Star Trek facts for kids
In its broadest sense, Star Trek is a collection of science fiction video entertainments, owned by Paramount and CBS, as well as various spin-offs. Many of these types of collections are often known as franchises.
The main parts of the Star Trek franchise are:
- Six television series (first shown from 1966 to 2005) and
- Thirteen movies (shown in theaters from 1980 to 2016).
Star Trek was created as a TV series in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry. He and the other authors of Star Trek have, over time, developed a whole fictional universe set in the future. Following this fictional universe is the way they have chosen to maintain continuity between the various TV series and the movies.
Trekkies or Trekkers may refer to the many fans who love the series and support this Star Trek Universe. Many conventions and newsletters exist to serve these fans. There are even amateur movies made by the fans.
In the 1960s, Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek. He sold it as a western (a television genre about cowboys), but in space, and compared it to the television show Wagon Train. He also based it on Gulliver's Travels. After two pilots (test episodes), Star Trek was first shown on television in 1966.
History of Star Trek
In 2053, World War III ended on Earth. In 2063 Zefram Cochrane, invented the warp drive, a way to travel faster than the speed of light. Because of this invention, Vulcans came to Earth to meet the humans. This is shown in Star Trek: First Contact. The Vulcans helped humans fight disease and hunger. In 2150 humans created a United Earth Government that combined all the old governments into one.
A war between Earth and the Romulans made species from different planets work together, and the Coalition of Planets was started in 2156. In 2161, the planets Vulcan, Earth, Andoria and Tellar started the United Federation of Planets.
The Original Series (1966–1969)
Star Trek: The Original Series is sometimes called TOS as an abbreviation (a shorter way of saying something). In it, the starship Enterprise travels through space to discover new places - "to boldly go where no man has gone before". The show was set in the 23rd century.
The main characters are:
- Captain James Tiberius Kirk, acted by William Shatner
- Spock, acted by Leonard Nimoy
- Dr. Leonard McCoy, acted by DeForest Kelley
- Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, acted by James Doohan
- Uhura, acted by Nichelle Nichols
- Hikaru Sulu, acted by George Takei
- Pavel Chekov, acted by Walter Koenig
It was shown on television for three years, and was cancelled in 1969.
The Animated Series (1973–1974)
Star Trek: The Animated Series is also called TAS. It is an animated version of The Original Series. The crew are the same, and most are voice-acted by the same actors. Because it was animated, the planets and species could look more interesting.
Gene Roddenberry asked for the stories in TAS to be removed from Star Trek's canon (the official history of Star Trek that is the same in all series). It is still argued about if they are part of canon or not, but usually agreed that they are not. The official Star Trek website has added some things from TAS to their library.
The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Star Trek: The Next Generation is also called TNG. It is set 70 years after The Original Series, in the 24th century. The crew travel on a new starship called the "Enterprise-D". The stories are also about exploring, and often about fighting hostile (violent or angry) ships. The crew has many different races.
The main characters are:
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard, acted by Patrick Stewart
- Commander William Riker, acted by Jonathon Frakes
- Data (an android), acted by Brent Spiner
- Dr. Beverly Crusher, acted by Gates McFadden
- Worf (a Klingon), acted by Michael Dorn
- Geordi La Forge, acted by LeVar Burton
- Counselor Deanna Troi, acted by Marina Sirtis
- Wesley Crusher, acted by Wil Wheaton
It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1987 to 1994.
Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also sometimes called DS9. It is set in the late 24th century, at the end of The Next Generation's time line and the start of Voyager's. It is not like TOS and TNG because it is set on a space station and is not about exploring. This means it has more soap opera elements (lots of stories about the characters). Most of the stories are about the Cardassian race and the war with the Dominion.
The main characters are:
- Captain Benjamin Sisko (Commander for seasons 1 to 3), acted by Avery Brooks
- Major Kira Nerys, acted by Nana Visitor
- Odo, acted by Rene Auberjonois
- Jadzia Dax, acted by Terry Farrell
- Ezri Dax, acted by Nicole de Boer
- Worf, acted by Michael Dorn
- Miles O'Brien, acted by Colm Meaney
- Quark, acted by Armin Shimerman
It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1993 to 1999.
Star Trek: Voyager is set in the late 24th century. It is different from the other series because it takes place in the Delta Quadrant. The ship Voyager was trapped there after a chase by the Maquis (Starfleet rebels). The stories are about them trying to find their way home. This is a long journey, and will take them 75 years.
