Star Trek has one of the most sprawling universes out there, with numerous TV shows, animated series and blockbuster films dating back by nearly eighty years, and dotted across numerous timelines within the narrative. Therefore, easing yourself into the Trekkie fandom is no easy feat.

There’s numerous ways to catch up on everything within the Star Trek universe - but which is the best method? We’ve collated the most popular orders for you to check out. Keep in mind that if you watch everything on this list, you’ll have nearly 600 hours worth of screen time, which means it will take you around a year to get through all of these, even if you’re watching on a regular basis. You’ve been warned.

If Star Trek isn’t quite your bag but you’re looking for something else to binge, then we also have articles on how to watch the MCU and Star Wars in order.

Chronological order

The Star Trek universe makes it very easy to put each of the shows and movies into narrative order, as everything has a Stardate, which is essentially a fictional date that tells you where a story is placed in the overall universe timeline.

Some of these shows are still ongoing (Discovery will have its third season this year, and Picard has only just launched on Amazon Prime), but at the moment these Stardates still fit in with this order.

How to watch Star Trek in order

Important things to keep in mind while watching the films and TV shows chronologically is that special effects and CGI will obviously jump around a lot, something first-time viewers may find jarring. In addition, starting with Enterprise may not explain the world as thoroughly for first-time viewers as The Original Series does.

There’s also two timelines. JJ Abrams’ film trilogy deviates from the canon timeline of the original series entirely, meaning that it’s a separate entity to the rest of the franchise. We recommend watching all of the original timeline first, before moving onto the ‘Kelvin’ timeline (named after a pivotal plot point, no spoilers here though).

Here’s the chronological order:

Star Trek: Enterprise (2001 to 2005)
Star Trek: Discovery (2017-)
Star Trek: Short Treks (2018-)
Star Trek: The Original Series (1966 to 1969)
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973 to 1974)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 to 1994)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993 to 1999)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995 to 2001)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Trek: Picard (2020-)

Kelvin timeline:

Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Release date order

If you’d prefer to see how the world of Star Trek has evolved over time, then release date order may be the better order. However, a word of caution. This is pretty complicated - considering that numerous series and films overlap with each other. To compensate for this, we’ve split up some of the TV programmes into seasons.

how to watch star trek in order

As we stated earlier, starting with The Original Series is quite a good place to go as it sets up the world and introduces the viewers to some of the biggest characters and recurring plot points. From a technical perspective, it’s also interesting to see how the animation and effects evolve over time.

Here’s the release date order:

Star Trek: The Original Series (1966 to 1969)
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973 to 1974)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Seasons 1 to 4 (1987 to 1991)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Seasons 5 to 7 (1991 to 1994)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Seasons 1 to 3 (1993 to 1994)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Seasons 4 to 7 (1994 to 1999)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995 to 2001)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Enterprise - Seasons 1 to 2 (2001 to 2002)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Trek: Enterprise - Seasons 3 to 4 (2002 to 2005)
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Star Trek: Discovery (2017-)
Star Trek: Short Treks (2018-)
Star Trek Picard (2020-)

Where to watch the Star Trek TV series and films in the UK

As these lists are so extensive, various subscriptions may be required if you wish to stream them all. Now TV has the biggest film offering, with all the movies excluding Into Darkness and Beyond. For the series, Netflix would be the best choice, with every live-action series bar Picard, which is an Amazon Prime exclusive.

The only four things that aren’t available to stream anywhere at the moment in the UK are Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Short Treks, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. If you want to get hold of them, you’ll have to purchase them separately on the likes of Amazon Prime. Of course, not many people rate The Animated Series - so if that sounds like too much work, feel free to skip it. Short Treks is also a spin-off, and not integral to the main plot. 

Future Star Trek shows in the works

We already know that there’s more to come from Discovery, Picard and Short Treks, but these aren’t the only Star Trek shows in the works. Section 31 is a spinoff that’s actively in development, starring Michelle Yeoh as Federation Captain Philippa Georgiou, who appeared in Discover.

Overseer of the Star Trek universe Alex Kurtzman revealed in an interview with TrekCore that two other unnamed live action shows are in the works, but more details are yet to come about these.

On the animated side, we’ll also be seeing a lot more. Lower Decks is a web series that will air on CBS All Access this month (find out how to watch it in the UK here), and will be the second ever animated show in the Star Trek universe. Nickelodeon is also producing another animated series for younger audiences, which will likely air after 2021.