Poll: Favorite Incarnation of ‘Star Trek

In the five decades of its existence, the ‘Star Trek’ franchise has spawned six television series, thirteen feature films, and plethora of tie-ins from other media (books, comics, games and more). Generations of viewers have grown up following the adventures of several different crews of characters. Which incarnation of ‘Trek’ is your favorite?

Although I was born half a decade after NBC canceled the show, I spent a lot of time during my youth watching reruns of ‘The Original Series’ (before it was known as such) in television syndication. At one time, I could recite the title and plot summary of every episode from memory. A collection of comic books that provided biographies for every character to ever appear on the show (even bit parts) were among my prized possessions.

‘The Next Generation’ premiered just as I turned a teenager and felt like it was made specifically for me. I adored that show as well, even though I recognized that the first couple seasons had a pretty rough start. I was an obsessive fan of the middle chunk, from seasons 3-5. However, the last couple of seasons coincided with me leaving home for college. I didn’t have much time for television at that moment and wasn’t able to follow the show religiously anymore, aside from making a point to watch the series finale.

I never much got into ‘Deep Space Nine’ or ‘Voyager’. I gave up on the prequel series ‘Enterprise’ less than halfway through its first season. (I’m told it got better, but I had no patience for it when it aired.)

I love and can endlessly rewatch all of the ‘Trek’ movies, even the bad ones. (And some of the bad ones are really, really bad.)

If faced with a decision to pull something off the shelf to watch again right now, I’d probably go for one of the original crew movies, likely either ‘The Wrath of Khan’ or ‘The Undiscovered Country’.

Nonetheless, when asked which era of ‘Star Trek’ is my favorite, ‘The Original Series’ will always have my heart.

Which Incarnation of 'Star Trek' Is Your Favorite?

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  1. Les

    I still find myself, even in just last month or so, purchasing my favorite HDX episodes of those re-mastered editions of Star Trek: The Original Series on Vudu. I also have the Blu-rays. It is amazing that these episodes look so great and with the re-done CGI, should still have plenty of appeal to a new generations of viewers.

    Yea, I still remember watching the very 1st episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (The Man Trap) on my parents Black & White TV (that was all they could afford back then).

    Over the past decades, I have watched and supported all of the incarnations, as well. I do still need to catch up on many episodes of TNG, DS9, Voyager, etc. that were missed over the years.

  2. My favorite Trek exists only in my mind. A few episodes of the original series hint at it: when they are way out there, far from any help, encountering the alien. Not exactly horror-SF, but with a darker, mysterious tone.

    In Next Generation they’d just cruise over to starbase 397 for some pleasure planet R&R.

    I only lasted a couple of episodes on Voyager: ordinary alien humanoid with nasal ridges enters his apartment. “Honey, I’m home! We’ve got guests, all the way from the Alpha quadrant, can you believe it…” STOP. EJECT. MAIL BACK.

    The recent reboot movies: they just fly around and blow stuff up. It’s not really Trek any more.

  3. Manly Stranger

    My favorite will always be TOS, specifically Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, who each represented an aspect of the human psyche and who, together, formed one whole being. Spock provided the rational, McCoy the emotional, and Kirk the compassion and intelligence to bring both together in harmony for the good of the universe and the crew.

    At the moment, my current favorite incarnation are fan films/series, specifically Star Trek Phase II and Star Trek Continues. The two groups have been creating TOS episodes which are superior to the original series in terms of production values and story lines. The performances are very good, although not quite to the high professional standards most of us who are life-long TV watchers would expect but these are young and hungry actors for the most part and their enthusiasm makes up for any subtlety in performance they lack. Each series has a couple of stumbling starting episodes as they found their “trek-legs”, but quickly (at the speed of light compared to the first two seasons of Next Gen) find their sweet spots and barrel forward with integrity and surprises. Many of the episodes star well-known Trek faces like Chekov and Sulu, which also act as love letters to the fans. TOS original episodes are referenced in imaginative ways. The sets are unbelievable and I dream of visiting these productions just for a chance to sit in Kirk’s cabin or get a look into Spock’s viewer.

    When you have seen nearly all the episodes, movies, animated stuff, read the books, comics, and non-fiction pieces, Trek really does exist as an individual dream for each Trek lover. The amazing part is so many of us share the same dream, even if it differs slightly in details, and are able to share the dream with each other in meaningful fashions, which began with fan fiction way back during the run of TOS and blossomed in the early 70’s with the advent of the conventions.

    • EM

      “If you are father and daughter, you may well have shared the same dream.” — Deanna Troi, “Who Watches the Watchers”, TNG 🙂

  4. Thulsadoom

    For me, I’d like to pick original series and original crew movies. After that, probably Voyager and Next Gen. I never warmed to DS9 or its characters. Enterprise got better, but was a mixed bag.

    As for the new films… Well, the first was just okay. It had some great visual moments, and some of the actors were great (Karl and Anton are extremely likeable in their parts, but the others are merely ‘okay’.) Into Darkness was again a mixed bag. Some nice elements let down overall by a nonsensical plot mixed with some really bad/contrived copying from the originals (The death scene was a pointless mess).

    I’m reading either great or awful reviews on the new film… we’ll have to wait and see!

  5. Shannon Nutt

    It’s the original crew movies for me…Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was the movie that made me a lifetime Star Trek fan (even though I’d seen The Motion Picture and random episodes prior to it).

