It’s an astonishing milestone. One which we feel is a cause for celebration. There are now 800 Star Trek episodes!
No, wait, let’s say that again: there are now more than 800 Star Trek episodes.
That doesn’t mean you have to start with The Original Series and watch everything up to the 21st Century in order to understand Star Trek Discovery. So what does it mean? As there are different iterations of Star Trek, including films set in the Prime Universe (i.e. featuring William Shatner as Kirk and Patrick Stewart as Picard, etc.) and those in the so-called Kelvin timeline, what counts? How do we actually reach the number “800”?
And although it’s a huge achievement, Star Trek isn’t the first TV show to clock up such a huge number of episodes. So which other programmes have more than 800 episodes under their belts?
Let’s find out…
What is the 800th episode of Star Trek?
This isn’t an arbitrary number designated by fans. This is Paramount / CBS talking. The company has totted up how many episodes of each Trek show “count” towards the official number of Star Trek episodes and have concluded that the 800th episode is…
‘We’ll Always Have Tom Paris.’
That is, Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2, Episode 3.
But things aren’t quite what they appear to be. If you head to the Memory Alpha Fandom wikia, ‘We’ll Always Have Tom Paris’ is listed as episode 804. According to that count, the 800th episode is ‘There Is A Tide…’ which is the penultimate episode of Star Trek Discovery Season 3.
Neither, as you would expect, are particularly celebratory episodes, because very few productions are “meta” enough to allude to episode counts in actual narratives. The few that do, do so sparingly, i.e. ‘Planet of the Dead,’ the 200th Doctor Who story (not episode), included the Number 200 bus; while in ‘Barting Over,’ The Simpsons‘ 300th episode, Marge says, ” I can’t count how many times your father’s done something crazy like this” and Lisa, holding a clicker, remarks, “It’s 300, Mom.” (And, noting the disparity between Fox advertising it as the 300th, and actual facts, i.e. that they’d miscounted, Marge replies, “I could have sworn it was 302.”)
Basically, these things always get messy. Let’s see how that mess happened.
800 Star Trek episodes: What counts and what’s excluded?
Officially, this is how CBS sees it:
- Star Trek: The Original Series (79 episodes)
- Star Trek: The Animated Series (22 episodes)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (178 episodes)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (176 episodes)
- Star Trek: Voyager (172 episodes)
- Star Trek: Enterprise (98 episodes)
- Star Trek: Discovery (42 episodes)
- Star Trek: Short Treks (10 episodes)
- Star Trek: Picard (10 episodes)
- Star Trek: Lower Decks (13 episodes)
That’s a great list. It does exclude some important instalments, and obviously that was back when ‘We’ll Always Have Tom Paris’ first aired, on 26th August 2021 (in America) – so more Star Trek episodes have aired since then.
Obviously, CBS isn’t counting non-live action tie-ins, like novels and comic books, nor behind-the-scenes aftershows either. Animations do count though.
Memory Alpha disagrees with that list, however. Firstly, fans add in The Cage, the unaired pilot, to The Original Series‘ total, bringing that up to 80 episodes.
Except another point of contention between the two lists of Star Trek episodes is double-length episodes like the Voyager Season 7 finale, ‘Endgame.’ This affects numerous iterations of the franchise: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, the aforementioned Voyager, and Enterprise. The problem is, each double-length episode originally aired as production intended: as one episode. They were then divided into two for syndication. Memory Alpha counts these feature-length episodes as one episode each, while CBS cuts them in two.
We think: Look, it’s all kinds of complicated, okay?
But that means Memory Alpha’s list comes to fewer than 800 Star Trek episodes! What’s going on?
800 Star Trek episodes: What about the films?
Ah, this is the crux of the matter. Or at least another crux of the matter. How do we count the movies?
CBS / Paramount seemingly doesn’t. Memory Alpha does. With the previously mentioned caveats, its list adds in:
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- Star Trek Generations (1994)
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
- Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
- Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
- Star Trek (2009)
- Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
- Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Yes, rather surprisingly perhaps, Memory Alpha also accounts for the Kelvin timeline movies, i.e. those helmed by J.J. Abrams! Then again, there are certainly links to the Prime Universe (notably Leonard Nimoy returning as Spock), and if we simply didn’t count instalments because they were set in a parallel dimension, we’d have to adjust the figures all over again because numerous shows ventured into the Mirror Universe.
Whether you count the films or not, whether you think double-length episodes count as one or two… there are certainly more than 800 Star Trek episodes, and that’s surely cause to celebrate.
How many series have reached 800 episodes?
Star Trek certainly isn’t the only franchise to reach such heady heights. So which other TV programmes can boast of having 800 or more episodes under their banners?
There are some heavy hitters, alongside some series which should come as no surprise. Soap operas, for example, clock up a huge number of episodes in a short period of time. Like UK perennials, Coronation Street (more than 10,500 episodes), Emmerdale (over 9,000), and EastEnders (more than 6,400).
Then there are other shows – quizzes, news and magazine programmes, and children’s TV – like CBS Evening News (some 16,400 episodes), Countdown (7,600+), Blue Peter (over 5,000), and Sesame Street (around 4,800.)
The show with the most ever episodes is the German puppet animation, Sandmännchen (meaning “Sandman”) which has run since November 1959 and has clocked up some 22,200 episodes. Yes, twenty-two thousand, two hundred episodes. Not a typo.
Okay, so it may be a while before there are 22,200 Star Trek episodes. But what about comparable series? How about the two we’ve already mentioned: The Simpsons and Doctor Who? The former hasn’t reached Star Trek‘s milestone yet, having chalked up more than 700 episodes so far.
Doctor Who, however, has more than 860 episodes under its belt, and more coming every year for the foreseeable future (including ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ and the Thirteenth Doctor’s swansong this year, and the 60th anniversary special in November 2023.)
Star Trek is still a sci-fi giant. It doesn’t really matter how you count it up. It doesn’t matter if you class the movies as ” Star Trek episodes” or which continuity you’re following. Over 800 Star Trek episodes is fantastic… and one heck of a binge-watch!
Which are your favourite Star Trek episodes? And how do you count them? Let me know in the comments below.
Star Trek Discovery: Starfleet Academy scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!