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Star Trek is a long-running science-fiction franchise with eleven television series (eight live-action shows and three animated series), and thirteen live-action movies spanning three generations of characters and over six decades of television. And it's still going with a couple of new additions in development.

The setting in every series is sometime in the distant future featuring a collection of broadly similar rubber-foreheaded polities spanning (fairly small) segments of the so-called 'quadrants' of the Milky Way galaxy, with the stories centered around an Earth-based interstellar government called the United Federation of Planets and the exploits of its fleet of starships, 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 '60s, sometimes they couldn't afford to be subtle.

It is, for the most part, way on the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, at least partially because of its solid allegiance to the Enlightened side of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment. While the ships and officers of Starfleet use Frickin' Laser Beams, Deflector Shields, Photoprotoneutron Torpedoes and essentially invented Technobabble, the main way they solve problems is by talking, and by finding out the Commonality Connection between us humans and the Monster of the Week. That said, there are still shades of a more cynical future. In general, Star Trek portrays a future you hope will come true, albeit after humanity endured terrible troubles like the Eugenics Wars led by the genetically enhanced conqueror Khan Noonien Singh, and a third world war, 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. However, that future will of course still have serious problems like hostile interstellar powers and horrific threats like deadly alien monsters and diseases to deal with — though it's nothing that Starfleet can't handle.

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. The first African-American woman in space was inspired to become an astronaut because of Nichelle Nichols' pioneering role. And the prototype Space Shuttle was named after the iconic starship NCC-1701,note  as is Virgin Galactic's first commercial spacecraft.

And finally, while there were previous antecedents (such as the case of Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Star Trek effectively 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 fanfiction, dressed in costume, and generally made lots of noise. Case in point, the Space Shuttle prototype was going to be named the Constitution until then-President Gerald Ford received "hundreds of thousands of letters" from Trekkies who had different ideas on the subject. A similar letter-writing campaign granted The Original Series a third season. Every fandom since has taken its cues from that original outpouring of activity and devotion.

The franchise consists of:

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Television Series

    "Original Series era" shows (1966-74) 
With origins to the gestations of the original show dating back to 1962, these shows all have a commonality in being overseen primarily by Gene Roddenberry and a handful of recurring writers such as D. C. Fontana and David Gerrold, up until the development and release of the first film.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series, just called Star Trek at the time ("TOS", 1966-1969, NBC)
    Set 2265-2269 — The one everyone has heard of. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) leads the brave crew of the Cool Starship Enterprise on a mission "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before".

    The format was pitched as a Wagon Train to the Stars, with new planets and aliens encountered every week, though the Klingons and Romulans would become regulars in the Star Trek galaxy. The original series suffered in the ratings, but gained a devoted fanbase. Uncancelled 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. The series was also notable for depicting a racially diverse cast of characters working together peacefully; a bold, progressive move at a time when racial tensions were at an all-time high.

    The show's writing was innovative, 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, also just called Star Trek at the time ("TAS", 1973-1974, NBC)
    Set 2269-2270 — Showcases the final year or so of the Enterprise crew's 5-year mission from The Original Series. 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 forthnote , 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 Into Darkness).
  • Star Trek: Phase II (Cancelled)
    The growing syndication success of the original show and massive fanbase convention turnouts led to the development of new series to head a Paramount Pictures-based network. The series got far enough along with a dozen scripts written plus costumes created and sets built. A combination of a troubled production and development hell led to most of those assets being transferred to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It was to be a direct continuation of the original series featuring a second five-year mission, introducing a number of new characters in conjunction with most the original crew.

    Many of the concepts from Phase II (along with some scripts) 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). See also the Memory Alpha article.

    "Next Generation era" shows (1987-2005) 
While Gene Roddenberry is credited for the development of The Next Generation in 1987, he stepped back to a general consultant role by the second season. Producer Rick Berman became the head of this era of Star Trek until the cancellation of Enterprise in 2005, with other writers and producers such as Michael Pillar, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and Ira Stephen Behr being common creative forces.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation ("TNG", 1987-1994, First-Run Syndication)
    Set 2364-2370 — The other one everyone has heard of. Takes place in the mid-24th century on the Enterprise-D, with a new batch of Starfleet officers led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) on 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. The same basic creative team was responsible for the subsequent three television series and often referred to as "The Next Generation Era".
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("DS9", 1993-1999, first-run syndication)
    Set 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) led by Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), 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, when former TNG character Worf joined the cast, the whole series got much darker, focusing on a galaxy-spanning war between the Gamma Quadrant's Dominion, aided by the Cardassians, and the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and more. 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, though usually in a positive way; while there is a portion of the fanbase that dislikes it, those who do like it tend to consider it the franchise's high-water mark.
  • Star Trek: Voyager ("VOY", 1995-2001, UPN)
    Set 2371-2378 — Another Spin-Off of Next Generation, conceived as a more direct successor to it than DS9. While searching for a group of rogue Federation citizens called the Maquis, both the title ship and the Maquis vessel 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).

    Introduces Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the first female main character 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, previously titled as just Enterprise until season 3 ("ENT", 2001-2005, UPN)
    Set from 2151-2155 — The first Prequel series set over a hundred years before the voyages of James T. Kirk, when humans were 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 led by Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). 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 invokedThe 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.

    "Discovery era" shows (2017-ongoing) 
With the Kelvin Timeline movies reaffirming Star Trek to the general public, writer/producer Alex Kurtzman was charged to spearhead a collection of new Star Trek TV shows and short films, all handled through his production company Secret Hideout. What most characterizes this era is the wider focus of productions: "Star Trek" is treated as a sort of super-genre and every show is, essentially, Recycled IN SPACE!, with the "IN SPACE" part being "in Star Trek".
  • Star Trek: Discovery ("DIS", 2017-2024, Paramount+)
    Set 2256-2258 & 3188-ongoing — A live-action series set back in the prime timeline, beginning roughly ten years before The Original Series. Co-created by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the first two Kelvin Timeline films, and Bryan Fuller, who wrote for DS9 and VOY, it is the "Action-Adventure" show in the stable. This is the first Star Trek series to be released via streaming rather than broadcast TV: in the United States it streams on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access), while also airing in syndication the same way TNG did; in Canada it is available on Crave and airs on Space Channel; in every other country worldwide except Mainland China, the series streams on Netflix. It will run for five seasons and 65 episodes.

    In a break from the usual Star Trek formula, the show's central protagonist does not start off as The Captain: Starfleet officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) becomes the Science Officer on the eponymous USS Discovery (NCC-1031) during a period when tensions with the Klingons escalate to full-scale interstellar war. Also unusually for Star Trek, the show is based around strongly serialized season-long Story Arcs – with the initial interstellar-war arc concluding in the first season finale – and each new season Retools the show significantly. Most notably, the second season finale sees the USS Discovery sent forward in time 930 years to an era where the Federation has fallen apart due to a mysterious cataclysm called "the Burn". A new captain has also taken command of Discovery with each season; season 4 has Burnham herself at last in the captain's chair.

    The show is something of a base breaker — partly because it is yet another prequel, and partly because it blunders into some of the same prequel-related issues that ENT did. Many issues with the show have been resolved or addressed as it has retooled and reinvented itself.
  • Star Trek: Picard ("PIC", 2020-2023, Paramount+)
    Set 2399-2402 — Patrick Stewart returns to the titular role of Jean-Luc Picard after 17 years in a show premiering in January 2020 on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) in the United States, on Crave in Canada and on Prime Video worldwide. It will run for three seasons and 30 episodes. It is the "Gritty Peak-TV Character Drama" show, giving each season its own Story Arc.

    The first season is set 20 years after we last saw Picard in Nemesis. It takes place after the Romulan supernova that kicked off JJ Abrams's Kelvinverse, and explores some of the ramifications of it. Picard is long since retired from Starfleet due to ideological differences but gets dragged back into space by a cry for help from a mysterious young woman related to his own past. The second season continues the theme of revisiting old haunts by combining a Time Travel plot with the re-introduction of Trickster Mentor Q, and the third features the return of the entire core TNG cast.note  Additional characters who span the entire three-season run include Cmdr. Raffaela Musiker (Michelle Hurd), Picard's Number Two, and reformed ex-Borg and Voyager Breakout Character Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Orla Brady and Brent Spiner also appear in all three seasons, but playing more than one character (four, in Spiner's case).
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks ("LD", 2020-ongoing, Paramount+)
    Set 2380-ongoing — In a radical departure from the franchise's usual output, this series is a half-hour animated Work Com (and Affectionate Parody) developed by Mike McMahan of Rick and Morty fame. It focuses on the support crew of "one of Starfleet's least important ships," the USS Cerritos (NCC-75567), which specializes in follow-up missions to worlds that have already made first contact. Three seasons have been completed so far, with a fourth currently in production.
  • Star Trek: Prodigy ("PRO", 2021-ongoing, Paramount+)
    Set 2383-ongoing — An All-CGI Cartoon aimed at children, co-produced with Nickelodeon. Set in the Delta Quadrant, it focuses on a group of alien teenagers who escape from a prison colony in an abandoned Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar (NX-76884). Kate Mulgrew reprises her Voyager role as Kathryn Janeway – a holographic version of Janeway, to be exact, who is the ship's Emergency Training Hologram. Nickelodeon, which gave it a two-season order, was initially set to air it alone, until it was announced that the episodes would be streamed on Paramount+ first before landing on the cable network. One season has been broadcast so far, split into two parts; the second season, also intended to be split in two, is currently in production.
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds ("SNW", 2022-ongoing, Paramount+)
    Set 2259-ongoing — This show stars Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn), and Spock (Ethan Peck), picking up after the events of Discovery season 2, and features their adventures on the USS Enterprise prior to the events of The Original Series. This does not mean that familiar faces don't appear; Jess Bush plays Nurse Christine Chapel, Celia Rose Gooding appears as cadet Nyota Uhura, and Paul Wesley will take on the role of Lt. James Kirk. The show also returns to the episodic story structure of the original series, in contrast to the season-long plot arcs used in Discovery and Picard — if we go by the "Recycled IN SPACE!" premise, then, yes, this show is indeed "Star Trek, but in Star Trek". The first season premiered on May 5th, 2022, with a second season in production for a 2023 release.

    Upcoming Shows 
  • Star Trek: Section 31
    Another spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery has been announced, focusing on the Elite Agents Above the Law Starfleet agency Section 31, with Michelle Yeoh in the leading role. Announced in 2019, it was put in Development Hell for some time before being re-announced in 2023 as a special event film, to stream exclusively on Paramount+.
  • Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, announced in March 2023, will be a Coming of Age Story focusing on the titular Academy training new generations of Starfleet cadets. Its marketing blurb, which claims the Academy is re-opening after 125 years, implies it to take place after Discovery's time travel. It's not slated to begin production until 2024.

Movie Series

    Original Movie Series 
When the Phase II 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 line of movies.

Movies in the franchise include:

    Kelvin Timeline Movies 
After the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, 2006 was the first year with no Star Trek shows or films since 1985. Then, when all seemed lost, Star Trek was revived with a Film of the Series by J. J. Abrams that created an Alternate Timeline with new actors playing the original series characters, kicking off a whole new series of movies:
  • May 8, 2009 — Star Trek (2233 - 2258) — A mixture of Continuity Reboot and Broad Strokes showing the early steps of the The Original Series characters and how they still come together as a Badass Crew in spite of being in a different timeline. On their (new) first adventure, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty work together to stop an Ax-Crazy, continuity-rebooting Romulan from destroying Federation space.
  • May 17, 2013 — Star Trek Into Darkness (2259 - 2260) — Set shortly into Kirk's tenure as Captain, the crew finds themselves dealing with a powerful terrorist, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, intent on Revenge against Starfleet.
  • July 22, 2016 — Star Trek Beyond (2263) — The crew of the Enterprise fights to escape the clutches of a ruthless warlord after being stranded on an alien planet. Released on the franchise's 50th anniversary.

Invariably (and unofficially) referred to as the "Abramsverse" or "JJverse" among fans since the 2009 film's release, this new continuity was officially named the "Kelvin Timeline" (after the point of divergence in the first movie: that Romulan destroys the USS Kelvin with Kirk's father within, changing the captain's upbringing) shortly before the release of Star Trek Beyond. Also referred to as the "Alternate Reality" by the Star Trek Wiki "Memory Alpha". This also makes the original continuity referred to as the "Prime Timeline".

    Upcoming Movies 
Date unknown, presumed 2024 — Untitled film — Confirmed by Paramount on April 2021. Little is known about the film other than the fact that it will be produced by Abrams. A director (Matt Shankman of WandaVision fame) was attached for a over a year before he left the project in late August 2022, with no replacement named or even in sight.

In total, to watch every minute of canon Star Trek would require 23 days and 25 minutes of your time. Of Science Fiction franchises, only Doctor Who and its various canon spinoffs are even within a week, and the Super Sentai franchise, which started later than Star Trek or Doctor Who, but has been running continuously since 1979.

     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.
  • The Star Trek Novel Verse, a collection of novels which generally have a single continuity, including various "relaunch" series detailing what happened after the finales of the Trek shows.
  • The Star Trek Shatnerverse written by William Shatner and co-writers that have a continuity centered around James T. Kirk's resurrection following the events of Star Trek: Generations.
  • The Star Trek: Discovery novels, are a collection of novels set in their own continuity from the Star Trek: Discovery television show.
  • The Star Trek: Picard novels, are a collection of novels spinning off into their own continuity from the Star Trek: Picard television show.
  • The Star Trek Autobiographies series that follows its own separate continuity.
  • The Star Trek library that contains dozens of video games produced for the franchise.

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:

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  • Action Figure File Card: The figures made by Galoob (for Next Gen) and Playmates Toys (for the entire franchise up to Voyager) had them.
  • Age Insecurity: Vulcans, despite having no problem with growing old, consider revealing one's age to be "intimate" and thus only share it with a select few people, such as their lovers.
  • Agony Beam: The Klingons have pain sticks, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They are used for enforcing discipline and in certain Klingon rituals.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Self-aware computers are always Obliviously Evil in TOS. Later series had more nuanced explorations of the concept.
  • Alcubierre Drive: Arguable Ur-Example. The warp drive is described similarly in the technical manuals and was the inspiration for Miguel Alcubierre's theory.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Trope Codifier via General Order Number 1, the Prime Directive, that generator of so many plot devices.
  • All Genes Are Codominant: See Spock (human-Vulcan hybrid), Lieutenant Torres (human-Klingon), Ziyal (Cardassian-Bajoran), and others.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Largely averted. Alien civilizations in Star Trek run the full spectrum, from benevolent to not-so-much. Societies are mostly guided by principles of self-preservation and/or self-improvement; they differ in means. The Federation is all about cooperation and community. Others (Cardassians, Romulans, TOS-era Klingons) are about military conquest. But even those are portrayed realistically, and sometimes sympathetically, as just groups of individuals doing what they believe to be correct. Very few (the Borg, the Pah-Wraiths) are presented as being genuinely Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Aliens Never Invented Democracy:
    • The human-led Federation is the only democratic power in the Galaxy, the others are:
    • The Klingon Empire: A feudal oligarchy with the heads of the noble houses conforming the High Council and choosing a Chancellor. They use to have fully empowered Emperors who were successors of Kahless (their culture's Jesus) but the figure was abandoned some 200 years before the first series starts. A clone of Kahless was later named Emperor but with only decorative and religious functions.
    • The Romulan Star Empire is technically a parliamentary republic, with the praetor seemingly equivalent to a prime minister. However, it's also very much a Police State where the major state security agency, the Tal Shiar, wields significant political power: they station political officers on naval vessels, and at two separate points in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the vice-chair and chairman of the Tal Shiar also sit in the Senate.
    • The Cardassian Union is a military dictatorship with a merely symbolic civil government. It has similarities with both Fascist and Soviet regimes. In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Way of the Warrior", a popular uprising overthrows the military government and restores power to the Detapa Council. Later the Dominion invades Cardassia and overthrows this government to install Gul Dukat as their puppet dictator.
    • The Tzekethi Coalition: Its leader is named the Autarch, you make the math.
    • The Dominion: Officially a Theocracy with the Founders (who are considered gods by their subjects) at the top, in reality an Ethnocracy with a species ruling collectively over the others in its Empire.
    • The Borg Collective: It's an absolute monarchy or a classless collective society depending on how you see it. The Borg Queen rules over billions of mindless collectivized drones.
    • The Ferengi Alliance: A Monarchy led by the Grand Negus as the figurehead, all the rest of the administration is basically Corporatocracy.
    • Bajor is technically a Republic with free elections to choose the First Minister once they got rid of the Cardassian occupation, yet its religious leader the Kai (equivalent to a Pope or Dalai Lama) has excessive amounts of power and at some point one of their Kais actually held both offices.
    • The Orion Syndicate is The Mafia at the Galactic level, dedicated to all sorts of organized crime including slave trade and prostitution.
    • Even before the existence of the Federation, Star Trek: Enterprise shows that the other founding members apart from humans were not that democratic; Vulcans were led by the Vulcan High Command, essentially a Military junta, the Andorians were pretty militaristic and their state was described as the Andorian Empire.
  • All Gravity Is the Same: Played with. While planets are shown to have similar, if not the same gravity as each other, Artificial Gravity is also very common. One species, the Elaysians, is barely able to function in 'Earth-level gravity' environments without the aid of surgery or special technology due to the low gravity of their home planet.
  • Almighty Janitor: Boothby, the groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy. Played by Ray Walston of My Favorite Martian fame.
  • Alternate History: In Star Trek, the 1980s and late 1990s were a genetic renaissance. During this time, superhuman products of genetic manipulation turned against the rest of humanity in the genetic equivalent of a Robot War and threw mankind into a dark age. However, thanks to a genius human building the first Warp Drive out of an un-launched nuclear missile, the testing of that system got the attention of a passing Vulcan starship. The Vulcans assisted Humanity in recovering, and Humanity's technology began to advance extremely quickly. All the shows take place after this.
  • 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.
    • In DS9 the Cardassians apparently have different numbering systems for merchant and military castes, a factor which comes up in attempting to work with their technology.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Generally averted. All antagonistic races are given redeeming qualities, with the only common exceptions being creatures with little or no intelligence. Borg drones who are connected to the race's Hive Mind are examples of the Well-Intentioned Extremist, believing that they are doing everyone a favor by assimilating them. The original series portrays Klingons and Romulans as having extremely antagonistic governments, but as individuals they are generally just people living and working like anyone else. (the romulan captain from the first story to feature the Romulan Empire was very much a Punch-Clock Villain who was openly tired of war and saw Kirk as a Worthy Opponent). The Next Generation plays this mostly straight with the Ferengi and Cardassians.
    • Both TNG (particularly the two-parter ("Unification") that featured the return of Spock) and DS9 show Romulans capable of acting reasonably. In the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" Picard and his Romulan counterpart agree to cooperate in investigating an unknown entity threatening the settlements of both powers that would later be revealed as—or at least heavily implied to be—the Borg. In Star Trek: Nemesis the Romulans actually save the Enterprise from near-destruction and render aid to the crew. DS9 showed that individual Cardassians were capable of being good and honorable people even if their society doesn't encourage it.
  • Always on Duty: Averted. There are several episodes in which the captain and some or most of the main characters are not on the bridge when something important happens, though they quickly assemble on the bridge anyway. An example of this is the very first episode of Star Trek, in which Captain Pike isn't on the bridge for several seconds while (then) Lieutenant Spock and lieutenant José Tyler discuss an incoming sensor anomaly.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Bolians, the Benzite and the Andorians are bright blue; Bolians evolved from aquatic mammals, and Andorians hail from an icy moon. Then you have your green Orions / Gorn, orange Ferengi, the occasional bright yellow/purple background alien, and whatever the hell the Dosi were.
  • Ancestor Veneration: The Klingons hold great respect for their ancestors, especially those who died in battle and rose to Sto-vo-kor, and pray to Kahless on behalf of said ancestors.
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: The Bajoran Prophets are the Angels, the Pah-Wraiths and Fek'lhr are the Devils, and the various Starfish Aliens (Species 8472, Devidians, etc). and Eldritch Abominations are the Squid. Then, there are the Q, who have traits in common with all three, and can choose which one they are, depending on the day and their mood.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: What would the franchise be without this? Really?
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Subverted. The Klingons love their Cool Swords like the bat'leth, but Deep Space Nine makes a point of mentioning that an old lady with a phaser is worth a dozen Klingons with melee weapons.
  • Arc Number: 47, from the middle of Next Generation on.
  • Artificial Gravity: Rarely mentioned, but (almost) always present whenever the action takes place aboard a starship or space station.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Along with the Insane Admiral, these are a common source of vexation for every Starfleet Captain and their crews. Even within the Federation, a typical ambassador is a Fantastic Racist with an It's All About Me attitude. For this reason, the Captain often ends up pulling diplomatic duty.
  • Author Appeal: Gene Roddenberry made Star Trek as diverse and inclusive (and sexually liberated) as he could make it within the constraints of Sixties/Eighties broadcast standards, because he truly felt things should be that way. The sex stuff and the miniskirts, well, those came about because he was a notorious Dirty Old Man.note 
    • 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..".
    • Ira Stephen Behr apparently missed the memo about Trekkies generally not being fans of swing music. He admitted responsibility for Vic Fontaine, having spent weeks vetting James Darren (no relation to Bobby) for the role. Behr sympathizes with the fans' displeasure at the Vic episodes... kind of. Vic still sang a total of fourteen songs in Seasons Six and Seven of DS9, including the Series Finale(!).
  • Author Usurpation: Star Trek has overshadowed all of Gene Roddenberry's other works.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The norm, really. For Humans, the Prime Directive was a means of addressing this concept. It boils down thusly: 1) There are alien cultures out there with values and customs potentially very different than ours; 2) Said values and customs are no more or less valid than our own; and 3) we have no right to change or influence these cultures, only try to understand and respect them... Unless we deem their culture to be threatening to ours in some way.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Data, Spock, and most Vulcans.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: While the show is fine with talking about sexual stuff, and the words "sex" and "sexual organs" have been said aloud, words for specific private parts are still censored.
  • Body Uploading: The Destructive Teleportation system has a buffer, which holds the disintegrated object until transmission to the place where it's reconstituted.
  • Books vs. Screens: Owning physical books is often shown to be a niche hobby (people still read stories, though it's usually with words on a screen). However, most of them can balance the old and the new (Picard in particular only owns a handful of physical books, particularly his Shakespeare omnibus). Samuel T. Cogley (TOS episode "Court Martial") is the exception. He never uses his computer, relying on stacks and stacks of law books instead to do his job.
  • Burial in Space:
    • Ship casualties are loaded into hollow photon torpedoes (which are conveniently shaped like tanning beds) and shot into space. This is what happened to Spock in Star Trek II, before his body landed on the Genesis Planet and was mistakenly revitalized.
    • Gene Roddenberry, the father of Star Trek is a real-life example, as is James Doohan, the original Scotty.
  • Busman's Holiday: For a franchise founded on skimpily-clad babes, the so-called "pleasure planet" of Risa is uncannily like Dante's Hell. Every Trek character who has flown there for some cheap sex has been met with assassination attempts, robbery and assault, kidnapping, brainwashing (twice), natural disasters, terrorist takeovers, etc. Male characters in particular are met with swift punishment for trying to get laid.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ships named USS Saratoga. Both times they've shown up onscreen, they've ended up getting a new one torn by the Threat of the Week. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home it was the whale probe. In Deep Space Nine: "Emissary" it was the Borg.
  • Canon Marches On: Has its own page.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Chronologically, some alien species never appear again without explanation despite being prominent at one point.
    • Dr. Phlox is a main character in Enterprise and Denobulans are fairly prominent in the galaxy, but they never appear afterwards.
    • Eventually averted with the Andorians and Tellarites, who were introduced in The Original Series as founding members of the Federation but never appeared thereafter. Fortunately Enterprise came along to rectify this. (But, again, it still applies to anything chronologically later..).
  • Cloning Blues: As a rule, clones tend not to do well in the Trek universe, often meeting bad ends. Examples include the clones of Pulaski and Riker illicitly created by the Mariposans in "TNG: Up the Long Ladder" (along with the Mariposans themselves), Thomas Riker, the Jem'Hadar and certain Vorta from DS9, Shinzon from "Star Trek: Nemesis" and Sim from "ENT: Similitude".
  • Clothes Make the Legend: The black and primary color uniform scheme. Only the first six films and Enterprise (though that did have the TOS colours on the shoulders of their all-blue NASA-style flight-suits) 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:
    • In The Original Series, the Starfleet uniform colors for the different divisions were Command Yellow, Science Blue, and Operations Red. In TNG, though, Command and Operations switched colors. Lampshaded in the TNG Blue-Rays.
      Patrick Stewart: [at cast mates] I remember when these guys were colourful. What happened?
      Marina Sirtis: We were wearing spacesuits, Patrick. We were wearing spandex.
    • By the time VOY rolled around, the cargo containers were denoted by red/blue/gold lettering depending on which department they're being shipped to. The episode "Shadows and Symbols" (DS9) debuted the one time only, Starfleet-issue Bedouin outfit! That is not a joke; everyone gets their colored stripe even if the rest of the robe is white.
    • On TNG, Cadets wore a variation on the standard uniform, but with the colors reversed: division-colored shoulderpads on black jumpsuits. This later became the attire of "lower deck" drones who labored within space stations and other departments; no glamorous Galaxy-class explorers, they! (Cadet uniforms are usually grey, although they too underwent changes).
    • 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. Interestingly Romulans have green blood (copper-based). This means the ships are blood colored.
      • 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.
      • The Tellarite insignia is purple and gold and looks a little like the atom symbol.
      • The Orions use purple and tan.
  • Collectible Card Game: Multiple.
  • 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).
  • Conlang: The Klingon language created by Marc Okrand. It's so well-developed that it can be studied and learned in real life.
  • Continuity Lockout: Increases the further along the franchise you go. By the time of Enterprise you pretty much need a strong working knowledge of Vulcans, Romulans, Borg, Andorians, Ferengi, etc to fully understand the episodes. Often cited as a contributing factor in the demise of both the 1987-2001 TV franchise and the 1979-2002 movie franchise, and a reason why J. J. Abrams decided to start over (almost) from scratch in 2009.
  • Continuity Snarl: Several examples in canon. The most notorious:
    • The Klingons' forehead ridges.
      • Klingons on The Original Series look basically human, but in the feature films were suddenly depicted as having huge bumpy foreheads with no explanation. (Gene Roddenberry said fans could imagine the Klingons had always had ridges, if they wished).
      • Three Klingon characters from TOS show up on Deep Space Nine, but all look like contemporary Klingons (i.e., with ridges). The discrepancy is never explained. Eventually the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” is forced to address it (since they had gone back in time and were utilizing footage from TOS with ridge-less Klingons while Worf was sitting right there), but didn't explain it.note 
      • Enterprise (set over 100 years pre-TOS) did a complicated Story Arc explaining the Klingons briefly got human DNA from a mutated flu virus. Sure, that works, but then other productions set in the TOS era ignored this completely:
      • Star Trek Into Darkness had ridged Klingons, though this could be explained away as an alternate reality note 
      • However, Discovery takes place in the prime timeline, and if anything their Klingons look even less human. The showrunners tried to imply these were simply a different group of Klingons from the ones seen on TOS, but given the sheer number and variety of Klingons seen throughout the first two seasons, that seems unlikely — especially since the character of Kol is implied to be related to Kor, who appeared on TOS.
    • The Eugenics Wars, which supposedly devastated Earth in the 1990s. They can't simply be forgotten as they provide the origin for Khan, one of the franchise's most iconic villains, though a few Expanded Universe novels have tried to suggest that they were actually some kind of underground power struggle or conspiracy kept hidden from mainstream society. Voyager has the crew travel to 1996, and the wars are never seen or mentioned (at least not in L.A).. A DS9 episode released in 1997 apparently retconned them to the 22nd Century, but that episode's writer later claimed it was a typo. Enterprise did a whole arc about the war’s fallout but didn’t really get into the chronology of itnote , while Star Trek Into Darkness went right back to the original timeframe. Picard season 2 has a significant portion set in 2024 and dances around the issue, implying genetic engineering is banned or at least strictly regulated, which seems to be hinting the conflict has already taken place (in the finale, Adam Soong pulls out a folder labelled Project Khan, dated 1996; but it's unclear if this is when the war happened, or retconning when the Augments were created). Strange New Worlds appears to support the latter, as the pilot straight up retconned the Eugenics War into the 2030s (which would line up nicely with Khan being born in '96).
    • In the original series, the Romulans' development of a cloaking device was shocking because such technology was thought to be impossible. Along comes Enterprise and suddenly the Romulans, Suliban and half a dozen other powers have cloaking devices and nobody bats an eye. Discovery made the same error years later and even made it a major plot point, with T'Kuvma's possession of cloaking technology giving his forces a significant advantage in the war, and an entire episode devoted to finding a way around it.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Each leading character in each series differs from their predecessors in notable ways:
    • Jean-Luc Picard to James Kirk: where Kirk is an adventurous young captain with something to prove, being more likely to dive headlong into any situation (especially when it comes to Boldly Coming), Picard is older and wiser. While he was very much reckless and headstrong in his youth, by the time Picard helms the Enterprise, he has learned the value of caution and forethought. Also unlike Kirk, Picard has a habit of keeping to himself when off-duty and busying himself in other ventures; his joining the crew for a game of poker in the series finale is a major breakthrough in his Character Development.
    • Data to Spock: Spock despite his half-human ancestry would often express disdain towards his human crewmates and unequivocally decided early in his youth to follow his Vulcan ancestry & culture, while Data often expressed his desire to become more human and often would partake of Terran culture (such as participating in poker games & Sherlock Holmes holodeck stories). TNG's producers were fully aware of the parallels between the characters and thus decided to not make Data the Enterprise D's Science Officer so as to make the contrast between the two characters clearer to the audience.
    • Benjamin Sisko to Picard: Picard is a quintessential space-faring Officer and a Gentleman who looks at the bigger picture and was already highly experienced as a Captain, and kept himself at arms length from those under his command. Sisko is drawn into becoming a front-line officer of war after starting the series as a lowly, newly promoted Commander who was thinking about quitting after being posted to the 'backwater' of Bajor. Unlike Picard or Kirk before him, Sisko is far more pragmatic and more willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He is also a family man, being a widower whose son joins him on DS9. Sisko is also less stoic and more likely to act in the heat of the moment, especially where family is concerned. Finally, Sisko is a black man, and that cultural heritage is explored in a deeper way than Picard's French background.
    • Kathryn Janeway to Sisko: Janeway spent a lot of time as a science officer, making her more of a Science Hero than her predecessors. Also unlike Sisko's cold pragmatism, Janeway is dedicated to upholding Starfleet ideals, even when doing so in uncharted territory can prove detrimental. There is one aspect where Janeway does have some of her predecessor's pragmatism, however; she is also a cunning diplomat who is willing to work with adversarial factions, up to and including the Borg, if it means getting the job done.
    • Beckett Mariner to every main protagonist before her. She's a reckless, grunt-level ensign who disdains Starfleet and views the organization as being Lawful Stupid. However, unlike the more pragmatic Sisko she tends to stubbornly uphold Starfleet's values almost unconsciously even when it would benefit her more not too.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Klingon's stasis weapon. It's a trap that uses a massive power supply and succeeds in immobilizing a single starship in a stasis field... while also immobilizing the trapper due to power drain.
  • Cool Starship: At least one for series and film from both heroes and villains. Star Trek as a whole has, quite possibly, the largest collection of these.
  • Costume Evolution: Starfleet uniforms have changed a lot in the timespan covered by the franchise. We start with the primary color shirts and black pants of the original series, to the maroon jackets and black pants of the movies, to the jumpsuits with variations of black and primary colors.
  • Covert Distress Code: "Condition Green" is a Starfleet standard duress code.
  • Creator Provincialism: From TOS all the way to the reboot movies, Star Trek is strongly American, in spite of alleged multiculturalism. Even characters explicitly from other countries, such as Picard, speak English with only a mild accent. Interestingly, while Chekov was from Russia and Worf was raised by Russian parents, only Chekov had a distinct Russian accent.note  Riker had trouble with the issue of Ensign Ro Laren using the Bajoran naming convention of family name preceding given name, even though an enormous chunk of the human population (mainly in Asia) does exactly the same thing. Kirk, Sisko, Janeway and Archer were all Americans, with Picard being the sole non-American captain. It is typically treated as quaint whenever a human character exhibits cultural behavior relating to any country except for the U.S. Virtually all popular cultural references (from the past) are American, with a smattering of English here and there. Even Deanna Troi, raised on Betazed but having a human father, claims a fondness for The Wild West genre.
  • Crossover: The various series saw many of these, beginning with The Next Generation, although events in one series rarely affected the others. The crossovers became more frequent in later years.
    • The only storyline to play a major role in multiple Star Trek series was that involving the Maquis. The reason behind their existence (the creation of the DMZ) was established in Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Seven but the Maquis were introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season Two before turning up in "Preemptive Strike", the penultimate episode of The Next Generation, and forming a major part of the backstory of Chakotay and B'Elanna in Star Trek: Voyager. The destruction of the Maquis by the Dominion in Deep Space Nine Season Five comes back to haunt Chakotay and B'Elanna in Voyager Season Four when the ship finally makes contact with the Alpha Quadrant.
    • Events from one series do occasionally impact on later ones in less direct ways though. For instance, a major part of Sisko's backstory in Deep Space Nine was the death of his wife Jennifer during the Battle of Wolf 359, which occurred in TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds". The subsequent Borg attack on Section 001, which occurred in Star Trek: First Contact, is mentioned occasionally in Deep Space Nine while the Dominion War from Deep Space Nine is mentioned in Voyager's "Message in a Bottle", Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis.
  • Crying a River: One Klingon myth involves a guy named Kahless losing his dead father's sword in the ocean and then crying enough to flood said ocean.
  • Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: Star Trek: The Original Series has "Turnabout Intruder", an episode in which a crazy woman claims that women can't be captains. Later on, the writers gave this a Hand Wave by saying that it was only the woman's insanity that made her believe this and included female captains in Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery, which were both set before Original Series. Also, a female captain was the main protagonist of Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Darker and Edgier: See here.
  • Data Pad: PADDs.
  • 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 Seeker: All Trek captains (and associates, Spock and Bones were just as bas as Kirk) tend to be a little too willing to die for the cause. Lampshaded by Star Trek: Discovery episode "Choose Your Pain", as self-sacrifice is one of the characteristics listed to be a good captain.
  • Death Wail: The standard practice when a Klingon dies is for their comrades to hold their eyes open while screaming loudly to the sky to warn those in the afterlife that a great warrior is on there way to join them.
  • Deck of Wild Cards: The Mirror Universe actually expects this of their underlings...up to a point. Here, in a reality where the Federation is actually the twisted and xenophobic Terran Empire, every officer who rises in stature has to kill their predecessor in order to get where they want to be. Should they succeed, they are rewarded for their strength; fail, and they will be subject to the most horrid of Cold-Blooded Torture they can imagine. The Original Series shows that Mirror Kirk rose to captaincy of the Enterprise by killing Christopher Pike, while Discovery reveals that a coup was staged against the Terran Emperor Phillipa Georgiou because her follows thought she was being too soft on alien species by enslaving them instead of killing them.
  • Deflector Shields: A standard feature on most starships. Also called "deflector screens", they project a defensive barrier with some similarity to a plasma wall: it deflects both matter and energy, and can be adjusted to more effectively block electromagnetic radiation. On the larger ships, there are actually multiple separate deflector screen grids on the starship's hull, set in an array, that are arranged so that they overlap and protect the entire ship. The shields can regenerate, but a sustained attack with sufficient weaponry will eventually deplete them. Also, they are not to be confused with the Navigational Deflector, which is a totally different device.
  • Destructive Teleportation: Transporters work by disassembling an object (or person) into energy, shooting it some distance away, and reassembling that object at the new location. It consists of the following parts:
    1. A de-materializer, which breaks down the object in a controlled fashion
    2. A buffer, which holds the disintegrated object until transmission
    3. A transmitter, which transmits the disintegrated object as a beam of energy
    4. A re-materializer, which reintegrates the object in a controlled fashion
    5. invoked Contrary to popular opinion, the transported object is indeed the original object from the start, and the device does not kill living things that are being transported. note  However, as you can probably imagine, transporters can be rather scarily dangerous if some part of the process were to be interrupted.
  • Destructo-Nookie: To Klingons, rough sex is the norm. It's even considered good luck when a clavicle gets broken on a couple's wedding night.
  • Distant Sequel:
  • Dress-Up Episode: most common in the Original Series ("A Piece of the Action", "Return of the Archons", "Assignment: Earth"), but happens in 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.

