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Star Trek: Top Ten Episodes

Ben P. Duck and I have recently finished our reviews of the original Star Trek, which was a great deal of fun (and took longer than we expected -- our first review was posted in May of 2010). We decided to close out our reviews with a list of our top ten favorite episodes. Our lists had a few faves in common, but interestingly, not as many as I thought there would be.

Ben's top ten:
10. Space Seed (KHHHHAAAANNNNN!!!!!)

9. All Our Yesterdays (a great final episode, which sadly, wasn’t the final episode)

8. The Doomsday Machine (best psychoanalytic combination of nuclear weapons and phalluses)

7. Amok Time (Spock, you are one sexy horny bastard)

6. The Devil in the Dark (Beowulf helps counsel Grendel into a labor contract)

5. A Taste of Armageddon (probably the episode that has aged most beautifully)

4. City on the Edge of Forever (Kirk will do anything for love, but fortunately he won't do that)

3. Balance of Terror (I can watch the top three over and over)

2. The Trouble with Tribbles (So much fun)

1. Mirror, Mirror (Spock + Beard = Gold)

And here are mine:
10. The Naked Time (The crew gets smashed and accidentally discovers time travel)

9. The Enemy Within (Good Kirk versus Bad Kirk, with Freud)

8. Balance of Terror (Terrific space battle with the coolest bad guys in the Trek universe)

7. The Enterprise Incident (Espionage. Sex. Ears.)

6. Requiem for Methuselah (Ah, those unhappy immortals and their need for love)

5. Amok Time (Spock fights to the death so he can have sex. Enough said)

4. The Trouble with Tribbles (Why the Enterprise has a "no pets" policy)

3. Mirror, Mirror (Best alternate universe episode ever)

2. The City on the Edge of Forever (Best romantic time travel episode ever)

1. The Doomsday Machine (The ultimate space battle with a planet killer, what's not to love)

Of course, any top ten list is incomplete without the least faves.

Ben's worst five:
5. The Omega Glory (the "Yellow Peril" in space)

4. The Mark of Gideon (DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE)

3. The Way to Eden (Space Hippies Herbert!)

2. And the Children Shall Lead (the villain dresses in xmas lights and a shower curtain, and that's the high point)

1. Turnabout Intruder (just execrable, betrayed every good impulse and sentiment of a great series, massive fail)

And my worst five:
5. And the Children Shall Lead (A lawyer in a sparkling muumuu as an alien monster)

4. The Omega Glory (The American Revolution on another planet, because that would happen)

3. Turnabout Intruder (A highly uncomfortable hour of sexism)

2. The Way to Eden (Bad hippies, bad story, bad costumes, bad music)

1. Plato's Stepchildren (So painful to watch that I almost couldn't)

There are two famous stinkers not on my list, or Ben's: Spock's Brain and The Apple. But they're so bad in a camp sense that they're actually fun to watch, and I for one very much enjoyed reviewing them.

So what's your favorite episode or episodes? What's your least fave? Lines are open! And thanks so much for revisiting the original series with us.
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Oooh fun!

    (Bearing in mind I haven't seen much of season 3)

    10. The Tholian Web
    9. Patterns of Force
    8. Miri
    7. Return of the Archons
    6. The Enemy Within
    5. Bread and Circuses
    4. The Trouble with Tribbles
    3. Balance of Power
    2. Mirror, Mirror
    1. City on the Edge of Forever

    And the worst two: Plato's Stepchildren and Turnabout Intruder.

  2. Of course "The City on the Edge of Forever" is going to top lists (as it does mine)... but I've always had a fondness for "Dagger of the Mind"... and in particular "A Piece of the Action"... and rounding out my faves would be, "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Conscience of the King" and "Is There in Truth No Beauty?"

  3. This is in no real order because I hate ranking things.

    The Enemy Within
    The City on the Edge of Forever
    The Enterprise Incident
    The Devil in the Dark
    Amok Time
    The Naked Time
    Mirror, Mirror
    The Doomsday Machine
    A Piece of the Action
    Balance of Terror

    And just for a bit of fun here are my top ten episodes of the other Trek series (with the exception of the Animated Series which I have never seen and Enterprise which I just don't like).


    Best of Both Worlds
    Yesterdays Enterprise
    All Good Things
    The Inner Light
    Chain of Command
    The Drumhead
    Starship Mine


    Far Beyond the Stars
    The Visitor
    In the Pale Moonlight
    Trials and Tribble-ations
    Necessary Evil
    Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast
    Rocks and Shoals
    The Siege of AR-558
    Nor the Battle to the Strong


    Living Witness
    Future's End
    Year of Hell
    Message in a Bottle
    Death Wish

  4. The hard part about making a "best of" list is that one is tempted to put one's favorites on the list, even when they're not really top-ten worthy.

    In my case, episodes like "Immunity Syndrome", "Piece of the Action" and "Spectre of the Gun".

    Anyway, here are what I would rate as STTOS' best episodes - I'll stick to just five though:

    5. Amok Time. Another iconic episode and very daring for its day. There is a fascinating theory about T'Pring's costume (cut short in the front) that explains all the privacy and etc. that was going on - had the ceremony gone on as intended, the couple consummates the marriage right there in front of T'Pau and everybody. No wonder Spock was embarrassed.
    4. Journey to Babel. Love this episode and love seeing Lenard and Nimoy working together. Love listening to them even more - have you ever noticed, when people try to do Spock-imitations, how they always essay a dry, flat delivery and call it "Vulcan"? Even the Vulcans on many of the later episodes are guilty of this. But both Nimoy and Lenard have such melliflous voices, almost a musical tone that is almost impossible to imitate and is such a joy to experience.
    3. Trouble With Tribbles. Even non-Trekkies know this episode. Best thing about TWT, though, is that despite all the comedy there is an actual threat in the episode that could cost millions of lives and Kirk his command.
    2. City on the Edge of Forever. While it's usually rated the best episode ever, I bring it down a point because of what it could have been - pick up a copy of Ellison's book which reprints the original script and you'll see.
    1. The Doomsday Machine. Iconic music, great acting (and overacting), and the ability to make a windsock dipped in cement into a credible galactic threat.

    As for least favorites/worst episodes: My least favorite has to be "And the Childen Shall Lead" but the worst overall is probably "Omega Glory" - far too hammy, far too contrived - and to think, it was one of three possibilities for the *second pilot* episode! (thank goodness NBC chose "Where No Man" instead).

  5. The Apple and Spock's Brain are truly A W F U L. I agree The Mark of Gideon makes no sense, but at least there was a stab at social commentary on population control. There is nothing in Spock's Brain worth anything save for Kara.
    Great reviews, although, Herberts, the space hippies episode was not all that bad to me.


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