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Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?

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Just curious what you folks think. There are four or five titles I expect to see, but I'm sure there are some I've not considered.

 

So, what is the best episode of the original series and why?

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    City on the Edge of Forever.  Any number of Sci-Fi greats wrote whole novels about time travel, but Harlan Ellison set the standards for the dangers of changing history for an entire generation.  
    I personally think every time travel story after that point from Quantum Leap to the Terminator owe a little something to it.

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My four choices are:

Balance of Terror
The Doomsday Machine
Assignment: Earth
For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

 

I can't really say why, but when I pull out the Blu-rays, I seem to always watch these. 

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For this series I can't really separate "best" from "favorite." Objectively there were a number of episodes of high quality as sci-fi drama, but to try to rank them for myself I have to look at my subjective responses.

 

On that basis I would have to give first place to Amok Time, for its exploration of Vulcan psychology and culture. It was the first time the series really delved into the alien-ness of an alien species and civilization, and it added a great deal to Spock's character going forward.

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Devil In the dark is family legend.  When parents were newlyweds, my mother was watching intently. Father got idea to sneak up to scare her.

 

And due to the ensuing from my mother that resulted, it was lucky their neighbor at the time was an old lady with poor heAring.

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4 hours ago, Tjack said:

    City on the Edge of Forever.  Any number of Sci-Fi greats wrote whole novels about time travel, but Harlan Ellison set the standards for the dangers of changing history for an entire generation.  
    I personally think every time travel story after that point from Quantum Leap to the Terminator owe a little something to it.

Ellison hated what the producers did to his story nad refused to acknowsledge it as his own for the rest of hjis life. Having read the teleplay he wrote, I think the changes were a substantial improvement.

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I'd go with Balance of Terror or The Corbomite Maneuver, episodes that show Kirk using his substantial brainpower against ruthless foes very much like himself.

 

The former is a classic submarine drama in space, with the Enterprise as the destroyer trying to fight an invisible enemy, and also one of many Trek episodes to examine racism in the person of the Vulcan-hating officer obsessed with the Romulan War.

 

The latter pits Kirk against a mysterious, unfathomable foe of infinite bluster who, as he finds, is not what he seems.

 

For sheer terror factor, I'd go with The Doomsday Machine.

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6 minutes ago, Sundog said:

I have to say The Conscience of the King. The entire episode is driven by human emotion and obsession - and the grand villain proves to be an old man, and rather sympathetic. As a study in humanity it's superb.

Like all heroes, Kirk had a great foe -- himself. And no, I'm not talking about transporter duplicates. I mean his ego, his demons, and his conflicted instincts. He had some distinct flaws (for one, his libido was constantly getting himself and the women he became involved with into trouble) but he had earned more than the respect of his crew, especially the core officers -- he had earned their loyalty.

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1 hour ago, Sundog said:

I have to say The Conscience of the King. The entire episode is driven by human emotion and obsession - and the grand villain proves to be an old man, and rather sympathetic. As a study in humanity it's superb.

Not quite to favorite level. But I always consider it underrated.

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Arena (The Gorn one)

Space Seed (prequel to Wrath of Khan)

The Devil in the Dark (the Horta)

The City on the Edge f Forever

Amok Time (Spock must marry)

Mirror, Mirror (the mirror universe story)

The Doomsday Machine (does exactly what it says on the tin)

Journey to Babel (meet the parents Spock style)

A Private Little War (the white ape one)

The Omega Glory (the one with the crew turned into crystals)

The Enterprise Incident (Spock kills Kirk)

Day of the Dove (Fight Klingons  Fight)

That Which Survives (So I have a thing for Lee Meriwether, deal with it)

The Way to Eden (the space hippies episode but it has Charles Napier who was good value for money)

 

 And of course The Trouble with Tribbles which of course was my first acting job.

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First, lemme single out one that hasn't been mentioned and that has great significance to the times we're living in:

 

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield deals with the destructiveness and stupidity of racism and bigotry.  Here is the dialogue from the best scene, which features the brilliant Frank Gorshin:

 

Bele:  It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed.

Spock:  The obvious visual evidence, Commissioner, is that he is of the same breed as yourself

Bele:  Are you blind, Commander Spock?  Well, look at me.  Look at me!

Kirk:  You're black on one side and white on the other.

Bele:  I am black on the right side.

Kirk:  I fail to see the significant difference.

Bele:  Lokai is white on the right side.  All of his people are white on the right side.

 

Kirk and Spock both look at each other in disbelief and exasperation....

 

Many of my favs have already been listed, so I'll lump them into a list of no particular preference

 

Balance of Terror - this is probably my favorite to rewatch

Space Seed

Amok Time

City on the Edge of Forever

Doomsday Machine

Trouble with Tribbles

Corbomite Maneuver

Journey to Babel

Devil in the Dark

Taste of Armageddon

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7 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

Like all heroes, Kirk had a great foe -- himself. And no, I'm not talking about transporter duplicates. I mean his ego, his demons, and his conflicted instincts. He had some distinct flaws (for one, his libido was constantly getting himself and the women he became involved with into trouble) but he had earned more than the respect of his crew, especially the core officers -- he had earned their loyalty.

 

Personally, I think the libido complaint is overrated. Most of the time we saw Kirk coming on to a woman, it was a tactic to gain an advantage over some opponent. And he scrupulously avoided any involvement with the women under his command -- something we can't say for Picard.

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Personally, I think the libido complaint is overrated. Most of the time we saw Kirk coming on to a woman, it was a tactic to gain an advantage over some opponent. And he scrupulously avoided any involvement with the women under his command -- something we can't say for Picard.

 

Thank you. While played up in the movies, in the original series Kirk was hardly a lecher. He grumbled because Yoman Rand tempted him. He had dated other women in Star Fleet who were not under his command, but he hardly chased tail habitually. 

 

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12 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

Ellison hated what the producers did to his story nad refused to acknowsledge it as his own for the rest of hjis life. Having read the teleplay he wrote, I think the changes were a substantial improvement.


   I agree, he went WAY overboard for a TV script of the 1960’s. And In having met him for about 15 seconds in the hallway during a Worldcon he managed to prove out every rumor of being a complete A-hole.  But he was first and foremost a damn genius.

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