  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Earth is both the capital of the Federation and the headquarters of Starfleet. If an alien enemy wants to seriously conquer the Federation, taking Earth is invariably seen as key to doing so. Not only this, but Earth lies nearly exactly on the border of the Federation-dominated Alpha Quadrant and the Klingon- and Romulan-controlled Beta Quadrant, making it an extremely strategically important planet.
  • Elite Agents Above the Law: Section 31 takes its name from a provision of the United Earth Starfleet Charter, with its entire purpose being to "bend the rules in times of extreme threat"—and as their agent Harris notes in Star Trek: Enterprise, "Earth's got a lot of enemies". They go back and forth in their portrayal: Star Trek: Discovery presents them as a theoretically legitimate service branch that has a tendency for things to Go Horribly Wrong. However, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where they originated, presents them as a virtually rogue agency that is not accountable to anyone at all, and which goes to increasing extremes to "safeguard the Federation", including using biological weapons to try to exterminate the Dominion's Founders, and framing a Federation-friendly Romulan senator for treason in order to put one of their moles into a higher position. They're even said to have an operative in the Federation President's Cabinet—in a series where there has already been one attempted coup by a Well-Intentioned Extremist Starfleet officer.
  • Emotion Suppression: The Vulcan culture has Emotion Suppression at its core.
    • Roddenberry once decreed that humans don't grieve in the future. "Death is natural". This was loosened up a bit after Gene got Kicked Upstairs.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Romulans vs. Vulcans.
  • The Empire:
    • The Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire and the Cardassian "Union". The Andorians tried their hand at becoming an imperial power in ENT, but mostly just embarrassed themselves.
    • The Terran Empire rules with an iron fist in the Mirror Universe. The Alliance that overthrew them also counts.
    • Whereas the Klingons were usually confined to Space Cold War and Romulans largely kept to themselves after the Great Offscreen War, the Dominion was the first example of this trope to truly give future humanity a run for its nonexistent money. Much larger and older than the Federation, ruled by paranoid shapeshifters with a Clone Army that worships them as gods. It even took an alliance (of the Feds, Klingons and Romulans) plus La Résistance to defeat them.
  • Enclosed Extraterrestrials: The Breen, who appear mostly in DS9, is a race that is entirely hidden behind a suit and long-snouted helmet. Worf mentions that no one has ever seen a Breen without the suit and lived to speak of it. The suit is known to be a refrigeration suit, regulating a cold environment for the wearer and the Breen are known to have no blood. The most common belief among the races of the Alpha Quadrant is that the Breen homeworld is a frozen wasteland, which is why they need to wear refrigeration suits. However, Weyoun once refers to the Breen homeland as being quite comfortable, maintaining the mystery of the Breen and their suits. An Expanded Universe novel Zero Sum Game claims that the Breen wear the suit to promote equality between the different species of their Confederacy by forcing them all to have the same external appearance.
  • 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 the Deep Space 9 station being so dimly-lit, since it was built by the Cardassians.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: The Trek Verse features a number of Evil Twins, what with transporter accidents and the Mirror Universe. There's the example of Kirk being a Literal Split Personality with an aggressive, hotheaded side and a passive, weak-willed, but logical side, with the passive side being afraid of the aggressive one. Major Kira Nerys of DS9 gets HIT ON by Mirror Kira. However, since the Mirror Universe normally involves plots of being swapped with the guy on the other side (presumably to avoid having to edit one actor into a single scene twice), mostly you get the counterparts never meeting and at most Evil You Scares (but sexually intrigues) Me. Or in DS9's version, their opposite is usually dead on one side of the mirror or the other.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The Borg are amazed people aren't lining up to be assimilated. The Queen touts it as a blessing.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Star Trek is the Trope Codifier. Consoles tend to explode in a shower of sparks whenever a ship takes damage. A frequent cause of Red Shirt deaths.
  • Exposition Beam: Vulcan mind melds are essentially this, along with a host of other Applied Phlebotinum uses.
  • Expositron 9000: The ship/station computers. Also Data, if you think about it.
  • Extra-Long Episode: Numerous series from the franchise have had two-hour long episodes (as opposed to the usual hour long) that are later re-aired as two-part episodes. This generally happens to series openers such as "Encounter At Farpoint" from TNG and series finales such as "What You Leave Behind" from DS9, but has also happened to episodes in the middle of seasons such as "Dark Frontier" from VOY.
  • Family-Values Villain: Many examples. Most notably, the Klingons, Cardassians, and Romulans place great importance on family and honoring their elders. Of course, there are numerous ugly exceptions to those rules.
  • Famous for Being First:
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Lt. Valeris, the Enterprise's new helmsman and an old student of Spock's, was the first Vulcan to graduate at the top of her class at Starfleet Academy.
    • Star Trek: First Contact: The Phoenix is the first Earth ship capable of faster-than-light travel. Just being in its presence prior to its history-making flight is awe-inspiring for Captain Picard, who takes the opportunity to touch it, something he was never able to do while it was displayed in the Smithsonian. Its creator, Zephram Cochrane, is similarly regarded for his accomplishment, something that starts to grate on him as the Enterprise crew keep showering him with hero-worship.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise:
      • The NX-01 is significant as it is the first Earth ship that can reach Warp 5, making true interstellar travel possible. The comment is made that they are making history with every light year they travel. She is also arguably the ship that marks the beginning of Starfleet as we would come to know it.
      • In "Unexpected", Trip Tucker gets (for lack of a better term) pregnant. He is not happy with this, but Phlox tries to cheer him up by saying he'll be not only the first Mister Seahorse but the first human to be knocked up by an alien. This doesn't console him.
      • In "First Flight," when Archer is passed up for the first Warp 2 flight and only kept on as a backup, he comments that nobody remembers what Buzz Aldrin said when he first stepped on the moon because Neil Armstrong did it first.note 
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In "The Trouble with Tribbles," this comes up as part of Chekov's usual Cultural Posturing:
        Chekov: The area was first mapped by the famous Russian astronomer Ivan Burkoff almost two hundred—
        Kirk: John Burke.
        Chekov: Burke, sir? I don't think so.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Riker volunteers to be part of an Officer Exchange Program, becoming the First Officer of a Klingon battlecruiser, mostly because nobody's ever done it before. ("It" being OEP-ing on a Klingon ship, not OEP-ing in general).
      • Worf was the first Klingon to graduate from Starfleet Academy and serve as a Starfleet officer.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Nog becomes the first Ferengi to graduate from Starfleet Academy and serve in Starfleet.
  • Fan of the Past: Too many to name. You're far more likely to find a character enjoying a play, book, or movie that's a classic by our standards rather than a fictional future contemporary.
  • Fanservice: For a franchise that aspires to the higher ideals of humanity, Trek isn't above playing to its audience's baser instincts. The famous miniskirt of TOS is just one example. Until the current era, every iteration of the show had at least one character who was primarily employed for her appearance: Janice Rand in TOS, Deanna Troi in TNG, Jadzia Dax in DS9, Seven of Nine in Voyager and T'Pol in Enterprise. To be fair, this was frequently subverted as many actresses hired for fanservice, particularly Terry Farrell and Jeri Ryan, actually turned out to be decent performers and aided in the development of popular and complex characters.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style:
    • TNG introduces the Klingon martial arts Mok'bara, which includes unarmed combat and the use of traditional Klingon weapons such as the bat'leth. Several Mok'bara katas are mentioned to be very similar to Tai chi chuan.
    • The Vulcan martial arts Suus Mahna was first featured in ENT and is seen again in DIS.
    • Although the hand-to-hand combat practiced by the Qowat Milat sisterhood hasn't been named onscreen in PIC, it's nevertheless the first time in the franchise that a specific Romulan martial arts is showcased. It's more "fantastic" than that of the Klingons or the Vulcans because the Romulan warrior nuns develop Super Reflexes during their training that are fast enough dodge multiple energy weapons fire note . This Amazon Brigade is remarkably adept at wielding a tan qalanq while also utilizing Combat Parkour, Hit-and-Run Tactics and stealth to single-handedly defeat several opponents.
  • Fantastic Measurement System:
    • The Klingon distance unit "kellicam" is roughly equal to a kilometer.
    • The Bajoran measurement system includes hecapate, kellipate, kerripate, linnipate, tessijen and tessipate.
    • Computer capacity is measured in kiloquads, a unit that is very carefully never defined to avoid looking outdated when invokedTechnology Marches On.
    • Subspace distortion is measured in cochranes, an SI unit named for warp drive inventor Zefram Cochrane.
    • Stresses are often given units of "isodynes". The dyne is a legitimate unit of measure (albeit not SI), but is a measure of force (equal to 10 micronewtons). The correct usage would be "dynes per some unit of area". There is no mention of what the prefix iso- might represent. The prefix tera- is also used (e.g. "Hull stress at over 30 teradynes and rising!") and is more legitimate, but if that example was per square metre, the stress would be of the order of 10 megapascals — 100 times atmospheric pressure. Not a huge quantity in the grand scheme of things if you're a starship.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention:
    • The Bajorans use their family name before their personal name.note 
    • The Klingons have one personal name, their father's name, and then their house name. The house name is usually omitted in introductions, but the crest is worn on their metal sashes.
      • "Worf, son of Mogh, of the House of Martok" is Worf's official name after he joins Martok's house late in DS9. Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko, who is 3/4 Klingon and 1/4 human due to his mother being half-human, decided to use the human naming convention, and took the surname of Worf's adoptive human parents.
    • Vulcans have several conventions followed:
      • They seem to only have one name, no family name.
      • This exchange in "This Side of Paradise" indicates at least some Vulcans have another name:
      Leila: "You never told me if you had another name, Mister Spock".
      Spock: "You couldn't pronounce it".
      • Female names usually begin with T and have an apostrophe, followed by a P. Notable exceptions include: Saavik from movies II, III, and IV.
      • Male names usually begin with S and do not have an apostrophe. Notable exceptions include: Tuvok from Voyager.
    • Romulans similarly tend to have only one name with no surname.
    • Ferengi also tend to have only one name, generally one syllable, with no surname. Ferengi women are identified by the names of their fathers and husbands.
    • Trill symbionts get their names from the two beings that make them up. The first name is provided by the host, like Jadzia or Curzon, while the symbiote's name is second like a family name. Curzon Dax and Jadzia Dax are completely unrelated except for the fact that both were bonded to the Dax symbiote. Unjoined Trill apparently do have and use family names, as Ezri was Ezri Tigan before she became Ezri Dax.
  • Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity:
    • Ferengi mainly uses plasma whips.
    • Klingons are proficient with multiple kinds of bladed weapons, but they're mainly seen wielding the batl'eth, a kind of crescent-shaped, pronged blade held from a hilt placed in the middle of its outer curve.
    • Romulans use "disruptors", which are a kind of Ray Gun like the phaser, but unlike phasers they always kill and their blast is green.
    • Vulcans prefer the lirpa as a weapon during ceremonial combat. It's a staff with a fan-shaped blade on one end and a hefty counter-weight on the other, good for slashing or bludgeoning enemies.
  • 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:
    • The Genesis Device, a sophisticated torpedo used for rapid terraforming of dead worlds. Ironically, deploying this on an inhabited planet has the opposite effect, destroying all life to make way for the new matrix.
    • In "Chain of Command", Picard is sent to destroy a protoype metagenic weapon. Metagenic bombs wipe out all organic matter on a planet's surface, leaving only the manufactured materials intact (and the world ripe for conquest). The weapons were outlawed, in part because they were equally hazardous to the invading force; however, the Cardassians were rumored to be overcoming that problem. This turned out to be a false flag, though.
    • 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.
  • Fantastic Ship Prefix:
    • While Starfleet ships use an existing prefix, their registry numbers had various original designations which usually began with "N".
      • NCC: Starfleet active. Popular misconception is that it stands for "Naval Construction Contract" but the producers never assigned it any actual meaning. Production designer Matt Jeffries said he just combined the American aircraft registry (NC) with the Soviet one (CCCC).
      • NX: Starfleet experimental. Often used for the lead ships of a class, or ships that are the testbed of new technologies. The Excelsior first appears as NX-2000 while she is running trials and carrying an experimental warp drive. Later she is granted active status and her registry changes to NCC.
      • NAR: Federation non-Starfleet. Typically seen on civilian ships.
    • Klingon ships are IKS, Imperial Klingon Ship. Prior to its establishment in Star Trek: The Next Generation, various non-canon sources, including Michael Okuda's Star Trek Encyclopedia, proposed "IKC" (for "Imperial Klingon Cruiser", a term heard in Klingon radio chatter in Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
    • Romulan ships use IRW (Imperial Romulan Warbird).
    • When Kirk and company fell into the Mirror Universe, they found themselves aboard the ISS Enterprise (Imperial Star Ship).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: While not fantasy, most of the major alien species have some connection to Real World counterparts. It should be considered that there is a difference between culture and politics.
    • 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. Culturally, they also share a good deal with Japanese society; a reclusive nature, emotional reserve, deep spiritualism, and technical prowess.
    • Romulans — Communist China, made fairly obvious in the original series. A secretive government who you aren't quite sure what they're up to. The Next Generation expanded on that by showing the Romulans as emerging from decades of isolation from the rest of the galactic community. They also started to become a bit like Iran, for similar reasons. There are allusions to the Roman Empire too: 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".
    • Klingons:
      • Soviet Russia, like the Romulans the analogue was obvious enough in the original series (although in their initial appearance they were described as Vietcong — "Oriental, hard-faced" and "the Ho Chi Minh type"). They were the passive/aggressive species with whom it felt like war was always just around the corner but never quite got there. They mirrored Post-Soviet Russia in The Next Generation in terms of politics, having gotten past the "cold war" era but still not fully trusting each other. But as part of Gene Roddenberry's plan to not make them evil and a race of "black hats," they turned into... vikings.
      • There are also a lot of parallels to Feudal Japan. As if Worf's passing reference to a "Klingon tea ceremony" in TNG, the whole racial obsession with honor, combat, and dying with honor, and their love of big, fancy curved swords wasn't blatant enough, in "The Sons of Mogh" Worf's dishonored brother comes to him for help with a Klingon ceremony that's essentially Seppuku In Space.
    • The Cardassians took a few stabs at being Nazi analogues (xenophobia is inherent in their genetic makeup). After various failed attempts at democratization and improving relations with the other galactic powers, they join the Dominion and become a Nazi client state like Vichy France. Eventually a "Free French" faction emerges, though they are led by Damar, a Defector from Decadence (whereas the exile Garak was more of a De Gaulle analogue).
      • Cardassian culture is very military-center and totalitarian — in 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 Japan is a popular alternative, especially among those who look at details like what food they eat. Much like Imperial Japan in the 1930's and 40's, the Cardassian Union had a nominally civilian government but was actually ruled by the military; though it was considered to be a major power within its sphere of influence, the Cardassian Union was actually smaller and less powerful than its neighbour (which in this case, is the United Federation of Planets).
    • Bajorans as generic colonized people. (Would support the Cardassians as generic colonial powers interpretation). Rick Berman compared the Bajorans to "the Kurds, the Palestinians, the Jews in the 1940s, the boat people from Haiti — unfortunately, the homeless and terrorism are problems [of every age]". They're a mishmash of pretty much any victimized group throughout the 20th century.
    • Orions — The Mafia / Criminal Underground.
    • Nausicaans — Gang Leaders.
      • Same goes for Voyager's Kazon.
    • Ferengi — The East India Companies.
      • Their society and system of government both bear some resemblance to the cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, with a focus on business and commerce while having highly conservative and patriarchal cultures.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Religion:
    • The Klingon religion: A warrior-based religion where honor and courage are quintessential and warriors are rewarded with an afterlife of glory fighting alongside their god Kahless in the halls of Sto-Vo-Kor. Obviously based on the [Hollywood version of] Norse religion, just change Kahless for Odin and Sto-Vo-Kor for Walhalla.
    • The Bajoran religion: Spiritual worship of the Prophets who are not gods, but (at least for the Bajoran) enlightened beings, with a well-organized religious hierarchy and a common leader. Probably a counterpart of Buddhism with some Catholicism in the mix.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Rather hard to imagine the series without it.
    1. The name "warp" was meant to imply it bends space and time. They started out calling it a "factor," which would be consistent with that.
    2. Then they got lazy and just used it as a unit of speed.
    3. Then TNG decided they needed more tech to tech with their tech, so instead of just bending real space, they're moving through "subspace," where the rules are different, and depending on the writing can be treated as pretty much an alternate universe.
    • The entire concept of subspace is to get around the apparent fact that FTL travel is impossible in regular space, so you submerge into a different dimension closely connected to it.
  • Fast-Killing Radiation: Both Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek Into Darkness feature climactic scenes in which Enterprise's damaged warp core is manually repaired, saving the ship at the cost of someone's life due to radiation exposure. In TWOK, it's Spock; the radiation is an intense light that blasts him as he's making the repairs, leaving him blinded and with severe burns on his face and neck. In ID, it's Kirk; the radiation is only visible as heat shimmer and he suffers burns on his face, but they're not nearly as severe as Spock's. In both scenes, Spock and Kirk die within a few minutes of the exposure.
  • Feudal Future: Earth seems to be the only planet that ever got the hang of democracy. Non-Federation worlds are depicted as imperialist aggressors (the faux-Chinese Romulans and the Greco-Roman Klingons) or peasant societies with well-oiled guillotines.
    • Oddly, Cardassia-Prime of all places entered a new democratic age after the intelligence service folded. A brief civil war ensued, and in the wake of the Dominion War the civilian government took back its rightful place as head of the Union.
  • Fictional Flag:
    • The flag of the United Federation of Planets is clearly based on the flag of the United Nations, with a blue circle flanked by laurel garlands (symbolizing peace) on a blue field. Unlike the UN flag, where the circle is a globe, the UFP flag depicts a starfield. In season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, many stars are missing since the chronologically last time the flag was seen, indicating the secession of a number of member states.
    • The flag of the Romulan Star Empire depicts a stylized bird of prey with two planets, the home planets of the Empire, Romulus and Remus, grasped in its talons.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Khitomer Accords, an historic peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. It's the prime focus of Star Trek VI, with both sides attempting to scuttle it.
  • Fictional Sport: Parrises Squares, a highly-athletic game played on the Holodeck.
  • 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.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: In every single series and the movies. There are an insane number of instances where at the end of an episode the protagonists have in their possession some fantastic new piece of technology, which will never be used or mentioned ever again. Often a case of the Status Quo Is God, because the Federation simply cannot be allowed to get too far ahead of rivals such as the Klingons, Romulans or Cardassians.
    • One of the most notable examples, if only because it was used so regularly for a while, is the Life Support Belt tech from the Animated Series. Of course, the Animated Series was considered officially non-canon for many years, but it's still surprising that the Expanded Universe materials don't use it more often, since they would frequently cite other elements from the Animated Series.
  • Free-Love Future: Obviously downplayed, due to television constraints. However, Roddenberry was very much a proponent of this trope. We don't see much of civilian life on Earth, but officers are allowed to cavort fairly freely aboard the Federation's flagship. Prostitution (real and simulated) has also been legalized.
    The Agony Booth: Kirk has been with a lot of women, and is presumably deeply grateful for whatever eliminated STDs in Gene Roddenberry’s universe
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Across the franchise Starfleet has the Prime Directive, a rule that states that the Federation should not interfere with the development of pre-warp civilizations. It was not originally an unbreakable vow as much as it was a general guideline, but over the years it has gone back and forth.
  • The Future Is Noir:
    • The original designation for DS9 was Terok Nor, which is one letter removed. It shows in the station's habitat ring, which is marked by patchy lighting and catwalk ceilings.
    • Originally, going to Red Alert merely caused red lights to flash. By VOY, every single light on the ship is dimmed. Most likely a nod to the Real Life military practice of using red and/or dimmed lights in dark environments to preserve one's night vision, although this would be counterproductive on a ship that is operated entirely using brightly-lit touchscreens. But would help conserve energy that might be needed in a red alert situation.
    • "Yesterday's Enterpise" (TNG) and "Living Witness" showed alternate worlds in which the Enterprise and Voyager are fully-cocked warships, under the oppression of permanent Red Alert.
    • Generations was shot this way mostly to disguise the decade-old sets. However, First Contact was filmed much the same way, despite taking place on a brand new ship, perhaps to illustrate that the Federation is at war again.
  • Futuristic Jet Injector: The hyposprays are likely the Trope Codifier. As early as the original series, they have been used by doctors to deliver various medicines (conveniently packaged in easy-to-insert capsules) to patients in adjustable doses. Regarding application through clothes, the franchise has been inconsistent: sometimes people would be injected right through their clothing, other times medical staff were shown removing it to expose skin before using the hypospray.
  • Future Society, Present Values: Most prominent in TOS, which was limited by network standards and very heavy on Cold War allegory, with the Federation (the United States), Klingon Empire (the Soviet Union) and Romulans (China) being very obvious expies of real world nations. Real world social values from the time also crept into the show in a variety of ways, such as consistent gender roles, and fashions paralleling the real world. The pilot episode, however, had a powerful female second-in-command, who was reportedly disliked by invokedfemale viewers because she was "too domineering".
  • Game of Nerds:
    • A recurring motif in some episodes. Wesley Crusher mentions his father once teaching him the game, and a physicist in "Evolution" bemoans the decline of the sport in the late 20th century (attributed to commercialism and sloth).
    • Ben Sisko is a serious baseball nut. In his debates with the Prophets, an abstract species who think in non-linear terms, baseball is used as a methaphor for each crisis.
  • Gargle Blaster: The Ferengi specialize in an alcoholic beverage called a black hole. Want to get hammered fast? Try a black hole.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: We see the full effects of DNA hacking during the Eugenics and Dominion wars.
    • 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.
    • "In the Pale Moonlight" suggests that it can be used to create bombs that pass for organic matter.
    • 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.
  • Generican Empire: The United Federation of Planets, the Dominion.
  • Generic Federation, Named Empire: The United Federation of Planets vs. the Klingon Empire, Romulon Empire, and Cardassian Union among others. The Dominion is also named generically as an "evil counterpart" to the Federation while the Mirror Universe Federation is the Terran Empire.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The remastered Original Series and The Next Generation got a lot of "nip and tuck" regarding for the Hi-Def release (CBS aired some episodes before the actual Blu-Ray release came out). For the Original Series they strove to attain a visual look virtually identical but simply cleaned-up. They also included a couple of brand new clips that were intended for the original episode but unable to film at the time, such as an establishing shot of Starfleet Command on Earth. TNG had a similar process done, largely for some effects that simply didn't age as well like the Crystalline Entity. The whole thing was well regarded, in large part because they were supervised by Trek production legend Michael Okuda.
  • Ghost Extras: In the hundreds and thousands, given that The Main Characters Do Everything on every single Trek show. Occasionally one will be promoted to Ascended Extra, but more often they get "demoted" to Red Shirt.
  • A God Am I: ironically, characters who have or obtain godlike powers usually do just the opposite, or merely posing as a god to fuck with people. But there are a few examples:
    • Gary Mitchell gets powered up by the Galactic Barrier, declares himself to be a god and even forces Kirk to pray to him.
    • Ransom does something similar in Star Trek: Lower Decks S2E01 "Strange Energies" after said energies empower him, and even tries to start his own religion based around pumping iron.
    • To be a Terraformer in the Trek universe is to be very lordly, indeed. See the imperious Kurk Mandl in "Home Soil" (TNG), later one-upped by nine-time author (all autobiographies) Gideon Seytik in DS9's "Second Sight". Something about creating planets gives scientists a god complex; Seytik's final words were even, "Let there be light!"
  • 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: Captain Kirk in particular strongly reminisces about the time of wooden ships and iron men.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Given its position on network TV, swearing is pretty much non-existent in early Trek; it even escaped the movies until Generations, in which a single four-letter word became the punchline to an entire subplot's worth of buildup. Subverted big time in current Trek, where the freedom of streaming has led to a (comparatively) massive rise in expletive use.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Used a couple of times in TNG and Deep Space Nine, also used in the movie Insurrection.
  • Gratuitous Rape: TOS and TNG in particular have been called out for it, with Kirk being drugged somehow into kissing (or worse) at least four times, Uhura having to fight an attacker off, Tasha’s backstory involving rape gangs, and Deanna Troi getting far too many Mind Rape plots.
  • 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.
    • The Prime Directive is often at the heart of this over the progression of the franchise, interestingly despite the fact that later series like ENT and the reboot movies chronologically predate TOS. As time has gone on, writers have increasingly treated the Prime Directive as an almost callous Social Darwinist policy, to the extent that extinction of sapient species is considered preferable to the hypothetical negative consequences of "interference" in their cultures.
    • As part of the Darker and Edgier nature of the reboot movies, Section 31, much earlier in its history than in the main timeline, is well past the Moral Event Horizon. They have gone from covert activities to defend the Federation to building super-warships and attempting to preemptively start interstellar wars to eradicate Federation enemies.
  • Great Offscreen War:
    • The Eugenics Wars (augmented superhumans vs. everybody else) and, to a lesser extent, World War III, all taking place on Earth and concerning only humanity. Both are mentioned across multiple shows and films and have lasting effects (humans have banned genetic engineering, for one).
    • The Earth-Romulan War, which was first mentioned all the way back in TOS's first season. ENT was building up to it but sadly got cancelled first.
    • The Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon" imports Larry Niven's Kzinti, and claims that Earth fought and won four separate wars with them a full two hundred years ago.
    • The Next Generation has the war between the Federation and the Cardassians, which was responsible for creating the Anti-Federation confederates known as the Maquis; and "brutal border wars" against the Talarians and the Tzenkethi, which happened at some point between TOS and TNG.
    • Discovery season three mentions the Temporal Wars, involving troops from multiple universes and “weaponizing time itself”. It's not clear who fought whom or why, only that it was terrible. So terrible, in fact, that all forms of time travel tech have been outlawed throughout the galaxy, and the Federation's black ops division won't risk even touching it over 100 years later.
  • Group-Identifying Feature:
    • Betazoids look just like humans, only with black irises.
    • Bajorans look a lot like humans, but with ridges on their noses. The majority of them also wear an earring on their right ear.
    • Uniforms:
      • In Star Trek: The Original Series, red is the "generic" Starfleet uniform colour, while the command crew wear gold. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, it's the other way round. In all of those series, science officers wear blue. Additionally, in The Original Series, women wear dresses while men wear black pants.
      • In Star Trek: Enterprise, Starfleet officers wear matching dark blue boiler suits. You can tell someone's division by a stripe pattern that goes around the shoulders. Like in The Original Series, gold stands for command, blue stands for science, and red is generic. Starfleet officers also wear an embroidered patch of their ship and its name on their upper sleeves.
      • In Star Trek: Discovery, most people wear matching dark blue outfits (in some cases jumpsuits similar to the Enterprise uniforms and in other cases shirts and pants). However, the doctors wear white jumpsuits instead of blue.
    • You can tell what rank someone is in Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager by the golden dots they have on their collars, which are known as "pips" or "rank insignia". Cadets don't have any, ensigns have one, junior-grade lieutenants have one, plus one hollowed-out one, regular lieutenants have two, lieutenant-commanders have two and one hollowed-out one, commanders have three, captains have four, and admirals have six (three on either side).
    • Romulans can be distinguished from Vulcans by the V-shaped ridge on their heads.
    • Trills look like humans, but with spots going all the way down their sides.
    • Aenar can be distinguished from Andorians by their white skin.
    • Orions look just like humans, except for their green skin, and seeing as they're a seductive race, a female Orion is a literal Green-Skinned Space Babe.
  • 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.
  • Ham and Deadpan Duo: Kick (definitive Ham) and Spock (contrasting Deadpan)
  • Handmade Is Better: It's something of a Running Gag across the various series that "real" food (i.e. food that was grown rather than replicated) somehow tastes better, at least to those who aren't used to eating the replicated stuff.
  • Hate Fic: The Federation is frequently portrayed as a semi-communist dystopia, only averting the worst horrors of the stereotype due to their Applied Phlebotinum. The website is famous for advocating and supporting this view, as seen in this essay.
    • This fanfic(?) shows how the Federation could go from the TOS to TNG in a disturbingly realistic way.
  • 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".
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: Worf once justified this by claiming Starfleet duds are suited for a wide variety of climates, due to the special material or somesuch. ("Let He Who is Without Sin"). It also spared the makeup department from showing us what Klingons look like in swim trunks, but that's just coincidental.
    • The Klingons are the lords of this trope. At least the Romulans can claim a degree of urban camo with their checkered outfits. The Klingons are all about plate metal, spikes, and gauntlets that would make Shredder envious. And don't forget the steel-toed, spiked boots for kicking your enemy's skull in.
    • The Cardassians favor big, bulky chestplates, along with a wide neckline for the snake-like hoods on their neck. It doesn't look very comfortable or maneuverable.
  • Hollywood Evolution: The franchise is guilty of promulgating virtually every sub-trope of this into public consciousness, undoing the work of biology teachers everywhere. In particular, Goal-Oriented Evolution is extremely popular with the writers, who often incorporate the idea that the evolutionary future of any species can be predicted with comparative ease and surprising accuracy. This often forms the backbone of rationalizations of how the Prime Directive is interpreted in a given episode, with characters taking the stance that the evolution of a given species is "supposed" to go down a certain path (which may include extinction if the species is unfortunate enough to be pre-warp).
  • Hollywood Tactics: Fairly common in most of the series, particularly in firefights, where humans and aliens alike frequently fail to use cover or take evasive action. Could be partly due to early special effects limitations, as it's hard to draw phaser beams when the actors are moving around. Later shows were better about this, particularly Enterprise, which introduced actual military personnel who fought more convincingly.
  • Hologram: Starting in TNG, recreational holodecks were standard, with "hard light" holograms made of projections and forcefields. Later series also added the Emergency Medical 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.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Especially during TOS and early TNG. Gene Roddenberry opposed the idea of a military Starfleet.
  • Humans Are Special: The Federation is a vast, multi-species, space nation — that is overwhelmingly run by humans and Human Aliens. Aliens are a definite minority in Starfleet. Many alien species use "The Federation" and "Starfleet" to explicitly refer to "humanity" and "Earth".
    • Particularly noteworthy in crew of the Federation Flagships. In TOS and TNG, the majority of the main cast was human. The remainders? Spock, a half-Human half-Vulcan. Troi, a half-Betazed half-Human. Data, an android designed by a human, with a personal goal of becoming more like a human (Not like humanoids or other biological lifeforms, but specifically human). And Worf, a full blooded Klingon, who was raised by Humans. Ironically, the one Enterprise which would have an excuse to have only humans on it, the Pre-Federation Earth vessel captained by Archer, had two alien main cast members with no particular tie to humanity.
    • Notably, only two species have been shown to put the lie to the Borg's claim that Resistance Is Futile: One borders on nearly Starfish Aliens physiology and hail from an alternate dimension so far outside the context the Borg are familiar with their technology simply doesn't work against them. The other is the human-dominated Federation which, despite the Borg Queen's observation about humanity's biological and technological inferiority bordering on Puny Earthlings, have stopped every attempt by the Borg to assimilate the Federation cold. Notably, it was humans who figured out how to make Borg nanoprobes work against the other species.
  • Humans Are Warriors: As much as Starfleet may protest that their primary purpose is one of exploration, one of their most famous captains (Kirk) was legendary even among the Klingons for his prowess in battle. The Federation may prefer to speak softly, but they are more than willing to swing the stick if left with no other choice. They were the center of the resistance against the Dominion, and are the only species (other than near-Starfish Aliens from outside the universe) that have routinely managed to give the Borg a black eye.
    Quark: Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.
  • 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!

