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What's The Best Way To Watch Star Trek? Definitive Viewing Order

Most Trek newbies ask one golden question before watching all Star Trek episodes—how to watch Star Trek in order. Unfortunately, however, the “order” in question is vague.  

Trekkies always go with the order based on released date or in-universe continuity. To help you solve your dilemma, here’s our exclusive Star Trek chronological viewing order list.

Star Trek Chronological Viewing Order

1. Star Trek: Enterprise (Year: 2151-2161) 

Star Trek: Enterprise (Year: 2151-2161) 

The Star Trek: Enterprise is a prequel to The Original Series. Based on the Star Trek timeline, this series is the earliest by timeline. Its story revolves around the Earth’s first-ever warp five capable ships, the USS Enterprise NX-01, captained by Captain Jonathan Archer. When Earth Starfleet launched its first starship, Archer took his human crew deep into space. They had their first contact with several Star Trek alien staples. 

The encounter opened a new age of exploration and discovery for Earth. The Star Trek series also began the involvement of humans in the Temporal Cold War when they first encountered the Star Trek aliens in Cabal.

Humanity also made its first contact with the Andorians, Paragaan, and Ferengi.

Looking for a cool birthday party idea? Playing the Star Trek Enterprise will make your Trekkie guests go wild! 

2. Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1-2 (Year: 2255) 

 Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1-2 (Year: 2255)

The Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1-2 is next on our list. This is the first series to feature Michael Burnham, an officer, as the main character. Burnham is the USS Discovery NCC-1031’s science specialist. 

In the first Star Trek Discovery season, Michael and her crew dealt with a galaxy on the brink of war. While in the second Star Trek Discovery season, she and her crew had to chase The Red Angel, a mysterious entity. It even showed Michael and her crew embark on a one-way trip to the furthest distance ever. You'll also find several Star Trek decor ideas in this series!

3. Star Trek: The Original Series (Year: 2265-2269) 

Star Trek: The Original Series (Year: 2265-2269) 

The Star Trek: The Original Series is the series that started it all. While most Trekkies find this series to be the “first” series that should be watched when beginning to watch the show, some still prefer it to be in the third place chronologically. 

The Original Series started in the year 2265, which followed the USS Enterprise’s five-year journey. It also followed the adventures of Captain Kirk and his First Officer Spock as they boldly went to a place where no one had gone before to explore strange new worlds. This series showcased the return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock and many other episodes such as the Space Seed. 

We love Mr. Spock so much that we collected Spock action figures and other incredible Star Trek toys over the years!

4. Star Trek: The Animated Series (Year: 2269-2270) 

Star Trek: The Animated Series (Year: 2269-2270)  

The Star Trek: The Animated Series was originally and formally titled the Star Trek and The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. This animated series Star Trek was a continuation of the USS Enterprise’s voyages in Star Trek The Original Series. The Star Trek: The Animated Series had the same cast in the two Star Trek series except for Ensign Chekov. 

The entire Star Trek animated series was mainly voiced by the original cast from the previous series. Some episodes were sequels to The Original Series Star Trek, such as “Once Upon a Planet,” “More Tribbles, More Troubles,” and “Mudd’s Passion.” At the same time, the other Star Trek episodes were the original concepts of Gene Roddenberry, the Star Trek’s creator, which weren’t used before The Original Series concluded. 

The Star Trek show mainly featured a handful of innovative technologies like the aqua shuttle and the recreation room. Furthermore, it also featured many non-humanoid alien species and alien officers aboard the Enterprise, which weren’t featured within the Star Trek original series’ budget. 

5. The first six Star Trek films (Year: 2273-2293) 

The first six Star Trek films (Year: 2273-2293)  

The first six Star Trek movies happened approximately three years after Kirk’s adventures aboard the Enterprise. Kirk became the Admiral at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco when he decided to reunite with the Enterprise crew to investigate the mysterious cloud of energy wreaking havoc in space. 

The Star Trek films were The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country. 

6. Star Trek: The Next Generation (Year: 2364-2370) 

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Year: 2364-2370)  

The Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) followed nearly an entire century after the initial five-year journey of the USS. Enterprise, when the USS Enterprise-D begins its exploration mission. Seventy years after the undertakings of Star Trek VI, humans and Klingons have finally found peace. However, Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the Next Generation crew still encountered many hostile alien life forms in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation series also featured the incarnation of the famous starship. It is much larger than the starship captained by Captain James T. Kirk a century earlier. In addition, the starship carried more crews aboard.

As a result, Picard’s crew enjoyed many comforts they had left behind, like various recreational opportunities, “replicated” food dishes, and large quarters. However, the crew’s mission was no longer limited to a mere five-year mission in the Next Generation. We found plenty of Star Trek gift ideas in this series!

7. Star Trek films 7-10: Generations up to Nemesis (Year: 2293-2379) 

Star Trek films 7-10: Generations up to Nemesis (Year: 2293-2379)  

The Star Trek films 7-10: Generations - Star Trek: Nemesis focused on the passing of the torch from Captain James T. Kirk to Picard and the epic conclusion of Picard and his crew’s adventures and five-year mission aboard the Enterprise-D.  

