Ten Favorite Star Trek TOS Episodes

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Roy Wall, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Speaking only for me, A Piece of the Action is fun, but it's the Star Trek characters playing dress up. There's not a lot there to connect it to the overall continuity...which is fine, don't get me wrong. Every episode/adventure doesn't have to feed into the universe to be enjoyable. We've just gotten through all three seasons of TOS on BD and the ONLY episode the BF fell asleep through-twice-was Piece of the Action. I had no interest in watching it three times in a week, so I stopped a fourth viewing. (And since it doesn't mean anything down the road, what's the point?)

    As for Trek IV, it is the most accessible of all the movies. You don't need to know a whole lot to understand what's going on and a majority of the movie takes place in present-day Earth. I'd guess that's why it's the most popular. I agree with you on the movie itself, though: I don't think it's very good and certainly not my favorite of the series. It's Star Trek does Greenpeace and tends to be very preachy...topical is the word I'm looking for, I think. Trek VI is topical because of the end of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and those events, but it's no where near the "in your face" level of Trek IV.
     
  2. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Another (almost) first season purist here:
    1 - Shore Leave
    2- The City on the Edge of Forever
    3- This Side of Paradise
    4- Who Mourns for Adonais?
    5- Arena
    6- Amok Time
    7- The Ultimate Computer
    8 - Operation: Annihilate!
    9 - Metamorphosis
    10 - The Devil in the Dark
    I'm a sucker for D C Fontana's and Gene Coon's best writing: spare, clean and with great dialogue.
    I met Theodore Sturgeon once at a ST convention in the seventies and I asked him to autograph my copy of a "Shore Leave" script. He was a bit surprised as all the other fans were gushing over his writing for "Amok Time". To me, "Shore Leave" was the penultimate, and Bruce Mars as Finnegan is my all time favorite guest star.
     
  3. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    I don't care for much humor in Star Trek either, but IMO the humor in Star Trek IV at least works - as opposed to Star Trek V where the humor is forced and downright painful. Scotty bonking his head on a support beam? At least in IV the humor made sense to the characters. The humor in Star Trek V makes me cringe far more than in IV. IMO the humor in Tribbles and POTA is at least true to the characters. For example, Scotty being more upset at The Enterprise being insulted than Kirk is funny because it makes sense given what we know about Scotty, where I cannot believe he would ever hit his head in a corridor, or even in a jeffries tube for that matter.
     
  4. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I always found Trek IV inappropriate on a number of levels because as the third leg of a continuing storyline that began with II, the greatest of Trek movies, it just seemed to undermine everything that had gone on before. I am not exaggerating when I say that my negative reaction to Trek IV in 1986 is what cured me of being a Trekkie for all time. After that film, I never cared again about anything new in the Trek universe. I have never seen any of the movies made after it, I only watched 1 and a half episodes of Next Generation and the Tribbles episode of Deep Space Nine and nothing else. The original series is the only Trek property I still bother with.
     
  5. Hasslein

    Hasslein Second Unit

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    1. Requiem for Methuselah - McCoy's great end monologue is now cut in syndication. Urgh!
    2. The Trouble with Tribbles
    3. Patterns of Force
    4. City on the Edge of Forever
    5. A Piece of the Action
    6. Amok Time
    7. Who Mourns for Adonais?
    8. Shore Leave - best opening teaser ever!
    9. The Way To Eden - (sorry but I LOVE the music & the episode)
    10. The Doomsday Machine
    I know it sounds silly, but Spectre of the Gun would have made my list if the crew were in cowboy attire. If only....
     
  6. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    Disappointing to learn McCoy's speech is cut. It is a wonderful monologue and so ironic given what happens immediately after it. Originally, the speech was longer and, according to Jerome Bixby, more "poetic." But DeForest Kelley couldn't keep a straight face. He apologized and said it was a nice speech, but just not right for him, so Bixby rewrote it the way it was filmed.
     
