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An iconic, long-running science-fiction franchise with five live action television series, one Animated Adaptation, and eleven movies spanning three generations of characters and four decades of television.

The setting in every series is about an Earth-based interstellar government called the United Federation of Planets and their fleet of starships, which form Starfleet. Every series dealt with a particular crew, mostly of various ships named Enterprise. As originally envisioned by its creator, Gene Roddenberry, the science fiction nature of the series was just a method to address many social issues of the time that could not have been done in a normal drama. As such, it was not above being Anvilicious or engaging in thinly-veiled social satire, but considering its origin during the 60's, some anvils needed to be dropped.

It was, for the most part, way on the happy end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, at least partially because of its solid allegiance to the Enlightened side of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment. But it still found some sort of balance between a Dystopia and a Crystal Spires and Togas future. In general, it is a future you hope will come true, albeit after Humanity endured terrible troubles like a third world war and the Eugenics Wars led by the genetically enhanced conqueror, Khan Noonien Singh, and rose above them. All series have sought to show that while you may think the world is falling apart and there is no chance of global unity, all this crap will eventually work itself out.

The series has also had a profound impact on modern culture and media. Everyone with any exposure to Western pop culture has heard of the Starship Enterprise, and the series predicted (and possibly inspired) the PC, tablet, automatic doors, cell phones, natural-language AI and more, decades before their invention. Not so incidentally, the first African-American woman in space was inspired to become an astronaut because of Nichelle Nichols' pioneering role. Also not so incidentally, the space shuttle Enterprise was named after the iconic starship, as is the first commercial spacecraft.

And finally, Star Trek also gave rise to Fandom as we know it: when Star Trek: The Original Series began to pick up steam in syndication, fans organized conventions, wrote fanfic, dressed in costume, and generally made enough noise to keep the franchise going for forty years and counting. Every fandom since has grown from that original outpouring of fannish activity and devotion.

Television Series in the franchise include:

  • Star Trek: The Original Series ("TOS", 1966-1969) Set from 2265-2269 -- The one everyone has heard of (at the time, of course, it was just called Star Trek). It suffered in the Ratings, but gained a devoted fanbase. Uncanceled after the second season, and then Cancelled again at the end of the third. It really picked up steam in syndication, which was about the time demographics came into play - and the Real Life moon landing happened a week after its last episode aired. Nowadays, it looks incredibly cheesy and dated, but the show's writing was good, the cast had great chemistry and the characters themselves were very memorable, to the point of creating three new archetypes: The Kirk, The Spock, and The McCoy. In fact, this series created so many new tropes that it has left an unmistakable mark on both television and pop culture ever since. Not to mention inspired a lot of mostly affectionate parodies.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series ("TAS", 1973-1974) Set from 2269-2270 -- Used most of the original cast (and a few additions) to provide voices for the animated versions of their characters. The quality of the show was hit and miss, with some being mediocre cartoon fare while others were excellent, and the series got the franchise's first Emmy award. 22 episodes were produced. The official canonicity of this series has gone back and forth, but at least some elements have bled over into the rest of the franchise (most notably, identifying the "T" in James T. Kirk to stand for "Tiberius") and the addition of the cat-like Caitians to the mythos (see Star Trek 2).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation ("TNG", 1987-1994) Set from 2364-2370 -- The other one everyone has heard of. Takes place in the 24th century on the Enterprise-D, with the same mission of exploration as the original. Introduced the holodeck (although a version of it appeared first in the Canon/noncanon "TAS"), defined the Klingons as being a society of honor and war, and really hit it home with creating the cybernetic alien race, the Borg. Also, there was Q.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("DS9", 1993-1999) Set from 2369-2375 -- Takes place concurrently with the end of Next Generation and the lion's share of Voyager, and conceived as a Spin-Off of TNG. Set on a former Cardassian space station (formerly Terok Nor, renamed Deep Space Nine) in a politically unstable part of space near the planet Bajor, with exclusive access to a rare stable wormhole that leads from the Alpha to the Gamma Quadrant. From the fourth season onwards, former TNG character Worf joined the cast and the whole series got much darker with a massive interstellar war between the Federation, Cardassians, Klingons, Romulans and the Dominion. Was also the first Trek series to use Story Arcs extensively, rather than persisting with a strictly episodic format. Generally considered the Oddball in the Series as far as the television shows go.
  • Star Trek: Voyager ("VOY", 1995-2001) Set from 2371-2378 -- Another Spin-Off of Next Generation, conceived as its successor. While searching for a group of rogue Starfleet people called the Maquis, both the title ship and a Maquis ship are flung across the galaxy and stranded in the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 light years and seventy-five years' travel from home (Lost in Space a la Star Trek). Had the first main character female captain in the franchise. In the mainstream, this show is best -- perhaps only -- known for its Ms. Fanservice character, Seven of Nine. Among fans, it's infamous for the Villain Decay of the Borg, the obscene levels of Techno Babble, and mashing the Reset Button after roughly every other episode, but it is also notable for tackling controversial topics even other Trek series wouldn't touch.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise ("ENT", 2001-2005) Set from 2151-2155 -- Prequel to the original series. Set a hundred years or so before Kirk and the Federation, when humans are just getting their space legs (and the Applied Phlebotinum is not nearly as reliable), aboard Earth's first, experimental Warp 5-capable starship, the Enterprise NX-01. It began with a Myth Arc involving the Enterprise crew getting caught up in a "Temporal Cold War" being fought by several rival Time Travel factions, though it gradually fell victim to the The Chris Carter Effect. The series was then Retooled twice: first with the third season introducing an ambitious season-spanning Story Arc centering around the sudden appearance of a mysterious new aggressor called the Xindi, and then with the fourth and final season consisting of several two-to-three-episode-long "mini-arcs" that laid the groundwork for the Federation in earnest. Sadly, just as it began to pick up steam, it was abruptly cancelled. Infamous for the pop song in the opening credits, and for being the first Trek series since the original to be canceled before the usual seven seasons.
  • Star Trek: Discovery ("DIS", 2017-) Set in 2256, ten years before the original series, it focuses on the USS Discovery, an experimental science vessel, caught in the midst of the latest Federation-Klingon war. Its second season, focused on the crew hunting down mysterious signals across the galaxy, leading to a confrontation for the fate of the galaxy.
  • Star Trek: Picard ("PIC", 2020-) Set in 2399, twenty years after the TNG era ended, a long-since retired Picard gets dragged out of retirement by a mysterious young woman who needs his help, setting him on a quest to discover an eons old secret with Data right at the centre.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks ("LD", 2020-) Set in 2380, Lower Decks follows four of the lowest ranking ensigns in Starfleet, posted on one of the least important ships in the fleet, the USS Cerritos, as they try and move up in the world. Trek's second animated series and its first comedy, every episode of Lower Decks bursts with Continuity Porn.