  6. People think I’m weird, or lying, but it really and truly is Enterprise. The feel of the ship, crew personalities and many(not all) of the stories just felt like it was actually a tangible environment. It felt like an possible future rather than the crazy fantasy of the original series

    • Andy Watling

      I picked TNG in the survey really just because there was so much of it, it meant there where some truly great episodes but for me as a whole series it would be Enterprise. I was born a year in to TOS so watched them as re-runs but all the rest them I watched everyone as it aired. I even began to like Janeway after about season 5 of Voyager.

      • William Henley

        I am showing my age but I was 7 when TNG came out, and watched every episode faithfully through the end. When DS9 launched I hated it, and hated Voyager more, but when I got older and rewatched them, I really liked htem.

        As a series, Enterprise is my favorite.

        As far as Story Archs are concerned, DS9 had the best.

        As far as best individual episodes, those are TNG.

        For a good Popcorn flick / episode, that is TOS and the Animated Series

        Voyager was the weakest of all the Treks for me and in my opinion really did not find its footing until around season 4, when they kind of stopped the “planet / villian of the week” and started focusing more on long term issues, like the Borg. So to me, that is the weakest series, despite how hot Seven was.

  7. EM

    Born the year after the original series’ demise, I saw and enjoyed the reruns (and a little bit of the cartoon series) as a kid but wasn’t really a fan per se. The advent of the films, particularly from II on, expanded my interest (tlhIngan Hol vIghojta’!), and I read the DC comics and some of the novels coming out in my teen years. But it was The Next Generation that really drew me in. It debuted my first semester at college, and my viewing was a bit spotty, but I watched when I could. After college and a stay in France (where the new series was unknown, and where people were amused to learn the captain was a Frenchman), my viewing became more regular for a while, though it depended on my mooching on friends (I didn’t have cable and couldn’t get the local station on my own TV). TNG became a cultural nexus, not just with friends and with my comics and book reading, but in my forays into an ASCII-text-based Internet as well. As friends moved and other situations changed, my Trek viewing became spotty again to my dismay, but finally when Worf was coming to DS9 I got cable installed, and I stayed with that series and Voyager regularly through their finales. I tried watching Enterprise but eventually gave up. As for the movies, I’ve seen all the original-crew and TNG films; I also watched the 2009 film but have not been interested in the follow-ups.

    Although The Next Generation was “my” Star Trek, with Voyager later stepping in, I find my Trekkiedom centering around the original series above all else. Like all its successors, it had its problems here and there, but it set the stage beautifully and brilliantly. It’s the wellspring. May it live long and prosper.

    • Thulsadoom

      I suspect the problem with DS9 and Voyager is that they both began to heavily use CG after their first few seasons, rather than just the odd effect here and there (spurred by how much impressive effects work there was in Babylon 5 on a fraction of the budget. DS9 and Voyager even ended up hiring the effects company that was formed to do B5’s effects). As such, of course, that CGI was rendered at SD. Unlike say the majority of Next Gen’s model work, which was on film (and what CG there was, was limited).

      Being such CG heavy shows after their first couple of seasons, means that they would both need a hefty amount of new effects work creating to bump them up to HD. It was considered a fairly major project updating TOS, with a limited number of shots per episode. Imagine how much would be involved in effects-heavy episodes of DS9 or Voyager? Enterprise, on the other hand, was made late enough that luckily it was produced in HD.

      They’ll likely get done at some point, but I don’t think it’ll be any time soon. 😉

      • William Henley

        I suspect they could always do what they did with Firefly and the Dune miniseries and upconvert the CG shots, but fans would probably scream. That said, they didn’t bother to go back and rerender the CG shots from the first couple of seasons of Enterprise (Enterprise used a variety of CG shots, some rendered in SD, some rendered in 720, some rendered at 1080). Of course, then we would be asking what was the quality of the archive media. Many shots in Enterprise were rendered in CG, but then either output to film or digital tape or other digital file which was then archived in either 1080i or 1080p. I would imagine that many of DS9 and Voyager’s shots were archived to 480i studio tapes, so the upconvert won’t look nearly as good as it did with Enterprise or Firefly (I imagine it will look similar to the Dune Miniseries, where shots are a combination of 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i and 1080p, and you can really tell the difference in the interlaced sources versus the progressive SD sources)

  8. EM

    Someday even Star Trek: Discovery will be someone’s favorite. That’s CBS’s upcoming online series. The newest trailer reveals the U.S.S. Discovery, NCC-1031, a number which suggests an era between Enterprise and the original series. It seems to me there’s a Klingon bent to the ship’s design and some strains of the trailer’s music, but perhaps I’m reading too much into things. The first trailer said something about “new crews”, which suggested to me an anthological approach with more than one ship, but maybe Discovery is a ship with two crews, only one of which is Federation…?

  9. I came a little late to the Star Trek party, having seen only a few episodes of TNG and Voyager when my dad watched them during their original runs.

    Watching all but the cartoon series on Netflix, I have to go with Deep Space Nine (just edging out The Next Generation). The sustained tenuous relations of a garrison with its surrounding communities and its command fascinated me more than the episodic encounters of an island-hopping ship. The characters were better conceived as rounded individuals than those of the two preceding series whereas the Next Generation the characters grew into their dimensionality.

    Also, only as a personal opinion, the cast was a step up from most of the other series. Avery Brooks as a lead was bested only by Patrick Stewart, the supporting cast was consistently strong, and DS9 had some of the best recurring roles (Andrew J. Robinson as Garak and Marc Alaimo as Dukat were exceptional).

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