OpinionTV

The Top Ten ‘Star Trek’ Episodes

Ellie Wells ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Back in 1966, audiences everywhere first joined the crew of the Enterprise and boldly went where no man had gone before. Although it was canceled after three seasons, Star Trek had become, and would remain, a fixture of popular culture. This was in large part, of course, due to its compelling main cast, lead by Captain Kirk, and his First Officer, Mr. Spock. And while Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, passed away Friday at the age of 83, through Spock he will live forever in our hearts. Whether you want to revisit the show in the coming weeks or watch it for the first time, heres a countdown of the top episodes of the show.

10. All Our Yesterdays (Season 3, Episode 23)

Mariette Hartley and Leonard Nimoy in the Star Trek episode "All Our Yesterdays." Photo Credit: NBC.
Mariette Hartley and Leonard Nimoy in the Star Trek episode “All Our Yesterdays.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

The penultimate episode of the series finds Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy traveling back to the primitive past in order to save the world from destruction. The three become separated and end up having to meet their own series of challenges. It’s a compelling and touching defacto end to the series, considering the actual last episode was terrible and the show itself never got a proper finale.

9. Who Mourns for Adonais? (Season 2, Episode 2)

Michael Forest and Leslie Parrish in the Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Photo Credit: NBC.
Michael Forest and Leslie Parrish in the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

The best of the numerous Star Trek episode to find the Enterprise on a planet that resembles a previous civilization, “Adonis” finds our heroes forced against their will onto the surface of a planet by a mysterious being claiming to be the greek god Apollo. As he demands that he be worshipped, and the crew refuses, his measures become more and more desperate. Thrilling and intense, it offers a different yet compelling look at the stories of Greek mythology.

8. Amok Time (Season 2, Episode 1)

Leonard Nimoy and Arlene Martel in the Star Trek episode "Amok Time." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Leonard Nimoy and Arlene Martel in the Star Trek episode “Amok Time.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

In this episode, we are introduced to Spock’s home world of Vulcan as he partakes in a ceremony to find a mate, a tradition of his race. It’s an intriguing episode that gave us a full look into who exactly Spock was, when previously we had only seen glimpses.

7. The Conscience of the King (Season 1, Episode 13)

Barbara Anderson, Arnold Moss and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode "The Conscience of the King." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Barbara Anderson, Arnold Moss and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode “The Conscience of the King.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

What starts off as a diversion from their mission to go see a play quickly progresses into a tense murder mystery in this episode. Kirk recognizes one of the actors in the play, and begins to suspect that he is actually the sadistic ruler of the colony where Kirk grew up. When people begin to turn up dead, he has all the more reason to believe so. When Kirk is able to discover the truth, the result is unexpected and thrilling.

6. Mirror, Mirror (Season 2, Episode 4)

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

The trope of the evil twin is explored to full force here as the Enterprise accidentally finds themselves in a parallel universe where they are all cruel and barbaric. The actors are clearly having a blast here getting to explore these alternate aspects of their characters, and it would set the standard for any other parallel universe tales to follow.

5. Arena (Season 1, Episode 18)

William Shatner in the Star Trek episode "Arena." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
William Shatner in the Star Trek episode “Arena.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

This episode finds the Enterprise stalked and attacked by an alien spaceship of unknown origin. Tensions rise, the identity and intentions of those aboard the spaceship become clear, and Kirk is eventually forced into a fight to the death with the enemy captain on an abandoned desert planet. The episode is not only a thrilling ride from start to finish, but one that has a lot to say.

4. The Menagerie Parts I and II (Season 1, Episodes 11 and 12)

Scene from the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie: Part I." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Scene from the Star Trek episode “The Menagerie: Part I.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

The pilot of Star Trek containing the characters that are familiar to us all today, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was creator Gene Roddenberry’s second attempt to bring his idea to the small screen. The first, featuring a different cast (except for Spock), was rejected by the network and never shown. Roddenberry had its footage lying around that he didn’t want to go to waste, so his solution was to weave it into an episode featuring the current characters. Essentially serving as a prequel, the result is seamless and compelling.

3. This Side of Paradise (Season 1, Episode 24)

Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland in the Star Trek episode "This Side of Paradise." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland in the Star Trek episode “This Side of Paradise.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

This episode finds the cast of the Enterprise upon a failed Federation colony that has been afflicted with a mysterious disease. Upon investigation, they discover that all seems well within the colony, for its citizens are in perfect health and everything is peaceful. Several twists ensue that leave this episode as one of the most poignant and timeless of the series.

2. Space Seed (Season 1, Episode 22)

Ricardo Montalban and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode "Space Seed." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
Ricardo Montalban and William Shatner in the Star Trek episode “Space Seed.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

While Khan would gain notoriety in the events of the second film, “Space Seed” is his first encounter with the Enterprise. The crew finds a another ship from the 1990s, with its passengers still alive in suspended animation, they take the leader aboard for further examination. Upon reviving him, they discover that he is Khan Noonien-Singh, who in his time was a ruler of a vast empire. They keep him aboard, only to soon discover that they have made one of their most grave mistakes. The end is chilling and naturally flows into its film sequel that would soon follow.

1. The City on the Edge of Forever (Season 1, Episode 28)

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever." Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive.

While “City” is the perennial #1 episode on any sort of Star Trek ranking, it is no over exaggeration. Everything that makes the series great is here. The plot, which follows Kirk and Spock as they travel back to the Great Depression in order to save the world as they know it, is riveting, its twists and turns guided by an emotional core with a powerful message. It stands not only within the history of the series, but within the history of television as a whole. If you only watch one episode of the series, watch this one—it’s something that you truly will never forget.

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