Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Top 25 favorite Star Trek (The Original Series) episodes, part 2

It's been 2 weeks since my first post, so I apologize for that. Here's the link for that one: Link!!!


10. 'Space Seed'
Season 1, Episode 22

Let's start off by syaing I liked The Wrath Of Khan long before I ever knew about this episode. In case you don't get what is tying these two together, TWOK is a sequel to this episode. If you've seen the movie before this one, you already know the outcome. But that doesn't keep this from being an excellent character building episode. Ricardo Montalban is incredible in this, as a villain who is able to beat Kirk. Granted, it doesn't stick, but still. He's the most well-known Star Trek villain for a reason. I'm rambling now, but this is a great episode.

9. 'Amok Time'
Season 2, Episode 1

With the massive popularity of Spock, you could tell right away in season 2 that the show wanted to put him even more in the forefront. This first episode of the second season is focused on exploring Vulcan culture and naturally, this means finding itself honing in on Spock. It's the first appearance of the Vulcan salute and added distinctiveness to Spock and his race that was previously left unexplained.

8. 'All Our Yesterdays'
Season 3, Episode 23

The second-to-last episode of the series, and I really do wish this has been the actual finale. One of relatively few great episodes of the final season, this one involves time-travel in a very Crono Trigger-like End Of Time hub (I'm fairly convinced the game was inspired by this episode), Kirk being accused of being a witch in a paranoid town, and Spock slowly regressing as he is sent back to the ice age. It's a very big episode and handled this variety of unique situations and settings perfectly.

7. 'The Devil In The Dark'
Season 1, Episode 25

While 'The Conscience Of The King' already handled a slasher-like horror story in a manner, and Star Trek had never shied away from exploring the nature of good and evil, this episode blended these elements beautifully into a tense, thoughtful, and visually creative result. Looks can be deceiving and sometimes coming together with who you once thought was your enemy can be beneficial. It's a wonderful marriage of ideas.

6. 'Journey To Babel'
Season 2, Episode 10

Sarek (Spock's dad) is one of my absolute favorite Star Trek characters, and I couldn't imagine a better introduction to him than this. The strain in Spock and Sarek's relationship is expanded on over the next 20+ years (in the films as well as shows), and it's never made difficult to understand or relate to. And while this is a fascinating relationship, the story surrounding it is really solid as well. But being totally honest, it's Mark Lenard as Sarek that draws me to this one.

5. 'The Trouble With Tribbles'
Season 2, Episode 15

The funniest episode of Star Trek that's so fun and I like it so much I named my FANTASY BASEBALL TEAM after it. Yeah, this is serious business here. Honestly, though, I did do that, and not just because my team are a bunch of fluffy, useless idiots. One of the things that makes this particular episode so great is how it never takes itself too seriously and finds a creative way to introduce a new species. They never overuse the Tribbles, and we love them for that.

4. 'Arena'
Season 1, Episode 18

Of all the one-off species in the series, the Gorn is one of the very best. Not just because it's on par with Kirk in terms of physical and intellectual threat, but because it's so hilarious looking. There's a simplicity to this episode that makes it work so well, pitting two captains together in hand-to-hand combat to resolve their conflict -- the winner will be spared, while the loser and his entire ship and crew will be destroyed. I'll let you guess how it concludes.

3. 'Balance Of Terror'
Season 1, Episode 14

While 'Space Seed' is the literal predecessor Wrath of Khan, I see this episode as more of a spiritual one. Among the first (and best) of all combat-oriented space battle TOS episodes, this marks the first appearance of the Romulans, and even introduces Trek to Mark Lenard as the captain of the Romulan ship (he would later take on the role of Sarek). It's a brilliantly intense and emotionally powerful episode that balances (pun aggressively intended) a lot of elements that pay off in the end.

2. 'Mirror, Mirror'
Season 2, Episode 4

The birth of the evil alternate dimension where everyone is scary and sometimes have goatees. It's a gold standard of sci-fi at this point, so yeah, of course it came from Star Trek. There's a hilarious and menacing charm to this episode, watching the Enterprise crew behave so aggressively and mischievous at every turn. But, as usual, it's Spock who steals the show, as his character bridges the gap between these realities, leading you to question just how "good" Spock really is. Not to mention the fact this episode features one of the greatest cut-away jokes I've ever seen, as the good crew speculates what kind of trouble the evil crew might be causing. It's a wonderful bit of entertainment.

1. 'The City On The Edge Of Forever'
Season 1, Episode 28

When I first watched this episode, I realized I had just seen one of the single greatest episodes in the history of television. And afterwards when I started looking at other peoples' lists of their favorites, I was both excited and slightly disappointed that everyone else seemed to agree. On one hand it's great that this episode gets a lot of attention, but on the other hand I wanted to feel special. I guess I'm not a hipster snowflake after all. As for the episode itself, the set designs, character moments and overall plot are excellent. Time-travel is something that works well in this show most of the time, and this is the apex. The story works on so many levels, and the emotional payoff is the most powerful in the entire series. To spoil this one for anyone would be a crime (a crime I sadly already committed on my girlfriend before I knew she wanted to watch it), so I'm going to refrain from mentioning plotpoints here. But you don't need to be a Trekkie to enjoy this one, as it functions wonderfully as a self-contained story that requires little context to get the most out of. It's the best episode in TOS, and one of my favorite episodes in all of TV.

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