I was recently hired as a Senior .NET Developer at a new company, and most of my time has been taken architecting a revamp of the system in order to increase stability and reduce coupling. I figured I'd take a break and get down to a post I've been meaning to do for awhile for a friend of mine who has never watched the original series of Star Trek.
Special Episode: "The Cage"
A Little History
When we think of the original Star Trek, we usually think of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Gene Roddenberry originally pitched a very Star Trek to the network, but they felt it was "too cerebral." The network executives also had problems with a certain pointy eared science officer and a female first officer, telling Roddenberry he could only keep one. Spock stayed on and the actress for the first officer, Majel Barrett, played a different character (and later married Roddenberry).
Fitting In the Timeline
"The Cage" is considered canon for the series and does take place before the pilot episode. However, the episode isn't referenced in future episodes with one exception. A later episode in Season 1, "The Menagerie" is the series' only two-part episode and acts as a frame around most of the scenes from "The Cage."
Skip this episode, only because almost all of it is seen in "The Menagerie" later in the season. If you find the "The Menagerie" particularly good, go back and watch "The Cage" after you've finished watching the rest of the show.
Note: The order appears different than the aired order (and possibly Netflix) because the shows were aired out of production order. Uniforms, crew, and bridge equipment all were changed through the first season, so I'll list the episodes in production order, which will be less jarring to the viewer.
- Where No Man Has Gone Before
- The Corbomite Maneuver
- Mudd's Women
- The Enemy Within
- The Man Trap
- The Naked Time
- Charlie X
- Balance of Terror
- What Are Little Girls Made Of?
- Dagger of the Mind
The Conscience of the King
- The Galileo Seven
- Court Martial
- The Menagerie (The series' one and only two-part episode)
- Shore Leave
- The Squire of Gothos
The Alternative Factor
- Tomorrow is Yesterday
- The Return of the Archons
- A Taste of Armageddon
- Space Seed (This episode will serve as a backstory for one of the films)
- This Side of Paradise
- The Devil In the Dark
- Errand of Mercy
- The City on the Edge of Forever (The most critically acclaimed show of the series, written by Harlan Ellison)
- Operation: Annihilate!
- Friday's Child
- Who Mourns for Adonais?
- Amok Time
- The Doomsday Machine
Wolf in the Fold
- The Changeling
- Mirror, Mirror
- The Deadly Years
- I, Mudd
- The Trouble with Tribbles (Bonus: there is a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "Trials and Tribblations" that frames this episode)
Bread and Circuses
- Journey to Babel
- A Private Little War
- The Gamesters of Triskelion
- The Immunity Syndrome
- A Piece of the Action
- By Any Other Name
- Return to Tomorrow (Fun fact: Both this episode and "Is There No Truth in Beauty" guest star Diana Muldaur, who also played Doctor Pulaski in season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Patterns of Force
- The Ultimate Computer
- The Omega Glory
- Assignment: Earth (This was meant to be the pilot for a spin-off, but wasn't picked up. Guest starring Teri Garr)
Gene Roddenbery turned over the day-to-day operations over to another producer due to exhaustion, frustration with NBC over the slashed budget and terrible timeslot (10:00pm Fridays). His reduced involvement shows in the terrible quality of episodes in this season.
Spectre of the Gun
Elaan of Troyius
- The Paradise Syndrome
- The Enterprise Incident
And the Children Shall Lead
- Is There in Truth No Beauty?
- The Tholian Web
- For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
- Day of the Dove
- Plato's Stepchildren
Wink of an Eye
That which Survives
- ~~Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
- Whom Gods Destroy
The Mark of Gideon
The Lights of Zetar
The Cloud Minders
The Way to Eden (Damn space hippies)
Requiem for Methuselah
The Savage Curtain (Abraham Lincoln give it 5/7)
- All Our Yesterdays
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
AKA Star Trek: The Pajama Party. There isn't a lot of action in this, but it is definitely worth watching. The writing, acting, and visuals all hold up well, but it's definitely a lot more serious than most of the television shows and is certainly an animal all it's own in the realm of Star Trek.
Fun Fact 1: Star Trek: The Motion Picture was directed by Robert Wise who also directed Citizen Kane (1941), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), The West Side Story (1961), and The Andromeda Strain (1971).
Fun Fact 2: This was originally to be a sequel television series named Star Trek: Phase II, but after the box office success of Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Paramount cancelled production of Phase II and adapted the pilot into a feature film.
Fun Fact 3: Final Production cost $46 million and made about $139 million worldwide (or about $144 million and $434 million respectively, adjusted for 2016 inflation).
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
One of the most popular science-fiction films of all time. Even sci-fi fans who don't know anything about The Original Series would like this film, and it carries some of the most memorable moments in Star Trek and sci-fi history.
Fun Fact: While Kirk and his antagonist talk to each other many times in the film, neither were actually on set at the same time.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
A direct sequel to Wrath of Khan. This film was fulfilling than either of the previous two, but still a fun watch. The Search for Spock smells heavily of the 80s and is missing some of the pollish that the other films have, but there are some memorable moments and it sets up the next film nicely.
Fun Fact: Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future's Doc Brown) as a bad-ass Klingon.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
The last film of the II/III/IV trilogy. Definitely much more lighthearted than most of the other Trek Films, but not in a campy way. I like the film and, while it's not my favorite, it has the highest score on Rotten Tomatoes of any of the Original Series films.
Fun Fact: After seeing the whale footage in the film, nature activists protested the 'bothering' of the creatures, which were in fact animatronic miniatures.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Just don't watch this piece of garbage. Have a couple of drinks and work through it. This film is totally separate from any of the others. It has a couple of good lines, but be ready for lots of hammy acting.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
One of my favorites. Undiscovered Country wraps the series up nicely. While not dependent on the II/III/IV storyline, it does reference it in several places. Plenty of "guest stars": Kim Cattrall, Christian Slater, Christopher Plummer, David Warner, Rosanna DeSoto, Iman, Brok Peters, John Schuck, Kurtwood Smith, René Auberjonois, and Michael Dorn.