DOA’s Ten Favorite Star Trek Episodes: The Original Series

I’ve been watching Star Trek since the very beginning.  I used to sit right in front of the TV, on the floor, just taking in this incredible science fiction show about the exploration of “strange new worlds”, something I’d been reading about forever, but hadn’t seen a good representation of in TV or film.

I’ve loved every incarnation, and its captains.  I did find Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager to be somewhat claustrophobic in that they never really got anywhere.  I needed to see more, more, MORE of the possible civilizations that might exist.

The character studies of each incarnation were exceptional, and the crews were each so great, I loved traveling with them each week.

Unlike most, I don’t have a favorite Star Trek.  I see them as a continuing tale.  I did enjoy some episodes more than most for the stories they told, and what they revealed about our characters and mankind.

As I’m looking at my favorites, I notice many of these had themes of love or romance.  I’ve never read romances in my life, but apparently younger me certainly thought about it a great deal.


Pilot: The Cage
The story of a frail wizened man who was once young and handsome and possibly falling in love despite his Starship Captain’s responsibilities is still compelling today.   The Talosians and their abilities to create incredible illusions were fascinating.

Miri

Although dystopias with adults dead, gone or maddened by disease and only the teens and children sane has become a common plot, when this aired it was not.  I felt so bad for the long abandoned children.  Alive for centuries aging slowly, afraid of oncoming adulthood.  Miri’s crush on Kirk was a bonus element because I also had a crush on him, early on.

The Menagerie Parts 1 and 2

A continuation of The Cage, Spock risks everything to get Captain Pike back to the Talosians.

Arena

Fakey green outfit aside, Kirk’s forced battle to the death with a Gorn was lots of fun as Kirk works to outwit the physically superior reptile.  He uses his wits to create a useful weapon, and shows mercy when he defeats his enemy.

The Devil in the Dark

 The Horta slithering its vomity looking hulk through caves reminded me somewhat of The Blob, so it was scary.  Even so, when everyone stopped shooting and it was revealed to be a mother protecting her babies (sniff)….   Handy ol’ Spock can even Mind Meld a Rock.   I appreciated the idea, often presented in science fiction films, that we should try to communicate with and understand those who are different, rather than going in shooting.

Shore Leave

The crew led such dangerous lives in space, and everything was so regimented, it seemed great that they could beam down to a planet just to have fun.   It’s almost a Westworld for the crew, except that their very thoughts conjure up characters and creatures from their pasts.  It was something of a showcase for everyone’s characters.

The Man Trap

McCoy always seemed a pretty stodgy character, but here he finds an old love on a planet with her husband.  People are dying mysteriously, and as he and the crew try to solve the murders, it becomes clear that his beloved Nancy is a shape shifter who drains the salt from people’s bodies.  The real Nancy is dead, but she has kept the form to be a companion to the husband, who finds ways to feed her.  It’s a testament to love, the lonely man and the last of an alien species, and McCoy who can’t bear to harm the image of the women he once loved.

Tomorrow Is Yesterday

 Time travel to a time that was current day when aired.  Tossed back in time the Enterprise takes on a reluctant passenger, Captain John Christopher.  The crew is not only stuck in time, but they can’t let the pilot leave the Enterprise with his new knowledge of what the future holds.  In desperation there is a plan to slingshot around the sun to get back home, unlikely to work, yet it does, placing everyone back in their own time, with those in the past not remembering anything.  How I love time travel stories.

The Return of the Archons

I think the inhabitants of Planet Beta III in this episode reminded me of the mind controlled population of Camazotz in A Wrinkle In Time.   Everyone supposed to be under control at all times except for occasional chaos.  Loved the suits.

This Side Of Paradise

Looking into the fate of a colony which has lost touch with Starfleet, the crew falls under the influence of spores which cause euphoria and something like happiness. 

Fickle thing that I was, I’d read in TV Guide that Shatner and several other prominent actors wore wigs (!!! Gasp!!!) and suddenly he was icky and I decided I liked logical Spock instead, who had all his hair.

Jill Ireland played a wonderful character, and it was so nice to see Spock relax and have a chance at love.

 

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