  7. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

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    Picking 10 is really hard but I'll give it a try, leaving out many favorites:
    The Menagerie
    Shore Leave
    Court Martial
    The Devil In The Dark
    The City On The Edge Of Forever
    Who Mourns For Adonais?
    The Doomsday Machine
    Journey To Babel
    The Trouble With Tribbles
    The Tholian Web
     
  8. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    In No Particular Order:
    Bread and Circuses
    Let this be your last Battlefield
    Tomorrow is Yesterday
    The Trouble with Tribbles
    Arena
    The Menagerie/The Cage
    The Doomsday Machine
    The Ultimate Computer
    The City on the Edge of Forever
    A Piece of the Action
     
  9. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Hey, as long as they were going to give us the O.K. Corral, they should have gotten Hugh O'Brian for Wyatt Earp! :D
     
  10. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    One of the great things about these kinds of lists is to see what "out of the box" episodes everyone likes. I never would have thought Bread and Circuses or Who Mourns for Adonais would make any list.
     
  11. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    While this episode is not in my top ten, I do have a soft spot for Spectre of the Gun. When I was about 10 years old (mid 1970s) I was invited to a Fourth of July party, and they had a 16mm projector there. They showed The Love Bug, a few Bugs Bunny cartoons and - oddly, thinking back on it - Spectre of the Gun and the episode of The Lucy Show where they put up the TV antenna on the roof, and later, for the adults after fireworks (I stuck around while the kids went swimming) The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn). I was fascinated as I had never seen a television show in any format other than on TV, and although the screen was not huge, it was still far bigger than any TV that existed at the time. So even now on the Fourth of July I think of Spectre of the Gun despite it having nothing to do with the holiday. That party was also the event that opened my mind to the possibility of owning and collecting movies for viewing at home. I had all these plans of owning 16mm, but by the time I was old enough to have money to do things like that home video had come around.
    As for the episode itself, I like the stage-like look of the set and yes it would have been great if they had been in cowboy attire as part of the illusion. I do think it was Kirk's fault as he persisted despite the very clear warnings. I know he was under orders, but still. My point is it just seemed a bit of a contrivance to get them into the situation before the first commercial.
     
  12. Carabimero

    Carabimero Cinematographer
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    I too have a fondness for SPECTRE OF THE GUN, and for the score, too. I love the fragmented scenery, camera angles and performances. It's definitely in my top 20.
     
  13. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    OK, I'll play:
    * The City on the Edge of Forever -- Fantastic SCI-FI premise (time travel through an alien gate!) bolstered by a script providing humor, human pathos, romance, *and* adventure. Oh, and throw in some Nazis too just for good measure! And they somehow get this all done in one 50 minute episode?? It still blows me away every time I view it! NOTE: "Let's get the *Hell* out of here!". This was one of the first times ever a four letter word was actually approved by the NBC censors for a scripted network show. I viewed this episode for the first time with a room full of college students and we all erupted with applause when the line was delivered. Of course, due to the circumstances, the expletive was more than earned!
    Amok Time -- First time to see Vulcan and to learn about that amazing 7 year cycle! The Spock/Vulcan mystique was managed well in the first season, but this episode kicked it up to a whole new level. Loved the smile at the end! Best Line: "Live Long and Prosper, Spock". "I shall do neither. I have killed my captain and my friend".
    The Doomsday Machine -- I had to move this episode up on my list following the Remastering. It now seems more like a mini-Summer movie than a episode of a TV series.
    Balance of Terror -- An exciting and worthy Introduction to the Romulans! Best -- and most ironic -- line from the ep (delivered by Mark Lenard who would soon be playing Spock's father) :
    "You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend."
    Tomorrow Is Yesterday -- This was the very first "time travel" episode (utilizing a premise established at the end of "The Naked Time") and also one of the best. I still get a kick out of Spock admitting he erred when checking the computer banks for any "relative" contribution from Captain Christopher!! Best Line: "Kirk, I'm going to lock you up for two hundred years!" "That ought to be just about right ..."
    The Devil in the Dark -- Great science fiction revolving around the concept of silicon-based life. Also, a tremendous twist on the "monster" genre. This was at a time when "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" -- airing on rival network ABC -- was seemingly more than content with just a "monster of the week" premise. Best Line: "I'm a doctor; *not* a bricklayer!!"
    Shore Leave -- Be careful what you wish for!
    The Trouble with Tribbles -- A well-played SF/Comedy romp. When I think of TOS I always see Kirk standing under that grain door with the Tribbles pouring out in seemingly endless waves! Best Line: "My chicken sandwich and coffee. This is my chicken sandwich and coffee."
    The Paradise Syndrome -- I know I'm in the minority in regarding this as a great ep, but to me this is a fantastic presentation of psycho-drama. Consider the "fascinating" concept of the crippled Enterprise under the command of Spock spending two months in crisis(!) while trying to save the lives of the innocents on the doomed planet. All of this while Kirk is on the planet (truly) falling in love and simultaneously being treated as though he were a "god". There's a lot of meat here and it's (mostly) presented well. Also, prior to the Remastering, this ep probably featured the best overall SFX of the third season.
    The Menagerie -- This two part episode *has* to be in the Top 10 if for no other reason than the way it ingeniously stitched together elements of the original unaired pilot into a cohesive, exciting, show. Of course, Captain Pike in "the chair" is one of the most indelible images ever evoked from TOS. (Right up there with Spock's ears!!) Best Line: "Don't stop me. Don't let him stop me. It's your career and Captain Pike's life. You must see the rest of the transmission."
    "Lock him up."
     
