In December 2014 I first listed EVERY episode of Star Trek for Playboy dot com. My achievement got a bit of attention. Years later Playboy did a redesign and nuked the story and my other contributions. I tried contacting later regimes but my messages were ignored.
Years later another website was willing to publish the older piece, but with a new coat of paint. I incorporated the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery, and also addressed the feature films, which were ignored in the earlier version. I submitted my work, was paid, and then the piece never published.
In the interim there has been a third season of Discovery, a first season of Picard, and a season of Lower Decks (which I absolutely love.) LD‘s second season is just around the corner, followed by another animated series, Prodigy, which is the first Trek made explicitly “for kids.” So the unpublished piece is no longer current. It does not seem likely that I will be threading this more recent (and imminent) material into my Big Ranking, but never say never.
ANYWAY, I do get asked, periodically, “whatever happened to your Star Trek ranking?” And I’ve been kinda vague about it. But now I figure if even one person out there wants to read it (or just skim it) it’s silly to just keep it on an enormous .Pages file on my hard drive.
To that end: here is the list. It’s from 1966 to 2019. (Well, technically, January 2020.)
There is a sidebar for movies, and also for Short Treks, plus a tiny blurb about books. The original intent was that the package would have some visual razzle dazzle.
But I am a writer, dammit, not a designer. There is also no art here. You are getting a gigantic block of text and nothing else. It’ll load faster this way. And if you want to read more of my writing about Star Trek at, say, The Guardian, or the LA Times or Polygon or at The Guardian again, please do.
There’s nothing that compares with Star Trek.
Doctor Who may have more episodes. Star Wars may have more action figures. Lord of the Rings may have more made-up languages. But for a cultural footprint in the Land of Nerd, Star Trek is the one. Nothing has inspired more debate, more passion or more wedgies.
We stand at a precipice. Star Trek: Picard is the first return of beloved characters since Shatner and Nimoy got back into uniform for Star Trek: The Motion Picture following a 10 year gap. The wait between Star Trek: Nemesis and now is a little over 17 years.
Oh sure, there have been two prequel series and a film trilogy in a breakaway timeline that’s had continuing performers or characters. But Picard coming back feels different. It’s a reminder to anyone who doubted that this universe, expanded upon by so many different creative voices, will continue to expand, even if the conventions of modern television are more action packed than old days when people had time to dress up like Sherlock Holmes.
So before we dive in, let’s sum up. Here, and I’m not kidding now, is all of Star Trek, ranked.
First, my methods:
1) I have ranked every episode of every series. If it is a two-parter with the same title (e.g. “Best of Both Worlds, Part I” and “Best of Both Worlds, Part II”) it only counts as one. You might think this gives them an unfair advantage, but the truth is it balances out better this way. Most of the two-parters start out incredible but whiff toward the end.
2) Even though much of Deep Space Nine and basically all of Discovery is part of larger arcs, so long as an episode has an individual title, it counts as one independent entry.
3) The unaired pilot “The Cage” doesn’t count. I don’t care that it’s been released on every home video format.
4) The Animated Series counts. Because The Animated Series rules.
5) The movies, with their larger budgets, longer run times and no pauses for commercials are broken out into a sidebar. It would be unfair to put them in the master list.
6) Short Treks, CBS All Access’ new snack-sized bits of bonus content, is similarly put into its own sidebar. They are too small to compete with even the least Trek episode.
7) And most importantly: even the worst things on this list, the ones that have inspired me to say nasty things, are terrific. When you love something as thoroughly and as truly as I love Star Trek, then you love it when it fumbles just as much as when it soars.
So grab some raktijino. You’re gonna be up late with this one.
* * *
Star Trek is a television show that just so happened to have ended up on the big screen thirteen times. Luckily for us, most of those times were good. Some of them were absolutely perfect, and can even be enjoyed by people who think Star Trek is for weirdos, creeps and losers. Here is how they rank.
13) Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), J.J. Abrams
It’s not the execution that is bad — Mr. Abrams knows how to keep the engines moving, where to put the camera and how to get good performances. It is the idea. And “bad” isn’t just it, it’s abhorrent. Not only does Into Darkness fundamentally botch what makes this franchise great, it does so by sullying one of its shining hours. A pox on this miserable film.
12) Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), Stuart Baird
Thank God for Star Trek: Picard. For too long this has been our final vision of the TNG crew and, oof, it is pretty rancid. Lifeless and meandering, even with a young Tom Hardy as clone Picard. Everyone should have abandoned ship by this point.
11) Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), Jonathan Frakes
This isn’t bad it is just ordinary. And a Star Trek film shouldn’t be ordinary. Despite the large budget and expanded running time, this just feels like a typical episode that would rate somewhere around #625 on the big list.
10) Star Trek Generations (1994), David Carson
Here’s the thing: the prologue, with Kirk’s first death, is absolutely perfect. The shift to TNG is merely good. Then the “handoff” section in the Nexus has the double-problem of being devoid of drama and making no sense. The stakes were way too high for this movie and it couldn’t quite come together. The TNG finale, written by the same team at about the same time, is far superior.
9) Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), William Shatner
You got a problem with Sybok you got a problem with me! This is a dumb movie (and, man, do the seams show) but the performances are all solid. This is not as bad as you remember, believe me. Marshmellons!
8) Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984), Leonard Nimoy
Coming between two masterpieces (and with its best character off-screen) it certainly doesn’t measure up. And Christopher Lloyd shouting “Give me Genesis!!!” isn’t so much screenwriting as what 11-year-old kids playing in the backyard would ad-lib. Still, it’s the characters we love involved in a larger dramatic arc that means something. And Bones rules.
7) Star Trek (2009), J.J. Abrams
If you spend too much time dwelling on the plot of this movie — or any J.J. Abrams movie, for that matter — it quickly falls apart. Still, it absolutely hums. More importantly, the casting across the board is absolutely perfect. It also looks great. Sometimes I think about how poorly a rebooted Star Trek film franchise could have gone and I realize how lucky we got. The Spock-Spock Prime scene makes me cry every time. “I implied.”
6) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Nicholas Meyer
Every time I watch fireworks there’s always that one explosion that has a clustered center and then an outwardly expanding ring of color and I inevitably point and say “it’s the destruction of Praxis!” Whether or not it gets a laugh depends on who is with me.
5) Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Robert Wise
Some people call this movie boring. Those people are fools. This movie is deliberate. And it is absolutely gorgeous. With a giant budget and all the time in the galaxy, each of Gene Roddenberry’s weirdo predilections are on display. This movie is what I like to call “The Full Rod,” and I love it.
4) Star Trek Beyond (2016), Justin Lin
Pine, Quinto, Urban, Saldana, Pegg, Cho, Yelchin, Deep Roy, the gal who plays Jaylah. This is stellar casting and with this script they all get to have fun. The Kelvin Timeline movies look absolutely terrific but the 2009 film was all about set-up. Into Darkness ended up being a travesty. But here, finally, the pay off. Part of me wishes this crew would come back again (and with Star Trek we should know to never count anything out) but if this weird, alternative footnote is all over, this ends on such a perfect note it is hard to complain.
3) Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Jonathan Frakes
“Jean-Luc, blow up the damn ship!!” “No! NOOOO!!! I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! THIS FAR AND NO FURTHER! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!” Also: this is a zombie movie in space.
2) Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Leonard Nimoy
Being a young lad and seeing this in a theater was one of the great experiences of my childhood. A double dumbass on you if you think I’m fooling. The sci fi is still there but this is simply one of the all time great comedies. It’s pure joy.
1) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Nicholas Meyer
It kills me every time. Every time. It’s such a rich story, the performances are so great, the energy, the thrills, the dialogue and then, of course, the scene. This is the obvious pick for best movie for a reason. And if you have someone in your life who has never seen a moment of Star Trek and is either terrified about the vastness of its corpus or simply thinks they won’t like it, show them this. No one can deny this movie’s greatness. It’s for the good of the many.
Star Trek: Discovery’s launch of streaming service CBS All Access got a lot of people signed up for a new monthly bill. In time, once Picard and Lower Decks and Section 31 and who knows what else are coming in like clockwork we won’t go a week without some new interplanetary adventures. But for now we need incentives not to cancel. Hence these very short snippets, all but two set in the Discovery sphere-of-influence. They are more like snacks than a meal, hence not in the master ranking, but luckily most are enjoyable.
10) “The Girl Who Made The Stars”
I respect that, with Short Treks, the franchise is pulling all the levers to get as many people on board as they can. Even little kids. But this is just bad writing and putrid animation. Clone Wars looks better than this, and I’ve never been able to watch more than ten minutes of Clone Wars. (Luckily, this is only eight.)
9) “Children of Mars”
What the hell is going on here? I guess there was a bunch of money left over from the first season of Star Trek: Picard so they figured a music video to Peter Gabriel’s version of Bowie’s “Heroes” was a good way to spend it. The 9/11-ish attack on Mars is going to be a big story beat for the new series, but I don’t know how watching two school kids making snarly faces at one another is going to add to that. This doesn’t really connect with me, sorry.
8) “The Trouble With Edward”
This was an amusing idea that got way, way out of hand. It’s not really that funny, but comedy is more subjective than anything else. What’s annoying is that nobody is really behaving in a very Starfleet manner.
7) “The Brightest Star”
Saru is one of the coolest characters and Doug Jones is so great, but every time they dig into his home planet it comes up short. Maybe the mystery is where it’s at with this one. I mean, we still don’t understand what makes a Soong-type android tick.
I like Tilly, so a cute little scene of her talking down a scared intruder is welcome. Then she showed up again in Discovery season two, so I felt like the extra effort I put in watching this paid off.
5) “Ephraim and Dot”
A very fun, very energetic Looney Tunes-ish animated whirl through TOS canon from the eyes of a zippy tardigrade. I let out a legit lol seeing Abraham Lincoln.
4) “The Escape Artist”
Another visit from Rainn Wilson’s Harry Mudd. Fun punchline. It’s a quality bonus.
Rebecca Romijn’s Number One didn’t get enough screen time in Discovery season two, so this little b-side flashback mitigates that. Getting stuck in a turbolift is cheapo writing crutch, but it’s a great few minutes between she and the terrific Ethan Peck.
A wonderful and touching little story about a man alone with an AI, and the only Short Trek that feels big enough to exist on its own. It’s set so far in the future that connecting it to canon doesn’t even matter. As this came from Michael Chabon, upon whose shoulders a lot of future Trek rests, it is very comforting to know how good this is.
1) “Ask Not”
I absolutely adore Anson Mount’s Captain Pike. This tiny thing is really just a scene, but it’s a wonderful scene that lasers in on the “what would it be like?” to live a Starfleet life. This is the minutiae that drives so much Star Trek fandom and this little window is pure catnip.
So many Star Trek books have been published that it’s tough to even find an accurate count. Wikipedia approximates it at 850. But are we only talking about novels and short story collections? What about e-books? What about technical manuals, collected essays and humor books? What about, heaven help us, comic books? It’s a whole parallel universe out there, and it’s pretty bendable canon, too, so best not to worry too much.
Compared to an average Earther, I have read a lot of Star Trek novels, but to some I’m still year one of the Academy. Still, here are five titles I recommend, in the order they were published, just to give you a little taste of what’s out there in the world of Trek Lit.
1) Spock Must Die! (1970), James Blish
This is the first (non kiddie) Trek book, penned by celebrate sci fi author James Blish. It’s all about the transporter (uh, do you, like, die when you go through? Yeah, you kinda do) and James Joyce. It’s not really essential, but it’s the first of hundreds and it really moves, so why not start here?
2) Spock’s World (1989), Diane Duane
If you ever wondered how some super hardcore Trekkies could start dropping facts, but you’re thinking “gee, I don’t remember that episode?” It’s all coming from mythos-rich novels like this one. As you might have gleaned from the title, this presents the history of Vulcan, as well as a ripping yarn for our classic crew.
3) Imzadi (1992), Peter David
The great Peter David has an entire series (“New Frontier”) to his name, but of the many titles he’s known for, nothing was as big a hit as this. It’s backstory on Troi and Riker’s early romance (with an appearance from the Guardian of Forever) and is sweet, tender, thrilling and even a little erotic.
4) Vanguard – Harbinger (2005), David Mack
There’s a whole galaxy of books-only series, and none are as creative and juicy as the Vanguard series, set on a space station during the TOS era. This is the one that kicks off the bunch with a slew of dynamite characters, loads of intrigue and a terrific central mystery.
5) The Enterprise War (2019), John Jackson Miller
This is not just recency bias. This prequel to Discovery’s spin on Pike and Spock is, above anything else, really good writing. Even if this wasn’t about the characters we love, it would still be a great sci fi book worth reading.
AND NOW, FINALLY, THE LIST:
714) “Shades of Gray” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
A clips episode? What is this, The Partridge Family? This is a disgrace! Don’t give me excuses about a writer’s strike, this is television sewage.
713) “And the Children Shall Lead” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Insufferable and annoying and impossible to follow. This has the logic of a William S. Burroughs cut-up experiment with the added value of wretched kid actors. Dr. McCoy beaming at the end as young ‘uns mourn their dead parents is one of the all time “what the hell am I watching?” moments. Only value: obscure trivia factoid concerning the movie Zodiac. (You can Google it yourself.)
712) “Code of Honor” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Lt. Yar runs afoul of a planet run totally inhabited by dudes from early 80s 7-Up commercials. Not the show’s finest hour – indeed, it’s flabbergastingly racist.
711) “Threshold” (Voyager, Season 2)
Tom Paris takes his shuttle to Warp 10 and is “at all points of the Universe at one.” This changes him into a salamander, and he then kidnaps Janeway, turns her into a salamander, too, and MATES with her. Chakotay yanks them away and they maroon the out-of-space-and-time offspring down on a bog planet. What. The. Hell. I personally witnessed Brannon Braga disavow this episode.
