Every Stаr Trek Sһow’s Seаson 4 Rаnked Worst To Best

From 1990 to 2023, season 4 can represent a creative high point for many of the shows in the Star Trek franchise, but which fourth season is best?

Burnham, T'Pol, Seven of Nine and Jean-Luc Picard

WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4!


  • Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 expands the Star Trek canon in significant ways, revealing more about the Orions and depicting a historic agreement between Ferenginar and the Federation.
  • Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 has a great story but suffers from pacing issues, with episodes focused on discussions rather than delivering a thrilling narrative.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4 is a strong run of episodes that explores emotional depth, but ties itself in knots with addressing canon inconsistencies.

Since 1990, many Star Trek shows have been where Star Trek: The Original Series has never gone before – into season 4 – but which fourth season is best? TOS was canceled after its third season, and would take the best part of a decade to be resurrected as a movie franchise. In the 1990s, Star Trek: The Next Generation was so immensely popular that it made it to season 4 and beyond, and spawned multiple spinoff shows. Each of TNG‘s successors also hit the fourth season point, with Star Trek: Enterprise succumbing to TOS‘ fate at the end of its own season 4.

When Star Trek: Discovery relaunched the TV franchise in 2017, nobody could have believed it too would hit season 4 and beyond. The success of Discovery spawned a direct spinoff; the fan-favorite show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and reinvigorated the franchise for a new generation. Of the modern Star Trek shows, only Discovery and the animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks have made it to season 4. As Strange New Worlds season 3 begins production, it has a way to go until it reaches season 4, and also has an impressive list of competitors for the prize of best Star Trek season 4.

6 Star Trek: Discovery Season 4

Broadcast between November 28, 2021 – March 18, 2022

Star Trek: Discovery season 4 had a great story that pushed the franchise into truly alien territory by introducing the non-humanoid Species 10-C. However, the pacing of the season could often feel leaden as episodes centered around various discussions over how to deal with the Dark Matter Anomaly. The stirring speeches and political discussions dragged down what could have been a thrilling story that pushed the boundaries of Starfleet and the Federation’s knowledge of life in the universe. The three-part finale was inventive and visually stunning, but it’s hard to escape the fact that, as an overall story, Discovery season 4 sags dramatically in the mid-section.

5 Star Trek: Voyager Season 4

Broadcast between September 3rd, 1997 – May 20th, 1998

Star Trek: Voyager season 4 said goodbye to Jennifer Lien’s Kes and introduced fan-favorite character Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Opening with the conclusion to the thrilling season 3 finale, “Scorpion”, Voyager season 4 contains some of the show’s best-ever episodes. There’s the epic two-parter “Year of Hell,” which tells a hugely satisfying and sweeping story that doesn’t feel cheapened by Voyager‘s tendency to resort to time travel to fix story problems. It’s also a rare Star Trek season in the sense that Voyager‘s season 4 finale is directly related to the consequences of its season opener, as Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is forced to face up to the consequences of her brief alliance with the Borg Collective.

However, amid classic episodes like “Living Witness” and “Retrospect”, there are a lot of generic episodes in Star Trek: Voyager season 4. Because Voyager was always more episodic in nature than Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Seven’s transition from the Collective to life aboard Voyager isn’t as impactful as it could have been. There’s also the two-part holodeck epic “The Killing Game”, which is entertaining enough, but its World War 2 setting and aliens in Nazi uniforms feels like a derivative way to entice viewers during sweeps week.

4 Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4

Broadcast between August 10th, 2004 – May 13th, 2005

Despite Star Trek: Enterprise‘s hated finale, season 4 is an incredibly strong run of episodes for Scott Bakula’s Captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise NX-01. The love story between T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) and Commander Trip Tucker (Connor Trineer) is the beating heart of Enterprise season 4, and gives the show some real emotional depth. There’s also a demented Mirror Universe episode that ties into the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Tholian Web.” Enterprise season 4 takes some big swings, and they largely pay off in some of its very best episodes overall.

However, Star Trek: Enterprise season 4 does tie itself in knots slightly by addressing canon inconsistencies like Klingon forehead ridges, and the legacy of Khan Noonien-Singh (Ricardo Montalban). However, it’s great to see Enterprise given the chance to tell big stories across multiple episodes. It’s a natural progression from the well-received Xindi War arc in Enterprise season 3, and it’s exciting to ponder where that approach would have taken them next. Sadly, the cancelation meant that Enterprise‘s long road was cut abruptly short, with the hastily cobbled together finale leaving a bitter taste in fan’s mouths.

Had Star Trek: Enterprise been renewed for season 5, viewers would have seen the origins of the Federation in more detail, as well as the start of the Earth-Romulan War.

3 Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4

Broadcast between September 7th – November 2nd 2023

Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ best season is the show at its most confident, and it’s a joy to behold. Creator Mike McMahan and the writers’ room have become incredibly adept at juggling comedy, fan service, and “serious” sci-fi to create some of the very best Star Trek in years. Lower Decks season 4 sees it properly graduate from being a Star Trek comedy to being Star Trek with jokes in. There could be no finer testament to the trust placed in Lower Decks that it’s allowed to expand the Star Trek canon in some huge ways in season 4.

Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 reveals more about the Orions in less then 30 minutes than in the entire 57-year history of the franchise. It also depicts the historic agreement between Ferenginar and the Federation, and has a sequel to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The First Duty” that is more thrilling than most recent Trek movies. It’s a show that is absolutely firing on all cylinders, and it seems like Lower Decks season 5 will go from strength to strength.

2 Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4

Broadcast between September 24th 1990 – June 17th 1991

After the game changing cliffhanger ending to Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3, the show goes from strength to strength in season 4. From the groundbreaking TNG episode “Family” to the thrilling season finale “Redemption”, TNG season 4 established a great deal of what was to come for Star Trek in the 1990s and beyond. “The Wounded” first introduced the Cardassians in an episode that put Chief Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) center stage, ultimately leading to his role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It also introduced Sela (Denise Crosby) the half-human half-Romulan daughter of Lt. Tasha Yar.

Sela’s introduction was an early example of the arc-based storytelling that would come to define Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Her appearance was seeded in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Mind’s Eye”, in which Lt. Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) was used as a sleeper agent by Romulan Intelligence. There are one or two weaker episodes in TNG season 4, such as the poorly dated Geordi and Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney) episode “Galaxy’s Child”, or the slightly silly “Devil’s Due.” However, TNG season 4 is an incredibly strong Star Trek season that sees Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew at the height of their powers and popularity.

1 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4

Broadcast between October 10th, 1995 – June 17th, 1996

Riker’s beard is a shorthand for the moment that Star Trek: The Next Generation hit its stride. Given how it changed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine forever, season 4 may as well be referred to as Sisko’s beard or, simply, Worf. DS9 season 4 is better than TNG season 4 purely by the greater number of high quality episodes broadcast between 1995 and 1996. It gets off to a powerful start with the Klingon blockbuster “The Way of the Warrior” before moving straight into the more emotionally nuanced “The Visitor”, one of the best DS9 episodes for Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 4 is the perfect example of the wildly different stories that the franchise is capable of telling. There’s the two-part political thriller “Homefront/Paradise Lost” which interrogates how far the Federation is willing to go to protect Earth from the Changeling threat. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is “Our Man Bashir”, a James Bond parody in which the entire DS9 cast ham it up as spy movie archetypes. The best of Star Trek can be anything it wants to be from incisive political commentary to laugh-out-loud comedy, and DS9 season 4 perfectly sums this up.

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