After Friday, May 12, when UPN airs the final episode of “Enterprise,” there won’t be any more new “Star Trek” on the air for the first time in 18 years. Perhaps many SciFi TV fans now consider the show hopelessly staid, now that we’ve got conspiracy-fueled, sexy SciFi series at every turn. But the hopeful future that Gene Roddenberry created, combined with “Star Trek”’s commitment to justice, diversity and compassion, will always have a place in the hearts and minds of science fiction fans everywhere. What are your favorite (and least favorite) things from the franchise’s long run? Here are a few aspects of each show that we remember and love.
“Star Trek: The Original Series”
The relationship between Kirk, Spock and McCoy Three very different people with a very special, bonded relationship. Some of the best moments in the original “Trek” came from the truly enjoyable tension between the maverick, macho captain and his logically-minded first mate. And then there was the dialogue between Spock and irascible Dr. McCoy. Even when the episodes weren’t first rate, the relationship between these three were enough to carry the day.
Pioneering in space...and on TV The kiss between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura was the first interracial one on television, and just goes to show how groundbreaking the original series could be. The international nature of the cast of the series from day one showed a socially progressive side of science fiction that passed on to all of “Star Trek”’s franchises.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”
War with the Borg In episodes like “The Best of Both Worlds,” humans encountered one of the best enemies created for a SciFi show. The Borg seemed invincible, and in truth it did seem as though their favorite phrase, “Resistance is futile,” was as true for fans as it was for the crew of the Enterprise.
Great recurring characters A few of the “Trek” franchise’s best characters came from “The Next Generation,” and they certainly had their time in the spotlight. Take, for example, Whoopi Goldberg’s mysterious Guinan, whose origin was never satisfactorily explained but whose advice was always right on target. Or what about Michelle Forbes as Ensign Ro? Riker would have been so much more boring without her. And of course, you can’t forget Dwight Schultz as Lt. Barclay, the one bumbling member of the Enterprise crew. Finally, don’t discount Majel Barrett Roddenberry as Lwaxana Troi, Deanna’s overbearing mother who often returned to wreak havoc in her daughter’s life.
“Deep Space Nine”
Romance on the space station Specifically, we remember bridge officer Kira Nerys and bristly security guy Odo’s bittersweet relationship as being a little unexpected but very welcome. And then there was Dax, whose strength and beauty captured the heart of Klingon and Enterprise transplant Worf. They even got married! And we also can’t forget the pathos of poor Dr. Bashir, who rarely scored with the ladies. Well, we would have taken him in a hot second!
Cardassians versus Bajorans “DS9” featured the most compelling ongoing conflict of the “Star Trek” franchise in its war between two fascinating races. Gul Dukat, a Cardassian, was a great character, and the war between these groups was complex but provided suspenseful, smart plot developments all the time. Add the Founders, the Jem’Hadar and other alien influences and you had some of the richest story fodder in the Trek universe.
“Star Trek: Voyager”
The entrance of Seven of Nine Well, perhaps the addition of blonde bombshell Jeri Ryan was not the most socially liberating of “Star Trek” moments, but she was an awesome character—a Borg-human hybrid who looked at the world very differently from Captain Janeway. She added a little conflict and even some humor to the series, thanks to her worldview and the crush the Doc had on her.
The trials of a holographic Doctor He never did get a name—well, except at the very end, but the emergency medical program played by Robert Picardo was one of the best characters on “Voyager.” And he gave McCoy some major competition for best doctor in a “Star Trek” series. Although he was snippy and demanding, he had an ultimately human core that came out despite the fact that he was just a hologram throughout the entire series.
The appearance of the Xindi Okay, maybe the attack by the Xindi messed up the “Star Trek” timeline a little. And it seemed a bit like a last-ditch attempt to save the franchise from becoming wholly unwatchable. Still, it worked. It provided a season-long plotline that introduced a more interesting enemy, an epic adventure and ethics violations for fans to ponder ad nauseum.
Scenes with the beagle I admit that “Enterprise” isn’t my favorite “Trek” show and I wish they had done more with characters like Yoshi and Travis Montgomery, who were definitely given short shrift. But one bright point of the series was Captain Archer’s little dog, Porthos. He wasn’t the first animal on a “Trek” show—think Data’s pet cat Spot—but he was awfully cute. Remember when he had a close encounter with T’Pol’s leg? Or when the good Doc Phlox had to take care of him while the captain was off the ship?
After decades of “Star Trek” there are tons more great things about the show that I haven’t been able to list here, so this is by no means a complete catalog. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite “Trek” memories are—drop me a line or visit our forum to speak your piece!