The main characters are:
- Captain Kathryn Janeway, acted by Kate Mulgrew
- Chakotay, acted by Robert Beltran
- Tuvok, acted by Tim Russ
- B'Elanna Torres, acted by Roxann Dawson
- Tom Paris, acted by Robert Duncan McNeill
- Harry Kim, acted by Garrett Wang
- The Doctor, acted by Robert Picardo
- Seven of Nine, acted by Jeri Ryan
It was shown on television for seven seasons, from 1995 to 2001. It was made to help start a new television channel, UPN.
Star Trek: Enterprise is the newest Star Trek series. It is set in the 22nd century, which means it is before all the other series on the Star Trek timeline. It is about the humans and the Vulcans working together after first contact. The ship, Enterprise, was the first Warp 5 ship made by the humans (with some vulcan assistance). The first season famously had many continuity errors (events and technology that did not match what happens in the other series).
The main characters are:
- Captain Jonathon Archer, acted by Scott Bakula
- T'Pol, acted by Jolene Blalock
- Charles "Trip" Tucker, acted by Connor Trinneer
- Malcolm Reed, acted by Dominic Keating
- Hoshi Sato, acted by Linda Park
- Travis Mayweather, acted by Anthony Montgomery
- Dr. Phlox, acted by John Billingsley
It was shown on television for four seasons, from 2001 to 2005.
|I||The Motion Picture||1979||The Original Series||Robert Wise|
|II||The Wrath of Khan||1982||The Original Series||Nicholas Meyer|
|III||The Search for Spock||1984||The Original Series||Leonard Nimoy|
|IV||The Voyage Home||1986||The Original Series||Leonard Nimoy|
|V||The Final Frontier||1989||The Original Series||William Shatner|
|VI||The Undiscovered Country||1991||The Original Series||Nicholas Meyer|
|VII||Generations||1994||The Next Generation||David Carson|
|VIII||First Contact||1996||The Next Generation||Jonathan Frakes|
|IX||Insurrection||1998||The Next Generation||Jonathan Frakes|
|X||Nemesis||2002||The Next Generation||Stuart Baird|
|XI||Star Trek||2009||The Original Series||J.J. Abrams|
|XII||Star Trek Into Darkness||2013||The Original Series||J.J. Abrams|
|XIII||Star Trek Beyond||2016||The Original Series||Justin Lin|
Star Trek has a large following of fans who are very enthusiastic (care a great deal) about the show. They are usually called Trekkies. The word was first used by Arthur W. Saha when he saw people wearing fake Vulcan ears at a convention (an event where lots of people interested in the same thing organise to meet) in 1967. Some fans like to be known as Trekkers instead.
Two documentaries (factual television shows) have been made about them, called Trekkies and Trekkies 2.
In 1976, NASA made a prototype (test) space shuttle. It was first going to be called Constitution, but Star Trek fans wrote letters to NASA asking for it to be called Enterprise instead. Enterprise was used for flight tests, although it was never sent into space. It is now displayed (put on show) at the Smithsonian Institution.
Parodies and tributes
The movie Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek parody, which means it was made to be like Star Trek in a funny way.
There have been parodies on television in the cartoons Futurama, The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Fans of the show made a new episode, Pilgrim of Eternity, in 2013. The crew were also professional film and TV people.
Star Trek episodes often tell a moral story. philosophical and moral questions are common. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tuvix", a transporter accident puts two characters, Tuvok and Neelix, into one body. This makes a new person, Tuvix, who has his own personality. The crew of the Voyager must decide what to do: they can kill Tuvix by separating him back into Tuvok and Neelix, or they can kill Tuvok and Neelix by letting Tuvix live. In the end, Captain Janeway decides to save Tuvok and Neelix, although the Doctor thinks this is wrong.
Star Trek episodes also often reflect (copy) what is happening in the real world. One example is the episode "A Private Little War" in Star Trek: The Original Series. This is said to be like the Vietnam War. In the episode, the Klingons threaten innocent people. Captain Kirk has to decide whether to give the people guns so that they can defend themselves. The episode asks whether you can fight evil without doing evil yourself.
One focus of all the Star Trek franchises is a Federation law called "The Prime Directive." The Prime Directive states that advanced civilizations should not change more primitive ones; societies should be allowed to develop on their own. The Prime Directive often makes for a moral conflict—for example, the Prime Directive might forbid using advanced technology to save an intelligent race.
Images for kids
Star Trek creator, producer and writer Gene Roddenberry
William Shatner played the unflappable Captain James T. Kirk in The Original Series, The Animated Series, and seven films, helping to create the standard for all subsequent fictional Starfleet captains.
Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard in The Next Generation and subsequent films.
Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway, the lead character in Voyager, and the first female commanding officer in a leading role of a Star Trek series.
Science fiction veteran Scott Bakula played Captain Jonathan Archer, the lead character in Enterprise, a prequel to the original show.
Star Trek Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.