710) “These Are The Voyages . . .” (Enterprise, Season 4)
This ranks so low mostly on principle. What an insult to the NX-01 and her crew that Enterprise‘s final episode ends up being more about Riker and Troi than Archer, Trip, T’Pol and the others. I get it – tie it in to the larger franchise, sure. But a TNG-era holodeck scenario feels like fan fiction more than a conclusion. Bad play. The producers have since apologized on the con circuit.
709) “Masks” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Do you want to see Brent Spiner act his guts out and make a bunch of Jim Carrey-esque voices? You may think that you do, but no. No, you don’t.
708) “Move Along Home” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Unlike “Spock’s Brain,” which is horrible but somewhat endearing, this is horrible and annoying. Our team is trapped in a deadly board game and when Kira does a dopey musical chant it’s enough to make you unplug your television chuck it out the window. Allamaraine!
707) “Precious Cargo” (Enterprise, Season 2)
The Princess and the Pod? Trip is stuck with a haughty captive played by international film star Padma Lakshmi. A boardroom decision to bring a wider audience to Enterprise, sure, but, oof, this episode sucks.
706) “A Fistful of Datas” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
While this old west holodeck tale has inspired some nice cosplay, it is a storytelling disaster.
705) “If Wishes Were Horses” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Holosuite characters running around the station, including Rumpelstiltskin. Abominable.
704) “Elementary, Dear Data” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Data as Sherlock Holmes. Everyone who called you a wiener for liking Trek had this episode in mind.
703) “Bem” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
Not all of the animated stuff is bad. But this one creeps me out to no end for some reason. Maybe something happened to me when I was a kid watching this. Let’s move on.
702) “Tattoo” (Voyager, Season 2)
There might be nothing more forced and hackneyed than Chakotay’s “spiritual” backstory. Shabby writing, horrible acting. Humiliating all around.
701) “Twisted” (Voyager, Season 2)
A spatial distortion runs havoc on the set. No one can find a bathroom. When things eventually right themselves, Neelix serves cake.
700) “Cathexis” (Voyager, Season 1)
A non-corporeal being is floating around the ship and possessing people. Chakotay, almost dead and in sick bay, is able to use his powers (being a Native American?) to send his spirit into others to combat this. Horrible and offensive.
699) “The Empath” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Aghhh! Trapped in space with a mime. A nightmare.
698) “Marauders” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Our enterprise crew gets all Seven Samurai against the Klingons in aid of some simple miners. The story gets away from the writers, big time.
697) “Profit and Lace” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
I love some of the Ferengi episodes. But Grand Nagus Zek’s political woes and cross-dressing Quark are just a bit too much.
696) “The Q and the Grey” (Voyager, Season 3)
Stop trying to shove Q in the other series! Q wants Janeway to carry his child? The Continuum needs the crew to stop a Q civil war? How bout getting us back to the Alpha Quadrant first?
695) “Ex Post Facto” (Voyager, Season 1)
Tom Paris is supposed to be a renegade bad boy but he looks like a 1950s soda jerk. They eventually tweaked the character to fit the actor better, fear not. But in this one he allegedly kills someone, but Tuvok proves him innocent. Shrug.
694) “Let He Who Is Without Sin” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Other than confirming that Dax has spots all the way down her leg, this Risa-themed episode is pointless.
693) “Darkling” (Voyager, Season 3)
Robert Picardo as The Doctor was terrific so the producers kept placing him front and center of shows – but the character is usually best on the sidelines. His programming matrix being invaded by historical holograms is silly for too many reasons to count.
692) “The Jihad” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
This one has a giant glowing shoelace at the end. Yes, it does deal with Holy War, but not in any controversial way. This series was targeted at kids, you know.
691) “Vis à Vis” (Voyager, Season 4)
A sick alien plays doppelgänger with members of the crew. You’ve seen this one before, but better.
690) “Second Sight” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Sisko gets a girlfriend. Turns out she doesn’t have his interests at heart. This one is all kinds of unfortunate.
689) “Albatross” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
Being an interstellar doctor ain’t easy. A planet McCoy previously inoculated caught some plague and now they’re furious. Also: our crew is turning blue.
688) “Elogium” (Voyager, Season 2)
Space pheromones make Kes nubile. Frankly, her sexuality is too freaky to think about. She looks like a grown woman but she’s only a year or so old? Make this stop. Send this character away. Replace her with Jeri Ryan. Anyway, should Voyager become a generation ship, or keep pushing for a faster route home? That’s today’s question.
687) “Fair Haven” (Voyager, Season 6)
Holodeck episode, this time in an Irish village. I’m sure Kate Mulgrew appreciated getting to use “different tones on her instrument” in this lovey-dovey vacation episode, but the Holodeck isn’t real. The Holodeck episodes are always annoying.
686) “The Passenger” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
The undead Jason Bourne is running around the station. Not good for Promenade business.
685) “Spirit Folk” (Voyager, Season 6)
Holodeck characters become sentient. Again. Someone needs to fix this.
684) “Rise” (Voyager, Season 3)
Neelix and the Great Glass Elevator.
683) “Ashes to Ashes” (Voyager, Season 6)
An alien is reanimated and having trouble adjusting to her undead life. Don’t our characters trying to get out of the Delta Quadrant have their own problems?
682) “Concerning Flight” (Voyager, Season 4)
Holodeck Leonardo DaVinci helps fight space pirates. Might even be more annoying than Data’s Sherlock Holmes episodes, if you can believe such a thing.
681) “Meridian” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
I’m all for Kira dating, but not someone who keeps phasing in and out of our corporeal dimension. I mean, what would their registry look like?
680) “Alter Ego” (Voyager, Season 3)
Harry Kim falls in love in the holodeck. You’d think by now they’d know not to do this.
679) “Rules of Engagement” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Another in a long line of Worf being pulled between two worlds. Standard, but this episode wins some points for some innovative camera moves – a rarity on the show, to be frank.
678) “Parturition” (Voyager, Season 2)
Tom Paris and Neelix bond when they hatch a baby reptilian alien. Good for them.
677) “The Muse” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Jake Sisko finds his Mrs. Robinson, who feeds off his creative energy when he’s working on a story. Yeah, a sci-fi writer’s fantasy to be sure.
676) “Parallax” (Voyager, Season 1)
It’s early days on the ship and we’re still getting to know the characters. B’Elanna Torres quickly differentiates herself as a force to be reckoned with, and a nice mirror to Captain Janeway. The actual plot, about a trapped vessel, is secondary.
675) “Fair Trade” (Voyager, Season 3)
Neelix learns a valuable lesson about honesty. It’s hard to be a Neelix-booster (which I totally am) and be reminded of episodes like this.
674) “Fascination” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Lwaxana Troi is emitting lust dust. Every series in this franchise needs an episode where everyone makes out with each another. I don’t make the rules.
673) “Learning Curve” (Voyager, Season 1)
If the ship is run by bio-neural gel packs does that mean it can get sick? Yes, it does. Also, just because a Maquis crew is told “you’re Starfleet” doesn’t automatically get them up to code. Time to discipline the crew.