In addition to these, Star Trek: Phase II was a series concept designed as the cornerstone of a Paramount Pictures-based network in 1976. A continuation of the original series and featuring a second five-year mission, it would have introduced a number of new characters in conjunction with the original crew. When the network project died and the insane success of Star Wars made sci-fi films profitable again, Paramount elaborated the series pilot into The Movie, which ultimately led to a whole new line of movies:

Many of the concepts from Phase II made their way into Star Trek the Next Generation and the series itself is considered deuterocanon - not "true" canon, because it never made it to the screen, but allowed in Broad Strokes to fill a gap in Trek chronology (notice the fictional length of time between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan).

After the cancellation of Enterprise, 2006 was the first year with no new Star Trek stories on film or TV since 1985. Then, when all seemed lost, Star Trek was revived with a Film Of The Series which promises to kick off a whole new series of movies:

In total, to watch every minute of "canon" Star Trek (series and movies) would require over 23 days. Of Science Fiction franchises, only Doctor Who and its various canon spinoffs are even within a week.

Star Trek Expanded Universe

The Star Trek Expanded Universe consists of the expected novels and videogames; these are somewhat infamous in many circles (compared to the Star Wars counterparts) for the casual disregard the producers of the shows often hold for them.

See also the Trek Verse - a discussion of internal Trek history as viewed from a real-world perspective as well as how it affected modern culture.

Tropes common across all series:

  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Self-aware computers are Always Chaotic Evil in TOS. Later series had more nuanced explorations of the concept.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Trope Codifier via General Order Number 1, the Prime Directive, that generator of so many plot devices.
  • Almighty Janitor: Boothby, the groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy.
  • Alternate History: In Star Trek, the 90s and late 80s were a genetic renaissance, and superhuman products of genetic manipulation almost threw mankind back into the dark ages. After Humanity's recovery from this, the Vulcans arrived and Humanity's technology advanced extremely quickly. All the shows take place after this.
    • In some cases this is retconned or made to be more of a Secret History, in order to keep alive the possibility that Star Trek could hypothetically still be our future (thus retaining the positive outlook on mankind's future). Other works just dive right into Alternate History.
    • And what happens when 2026 rolls around and World War III (hopefully) doesn't happen?
  • Alternative Number System: According to The Klingon Dictionary, the Klingons used to count in a ternary (base-three) system, but have since switched over to decimal.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Borg, Romulans, and Cardassians. The original series and Enterprise also portray Klingons this way, and The Next Generation does likewise with the Ferengi.
  • Always on Duty: The main characters are always on the bridge whenever something interesting is happening. The only time across the entire franchise that we see evidence of any kind of shift system is in a few TNG episodes where Data is shown commanding the night shift, and once when Captain Sulu of the Excelsior in The Undiscovered Country gets woken up by Christian Slater.
  • Arc Number: 47, from the middle of Next Generation on.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving
  • Artificial Gravity: Rarely mentioned, but always present whenever the action takes place aboard a starship or space station.
  • The Assimilator: The Borg.
  • Author Appeal: Rick Berman has admitted that he is the one mostly responsible for so much Time Travel in the various shows. He just loves the time paradox of "this is the reason this happened but that is the origin of that event and here is where we have to make a choice as to whether this or that occurs..."
  • Badass Army: The Klingons wish they were these but they are more of a subversion. Starfleet qualifies, at least in space--they tend to be somewhat underprepared for extended ground combat.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Starfleet Command sometimes give the impression of being between this and Obstructive Bureaucrat.
  • Big Damn Movies: The movies feature far more action than you're likely to find in a typical season of the original series or Next Generation. While episodes of the series typically involve stories about exploration and dealing with touchy political issues, the movies are much more likely to involve clashes with full-on Card Carrying Villains.
  • Boarding Party: Beaming aboard the enemy ship.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Data, Spock, and most Vulcans.
  • The Chains of Commanding
  • Chekhov's Gun
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Patrick Stewart, most famously. He even said that he considered it training for his role as Picard. But the franchise is famous for casting many stage actors over regular TV guest actors.
  • Cleavage Window: Female Klingon uniforms.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: The black and primary color uniform scheme. Only the first six films and Enterprise didn't follow this... though the uniforms with Wrath of Khan's emblematic red-vest-division-turtleneck-and-black-pants is also very popular.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Starfleet uniforms, which resulted in the aforementioned Red Shirt gag.
    • The colors were shuffled around a bit on TNG, with red (formerly Security and Engineering) and gold (Command) trading places. Blue still stands for Science and Medical.
    • Also for many of the major races and nations, who are associated with particular colour schemes:
      • The Federation is a rich blue (on star charts, on their seal, in their warp plasma) supplemented by other light pastel shades and grey (for ship bulkheads).
      • The Klingons are red (on star charts, on their banner, their graphic displays and ship controls, their warp plasma, their transporter effect). They also prefer red lighting aboard their ships and in their buildings.
      • Romulans are deep green (on star charts, on banners and display graphics, their warp plasma, their transporter effect). Their ships also have a deep green hull colour.
      • Cardassians are usually yellow-ochre or pink (both colours were used for their weapons - pink in their first few appearances, later yellow, their transporter is yellow-ochre, on star charts they're either yellow or pink). Their ship hulls are ochre. Their graphics and display panels use orange/beige and green, colours that sometimes appear on their cultural emblem.
      • The Dominion is purple (their warp plasma, on star charts; their graphics are purple and green).
      • Ferengi warp plasma and ship hulls are orange.
      • Andorians, to no-one's surprise, like white and blue, along with a pale beige.
      • The Borg favours black and a sickly green.
      • Bajorans uses gold-tan and dark red.
  • Cool but Inefficient
  • Cool Starship: Every series has one.
  • Collectible Card Game
  • Command Roster: Star Trek is likely the Trope Maker or at least set the standard of how this trope is used.
  • Communications Officer: Every series has one except DS9 (though in TNG, Worf gets shuffled out of the position pretty quickly and nobody really replaces him).
  • Deadly Training Area: The holodecks were intended to be used for training, but they're one of the most hazardous areas on the ship thanks to Holodeck Malfunctions.
  • Death Wail: The standard practice when a Klingon dies is for his/her comrades to hold their eyes open while screaming loudly to the sky to warn those in the afterlife that a great warrior is on his/her way to join them.
  • Deflector Shields
  • Destructo-Nookie: Klingons.
