The popularity and originality of the Star Trek series is inarguable. It's inspired millions of fans and has made its way to one of the top spots of all-time pop culture entities. Even if you've never seen an episode there's almost no chance you've never heard of the series. With countless TV incarnations as well as a plethora of theatrical releases, Star Trek has engraved its name into the history of the world.
With over 5 TV series' and over 10 motion pictures and even an animated series, the Star Trek property has seen many incarnations, each one distinguishing itself from the next in countless ways. One of those ways I'd like to focus on in this post, and that's the Star Trek uniform, or more specifically: the uniform badges (ah yes, he found a way to talk about lapel pins).
Star Trek: The Original Series
Premiering in 1966, Star Trek was born into a world of strife and panic. The Vietnam War was taking place, threat of nuclear war was escalating and the civil rights movement was in the midst of a bitter battle. TOS was not only ahead of its time in content, but also in film-making and process. The cast was both multiracial, and featured females with strong places of power. It notably starred the now famed William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, and co-starred Leonard Nimoy as Spock. While only airing for two seasons, it would spark a flame that would grow in the hearts of millions for years to come.
While not technically pins, the badges in TOS were instead embroidered insignias on the chest of each ship member. Different designs were used to distinguish each person's job. Featured here is Bridge Command (yellow) and Science (blue).
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Next generation wouldn't come until nearly 20 years after the original series. Premiering in 1987 it featured an entirely new cast and timeline. This time the crew wouldn't be exclusively human, but would feature a multicultural cast in both race and species. Most recognizable is the distinguished actor Patrick Stewart as captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Featuring a totally flushed out badge separate from the uniform, this insignia also doubled as a communicator. While it was now it's own separate piece instead of being an embroidered design, it was a single design shared by each crew member with no distinguishing features for each job on board.
Star Trek: Deep Space 9
The first Star Trek series creator Gene Roddenberry wasn't directly involved with. This time we have the first non-Caucasian Captain: Benjamin Sisko among another diverse crew. Premiering in 1993, this was the first series to not take place on the Starship Enterprise.
Also doubling as a communicator, this badge would not only be featured by the crew in the Deep Space 9 series, but also the follow-up Voyager series, as well as The Next Generation films.
Star Trek Voyager:
Premiering in 1995, Voyager would be the first Star Trek to make it to the 21st century. It also featured the first female captain: Kathryn Janeway. As mentioned above, this series shared a communicator badge design with its predecessor: Deep Space 9.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Enterprise is the final TV series to finish airing and took a fully prequel approach and took place before The Original Series. Running from 2001-2005, the series went back to featuring a white male actor (Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula) as the captain: Johnathan Archer. While having an intriguing premise, the show is known as the most boring of the franchise, generally ignoring its prequel plot.
We're back to embroidery, this time on the upper sleeve of the uniform. It's also the first badge to not feature the typical Star Trek logo, but instead an image of the Starship Enterprise itself.
Honorable Mention: Galaxy Quest
If you haven't seen Galaxy Quest, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a good stand-alone movie, but if you've seen any of Star Trek (especially The Original Series), then you'll absolutely love this movie. It's a play on both the Star Trek show plot and the behind the camera crew quarrels and relationships.
Since Galaxy Quest is mostly a parody of The Original Series, the badge is an embroidered one, featuring an insignia of a Saturn looking planet. It features multiple colored versions to match the crew members uniforms and ship positions, similar to TOS.
Personally I like the Next Generation variant, although I love the different distinguishable features of each crew position in The Original Series. What's your favorite Star Trek series and which badge do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!
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