So, you want to start watching Star Trek?

So, you want to start watching Star Trek? Please follow this handy guide, which will help you not hate yourself and others. I consider this the definitive unified theory of Star Trek Consumption.

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1) Do you know anything at all about Star Trek, in general? If the answer is no, Please watch: Balance of Terror, Space Seed, Mirror, Mirror, The Trouble With Tribbles, The Enterprise Incident, and The Galileo Seven from The Original Series, in any order.

These are the best episodes, IMO, and they give you the information you need to enjoy the movies mentioned in two.

1a) Do you hate cartoons? If not, work in a couple of episodes of Star Trek the Animated Series, which is nearly perfect. It’s a filmation production with animation so limited as to make Scooby-Doo look like Snow White, but it’s honestly beautiful and well written.

1b) If you loved these episodes of The Original Series, watch the whole damn thing. Most of it is excellent.

If you’re still itching for more, go watch Star Trek Continues, this is a fan series that continues TOS, and it’s actually wonderful.

1c) If you liked Star Trek Continues, there are dozens of other fan series set throughout TOS. Star Trek New Voyages is probably the only other one that comes close in terms of quality, but Starship Farragut has some good moments, including more than one animated episode.

2) Watch The Wrath of Khan. If you loved that, then watch the Search for Spock, and the Voyage Home. If you didn’t love it, Skip the Search for Spock (or go hunt down the Resurrection fan edit.) Either way, be sure to watch The Voyage Home.

The Voyage Home is the second best piece of Star Trek ever made.

If you loved all of those, continue on to The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country. These are not, IMO, essential viewing. They’re pretty good though, and this is the time to watch them.

Do not watch Generations, under any circumstances.

2a) If you loved 2001: A Space Oddesey, but wished it was slower, cheesier, and stared William Shatner, go watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Otherwise, skip it and pretend it never happened.

2b) If you love Star Trek: The Motion Picture, take the time to watch at least a few episodes of the non-Star Trek property Space 1999. Space 1999 takes all of the pretentiousness of The Motion Picture and 2001, and rubs some weird 70s funk all over them. It’s a good time, if that’s your thing.

3) Do you know anything at all about Star Trek The Next Generation? Specifically, are you familiar with The Borg? If the answer is yes, you can skip to 4. If the answer is no, please watch: ‘Q Who?’, ‘The Best of Both Worlds’, and ‘I, Borg’ in that order. This is mostly so that you can fully enjoy First Contact.

3b) Feel free to watch any other episodes from TNG that catch your attention, but keep in mind that TNG is probably the most uneven Star Trek property. Many episodes are wonderful, but there are just as many clunkers and it’s not worth trying to watch them all unless you really love them.

4) Watch Star Trek First Contact. This is the single greatest peice of Star Trek media ever produced, and dwarfs all other Star Trek by a wide margin. If you’re only going to watch one Star Trek thing, make it this. I think First Contact rewards having seen the other things mentioned here, but it can also stand alone. It’s wonderful and beautiful.

Do Not Watch Generations, the film that precedes it, under any circumstances.

5) Watch most of Star Trek Voyager. There are surprisingly few garbage episodes, especially in the early seasons of the show. If you come across an episode that you don’t like, skip it. If you find yourself no longer enjoying the show, stop watching it, or skip ahead 5+ episodes. The finale is disapointing, that’s okay.

6) Watch all of DS9. Just do it.

7) If you feel so compelled, catch up on the bits you skipped from TNG and TOS, or at least pull in a few more random episodes. For sure, watch Star Trek: Insurrection. It’s not as good as First Contact, but it’s still a fun, well directed and produced, high budget episode of Star Trek TNG masquerading as a film.

Do not, under any circumstances, watch Generations. It’s a Garbage Film for Garbage People.

8) Watch Star Trek Enterprise. Consider it as an in-universe historical drama about the early days of Star Fleet, rather than as a canonical prequel. This will enhance your enjoyment of the show. Skip the series finale. Seriously, don’t even watch it. It’s insulting. Pretend it never happened. Don’t even think about it.

9) If you absolutely must, this is the time to watch Nemesis. Find the Through the Glass Darkly fan-edit, if you can, and don’t bother with the original.

Do not, under any circumstances, watch Generations. It’s a Garbage Film for Garbage People.

10) Watch Star Trek: Beyond. If you don’t LOVE it, skip the other two new movies. If you do Love it, watch the other two new movies. Keep in mind that Beyond was better than both of them, and also better than Insurrection. The other two are somewhere between Generations and Nemisis, IMO. They don’t do anything particularly special, and they stretch suspension of disbelief to it’s breaking, but they aren’t as bad as Generations (Which is a garbage film for garbage people.)

11) Get ready for Star Trek Discovery, airing this fall.


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Written on June 21, 2017