  • Development Gag: Quite a few. Jeffries Tubes were named after the visual designer of the original series (and designer of the original Enterprise) Matt Jeffries. Various shuttlecraft, such as the Justman, were also named after notable production crew. A section of Stage 16 at Paramount Pictures used to portray alien planets had the nickname of "Planet Hell," which was used as a description of an appropriate planet in Star Trek Voyager.
  • Dress Up Episode: most common in the Original Series ("A Piece of the Action", "Return of the Archons", "Assignment: Earth"), but happens in the Next Generation a fair amount too ("The Big Goodbye").
  • Doctor's Orders: The medical personnel can remove the captain from command.
  • Due to the Dead: A good number of funeral customs, at that.
  • Dying Alone
  • Emotion Suppression: The Vulcan culture has Emotion Suppression at its core.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Romulans vs. Vulcans.
  • The Empire: The Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire and Cardassian Alliance. The Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: It's an interesting thing to note as the next generation of shows progressed in special effects.
  • Everything Sensor: EVERY scanner is like this.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Of all the species, only the Borg and Cardassians have an excuse for this - the Borg's minimalism, and the latter's sensitivity to light. Incidentally, this is the excuse for Deep Space Nine being so dimly-lit, since it was designed by the Cardassians.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Species 8472, also known as the Undine, are introduced as the only threat to the hitherto biggest threat (the Borg). Their ships are organic and the (CGI) aliens themselves look "more organic" than the usual Rubber Forehead Alien because they don't wear clothes, have extra limbs and strange eyes with complicated irides. Also, they hail from something called fluidic space. To top it all off, the crew of the Voyager are willing to team up with the Borg to fight against them.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Betazoids have black irises.
  • Exposition Beam: Vulcan Mind Melds are essentially this, along with a host of other Applied Phlebotinum uses.
  • Expositron 9000: The ship/station computers.
  • Fan of the Past: Too many to name.
  • Fantastic Racism: There will always be at least a few members of each species that has issues with humans, other species, or vice versa.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Bio-memetic gel, a key component of biogenic weapons. The actual effects of this gel are left up to the imagination; the Federation bans any and all weapons applications, so it must be pretty hairy.
    • Some Expanded Universe sources imply that biogenic is the equivalent of weapon of mass destruction in current parlance. That is, this is a weapon you had DAMN well better not get caught actually using.
    • The Vulcans use "Red Matter" to create pocket black holes. Nero got the bright idea of using it to eat a planet (specifically Vulcan).
  • Fantastic Rank System: Everyone except the Federation has a different one. See the trope page for more details.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: While not fantasy, most of the major alien species have some connection to Real World counterparts.
    • The Federation - The United States (Although, it's sort of a mixture of the United States & the United Nations. The Federation flag & the Federation Council are reminiscent of the UN Flag & the Security Council. However, unlike the present-day UN, the Federation is a sovereign government with elements common to a federal republic. Persons on Federation worlds are citizens of the Federation. That citizenship is guaranteed rights by way of the Federation Charter & Constitution, and the rights enumerated in the Federation Charter & Constitution have supremacy across all member worlds.)
      • Starfleet - The United States Navy (Both the Earth & Federation versions of Starfleet have individual ranks & systems of hierarchy that correspond with the USN's. The color of Starfleet personnel's uniforms are based on the specifics of their job, just as its done with the flight crews aboard USN aircraft carriers. Also, during the Dominion War, "Deep Space Nine" has Starfleet deployed in the numbered fleet configurations used by the USN, with the 3rd Fleet referenced as protecting Earth & the 7th Fleet all but destroyed in a failed offensive.)
    • Vulcans- Great Britain (Not a perfect match-up, but Enterprise depicted them as a regional superpower who eventually lose much of their realm of control as Earth increases theirs.)
    • Klingons- Soviet Russia
      • Klingons also had some similarity to post-Soviet Russia in The Next Generation in terms of politics. But as part of Gene Roddenberry's plan to not make them evil and a race of "black hats", they turned into... vikings. They also had no analogue to the KGB, where the Romulans have the Tal'Shiar (Ministry of State Security), and the Cardassians have the Obsidian Order (The Gestapo).
    • Romulans- Communist China (Secretive government who you aren't quite sure what they're up to.) The Romulans also have some allusions to the Roman Empire: Their two main planets are Romulus and Remus, they are called an Empire, their ruling body is the Senate which is headed by a Praetor, and low-ranking officers are called "Centurions".
      • Starting in The Next Generation, the Romulans also started to become a bit like Iran, for similar reasons.
    • Cardassians - Nazi Germany (Mostly in regards to their Occupation of Bajor. But in some regards it is what would have happened if WW 2 was a stalemate instead of an allied victory.) Weakening the comparison, the Cardassians never attempted extermination, let alone tried to wipe out the Bajoran people - even if they were very xenophobic in general. Cardassians culture is very military-center and totalitarian - on Deep Space Nine one of the characters comments that "Cardassians have a habit of looking to strong military leadership in hard times" (Bismarck, the Kaiser etc). Parallel was apparently noted in-series, as the anti-Cardassian resistance shares a name with the French resistance of WWII.
      • Cardassians as generic colonial powers works just as well as the obligatory Nazi comparison, since Bajor is always called a colony and is run along those lines: occupy and obtain resources (with local slave labor), rather than being a matter of living space or an ideology.
      • Cardassians as a version of undefeated (pre-WWII) Japan is a popular alternative, especially among those who look at details like what food they eat and many of the cultural notes in Deep Space 9.
