Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry and currently under the ownership of CBS and Paramount.[Note 1] Star Trek: The Original Series and its live action TV spin-off shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise as well as the Star Trek film series make up the main canon. There has also been Star Trek: The Animated Series.[Note 2]
Westerns such as Wagon Train, along with the Horatio Hornblower novels and Gulliver’s Travels, inspired Roddenberry when he created the first Star Trek. It followed the interstellar adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century galactic “United Federation of Planets” — the Starship Enterprise. This first series, now referred to as “The Original Series”, debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC. These adventures continued in the short-lived Star Trek: The Animated Series and six feature films. Four spin-off television series were eventually produced: Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed the crew of a new Starship Enterprise set a century after the original series; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, set contemporaneously with The Next Generation; and Star Trek: Enterprise, set before the original series, in the early days of human interstellar travel. Four additional The Next Generation feature films were produced. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a relaunch with a prequel to the original series set in an alternate timeline titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original Enterprise.[Note 3] A sequel to this film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered on May 16, 2013.
Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers. The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs including games, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. Star Trek had a themed attraction in Las Vegas which opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek. Its fans, despite the end of Star Trek episodes on TV, have produced several fan productions to fill that void.
Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions such as the cell phone. Moreover, the show is noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The original series included one of television’s first multiracial casts, and the first televised inter-racial kiss. Star Trek references can be found throughout popular culture from movies such as the submarine thriller Crimson Tide to the cartoon series South Park.