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Never Stepped Aboard the USS Enterprise? A Quick Primer on the Star Trek Franchise, from the 1960s to Now

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The Star Trek franchise is a beloved science-fiction franchise that originated in the United States in the 1960s. It has since expanded to include multiple television series, films, books, and other media. 

Star Trek is known for its optimistic view of the future, its focus on exploration and discovery, and its emphasis on the importance of diversity and cooperation. Many science fiction films and TV series have a highly negative view of humanity in general, assuming that both the future and present will be dystopian and riddled with serious social issues. In contrast, Star Trek envisions that we will only continue to improve as the centuries pass, working toward greater harmony; it’s a breath of fresh air in a genre riddled with serious but genuine critiques of human society.

Over sixty years of genius

The original Star Trek television series, created by Gene Roddenberry, premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons. It followed the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise, a starship belonging to the United Federation of Planets, whose mission was to explore new worlds and seek out new life and civilizations. The show starred William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy.

The original series was followed by an animated series in the 1970s, which featured many of the same characters and continued the exploration of the Star Trek universe. In the 1980s, a series of feature films began to be produced, featuring the original cast of the television series. The films continued to explore the Star Trek universe and featured new villains and conflicts.

In 1987, a new Star Trek television series premiered: Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show was set approximately 80 years after the original series and followed a new crew, led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart), on the USS Enterprise-D. The Next Generation was followed by several other television series, including Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. Each of these series explored different aspects of the Star Trek universe and introduced new characters and conflicts.

The Star Trek franchise has also included numerous feature films, including those featuring the original cast and those featuring the cast of The Next Generation. The films have explored a wide range of topics, from time travel to interstellar conflict to the ethics of artificial intelligence.

And the show goes on

The Star Trek franchise has seen significant advancements in recent years, with new films, TV shows, and other multimedia content expanding the universe of the iconic science-fiction franchise. 

In 2017, the television series Star Trek: Discovery premiered on CBS All Access. Set ten years before the events of the original Star Trek series, the show follows the adventures of the USS Discovery and its crew, including the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series, Lieutenant Stamets. The show’s second season introduced the classic Star Trek character Captain Pike, and its third season saw the crew travel to a future era where they face new challenges and meet new allies.

The films in the franchise also saw significant advancements recently. In 2016, Star Trek Beyond was released, the third film in the rebooted film series that began in 2009. The film depicted the USS Enterprise and its crew stranded on a hostile planet, facing new threats and challenges. It was well received by critics and audiences alike, earning praise for its action sequences and character development.

In just 2020 alone, three different pieces of media were added to the franchise, including the animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks, the TV series Star Trek: Picard, and the video game Star Trek: Fleet Command. It’s clear that Star Trek still has a lot of the universe to explore, and it does so through a variety of mediums, offering endless content for fans to enjoy.

Overall, the past decade have been a period of significant advancement for the Star Trek franchise, with new shows, films, and video games expanding the universe and introducing new stories and characters to fans. There continue to be new extensions to this remarkable piece of American media, and there’s no doubt that Star Trek will remain a beloved part of the sci-fi landscape for decades to come. If you’re delighted by the recent developments and ready to see even more, follow up with Star Trek news and see who will boldly go forth next. 

Dive into this beloved franchise today

Throughout its history, the Star Trek franchise has emphasized the importance of cooperation and diversity. It has often tackled social and political issues, such as racism and war, through the lens of science fiction. The franchise has also inspired a devoted fanbase and has become an important part of popular culture.

The best part is while all the series are within the same universe, you can easily pick up the plot through any medium you like, then work your way back according to your own interests. It’s an incredibly immersive yet flexible franchise that welcomes newcomers and caters to many tastes. Get ready to step into the 23rd century and envision an egalitarian society that plays to all of humanity’s greatest strengths.

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