship.
- Commander Shelby - first officer for season 4, 5; she learns to temper her ambitions and her impulsiveness and earns the trust and respect of the crew, making her a better officer and better command candidate. She moves to the Titan after Riker's first officer is killed.
- Counselor Troi (Nell McAndrew) - the rare blonde Betazoid is an accomplished psychologist, and very intelligent. Her sister Kestra, is an accomplished engineer, like her father, and her mother babies Deanna and Kestra, often commenting that Deanna could do more like her older sister.
- Dr. Crusher (Catherine Segal) - Crusher is a widower who brought her daughter, Leslie A Crusher, with her onto the Enterprise D.
- Data - (Brent Spiner) Operations Officer, Second Officer, an android lifeform, Data is second officer until Riker and Shelby leave, when he assumes the first officer position for Seasons 6 and 7.
- Lt. Cdr Worf - (Michael Dorn) Operations Officer of Enterprise after Data is promoted. Originally a tactical officer, but is placed into a command track after his actions in Best of Both Worlds. He resumes his tactical position after Hernandez moves to the Titan.
- Lt. Cdr. Geordi La Forge - Engineering officer who is promoted to Chief after Season 1
- Lt. Macha Hernandez, security/tactical officer --26-year-old woman of Latin descent, blonde haired, who serves as the starship's security chief. Becomes Chief Security in Season 2, and leaves for the Titan in Season 4.
- Lt. Tasha Yar, Chief of Security - as written in TNG, grooms Hernandez into a competent officer to take over after she transfers off-ship in the season 1 cliffhanger.
- Lt. Cdr. Miles O'Brien - assistant Chief Engineer, commissioned officer. He does not desire the command responsibilities of Chief. Worked Conn in 2364 for his bridge duty requirement.
- Leslie Crusher - a young female who displays a high degree of intelligence, but does not like starship life. She looks at Picard as a father figure. She becomes an acting ensign in Season 3 when her actions rescue the ship from a temporal recursion loop. She moves off to the Academy in Season 4.
The first spin-off was "Titan" starring Captain Riker and his vessel, the USS Titan. His crew begins exploring the galaxy, encountering new species along the way, including a purple-tailed elf-like race, which would also appear later in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda as "Trance Gemini."
- Captain Riker
- Commander Mark Talbot - Titan's first officer, but is killed in the season 2 cliffhanger.
- Commander Shelby (after leaving the Enterprise) - First Officer, Shelby is now more seasoned, and more experienced as a first officer under Captain Picard's tutelage.
- Counselor Staadi - Older sister to the (future) Helm officer on Voyager, she is full Betazoid and a calm presence that Riker looks to for advice.
- Lt. Sela Yar (Ellen Pompeo) - Operations officer, second officer; after the Enterprise repairs a temporal fissure involving the Enterprise C, an alternate Tasha Yar goes back in time and has a half-Romulan Child. This child and mother are rescued by a Klingon vessel, and smuggled back to the Federation. Tasha is killed in the escape attempt, but her daughter is raised on Earth with her cousins. She is half-Romulan, and embraces her human half.
- Dr. Pulaski - same as from TNG, CMO
- Lt. Maria Hernandez - (Patricia Criconica) Chief of Security
- Lt. Cdr. Miles O'Brien - Chief Engineer from the Enterprise, until transfer to DS9 in TNG's 6th Season.
- Lt. Cdr. Kestra Troi - Asst. Chief Engineer, Deanna's sister is a very competent and capable officer, very popular, and very attractive. She is the model older sibling and officer who seems perfect to the observer. Will sees a very capable engineer in her, who works well with Miles. She becomes Chief Engineer once O'Brien moves to DS9.
- Ensign Lal (Michelle Ryan) - Data's Daughter graduated the Academy and is assigned to Riker's ship.
Deep Space Nine
Different from Next Generation, Deep Space Nine focused more on the space station Terok Nor, renamed 'Deep Space Nine' in the series. Only one major cast change occurred, when the character Jadzia was killed in the show's season 6 closer, to be replaced in season 7 by Ezri Dax (Laura Ramsey).
Voyager was brought to the screen after Next Generation ended to continue having a starship-based series.
- Janeway - Chelsea Field
- Chakotay - Tom Jackson
- Milaana Torres - Crystal Allen, playing an Orion/Human engineering officer
- B'Elanna T'pak - Roxann Dawson, playing a Klingon navigator
- Tuvok - Tim Russ, playing a Vulcan
- Neelix - Ethan Phillips
- Paris - Robert McNeill
- Doctor - Robert Picardo
- Kim - Garret Wang
- Kes - Lacey Chabert
- Staadi - Brandy Ledford
- Seven of Nine - Jeri Ryan
Closing in on the 40th anniversary, Paramount wanted to fill in the gap existing before the original series, and Enterprise was created to fill in the gap. The series begins in 2151, marking the first Warp 5 flight of humanity, and jumps several years later, to 2156, with the launch of the Enterprise NX-01, captained by Jonathan Archer. Numerous ties to the original series abound, and the series features the Romulan War story arch, and the founding of the United Federation of Planets by the end of season 6.