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Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

A teaser (also known as a cold open) is essentially the portion of an episode shown before the opening credits. As described by Michael and Denise Okuda, it is "a brief scene at the beginning of an episode, designed to make the viewer want to stay tuned." (ENT Season 3 DVD "Impulse" text commentary)

The following memorandum was written on 2 May 1966 by Gene Roddenberry, as a supplement to the Writer-Director Information Guide for the original series, describing the format of a typical episode:

a. Teaser, preferably three pages or less. Captain Kirk's Voice Over opens the show, briefly setting where we are and what's going on. This is usually followed by a short playing scene which ends with the Teaser "hook." (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry [page number?edit])

The "hook" of the teaser was some unexplained plot element that was alluded to in the teaser, which was intended to keep audiences interested enough in the show to dissuade them from changing stations while the titles roll. Star Trek writer David Gerrold, to tweak William Shatner on set, once told Shatner that he was writing a Star Trek episode in which Kirk lost his voice in the teaser (the hook), and didn't get it back until the tag. (The Trouble with Tribbles [page number?edit])

Appearances[]

Teasers feature in almost all episodes of live-action Star Trek series, as well as those from animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. The exceptions to this are:

Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: Short Treks do not feature any teasers; nor does Star Trek: Prodigy, with exception of its premiere episode "Lost and Found".

Length[]

For live-action series prior to Star Trek: Discovery, as well as Star Trek: Lower Decks, the teaser is usually one to two minutes long, though can sometimes exceed five minutes. Three of the longest teasers from this era are TNG: "The Nth Degree", DS9: "If Wishes Were Horses" and VOY: "Deadlock", all clocking in at about seven minutes. The episode's title and production credits (guest stars, producers, writers and director) are typically held until the first segment after the opening titles (the lone exception is TNG: "Descent" in which the title and credits occur after a scene change within the teaser).

For Star Trek: Discovery, and other live-action series thereafter, the teaser regularly exceeds five minutes (excluding recap), with at least ten episodes exceeding eight minutes. The longest of these are DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow" (12m 6s), DIS: "The Wolf Inside" (12m 47s) and SNW: "Spock Amok" (14m 19s). Due to their extended runtimes, these teasers can often be considered as "Act One" of the episode, although they still usually end with a traditional hook for the audience. These series do not feature title cards, with episode production credits either incorporated into the title sequence or held until the end credits.

Possibly the shortest teaser to appear in a Star Trek episode was from the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Impulse". This scene, in which a deranged, screaming T'Pol is carried into sickbay and restrained by Archer and Phlox, clocks in at just over 18 seconds. The second shortest teaser may be the one from Star Trek: Voyager's "Scorpion". This teaser, which has the Borg saying their trademark "greeting" just prior to their destruction by Species 8472, lasts just under 20 seconds.

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