9

To clear up confusion:

There seems to be some confusion in this question as shown in some of the answers. Other than TOS, I've been watching all the series TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT in that order. This question is explicitly about the newer series, premiering no earlier than 2017, more than a decade after ENT went off the air, and if there are any crossovers/references/etc. between those episodes.

And now back to your regularly scheduled question:

There are several questions here about viewing order for Star Trek and all of them seem to end with Enterprise as the last TV series (some include movies after that, but not the TV shows).

I expanded my search and found this list of TV series which includes Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Prodigy, Strange New Worlds and even a mention of Starfleet Academy which may be in production this year. (Original air dates start in the order listed here.)

Several of these post-Enterprise series have overlapping broadcast dates.

Is there any continuity/reference at all between any of these shows where watching episodes by individual broadcast date would be required/recommended to know what's going on, or is it reasonable to watch the series in order of S01E01 first air date (i.e., the order listed above)? If there is overlap, what is a recommended watching order?

I'll be wrapping up my viewing of Enterprise soon, and am looking to move into the other series and want to know if I'll be missing something by (for example) watching all of Discovery (still in production, it says) before jumping into Picard.

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  • Maybe I'll watch Picard first since it's run its course while others are still in production...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 13 at 16:26
  • If the plan is to watch all of them anyway, why not just watch them in the order they were made / aired? Even if they are set in times of a different order, you know you won't be missing a reference they make to an episode not yet (at the time) released.
    – komodosp
    Feb 14 at 7:30
  • Well, @komodosp, I watched the previous series in series premiere air date order. However, DS9 & VOY have about a 2 year overlap, and there are some references in VOY that wouldn't have made sense if I'd not watched DS9. My question is, if I just watch Discovery, will I miss references in later episodes because (for example) something that happened in Picard? If I will miss references, then I'll make myself an episode air-date chart and be sure to watch them all in episode air date order, if not, I'll watch them in series air date order...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 14 at 13:19
  • Amanadiel's answer specifically indicates that this is the case: Bullet 2 indicates that if I don't watch at least some of Picard, I'll miss out on some details when I watch season 3 of Discovery. That's exactly the type of info I was after.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 14 at 13:21
  • I mean if you watch them in the episode release date order you won't have this problem.
    – komodosp
    Feb 14 at 13:45

5 Answers 5

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Yes, several. Most details are minor (for example, a minor character in Picard season 1 is of a species introduced in Discovery). There are a few big points of crossover, so I'll describe those without attempting to be exhaustive of every minor detail.

  • Strange New Worlds is in many ways a spinoff of Discovery. Captain Pike and his Enterprise feature heavily in Discovery season 2 and SNW is essentially them getting their own show after proving popular. It's certainly possible to watch it standalone, but it's written to continue directly from the preceding seasons of Discovery, and refers back to events and character beats from them several times.
  • Discovery season 3 includes a number of elements drawn from Picard season one. Some are background setting elements, such as groups that "existed all along" but were first referenced in Picard:

the Romulan Qowat Milat.

One is an outright spoiler for the ending of Picard's first season:

Picard's golem body.

  • An episode of Strange New Worlds season 2 is an outright crossover with Lower Decks, featuring both casts. I actually watched this with friends who were only following Lower Decks and they enjoyed it as a Lower Decks episode. I'm not sure how well it would hold up for a SNW-only viewer.
  • The Starfleet Academy show will, as far as I'm aware, be a spinoff of Discovery set after its fourth season.

If you expect to watch all the shows, my recommendation is to watch the first two seasons of Discovery, then the first season of Picard, then the rest without needing to worry too much about their relative continuity. You should at least watch Discovery S1-2 before Strange New Worlds, and Picard S1 before Discovery S3.

