Star Trek is a bastion of science fiction, offering hundreds of hours of examples of truly superior storytelling. It has largely aimed for the philosophical side of the future, occasionally forced to do out of budgetary issues. This was not Star Wars and there weren't millions of dollars lying around to pump into action scenes. While the budget has clearly grown in the half century that Star Trek has been on the air, the central tenet of the show has been the exploration of strange new worlds.
Some of the entries in the franchise have displayed this more successfully than others. With so many years of storytelling behind us, it is inevitable that some of the entries will struggle to match with the best while conversely some of the so-called worst often have nuggets of gold hidden, if one only has the patience to look.
From Captain Kirk's first days aboard the Enterprise to Jean Luc Picard's most recent flight aboard the La Sirena, this list ranks the current Star Trek series in order from those struggling the rise above to those which are as close to perfect and Science Fiction television has yet offered.
With more new series on the way, this list is likely to change over time but for now, here are the rankings as stands.
8. The Animated Series
The Animated Series is an oddity in the Star Trek franchise. It is considered both canon and not, containing elements that would crop up later in the show. It is the Animated Series after all that finally gave the audience Kirk's full name - James Tiberius Kirk. Elements of Spock's childhood were developed here and then later included in the main series. The Search for Spock and Unification both employ some of these story elements.
The series was also the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy. That the show features at the bottom of this list is not so much a comment on its own strengths but rather a sign that the shows that followed and preceded were superior in terms of both quality and quantity. Unfortunately, the Animated Series only ran for one season. It was characterised by writer D.C. Fontana as the Original Series' fourth season.
As there was such a long hiatus between the Original Series and what eventually became the Motion Picture, the Animated Series served as a way to keep interest in the show alive, providing both the actors and some of the crew with paid work in the intervening years. It also was also served by another example of Leonard Nimoy's good nature - he refused to work on the show unless both Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were rehired as well.
Only Walter Koenig's voice did not return, as Chekov was cut. He did however manage to write a script that was included, so all returned in their own way.