To Boldly Go: The End of Star Trek and Star Wars

No individual has made billions off Star Trek—although that franchise, too, has its own mountains of merchandise, including toys, video games, and hundreds of books. More impressive than its merchandise and its profits, though, is its monumental amount of screen-time. Since the first broadcast of the first episode on September 8, 1966, there have been more than 700 hour-long episodes of Star Trek incarnated in five different series—plus ten movies and an animated show that lasted for 22 episodes. With the exception of soap operas, no other product of Hollywood rivals that considerable corpus. By this measure, the Star Wars franchise seems puny: For all its popularity, its on-screen time consists of only six movies, a few obscure TV spin-offs involving Ewoks, and a truly atrocious two-hour holiday special. (It was so unbelievably wretched that it aired only once, and George Lucas is reported to have said that he wished he could “track down every copy of that program and smash it.” It was listed as the #1 item in last year’s book What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History.) —To Boldly Go: The End of Star Trek and Star Wars (The New Atlantis)