  • Identical Grandson: This naturally pops up a couple of times in a franchise that spans over 300 years of in-universe time.
    • Besides Data and his two brothers, Brent Spiner also played their creator/father, Noonian Soong, in an episode of TNG. Fast-forward (rewind??) to Enterprise and Spiner appears in a few episodes as Noonian's ancestor Arik Soong. He's a geneticist with a shaky grasp on ethics, so one wonders if perhaps he cloned himself… And then Spiner shows up in Picard as Noonian’s never-before-mentioned human son Altan Soong, and as Dr. Adam Soong (quite possibly the first Soong of them all) in the 21st century. So apparently all Soong men just look identical. There are shades of this with the girls, too, as Altan and his colleagues created several android women who share a face with Adam's test tube Designer Baby daughter Kore Soong (played by the same actress, Isa Briones).
    • Worf's actor, Michael Dorn, appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as a Klingon colonel also named Worf. It's never confirmed onscreen, but Word of God affirms the character is supposed to be Worf's grandfather (retroactively making Worf a Dead Guy Junior).
    • Captain Janeway and her ancestor Shannon O'Donnel are both played by Kate Mulgrew in the flashback episode "11:59"
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Mirror Universe as seen throughout the franchise has a radically different history to the main universe, yet somehow very specific similarities pop up constantly between the two.
  • Indubitably Uninteresting Individual: The Vulcans appear to wear this hat, as their culture is based around logic, emotional control, spartanism, mentally-challenging-but-boring activities, and vegetarianism. Their voices also do not change emotionally. On the other hand, there are a few Vulcans that resisted these ideas. Although, for the normal individual, it is a VERY bad idea to let one's emotions go unchecked, as Vulcan emotions are very strong and can easily get out of hand. Plus, when a Vulcan loses emotional control or shows a hint of emotion, it is often a bad sign that either something is wrong, either with them, with the situation, or that they are dead-serious about something.
    • Some people seem to find the (fictional) future of humanity in Star Trek: The Next Generation much like this:
      • Unless something is wrong aboard ship, on most starships including the Enterprise-D, the corridors, hallways, and crew quarters are spick-and-span spotless. This, combined with its design, has led some people to compare the Enterprise to a glorified cruise ship. Even Scotty, in the episode "Relics", points this out.
      Scotty: "Good lord man, where have you put me?"
      Ensign: "These are standard guest quarters sir, I can try and find something bigger if you want".
      Scotty: "Bigger? In my day, even an admiral would notta had such quarters aboard a starship!"
      • Design documents from when the show was still in the planning stages show this even worse, with a decentralized bridge that more-or-less resembles a retro-futuristic shopping mall.
      • Most music selections are from composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. (Although Riker likes jazz, but Worf likes Klingon opera).
      • Most selections of literature are based in vintage-looking books.
      • Games are mostly board-based in the strategy category, or simplistic.
      • Particularly egregious, in the first season, children as young as 8-10 are shown to be taught CALCULUS (a normally middle-to-high-school subject!)
      • Food, although rarely non-nutritional, is served in neat servings.
      • On the other hand, this is semi-averted with Data. He was built that way. He does not need to consume food. His off-duty activities include reading poems, studying schematics, painting, being company for his pet cat Spot, and playing music whether on violin or just listening to it. Despite this, his exploration of humanity, his desire to be more human, and his superhuman abilities makes him interesting. Also averted in that he does find acting in certain stories, such as Sherlock Holmes or The Tempest, appealing.
      • Furthermore, in a cancelled spin-off called "Star Trek: Federation", the United Federation of Planets becomes this, losing a lot of member worlds in the process.
    • In the episode "Someone to Watch Over Me", the one-time alien race that Voyager encounters, known as the Kadi, have this as their all-encompassing hat, even moreso compared to the Vulcans. They are actually offended by anything that does not match their bland way of life. The ambassador the ship takes on in exchange for mineral negotiation averts this, as he wants to take the chance to sample ''EVERYTHING'' that he can. (Including hitting on Seven of Nine, who doesn't take well to it).
      • Lieutenant Tuvok, the Vulcan tactical officer of the bridge crew, manages to be just as bad, if not worse. (possibly because of the quality of the writing at the time) For him, he somehow manages to be a hardass to he rest of the crew by standing aloof from them, insulting their emotions and culture, and taking the fun out of their ideas by being literate, logical, and socially distant ALL THE TIME; and he gets seriously called out for it not once, but TWICE, with other smaller callouts peppered throughout the series.
        (From the episode "Flashback") Sulu: "Mr. Tuvok, if you're going to remain on my ship, you're going to have learn how to appreciate a joke. And don't tell me Vulcans don't have a sense of humor; because I know better".