Like the First Contact, the Star Trek Generations mostly took place in 2371, although the Star Trek movie opened in 2293, right after the events of Star Trek VI. In contrast, Star Trek: Nemesis happened four years after the Star Trek Generations. When the Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Deep Space Nine events concluded, Picard and the Enterprise-D took their final mission together. 

In the Star Trek Generations, Romulan’s new leader wreaked havoc on the Federation, which instigated an investigation for the Enterprise. Soon, they found out that the new leader was Picard’s genetic clone.

8. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Year: 2369-2375) 

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Year: 2369-2375)  

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) started approximately five years after The Next Generation’s start. The Star Trek motion picture concurrently began to run with Picard’s voyage. Unlike the other series, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did not occur aboard a Starfleet ship. Instead, the show focused on the defensive, political, and commercial space station Deep Space Nine. The Star Trek DS9 is an outpost situated near the mouth of a stable wormhole on the far-flung places of explored space.  

It also followed Sisko’s command on the Deep Space Nine, even though the Deep Space Nine station actually belonged to the natural inhabitants of nearby Bajor. These inhabitants requested Starfleet’s protection and presence right after Bajoran freedom fighters finally ended the ruthless Cardassian occupation of their world.

9. Star Trek: Voyager (Year: 2371-2378)  

Star Trek: Voyager (Year: 2371-2378)   

Star Trek: Voyager essentially functioned as the fourth season of the Original Series. It focused on the adventures of Captain Kathryn Janeway when she chased the Maquis vessel. She was aboard the USS Voyager when Maquis has suddenly transported 70,000 light-years away. 

The Star Trek Voyager is relatively smaller than either Picard’s or Kirk’s starships. Voyager could only accommodate 150 crews. However, it is powerful and fast and even can land on any planet’s surface in the Star Trek universe. 

Amidst being a small vessel, it is considered one of the most technologically advanced vessels in Starfleet. Captain Janeway set out to capture the crew of a renegade Maquis vessel, unite the two parties, and lead them on the long journey back to the distant Alpha Quadrant.

10. Star Trek: Picard (Year: 2399) 

Star Trek: Picard (Year: 2399)  

Star Trek: Picard is the last Star Trek movie on our list. It focused on Captain Picard twenty years after his faceoff with Shinzon. In the Star Trek film, Picard has already retired and currently worked in his family’s vineyard. He miserably mourned the death of his friends and Romulus. This planet had been destroyed when its sun went supernova in 2387 in the Star Trek universe.

However, a stranger suddenly showed up and asked for Picard’s help. When Picard learned about the stranger’s connection with him, he was then pulled into his one last mission. First, Picard set out to find and eradicate a spy who rose to the heights of Starfleet. Then, he found a planet of synths, joined the Federation and capped it off by becoming an immortal. Once again, Starfleet owed Picard a colossal debt. 

Is There Another Way/Order to Watch the Series? 

Yes, there is another way/order to watch the Star Trek saga. You can watch it with the order based on the released date or in-universe continuity. The Star Trek films and eight TV shows typically jump around the franchise’s chronology with prequels, sequels, and bits in between. 

However, we suggest that you watch the Star Trek show chronologically, especially if you are a newbie Trekkie. We also suggest watching the Star Trek TV shows first, followed by Star Trek movies. 

You may start watching the Star Trek shows/series, starting with the Final Frontier, Strange New Worlds, or The Undiscovered Country. 

But the franchise has two distinct timelines as separate entities that may confuse you, like the alternate timeline or alternate reality in Kelvinverse or Kelvin Timeline. 

FAQs

  • Should you watch Star Trek in chronological order? 

Yes, our team recommends watching Star Trek in chronological order of release date. Although some Trek fans claim that The Next Generation is essentially a fresh start, there is a fair chance that you will miss various back-references. 

Of course, you can’t start watching the final film or the Kelvin Timeline and then just jump in The Voyage Home. Instead, watching Star Trek: Enterprise, being the earliest series from the point-of-view of in-universe continuity, is still the best choice to start. 

  • What is the most popular Star Trek series? 

Although the series ran for three seasons, most Star Trek fans widely believed the Star Trek: Next Generation to be the best series to start watching the whole franchise. So, it is not surprising to know that it is, by and large, the most popular series. Although some fans also claim that The Original Star Trek Series and the Kelvin Timeline are equally as popular.  

Star Trek: How to Watch it in order 

The Star Trek saga is not told in order—not that it was intended that way, since the episodes of the original series were not always broadcast in production order. [1] Amidst having different timelines, prequels, and sequels, the series had become a solid sci-fi franchise of all time. The epic sci-fi saga offered cultural influences and an optimistic vision for perfectible humanity from the prime timeline, Trek Canon, up to Kelvin’s timeline. 

To watch the Star Trek saga in order means watching it in profound understanding, considering every detail about its storyline and character developments. Watching the whole series chronologically through the Star Trek timeline is a great choice. However, you may still opt to watch whichever you think excites you as a new Trek fan. 

And if you happen to be a solid Star Wars fan, too, you may also want to check out Star Wars toys and collectibles here

1)   https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/84877/20-enterprising-facts-about-star-trek