By EW Staff
Updated September 08, 2016 at 04:03 PM EDT
Meredith has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Meredith may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.
Credit: Everett Collection; Zade Rosenthal; Paramount

Star Trek (1966 TV series)

Fifty years ago Thursday, the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series hit the small screen. Starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, among others, the episode would be followed by seasons of Star Trek and more than a dozen big-screen takes. In honor of the franchise’s 50th anniversary, EW has compiled months of coverage on everything from that first installment to Rihanna’s Star Trek track.

FIRST, check out Darren Franich’s guide to the Original Series with a look at the 1966 debut and a rundown of Trekkies’ streaming options.

A look back at Star Trek‘s desperately sad first episode

Credit: Paramount Television

The original Star Trek TV show is half a century old, and we’ve never loved it more. Dive deep into the colors, special effects, costumes, and plot lines of the very first episode.

10 Star Trek episodes to stream right now

Credit: CBS

Here are 10 episodes (with a couple two-parters) from Trek history that you can watch right now, whether you’re a newbie or an expert. (All Trek shows are currently on Netflix.)

NEXT, take a deep dive into every single Star Trek movie as Franich walks fans through the highs and lows of the film series.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the most beautiful Trek film, and the least human


Star Trek turns 50 this year. It is the most important of the great pop culture franchises, maybe, the first realized vision of a cross-platform fictionalized universe.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a movie about acting

KHAAAAAANNNN! Nicholas Meyer’s hotblooded debut as a Star Trek filmmaker ignores The Motion Picture and reconceives the utopian series with a naval inflection. It also gives Kirk an identity crisis: Middle-aged and shipless, the Admiral looks a little lost. The film reactivates Kirk by bringing back an old nemesis: Khan, Moby Dick-quoting barbarian maniac genius played with muscular relish by Ricardo Montalban. Montalban gives an ecstatic performance, and his spirit pervades the filmmaking: Meyer stages the ship-to-ship combats with shadowy space-submarine tension, and clever shoots his tiny sets with a depth of field that makes Khan feel like an epic in miniature. “I feel old,” Kirk says at the beginning. “I feel young,” he says at the end. You know how he feels.Read the full deep dive into The Wrath of Khan here.

When Wrath of Khan starts, everybody dies. It’s a scene you’ve seen a hundred times, if you’re any kind of Star Trek person. Sulu’s at his control panel; Uhura’s at the communication station; Spock’s at the science terminal McCoy’s standing around waiting for a medical emergency.

How Star Trek III explains Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner


Kirk and Spock. Nimoy and Shatner. Was anyone ever more important to Star Trek then those two? Would Trek have ever been Trek without them?

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is pure, joyful cinema


In 1965, Leonard Nimoy said the first words ever uttered in the Star Trek universe. “Check the circuit!” says Spock at the start of “The Cage,” the original pilot for Star Trek and the first time Star Trek was boring. To modern eyes, Spock doesn’t look like Spock: Eyebrows too big, hair too mussed, a noose-collar atop a too-baggy uniform, flanking an un-Kirk Captain who looks too much like Jay Leno’s chin chest-bursting out of Ray Liotta’s face.

The discreet charm of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier


Come to the campfire, listen to the old story. Great space hero Kirk relaxes with funny man McCoy and funny man Spock. Spock has funny flying boots. Hero Kirk needs no such boots. Hero Kirk climbs great mountain, hands so strong, no equipment required, such skills has Kirk.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a masterpiece until it’s a franchise movie


At the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the opening credits play over a starscape. Opening credits always do that in Star Trek. But something’s gone wrong this time. Cliff Eidelman’s score is minor-key, insinuating, infesting. It puts you on edge. The final credit flashes onscreen: “Directed By Nicholas Meyer.” The name fades. The camera holds. The stars shine dark. And then the universe explodes.

Star Trek Generations and the end of cinema

13. Generations

Next Generation was never a serialized show – though it had cliffhangers and running threads and the occasional intra-crew romance – but “All Good Things…” is a finale in the modern sense, sewing together plotlines from several seasons, ending a story that harkens back to Next Generation’s first adventure.

The transgressive highs and retrograde lows of Star Trek: First Contact

Credit: Paramount Pictures

There is a moment in First Contact that will outlast our species, and it doesn’t involve our species at all. Instead, here two creatures who are not quite “creatures” in any biological sense. Data is an android, a soy-plastic fauxganism built for maximum strength and cosmic intelligence but zero EQ.