        (From the episode "Alter Ego") Marayna: "But what about you, Tuvok? Will you always be alone?"
  • 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.
  • Inevitably Broken Rule: If anyone brings up the Prime Directive in an episode of any Star Trek series, it will either be broken or cause a lot of conflict over whether or not to break it.
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Patterns of Force," a Federation historian shattered the Prime Directive when he used a developing alien culture to create what was essentially a fascist dictatorship with a more benign ideology. He failed in the most disastrous way imaginable, as his experimental society eventually became just as racist and genocidal as the real Nazi Germany.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Pen Pals," the Enterprise violates the Directive to save a planet that is breaking down. However, it was already broken by Data prior to this, as he had been communicating with a young girl on the planet, which is how they found out about the problem in the first place.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, the episode "Thirty Days" involves Tom Paris breaking the Prime Directive by protecting the huge ocean the aliens live in despite their refusing that protection. He is subsequently jailed for that decision.
    • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Kirk and Spock violate the Prime Directive by preventing a volcanic eruption that would have wiped out the planet's inhabitants. Spock seems overly obsessed with not leting the natives see them interfering, seemingly misunderstanding the point of the Directive, but regardless Kirk loses his command over it.
    • Pike elects to ignore this rule in SNW's pilot, to prevent two warring factions annihilating each other with technology they were only able to acquire because Starfleet had a huge space battle in their backyard. Fortunately he gets away with it because the battle in question is highly classified, and the Federation's government can't prosecute him without bringing it up.
    • Some episodes imply that there is a loophole exempting planets that are contacted by other nations. This would cover many of the Original Series lapses; a lot of the primitive planets the Enterprise visits are caught up in the Federation/Klingon conflict and it's reasonable to assume First Contact was made by the Klingons. The Next Generation episode "Devil's Due" shows a bucolic planet that's highly unlikely to have developed warp drive, Pentax II, that's in full communication with the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Exposition within the episode explicitly states that the Klingons made First Contact on Pentax II.
  • 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.
  • Insistent Terminology: Back in the days when "geek" was a bonafide insult rather than a badge of honor, fans considered "Trekkie" insulting and belittling. It was Trekker, thank you very much. As times changed and being a nerd became cool, the diminutive came to be embraced as more like a term of endearment.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: Lt. M'Ress, the felinoid alien from the Animated Series; the Gorn/Cardassians/Xindi, basically Lizard Folk; the Bolians are based loosely on dolphins.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Several of the later series deconstructed the Federation's depiction as a utopian society resolving social wrongs on other planets, something played straight throughout the early series.
    • Deep Space Nine took place partially from the perspective of various non-Starfleet citizens who viewed the Federation in a hostile light for trying to change their ways of life with no regard for their own opinions, and since the titular space station was, well, stationary Sisko and his crew had to face the consequences for whatever changes they did enact.
    • Lower Decks takes place from the perspective of ensigns on the crew of a ship generally in charge of taking care of whatever mess Starfleet has left behind, and thus takes a rather critical look at the habit of abandoning planets after supposedly "fixing" them. Several planets from previous series are shown to have either fallen back into their old ways or to be pissed at the Federation for leaving them to deal with the consequences of their meddling, and the Federation's negligence results in the Pakleds becoming a serious threat.
    • Multiple later series also dismantled the idea of the Federation being a Perfect Pacifist People. Deep Space Nine and Discovery prominently feature Section 31, an amoral black ops division that shows the Federation has just as many skeletons in the closet as its enemies, and similarly demonstrate that it can be just as ruthless. Picard starkly shows the consequences of Starfleet's imperialism and demonstrates it can be just as prejudiced as any of its enemies. And Lower Decks shows that for every heroic idealist serving in Starfleet, there are just as many corrupt, venal bureaucrats more interested in their own careers than actually serving Starfleet's ideals and are willing to screw over other officers for their own ambitions.
  • Insane Admiral: Probably the Trope Codifier. If a visiting guest, alien enemy or a spatial anomaly wasn't behind the Problem of the Week, it was almost certainly one of these.
    • Writer Ron Moore (responsible for many of these types in the TNG era) joked that "something must be in the water at Federation Headquarters". Lower Decks, on the other hand, explains that the reasons so many admirals go down 500 miles of bad road is the result of frustration with their careers hitting a wall and being stuck behind a desk with so many other flag officers jockeying for attention. Thus, they create ill-advised vanity projects to ensure they won't be forgotten, but inevitably these go south and result in a fiasco.
  • 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).
  • Interspecies Romance: A staple of the show, and interestingly many species are genetically-compatible and can produce viable offspring, even if their anatomy and biochemistry are dissimilar. Several main characters such as Spock, Deanna Troi and B'Elanna Torres are Half-Human Hybrids born from marriages between humans and aliens.
  • Irony: Episodes of Star Trek series that originally aired between 1987-2005 ended with a Paramount Television logo with a jingle that sounded like the theme to rival franchise Star Wars (It's actually a re-arrangement of "Paramount on Parade"). Even more ironic, Star Wars producers Lucasfilm did a film series that was originally distributed by Paramount, Indiana Jones, complete with a TV series made during the period where Paramount Television's logo had that Star Wars-esque jingle.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Gene Roddenberry's first pilot episode didn't sell. He had to recast the Captain and shoot it all over again, and it was still smoked by Gunsmoke's ratings.
    • invoked The Original Series was, famously, Un-Cancelled after college students had a chance to catch up with it in reruns.
    • Ironically, this later success ended up jeopardizing the series' future. When news hit of TNG, fans were up in arms, and the original cast members weren't shy about voicing their displeasure either. The show flailed about for two seasons trying—and failing—to distinguish itself from its parent series, recycling plots and characters, having actors defect and leave the show, and nearly losing Patrick Stewart (who saw the shadows lengthening and opted not to renew his contract). Were it not for the cliffhanger ending in "The Best of Both Worlds", TNG might not have been renewed and the franchise would have ended there.
  • Just a Machine: Star Trek in general draws a distinction between the special cases like Data and the Doctor, and the ubiquitous ship computers responsible for getting everything done in the background. Despite the fact that ship computers can pass the Turing Test with ease, act on their own initiative, and occasionally even display signs of emotion, this is never investigated or even mentioned in-story: ship computers are always just-machines and limited to being background elements (this is doubly notable since some of the special case characters, such as the Doctor, run on a ship computer). A.I. is a fairly infrequent thing in the Star Trek 'Verse, but recent addition Star Trek: Picard shows the Federation was beginning to use android workers… only to turn around and ban them when things went horribly wrong.
  • Large Ham: Pops up a lot, but becomes near-certain whenever a Klingon is on screen.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The gold uniform worn by Kirk (and later, Archer and Pike).
  • A Lesson in Defeat: The Kobayashi Maru test is an Unwinnable Training Simulation designed specifically to invoke this, as it cannot be beaten without cheating.
  • Legacy Vessel Naming: Has its own page.
  • Licensed Pinball Tables: Several, all collected here.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: The Milky Way of the Star Trek universe is a very busy place. Memory Alpha lists 512 humanoid species and 97 non-humanoid ones.
  • 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 franchise 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 throughout the different series. Subverted in the infamous Risa episodes.
  • Ludd Was Right: Zig-Zagged, depending on which show, which writer, etc., like many other topics. Trek likes to explore every side of this issue. Overall, technology is depicted in a positive light, but it's usually made clear that great technological advancements must also be accompanied by strong moral responsibility. Plenty of people in Federation society (e.g. Picard's dad and the community where Owo grew up) choose to live a simple life without modern tech. However, this lifestyle is portrayed as negative when it is forced on others (e.g., the colony leader from DS9's “Paradise”, Picard's dad again). Starfleet is depicted as heroic while using machinery to heal the sick and explore the stars; the Borg are portrayed as pure evil while using machinery to augment their bodies. The Ba'ku are portrayed as sympathetic for giving up advanced technology to become Space Amish despite exiling any of their own who disagree. Ultimately, Star Trek never settles on a definitive answer but does err towards Ludd's side of things, with many main characters having hobbies that involve working with their hands, and technology that lacks a human element (well for given values of “human”) is usually shown to be harmful.
  • 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.
    • In some situations, the consoles are shown to still be operational even AFTER exploding and killing some unfortunate redshirt. That's a durable design. Usually when this happens, it's a main character that takes over the station and they are immune to death from exploding consoles (at most they'll have minor injuries).
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Humans are absolutely militant about this. No matter how scientifically-inexplicable something is, or if that something can outright change the laws of physics at will, it is still not "magic". Referring to it as such will provoke an immediate negative response and denial. Technobabble, even if it is completely unsupported by evidence, will invariably be accepted as an explanation before "magic" will. Things which would be considered "supernatural" in real life such as Psychic Powers or Reality Warpers are still regarded as scientific in nature, even though Federation science cannot explain them. Which is why talking about the limitless power of "thought" is acceptable, but using the m-word will get you an earful of Flat Earth Atheism.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: How is it that Doctors in the future are able to radically change your appearance so you are a different species with a head twice the size? We see Kirk, Troi, Picard, and Data [!] as Romulans, Kira as a Cardassian, Dukat, Seska and Dax as Bajorans (actually that one isn’t much of a stretch), Sisko, O’Brien and Odo as Klingons, Neelix as a Ferengi…and Chakotay is a Vidiian with a big scabby bloated head. Quark is even made female and then turned male again, still capable of male reproduction afterward. It seems such a stretch that you can effortlessly change somebody’s face and body to such a degree and than put you all back together again afterwards with no perceivable differences. This all becomes something of a moot point when Janeway and Paris "evolve" into a pair of copulating lizards in a later episode and the Doctor simply manages to devolve them back into human beings .... "Go big or go home" is Brannon Braga's motto.
  • 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 Main Characters Do Everything: Trek seems to have a problem with keeping crew members at their designated stations, probably because it would become monotonous to the actors. It's a running gag that during a ship-wide emergency, the last place you'll find the Chief Engineer is in Engineering. (In TNG, Geordi could simply "transfer Engineering control" to the bridge, whatever that means, and thus justify his presence there). Picard S2 really cranks this up to 11 as the main cast are the only ones Q happens to transfer to the altered timeline, and some of them weren't even on the same ship (or hadn't seen each other in years). Lower Decks usually averts this by nature of its premise: most of the main characters are low-ranking ensigns often relegated to tedious, menial tasks and/or kept out of the loop. On Prodigy this is actually justified since the main characters are the only crew on the ship and thus have to do everything.
  • Master Computer: Ironically, TOS presents the Master Computer as a dangerous, dehumanizing thing that will inevitably threaten human lives. In particular, the episode "The Ultimate Computer" makes an automated starship Enterprise into an uncontrolled killing machine. However, by TNG, the ship computer on the Enterprise-D is shown to be fully capable of running the entire ship without a crew as early the first season episode "11001001" and this is generally treated as a good thing. But one of the most common Failsafe Failure scenarios recurring across the later series is for some problem with the main computers to cause malfunctions, including potentially lethal ones, to happen throughout the starship or space station over which they control every last mechanical system, with the crew struggling to regain control without being killed. Discovery gives us a straighter example with “Control”, Section 31’s threat analysis computer that goes off the rails and exterminates all organic life in the galaxy in one future timeline. Lower Decks lampshades TOS's succession of evil A.I.s by revealing Starfleet has a “Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage” facility.
  • Matter Replicator: The matter replicators (called material synthesizers in the Original Series) function much like extremely advanced 3D printers: they can recycle matter to synthesize almost anything, including toys, clothing, money, food and drinks. Several episodes have seen the crew replicate food and other provisions for people in need. They have some limitations. It's implied, for example, that replicators can't be built much larger than a small room, which is why ships still need to be constructed piece-by-piece. There are also some special materials, such as latinum and biomimetic gel, that cannot be replicated. Opinions differ wildly about the quality of replicated food compared to "real" food. Some think it's grossly inferior (e.g. Michael Eddington), some think it's not always perfect but still fine (e.g. Captain Picard), and some consider the idea of cooking non-replicated food unusual (e.g. Keiko O'Brien).
  • Meat-Sack Robot: The Borg assimilates various species (via injecting Nanomachines into their victims) into its AI's unifying conscious called "the Collective" whether their victims consent or not.
    • In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg queen grafts living skin tissue onto Data's arm (Data being a purely artificial android), allowing him to feel human sensations, something he has longed to do but was not capable of. This was an attempt to lure him over to her side. (A more limited example than most others, in that we're talking about a small patch of skin, and Data was fully functional without it, but it still fits the "reverse cyborg" definition)
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: Several aliens, primarily from the original series:
    • The drone-like Lawgivers in "Return of the Archons". In that case, the drone-like humanoids were controlled by an intelligent supercomputer.
    • The original builders of the Androids on Exo III were also stated to have been a society of biological creatures who ruined their homeworld and retreated underground where they became a more mechanized, machine-like society.
    • The Kelvans from the Andromeda Galaxy are implied to have a culture like this; they are completely organic beings, but in their true form they experience none of the sensory distractions of humanoids, and consider themselves much more efficient. They go about trying to take over the Milky Way with very straightforward methods (transforming Kirk's crew into vulnerable dust-cubes that only their technology can restore to human form, for example) but without any of the typical Trek villains' hamminess. The Federation is saved from them by the fact that, when in artificial humanoid form, the Kelvans become Sense Freaks and can be incapacitated in a variety of ways, such as by the effects of alcohol or unfamiliar emotions like pleasure or jealousy.
    • The Eyemorg (humanoid female) society in the infamous episode "Spock's Brain" were totally reliant on a mechanized underground industrial complex run by advanced computers (for which purpose they tried to steal "Spock's Brain," because they lacked the knowledge to maintain this infrastructure themselves unless); this was in contrast to the primitive, Ice Age-like culture of males that lived on the surface.
    • The Fabrini who lived aboard a generational asteroid ship, which they all believed was actually a planet, were similarly run by an advanced, tyrannical computer called The Oracle. The Fabrini were less "rigidly mechanical" and more "rigidly traditional" though, the rigid traditions being enforced by The Oracle.
    • The Borg are a Hive Mind of Hollywood Cyborg aliens that otherwise follow this trope, using cybernetically augmented humanoid bodies only as cannon fodder and servitor units.
    • Vulcans sometimes have elements of this, but their culture is much more complex. Their education system, however, as briefly shown in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and more extensively in Star Trek (2009), is very much in line with this trope and plays like a callback to the uber-intellectual, emotionless aliens of older science fiction.
    • The Iyaarans, a species from a Season 7 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, play this trope absolutely straight, and also like a callback to aliens from older Sci-Fi: They are Ditto Aliens with rubber foreheads and jumpsuits; they lack cultural concepts like antagonism, love, joy, pleasure, crime, etc; they all appear male and reproduce asexually by something called post-cellular compounding, the exact mechanics of which are, fortunately, never detailed. Their diet is extremely bland, consisting of nutrient wafers, because they consider their need to eat as matter of sustenance only, not pleasure or enjoyment, like many other humanoids consider meals. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, they are very curious about other cultures, though they struggle to understand diverse cultures like the Federation.
    • Similarly, the cauliflower-headed humanoids that abducted Picard for study in an earlier episode were all identical with no concept of individual identity or leadership. What little was revealed about their society hinted at something like this trope.
    • The Bynars from the first season episode "11001001" are closely dependent on their computers for survival. They have implants that connect them to their planet's central computer, have "digital" names like One Zero and Zero One, live and work in binary pairs, have a language based on binary, and when their planet's central planetary computer is fried by a nearby supernova it almost wipes out the entire species.
    • The Hierarchy from Star Trek: Voyager are a callback/parody/possible deconstruction of this, with their heavily regimented, computerized society, costume design, and snotty behavior.
  • Mildly Military: Starfleet is both a military and an exploration and research organization, also acting as top-level law enforcement and the advance scouts and bodyguards of The Federation's diplomatic corps and intelligence network. It is a conglomeration of the US Navy and Coast Guard, the USMC, the FBI, the CIA, the Department of State, the United Nations, NASA and a few research universities; at any given time a captain may need to think like Sun Tzu, Colin Powell or Jacques Cousteau — or all three. Gene Roddenberry suggested something like the civilian space program (if it were operated by the military.) Since he was in the Army Air Forces during World War II, it's very likely that some part of his experience had a part in shaping Star Trek. Nicholas Meyer was proudly made military sci-fi, while the Kelvin timeline films have explicitly said Starfleet is a “peace-keeping armada” and “not a military organization”. Sometimes characters within the story will comment on Starfleet's ambiguous position. However, all in all, Captain Kirk says it best:
    CHRISTOPHER: "Must have taken quite a lot to build a ship like this".
    KIRK: "There are only twelve like it in the fleet".
    CHRISTOPHER: "I see. Did the Navy—"
    KIRK: "We're a combined service, Captain".
    • Star Trek: Enterprise takes place before Starfleet became combined with the military. As a result, Starfleet resembles a military service less than it does in any other incarnation of the franchise. The MACOs (Military Assault Command Operations), however, are essentially the 22nd century answer to the Marine Corps. While taking a few minor liberties, the MACOs observe military protocol, wear camouflage uniforms, and use real-world small unit combat tactics. In their debut episode, the MACO commander even points out why having The Main Characters Do Everything is a bad idea; insisting that his team handle a combat situation on a planet surface so that Starfleet security personnel are available if Enterprise gets boarded.
  • Military Maverick: Almost expected of Starfleet captains, it would seem. Picard, for all his careful, deliberate, and knowledge of the 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!").
  • Mimic Species: Romulans, being related to Vulcans, look a lot like them, except for the fact that most of them have a V-shaped ridge on their foreheads. Because of this, they often pretend to be Vulcans for ulterior reasons.
  • Minovsky Physics: Star Trek has a very long list of fictional substances and their properties. Very rarely is any material given new abilities to fill a plot need: instead, the writers invent entirely new materials. Whenever a material is reused in a later story, it retains its specific properties.
    • Star Trek's technical manuals all try to provide consistent explanations for the science and technology of the series.
  • Mind-Reformat Death:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series, "Dagger of the Mind": By the end of the episode, the malevolent Dr. Adams is killed by accident when an experimental electronic hypnosis device, the neural neutralizer, is turned on with no one at the controls, and he looks into it. With no one to provide a mental suggestion, his mind is emptied of everything, and he subsequently dies from the loneliness.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Part of the effect of the Borg assimilation process. If progressed far-enough and long-enough, the victim's previous personality might as well be dead, as the computerized Borg nanoprobes and subsequent implants take over almost every mental and essential body function, save for the physical existence of the individual itself. However, if done properly, the individual's personality and memories can either be brought back, or can be retrained for a new life if they are freed from the collective.
      • "The Schizoid Man": Deliberately done by Dr. Ira Graves, the guest character in the episode. Graves successfully implants his consciousness and knowledge into Data's positronic matrix (though we don't see how), before his physical body dies. However, realizing that he's becoming increasingly corrupt and overbearing in Data's body, Graves subsequently implants his knowledge into the Enterprise computer system to atone (again, we don't see how, since Data is only lying on the floor when found), but does so in a way that the human-consciousness element is lost forever.
      • "Contagion": Played straight, then subverted. An alien computer virus destroys The Enterprise's sister Galaxy-class vessel, and then subsequently infects the Enterprise's computer systems themselves. Upon traveling to the planet the virus originated from, Picard, Worf, and Data beam down to the control center that launches the probes containing the virus. When Data attempts to activate its systems further than just turning it on, he's struck by a data energy discharge that contains the virus, subsequently re-writing Data's systems algorithms one-by-one. When brought back to the Enterprise by Worf, by using the control center's gateway, Data seemingly dies, but then comes back to life a few seconds later, but without his memories and experiences on the planet. This is the key to stopping the virus: a shut down of all ship systems to purge the virus from memory, then restarting from separate protected archives and memory.
      • "The Measure of a Man": How Data likens the transfer of his positronic matrix into a data container for study, when Commander Bruce Maddox suggests the development of creating hundreds or even thousands of versions of Dr. Noonien Soong's androids:
        Data [to Maddox]: There is an ineffable quality to memory which I do not believe can survive your procedure.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Implied to be what happens to a sapient hologram if it's "decompiled" (in-turn implied by-definition to be returned/reverse-engineered to human-readable source code), if we are to trust the EMH Doctor's idea of it.
    • Star Trek: Picard: It turns out that Data's consciousness survived in some form after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. When Picard succumbs to the unknown condition (Implied to be Irumodic Syndrome, from TNG's finale, "All Good Things.."). that has been slowly deteriorating his mind throughout season 1, his consciousness is uploaded into a computer bank, where he meets with Data's consciousness, who asks him to terminate it. When Picard's essence is uploaded into a new "golem" android body, he does so, slowly taking out the isolinear chips containing Data, with a eulogy speech. Inside of the computer bank, each chip removal abstractly ages Data's consciousness, until he dies peacefully and it finally dissolves into oblivion.
  • Monster of the Week:
  • 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.
    • On the other hand, the chronologically earliest series takes place a century and a half in the future. Plenty of time for the hills to get bulldozed.
      • Those same hills where the academy would be placed if it were a real place are actually home to a large network of abandoned US Naval fortifications, which presumably could be used by Starfleet, with additions for things like hangers or storage making it a fairly logical placement for the purpose of a base/training station.
  • More Hero than Thou: Any time one Starfleet officer says I Will Only Slow You Down.
  • Most Common Superpower: In recent years, various actresses have let slip that most, if not all, of Star Trek's females have had to wear padded bras. Notable exceptions are Nana Visitor (DS9) and Kate Mulgrew who, according to legend, took her stuffed bra, stomped straight into the writer's room, and slammed it on their desk saying, "I'm not wearing that".
    • Notably glaring with T'Pol, who lose that particular superpower with her change of outfit between season 2 and 3.
  • Multi-Directional Barrage: Though they prefer to fire single, precise shots, most large starships in the franchise have weapons on all sides and fast-working targeting computers, granting them the ability to do this when surrounded.
  • The Multiverse:
    • Kirk, McCoy, and several others were transported to a Mirror Universe in the "Mirror, Mirror" episode of the original Star Trek, in which an evil Earth-based empire ruled the galaxy. This was very much an In Spite of a Nail universe, since everything was much the same except the moral/ethical bent of the Federation's counterpart and its citizens. Years later, the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returned to this universe to discover that the revolution Kirk had encouraged its native Spock to foment had happened; unfortunately, its effects were not necessarily for the better. Star Trek: Enterprise also spent a couple episodes here, just to hammer it home that Humans Are Bastards. And finally Star Trek: Discovery spent half a season there and even hinted at the For Want of a Nail that might have caused the split between the universes ("Terrans" have a higher sensitivity to light than humans in the prime universe). In season four, Ruon Tarka points out there are other universes besides the evil mirror one, including a (possibly mythical) paradise one called Kayalise, and even constructs an interdimensional transporter to try to get there. (Though we never learn if he succeeds).
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode with Worf bouncing between various In Spite of a Nail alternate universes. According to Word of God, this is distinct from the usual Mirror Universe though.
    • The "Kelvin Timeline", where Star Trek (2009) and the sequels take place, is an Alternate Universe branching off the prime one that was accidentally created by 2009 movie's Big Bad Time Traveling from the TNG-era to before the TOS-era and altering the timeline.
    • Star Trek: Coda establishes the Star Trek Novel Verse occupies at least two alternate timelines from the canon ones (since the inception of Picard and other spinoffs made them no longer compatible): the "main" universe where Romulus never got blown up, the Borg are history, and so on; and a Mirror Universe where Memory Omega has overthrown the Alliance and established a peaceful Galactic Commonwealth. Tragically, these timelines are forced to deliberately unmake themselves in order to prevent the Devidians eating every single universe.
    • Star Trek: Picard Season 2 invents a second Mirror Universe: the human race is just as fascist and racist as the original, but substantially more successful in their goals of conquering the Milky Way; basically, it's the Mirror Universe Gone Horribly Right. The plot of the season involves Time Travel back to the Butterfly of Doom moment that split the timelines, allowing Picard to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Named After First Installment: Its first work, Star Trek: The Original Series, originally named simply Star Trek, which is now the name that all the different series are grouped under.
  • Narrating the Present: The Captains Logs.
  • National Weapon: The Klingon bat'leth.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Trope Namer is a well-known parody.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: Occasionally, when something particularly strange was in the transporter room or something, the officer present just asks the captain to come look. Sometimes justified, as with Scotty in Wrath of Khan.
  • Nonindicative Title: As discussed in Community, the crew never went to a star hence the show should have better be called 'Planet Trek'.
  • Non-Standard Kiss: The Vulcans have a finger-touching gesture that seems to be used as a kissing analogue. The basic motion is simply extending the first two fingers of the right hand and touching fingertips, but finger-stroking motions can be added for greater intimacy.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Mostly averted. Various areas in the ships have handrails, but considering the various space battles they find themselves in, it's odd that there are virtually no seat belts at workstations, and the chairs are easily toppled over. This is corrected for the first time in the films: Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, every seat has restraints. The seats are now firmly fixed to the floor, and the armrests on the seats can be pulled inward to secure the crewmembers in place. Unfortunately, this development went completely ignored in the later Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • No Such Agency: Sometimes applies to Section 31, Depending on the Writer. This trope fits better with its earlier depictions (based on production date) in DS9 and Enterprise, where it is a shadow organization whose existence is largely unknown even among Starfleet officers with high security clearance. It may not even be an organization in the traditional sense, with no indication that Section 31 has any kind of headquarters or material presence beyond a few covert puppeteers. Its presence in Discovery is more of an Open Secret, with Section 31 having its own warships and identifying symbols that run counter to its prior role as a plausibly deniable splinter faction.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Most cases avert this. The pop culture largely depends on the alien in question. Vulcans love music, Klingons have various popular war operas, and Cardassians literature includes the "Repetitive Epic" and "Enigma Tales". The Borg, however, have no pop culture.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: A common point of confusion in the otherwise enlightened future of Star Trek is Spock's humorously treated Fantastic Racism towards Humanity, along with the number of physical altercations the crew get into without really getting into trouble. However, it's justifiable in the original series since the ship is on the edge of known space. The franchise moved closer to Earth with Star Trek: The Next Generation, a more established bureaucracy is in place.
  • No Such Thing as Space Jesus: Due to the incredible number of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that Starfleet comes across just within the immediate vicinity of the Federation, skepticism levels are off the charts. Even in cases such as the Q, where the aliens in question actually are omnipotent. This was averted in DS9, where the Bajoran Prophets were increasingly accepted as having a religious mystique even by some Starfleet personnel, despite the fact that they are actually pretty mediocre by the standards of godlike beings in the Trek universe.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: To an almost militant degree.
    • A recurring theme across series is that trying to augment existing species or individuals beyond their natural capabilities is morally wrong. Even treatment of genetic defects is questioned in some circumstances, with genetic engineering overall being greatly feared due to the so-called "Eugenics Wars" of Earth's 1990's which were the result of the creation of human Augments. Enterprise explains this somewhat with a human proponent of the Augments asking Phlox (whose species has used genetic engineering beneficially for centuries) what the difference is; Phlox answers, “You tried to reinvent your entire species.”
    • The Borg seek to achieve perfection by augmenting themselves with unique biological features and technological advancements, and are one of the franchise's greatest villains. Somewhat ironically, actual Eugenics however would be legally possible within the Federation, as Interspecies Romance, often involving species possessing superhuman abilities, is very commonplace.
    • Cybernetics provides something of a loophole, as androids (with mega-strength and superior computer brains) are gradually introduced into the setting and eventually accepted, though it's a rocky road getting there. Ironically, the most well-known of these androids actually seeks to become more human (and less "perfect" by extension).
  • Now Do It Again, Backwards: A standard way of handling various Phlebotinum.
  • Nuclear Torch Rocket: The Impulse Drive is presented as a Reactionless Drive on-screen, but is canonically a fusion rocket. It's just that the reaction plume is invisible, and makes it look like the ships are being pushed around by their tail-lights.
  • Obligatory Earpiece Touch: Uhura would often touch her earpiece when concentrating on an incoming communication.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine focuses on a space station instead of a starship.
    • Star Trek: Voyager is the only series that is primarily set in the Delta Quadrant.
    • Star Trek: Picard is the sole series that mostly takes place in the Beta Quadrant, and all the main heroic characters are civilians (i.e. none of them are active Starfleet officers).
    • Star Trek: Lower Decks is unique because it's predominantly comedic and its main protagonists are Starfleet ensigns who aren't senior officers.
    • Star Trek: Prodigy is uniquely the only CGI animated series and the only one with a cast of almost entirely minors, none of whom are human or have ever served in Starfleet (aside from a hologram patterned after a certain captain).
  • 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.
  • Ominous Cube: The Borg Cubes, they're the definition of The Dreaded Dreadnought when compared to the Federation's much smaller, lighter-colored, and more rounded vessels; they're color-coded with evil's Sickly Green Glow; the music often shifts to a battle theme or the Drone of Dread when they appear; and they tend to silently ignore anything they don't deem to be a threat or interesting enough to assimilate.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The chief science officer of any starship or space station needs to be knowledgeable in multiple scientific fields, from physics to biology.
  • One World Order: Are there any planets in that future that don't have a solitary, planet-wide government?
    • It's stated in the TNG episode “Attached” that being a united world is generally a requirement for Federation membership. The Federation feels odds are a world that hasn't even resolved the differences among their own people and brought them together isn't ready to join an interstellar community. This feeling is proven correct in the episode.
  • Our Dark Matter Is Different: Used frequently from The Next Generation to Enterprise as part of technobabble, most frequently in the form of dark matter nebulae. See the pages for individual series for specifics.
  • Our Doors Are Different: Sliding doors everywhere. Everywhere. The foley effect for Trek doors is the sound paper makes when removed from an envelope. Then there are the heavier, Whirrr Ka-CHUNK sliding doors.
  • Outranking Your Job: Seemingly every crewmember aboard both Enterprises is an officer.
    • Away teams (known as landing parties in TOS), the futuristic equivalent of a boarding party, are typically composed of several senior officers, plus one or two Red Shirt characters as cannon fodder. In TOS, Kirk himself frequently led the landing party.
    • Inverted by Miles O'Brien. He's essentially the chief engineer, but he's just a petty officer. Granted, there don't seem to be that many Starfleet officers under him, so he technically does still outrank his staff. Most of them seem to be Bajoran civilians (and Rom).
  • Palette-Swapped Alien Food: Romulan and Andorian Ale is blue.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Starting with the films, the Klingons are normally dressed in leathers and furs, as befitting their status as the archetypal Proud Warrior Race.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Photon torpedoes are the Trope Maker. There are also quantum, plasma, and polaron torpedoes, just to name a few.
  • The Plague: Earth may be free from disease, but step out into space and these are everywhere. Starfleet crew are constantly catching them so the ship's doctor can race against time to find a cure.
    • The disease that killed all the adults in "Miri". (TOS)
    • Rigelian Fever in "Requiem for Methuselah".
    • The disease from "The Naked Time" (and its sequel "The Naked Now") is apparently non-fatal, but is highly contagious and, in both episodes, turns the entire crew into oversexed, drunken boobs who threaten to destroy the ship.
    • The macrovirus in the Voyager episode "Macrocosm". Especially nightmarish because of the monsters that exist solely as vectors, and are produced by the welts on its victims' skin.
    • The Vidiians had this as their hat, if you can belive it: an entire race infected with a deadly phage, forcing them to steal organs and skin grafts from other species.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Dominion punished an entire planet for rebellion by infecting them with a plague called "The Quickening". Everyone is born with it, most die in childhood, but enough people survive to adulthood to keep their population stable, turning what was once a space-faring civilization into something resembling the Dung Ages. Dr. Bashir beats his head against the wall trying to find a cure, but can only come up with a vaccine. The upshot is that future generations may yet stand a chance.
    • The Federation's "Section 31" also created a plague to kill the Changelings and win the war. It was ultimately successful, as the Changelings ended up bartering peace in exchange for a cure.
    • The plague that nearly depopulated one of the Dramians' two planets in the Animated Series episode "Albatross".
  • Plain Palate:
    • Vulcan culture favours food and drink with little to no seasonings and which is generally plain. This is likely because Vulcans value stoicism and don't see the point in eating and drinking for fun. Additionally, they're vegetarians so there's no need to use spices as a preservative as that's generally done with meat.
    • Emergency rations are not meant to be tasty, but O'Brien likes a particular type.
  • Planet Baron:
    • In "The Conscience of the King", Kodos the Executioner, while initially a legitimate governor, was temporarily dictator of the world Kirk grew up on after declaring Martial law due to a famine and executing a large chunk of its population to save the others.
    • In "The Squire of Gothos", the titular Squire of Gothos is a Sufficiently Advanced Alien with his own planet, though he only uses a portion of it.
    • In "Space Seed", Khan becomes this after he is defeated but given a planet to colonize and rule, though we learn in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that the planet later died, prompting Khan to seek revenge on Kirk for marooning him there.
    • In "I, Mudd", Mudd has become ruler of a planet of androids, though by the end of the episode the robots are more his captors than his subjects.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Quark's cousin Gaila owns his own moon. This is one of Quark's desires as well. Every time Gaila is mentioned, his moon inevitably comes up.
    • In the TNG episode "Devil's Due", a con artist was claiming to be a planet's ancient deity and using advanced technology to work apparent miracles to back up her claim to ownership of the entire planet, the crew of the Enterprise wondered if she might actually be Q in disguise. Picard shot that down, saying that if Q wanted a planet, he'd just create one.
  • Planet of Hats: Trek is legendary for this, and has applied the trope throughout the various series. A common feature of many episodes is for whichever character is providing exposition to summarize an entire civilization's culture in a few sentences.
    • TOS had, among other things, a planet of Space Nazis, a Mafia-run planet and a planet inhabited solely by transplanted Native Americans.
    • TNG had things such as a planet with gender-flipped mid-20th Century social values and a planet where everybody's role was defined by a Eugenic master plan. Also, Dr. Crusher's grandmother lived on a colony that was deliberately wearing a Scotireland hat.
    • Vulcans are all-logic, all-the-time. Their siblings, the Romulans, are all-treachery, all-the-time. Klingons are all about warfare and glory. Ferengi are all about capitalism. Cardassians are obsessive nationalists. Bajorans are spiritual, etc.
    • A popular theory is that the pervasiveness of this trope is to highlight the Humans Are Special theme of the series. Each of the other races in the galaxy showcases a facet of human nature (our materialism, our warlike nature, our lack of feeling or indifference), and their rocky relations with humanity symbolize us coming to terms with those facets.
    • Lower Decks pokes fun at this by introducing a colony of “Ren faire types” who follow a Standard Fantasy Setting aesthetic despite flying around in starships (they describe all their technology in mythical terms, i.e. referring to warp plasma as “dragon’s blood”), governed by a hereditary monarchy with some…eccentric rules of succession.
  • Planetary Nation: Most planets visited have exactly one government, one language, and one culture.
  • Planetville: Often paired with Planet of Hats. A planetary population smaller than that of an urban apartment building is commonly considered to constitute a "civilization", to the extent of being subject to the Prime Directive. Perhaps the most glaring example was presented in the ENT episode "Terra Nova", where the roughly 200 settlers of Earth's first interstellar colony decided to declare independent sovereignty, and Earth let it go!
  • Post-Scarcity Economy: In TNG and chronologically later media the Federation is portrayed as such whenever Roddenberry could get away with it.
  • Power of Friendship:
    • The franchise features a lot of this; especially in The Original Series and in The Next Generation. Many episodes revolve around one of the crew being kidnapped, threatened, or otherwise in danger, and having the rest of the crew band together to save them. Has resulted in plenty of Big Damn Heroes.
    • On a larger scale, the Federation is this to the rest of the galaxy. They’re the only major power we see in the setting that doesn’t expand via conquest or assimilation, but through making new friends. More imperialistically-inclined species might scoff, but this approach has allowed them to stand up to the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, and even the Borg… for 200 years and counting.
  • Powered by a Black Hole: The Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers' Technical Manual states that the Romulan D'Deridex-class warbird is believed to be powered by x-ray emissions from a captured microsingularity, rather than fusion and matter/antimatter reactors like most other ships. The canon has usually adhered to this since then, Depending on the Writer. Exploited in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Visionary" when the crew are able to locate a cloaked warbird by hunting for the mass signature of its drive singularity.
  • Pregnant Reptile:
    • Cardassians resemble reptiles more than mammals. They like lying on hot rocks, in heat too intense for most other races, and they have patches of scales on their skin and have flared necks akin to snakes. While we've never seen a pregnant Cardassian, they are known to have reproduced with Bajorans, and one woman thought breeding with a human was possible.
    • Gorn are a straighter example of Lizard Folk, but in Star Trek Into Darkness Bones reveals they can get pregnant, and he once did a c-section on one.
  • Primary-Color Champion: applies to Starfleet as a whole in TOS and the Kelvin Timeline (see Color-Coded for Your Convenience, above) with brightly coloured uniform shirts of yellow, red and blue. Downplayed in the rest of the franchise, with the colours being restricted to ever-smaller portions of the uniform, teal gradually supplanting blue and red getting swapped for a more subdued shade of purplish maroon.
  • Prime Timeline: As the Trope Codifier for the Mirror Universe, Star Trek is also the de facto trope codifier for this one. The franchise's Prime Timeline includes ENT, DSC, SNW, TOS (and TAS), the TOS movies, TNG, the TNG movies, DS9, VOY, LWD, Prodigy and Picard. It has the Mirror Universe which has been visited by DSC, TOS, DS9 and ENT; the "Kelvin" reboot timeline by J. J. Abrams, a second Mirror Universe invented for Picard's second season, and quite a number of other one-shot alternates. When naming this trope, "Prime Timeline," used by Abrams to refer to the continuity founded by Gene Roddenberry in The '60s, was the natural choice.
  • Psychic Powers: Many species have them, ranging from minor extrasensory perception to godlike powers.

