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Every Star Trek series ranked from worst to best

We've ranked every Star Trek series from worst to best, looking the complete history of Gene Roddenberry's iconic franchise on the small screen and streaming.

Star Trek series ranked

What is the best Star Trek series? With a long history and so many series, Star Trek is in the top two most recognizable science fiction franchises in the world. It has a legendary history dating back to the mid-’60s, and well over half a century later, the Star Trek series are still going strong.

Star Trek‘s long history means that alongside 13 Star Trek movies and countless comics, graphic novels, and books, the number of Star Trek series is already in the double digits. On top of that, there are almost 900 episodes across the Star Trek timeline, and that number is set to hit the thousands in the not-too-distant future as the best sci-fi series franchise expands.

Not all Star Trek series are born equal, though. It combines some of the best TV series of all time with some that are just OK (or, worse). With such a vast amount of content, it’s inevitable that there’s a spectrum of quality. So, we’re here to help you sort the good from the less good, with a ranking of the Star Trek series, from worst to best.

10. Star Trek: Picard

Continuing the adventures of the retired Admiral Picard should have been a sure-fire formula for success; an easy win. It could have been the conclusion to the story of one of the most cherished characters of all time, making up for the dour ending of Nemesis. How hard could it be?

Well, very hard, apparently. Star Trek Picard has been a depressing, frustrating end to Jean-Luc Picard’s story. Enterprise, at least, had a cracking theme tune. Picard’s own theme tune in the first two seasons is meandering, unengaging, and thinks it’s more interesting than it really is. That’s the perfect summary of those first two seasons, really.

Star Trek series ranked: Patrick Stewart as Picard in Picard

Picard season 1 was messy, to say the least, but that mess was nothing compared to the utter chaos of season 2, which tried to juggle a ridiculous amount of plot threads while floundering around to find something, anything, interesting.

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In seeming acknowledgment of its own failure, the cast that the series had put together for the first two seasons were jettisoned in favor of a full-on Star Trek The Next Generation cast reunion (something the series had initially promised it wouldn’t be) for Star Trek: Picard season 3.

Season 3 is undoubtedly an improvement: it tells a coherent story and has lots of great moments. But a predictable twist (the Borg are the villains, again) meant that it could never really make up for those first two seasons.

Star Trek series ranked: Scott Bakula as Captain Archer in Enterprise

9. Enterprise

Enterprise was dealt a bad hand because it came at a time when Star Trek was running out of steam, and the fact that it was a prequel didn’t help either. The series is burdened with a bland crew, and out of all the Star Trek captains, Captain Archer is the most… dry.

The attempts at an overarching plot around the formation of the Federation are some of the more interesting parts of the series, but they’re too often drowned out by an erroneous side-quest or a string of bad episodes. Of course, every Star Trek series had bad episodes. TNG’s first season is full of them. However, even the worst episodes of Voyager, TNG, or TOS have a certain charm, and if there’s one thing that Enterprise lacks, it’s charm.

Amid all that, Enterprise has some good moments, but they’re few and far between. When it’s all said and done, there’s the lingering feeling that Enterprise was destined to fail, more or less, from the start.

Star Trek series ranked: Doug Jones as Saru on Discovery

8. Star Trek: Discovery

There is lots to like about Star Trek: Discovery. It’s got a wonderful, diverse cast of actors; it’s been bold with some of its more recent plot developments; and there’s the ever-excellent Star Trek character Saru. More than anything, its heart seems to be in the right place.

But it’s also got plenty of flaws. Because the series is so dedicated to serialization, a bad storyline can last for an entire season. Season 2, for example, was particularly bad. It descended too easily into huge action set-pieces, and it has been guilty of relying too frequently on melodramatic emotional crescendos. These have been used to mask weak plotting, and the Red Angel storyline is an example of how messy the series can be.

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Still, if you can get past that and adjust to its different take on Star Trek, you’ll see that the series has been improving and has begun to really find its feet. Hopefully, those improvements can continue as it reaches its end with season 5.

Star Trek series ranked: Kate Mulgrew as Janeway in Prodigy

7. Star Trek: Prodigy

Star Trek: Prodigy is Star Trek’s first real attempt to enthuse a younger audience. It’s a fun, fast-paced, adventure series with plenty going on to keep young eyes entertained.

But just because it’s aimed at children and adolescents doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty for older audiences to enjoy too. The animation style is something completely new, and the series does a great job of bringing together a varied cast of young alien characters – something Star Trek generally doesn’t do enough of. It’s also notable for the return of Captain Janeway, voiced by Kate Mulgrew, and it’s a large cameo role done right.

The series hasn’t had long enough to fully embed itself, though, but there’s plenty of potential for upward growth as it continues with season 2.

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6. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The first two seasons of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds have been impressive, tapping into that hard-to-define Star Trek-ness while still appealing to modern tastes.

Anson Mount’s Captain Pike is magnetic and unquestionably charismatic, and Ethan Peck’s rendition of Spock is increasingly delightful. Much of the supporting cast is a lot of fun, too, and it’s that sense of fun that keeps the series coasting along, even in weaker moments.

Star Trek series ranked Pelia, La'an, and Spock in Strange New Worlds.

There have been flops, of course, but season 2 especially features a number of the best Star Trek episodes of recent decades (I’m looking at you, Lower Decks crossover). The characters have mostly been rounded out, and now have added depth. Season 2 still has some episodes that don’t land, but that’s just Star Trek.

