Movie Reviews

Every Star Trek Series Finale Ranked Worst To Best


  • Crafting a satisfying Star Trek series finale can be challenging, with some failing to meet expectations due to outside factors like network cancelation.
  • The concept of a series finale wasn’t widely established until the 1990s, when Star Trek: The Next Generation set the trend with some of the best-loved finales ever.
  • While some series like Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise struggled with their finales, others like Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine excelled, delivering satisfying conclusions.

It can be a daunting prospect to deliver a truly great Star Trek series finale, which is why a handful have failed to perform to expectations. Occasionally, outside factors can impede the writers’ abilities to write a satisfying finale, as a cancelation by the network can abruptly bring a Star Trek TV show to an end. Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Enterprise were afforded the opportunity to respond creatively to their cancelation, with differing results. However, Star Trek: The Original Series existed at a time when the concept of a series finale was yet to be widely established.

It was really in the 1990s when the idea of a Star Trek series finale took hold, as network television became more writer-led. The success of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its spinoffs meant that, by seven seasons of Star Trek, TNG was afforded the luxury of canceling itself. These 1990s series finales are among some of the best-loved episodes of Star Trek ever, as they have thrilling stakes and also give their hugely talented casts one last chance to shine.

Every Star Trek Series Finale In Order

“Turnabout Intruder”

Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 3, Episode 24

“The Counter-Clock Incident”

Star Trek: The Animated Series, Season 2, Episode 6

“All Good Things…”

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 7, Episodes 25 & 26

“What You Leave Behind”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 7, Episodes 25 & 26


Star Trek: Voyager, Season 7, Episodes 25 & 26

“These Are The Voyages…”

Star Trek: Enterprise, Season 4, Episode 22

“The Last Generation”

Star Trek: Picard, Season 3, Episode 10

“Life, Itself”

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 5, Episode 10


12 Best Star Trek Season Finales Ranked

In its impressive nearly 60-year history, the various Star Trek series have delivered some truly excellent season finales.

8 “Turnabout Intruder”

Star Trek: The Original Series

“Turnabout Intruder” is a fairly weak episode of Star Trek: The Original Series that also acts as the show’s de-facto finale. In its defense, the series finale was not an established feature of network television in the late 1960s, which is why “Turnabout Intruder” isn’t designed as a fitting conclusion to TOS. However, even with that in mind, it has a dated, and sexist, storyline about Janice Lester (Sandra Smith) swapping bodies with Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) so that she can become a female starship captain. It’s hardly a story that serves as a fitting farewell to the TOS cast.

“Turnabout Intruder” provides William Shatner with a chance to play a different side of Captain Kirk, and also showcases the Enterprise crew’s loyalty, as they refuse to follow Lester’s orders. However, the dated plot and disposable nature of “Turnabout Intruder” makes it a poor finale for Star Trek: The Original Series. Thankfully, the Enterprise crew’s movie revival would lead to a far more fitting farewell in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

7 “The Counter-Clock Incident”

Star Trek: The Animated Series

In many ways, Star Trek: The Animated Series got a better finale than its live-action predecessor. “The Counter-Clock Incident” brings things full circle by teaming up two captains of the starship Enterprise, James T. Kirk and Robert April (James Doohan). However, the stakes involved in the team-up do undermine the occasion of the TAS finale, somewhat. The titular “Counter-Clock Incident” involves the Enterprise flying into negative space, which forces the crew to age backwards.


The climactic scenes where Kirk and his crew are crawling around on the floor like babies undermines them in a far more substantial way than anything in Star Trek: Enterprise‘s controversial finale. Thankfully, the older Robert April is also aged backwards, to an age where he can command a starship and ultimately save the day. “The Counter-Clock Incident” is as ageist as “Turnabout Intruder” was sexist, but the Star Trek: The Animated Series finale has more fun with its central premise, and a sense of passing on the torch, that makes it the superior finale.

Now played by Adrian Holmes, Admiral Robert April has become a recurring character in
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

6 “These Are The Voyages…”

Star Trek: Enterprise

Star Trek: Enterprise‘s finale is notorious among fans for undermining the cast by bringing back Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). It’s a fair criticism, given that the Enterprise characters as seen in “These Are The Voyages…” are holographic replicas, not the real deal. Also, controversial was the death of Commander Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer), which co-writer Brannon Braga had intended as a heartbreaking moment but, in execution, it just angered fans. For all the problems with Enterprise‘s finale, it does at least try to end the story of Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula).

Because the show was canceled, the Star Trek: Enterprise finale skips ahead to the founding of the United Federation of Planets. Given that this was always what Enterprise was building to, it makes sense for the finale to deliver that pay off even if the long road to getting there was curtailed. It’s just hugely unfortunate that the culmination of Archer and his crew’s adventures are overshadowed by a tribute to Star Trek: The Next Generation and Enterprise‘s more beloved franchise stablemates.

