Every Star Trek TV Series Ranked By How Cosy It Is
I watch Star Trek for a lot of reasons. The great writing, the likeable characters, the mind-bending mysteries, the thought-provoking sci-fi. But when it comes to the classic shows from the '90s, cosiness is also an important factor. There's something about them that is, mentally, like slipping into a warm bubble bath. When my brain is being battered by anxiety, a classic episode of The Next Generation or Voyager is instant therapy. But which live action Star Trek series is the most soothing of all? Let's rank them, starting with the least cosy.
Star Trek: Picard
When I watch Picard, I don't feel relaxed; I feel stressed out by the non-stop violence and misery. Every character is sad, angry, or both—especially in season 2 where they travel through time to a period of human history defined by sadness and anger. It's the least comforting show in Star Trek history, full of murder, apocalyptic visions, sinister conspiracies, space racism, and general unhappiness. Classic Star Trek tackles equally dark subject matter, but with a warmth, heart, and charm that I really wish this new series had more of.
Star Trek: Discovery
Discovery is more chill than Picard, purely because a lot of it takes place aboard a starship. A Starfleet bridge is just automatically relaxing. I'm not sure why, it just is. But the cosiness basically ends there. Discovery is similar to Picard in that it sidelines intelligent, thoughtful sci-fi stories in favour of violent, fast-paced, high stakes action. Everything is designed to be as big, loud, and exciting as the writers can make it, which makes me miss those quiet, subtle character moments that contribute to the cosiness of classic Star Trek.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Set design is an important part of Star Trek's cosiness, which is where prequel series Enterprise falls flat. While it makes sense that this earlier iteration of Starfleet's flagship would be more utilitarian, it's a little too cold, harsh, and industrial to be relaxing. However, Enterprise still ranks higher than Picard and Discovery because, despite a lot of recycled storylines, it captures the spirit of the old shows in its writing—including its willingness to slow down and focus on the everyday lives of the people who spend their lives aboard these ships.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Deep Space Nine is an exceptional TV show, but it ranks low for cosiness. The titular station is a far cry from the luxury of a Starfleet ship, and the lighting is dark throughout—almost like a sci-fi film noir at times. Add to that a darker tone and DS9, as good as it is, lacks the fuzzy, comforting feel of the shows that preceded it. But it's still infinitely more chill than modern Star Trek, because it understands that sometimes you don't want thrilling life-or-death drama; you just want to hang out with some characters you love for a while.
Star Trek: The Original Series
In vintage '60s Star Trek it's all about the bridge ambience. That soft rumble of the engines punctuated by the comical chirps, squeaks, and bleeps of the computer terminals. The age of the show is also a factor. TV from this period has a distinctively warm, analogue look that I just find immensely calming to look at. I wasn't alive in the '60s, but I get a weirdly powerful feeling of nostalgia from classic Star Trek. I love Leonard Nimoy's calm, measured performance as Spock too. I could easily fall asleep to recordings of his voice.
Star Trek: Voyager
Lost in the depths of the Delta Quadrant, lightyears from Earth, the comforts of a Starfleet ship are more important than ever. As a result, Voyager is one of the most 'lived-in' ships in the series' history. Without reliable access to replicators, people have to make do with, and reuse, what they have. This gives Voyager a uniquely cosy feel, and the series dedicates entire episodes to the day to day struggles of just existing when you're so far from home. This series features some of the closest, and best, character relationships in the show's history.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
But when it comes to pure vibes, nothing beats The Next Generation. From the soft, beige upholstery of the Enterprise-D and soothing murmur of its engines, to the numerous charming, low stakes plotlines buffering the action, TNG is a balm for the soul. If I could live in any fictional setting, it would be here. There's a general feeling of calmness in TNG—even down to how the characters speak—that makes it uncannily relaxing. Even though I know the show inside out, I sometimes put it on in the background just to soak up the ambience.
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