The Best Of Star Trek 2021

It is that time to look back and reflect on the year that was. 2021 may not have been the year we hoped for, but it had its highs, including in the world of Star Trek. The assembled editors and contributors of TrekMovie.com have taken a moment to celebrate what made 2021 all the better. So today we present The Best Of Star Trek 2021.

Best Episode – Star Trek: Lower Decks “wej Duj” (Paramount+)

Even with a pandemic, 2021 saw the release of almost two dozen episodes of new Star Trek television, spread across three different series. Each show had delivered standouts including Discovery’s “Anomaly” and the Prodigy debut “Lost and Found,” but it was the penultimate episode of the second season of Lower Decks that rises above. Both celebrating and deconstructing the animated series’ core premise, “wej Duj” tells the story of “Three Ships” full of character, heart, action, and love for Star Trek. As a bonus, it introduced some new characters, including the delightfully “outrageous” Vulcan T’Lyn, who will be returning in future seasons. – Tony

Best Documentary – Woman in Motion (Paramount+)

After 55 years there are still things to learn about Star Trek and those who made it. 2021 brought us a handful of Star Trek (and Trek-related) documentary films as well as episodes from the new series The Center Seat. Our favorite for the year was Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA, which tells the story of how the actress made famous by playing Uhura leveraged that fame in the 1970s and ’80s to help NASA recruit women and people of color, transforming how America went to space. Directed by Todd Thompson, Woman in Motion tells this story with a fine balance of new and archived interviews along with rare footage that brings this era to life. – Tony

Best Novel – Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements (Pocket Books)

2021 was a fantastic year for Star Trek novels with ten books spanning almost every aspect of the franchise from the classic series to tie-ins to the new Paramount+ shows. The year started strong with James Swallow’s rip-snorting adventure Picard adventure, The Dark Veil, and this fall was dominated by the triumphant, epic barn-burner of a trilogy, Star Trek Coda, which brought the post-Nemesis Star Trek Lit-Verse to a thunderous and satisfying conclusion in three novels written by Dayton Ward, James Swallow, and David Mack. But in a year full of great stories, my hands-down favorite was August’s Star Trek Picard: Rogue Elements, by John Jackson Miller, which was one of the most flat-out fun stories I’ve read in a long time. Miller tied together elements of TOS, TNG, and Picard in a flashy, noisy, gonzo thrill-ride that has to be read to be believed, without losing touch with Trek’s humanity and optimism, and in the process shone a deep light on Christobol Rios, the enigmatic pilot of the freighter La Sirena. You can’t go wrong with any of this year’s novels, but for me, Rogue Elements was the highlight of an amazing bunch. – Denes House

Best Comic Issue – Star Trek: Year Five finale (IDW)

It was a busy year for Trek comics (with three series in production and various re-issues), but none stood out more than the spectacular Year Five finale. Spread out over three issues, this ambitious project sought to complete the story of Kirk’s five year mission, while planting the seeds of how we got to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It not only accomplishes that goal, but gives TOS the series finale it rightly deserves. The finale’s writing and artwork are outstanding and really make you believe you’re watching (or reading) a new episode of Star Trek. It’s big, high-stakes, and, as a comic, can do what TV couldn’t do in the 1960’s. This is what TOS looks like with a big budget. – Joe Andosca

Cover A by Stephen Thompson

Best Book (non-fiction) – Star Trek: Designing The Final Frontier (Insight Editions)

Star Trek continues to provide authors plenty to explore and 2021 saw a number of non-fiction books explore different facets of the franchise from the histories of Voyager and The Original Series to reference books taking a deep dive into the ships of Deep Space Nine and more. However, one book stands out if for nothing else its unique and possibly even niche perspective. Photographer Dan Chavkin and researcher Brian McGuire focus entirely on how the midcentury design aesthetic influenced the unique look of the future portrayed in Star Trek: The Original Series in an illustrated guide that takes a deep dive all the way down to identifying individual set pieces and elements from specific episodes. A tribute to the set decorators, art directors, and prop masters of TOS, Designing the Final Frontier takes a detailed look at chairs, tables, lamps, and other off-the-shelf background items that helped establish the show’s “futuristic” feel. – Brian Drew

Best Merchandise Release – First Contact Captain Picard 1:6 Figure (EXO-6)

2021 saw a lot of interesting Star Trek merchandise including a Tom Paris commemorative plate from Lower Decks and a line of TNG rubber duckies, but the launch of EXO-6 and their line of highly-detailed 1:6 scale figures have really got collectors excited. Kicking things off with two figures from First Contact, the Captain Picard features a knockout likeness of the more mature, haunted Captain from the feature while Data boasts both the familiar yellow-eyed likeness of Brent Spiner and a “half human” alternate head sculpt showing the android tempted by human flesh by the Borg Queen. A line of Voyager figures is already in the works with Kathryn Janeway just released and the holographic Doctor following shortly. All figures come with highly authentic costumes and accessories. – Jeff Bond