  • Ragnarök Proofing: Trek has its fair share of technologies that still work long after they should, often outlasting the society that built them.
    • On TNG, you have the Iconian gateway and computer system that still worked when the Iconians had been gone for 200,000 years, the Tkon Empire's automated border guard functioning 600 millennia after the empire blew up, and Data's severed head being easily reattached to his body to function as normal after lying in a cave below San Francisco for 500 years.
    • the abandoned Hur'q museum on DS 9 in “The Sword of Kahless” still has functioning force fields and security systems. It's not clear how long it was abandoned, but it was found in an archaeological dig and the Hur'q were last heard from in the 14th century.
    • In "Living Witness", Season 4, Episode 23 of Voyager, the Doctor's program was bootlegged onto a storage device, and wakes up 700 years in the future in an alien museum, where all of the devices left from Voyager, such as a tricorder, the Doctor's holo emitter, etc., works perfectly after being buried and forgotten for over 680 years.
    • In one of the Star Trek: Short Treks, the Discovery is still in fine working condition after being abandoned for 1000 years. (This was before the third season established the DOT robots that could have potentially been used to maintain everything).
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
    • Deep Space Nine has a very motley crew compared to its predecessors, and at the start nobody on the station really wants to be there: Sisko originally wanted to transfer to civilian service, Kira resented working with Starfleet and was only comfortable blowing things up, Garak is barred from returning to his homeworld, Bashir is an illegal genetic experiment, Worf is hated by his homeland for siding with the Federation. And what's more, Quark was planning to split town altogether. He is a civilian; he's just there to sell beer and run gambling tables, but he usually gets dragged along on adventures anyway.
    • Voyager, of course. Janeway’s first officer and chief engineer (and half the crew) are insurgents she was sent to arrest, her helmsman is an ex-con out on parole because he knew the region where the former were hiding out, and her security chief happened to be working among them as The Mole. The Doctor is supposed to be a temporary replacement, Neelix happened to be in the neighbourhood and tricked Voyager into helping rescue his girlfriend, Kes claims refugee status out of boredom and Seven of Nine gets basically kidnapped.
    • Picard really cranks it up, since they aren’t even an official crew in Starfleet. Picard is retired and way too old to be doing this; Agnes doesn’t want to be there (and she’s been brainwashed to kill the man they’re looking for), Soji just found out she’s an android yesterday and her ex-boyfriend wants to kill her, Cris and Raffi are both ex-Starfleet — he has PTSD and she’s a drug addict. And that’s not even touching on the Romulan samurai raised by nuns, who’s there to work through his unresolved surrogate daddy issues with Picard.
    • This seems to be the general perception of the Cerritos crew (and the Cali class at large) by the rest of Starfleet In-Universe, but they aren't actually that bad. At worst you can say their security chief has anger issues, their X.O. is a little too obsessed with working out, their doctor swears too much and their counselor is kind of a dipshit. Freeman is a thoroughly competent captain, she just has a difficult relationship with her daughter who also happens to be a crew member (and whose rule-breaking shenanigans occasionally make her look bad).
    • Prodigy takes it even further with a cast of minors (and one hologram) who don't even know what they're doing. Dal is a selfish, anti-authoritarian teenage rebel who doesn't even know what species he is (turns out the answer is “all of them”), Rok-Tahk is a young child, Zero is an Energy Being piloting a self-built containment suit because their true form drives people insane, Jankom is thousands of light years from his species's home planet and Murf is a blob of slime who can't talk and doesn't even have arms at first. Gwyn gets dragged along as a hostage and up until a few weeks ago her dad was enslaving all the others, not to mention she's the last of an extinct race. None of them have ever belonged to Starfleet (and at the start probably wouldn't even be accepted as recruits) and they're flying around in a stolen ship with no help except Hologram Janeway, who's basically the starship equivalent of Microsoft Clippy with amnesia.
  • Random Transportation: In the Trek Verse, wormholes can be used in principle for very long distance interstellar travel, but in practice aren't because they're unstable and can land you at any random location in the galaxy with no guarantee that they'll open up again to bring you back.
    • The wormhole in DS9 is notably stable, taking you from point X in the Alpha Quadrant to point Y in the Gamma Quadrant and back again every time; but that's because it was artificially created by the Prophets/wormhole aliens instead of being a natural phenomenon.
  • Ray Gun: Phasers and disruptors.
  • Raygun Gothic: TOS solidly fits this trope. By TNG, the Federation is in transition between Ray Gun Gothic and Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The franchise itself is, in the words of its creator, Wagon Train TO THE STARS!
    • In TOS, the Klingons are Russians IN SPACE! while the Romulans are the then-inscrutable Chinese... IN SPACE!
    • Vulcans are Elves IN SPACE!
    • Romulans are Dark Elves/Drow, Klingons are Orcs/Orks, Ferengi are Goblins, Tellarites are Dwarves, Borg are Undead, etc.
      • Borg are more specifically Horror Film Zombies IN SPACE!
    • Nicholas Meyer, director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, describes the series as "Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!"
      • Gene Roddenberry described James T. Kirk as a space-age Horatio Hornblower in the book The Making of Star Trek (1968).
  • Red Shirt: The Trope Namer! Members of the Operations Division (engineering and military services) were particularly likely to be used as the "victim of the week," as their jobs made them particularly likely to fall afoul of traps or the latest alien monster and this was an easy way to build drama by killing off nameless or clearly minor characters. Strictly speaking, the name of the trope is only accurate in TOS; whilst differing shades of blue were standard for the Science/Medical Division throughout all the series, Operations and Command were red and gold in TOS and then switched colors from TNG onwards.
  • Rejection Ritual: The Klingons have Discommendation, in which a Klingon is ceremonially shunned and reduced to an honorless pariah in their society. In the ceremony, the Klingons present cross their arms in front of the discommendee and turn their backs on him.
    • In the TNG episode "Sins of the Father", Worf was subjected to this as a result of the charges brought against his family by the Duras family.
    • Star Trek Online deconstructs this in the episode "Warzone", mission "The House Always Wins". Chancellor J'mpok orders Councillor Torg to be discommendated and the House of Torg dissolved for conspiring with the Romulan Star Empire to destroy the rival House of Martok. The Klingons present ritually turn their backs on him, but Torg decides on Taking You with Me and attempts to backstab Worf. Worf's son Alexander jumps in front of the knife and bleeds out in Worf's arms.
  • Revisiting the Roots:
    • For better or for worse, Star Trek: Voyager was this for the franchise: A lone Federation starship exploring the dangerous unknowns and meeting new life and new civilizations.
    • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds even more so: a return to the tone of 1960s/'80s Trek, the same premise as TOS, with episodic storytelling rather than the lengthy plot arcs used by Disco & Picard, and set on the original Enterprise no less.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots:
    • The Borg Collective is an interesting aversion of this. Although it has no compunction sacrificing drones to adapt to phasers and forces individuals to act against their will, it would not outright order individuals like Picard/Locutus or Hugh to die when they became a threat... it prized them too much, like limbs. It was effectively a hydra that liked some of its heads. Part of this is because, at least in earlier depictions, the Borg — despite appearances — value diversity. Uniqueness allowed it to expand its own capabilities. However, born and raised Borg like Hugh that undergo a period of individuality can grow to reject the Collective's absolute stranglehold on them, and even infect other drones with The Evils of Free Will.
    • However, the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact and Voyager is a straight cyborg example of this trope. She sees herself as the pinnacle of perfection, knowingly enslaves her drones to make them fit her view of perfection by squashing any individuality and will thoughtlessly sacrifice thousands of drones to capture and coerce individuals like Seven of Nine or attacking the invincible aliens in Fluidic Space.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Most of the Star Trek TV series don't have any profanity stronger than "hell" and "damn," however, Star Trek: Enterprise has "ass" and "son of a bitch" and Star Trek: Discovery even occasionally gets away with "shit" as well as the franchise's first F-bomb. Star Trek: Picard fires off the profanities like photon torpedoes (including multiple F-bombs).
  • Sapient Cetaceans: A frequent theme in the series.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • "Does it look good on screen" is always the rule for multi-ship scenes. Though it's established in dialogue that most ship-to-ship encounters take place with dozens or even hundreds of kilometers of separation, external shots will usually put ships within two ship-lengths or less.
    • Voyager cruising over a planet's rings in the opening credits. Why does it take sixty years to fly back to the Alpha Quadrant? All they have to do is walk from one side of the ship to the other.
  • Screens Are Cameras:
    • All viewscreens behave like this in every show.
    • On DS9, the producers rolled out a new invention: a portable 3D holocommunicator. Instead of conversing via a viewscreen, two actors could share the same room and still appear to be talking over great distances. Ironically, this looks even cheaper than the viewscreen did, despite being more time-consuming and expensive (due to various camera trickery to make the 'effect' look less blatant). The device only shows up in two episodes, "For the Uniform" and "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?"
    • Discovery brings back the hologram conversations, creating a bit of a Continuity Snarl as to why other shows in the franchise never used them. It's stated they take up a lot of bandwidth and after a severe computer malfunction Pike orders Number One to "rip them out" of the Enterprise (which sort of explains why we never saw them on TOS, at least). Could be a case of Boring, but Practical; in Real Life, Nazi Germany had working videophones but the technology didn’t come into widespread use until the 2010s.
  • Screen Shake: The usual method of showing impact. Shake camera, shimmy actors.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!: This comes up twice with James T. Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru scenario:
    • In the Backstory of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he reprograms the simulator so he can win. This is generally applauded (he says he received a commendation for original thinking).
    • Star Trek (2009): Kirk reprograms it less plausibly and Academy Instructor Spock brings formal disciplinary action against him for cheating. Later, when Kirk meets prime universe Spock:
      Kirk: You know, coming back in time, changing history... that's cheating.
      Old Spock: A trick I learned from an old friend.
  • Secular Hero: Gene Roddenberry firmly believed that humanity would eventually abandon religion, so this is the default status for human characters in the franchise, although various alien characters (particularly Klingons and Bajorans) are shown to have religious or spiritual beliefs and practices. The only major human exceptions are Sisko, whose major character arc is his gradual acceptance of his status as a religious figure to the Bajorans, and Chakotay, who has some Magical Native American tendencies thanks to series co-creator Michael Piller's interest in New Age spirituality (in general, Native Americans in the Trek franchise seem to be the exception to the "humans are secular" rule).
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: They must teach the "destroy your ship rather than let aliens take it" method at Starfleet Headquarters, seeing as every single Captain uses it at least once in a series. Janeway must have threatened to use it 30 times.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Uses this trope in Klingon mythology. According to it, the gods created Klingons, who then turned around and killed them for the trouble.
  • Sexy Dimorphism: The Orion women are Green Skinned Space Babes considered among the most beautiful of all humanoid females, and their men are big bruisers (sometimes as much as twice the size of their women), usually ugly and not very smart.
  • Shakespearian Actors:
    • Patrick Stewart was briefly the butt of jokes in England for putting his career on hold to do Star Trek; the press assumed he was having a mid-life crisis and just wanted a fat pension and swarms of fangirls all over him. Most charmingly, he retorted he considered his years in the "training" for his role as Picard. But in reality, the franchise is famous for casting many stage actors over regular TV guest actors. Actors who lacked theater experience (Terry Farrell, Kate Mulgrew) are sometimes disparaged in fandom and even felt like the odd man out on occasion.
      Joe Ford: I have heard people dismiss Mulgrew’s performance in the past because she is a TV veteran and not a Shakespearean actor or from an impressive theatrical background, but in all honesty she is one of the strongest actors in the Star Trek universe. I would happily squeeze Mulgrew into the arsenal of talent that fronts DS9 because she is far too good for a show like Voyager and I do feel they were lucky to have her.
    • They all seem to do their best work when immersed in the Shakespearean politics of the Klingon Empire. According to J.G. Hertzler, "They tend to go with people who can operate in a strangely heightened reality and somehow make it as close to reality as you can. That's sci-fi; that's what you need".
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Many characters quote the Bard. Alien cultures tend to admire him too, even claiming him as their own.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: Hand phasers, at least. Heavy-duty phaser rifles usually have a sight.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Star Trek is a fairly idealistic franchise.
  • 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.
  • Slow Laser: Common throughout the franchise, although beam weapons move faster in later series, particularly Enterprise. Hand Waved in most instances, as the weapons used are not actually lasers (which are described once as terribly obsolete), but particle beams that move at sublight speed.
  • Smart House: The ships behave much like this from TNG onward.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior:
    • Starfleet approaches warfare as a professional military with soldiers; this is what gives them an advantage over aggressive alien races like the Klingons who are self-described warriors who lust for battle. While the Klingon military might be the fiercest offensive fighting force in their part of the galaxy, they have no stamina whatsoever for fighting a war of attrition. Starfleet by comparison will fight and never lose hope until the last soldier is dead. A Ferengi character points this out, that a Starfleet soldier is more dangerous than the most bloodthirsty Klingon warrior when pushed to the cliff edge and forced to fight for the lives of all the innocents who are depending on him.
    • The first time the legendary Starfleet resolve was nearly shattered in a full scale war was when the Federation faced off against the Dominion: an empire with the one mission of subjugating all of known space, that has literally engineered its soldiers to be little more than biological robots who fight because it's their only purpose.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Characters are always touching the force fields to show the audience that they are there.
  • Sons of Slaves:
    • Slavery was just one of the cruel practices inflicted on the Bajorans by the occupying Cardassians. Post-Occupation Bajorans are portrayed as the Trek universe's equivalent of both freed slaves and holocaust survivors.
    • In the classic episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", Lokai accuses Bele's race of enslaving his own. Bele doesn't deny it, and in fact, tries to rationalize it by saying Lokai's race were savages. Does This Remind You of Anything??
  • Space Cossacks:
    • The Maquis. Average Federation colonists who found themselves under the Cardassians after a treaty in which they had no say. They won numerous engagements against both the Cardassians and Starfleet, with large numbers of Starfleet officers even defecting to join the 'good fight.'
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Tasha Yar was raised by human dissidents on Turkana IV, where various factions were constantly at war and gang rape was a common occurrence.
  • Space Fighter:
    • Fighters are rare, but do turn up now and then — especially in DS9, where they were used by the Maquis before being adopted by The Federation. They are generally avoided because typical starship defenses are both fast firing and extremely accurate, making it difficult to justify using them.
    • Picard introduces the Romulan Snakehead fighter, a single-pilot scout ship that packs a lot of firepower for its small size.
  • Space Navy: Starfleet.
  • Space Sector: The original series often used "quadrant" instead of "sector" (with references to the Enterprise being "the only ship in the quadrant") but by the Next Generation era named sectors ("the Archanis Sector") or numbered sectors ("Sector 001") are firmly established as regions of space. Other parts of the franchise also refer to "sector blocks", large groupings of a hundred sectors. "Quadrants" are also still used, but now more logically refer to one of four divisions of the entire galaxy.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: A common trick for time travel no less.
  • Special Effect Branding: This trope is avoided in most cases: for instance, both Klingon and Romulan ship-mounted disruptors use green effects, and both Cardassian and Federation phasers are the same yellow/orange color. (Despite their similarities, "phasers and "disruptors" are different technology). However, transporters generally follow this trope, having similar, but distinct special effects: blue transporters for Starfleet, red transporters for Klingons, green transporters for Romulans, and so forth. DS9 made a special point of this, as the titular station, although operated by Starfleet, was of Cardassian origin and used Cardassian transporter effects.
  • Spies Are Despicable: Intelligence agencies have a distinct tendency to overlap with State Sec or Secret Police groups, and are inevitably portrayed in a negative light. Regardless of whether it's the Obsidian Order for the Cardassians, the Tal Shiar for the Romulans, Section 31 (or other various paranoid security/intelligence groups) for the Federation.
  • 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: The Trope Codifier, especially the final battle in The Wrath of Khan.
  • 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 TOS 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.
    • For a show with a limited budget, even TOS featured a decent number of non-humanoids. Apart from a bunch of Energy Beings, it also had the Horta, Yarnek, the Melkotians, a few shapeshifters like Sylvia and Korob, and the Kelvans, whose real forms were non-humanoid. Each of the later series added a few more to the list. The show that far and away had the most non-humanoids was the one where budget limitations could not hinder creature design: Star Trek: The Animated Series.
    • Discovery adds to the lineup with Unknown Species 10-C, who eventually turn out to be bizarre, cephalopod / dragon things that live in gas giants.
  • State Sec: Romulans and Cardassians both got their own versions in the form of the Tal Shiar and the 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 time frame 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.
  • Stock Star Systems:
    • One of the first Earth colonies outside the Sol System is in the Alpha Centauri System (the closest system to ours, in fact).
    • Janeway's father drowned on Tau Ceti Prime.
    • The Andorians and Vulcans come from Procyon and 40 Eridani A, respectively.
  • Subspace Ansible: All of the space-faring civilizations have this. (Radio is explicitly referred to as "old-style" because transmission speed is only the speed of light). The exact speeds are never explicitly given, but it's implied to be measured in Warp factors and it definitely takes days to send a signal across several parsecs. Signals also degrade long before they travel across the galaxy.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Star Trek has probably the largest and most diverse variety of these out of any science fiction franchise, including a multitude of races of Energy Beings, Physical Gods and the flat-out omnipotent Q.
  • Super Doc: Any Sickbay doctor.
  • Super Weight:
  • Technical Pacifist: The Federation aspires to peace above all and will always take a diplomatic solution to conflict where possible, but is fully prepared to defend itself if attacked. DS9 deconstructs this with revelation of Section 31, a shadow organization that does the Federation's dirty work for them in secret.
  • Technobabble: 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: A staple of the series.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: Transporters are severely range-limited and highly plot-sensitive with frequent failures, problems of signal interference, and needing to lock onto the target, along with personnel needing to be sent from a special room because otherwise they could simply be beamed out of any problem.
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Day Of The Dove", when Klingons have taken over the Enterprise, Kirk decides the only way to stop them involves intra-ship transporting, with Spock warning him, "It has rarely been done because of the danger involved. Pinpoint accuracy is required. If the transportee should materialize inside a solid object, a deck or wall..".. In the later Trek productions, intra-ship transporting is seen more often due to the technology having improved since the 23rd century. Star Trek (2009) has Spock Prime explaining to the alternate universe's Scotty that his Prime universe counterpart eventually developed an equation that made it possible to safely transport much further distances to a ship even while traveling at warp speed.
    • The Ansatan separatists in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" use a folded-space transporter called an "Inverter", which allows them to transport through shields, prevents their enemies from tracking them, and makes them resistant to normal transporters. But repeated use of the device causes cellular damage, eventually warping the user's DNA beyond recognition and killing them.
  • Teleporter Accident: Transporters work by literally disassembling an object (or person) into energy, shooting it some distance away, and reassembling that object at the new location. Contrary to popular opinion, the transported object is indeed the original, but the reintegration process can be rather dangerous. There have been some grisly accidents in each iteration of Trek: two Enterprise crewmen died agonizing deaths (TOS: The Motion Picture) after being re-integrated incorrectly, Riker (somehow) unwittingly twinned himself when he tried beaming through a distorted atmosphere (TNG: "Second Chances"), Scotty's transporter pattern was stuck in limbo for 75 years (TNG: "Relics"), and another crewman's body was mixed with rocks and foliage while attempting to beam out during a fierce windstorm, although he survived (ENT: "Strange New World"). Sabotage of the transporter buffer is not uncommon, either. If you hide a remat detonator (described as being 2 square millimeters in size) on their person, you can disrupt the passenger's transporter pattern as they beam up, leaving a smoking, half-finished corpse on the pad. Yech.
    Weyoun:: You were supposed to be on that transporter pad with him.
    Damar: I was called away. An urgent meeting with the Central Command.
    Weyoun: How convenient.
    Damar: I always was lucky.
  • Teleport Interdiction: It's not possible to transport through deflector shields. 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 any crew who are off ship, note or the away team/landing party not simply being able to flee danger because there's a shield between them.
    • The original Enterprise NC-1701 had an "old-style" senor array which acted as a sonar. By waiting for the right point in a scan cycle, a ship could de-cloak and beam over to the Enterprise before cloaking again, without being detected. This only works when the ships are parked and the deflector array is down.
  • Tie-In Novel: 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 invokedWord 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 was seen as the last time the original timeline was to be seen on-screen before Discovery was announced as being set there, 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 exchange a look which says, "we hate the Kirk cases".
      "Seventeen separate temporal violations! The biggest file on record!"
  • Time to Step Up, Commander: A frequent device (often in the disaster episode) is to have a member of the secondary bridge crew or even the counselor forced to take command when the captain is knocked out or cut off from the rest of the ship.
  • Time Travel Taboo:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: A series Ur-Example of the Time Travel Taboo involves the planet Gateway, from the episode "City on the Edge of Forever". After the Federation was nearly wiped out by McCoy saving a 1930s woman who delayed the US' entry into World War II, the planet was placed under strict quarantine. Some non-canon licensed works upped the ante to the same death penalty used for Talos IV. Funnily enough, this taboo did not seem to apply to the rest of the series, where intentional time travel occurred twice (and once in the films).
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introduces a Department of Temporal Investigations, which seems to at the very least try and ensure Starfleet personnel aren’t altering history all willy-nilly (though that doesn’t stop Kira from casually using a religious artifact to go back in time and find out if Dukat banged her mom).
    • Star Trek: Voyager establishes that Starfleet of the 29th Century has “timeships” tracking and eliminating any anomalies that might mess with the timeline. Star Trek: Enterprise takes this one step further with a “Temporal Cold War” where the Federation acts as the Time Police, constantly trying to prevent other factions from changing the past for their own benefit.
    • Star Trek: Discovery shows that in the 32nd Century all forms of time travel are now very illegal after a horrific series of Temporal Wars, to the point even Section 31 refuses to use it to stop Mirror Georgiou from dying a horrible, painful death.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Across the franchise as a whole, the exact nature of Time Travel and its relationship to The Multiverse is never really clarified. Are Alternate Universes the result of time travelers changing history? Naturally occurring phenomena? The creations of bored Q entertaining themselves at the expense of Starfleet captains? No definitive answer is ever given despite the fact that travel through time and between parallel universes is far from unusual, and in many cases used as Applied Phlebotinum for solving otherwise unsolvable problems.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: One of the most common sources of conflict in the series. The Prime Directive produces seemingly endless cases of characters having to decide whether to follow the rules and allow an atrocity to occur, or ignore them and abandon the Federation's principles. Often made more complicated by the fact that the Federation and Starfleet Command are not above Moving The Goal Posts when it comes to application of the Prime Directive.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Most of the "Big Bad" species produce a black sheep who sees the light, defects to the good guys, and becomes a bridge officer.
    • TNG: Worf is a Klingon, the primary antagonists from TOS, who was raised by humans and is the Enterprise's security chief. Captain Kirk would be shocked.
    • DS9: Nog becomes the first Ferengi to join Starfleet and serves on both the Deep Space 9 station and the Defiant.
    • VOY: Seven of Nine is a Rogue Drone from the Borg Collective who becomes part of Voyager's crew. Having a Borg on a Starfleet vessel would be unthinkable for Captain Picard.
    • PIC: Elnor is the first heroic Romulan character who's part of the main cast, being a member of Picard's motley crew and is even the latter's surrogate son. The Romulans were the Big Bad in TNG (and they still are in this series), so the younger Picard could not have predicted that his elderly self would embrace a Romulan as family. Elnor is the most un-Romulan Romulan in the franchise because he follows the Way of Absolute Candor as taught to him by the Qowat Milat.
    • LD: D'Vana Tendi is the first Orion series regular in the franchise and the first Orion Starfleet officer seen in the prime timeline. Her species is mostly portrayed as villainous criminals.
    • Interestingly, we do see Romulans and Cardassians among Starfleet's uniformed ranks, but only in alternate realities. On rare occasions, Starfleet officers turn out to have Romulan ancestry as well (If Saavik had appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, this would have been her reason for supporting the conspiracy.)
  • Touch Telepathy: The Vulcan mind meld.
    • Spock touches the heads of the listed people in the following TOS episodes while doing a Mind Meld with them.
      • "Dagger of the Mind": Simon van Gelder, to find out what deviltry is going on at Elba II.
      • "The Devil in the Dark": The Horta in order to communicate with it.
      • In "Requiem For Methuselah": Kirk, in order to remove his memories of Rayna Kapek.
      • "Spectre of the Gun": Kirk, McCoy and Scotty, to convince them that the situation they're in isn't real (so the simulated bullets can't kill them).
      • "Mirror, Mirror": Evil!Spock does it with Dr. McCoy so he can find out what's going on.
      • "I, Mudd": He tries it on Norman, but fails because Norman's a robot.
      • "The Return of The Archons": He tries to do it on McCoy but fails because of Landru's Mind Control.
      • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: He melds with the humpback whale, Gracie. He learns that Gracie is pregnant.
    • Several other characters perform it, as well: Miranda to Spock in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?", T'Pau to Spock in "Amok Time".
    • The lack of a Vulcan main character on TNG and DS9 reduced the frequency of the mind melds, but they still occasionally crept in. Sarek to Picard in "Sarek", and Spock to Picard in "Unification". Additionally, a failed attempt was made by a Maquis rebel on Gul Dukat in the DS9 episode "The Maquis".
    • The reintroduction of a Vulcan main cast member in VOY and ENT reintroduced frequent melds. Tuvok on VOY did it in the following episodes:
      • "Ex Post Facto", to Tom Paris to learn the secret of the crime for which Paris had been accused
      • "Meld", with Ensign Suder, to try to understand what drove the man to commit murder
      • "Flashback", to Captain Janeway, to let her help investigate his own memory
      • "The Gift", to Kes, to attempt to help stabilize her powers
      • "Random Thoughts", to a black marketer who traded in violent thoughts
      • "Infinite Regress", to Seven of Nine, to help cure her induced multiple personality syndrome
      • "Unimatrix Zero", to both Janeway and Seven of Nine, to allow Janeway to enter the Platonic Cave that Seven had recently remembered.
    • In the prequel series Enterprise, the idea of mind melds are initially discussed in Vulcan society as something of a taboo, that only heretics and rebels would ever perform. Nonetheless, it was performed at least four times, two of which involving main character T'Pol (once by her, once to her against her will)
    • On Picard, Zhat Vash mole Commodore Oh performs one on Dr. Jurati to pass along the Admonition (a severely traumatic psychic warning about artificial intelligence). It's so effective it convinces Agnes to murder her ex-boyfriend Bruce Maddox, though in season 2 we learn she was found not guilty by reason of “mind-meld-induced psychosis”.
    • Hoping to deepen their relationship, Spock & T'Pring (on Strange New Worlds) perform an unusual one that causes them to switch bodies for awhile.
  • Translator Microbes: The Universal Translator. We occasionally get to see the Translator in action, such as in "Sanctuary" where the aliens' gibberish gradually turned to English.
    • And of course, "Darmok" famously subverted it by having the aliens talk in allegories, which aren't so easily translated.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: While numerous fans, as well as authors of RPG's and other supplementary materials, have tried to translate Warp Factor into a firm measurement of speed, actual writers of episodes and films tend to ignore such efforts and simply have ships take however long the plot requires to get from place to place. This is paralleled by the many conflicting maps of the galaxy that have been produced over the decades, which inconsistently depict the locations of major planets and non-Federation space nations.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The three pillars of Klingon philosophy are duty, honor, and loyalty. Officially, the Klingons play this trope straight.
    • Worf does, but he's a particular case. Firstly, his parents died in a treacherous attack by the Romulans who had Klingon accomplices. Secondly, since he has been adopted by human parents, he developed an idealized conception of the Klingon way of life.
    • This aspect wasn't yet established during TOS, but the trope is still played straight by Kang. He has always respected scrupulously the Organian treaty, so he's pretty angry when his ship's disabled by what seems to be an unjustified attack from the Enterprise.
    • Overall, a lot of treacherous Klingons appear on screen. Sometimes, their strategy is accusing the adversary of treachery.
    • In Klingon society, losing honor is officially worst than being killed and traitors are usually stripped of their honor. Actually, honor and dishonor are tools for political maneuver. That's why Worf's family, the House of Mogh, is dishonored, then vindicated and dishonored again.
    • There's also the episode "The Drumhead". Of course, that starts with a Klingon who did an espionage job for the Romulans, so Worf is personnaly engaged, but there's also the fight between Admiral Satie who considers the end justifies the means to find imaginary traitors and Picard who point out her methods betrays the principles on which Federation justice are based.
  • Trouble from the Past: We have the Eugenics Wars of the mid-1990s, the "sanctuary districts" of the early 21st century where the homeless, jobless, and mentally ill were left to rot, and the post-atomic horror following World War III in the late 21st century.