672) “Fury” (Voyager, Season 6)
A baffling timeline shift episode that is predicated on the thought that we in the audience were itching to see Kes again. Not the case.
671) “Daedalus” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The inventor of the transporter shows up for a visit. And, in doing so, reminds us just how awkward a poorly written episode of Star Trek could be.
670) “The Cloud” (Voyager, Season 1)
There’s an energy crisis and Janeway really wants some coffee. (Take that Picard and your wussy Earl Grey!) A spooky nebula may be able to charge the ship’s batteries but, wouldn’t you know it, it isn’t just a cloud it is a nucleogenic being that may be sentient. And needs our help!
669) “The 37’s” (Voyager, Season 2)
A rusty old Ford is found floating in space. It’s a puzzling concept and Tom Paris will now need to – whoa did Captain Janeway just order a Blue Alert? A BLUE ALERT!??! They make them in blue????
668) “Haven” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Lwaxana Troi eventually became a good character. But in Season 1, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was clearly the boss’ wife. #diss
667) “Emanations” (Voyager, Season 1)
What if our plane of existence is another culture’s after life? Like, when they die, they come here. Whoa. This episode fizzles but that concept: Whoa.
666) “The Killing Game” (Voyager, Season 4)
A somewhat baffling two-parter in which the Hirogen trap the crew on the Holodeck for a “Most Dangerous Game” scenario, only they think they’re in World War II. Nice to see Jeri Ryan in 1940s fashions though.
665) “Oasis” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Survivors of a crashed ship living with holograms. Predictable by this stage of the Star Trek game.
664) “Rivals” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Dr. Bashir wears a tight silver jumpsuit and plays racquetball. (This is the B-story, but, alas, the more memorable story.)
663) “Ferengi Love Songs” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Rom and Leeta get married. Listen, you were invited, too, so you have to go.
662) “False Profits” (Voyager, Season 3)
Those Ferengi from TNG ended up in the Delta Quadrant, where they pass themselves off as Gods. They’re getting’ oomox mornin’, noon & night, but Voyager is here to spoil their fun.
661) “Heroes and Demons” (Voyager, Season 1)
Oof, a holodeck story. Rarely a good sign. But this nicely draws out The Doctor and his loyalty to the crew (and their affection for him.) He’s the only one who can “go in” to the program and rescue them because, y’know, he’s not real.
660) “Coda” (Voyager, Season 3_
Janeway crash lands after engaging the Viidians and yaps with her father during a near death experience. Maybe there was a better way to explore her backstory?
659) “Macrocosm” (Voyager, Season 3)
Standard episode with a microbial toxin floating around, but some extra ick factor went into the makeup and effects on this one.
658) “Lonely Among Us” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
The Enterprise-D’s first run-in with a hostile energy cloud. There will be more. Also, Data’s love of Sherlock Holmes is born. Ugh, if we could have stopped it here before the holodeck.
657) “Persistence of Vision” (Voyager, Season 2)
The whole ship starts hallucinating and freaking out. We freak out with them.
656) “Innocence” (Voyager, Season 2)
Logical Tuvok must protect a group of emotional children. They turn out not to be what they seem, which for anyone who has watched Star Trek is just an enormous NO DUH!
655) “The Thaw” (Voyager, Season 2)
Do you want to see Michael McKean in space clown makeup? Think long and hard before you answer.
654) “Extreme Risk” (Voyager, Season 5)
Five years in and B’Elanna is still getting “we’re your family now” pep talks?
653) “Q2” (Voyager, Season 7)
A final appearance from Q, this time with his rascally son. By Voyager‘s seventh season, the tone for something like this is totally off. We’re beyond this, no offense to you, Q.
652) “Aquiel” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
LaForge falls in love with a murder suspect. Typical Geordi luck. There’s an evil space dog in this one.
651) “Minefield” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Archer and Malcolm Reed give one another a whole bunch of tough love when he’s pinned to the hull of a ship as the destruction clock is ticking.
650) “Valiant” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
War is bad for children. This episode is here to remind you of that.
649) “Chrysalis” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Dr. Bashir’s fellow enhanced crazies are back. Dating tips follow.
648) “The Battle” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Wants to be TNG’s “Balance of Terror.” Mostly about headaches.
647) “Cold Fire” (Voyager, Season 2)
Good news – another Caretaker was found. Bad news – she’s not sending us back home. Of note: Kes does well in a horror movie context, and has one hell of a shriek.
646) “Jetrel” (Voyager, Season 1)
Neelix, the nicest guy in the galaxy, has to deal with a new guy on the ship – the scientist whose superweapon was used (by others, granted) to kill his family. What’s a Talaxian to do?
645) “Resurrection” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
A Mirror Universe episode that feels out of place in the middle of the Dominion War arc. But, hey, good to see you again, Vedek Bareil! Oh, you’re evil now? Sorry.
644) “Spectre of the Gun” (The Original Series, Season 3)
The Enterprise has to reenact the Gunfight at the OK Corral. On the world’s flimsiest set. Spock gives everyone a group mind-meld, which is a little freaky-progressive, I suppose.
643) “Good Shepherd” (Voyager, Season 6)
Janeway takes some scrubs from the lower decks on an Outward Bound mission. Trouble follows.
642) “Rogue Planet” (Enterprise, Season 1)
The Most Dangerous Game … in Spaaaaace! Archer must protect shape-shifting telepaths who are hunted for sport on an orbitless planetoid of endless night. White knight or buzzkill?
641) “The Last Outpost” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Our first look at the Ferengi – and they’re extras from a Devo video. (Crack that whip!) Weird episode but props to Trek’s producers for later tweaking these villains.
640) “His Way” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Odo and Kira make out. Holosuites are involved. If any of us lived in the future we’d never leave the holosuites.
639) “Meld” (Voyager, Season 2)
When a crewman (Brad Dourif!) turns violent, Tuvok uses this opportunity to understand darker aspects of the human condition through a mind meld. Sounds cool but the execution isn’t so hot.
638) “Non Sequitur” (Voyager, Season 2)
Harry Kim awakens in 24th Century San Francisco but he fights to return to his destiny – even if that means being trapped in the Delta Quadrant.
637) “Once Upon A Time” (Voyager, Season 5)
Neelix babysits Naomi Wildman. I’m 100% pro-Neelix but even I say this one is too much.
636) “Prodigal Daughter” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
The first episode to really focus on Ezri Dax is some Murder, She Wrote fluff in a mining community.
635) “Imaginary Friend” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Snuffleupagus in Space!
634) “Time and Again” (Voyager, Season 1)
Early Voyager played it safe by riffing on stuff we’d already seen in TNG, like the ship caught in a time loop. This one has a fun spin, though, when we realize the instigating event from the past is caused by attempts NOT to prevent that event. That’s heavy, man.
633) “Retrospect” (Voyager, Season 4)
Seven of Nine is technologically raped by an arms trader, and everyone starts blaming the victim. There’s a lot going on here, perhaps too much.