  14. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    Spectre of the Gun almost made my top ten, I crossed it off and inserted another episode but this would def make my top 15. Thumbs up to the partial sets, it really added to the atmosphere of the episode.
     
  15. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    Hi Bob,
    In canada spacecast ran the top 10 TOS episodes and their were some interesting episodes voted on by people for Canada day event a few years back
    10. Tholian Web
    9. Piece of the Action
    8. Balance of Terror
    7. Enterprise incident
    6. Amok time
    5. Doomsday Machine
    4. Trimbles
    3. Space Seed
    2. City on the edge of forever
    1. mirror mirror
     
  16. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Bryan,
    I loved what you posted above about your first experience with Spectre Of the Gun. Thanks for sharing the neat memories. :)
    Joseph,
    Awesome descriptions of why you listed the episodes you did!
    Speaking of Spectre Of the Gun (the first-produced episode from season three), I have wondered for years why Spock's Brain was shown first rather than Spectre Of the Gun, especially when the ratings were not exactly stellar at this point in the series. Lee, do you have any explanation from what you've read over the years?
     
  17. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    Yes, Scott, although I don't know if it is true or not. The theory I have seen posited is that NBC believed that Spock-centered stories were more popular (hence, Amok Time as the previous season premiere), and that they selected Spock's Brain for that reason. If the story is true, it seems that the network decided on specious grounds, since Spock is absent for much of the episode. Also, The Enterprise Incident was available, and that really was a story with a good part for Spock. But rightly or wrongly, I think the goal was to feature Mr. Spock in the season premiere.
     
  18. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Lee,
    Thanks. You know, I've never thought of The Enterprise Incident being the first-aired episode of season three. That could have been interesting.
     
  19. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    The Enemy Within
    Miri
    Balance of Terror
    Metamorphosis
    Mirror Mirror
    Trouble With Tribbles
    Wolf in the Fold
    Doomsday Machine
    Tholian Web
    Spectre of the Gun
    There are some episodes that people might be surprised at. These are more my personal top 10. I like The Enemy Within because it is a version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with more depth to it. Also I love Richard Matheson as a writer. I like the storyline in Miri and Kim Darby is very good in it. Also Yeoman Rand admits she wants Kirk to notice her. Metamorphosis is Love Story meets Star Trek. Glenn Corbett and Elinor Donahue work very well in this episode. Not a lot of fireworks but a satisfying episode. For Wolf in the Fold, Robert Bloch adapts his short story "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper," which was published in 1943 in Weird Tales. A very satisfying horror story. Spectre of the Gun has been discussed earlier. This is one time where the lack of money helped the show. Also the climax in which the gunmen were photographed using weird camera angles, camera lenses, and flashes of lightning created a nighmarish look.
    I was watching McHale's Navy and noticed that Gene Coon wrote some of the shows. Very multi-talented writer.
     
  20. Hasslein

    Hasslein Second Unit

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    Wow, I'd like to read the original speech, although the rewritten seems perfect.
     

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