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Star Trek TV Series Ranked from Best to Worst

Aug 07, 2022
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A definitive ranking of every Star Trek series is an impossible task. Some segments of the fandom will always disagree with the ranking. To be clear, this is mySteve King’s definitive ranking. I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek more times than I can count. I’ve written one or two things about it, and although sci-fi fantasy fans are a persnickety bunch, I tend to take the Bradley Nowell (of Sublime) approach: “I feel like I’m stoned. I feel like watching Star Trek and eating Chinese food or something.” In other words, lighten up, nerds.

This list will fluctuate as new shows debut and others falter. But this is still Star Trek we’re talking about. It’s all excellent. It just varies in degrees. Future seasons may render some of these rankings irrelevant. But for now, it’s the way I see things and I’m kind of an expert on the subject. Prepare to be enraged or to agree with a very stable genius. By Steve King

1.

Deep Space Nine

Until the new shows can top it, DS9 still reigns supreme. Stationary and not exploratory, DS9 was a bit of a departure for Trek. And that’s before we get into the space gods: Sisko, Garak, Kira, Gul Dukat. The cast was mammoth and all of them were essential to the mosaic that was DS9. Gul Dukat is a better villain than Khan. There I said it. That long last season arc that ends with “What You Leave Behind” is thrilling and heartbreaking.

2.

Strange New Worlds

Most Trek series start off a little rocky. It usually takes a couple seasons to fall into the right rhythm. Not SNW! This show ruled from the jump and will only get better. Pike still has a little of the white savior thing going from Disco but he’s no Ken. He’s compassionate, fearless, and brings the best out of the crew. And he’s a straight up panty dropper. The first season finale was bonkers. And the Gorn! Step on my throat, SNW.

3.

Picard

I have gushed about the first season but the weaker links of the second season keep it from being the best. Don’t get me wrong. Parts of the second season ruled hard; the shootout at Chateau Picard, the sun slingshot, the borg Queen, young Guinan, every scene with Q, the outerwear was still stunning… But parts of it just scream Akiva Goldsman in his Dark Tower era. You can’t make a season of TV out of Easter eggs, Akiva. And why the fuck was Ducane from “Relativity” in a time travel story playing a different character?! I still cried again during the finale, though. Hopefully, the third season will push Picard back up this list.

4.

The Next Generation

Without Next Gen, the franchise would have likely died with Shatner. Thank god. Next Gen broke Trek wide open and reintroduced the franchise to the world, then spawned three other spin-offs, and four films. Rick Berman’s legacy is complicated but he did give us the business when it came to content. “All Good Things” may still be my favorite episode of any Trek.

5.

Voyager

Voyager was viewed at the time as a bit of a misfit child of the ‘90s Trek. They were all the way out in the Delta Quadrant, the first few seasons were rudderless if we’re being honest, and the show didn’t really matter until Seven of Nine joined the crew. The show was underrated then, and has since found its audience. I’d like to see a DS9 reunion but I also really want to see more Admiral Janeway. I mean, she single-handedly decimated the Borg. “Endgame” is a near perfect finale. We all could have used a little more epilogue but the show was all about getting home. It gave us everything we needed.

6.

Discovery

Showrunner drama made for lopsided seasons but the second was as close to perfect as any of the other new Treks. Disco’s uneven third season keeps it from being on par with Next Generation. Season 3 has its moments (Terra Firma!) but is still a little underwhelming overall. The show needs a real villain. They haven’t really had one since the second season. The fourth season is cool, but this show needs a damn villain; points are deducted because of the Michelle Yeoh absence but the Stacey Abrams cameo makes it all worth it.

7.

The Kelvin Timeline

I count the Kelvin movies as a limited series run, in the sense that it takes place in an alternate timeline and has very little bearing on the rest of the franchise. Star Trek ‘09 is a wonder. It starts at a hard break-neck speed and doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Into Darkness is cool with its Bush allegories, and Benedict Cumberbatch may be the only good case of whitewashing ever, but the film has a few pacing issues. I actually love Beyond. It’s no JJ Abrams but it’s close. The nods to Enterprise are great and I always wanted a Starfleet villain. And what’s not to love about an NX class ship surfing through a wave of drones as the Beasties’ “Sabotage” plays?

8.

Enterprise

Enterprise is at once underrated and perfectly idiotic. They killed the franchise until 2009. I could start with the theme music but we all know how bad it is. I’m in the minority when I say I thought the Temporal Cold War was a cool and interesting concept. The mirror universe episodes were campy and perfect. The whole Terra Prime arc with the dead baby was ridiculous and the series finale is a travesty.

9.

Star Trek: The Original Series

I’m sorry but this show kind of sucks. It’s the whole oozing mid-20th century maleness thing. It has its moments of pure excellence. It doesn’t get any better than “Balance Of Terror” and “The Doomsday Machine,” but the majority of the show is painful to watch. Yes, it was groundbreaking and had the first onscreen interracial kiss but you have to wade through some real bullshit to get there. I was watching TOS recently and it is honestly a miracle the franchise still exists today. And Shatner IRL has turned out to be an even bigger numbskull than Kirk himself. Nostalgia can only carry a show so far.

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