  • Ultimate Universe: With the amount of Continuity Nods and Broad Strokes picking and choosing certain elements from every show and movie, the movies following on from the Star Trek (2009) Alternate Timeline could possibly be one.
  • Uniqueness 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.
  • Unusual User Interface: Data was regularly plugging himself into various bits of the ship. Once they even attached just his head to a console after his body was misplaced.
    • In some cases (particularly in TNG), computers were reprogrammed by rearranging "isolinear chips" (green, plastic spark plugs). Back in the 1940s and before, this was a legitimate way to program computers. Why they return to it in the 2360s is anyone's guess.
      • At least for robotics, the technique is quite valid and is experiencing a rebirth. And military electronic hardware has long consisted of interchangeable modules (the theory being that replacing an entire module is easier—particularly under combat conditions—than restoring the code).
      • Think about this the next time you use one of those tiny 64-gig storage cards in your communicator, er, phone.
    • Speaking of Star Trek: TNG, you kids today may be all jaded and stuff, but those touch screen Okudagrams on the Enterprise were freaking awesome in 1987.
    • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has older versions of the crew having trouble adapting to the Defiant's antiquated interface, being used to a three-dimensional projection. ("The Visitor")
    • In the VOY finale, Janeway returns from decades in the future to change the present, and she is implanted with a standard issue neural computer interface from the future.
    • There's another episode where Tom Paris gets too close to an alien shuttle with a neural interface.
    • One episode of DS9 featured a guest character with a data port behind her ear, which she could use to bypass security systems. The dialogue made it sound as though they were relatively freely available... which only raises questions about why we never saw one again.
    • The Hirogen ships' interface works looks like sticking metal toothpicks into a gigantic sphere.
    • The Borg can also do this with their assimilation tubes. Said tubes inject nanites into anything. Those nanites then infect and reprogram the target system to resemble that of a Borg ship.
  • Unwinnable Joke Game: Ironically subverted in Starfleet Academy on the Super Nintendo. You are given The Kobayashi Maru scenario as a graduation requirement. It's supposed to be unwinnable. However, due to the way the video game is designed, it's entirely possible to engage the Klingons 'and beat them.'
  • Useful Book: The Teachings of Surak, aka the Gideon's Bible of the future. Only much weightier.
    • The Ferengi have their own variation: The Rules of Acquisition, which they quote like scripture.
  • Utility Weapon: Phasers have many more uses than just as weapons (which ranges from a stun gun to escalating degrees of Death Ray, and includes a grenade mode for when shit has truly hit the fan). They can also be used (indirectly) as space-heaters, cutting torches, emergency batteries, and pressure washers.
  • 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.
  • Vehicle-Based Characterization: The various starships Enterprise tend to be cutting-edge science vessels, naturally reflecting the ideals and personality of both The Federation and their respective captains (Kirk, Picard, Archer, etc). who are Bold Explorers.
  • [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.
  • Villain Decay: In addition to the Borg (mentioned under Uniqueness Decay above), the Ferengi were originally intended to be major villains in Next Generation. Although their first on-screen appearance (Picard speaking to a close-up headshot of a Ferengi on a viewscreen) was extremely intimidating, the diminutive Ferengi were not taken very seriously as bad guys by most fans. The Ferengi were subsequently rescued by being retooled into comedy relief and often sympathetic characters with the Romulans and eventually the Borg becoming the heavies after the first two seasons. And don't get us started on the Kazon...
  • A Villain Named Khan: The iconic Khan Noonien Singh is an Evil Overlord from Earth's distant history, put in suspended animation and revived during the series to become one of Captain Kirk's greatest enemies.
  • A Villain Named "Z__rg":
    • Klingons, Kazon, and Borg.
    • Klingons love the letter K. The Original Series gave us the iconic triumvirate of Kang, Kor, Koloth, as well as their culture's founder Kahless; and the movies have Kruge, Klaa, Koord, and Gorkon. In the Expanded Universe, their home planet used to be called Klinzhai, but the official canon later renamed it Qonos (pronounced "Kronos", with a K sound).
  • We Will All Be History Buffs in the Future:
    • Star Trek: Voyager: It's oddly the most convincing of the various series. Rather than The Spock, who knows Earth's history better than all the human crewmen, it has Tom Paris, who is interested in 20th-century history and culture. They portray it realistically — he accidentally reveals himself to a 20th-century human by referring to the Soviet Union in the present tense in 1996 (because he was only five years out..).. Also, he's more interested in the 1950s than (as you might expect) the 1990s, the decade the show aired.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "The Royale" the away team finds an old astronaut's spacesuit that has the United States flag on it with 52 stars. It is Riker who instantly tells the years when that number of stars was in use, even though Data is accompanying him. The reason is that Riker was born and raised in the United States, so he probably got US history classes at school.
    • In order to be a Starfleet cadet you already have to be the best and brightest the Federation has to offer. Study of various historical periods seems to be something of a hobby amongst Starfleet officers. Picard and Janeway both loved Earth's history and were trained terrestrial and xenoarchaeologists.
    • Each character seems to know a lot about the history and customs of their race/country of origin. Sisko knew a lot about Africa, Picard was well-versed in French history, Chakotay was from a Native American tribe that was keeping many of their traditions and rituals going, etc.
    • Given how easy it is to accidentally time travel in this setting, the Starfleet Academy goes so far as to make Temporal Mechanics a standard class. One would assume some basic knowledge about historical flashpoints is included.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Notably, Wide-Eyed Idealist Dr. Bashir of isn't a history buff, finding most of it (the twenty-first century especially) "too depressing". This conveniently allowed Sisko to play Mr. Exposition when they time-traveled to 2024.
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Subverted in ENT, which overcompensated with more zippers than is necessary.
  • We Will Use Lasers in the Future: Okay, fine, phasers. Ubiquitous lasers variety, as far as the Federation is concerned.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Romulans and Cardassians are heavy into dilithium mining, and employ untouchables (such as the Reman caste) or subjugated aliens to dig it up for them. Enterprise revealed the Vulcans are operating like a modern-day hegemony: the Andorian colonies are operated by tinpot dictators who funnel dilithium to Vulcan and leave the workers, who work for a pittance in company-owned shantytowns, with nothing.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: This is Star Trek, and proud fathers are not welcome here. Just ask Sarek.
    • In particular, Sarek said upon Spock's birth, "So human". Disapproved of Spock's entry into Starfleet Academy (TOS, "Journey to Babel") and the two are only fully reconciled in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (keep in mind that Spock had died two movies earlier—perhaps this was a jolt to the old man's conscience?). Spock expresses only partly-veiled annoyance that Sarek had engaged in a mind-meld with Picard when he had never done so with his own son. Sarek is played far more sympathetically in the 2009 reboot and has a much better relationship with Spock.
      • However, Sarek strikes again in Star Trek: Discovery as we find out he let his adopted daughter Michael spend her life thinking she wasn't good enough to make it into Vulcan NASA when actually Vulcan racists forced him to choose between her and Spock. He chose Spock—which sheds new light on his disapproval of Spock's decision to enter Starfleet.
    • Picard's father, Maurice, was a wine-maker who insisted on living his life as though it were the 1800s. Fittingly, he abhorred technology and disapproved of his son joining Starfleet. In fact, when Picard briefly died in "Tapestry", he saw a vision of his father berating him for yet another "disappointment". Some of this may be due to an incident from Jean-Luc’s childhood when he let his severely mentally ill mother out of her room and she committed suicide, as revealed on Star Trek: Picard. Obviously this wasn't Jean-Luc's fault, as he was only 10, and ultimately Maurice should have contacted mental health professionals on his wife's behalf rather than locking her in her bedroom, but he seems to resent his younger son for it to some extent.
    • Riker is the chip off the old block: his old man is a glory hound who must compete with his son at every opportunity. This is evidenced by Riker's childhood memory of a fishing trip, in which Kyle Riker took credit for Will's big catch.
    • Data's brother Lore has daddy issues out the wazoo, since he was basically a Flawed Prototype that their creator-dad Noonian Soong mothballed in favour of building Data. Soong claimed he meant to go back and "fix" Lore but never got around to it, and Lore ends up straight-up murdering him. Though considering Lore deliberately fed all their neighbours to a giant snowflake monster, maybe Soong had a point…
    • Odo has a bristled relationship with his surrogate 'father', Dr. Mora. He mentions that when Mora tried to get an infant Odo to take the shape of a cube, Odo resisted the first two times out of defiance. Mora was very proud with himself for helping Odo mature as a humanoid, but Odo resented being paraded around Cardassian officials to impress them (always being asked to perform the 'Cadassian neck trick', which Odo hated). Odo even felt jealousy when Mora took over the education and training of another baby Changeling.
    • Elim Garak and his father Enabran Tain had an icy cold relationship, even by the standards of other characters appearing on this list. He's the reason why Garak became an agent of the Obsidian Order, had claustrophobia as an adult (from being locked in closets as a child), and was also partially responsible for his exile to Deep Space Nine. On his deathbed in a Dominion internment camp however, Enabran Tain then revealed to Garak that his uncompromising attitude was mainly due to his position as the head of the Obsidian Order, and admitted that he was actually proud of him.
    • Ezri's mother manages to take this further by not only thoroughly disapproving of her only daughter, but also by her domineering attitude towards her other two children. She forced Ezri's brothers into helping run her failing mining business, which subsequently led to the entire family's involvement with the Orion Syndicate, and then to Ezri's brother committing murder on the family's behalf.
    • Averted with Benjamin Sisko, whose father is nothing but supportive and very proud of his son. Benjamin in turn is a firm but loving father to Jake, although he's far from perfect, but given the circumstances even before the Dominion War this is understandable.
    • Tom Paris' instructor at Starfleet, Admiral Owen Paris: By no means a pleasant or easy tutor to have so keenly on hand. Owen gave his son a "B-Minus".
    • Even gods are not immune to this. Q ended up having a kid; the boy's parents saw him as the salvation of the Q Continuum, but inadvertently raised a troublesome, spoiled brat. Q ends up fobbing him off on Janeway for awhile and threatens to turn him into an amoeba, only taking responsibility when the Continuum forces him to.
    • Malcolm Reed's father basically disowned him for not joining the Royal Navy.
    • Without the approving father his prime timeline counterpart had, the Kelvin Timeline version of Kirk grows up to be kind of an asshole. Pike becomes the father figure whose approval Kirk craves, and Jim is devastated when Pike dresses him down for violating the Prime Directive, and even more so when Pike is assassinated.
    • Despite Beckett Mariner's claims to the contrary, her mother's constant disapproval of her actions (at least in season one anyway) is part of what drives her deep-seated issues with authority. Interestingly enough, Ransom seems to also need Freeman's approval in this way, and gets jealous when she and Mariner start working more closely together.
    • Gwyn strives her whole life to be the perfect “progeny” to her emotionally distant father, but despite her skills with languages and a blade she never seems to be quite good enough.
  • 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: From the Horta in TOS to Data in TNG to Odo and the Founders in Deep Space Nine to holograms in VOY, every series has at least one story struggling with this topic. In fact, there are so many that the series itself has its own page under that namespace.
  • What Other Galaxies?: In general, most of the important activity in the universe appears to take place in the Milky Way Galaxy, even when dealing with the most ancient civilizations.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Most of the five series heavily favored this trope. The show tended not to have very many truly evil people and the ones that seemed to be would get fleshed out or retconned later to be more sympathetic. Typically most people could be reasoned with and almost everybody was just looking out for their own if they weren't motivated by nobler intentions. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine skews furthest from this trope with the Federation becoming a bit greyer and the Dominion being darker than is typical of the other series.

