Star Trek is a rightful icon of televised science fiction. It was not the first televised serial science fiction property, but it was the one that catapulted the concept into the popular imagination, spawning decades of successors that keep it active to this day. The sheer amount of Star Trek that exists in the present moment can seem forbidding, and it certainly did for me. Even with the franchise’s long hiatuses and constant threat of permanent cancellation, there are no fewer than eleven entire series within the Star Trek umbrella at present, each with dozens of episodes and some with feature-length motion pictures mixed in. Watching them all in order might provide the greatest opportunity for recognizing references and keeping the continuity straight, but it also means that current Star Trek content fades into the distance, inaccessible until one catches up on decades of prior television. More than that, though, each Star Trek series has its own characteristic identity, marked by different writing style, storytelling focus, cast, and desired emotional impression. Landing on just the right Trek show to lure someone into the rest of the franchise is one of the better ways to manufacture new Trekkies, so, here is a rundown of the eleven Star Trek series, what makes them distinctive, and which episodes I liked, detested, or came to recognize as exemplifying what makes each series what it is.
It is election season in Ontario, and for the first time, I’ll be voting. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, my citizenship is complete and my voter registration is in place. I can call myself “Canadian” with that much more conviction now, and the attention I pay to this country’s politics now weighs on a vote where it previously weighed on just my thoughts. In this unusually portentous time, I have been confronted not only with the mainstream parties, but with the tiny splinter parties trying to gain a foothold in real politics, as they litter public spaces with their signs and pamphlets. And they have reminded me that Canadian conservatives are pit-in-the-stomach terrifying compared to their American counterparts.