Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Top 10 Star Trek TOS Episodes

I won't bore you with a lengthy intro. In order of greatness, here are my ten all-time favorite Trek TOS episodes.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

10 What Are Little Girls Made Of?
I don't recall ever seeing this on a "Top 10 Trek" list but this is my list and I'm slotting it in, so there. One thing you need to know about this one is that it features who I think is the single-most hottest chick in all of TOS. Seriously, this girl is just beautiful to look at. Okay, so what else is good? An awesome plot that addresses the notion that in the future, human beings may not be in charge. Note: There is a chilling, must-see moment when Kirk sits down next to what appears to be an android duplicate of himself. He delivers the line, "Androids don't eat, Miss Chapel..." omg

9 Errand Of Mercy
My kids and I always refer to this episode as "The Peace Lovers." This one is not often found on a "Best Of" list either but I think it's great. Kirk and Spock beam down to offer assistance to a planet of peace-loving people. These people refuse to protect themselves from a coming Klingon invasion. Kirk and Spock disguise themselves as ordinary citizens so they can blend in and avoid detection by the Klingons. But the old peace-loving f#@%ers rat them out. Oh man, do I love the scene when Kirk grabs the old dude and goes off! The surprise ending makes you think. And after all, isn't that what Trek is supposed to do?

8 The Galileo Seven
I know this is a controversial pick here, but I have a lot of love for this one. The Galileo Seven showcases the Spock character and teaches us that being logical isn't always enough. Spock and crew are trapped on an alien planet with a busted shuttlecraft. As they attempt to make repairs and return to the Enterprise, the crew is attacked by large, savage beings. But that's not what's great. The fact that Spock is in charge and making errors in judgement is what I absolutely love about this episode. But the most awesome (as in "awesome sauce") moment comes at the end, when the shuttlecraft finally achieves orbit and Spock goes for broke by jettisoning the fuel to ignite it and attract the attention of the Enterprise. Four words: Why. I. Love. Trek.

7 Amok Time
The music is legendary. The plot is awesome. And best of all, there is a battle with space shovels. To make a long story short, Spock goes into savagely horny heat and fights Kirk to the death. Nimoy does some serious acting in this one; in fact at one point he's even crying. Damn, Spock musta been horny. Despite seeing this one about seven thousand times and having grown a bit tired of it as a result, I still have to put Amok Time in my top ten... it just does so many things right.

6 Arena
I remember being scared out of my ass as a little kid seeing this. I was probably five or six at the time, and I'm telling you I think I shit my pajamas at one point. Arena has been attacked for the obvious "man in suit" Gorn and his suuuuper slooooww movement battling against Kirk. But if you can overlook that, you may find this one of the best TOS episodes ever. The drama builds as Kirk scans the desert planet looking for a way to defeat the Gorn. Kirk spares the Gorn's life and then a tinkly gay guy appears and says he is pleased humanity is not so brutal after all. Good stuff.

5 Mirror Mirror
Spock with a goatee = bad-ass. An electrical storm rages through space and the Enterprise cruises into it as a parallel universe unfolds. We get to see Walter Koenig deliver his best acting ever. The back-stabbing nature of the "evil" Enterprise crew is really exciting to watch, especially the scenes where Chekov and Sulu start f#@%ing with Kirk. Seriously, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining TOS episode.

4 The Doomsday Machine
Great episode with loads of drama. Okay, so the "planet killer" resembles a Chinese finger trap, but then again I never watched TOS for the visuals alone. There are two sequences I absolutely love. First, the scene where McCoy is trying to convince Spock to take command of the Enterprise from Decker. Second, the unbelievably nerve-wracking scene near the end where Kirk is waiting for Scotty to beam him to safety seconds before ramming into the doomsday machine. Still waiting for Scotty to get his shit together and beam him aboard, Shatner delivers his line perfectly, saying, "Misterrrr... Scott..."

3 Space Seed
Space Seed may not have the deepest Trek plot, but it more than makes up for that deficiency thanks to the sheer acting and charismatic essence that is Ricardo Montalban. One of my favorite moments here -- and there are a lot of them -- is when Khan and Kirk sit down across from each other to intimidate like nobody's business. In the end, Khan and crew are banished to Ceti Alpha V. The line at the end of this episode sets up The Wrath of Khan perfectly... Spock tells Kirk that if they were to look-in on Khan in ten years, "It would be interesting to see what crop sprouted" from the seed they planted... KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!

2 The Corbomite Maneuver
This is why I love Star Trek, right here. Forget the stupid puppet head Balok set up, this kicks ass regardless. There are so many dramatic moments and tactical bits in this episode it just floors me every time I watch it. And I've seen it at least twenty times. One particular sequence puts the hairs up on the back of my neck to this day: After dispatching a pesky space buoy, Spock contacts Kirk via speakerphone from the bridge and says, "Another ship, captain. This one much larger, heading toward us." And damn if he wasn't kidding.

1 The City On The Edge Of Forever
From a standpoint of pure Trek greatness -- or sci-fi greatness for that matter -- this is the benchmark. With its compelling time travel plot by acclaimed author and all-around asshole, Harlan Ellison, City will captivate you like no other Trek episode can. DeForest Kelley delivers the performance of his career. If everything TOS was to go up in flames and only one episode could be saved, it would be this one. THAT is how good this is.

Other episodes I have to give honorable mention:
The Trouble With Tribbles
The Cage (Parts 1 & 2)
The Man Trap
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Balance Of Terror
A Piece Of The Action
The Gamesters Of Triskelion
A Private Little War
The Omega Glory

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