    The one exception would be the Next Generation-era Ferengi. They were universally motivated by greed, embodying the worst of capitalism on a show that tended to favor socialist utopias. Ironically, while Deep Space Nine was overall darker, they pulled the Ferengi into the gray range by allowing Quark to express his worldview. He noted that the Ferengi never had a world war or genocides even close to Earth's history because it only reduces their customer base. He was even at the forefront of a number of social reforms and the Alpha Quadrant was saved by a Ferengi.
  • World of Ham: Star Trek: Go big or go home.
  • World of Snark: Everybody loves to argue. And it's usually a delight.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The reigning currency in the Alpha Quadrant is gold-pressed latinum. Denominations of gold-pressed latinum, in order of increasing value, include the slip, the strip, the bar and the brick. The imprinted gold is merely a casing for the latinum, which carries real value.
    Quark: Someone's extracted all the latinum! There's nothing here but worthless gold!
    Odo: And it's all yours.
    Quark: NOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo--
  • Worthy Opponent : The Romulan captain in Balance of Terror most notably. Used on other occasions.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: Occasionally used by the ship's doctors to buy time or get in somewhere they shouldn't be.
  • Your Size May Vary: The franchise has made efforts to convey their ships in the appropriate size, but have made some size errors due partly to no two models being made at the same scale and also some deviances to make the best looking image. In particular smaller ships like the Defiant, Voyager or a Klingon Bird of Prey are hard to compare with massive ships like the Enterprise D and E. This became a point of controversy with the Kelvin Timeline, as the Enterprise was designed at one size close to the original but arbitrarily doubled in size in official reports, making every other FX shot disproportioned.
  • Zeerust: Each entry grapples with this in its own way; TOS is most infamous for it (and was showing its age even by the time TNG went to air, but while the TNG-era and later works have been better about it, they still have problems with it as time passes. For more information for each show, consult their respective pages.
  • Zeerust Canon: All through the Next Generation era of shows whenever the Original Series is visited in some form it retained the same look and function as it did in the 60's, from the simplistic sets to the miniskirts to the crudely painted props. ENT had plenty of grief from fans for updating their ships, sets and costumes to look functional as a 2000's era sci-fi show rather than adhere to a presumed style of what a TOS prequel would look like. The Abrams films set themselves in an Alternate Timeline to justify a modernized redesign, while DSC and SNW took the step to affirm an updating of what that era of Starfleet looks like in the main timeline. More curious, though, is that PIC would retain the 60's design when showing a Constitution-class vessel if only because it stayed in continuity of how the TNG treated those designs.

...To boldly go where no one has gone before!


Video Example(s):


Please Summarize the Message

In "Bride of Chaotica!" from "Star Trek: Voyager," aliens from an alternate universe accidentally wander into Tom Paris's holodeck fantasy. Paris discovers a telegraph message explaining as much and reads it off in this style for Tuvok's benefit, until Tuvok cuts him off, asking him to just summarize the message.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TelegraphGagStop

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