Listening to Excelsior
Welcome to Star Trek: Excelsior. Whether you're a diehard Trekkie or completely new to the Star Trek universe, you're going to enjoy this show.
If you're not a regular consumer of radio drama, take a look at our Listening Guide for some pointers on getting the most out of your audio experience.
Otherwise, I know there is one burning question on your mind:
Where do I start?
We recommend that new listeners start with our Season Four episode, "Guards! GET THEM!". This episode marked the start of a fresh story arc, and it was deliberately written as an "entry point" for new listeners. While there are a few references to past adventures, you don't need any prior knowledge of the series to enjoy this episode. If you like "Guards! GET THEM!", continue on to the next Season Four episodes with "At Death's Door" and "Only Murder" (coming December 2014 and Q2 2015, respectively).
There are two reasons we recommend starting with the current season. First, because we want you to be caught up with the show as quickly as possible, so you can enjoy the experience of so many other fans as they anticipate the newest episodes together on Facebook and on our forums. Secondly, because our current season is always going to be our most polished one, and we want to put our "best foot forward" with new listeners. Every year, we learn a great deal about the radio production process, and it shows in the quality of our product.
If you've listened to the current season and are still enjoying it, then listen to Season Three, starting with the season premiere, "Every Good Captain Has Admiral Issues". Season Three featured our most pivotal story arc, shattering twenty years of Star Trek canon, changing the whole universe for our characters, and culminating in a stunning feature-length finale, with the loose threads (mostly) begin tied off in the Season Four premiere, "Picking Up the Pieces". These ten episodes (plus the mid-season special, "Sunset") form one complete story, and it's one heck of a ride.
If you still want more Excelsior, or are a true completionist who can't bear to listen to Excelsior out of order, then go all the way back to Season One and grab the first regular episode, "The Valandrian Expedition", and go from there. The first season is hardly our best, but it was a lot of good fun, told a good story, and it established this show and what it became in later years. There are clues to the broader Excelsior mythos in Season One that our listeners are still wondering about!
For its part, Season Two is substantially improved from a production standpoint, and is a big year for many reasons -- introducing General Isaac Brahms, exploring Alex Bevoney Rol's background, and putting Alcar Dovan in the center seat. It's worth your time if you can keep yourself from giving up on the first two episodes of the season (which are unusually slow-paced) and are willing to forgive the occasional production mis-steps (we were still figuring out how to run an audio show!). The mid-season special is a full-blown musical episode, which is worth the price of admission all by itself!
Under no circumstances should a new listener go all the way back to our pilot episode, "...There You Are". It was our first venture in audio. It is not a bad experience, and has a lot of character work in it. It has a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere that the Excelsior has never had since then. It discusses the lives and motivations of many of our characters, and introduces Simon Westlake to the cast. But, on the other hand, it is rough, unpolished, unskilled, overlong, and occasionally unpleasant to listen to. And nothing really happens that you ever need to know for future plot. The pilot is enjoyable, but it can only be enjoyed by someone who's already an Excelsior fan.
I hope that explanation helps, and I hope you enjoy your stay onboard the good ship Excelsior!