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  • Thanks! I think I may pretend that I started watching them as they aired/streamed back in 2017 and try to watch episodes in air date order. Will probably need to make myself a checklist, but hey, I can get my OCD geek on for that...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 13 at 18:12
  • 2
    As someone who only watched SNW, I enjoyed the crossover episode with Lower Decks enough that I actually started watching Lower Decks as well. Feb 13 at 18:21
  • 2
    @FreeMan I was way behind in the new ST material as well until recenty. I ended up watching everything in this order: Picard > Discovery > SNW > Lower Decks. And I never felt i was lost with anything. So either I picked the right order or there isn't enough of a crossover. Although watching Discovery S1 and 2 as suggested is probably a must, but that is to mostly get the references that Pike makes in SNW Feb 13 at 18:24
  • Seems like that could be a stand alone answer, @psubsee2003, not a comment.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 13 at 18:27
  • it's too similar to what Amanadiel wrote, IMO Feb 13 at 18:48
7

A number of episodes of various series and movies feature time travel back into the past, earlier than the earliest Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise. One goes back to the first life on Earth billions of years ago. And I think one goes back to the Big Bang and the beginning of the known universe over 13 billion years ago.

The first main era of star Trekis that of Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT).

Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT) begins about a century before Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and has the earliest fictional date of any Star Trek series.

Then comes the group of series and movies roughly in the TOS era.

Discovery begins about 10 years before the beginning of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and then after the second season jumps hundreds of years into the future. As far as I remember none of the episodes in the first and second seasons seemed to be sequels of ENT episodes.

And the second season episodes of Discovery with Captain Pike have connections to the first TOS Pilot "The cage" and the TOS episode "The Menagerie". Episodes in the later seasons might possibly be sequels to various episodes in any of the earlier series but I haven't watched them so I don't know if there are any examples.

From what I have heard Strange New Worlds is a spinoff from Discovery and happens in the period between Discovery and TOS. Thus some episodes might be sequels to Discovery episodes and prequels to episodes in TOS and later series.

Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) comes next chronologically. It is usually considered that Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) immediately continues TOS.

Then come the TOS movies from I to VI, from TMP to TUC.

[The first part of Star Trek: Generations happens after TUC, but the second and longer half happens after TNG.]

Next comes the TNG era of series and movies.

Then comes the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). The last seasons of TNG overlap with the first seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). Later seasons of DS9 overlap with earlier seasons of Star Trek: Voyager (VOY). There are a number of crossovers between the various shows and movies in this era.

The TNG movies begin after TNG ends and mostly overlap with DS9 and/or VOY, but I think the last, Star Trek: Nemesis (NEM) happens after the end of VOY.

[The first TNG movie Star Trek: Generations (GEN) features a few characters from TOS, so it could be watched after TUC and before TNG, or after TNG, or preferably both, or maybe watch the first part after TUC and the second part after TNG.]

From what I have read Lower Decks happens shortly after TNG, possibly during or after DS9 and VOY.

The J.J. Abrams movies happen in an alternate universe and timeline, but events in the Prime timeline are mentioned in Star Trek (2009).

Prodigy happens sometime after TNG, DS9, and VOY, since a hologram of Captain Janeway from VOY is a character.

The animated series Short Treks has episodes in many eras of Star Trek.

"The Girl Who Made the Stars" is a myth or fairy tale told to Michael Burnham when she is a little girl, and so after ENT and before Discovery.

"Ephraim and Dot" happens during TOS and the TOS movies, and puts several TOS episodes in a different order than any Star Trek chronologist ever put them before.

"Children of Mars" happens after TNG and the TNG Movies and before Picard.

"Calypso" happens after even the seasons of Discovery that are set in the future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Short_Treks

Picard has the latest fictional date of any series set in era of TNG. It happens after TNG and the TNG movies including NEM, and after the Prime timeline events mentioned in the J.J. Abrams movie Star Trek (2009), and after "Children of Mars".

Then comes the era of the later seasons of Discovery.

The third and later seasons of Discovery happen hundreds of years after the first two seasons of Discovery, and thus after all the TOS era series and movies, and even longer after ENT, and a shorter period, but still centuries after the TNG era series and movies from TNG to Picard.

And the Short Treks episode "Calypso" happens long after the latest season of Discovery.

And possibly there is some time travel in some episodes to an era after the latest season of Discovery, or even the episode "Calypso".

And I hope I have remembered to include all the main chronological points in this brief discussion.

