And here’s my list of favorite episodes of Original Series Star Trek. I DID make a numbered list because at the time of this writing, I felt that would be easier. We’ll see if that turns out to be true… These are in no particular order except for the ones towards the end, assuming I remember.
10 ) I, Mudd
I actually really like the character of Harry Mudd. While Picard and Sisko would be vexed by omnipotent space gods, Kirk’s greatest nemesis was a sleazy space pimp on the run from his wife. I, Mudd is funny, clever and contains the kind of bizarre weirdness that I don’t see much of on Star Trek. Granted, bizarre weirdness maybe doesn’t have much of a place on Star Trek (at least until Janeway turns into a lizard.) but it’s still something I enjoy seeing. And Kirk leaving Harry on a planet to be yelled at by his horrible wife shows a vindictive side to Kirk which I find hilarious.
9 ) A Piece of the Action
Trek did a lot of shitty “Just-like-Earth” planets during its three seasons but this was definitely one of the best. The justification for a planet made up of gangsters actually made… well, I guess sense is the best word for it. It was certainly a better justification than that parallel development horseshit. Shatner is clearly having a good time in this one and Spock is dryly hilarious. Also I enjoy Kirk trying to figure out how to drive.
8 ) The Enterprise Incident
I’ll flat out admit it, I love seeing Kirk and Spock switch roles for this one. By season three, we were seeing more and more of Kirk and less and less of anyone else, so an episode based on Spock seducing the mysterious and awesome Female Romulan Commander was a nice change. The episode itself is actually quite excellent too.
7 ) Amok Time
Another great Spock episode. The beginning of Season 2 was the perfect place to start going into more detail about Spock, his world and his history. He is clearly the character on Trek that we know the least about just by virtue of his not being human. This episode had a huge hand in building what was to come in the Star Trek universe and the shots of it that were redone for the series’ rerelease are completely breathtaking. Some of the most gorgeous shots in the series. My only complaint is the return of the legendary Kirk vs Spock music to every single piece of shit fight the cast would get themselves into as the series marched on.
6 ) The Devil in the Dark
This one’s an old favorite and one of the first original Treks I can remember watching when I was a kid. It’s an interesting take on the classic ‘monster picking people off’ scenario. I talked a lot about Trek-as-horror during the first season and this is an excellent example. Especially the reveal at the end that the Horta is not just benevolent but also intelligent. It’s certainly a concept that’s been done before but I love how it was done here.
5 ) The City on the Edge of Forever
This one features on the lists of top Star Trek episodes everywhere and it should. It’s a great fish out of water story for Kirk and Spock. You genuinely believe that Kirk has fallen for the doomed Edith Keeler and her death at the end is completely heart-breaking as Kirk gives up everything to save his ship, his crew and his future. And unlike Kirk’s many other “great loves” throughout the series, you really felt that Edith Keeler mattered.
4 ) Journey to Babel
I’ve said before that I’m not particularly interested in politics unless they’re science fiction. It was true in DS9 and it’s just as true here. And the space politics are just the icing on the cake! We also get to meet Spock’s family and work through his elaborate daddy issues. And if THAT wasn’t enough, we get Kirk acting like a complete and utter fucking bad ass as maintains command of the Enterprise with a knife in his back. Completely awesome.
3 ) The Corbomite Maneuver
This one was an early shot of exactly what Star Trek can do. A tense little submarine battle between the Enterprise and the menacing Balok puppet. I loved it. We talk a lot about padding as the series wears on and Corbomite Maneuver is the exact opposite. The long dramatic silences just make the action more exciting.
2 ) The Trouble with Tribbles
My favorite when I was a kid. I must have rented this episode from my video store a hundred times. It’s certainly the episode I’ve seen the most and I still never get sick of it. Trouble with Tribbles is genuinely funny and also well crafted. The plot keeps moving. Fun fact: In elementary, I built my own Tribble out of fake fur and stuffing. And by built, I mean sewed. I was extremely popular at my school, thanks for asking.
1 ) The Doomsday Machine
The best thing about making the Post Atomic Horror is that I got to see a lot of episodes of Star Trek that I had never watched before. My greatest regret was that I never got to see the Doomsday Machine before because this episode is fucking awesome. The Enterprise vs a giant Death Funnel should not be as exciting as this. Another tense submarine episode like the Corbomite Maneuver but with the added drama of Commodore Dekker’s descent into madness over the loss of his ship and his awesome final sacrifice. Easily my favorite of the series.