Star Trek set the standard for sci-fi series and films during the 20th century. Inspired by Roddenberry, the franchise combined futuristic science fiction with the excitement and drama of TV westerns. The original title for the franchise was, in fact, Wagon Train to the Stars. From the first ST series during the 1960s, Star Trek gradually gained a cult following that ensured a transition to full-length films. The franchise has lasted more than 40 years and still has millions of fans.
Star Trek made its TV début in 1966. The first in the series was "Star Trek: The Original Series" directed by Roddenberry. This starred William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, who made the role his own until the 1980s. He was joined by Nimoy as Spock, and a crew cast that remained for a few decades.
"Star Trek: The Animated Series" followed the first series. This continued Star Trek into the 1970s. It was also awarded an Emmy Award.
After those TV shows the Starship Enterprise made its big screen début. The first of these was "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" released in 1979. This had a similar cast to the TV episodes with Shatner as James T Kirk and Nimoy as Spock.
That movie laid the foundations for the ST film series. The 1980s saw a number of ST films released including: "The Wrath of Khan," "The Search for Spock," "The Voyage Home" and "Final Frontier" in 1989. Each film had the same cast as the original movie, and were also directed by Roddenberry.
However, while the films retained the original cast, a new ST TV series emerged in the 1980s. In 1987, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was the successor to the original series. It starred Stewart as Captain Jean Luc Picard, included a new crew cast and a more advanced, and larger, Starship Enterprise.
This new series eventually made its big screen début in the 1990s. "The Undiscovered Country" was the last film to star Shatner before the release of "Generations." "Generations" was the first next generation Star Trek film, but Kirk still featured at the beginning and end of the movie. Kirk got killed off at the end of the film when he fell down a cliff on a collapsing bridge, but he still prevented a missile from launching that would have blown up a star. Stewart starred in a further three films. These included "First Contact," "Insurrection" and "Nemesis."
Since "Star Trek: Next Generation" the series has continued with both new TV episodes and films. The new TV series was "Star Trek: Enterprise" starring Bakula as Enterprise captain. However, the series was discontinued after being canceled by its network in 2005.
While the TV episodes have seemingly been closed, another ST film came out in 2009. The movie starred Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. This film had four Academy Award nominations, and was the first ST film to win an Oscar. The sequel "Star Trek into Darkness" is the most recent movie and 12th addition to the film franchise.
Star Trek has been a great sci-fi series since the 1960s. From Shatner to Pine, the series has continued over five decades; and is perhaps the most famous sci-fi franchise. In this respect, it is comparable with Star Wars.