632) “New Ground” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Worf’s Dr. Phil episode with young Alexander.
631) “Sub Rosa” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Dr. Crusher vs. Scottish Space Ghosts in what feels like a holdover from Dark Shadows. I’ve tried to love this episode for camp value but I find it difficult.
630) “Unforgettable” (Voyager, Season 4)
A woman from Chakotay’s past that he can’t remember passes on a computer virus. Who invited Chakotay again?
629) “The Fights” (Voyager, Season 5)
“Chaotic Space” makes everyone a little cuckoo bananas (example: Chakotay thinks he’s a boxer.) But maybe there’s a lifeform trying to communicate and can only do it by altering your perceptive capabilities? I thought Verizon was bad but they never adjust my DNA!
628) “Angel One” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Riker runs afoul of the all-female planet. I wonder how many Men’s Rights Advocates saw this dopey episode at a pivotal age?
627) “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” (Discovery, Season 1)
Saru is one of the best characters on Discovery and there’s so much that is unique to him and his culture. On a visit to a planet he loses his congenital fear and becomes … a mutinous dick? And then everyone just kinda brushes it off? He wasn’t even possessed by evil aliens? The only episode of the new show I wish would just go away.
626) “The Swarm” (Voyager, Season 3)
Why would a hologram want to visit a holodeck? And why would Janeway think “my ship will be different” when a section of space has proven hazardous? Doesn’t anyone watch Star Trek?
625) “The Seventh” (Enterprise, Season 2)
T’Pol receives some orders from the Vulcan High Command and brings Archer along. Further tweaks to the Vulcan backstory border on full retcon, which caused quite a number of calm, rational discussion in early chat rooms, I can assure you.
624) “A Man Alone” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Early days on the station. A little clunky, but we’re getting under Odo’s goopy skin, which is nice.
623) “Paradise” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Here’s a tip, space explorers. When you encounter a utopian planet totally devoted to peace, there’s probably a dark secret lurking underneath.
622) “The Big Goodbye” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Captain Kirk wouldn’t have had time for the Holodeck.
621) “Afterimage” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Trills are supposed to steer clear of past lovers. But this is war, so all bets are off. Plus, we already signed Ezri for the season and it’s too difficult to keep her and Worf apart.
620) “Up The Long Ladder” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Riker gets busy with some Space Irish.
619) “Nemesis” (Voyager, Season 4)
Chakotay crash lands on a planet and ends up fighting with some partisans.
618) “The Reckoning” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
High Noon on the Promenade, with Kai Winn and the myth of Abraham and Isaac. Too much going on in this one.
617) “The Outrageous Okona” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Space pirates as matchmakers! (Also, Data chills with Joe Piscopo in the Holodeck.)
616) “Riddles” (Voyager, Season 6)
Tuvok goes Regarding Henry.
615) “Investigations” (Voyager, Season 2)
Tom Paris is sent off as a double agent, but that’s on a need-to-know basis. More importantly, Neelix now has a cooking show.
614) “The Raven” (Voyager, Season 4)
Seven of Nine is called back to a destroyed ship that turns out to be where she was initially captured by the Borg as a child. Essential for filling out her backstory, but not very energetic.
613) “The Bonding” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
A flimsy episode but that still wins some points for showing a realistic response to the death of a Redshirt.
612) “Interface” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
LaForge is a great supporting character. When he’s the sole focus, it’s hit or miss. Him using the power of his VISOR to hunt for his lost mother is a good example of the latter.
611) “Q Less” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Ya got Q, ya got Vash … but ya still got a mostly dumb episode. This was all part of Season 1’s weaning from TNG. “I’m not Picard!” barks Sisko in a great moment.
610) “Shuttlepod One” (Enterprise, Season 1)
This time it is Trip and Malcolm who get stuck in the proverbial sitcom meat locker. Some points given to early Enterprise and their warp drive troubles for hammering home the vastness of Space.
609) “Life Support” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Vedek Bareil, you just weren’t made for this world! Any world, really. Major Kira is too good of a character to have her emotions tied-up with a drip like you.
608) “Breaking the Ice” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Archer discovers T’Pol is in touch with the Vulcans. Not quite spying, but not quite being loyal either. Many discussions are had. This episode feels a bit like a second pilot, made to let people catch up. (Also, there is the drilling of ice, so the title works two ways.)
607) “Vortex” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Odo’s desire to learn more about his origins is fertile soil for a shyster. Bonus: a tour of a Toh-maire gas nebula.
606) “Identity Crisis” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
LaForge become a blue glowing alien, because everyone on the away mission from years ago did, too. How did no one see this coming? This episode inspired one of the better action figures.
605) “Suddenly Human” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Snatch a child from the only parents he knows, just because they are Terran enemies? Methinks we’re about to stumble into some life lessons.
609) “Prophecy” (Voyager, Season 7)
All B’Elanna wants is for her half-Klingon heritage to not be a big deal. Turns out she might be some kind of Messiah. Girlfriend can’t get a break.
608) “Phage” (Voyager, Season 1)
As the ship roots around for Dilithium they discover the Viidians, a species that needs to steal body parts to survive. Remember “Spock’s Brain?” This is “Neelix’s Lungs.”
607) “Time’s Orphan” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Good idea, not the best execution. Molly O’Brien falls into some sort of time warp and is raised by a space bear. Reintegrating her back to her parents doesn’t go so easy.
606) “Playing God” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Dramatically, not a great episode, but in terms of weird sci-fi, a proto-universe floating in space seaweed is pretty cool. Additionally, a deeper look into how Trill hosts are groomed.
605) “A Simple Investigation” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
This was a season one-style episode that somehow crept into season five. Not that memorable.
604) “Sanctuary” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
The station becomes Space Ellis Island as refugees want to settle on Bajor. You’d think Bajor would be welcoming to an oppressed people, but things are never quite that easy.
603) “The Vengeance Factor” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
The big shootout climax takes place on a jungle gym, so I don’t really know what to say about this one.
602) “When The Bough Breaks” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Wesley and other young ‘uns are kidnapped. Strangely the ship doesn’t take advantage and run away at Warp Factor 8. (I kid, I kid.)
601) “Extinction” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Entering the Delphic Expanse was a much needed shot in the arm for Enterprise. This was the first misstep once they got there. A retread of a better TNG episode (“Genesis”) this one just proves that devolving just makes everyone a terrible actor.
600) “The Loss” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Troi loses her half-Betazoid powers and thus loses her mind. Super terrific concept but does not quite connect.
599) “Unnatural Selection” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Eugenics, rapid aging, other interesting topics. But what sticks in your memory is Dr. Pulaski hobbling around in Methuselah makeup. Eegads.
598) “Hero Worship” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
A young boy becomes very fond of Data. Shrug.
597) “Initiations” (Voyager, Season 2)
Hey, Aron Eisenberg is out of his Nog lobes and is a Kazon-Ogla who has to kill Chakotay as some sort of ritual. He doesn’t actually do this, nor does he succeed in making the derivative and bland Kazon into an interesting villain, but it is great to see Aron is a different kind of wacky makeup.