    • Bajorans- Palestinians. A religious people with a long cultural tradition whose homeland is invaded by a people who self-justify their oppressive actions through claims of moral superiority, and who resorted to terrorist acts in order to win their freedom from said oppressive invaders. Your Mileage May Vary, to put it mildly: most fans try to avoid the more unsavory real-world parallels (such as anti-semitism) of "Bajor = Palestine."
      • Bajorans as generic colonized people. (Would support the Cardassians as generic colonial powers interpretation.)
      • Bajorans as the Irish, especially in the Circle (IRA) plot-arc.
      • Bajorans actually work as a variation of the Jews and the Israelis as well. The episode "Ensign Ro" suggests this with its tale about the Bajorans losing their homeland, treated as pariahs and then resorting to terrorism (Irgun, etc) to try to regain their homeland.
    • Orions- The Mafia/ Criminal Underground
    • Nausicaans- Gang Leaders
    • Ferengi- The East India Companies (most closely)
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Rather hard to imagine the series without it.
  • Fiction Science: The series have produced a large number of Technical Manuals, many of them official. These fill in many details of life in the Trekkian future, especially the inner workings of the Enterprises and other starships.
  • Forgot the Call
  • Genericist Government
  • Generican Empire: The United Federation of Planets, the Dominion.
  • God-Emperor: The Klingon treatment of Kahless the Unforgettable.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: When heroes on Trek use transporters, the visual effect appears blue. Alternatively, Klingons use a red effect. The Borg are green.
    • Cardassians (and, by extension, the crew of DS9) have yellow transporter beams.
  • Good Old Ways
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Used a couple of times in TNG and Deep Space Nine, also used in the movie Insurrection.
  • Graying Morality: From series to series, at least for a while. TNG is grayer than the original series, and Deep Space Nine is even grayer than that.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: The Federation definitely believes in "carrying a big ship" to negotiations. They don't usually push their self-interest too hard with this show of force, but it still makes three things clear. "We are strong." "We are rich." "You don't start fights when we're trying to negotiate."
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Spock, Deanna Troi, B'Elanna Torres, Sisko.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?: Klingons tend to do this a lot; Worf is only the most prominent example.
  • Hero of Another Story: It is implied through the various Star Trek shows that the sort of adventures the Enterprise and her crew get in is just the far side of typical. Lampshaded by Captain Janeway when she stated in Star Trek: Voyager that "Weird is part of the job."
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Especially during TOS and early TNG. Gene Roddenberry opposed the idea of a military Starfleet.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform
  • Hollywood Tactics: Went up and down depending on the series and the point in the series, but pretty much everybody is woefully under-equipped and fights very poorly in land combat.
  • Hologram
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: While most of the species that are encountered look fairly humanoid, many of them turn out to have truly bizarre biological differences.
  • Humorless Aliens: Vulcans allegedly have no sense of humor, but they all seem to be Deadpan Snarkers anyway.
    • This is a bit of Fridge Brilliance. Humor is usually about the incongruity between logic and reality. So, basically, Vulcans have spent hundreds of years watching every other race act like clowns, and they get the joke. They may not guffaw, but their sense of humor is finely honed.
    • Sulu tells a young Tuvok once, "Don't tell me Vulcans don't have a sense of humor, because I know better." True enough!
  • If You Taunt Him You Will Be Just Like Him
  • Inertial Dampening: Occasionally mentioned by the characters, Inertial Dampeners allow an Impulse-drive-powered starship to accelerate from a dead stop to a substantial fraction of the speed of light in under a minute, without turning the crew into crepes. The technology isn't quick enough to compensate for random, unexpected impacts, however, which can result in the Star Trek Shake.
  • Inexplicable Cultural Ties: In Roddenberry's Star Trek pitch, he explains how culturally (and biologically) familiar aliens would make Science Fiction feasible for TV. Star Trek has since been true to what he called the Parallel Worlds concept that prescribes that alien civilizations will usually be very much like humans culturally and therefore not too foreign to the audience.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Transporters can act this way under certain circumstances (which occur accidentally in the original series, and then are intentionally reproduced in Deep Space Nine).
  • Jabba Table Manners: The Klingons of the Star Trek universe universally gulp and slurp down food like slobs. In their case, it is to show how tough and free of pretentious "good manners" and straightforward and honest their society is, not to show how "evil" they are.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The gold uniform worn by Kirk (and also Archer).
  • Life Imitates Art: Take the sliding doors, for one thing.
  • Letter Motif
  • Logic Bomb: Though there were precedents in pulp SF, Kirk did this to no fewer than three computers.
  • Long Runners: The second longest running sci-fi show in the world, beaten only by Doctor Who - and Star Trek has more total hours (as stated earlier).
  • Love Is in the Air: Several episodes in the different series.
  • Ludd Was Right: By means of Space Amish.
  • Ludicrous Precision: The Vulcans are prone to this, as is Commander Data.
  • Made of Explodium: When a computer blows up in Star Trek, it BLOWS UP. This extends to either independent computer equipment or even the consoles on the bridge. Sometimes characters even die from the exploding bridge consoles.
  • Made of Phlebotinum
  • Magical Security Cam: Happens so often and so early in the setting that it can be considered a technological standard. At this point, anything else would be a deviation from canon.