Brannon Braga apologized to the cast of
Star Trek: Enterprise
for the finale in the 2013 Bluray special feature
In Conversation: The First Crew


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5 “Life, Itself”

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery‘s finale was never intended as the show’s ending, which does count against “Life, Itself” in some respects. That being said, Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) coming face to face with the alien race that seeded all humanoid life in the Star Trek universe is bigger than anything in the TOS, TAS, and Enterprise finales. As a de-facto finale for the entire series, “Life, Itself” works as an ending for the Discovery crew, as their quest for the Progenitors’ technology gives many of the characters a greater grasp of what matters to them the most.

Ironically, if “Life, Itself” had gone out as originally intended after Star Trek: Discovery was canceled, it may be regarded more highly. There’s a neat thematic symmetry to Burnham’s journey beginning with the Battle of the Binary Stars, and ending between the primordial black holes. Unfortunately, a contrived epilogue that gives the Discovery crew one last chance to pat themselves on the back and allows the writers’ room to wrap up a dangling thread from Star Trek: Short Treks makes this an uneven and unsatisfying conclusion to the series.

4 “Endgame”

Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Voyager‘s ending brings Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and the crew back home to the Alpha Quadrant. However, Voyager‘s season finale is seriously hampered by the show’s outdated approach to episodic storytelling. Voyager could have built a multi-episode arc about the crew making one last-ditch attempt to escape the Delta Quadrant. Recurring elements like the Pathfinder Project certainly gave Voyager the chance to build up to the crew’s return home. Instead, audiences get “Endgame”, a feature-length Voyager finale that ends before the crew even makes it into Earth’s orbit.

It’s an odd decision to spend so much time in the alternate future where Voyager gets home too late, but completely avoid showing how the crew readjusted to life on Earth in the prime Star Trek timeline. There’s a lot of great material in “Endgame”, from present and future Janeway collaborating to save Voyager to the final battle with the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). However, the oddly abrupt ending prevents Star Trek: Voyager‘s finale from being truly great.


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3 “The Last Generation”

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard may have been uneven in terms of quality over its three seasons, but the final episode, “The Last Generation”, is the best finale of the modern franchise. The Star Trek: Picard finale, written and directed by Terry Matalas, manages something that’s almost impossible; it gives everyone a chance to shine. “The Last Generation” is a fond farewell to Patrick Stewart and his beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars, while also setting up Starfleet’s next generation. No character feels short-changed as Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise-D face the Borg Queen for one final time.

“The Last Generation” is a thrilling Star Trek action movie that has genuine emotion at its core. Picard’s fight to save Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers), the son he’s only just met, is beautiful, and is given monumental stakes given that his love and acceptance is the only thing that can break Jack’s Borg processing. “The Last Generation” is exciting, emotional, occasionally hilarious, and full of warmth. Everything you could want from a Star Trek series finale, basically.

2 “What You Leave Behind”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s series finale is epic and intimate, which is the perfect reflection of the show itself. “What You Leave Behind” brings DS9‘s Dominion War to a shattering conclusion, leaving Cardassia Prime a devastated warzone, mirroring the state of Bajor at the show’s beginning. The DS9 finale also fulfilled the tragic destiny of Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Emissary of the Prophets, who gave his life to seal Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) and the Pah-wraiths in the Bajoran Fire Caves. However, amidst all the fire and brimstone in “What You Leave Behind”, DS9‘s overriding themes of family and friendship prevail.


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From the melancholic goodbye between Constable Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Colonel Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) to the emotionally restrained farewell between Garak (Andrew J. Robinson) and Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig), there’s a palpable feeling of finality. Arguably, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s finale is too good, as its resolution has so far put off Alex Kurtzman from returning to the show and its characters. “What You Leave Behind” is the most conclusive of Star Trek series finales, paying off seven years of storytelling. It’s one of the reasons why DS9 remains such a satisfying viewing experience more than 30 years after its premiere.


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1 “All Good Things…”

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “All Good Things” is the gold standard of Star Trek series finale, even 30 years after it aired. Riffing on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Captain Picard is split across his past, present, and future to deal with a threat to all creation. The only constant in these three time zones is Picard’s crew, who remain loyal to him throughout his life. Picard’s final test isn’t so much whether humanity is deserving of its place in the stars, but whether the Enterprise-D’s captain can appreciate the smaller things.

The Star Trek: The Next Generation finale is a celebration of seven years of television that never feels indulgent or self-congratulatory. “All Good Things” honors the journey of the TNG cast, while looking hopefully toward the future, as all good series finales should do. TNG was never a serialized show with a clear endpoint. However, “All Good Things” wraps up the relationship between Q (John de Lancie) and Picard, while giving him the family he’s always denied himself; his crew. It’s for those reasons that “All Good Things” remains the greatest Star Trek series finale.

Each of these

Star Trek

series finales are available to stream on Paramount+.

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