Star Trek series ranked: Robert Picardo as EMH in Voyager

5. Star Trek: Voyager

Following on from TNG and DS9, Voyager had a tough job. The first three seasons are rocky, and while there are excellent moments, a lot of the series can be hit or miss. The series picks up markedly after season four when Seven of Nine becomes the main selling point. Her character’s relationship with Captain Janeway and the EMH is hugely compelling as she looks to regain her humanity after assimilation by the Borg.

Robert Picardo’s EMH is genuinely hilarious, with his snark and disdain perfectly balanced out by his desire to exceed his nature as a hologram. Equally, Tuvok is the first Vulcan to play a major role in a Star Trek series since Spock, and he does do wonderfully as Captain Janeway’s closest confidant.

Star Trek series ranked: Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in Voyager

But none of this can change the fact that the series just doesn’t live up to its premise. It promised to be a series about a Starfleet vessel stranded in the depths of space. Instead, it ditches that at every possible opportunity in favor of the typical Star Trek formula. It reverts far too quickly to the TNG way of doing things, but it only rarely manages to reach the same levels.

That does seriously limit the series’ quality, and unlike other, better Star Trek series, a lot of Voyager’s crew is pretty bland. Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Paris, Ensign Kim, Kes, and Neelix are all either underdeveloped or one-dimensional from the start.

But, make no mistake: Voyager might be the weakest of the three golden era shows, but we still love it, and it was always capable of complete brilliance. And, whisper it, it even has the greatest Star Trek opening theme of all time.

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4. Star Trek: Lower Decks

It’s becoming a bit of a pattern now, but Star Trek: Lower Decks had an iffy start. A lot of the jokes just weren’t that funny, and it seemed too hesitant to engage with its sci-fi roots. But, as the animated series has begun to take its own premise more seriously, and as its characters have really developed, it has come into its own as one of the best Star Trek series in decades.

Lower Decks is a comedy series first and foremost, and seasons 2,3, and 4 have developed to humor to a point where it’s no longer just reliant on loud voices, obvious visual gags, and references. Beyond the laughs, the series has plenty of moments where it steps away from outright comedy, and the plotline with the Pakleds has highlighted the drama that the series is also capable of.

Because of the simple character design and animation, people often miss the fact that the series is also a visual delight. The Cerritos and the other ships that come in and out of the series all look gorgeous, as do the action sequences in space. Just check out the opening credits if you need any further proof.

Star Trek series ranked: Leonard Nimoy as Spock in TOS

3. Star Trek: The Original Series

It’s too easy to forget that Star Trek’s original series isn’t just notable as the first Star Trek series but is also excellent in its own right. The trifecta of Kirk, Spock, and Bones might be the best core cast of any Star Trek series. No other Star Trek series has managed to create such a strong trio with such instantly perfect personal dynamics.

The series has some standout entries that rank among the greatest sci-fi series episodes of all time, and it paved the way for everything that has come since. Undoubtedly, TOS is one of the most significant series in the history of the entire science fiction genre.

However, unlike other Star Trek series, TOS hasn’t aged particularly well. The series is aesthetically very dated (though, the lighting is gorgeous), much of the pacing and dialogue feel like slow-motion, and the action scenes are laughably quaint.

None of that’s surprising, given that the series started when Lyndon B. Johnson was the US president, but it does mean that it is potentially less accessible for modern audiences and more difficult to get into. If you can get past that initial barrier, TOS will reward you.

Star Trek series ranked: Mark Alaimo as Gul Dukat in DS9

2. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine the Star Trek formula from TNG and tweaks it, asking: what if the characters can’t run away from the problems they’ve created? What if they’re stuck in one place, and have to deal with the consequences of their actions? It couldn’t be further from the cozy comfort of TNG’s Enterprise-D.

Like most Star Trek series, it vastly improves as it’s given more time to mature. The characters are the most complex in all of Star Trek, and as you get to know them, they feel more real. The Dominion War arc is the start of Star Trek’s foray into serialized storytelling, and it’s done expertly. DS9 is unlike any other series of Star Trek, and if you’re looking for grit, moral complexity, and some of TV’s best-ever villains, then DS9 is the Star Trek series for you.

Star Trek series ranked: TNG bridge crew

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation

Just as the list began with Jean-Luc Picard, it ends with Jean-Luc Picard. Star Trek: The Next Generation is more than just everything a Star Trek series can be: it’s everything science fiction can be.

The sci-fi series is a cocktail of action, calm, adventure, and introspection. Not every story has a happy ending, but it’s all the better for it. Because while TNG is supremely optimistic about humanity’s potential, it’s also realistic about our flaws. Unlike other, older Star Trek series, TNG has been remastered, so it remains a visual delight, too.

Its core cast is perfectly balanced, and it manages to blend personal storytelling with huge, sweeping science-fiction stories. Seasons 1 and 2 have their moments, but the long stretch of episodes between seasons 3 and 6 is practically flawless. And, while it’s evident that the series was starting to run out of steam in its final season 7, the finale remains one of the best TV series finales of all time. Endlessly rewatchable, TNG is the magnum opus of Star Trek, never to be exceeded.

That’s it on our ranking of the Star Trek series. Still, Trek’s far from over, and there are plenty of new films and shows on the way which may yet shake up this list. For more on the future of Trek, check out our guides to the Strange New Worlds season 3 release date, the Section 31 release date, the Star Trek 4 release date, the Starfleet Academy release date, and a guide speculating about the Star Trek Legacy release date.

You can also see our picks for the best Star Trek characters and best Star Trek captains, or see why we don’t care that Strange New Worlds broke canon, and how Star Trek: First Contact was inspired by Patrick Stewart’s favorite TNG episode.