596) “11:59” (Voyager, Season 5)
Janeway reflects on the explorers of her family’s past, including the architect of the “Millennium Gate” and the 20th Century struggles it took to build it.
595) “Bar Association” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Rom and Leeta use collective bargaining tactics against Quark. I abstain from voting.
594) “Babel” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Mass aphasia on the station, which is dealing with some hangover Cardassian sabotage. Season 1 of DS9 was all about reminding you that this is less safe place – the Millennium Falcon, not the Enterprise.
593) “A Matter of Perspective” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Trek goes full “Rashomon” on the Holodeck. Sure.
592) “The Sound of Her Voice” Deep Space Nine, Season 6
The Defiant chats with a stranded captain, but time dilation is really in charge here. A TNG retread on DS9 but still a neat idea.
591) “Real Life” (Voyager, Season 3)
To better understand humans, The Doctor creates a holodeck version of a family. B’Elanna decides it isn’t real enough and kills one of his kids. What the hell?
590) “Battle at the Binary Stars” (Discovery, Season 1)
The second Discovery episode, basically a two-parter with “The Vulcan Hello,” launched the CBS All Access server and a whole new era in Trek. After the first orientation hour, there are some undeniable issues. Michael Burnham is a vexing character, no matter how great Sonequa Martin-Green is. The changes in technology make no sense. The Klingons really don’t look right. Bryan Fuller produced this show with all of its peculiarities and then departed, much like putting “Metal Machine Music” on the jukebox of a bar and leaving before it came on. Luckily, the challenges were quickly met.
589) “The Schizoid Man” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Cheating death by brain dumping into Data? Not gonna’ work out, Guest Villain!
588) “Liasons” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Tell us more, Earther, about this “love.”
587) “The Foresaken” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Odo and Lwaxana get stuck in a turbolift. Pretty sure Rene Auberjonois knew the sitcom drill from his time on “Benson.” But when he melts in Lwaxana’s dress to regenerate, it is oddly touching.
586) “Bliss” (Voyager, Season 5)
It’s a way home! No, it’s an intergalactic pitcher plant. And only Seven of Nine (and little Naomi Wildman!?!?) are smart enough to realize it. Someone needs to talk sense to this crew.
585) “Death Wish” (Voyager, Season 2)
Hey, it’s Q! And Janeway isn’t down on her knees begging him to snap his fingers and send them home? Instead she’s arguing about the right-to-die in a mock trial. Sometimes even the great Captain Kathryn Janeway can make a mistake.
584) “In Theory” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Data gets a girlfriend. Why would anyone expect this to work?
583) “If Memory Serves” (Discovery, Season 2)
Sometimes you can have too much canon. Burnham and Spock go back to Talos IV. Whoever thought of it probably felt like a hero in the writer’s room but the way it’s executed, sorry, it’s a whiff.
582) “Pen Pals” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
A Talmudic discussion into the ethics of the Prime Directive. Kirk woulda blasted first and stroked his beard second!
581) “Dark Page” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Season 7. Starting to run out of ideas. Who was watching TNG and thinking, gee, what I’d really like is to know the backstory on Mr. Homn?
580) “Destiny” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Are they prophets or wormhole aliens? Is it science or religion? DS9 offers no easy answers.
579) “The Eye of the Beholder” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A race of super-intelligent space walruses put humans in a zoo. But Scotty talks them out of it. Some really creative and wild designs here.
578) “Battle Lines” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Sisko is going to get a planet to act peacefully even if he has to kill them to do it!
577) “Prime Factors” (Voyager, Season 1)
The denizens of a pleasure planet may be able to get the crew home. They don’t, obviously, but not for reasons you think. This episode was important early on to show that some Voyager crew members, especially the Maquis, weren’t so quick to automatically love Janeway and her decisions.
576) “Symbiosis” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Opium Wars Analogy in Spaaaaace!
575) “Project Daedalus” (Discovery, Season 2)
A good example of how old and new Trek are different. The slower pace (and lengthier seasons) from the 1990s would allow a background character to get her own big moment, but here, when Ariam gets sucked out the airlock, we’re left wondering “wait, who is Airiam again?”
574) “The Royale” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Our crew becomes trapped in Space Vegas. No, not quite, it’s too cheap looking. More like Space Reno. Pair this with TOS’s OK Corral one for maximum WTFness.
581) “Prototype” (Voyager, Season 2)
B’Elanna brings an old robot back to “life.” But his programming isn’t exactly benign. What’s a tech-head who respects the Prime Directive to do?
580) “Crossfire” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
In the middle of the run-up to the Dominion War, a pause to focus on how Odo loves Kira, and Kira doesn’t notice. Not the best timing, for Odo or the show.
579) “Emissary” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Launching a new series is difficult stuff, especially when the show it is spun from is at its creative peak. You want to be different, but not too different. DS9‘s pilot got the job done, but not gracefully.
578) “The Alternate” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
There are a number of episodes about Odo trying to learn more about his origins. Most of them aren’t super good. This is one such example.
577) “Gambit” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Picard dead? Romulan pirates? Archeological digs? This one is kinda all over the place.
576) “Accession” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Sisko as “The Emissary” is interesting – but this particular exploration of that kinda whiffs it. Plus, the O’Brien/Bashir bromance is oversold a little. It’s a wobbly one, even with great characters.
575) “Sleeping Dogs” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Aiding the Klingons: never a good idea. Archer must scheme to get an away team back from a hostile vessel. Our first look at a photon torpedo!
574) “The Crossing” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Non-corporeal floaty things make our crew feel great inside. Spoiler: they are up to no good!
573) “Favorite Son” (Voyager, Season 3)
Harry Kim and a planet full of Space Hotties. This episode does have its merits, one must confess.
572) “Revulsion” (Voyager, Season 4)
The bad news about accepting The Doctor (or, let’s face it, Data) as “people” means that any ol’ hologram, like this mentally unstable janitor on a crashed ship, deserves rights. If saying that makes me space cancelled so be it.
571) “Nightingale”(Voyager, Season 7)
A rescued ship offers Harry Kim the Captain’s seat. He’s not ready for it and neither are we.
570) “Dramatis Personae” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
A crazy virus makes everyone hate each other, except Odo and Quark – who already hated everyone! Predictable but cute.
569) “The Ascent” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Odo and Quark get stuck going camping or something. With a series this long every character has to get trapped with someone they don’t like at least once.
568) “State of Flux” (Voyager, Season 1)
The reveal of Seska as a mole for the Kazon was a nice touch, inasmuch as anything involving the Kazon was good. Bonus points for making Chakotay feel like an ass.
567) “Alliances” (Voyager, Season 2)
A lot of crosses and double-crosses are packed into this one as Janeway tries to figure out how to get all the Kazon tribes to stop fighting or, at the very least, leave her the hell alone.
