is an American science fiction entertainment franchise
created by Gene Roddenberry
and currently under the ownership of CBS
. The franchise began in 1966 with the television series Star Trek
, later referred to as Star Trek: The Original Series
. This series, its spin-off shows: Star Trek: The Animated Series
, Star Trek: The Next Generation
, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
, Star Trek: Voyager
and Star Trek: Enterprise
, as well as the film series
make up the core of the franchise's mythos. While the critical response to much of the franchise varies, many individual Star Trek
episodes and films have won awards and honors including Emmy Awards
, Hugo Awards
and an Academy Award
Westerns such as Wagon Train, along with the Horatio Hornblower novels and Gulliver's Travels, inspired Roddenberry when he created the first Star Trek. It followed the interstellar adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of an exploration vessel of a 23rd century galactic "United Federation of Planets" — the Starship Enterprise. This first series, now referred to as "The Original Series", debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC. 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 The Next Generation feature films were produced. In 2009, the prequel of the original series (set in an alternate timeline) Star Trek featuring a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original Enterprise appeared. A sequel to this film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered on May 16, 2013.
Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon since its beginning. 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 even has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek and its fans, despite the end of Star Trek episodes on TV, and several fan productions have been produced in 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, and the first televised inter-racial kiss. Star Trek references can be found throughout popular culture from movies such as the submarine thriller Crimson Tide to the cartoon series South Park.