Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry and under the ownership of CBS and Paramount. "Star Trek: The Original Series" and its live action TV spin-off shows, "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", "Star Trek: Voyager", and "Star Trek: Enterprise" as well as the Star Trek film series make up the main canon.
The first series debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC. It followed the interstellar adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century interstellar "United Federation of Planets". In creating the first "Star Trek", Roddenberry was inspired by Westerns such as Wagon Train, along with the Horatio Hornblower novels and Gulliver's Travels. These adventures continued in the short-lived "Star Trek: The Animated Series" and six feature films. Four spin-off television series were eventually produced: "Star Trek: The Next Generation", followed the crew of a new starship Enterprise set a century after the original series; "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager", set contemporaneously with "The Next Generation"; and "Star Trek: Enterprise", set before the original series, in the early days of human interstellar travel. Four additional Next Generation feature films were produced. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a relaunch with a prequel to the original series set in an alternate timeline titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original Enterprise. Two sequels to that rebooted film followed.
Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers. The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs including games, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. Star Trek had a themed attraction in Las Vegas which opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek. Its fans, despite the end of Star Trek episodes on TV, have produced several fan productions to fill that void.
Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions such as the cell phone. Moreover, the show is noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The original series included one of television's first multiracial casts. Star Trek references can be found throughout popular culture from movies such as the submarine thriller Crimson Tide to the cartoon series "South Park".
Connections to Whose Line?
- Just like Star Wars, it was inevitable that there would be references to Trek on the show.
- Whoopi Goldberg was seen during the majority of "The Next Generation"'s run as a supporting character named Guinan who was the ship's bartender.
- Earlier in his career, Chip Esten guest-starred on both "The Next Generation" and "Voyager" spin-offs.
- Debra Wilson guest-starred as a voice-over on an episode of "Deep Space Nine"
- Phil LaMarr appeared in the 1999 Star Trek-influenced comedy film Free Enterprise.
- "The Drew Carey Show" regular Diedrich Bader guest-starred on an episode of "The Next Generation" earlier in this career.
- Wayne Brady and Drew Carey on A&E cable network's short-lived talk show "William Shatner's Raw Nerve".