566) “The Quality of Life” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Sentient computers are a pain. Data disobeys orders to save these little buggers and never gets reprimanded. What’s up with that?
565) “Manhunt” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Lwaxana : Picard :: Pepe Le Pew : That Cat.
564) “Bound” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Orion Slave Girls run amok on the Enterprise. Despite some lip service against it, this gets a tad sexist. A misstep.
563) “The Wolf Inside” (Discovery, Season 1)
A catch-your-breath episode upon realizing the action has gone to the Mirror U. It took me until looking at the Internet later to realize those were Tellarites.
562) “Bloodlines” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Picard learns he has a son. Okay, he can do this. But the son doesn’t like learning? Red Alert! (Spoiler, the kid’s not actually his.)
561) “Waking Moments” (Voyager, Season 4)
Dream aliens attack the crew in their sleep. Only Chakotay and his half-baked, poorly written Native American powers can defeat them. Not, ah, not the greatest.
560) “Violations” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Interesting look at telepathic aliens but clumsily executed. The dream sequences look like a daytime soap.
559) “Too Short A Season” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Some standard science-hubris stuff out of a guest star (we still honor you, Admiral Jameson) but a nice early look at the larger Federation.
558) “Ties of Blood and Water” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
DS9 had a lot of characters and loose strings. This episode feels like one big deep breath of a catch-up. Probably necessary at the time.
557) “The Sword of Kahless” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
The mythology-building aspect of this one is tops. But the action of Worf, Dax and Kor on the hunt for a missing bat’leth, as rendered by this swiftly-produced show in syndication, looks kinda cheap considering the storytelling grandeur.
556) “Catspaw” (The Original Series, Season 2)
KITTY! Kirk and company enter a spooky castle. Trek‘s Halloween episode. I can’t rationalize liking this one too much, but it does have its charms.
555) “The Sound of Thunder” (Discovery, Season 2)
The long-awaited visit to Saru’s home planet. Imagine Logan’s Run but without the orgies and instead of hoping to renew on Carousel you just pluck algae from a swamp all day. No wonder he left!
554) “Field of Fire” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
A killer on the station has the coolest weapon since TOS‘ Tantalus Field. But Ezri’s on the case! Why Ezri and not Odo? Gotta give Ezri something to do, I guess.
553) “Emergence” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
All holodeck episodes were really leading to this Season 7 doozy: where the ship itself becomes “alive,” man. FAR OUT.
552) “Change of Heart” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Worf and Dax caught behind enemy lines. Will he follow orders and leave her to die? What do you think? Good episode with repercussions.
551) “Repentence” (Voyager, Season 7)
Our crew runs afoul of the worst justice system outside of Texas. Do they butt-in to stop cruel and unusual punishment?
550) “The Arsenal of Freedom” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Vincent Schiavelli is a holographic arms dealer. Picard plays doctor with Beverly Crusher. I feel like this is another one of those episodes that was always on as a kid.
549) “Covenant” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Gul Dukat was a creep on his own. Possessed by a Pah-wraith he’s downright terrifying.
548) “In The Cards” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
As Bajor considers a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, Jake hunts down a baseball card for his old man. Somehow, the two compliment each other. The Siskos are nice!
547) “Distant Voices” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Cool premise of Dr. Bashir hopping around his timeline in a brain-in-a-vat setting. Dramatically, unfortunately, the episode lacks momentum.
546) “Eye of the Beholder” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Bad vibes are floating around the Enterprise and they are driving half-Betazed Counselor Troi batty.
545) “Prophet Motive” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
I like an episode with a pun in the title. Quark must discover what’s up with Grand Nagus Zek being so nice. This is a comic relief character that you can also take seriously from time to time. Armin Schimerman deserved a thousand Emmys
544) “Extreme Measures” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Dr. Bashir and Chief O’Brien run through Sloane’s mind, literally. Doesn’t quite make sense. One of the rare missteps in that great final arc.
543) “Sacred Ground” (Voyager, Season 3)
Kes accidentally tarnishes a shrine (this sort of thing happens from time to time) and Janeway can only save her by accepting that a true scientist means not knowing everything, thus requiring a degree of faith. Only they lay it out a little better than that.
542) “A Matter of Honor” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Riker goes on the Klingon Exchange Program. If you were lucky to see this for the 1st time in middle school you repeated the phrase “Gagh is always best when served live!” over and over until you got detention.
541) “Firstborn” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Alexander Rozhenko doesn’t want his Klingon bar mitzvah.
540) “Maneuvers” (Voyager, Season 2)
Seska, the Cardiassian posing as a Bajoran posing as a Maquis but is actually a Kazon spy (!!) is back and ready to give Chakotay more grief. She’s more likable as a villain than the Chakotay is as a hero, let’s face it.
539) “Silicon Avatar” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
You can’t keep a good crystalline entity down.
538) “Samaritan Snare” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Just ’cause it’s the future doesn’t mean everyone is super smart. Meet the Pakleds.
537) “Evolution” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Wesley gets space termites on the ship but the Prime Directive says you can’t kill ’em with nano-Raid. The future can be annoying!
536) “Phantasms” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Data’s dream programs cause problems. Considering no one really knows how Data actually works, maybe tinkering with his mind isn’t a good idea?
535) “Muse” (Voyager, Season 6)
A dramatist with eyes for B’Elanna uses her war stories. How does the WGA come down on this?
534) “The Host” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
A serviceable episode made brighter by introducing us to the Trills. (There’ll be some retconning later, but the bones are there.)
533) “Repression” (Voyager, Season 7)
Old Maquis members start acting like jerks again, even after all this time. Tuvok must find the cause.
532) “Homeward” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Worf’s brother is involved in an elaborate scheme to save a curious race. Worf’s brother is also Paul Sorvino.
531) “Horizon” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Strong world building as we visit Mayweather’s family aboard their merchant vessel, but could use more oomph.
530) “Devil’s Due” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Odd episode where the ship is “under arrest.” If the script feels like a holdover from Kirk’s era, it’s because it was original pegged to the ill-fated Phase II series.
529) “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Who decided holosuite characters deserved their own episodes? I support James Darren as a performer but I’m on the fence about the overall concept.
528) “Terra Nova” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Archer & company klutz their way into the descendants of an old Earth colony.
527) “The Child” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Troi is raped (let’s call it what it is) then keeps the baby. It grows up fast and “has to go now, my home planet needs me.” Definitely one that would not be made the same way today.
526) “Body Parts” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Quark thinks he’s dying and puts his remains up for bid. See, Ferengi culture is silly, but the writers really thought it through, so it works..
525) “Exile” (Enterprise, Season 3)
There’s a reason Hoshi isn’t the lead of too many episodes. In this one, she’s trapped in a castle in a Beauty and the Beast scenario. In the end, it moves the Xindi arc forward but there had to’ve been a better way.
524) “Lifesigns” (Voyager, Season 2)
Can a computer program fall in love? When The Doctor is one of your best characters, for the good of the show, you let him. Whether his programming, which was intended to let him grow and become more human (for reasonable purposes like bedside manner) would ever allow a subroutine to cause him to perform less-than-perfectly, well, that’s another conversation.
