Star Trek: The Original Series finished three years into its five year mission (presumably it would have been to Gene Roddenberry's advantage for the full mission to be televised, since it meant two years of extra employment).

If Roddenberry had hoped for two extra seasons, is it known what further adventures were likely, e.g. development of the Klingon Empire?

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    Possible duplicate of Why was Enterprise on a five-year mission in TOS? Sep 9, 2016 at 12:17
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    Phase II
    – Valorum
    Sep 9, 2016 at 12:27
  • Thanks, this seems the answer I was looking for.
    – user66716
    Sep 9, 2016 at 12:29
  • The 5 year mission was exactly chosen so as to ensure the then expected requisite number of episodes to have the show easily sold into syndication. Also - don't forget the Animated Series which is in many ways Season 4 of TOS. Almost the same writing and production staff worked on that series
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


No, it didn't finish three years into its five year mission. There's no indication that one season = one year on the show. It's just a catchy phrase, with no actual significance, just like "a three hour tour" for Gilligan's Island.

The Korean war lasted about three years and a month. MASH, the TV series about the Korean war, lasted 11 seasons (years), 255 episodes and the 2-1/2 hour finale. I think if Roddenberry had his druthers, the five year mission would have stretched out over ten seasons, or more.

On this site, someone actually tries to put structure and logic to the stardates on the different shows. He extrapolates about 1.75 earth years covered between the earliest and latest referenced star dates over the three seasons. He even has a "star date" calculator for any date you want to put in, in TNG stardate format.

Stardates calculations

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    Not a good analogy. The "three hour tour" ref'ed in the Gilligan's Island theme song was the normal length of the boat ride the passengers had paid for. It's over before the first scene of tye actual episode. It just didn't go well. ;)
    – D Hydar
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:59
  • I've been on boat rides that have been longer, some about the same length, some shorter, so, no, just like "a five year mission," the "three hour tour" was essentially pulled from someone's butt, and has no actual relevance or significance. It could just as easily be a five hour tour, an 80 minute tour, or an all-day tour. I'm talking about the selected planned timespan being a certain length of time, not whether the events of the show happen within or outside of that. There is no significance to three hours or five years. The analogy holds in the context it was offered. Sep 9, 2016 at 14:04
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    Not sure if there are any indications from the writers and producers of TOS about how long they imagined each season to last, and there don't seem to be any indications in the episodes themselves, but it's worth noting that by the TNG era, a semi-official timeline of the Trek universe was established to help the writers keep things consistent, and it did have each season of TOS lasting about a year.
    – Hypnosifl
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:34
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    out of universe, at the time, a full season order was for 28 episodes. "Truth is Gene was hoping the show would last five years! If you could get five seasons done, you were assured a long run in syndication" - John D.F. Black, TOS ..... source for both bits - These Are the Voyages, Marc Cushman
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:39
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    As a side note: the original pilot with Captain Pike and Spock was supposedly a 10 year mission. Spock then joined Kirk for another 5 year mission. I do not believe the 5 year mission had any bearing on the episodes or the seasons of TOS. It was just a time frame for the mission.
    – user52688
    Sep 10, 2016 at 2:32

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