Best Gaming Release – Star Trek: Kobayashi Maru (Scopely)

Gaming hasn’t been a major part of the franchise but 2021 still saw a number of releases for mobile, computer, and console, including the release of the new RPG Star Trek: Legends on Apple Arcade and the expansion of the popular mobile game Fleet Command into The Next Generation and onto PC. But it was a simple free web game from the makers of Fleet Command that provided some of the most frustrating fun with the retro-designed Star Trek: Kobayashi Maru simulator which fulfills its promise to be “nearly impossible” to beat. The deceptively simple throwback offers a number of different paths players can take to try to win the no-win scenario, or have fun trying. – Tony

Best Home Media Release – Expanded, Remastered ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan’ Soundtrack (La-La Land)

Even with streaming and digital releases dominating the landscape, there were some actual Star Trek releases of physical media in 2021 for both video and music. For video, our favorite release was the Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set, but It was some old-fashioned CDs that got our pick of the year. James Horner’s excellent score for The Wrath of Khan is one of the reasons the film remains beloved by fans and film lovers alike almost 40 years after its release. In 2021 the fine folks at La-La Land went back to re-mix and re-remaster the soundtrack for a 2-CD limited release with brand new meticulously researched liner notes, and some brand new unreleased tracks as a bonus.  – Neil Shurley

Best Celebrity Podcast – The Delta Flyers

This weekly Voyager rewatch podcast is hosted by cast members Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) and Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) and explores their memories of filming the episode, their objective opinions of plot and theme, and a surprisingly delightful poetry segment, where one delivers a haiku summary and the other produces a limerick. It’s worth a few bucks to get the Patreon version, which includes extra material like interviews with Voyager’s writers, cast, and production people plus bonus sections like “winners and losers,” “what do we remember?” and the do-overs Garrett & Robbie would want if they had the chance. This podcast will make you look forward to Monday mornings. – Laurie Ulster

Best Fan Podcast – Inglorious Treksperts

Yes, they are opinionated. Yes, they are mostly focused on TOS. But they are also engaging, insightful, knowledgeable, and fun. In their fourth year of podcasting, veteran Treksperts Mark A. Altman and Daren Dochterman, along with newly-minted Treskpert Ashley E. Miller, presented in-depth interviews with such Trek stalwarts as Robert Duncan McNeill, Robin Curtis, and Tim Russ. But they also brought in behind-the-scenes figures, such as TOS casting director Joe D’Agosta, and Robert Butler, director of “The Cage,” and Fox Films president Steve Asbell to talk about what went wrong with Star Trek Insurrection. Add to that, episodes covering Gene Roddenberry’s notes on the Star Trek III script and a multi-part look at the writer’s bibles for each Trek series from TOS to Enterprise, and you’ve got a must-listen podcast for any Trek fan. – Neil Shurley

Best Fan Twitter Account – Captain Edward Jellico

This has been a hard year for many and social media often doesn’t make it better, so its nice to find some accounts to put a smile on your face. Captain Edward Jellico (@STDeltaShift) is proud of the dad jokes and puns he lobs at Riker and Troi. Dr. Pulaski’s bedside manner is dark-comedy gold. Data and Geordi joke around about LaForge’s non-existent love life. And Dr. Crusher is really, really high. It’s all hilariously illustrated with screencaps and subtitles and releases Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. – Denes House

Best Celebrity Moment – William Shatner goes to space

Skip the sarcasm and eject that jaded attitude: Captain Kirk went into space this year! Watching William Shatner’s reaction to his brief trip into space—from being plastered to the window to look at Earth to being awe-struck upon his return—was downright inspiring and utterly exhilarating. Shatner is nothing if not passionate and articulate, and watching our Captain Kirk be so clearly and powerfully moved by his experience was thrilling and life-affirming, reminding us of what Star Trek—and life—is really about. – Laurie Ulster

What are your best picks?

Sound off below for your picks for the best of Star Trek in 2021 and what you are looking forward to in 2022.

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Hard to argue with “wej Duj,” that one’s an instant classic. “Woman in Motion” as well, for that matter.

I’ll award a Most Improved Series statue, and that goes to “Discovery,” which has finally made me a fan in its fourth season. So far this season, they’re giving me what I want from Star Trek, and they’re doing so consistently. I’ve *never* enjoyed seven episodes of this series in a row before, but here I am, actively wishing the show had a new episode next week.