    • Taken to its logical extreme in Voyager, where the ship recorded all of the crew's brainwaves.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The various starships. The Holodeck. The Bajoran wormhole in Deep Space Nine. The Temporal Cold War in Enterprise.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters
  • Mildly Military: Starfleet combines the swashbuckling and relative independence of ships from the Age Of Sail with a preference for a fairly relaxed, "enlightened" attitude, and a portfolio split between defence, science, law enforcement, and diplomacy.
    • It is now Canon that NCC-1701 is a ship's classification number, however with that lead "N" it could be taken as a civil aircraft registration number.
      • Not unintentional, as Roddenberry reportedly based the Starfleet hull-numbering system after the US civil aircraft registration system deliberately referencing the "N" or "NC" numbers used on US aircraft.)
  • Military Maverick: Almost expected of Starfleet captains, it would seem. Picard, for all he's careful, deliberate, and knows the regulations backwards, forwards, and sideways, has many moments of this, and the others even more. One gets the impression that, away from central planets and main trade routes, the captain is the Federation, with all the discretion and responsibility that implies.
    • Considering that the original concept for the series was Hornblower in deep space, and that ship captains during the Wooden Ships and Iron Men era usually were their respective country's highest representative in any area where they were stationed...
    • Janeway in Star Trek Voyager once made a comment about how strongly she had to hold onto Starfleet regulations so far from home, but also admired the gung-ho attitude of earlier Starfleet captains ("I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that!").
  • Monumental View: Every iteration puts Starfleet academy on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco (and directly across from Starfleet headquarters.) There's a bit of a problem with that as the land there is almost exclusively deep, steep, hills.
  • More Hero Than Thou
  • Narrating the Present: the Captains Logs.
  • National Weapon: The Klingon bat'leth.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: From a well-known parody.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer
  • No Poverty: A central part of the setting, humanity solved this problem after meeting the Vulcans.
  • No Sense of Humor: Vulcans are renown for this, though many of them are Deadpan Snarkers instead.
    • They would arguably be the most deadpan of snarkers, ever.
  • Novelty Decay: The Borg start out in Next Generation as a mysterious, frighteningly advanced and implacable species from beyond known space. Then Enterprise has them show up about 300 years before that, while their Villain Decay on Voyager makes them seem distinctly nonthreatening.
  • Now Do It Again Backwards
  • No OSHA Compliance: Various parts of the ships have handrails a-plenty, but virtually no seat belts. Across multiple series and movies, time and again in the franchise, you'll see the ship rocked by explosions and characters thrown hurtling all over the bridge while the camera shakes, sometimes being hurled from one end to the other. You'd think that seat belts would become a priority after decades of this. Poor Worf doesn't even have a seat.
    • Referring back to the handrail, it came to a head in Enterprise when a crewman actually calls something a handrail, then when its pointed out that where it's placed on a lift would actually sever fingers, is clearly confused and asks why anyone would put their hand there. Considering its Trip of all people, who's asking the crewman this, its even more baffling?
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Occasionally subverted or averted, it's still the rule rather than the exception. Notably, Klingons have opera and something like heavy metal.
  • No Such Thing as HR: A common point of confusion in the otherwise enlightened future of Star Trek is Mc Coy's humorously treated Fantastic Racism towards Spock, along with the number of physical altercations the crew get into without really getting into trouble. Justifiable in the original series since the ship's on the edge of known space; by the time the franchise moved closer to Earth with Star Trek: The Next Generation, a more established bureaucracy seemed to be in place (though occasionally characters like Worf seem to be allowed a huge amount of leeway as a Proud Warrior Race Guy).
  • Officer and a Gentleman and/or Cultured Warrior: To some degree, almost all Starfleet personnel are one or the other of these. Even the Closer to Earth types have scientific and literary interests. Many enemies are Wicked Cultured as well.
  • The Omnipotent: Q is a lower version of this; while he claims omnipotence, other Q can still hurt him or take away his powers.
  • The Omniscient: Q.
  • Our Doors Are Different: Sliding doors everywhere. Everywhere.
  • Palette-Swapped Alien Food: Romulan and Andorian Ale is blue.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: Several species in the various works exhibit this trope.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Photon torpedoes are the Trope Maker. There are also quantum, plasma, and polaron torpedoes, just to name a few.
  • Planet of Hats
  • Planet Terra: Used a few times (the Mirror Universe has the Terran empire; the original series occasionally contrasts "Terrans" with "Vulcans").
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The original series had the Klingons as being mostly warlike with few redeeming traits. Gene Roddenberry didn't like them being the "Black Hats" of the saga so in The Next Generation he made a Klingon a regular cast member and quickly established the "honor" aspect to their society.
  • Ray Gun: Phasers and disruptors.
  • Raygun Gothic: The Original Series solidly fits this trope. By the Next Generation era the Federation is in transition between Raygun Gothic and Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • The Rez: Whole planets of it.
  • Reactionless Drive: Every ship's warp drive is propelled by the cylindrical nacelles on the sides of the ship. There is no apparent ejection of matter, so what force is propelling the ship is unknown to our primitive understanding of physics. Most theorists who dissect the Techno Babble have settled on the idea that warp technology distorts space-time in a way that a) makes the ship capable of Faster-Than-Light Travel and b) requires the engines to work in a way analogous to terrestrial transport (à la Space Friction).