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  • The Abrams movies are referenced in Discovery Season 3, they show someone from those movies when that future Section 31-ish guy is interviewing Georgiou, and there's a callback to ENT and the Temporal cold war.
    – CBredlow
    Feb 13 at 18:21
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Picard picks up from TNG and the TNG-cast movies (especially the last one), but it also brings in one major character from Voyager. Its third season introduces a character whose personal arc is defined significantly by the battle of Wolf 359 (as was Sisko of DS9).

Discovery largely stands by itself, depending only on TOS for some basic context.

Strange New Worlds similarly builds on the TOS universe, except that an event occurring in Discovery has a major impact on Pike, which does get referenced in Strange New Worlds, more than once.

Based on just a couple of episodes of Prodigy, I'd say that it only depends on a superficial knowledge of the Trek-verse, drawing mostly from Voyager for a who's-who but not actual character arcs or plot points.

Lower Decks is set in the post-Voyager timeline, and makes joke references (along with planet/species) across pretty much all of Trek, but character continuity ties in mostly with TNG i.e. cameos have come mostly (though by no means exclusively) from TNG so far.

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  • Lower Decks contains extensive references to Voyager also, but almost nothing to any other shows.
    – Valorum
    Feb 13 at 19:10
  • Lower Decks references Quark (he has expanded his bar into multiple locations), there's a whole Lower Decks set on DS9 which features Kira, and there are probably other smaller references scattered throughout the series.
    – shim
    Feb 13 at 22:17
  • not to mention the literal lower decks/strange new worlds crossover episode. And I've heard that the end of Lower Decks season 4 is best watched after finishing Picard? Feb 14 at 0:32
  • @Valorum No, Lower Decks has references to all of Trek. Basically every joke depends on you knowing stuff from TOS and/or TNG era Trek, Did you maybe mean Prodigy? It is far more Voyager focused, seeing as it starts out in the Delta Quadrant and features a holographic Janeway.
    – trlkly
    Feb 14 at 3:42
  • @trlkly - I'd say about 90% of their references are TNG and Voyager.
    – Valorum
    Feb 14 at 7:20
3

Strange New Worlds is set immediately after, and includes at least two characters from, the second season of Discovery.

1

For Picard yes, you'd need to understand events that have happened in Voyager, DS9 and TNG (as well as Nemesis I think?) to get a better grip on things that have happened, and the various characters.

Even in Picard season 1, while not a 100% crossover, an event mentioned in Star Trek (2009) is a major plot point

In the various other shows they do refer to other things. Lower Decks is chock full of references to other shows, including the animated series!

and there is a crossover between Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds

The only one I'd say would be a direct continuation similar to the 90s series would be Discovery -> Strange new worlds, as Discovery references to events in the pilot of TOS. But it's kind of like how the pilots for the other series interacted with previous shows.

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  • Voyager, DS9, and TNG are out of scope of the question. I'm only concerned about how they might overlap and interact with the shows that are currently in production (or at least were in production after Enterprise). Not my DV, but not inappropriate.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 13 at 17:40
  • 1
    Characters from those shows do interact with the ones currently in production, and I explained that. 7 of 9 is a prominent character in Picard, Prodigy happens after Voyager. You don't have to watch them, but you might go "who?" or "When did that happen?" when watching some of the new stuff.
    – CBredlow
    Feb 13 at 17:51
  • Fair enough. Having watched all previous series, I should be familiar enough with the major characters to not get too lost. It's been forever since I watched TOS and last time I tried, I just couldn't get my cheeseometer turned down low enough to be able to make it through more than one or two episodes. I've been watching MacGuyver, though, so maybe I'll be more tolerant of the cheese this go 'round and give TOS another go, just as a refresher on the early years of the ST universe.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 13 at 18:15
  • i don't see how your first spoiler space can be true, those are set in completely different continuities. Feb 13 at 18:26
  • @DanielRoseman Yes it can, as Romulus' destruction happens before Nero goes back. There's a comic that takes place before Nero goes back that talks about this, and the failed evacuation is a driving motivator for both Nero and Picard's sense of failure in the first season. Both happen in the Prime timeline.
    – CBredlow
    Feb 13 at 18:52

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