And glad to be able to say that, too! So now, I hope the season ends as well as it began, and that there will be at least three more season as good as #4 that follow in the coming years.

That’s awesome you’ve become a fan of Disco. I agree it has improved, but I still find it difficult to get through an entire episode in one watch. Maybe it’s me, but I do not find it re-watchable as well.

But, most Trek shows improved throughout their respective runs, so maybe it’s a matter of time.

I’ve always liked certain aspects of the series — the cast, for example. So I’m hoping that now, I’ll be able to go back someday and enjoy those first three seasons more, based on what I like more than on what I dislike. Stranger things have happened, I guess.

Hopefully it will improve for you as well someday!

I’m missing the category BEST YOUTUBE CHANNEL. I’ve been following quite some channels for the better part of the pandemic and I truly love that form of fandom (minus the toxic naysayers)…

My favourite is TREKCULTURE (Adam and Sean are just sooooo adorable, so positive and enthusiastic).

I also like Sci-Finatics (Nick’s Ozzy accent is so refreshing and his illuminated wall display, that’s just so cool).

Honorable mentions: Certifiable Ingame, Orange River, Rowan J Coleman and Triangulum Audio Studios (his BackTrek docu series on TOS and TNG is HIGHLY recommended)..

Apart from THIS very site here, these are my favourite Trek content providers.

Steve Shives monthly Star Trek video essays/deepdives/opinion pieces are fantastic too. There’s so much good content out there

I think a Trek YouTube channel that needs more recognition is Trekyards. These guys have been posting for years and literally have thousands of videos on ships, episode reviews, just about everything to do with the Trek universe (no I don’t work for them).

I think that season 4 of Discovery has really shown that this series can be in the more Trek tradition when they want to. It’s still in last place for the live Trek Shows (actually Picard is when thinking about it), but I am enjoying it. I still wish we could see more exterior shots of the Discovery in each episode. Last one there was just one in spacedock :-(

Trekyards is interesting but they have far too much content. It’s a tad overdone. The shorter vids about various ship classes are quite good but there is so much obscure content it’s hard to find the relevant stuff. Less would be more if you ask me. But yeah, I like them.

Maybe 2022 is the year that Paramount (or is it still CBS?) finally bring Voyager and Deep Space Nine to bluray/High definition!?!

There must be a way to make it possible! Yes its highly unlikely anytime soon, but here’s hoping!

That would be the best news ever…

Next to a Young Picard / Stargazer series starring Nathaniel Bacon of course :-)

I’ve been saying for years that if DS9 ever got an HD/BD treatment I’m buying all 7 seasons. It’s my 2nd favorite Trek show but I don’t own one disc of it. I actually own season’s 3 & 4 of Enterprise but no DS9.

Not sure it’s ever going to happen but my wallet is opening the instant it does.

I’ve been a fan since Desilu’s first run episodes in the 1960s, and have loved every series since. I am getting into ALL the new shows without exception, and am most looking forward to “Strange New Worlds” as a pinnacle of what ‘Trek was and still is, then and now…. Anson, Rebecca and Ethan: we’re IMPATIENTLY waiting to engage (pun intended) our senses with your new stories about Pike and the Big E before and up to when JKT takes command. HIT IT!

As far as best novel, I did enjoy Rogue Elements and all the different elements it brought together, but I’d have to side with Robert Meyer Burnett who posted that the best novels had to be Coda. The authors of the 3 books did a great, moving job in concluding decades of the post Nemesis continuity. Here’s hoping future novels will be as good.

This may be the wrong forum for my comment… but I think commendation goes to TrekMovie (the actual site and to the staff administering the site) for creating a community that has attracted a truly great group of fans: old fans… Trek-sperts… new fans or Trek-noobs… fans that see the bright side of everything Secret Hideout produces… fans that see the errors in everything that SH produces…. Fans with encyclopedic knowledge of every prior series and plot device… fans that just want to boldly go on a wagon train trip to the stars… fans from all over the globe and in every time zone…

You’ve managed to collect a great group of fans commenting on the shows mostly in a civil and respectful manner, but doing so in a way that my personal Trek enjoyment now can’t be complete without a trip to the TrekMovie comment threads to see what many regular commenters are saying.

The conversations herein are often as entertaining as the shows or the TrekMovie content. And nearly every time they are more personally engaging because I can comment and directly add to the free flow of ideas and opinions.

So thank you for fostering this community of fans. I won’t say that many of the commenters feel like friends, but this is a community I would be happy to hang out with at the local Quarks Bar & Grill a few times each month.

Kudos for creating that!

But likewise, I encourage you to foster more of that. More engagement with the community you now have flourishing. More strategies to grow it, nurture it, engage it. Much like Kurtzman creating new strategies to lure and retain new viewer demographics that Trek has not had before.