    • Even the slower-than-light Impulse Engines appear to be some kind of reactionless drive. Although they glow an ominous red color while in operation, there's no apparent ejection of matter, and no mention is ever made of the need for propellant storage. (The top speed under impulse drive is supposed to be 0.25c, which even for antimatter-powered Newtonian engines would require a substantial amount of propellant mass to be expelled.)
  • The Reptilians: Some of the most prominent examples include the Gorn, the Cardassians, and the reptile Xindi.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: A frequent theme in the series.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale
  • Screens Are Cameras: The viewscreens behave like this, in all the show's incarnations.
  • Screen Shake
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare
  • Sighted Guns Are Low Tech
  • Slow Electricity: The console displays always go on/off in sequence around the bridge. If there's a ship-wide outage, expect an outside shot of windows lighting up/going out one at a time.
  • Smart House: The ships behave much like this from TNG onward.
  • Space Fighter: Fighters are rare, but did turn up now and then -- especially in Deep Space Nine. Later Trek series started having a stronger military influence and ships like the Defiant and the Delta Flyer are surprisingly battle-hearted fighters.
  • Space Navy: Starfleet
  • Standard Sci-Fi Army: Codified the use Security personnel. Follows the visual media model of focusing mostly on Infantry.
  • Standard Sci Fi History: Earth's history follows this.
  • Standard Sci Fi Setting: One of the most famous Trope Codifiers.
  • Standard Starship Scuffle: A likely Trope Codifier.
  • Standard Time Units: Stardates.
  • Starfish Aliens: While the series is often mocked for excessive use of Rubber Forehead Aliens, special mention must be made of the Tholians that appeared in the original series episode "The Tholian Web", who were so strange, while visible only partly through the main viewscreen during negotiations, that the writers themselves (like anyone else) couldn't figure out what they actually were implied to be for the better part of 30 years, even while being passingly mentioned once or twice in different series. Only toward the end of Enterprise did they finally settle on the head being a carapace, and the Tholians as a race of advanced arachnids.
  • State Sec: Romulans and Cardassians both got their own little versions in the form of the Tal'Shiar and Obsidian Order respectively. Arguably Starfleet's Section 31. The Ferengi's FCA might also qualify given their cultural bias.
  • Stealth in Space: The Romulans developed a Cloaking Device in the timeframe of TOS, which was soon stolen by the Federation; subsequently, the Treaty of Algeron prohibited the Federation from using or developing any cloaking technology of its own.
  • Stop Trick
  • Subspace Ansible: Except when the plot demands its absence.
  • Super Doc: Any Sickbay doctor.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type 0: Jake Sisko, Kes, Neelix, the Ferengi
    • Type 1: Most regulars who are Starfleet officers, Barclay, Klingons, Romulans
    • Type 2: Spock, other Vulcans, Khan Noonien Singh, Deanna Troi, Julian Bashir, Seven of Nine, Holograms, Jem'Hadar
    • Type 3: Data, the Borg, Species 8472, Changelings, Benjamin Sisko at the end of Deep Space Nine
    • Type 4: Kes after her ascension, Armus
    • Type 5: The Caretaker, Sphere Builders, The Prophets/Pah-Wraiths, the planet killer, the Whale Probe, Nagilum
    • Type 6: The Q Continuum, The Guardian of Forever, The Douwd (Kevin Uxbridge)
  • Talking Animal: Lt. M'Ress, the felinoid alien from the Animated Series; the Gorn, basically Lizard Folk.
  • Techno Babble: More or less the Trope Codifier. In the script it would be labeled as [TECH] and they had a separate writer to put in whatever seemed appropriate.
  • Technology Porn
  • Teleporter Accident
  • Teleport Interdiction: Since the transporters are such an integral part of the Star Trek franchise, it has a lot of this. For example, it's not possible to transport through a ship's deflector shields. Usually this is used as a way to add drama -- with the ship having to drop its shields briefly in the middle of battle in order to beam back an away team -- but it also means transporter-enabled boarding parties aren't a major part of battle tactics.
  • Tie In Novels: A huge range of novels based on all eras of the franchise (and the spaces in between) exists, including novelizations of several episodes and Star Trek: New Frontier. Other than the novelizations, these are all officially declared non-canon by Paramount and Gene Roddenberry. When Jeri Taylor was the Word of God on Star Trek Voyager, her original novels about the crew's history were considered canon. They aren't any more.
    • Pre-Nemesis, authors had a standing order not to kill any character that had appeared on-screen. Afterwards, because Nemesis is likely the last time the original timeline will be seen on-screen, all bets are off. (Still non-canon, however.)
  • Time Police: The Federation of the 29th Century and Daniels' faction from the 31st Century. They aren't very effective at this.
    • Janeway is described as casually flaunting the timeline so frequently it actually managed to drive Captain Braxton 'insane. He comes up with something called "The Janeway Factor," meaning that you can fully expect her to blunder into any time-sensitive activities going on.
    • Also, the time police hate Kirk; when Sisko gives his report about "Trials and Tribble-ations," and first mentions Kirk, the two operatives look at each other and say something along the lines of "we all hate the Kirk cases."
  • Time to Step Up Commander
  • Translator Microbes: The Universal Translator.
  • Ungovernable Galaxy: The Federation manages its portion of the galaxy quite well. Trouble is, by the mid-24th century, it's only 11% of the galaxy. Even the quadrant it operates in, the Alpha Quadrant, is divided into several states. The Delta Quadrant is a Crapsack World full of pirates, scavengers, tribalists, and the Borg.
  • Values Dissonance: There is some of this between the Star Trek shows, spanning decades, and the audiences of various generations, but this trope really comes into its own in universe, with the majority of plots being about or involving inter-species and inter-cultural values dissonance.
  • Verb This: In First Contact:

 Worf: Assimilate this. *cue Borgsplosion*

  • The Verse: Widely recognized as quite possibly the most coherent, internally consistent fictional universe ever created.
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Every Captain. In every series. And not infrequently either. Either them at the crew for their crap, or the crew to themselves for their own crap.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Vulcans, allegedly - something of an Informed Attribute. Of course, it's a good idea to pay attention to how the Vulcan said their sentence.
  • Word of God: Per Paramount Studios (owners of the franchise) and Gene Roddenberry (creator of the franchise) from the late-80s/early-90s, only live-action Star Trek TV episodes and films are considered canon. This has been hotly debated by fans, and occasionally ignored by scriptwriters.
  • Worthy Opponent : The Romulan captain in Balance of Terror most notably. Used on other occasions.
  • X Meets Y: Hidden by the influence of Trek on later productions, but the original premise was then novel at least for television, and could easily be described as "Horatio Hornblower meets The Outer Limits".
  • You Look Familiar: Numerous times. But in this case putting a different alien makeup helps a lot in distinguishing characters played by the same actor.
    • Mark Lenard waves "Hello".
    • The second Doctor of TNG played a girl du jour in the original series.
      • Twice.
    • Armin Shimmerman and Max Grodénchik played seven distinct Ferengi characters between the two of them, in addition to a handful of non-Ferengi roles.
    • Jeffery Combs, Vaughn Armstrong and J. G. Hertzler have set records for portraying no less than five alien species over the course of the "next generation" series of shows (including Combs playing two separate characters of different races in THE SAME EPISODE of Deep Space Nine).
    • From Voyager, Tim Russ (Tuvok) and Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) both played villains in episodes of The Next Generation. In fact, McNeill was supposed to reprise his role originally, before it was re-written as Tom Paris. Both are notable because there's practically no makeup involved between the two roles (Russ only gained pointy ears).
    • This was deliberately and brilliantly played with in the Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond The Stars"; once Ben Sisko began thinking he was Benny Russell, the people in his life looked like the people Sisko knew - except all human. But then the show would tap the fourth wall by making them appear in makeup for a moment. It's also the only time Marc Alaimo, Jeff Combs, JG Hertzler, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman and Michael Dorn got to appear on-camera without their makeup in the entire run of the series (for poor Michael Dorn, it was the first time in eleven years that he was on-camera with no makeup).
    • At the end of the series, a scene at Vic's featured almost every single actor who had some sort of major speaking role in the series in the bar without makeup on (except for the actors who played the main characters, who appeared in character.)
  • Zeerust: A given for the original series because of general budget restrictions of the time. Caused no shortage of Fan Dumb with Enterprise and the 2009 Star Trek movie because of an attempt to update. Next Generation mostly averts this even though it is over 20 years old now, mostly due to having an excellent--and Genre Savvy--visual designer in Michael Okuda.