Star Trek Series Watching Order
Ok so we have Star Trek Discovery coming out relatively soon and I’ve had a few friends ask about getting into/back into Star Trek. However there are ~703 Star Trek episodes (only counting the live action series) so that’s a bit intimidating. Rather than just flat out tell you what order to watch them in, I’ll give you a bit of an overview and then I’ll add my thoughts at the end.
The Original Series (TOS)
The original series is REALLY campy. It’s very high drama and is really bizarre. It’s very science-fantasy and kinda cheesy. Very fun. The episodes are super hit or miss. When they are good- they are AWESOME. When they are bad- god do they suck. Also- a total head trip.
The Next Generation (TNG)
Next Gen is kind of the trope-maker. It’s what people EXPECT when you talk about Star Trek. It establishes the tone and conventions for the rest of the series. It’s the “iconic” Trek series. You don’t need to have seen TOS to see it.
Like Next Gen v2.0. A lot of the same tropes, a little darker tone, but can get a little repetitive a times. The later seasons are a little weird. 7 of 9 is both a welcome change of pace and a sign of some weird downturns.
Deep Space Nine (DS9)
This is a very political show. The first seasons are REALLY slow and kinda dry. However, the later seasons (particularly the Dominion War stuff) is some of the best Trek out there. However- if you want to GET and get the full impact of that stuff- you have to get through the slow stuff. Here is a good metric: “Once Sisko’s hair travels from his head to his chin- things get good.”
Related: If you like DS9, check out Babylon 5. Similar premise, executed differently, but just as good if not better.
This is the Trek fan’s Trek. It’s an prequel to ToS and is much more “NASA- but in Starfleet Uniforms” than “Pew Pew Zoom Space Ships and Diplomacy”. It’s kind of a cool mix. It starts really “meh” but eventually gets really solid. A little more “raw” feeling and you see a lot of the roots of things to come.
A total, Saturday morning cartoon, acid trip. Most people don’t consider it part of the series “canon”. However, I guess it’s technically a “thing” that happened. Honestly- it’s the only Trek show I can’t make it through and I’ve stopped trying.
Suggested Watching Order
TNG > Voyager > DS9 > Enterprise > TOS
TNG is the iconic one, Voyager keeps it rolling, you’ll be on board enough get through the slow bits of DS9 by then, Enterprise is kind of fun, and then you can dive into the super camp that is TOS. And, mind you- I LOVE TOS but it’s really campy. Maybe mix TOS in while watching other series. That’s what I did. I watch it now and then.