What about, for example, TrekMovie YouTube channel… TrekMovie Con in Toronto and in Atlanta and so on… TrekMovie live Slack during the episodes… TrekMovie group chat where TM staff chimes in as fans not moderators… unique TrekMovie Merch and economic engagements… TrekParents and TrekKids…. TrekMovie following the Science (TrekScience)… TrekMovie community app… strategies to draw more readers from India, Japan, the countries of South America and Africa…

Bulk up your LLC, get more funding, hire the staff, and grow this thing!

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Totally agree about the Trekmovie staff being always excellent. There are several good Trek sites but Trekmovie always has the news first, with thorough analysis and presented in a positive way consistent with the Trek philosophy. Maintaining this level of quality can’t be easy so thanks very much for all you do! Happy New Year and bring on Captain Pike and company!

Fully agree. I visit this site daily and in particular love the “All Access” weekly podcast.

Here here. The TrekMovie staff have outdone themselves this year. I really can’t thank you guys enough for your hard work and dedication to the fandom.

So true. This site has been the most important for everything Trek since before the JJ movies.This place has seemlessly compensated for the loss of good ol’ Trekweb, which had been my no. 1 place to go in the early 00s. Trekmovie is the web’s No. 1 Trek site for me now.

Ditto, I was just about to post something similar praising Trekmovie. This community has truly become one of a kind and some of the best people are here. I also love the way how the commenters here can make me look at the shows and issues from different perspectives. Continue with the good work.

A YouTube channel would be great but it’s probably a hard thing to get going and make it successful on that platform.

But the existing website is still great and I’ve been visiting this site since I was still at school in the late 00s lol

We do actually have a YouTube channel . But it is primarily been used for trailers and some unboxing videos. We do plan on doing more, But who has the time?

Who has the time? Hire me.

I’ll dutifully enact your strategies, while also using detailed research, best practices and demographic data to propose bold new opportunities to explore and investigate innovative means of engaging and growing the audience. And I will honor the chain of command without a Federation intervention.

It is good to make time for that which produces audience love/value/growth/loyalty. Spock would have said this if he ran an ROI producing website. Thus this maxim was left to be a footnote in the Rules Of Acquisition.

Thanks! And… not joking by any stretch.

I’m loving listening to the podcast Enterprise Incidents where Scott Mantz and Steve Morris go through episode by episode the original series! I’ve learned so much about the original series. Check it out.

Greatest Star Trek moment of 2021 is, without question, your last category that’s listed here. After decades of people flying into space, it took a long-trained dramatic artist like William Shatner to truly contextualize and poetically define for the rest of what what that experience is like and what our place is on this planet during the comments he made immediately after coming out of the Blue Horizon capsule. “I hope I never recover from this” indeed!

For some dystopian love, which does seem to be a Trek staple…..coming soon in 2022, Soylent Green. Tasty!!

Best episode comes down to the Prodigy opener Lost and Found and the Lower Decks episode I, Excretus.

The Prodigy opener was stunning because it had something no other Secret Hideout show has yet displayed. Heart. Even though we barely knew that group we started caring some about them. Not only that but it was fun to watch. Something on one would expect from Secret Hideout. The rest of the episodes did not hold up quite as good, still better than all the other new shows but still.. It was a fantastic opener that showed real promis.

But surprisingly I will go with I, Excretus. Why? Because it accomplished something no other Trek show (up to that point) was able to do. Deliver one what it was supposed to do. Lower Decks is a comedy that was awfully devoid of laughs. It’s like going to see a stand up were at best his jokes cause an amusing grin but no actual laughs. But that episode was different. It had gags that actually landed. They were funny. Lower Decks had an episode that had actual laugh out loud moments. It was a fun episode to watch and stands out as the standard the rest of the show should aspire to. It was easily the best Trek episode of the year.

The 4K set of Star Trek 1-4 hands down. Disco season 4 hit some pure sweet notes but disappointed again. And yet it intrigues me enough and i like the cast. Its kind of strange to love everything but the writing and to continue to return season after season proclaiming its gonna be great this year, it will finally hit that classic Trek groove.

Best podcast is Keeping Up With The Cardassians for sure

Ferengi Aquired Memes is a great Instagram account

Biggest disappointment:
The Center Seat

The first episode, if anyone other than die-hard fans even noticed it, was way too heavy on Lucille Ball (who I think got more time than Gene Roddenberry!) And then History Channel did about as thorough a job of hiding this documentary series as a national television network could achieve, with the back half of the season squirreled away on a streaming service almost no one pays for.

I still don’t know what the point was.