In Star Trek: Insurrection, an old franchise acts young


The best book ever written about screenwriting in the 20th century is William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade. Goldman is a two-time Oscar winner, a bestselling novelist, a bestselling memoirist – “the guy who invented Inigo Montoya” if you want to impress millennials.

Art, trash, and Star Trek Nemesis


Dune buggies and clones and colliding spaceships, oh my! Nemesis isn’t trash, it’s a trashcan fire. It’s also the only Next Generation movie we ever want to watch again.

Searching for J.J. Abrams in his first Star Trek movie

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Who is the J.J. Abrams character in Trek ’09? Maybe that’s a dumb question. After all, no important contemporary director has done more to torpedo basic ideas about authorship than J.J. Abrams. His filmography thus far comprises a threequel, an elevenquel, a twelvequel, and a sevenquel.

The thrilling money madness of Star Trek Into Darkness

The fan outrage over JJ Abrams’ reboot-sequel has overshadowed what is, ultimately, a very expensive-looking not-terrible action movie, with a borderline-surreal plot full of unshocking “twists” and bizarre exposition. (If you can follow the thread about the Klingon Empire, you’ve probably given this film more attention then it deserves.) The reduction of Zoe Saldana’s Uhura to frustrated-girlfriend status is actually more disturbing than the film’s shameless trailer-baiting “Carol Marcus Strips For No Reason” moment, and the whole Starfleet-Conspiracy angle was much better covered in The Undiscovered Country. But at least this most expensive Star Trek movie is pretty to look at.Read the full deep dive into Star Trek Into Darkness here.

Just think about all that money. Star Trek Into Darkness cost $185 million, that we know of. In 1979, the first Star Trek movie cost $46 million. That’s about $150 million in 2013 dollars — and The Motion Picture was a runaway production, costing three times what Paramount initially budgeted. There was nothing runaway about Into Darkness. Paramount got what they paid for; they wanted something that looked like it cost something.

Can Star Trek get beyond Star Trek Beyond?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The best Star Trek movie in 25 years came out this summer. It stars one woman, was directed by another woman, and lasts less than four minutes.

Every Star Trek Movie, Ranked


Every Star Trek movie has problems. There are nonsense villains, unconvincing pseudo-science, lead-actor ego-stroking, aimless plotting; there is the shockingly frequent feeling that Starfleet, that great galactic exploratory organization uniting all the cosmos in common cause, is a curiously underfunded goon squad whose security apparatus depends solely on the presence of one Enterprise or another.

Entertainment Weekly’s Ultimate Guide to Star Trek is available now.

STILL want even more Star Trek? Check out additional coverage on Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, and more, ahead.

Chris Pine on how he relates to Captain Kirk

Credit: Kimberley French

When we first met Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek, he was a wild young man, motivated to join Starfleet almost out of spite. That’s all changed at the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, which finds Kirk in the middle of his five-year mission.

Simon Pegg looks back on the original Star Trek movies

Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Simon Pegg knows Star Trek. Before he was Scotty, before he co-wrote Star Trek Beyond, before he mixed roles in Star Wars and Mission: Impossible with his work on the culty Cornetto trilogy alongside collaborator Edgar Wright, Pegg rose to prominence in the nerd-focused Brit TV series Spaced. At one point in Spaced, Pegg’s character declares offhandedly, “It’s a fact, sure as day follows night, sure as eggs is eggs, sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is s—.”

Check out unseen original series footage with Star Trek: The Roddenberry Vault


Fifty years after the original Star Trek first arrived on television, is there anything about Gene Roddenberry’s space opera that hasn’t been uncovered? Plenty! On Dec. 13, fans can purchase Star Trek: The Original Series – The Roddenberry Vault, a new three-disc Blu-Ray collection featuring footage from the cutting room floor, long preserved in film canisters by the Roddenberry Estate.

How For the Love of Spock transformed into a father-son tale around Leonard Nimoy


Adam Nimoy, the son of Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, decided in November 2014 to start making “just a Spock doc.” As he remarked during a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival, “I knew that the 50th anniversary of the original series was coming up, and I wanted to do something with him to celebrate that event.”

Star Trek (1966 TV series)

  • TV Show
  • 3
  • 79
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • CBS