523) “The Most Toys” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Saul Rubinek kidnaps Data. This episode has been condemned for trading in gay stereotypes. For what it’s worth that all flew way over my head when I saw this as a little kid. Honestly I just saw it as a duller retread of “The Menagerie.” Extra points though for seeing Data use a disruptor set to kill.
522) “Once Upon A Planet” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A replay of TOS‘ “Shore Leave” but with crazy-ass beasts (because it is animated.) Call me a dunce but I dug it.
521) “Hide and Q” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Solid Q episode. Once you see grownup Wesley in a rainbow sweater you can’t unsee it.
520) “Remember” (Voyager, Season 3)
Telepaths on board make B’Elanna all randy (good?) but also burden her with the knowledge of genocide (bad!)
519) “Starship Down” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Standard action episode where everyone has their own task. Quark disarming a torpedo is tremendous fun.
518) “Invasive Procedures” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
A middling Dax-centric episode, best for wowing ’em at trivia when you want to list all the hosts of the symbiont. “What about that one guy who was host for 15 minutes?!?!” you’ll ask and everyone will throw peanut shells at you.
517) “The Mark of Gideon” (The Original Series, Season 3)
The topic of overpopulation is substantial and some of the imagery is good, but the script fumbles way too much to be considered a real winner.
516) “The Catwalk” (Enterprise, Season 2)
The crew must bunk for days in a reinforced corridor as they sail through a radioactive storm, just when baddies arrive and try to take the ship. Should have been more about the characters out of their element, not new villains, I say.
515) “The Emperor’s New Cloak” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Leave it to Nog to point out that the Mirror Universe makes no damn sense. Nog, you are a champion. Also: Ezri Dax in done up in full Laura Branigan is nothing to sneeze at.
514) “Explorers” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
One of those “let’s hang out” episodes. Sisko & son on a Kon-Tiki-esque solar sail-ship is nice.
513) “Rapture” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Sisko starts getting Emissary visions and acting on them. It’s great to get inside Kira’s head once in a while. Is Sisko just her boss, or does she secretly consider him a God?
512) “The Wounded” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Our first peek at the Cardassians and, yeah, they mean business.
511) “Natural Law” (Voyager, Season 7)
Chakotay and Seven of Nine trapped on a primitive world. They need to find a way to communicate (and also make kissy face.)
510) “Mortal Coil” (Voyager, Season 4)
Neelix dies. But is revived hours later by Seven of Nine’s nanotechnology. But Neelix did not experience the traditional Talaxian afterlife and this sends him into a spiral. Kinda heavy!
509) “Acquisition” (Enterprise, Season 1)
The Ferengi have taken the ship! Archer and Trip sneak around and stop their pillaging.
508) “North Star” (Enterprise, Season 3)
The crew heads to the Old West. I mean, don’t get me wrong, T’Pol’s outfit is fabulous, but who thought this was a good idea?
507) “Facets” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
The cast gets to “become” each of the Dax symbiont’s former hosts for a Trill ritual known as Zhian’tara. Mainly an excuse to let the actors strut their stuff. Serious canon spelunking going on here, and many a fanfic was launched with this!
506) “Sons of Mogh” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Worf’s brother demands a ritual killing. But Worf’s tied in to the Federation more than ever, and can’t justify it. Honor and legal mumbo jumbo collide!
505) “Hollow Pursuits” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
In time, Reg Barclay will become a great character. When first introduced (as a stand-in for the audience, I get it) he is insufferable, I gotta be honest. Marina Sirtis Greek Goddess I can get behind, though.
504) “The Vulcan Hello” (Discovery, Season 1)
Resurrecting the most scrutinized geek franchise (and with new characters) is no easy task. Doing so on a new streaming service with a “did he jump or was he pushed?” showrunner is even harder. Discovery had many growing pains, but all things considered, it started out pretty well.
503) “Lethe” (Discovery, Season 1)
Backstory for Michael Burnham, Sarek and (off-screen) Spock. Even though these characters and performers are great, an episode like this feels like a round peg in a square hole for a modern show all about forward momentum. It’s a tough formula!
502) “The Storyteller” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Chief O’Brien must protect a village from storms with his oratory powers. A much maligned episode that, for some reason, I kinda dig nonetheless.
501) “Journey’s End” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Wesley’s back and so are the Native Americans. This episode works more as a lead-in to stuff going on with the Maquis and the other series, not so much for itself. From a marketing point of view, I get it, but it’s a little thin.
500) “The Alternative Factor” (The Original Series, Season 1)
It’s not that this episode is bad, it just commits the crime of being really boring. Unacceptable for The Original Series’ first season. “But what of Lazarus?” Zzzzzz.
499) “Home Soil” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Only the great Patrick Stewart can sell a line like, “We will send you home to your wet sand!”
498) “Storm Front” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The outstanding Xindi arc ends and the fourth season begins with more of the worn-out Temporal Cold War. And there are aliens — again — in Nazi uniforms. This all feels like a step backward.
497) “Infinite Regress” (Voyager, Season 5)
A floating Borg gewgaw causes Seven of Nine to reconnect, partially, with the minds other scattered drones. It could spell her doom but it’ll also make a decent acting reel for Jeri Ryan.
496) “Resolutions” (Voyager, Season 2)
Janeway and Chakotay contract a fatal illness and quarantine themselves on a planet that protects them. Tuvok gets the keys to the ship, but the crew ain’t going for it, the day will be saved. Meanwhile, shall Janeway and Chakotay make this camping trip fun or keep it professional?
495) “Basics” (Voyager, Season 2-3)
The death of Seska inspires a raid to snatch Chakotay’s child. It doesn’t go well, the crew get stranded and the ship is taken. Brad Dourif returns to be the best guest star ever.
494) “Nothing Human” (Voyager, Season 5)
A parasite of some sort causes major damage to B’Elanna. The Doctor needs to brush up on exobiology so consults a well known Cardassian war criminal. Is it right to save yourself with knowledge accrued unethically? This is up to you to decide.
493) “Coming of Age” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Wesley fails his Academy entrance exam. Or DOES he? Also: enter the Benzites, aka Space Asthmatics!
492) “Displaced” (Voyager, Season 3)
One by one Janeway’s crew is replaced by confused aliens. Will she stop the process in time to save her ship? Yes, she will, and it involves firing lots of phasers.
491) “Waltz” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Sisko and Dukat get trapped somewhere. Everyone’s always getting trapped on this show. Anyway, turns out Dukat is really a friggin jerk.
490) “Desert Crossings” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Survivalist story with Archer and Trip after they are lured to an arid wasteland by a terrorist/freedom fighter. T’Pol does not leave them behind!
489) “Fight or Flight” (Enterprise, Season 1)
It was important to show early on that Captain Archer was going HIS WAY, even if (or maybe as a point of pride?) his way was sometimes the not-so-enlightened way. Anyhow, they take a risk encountering an empty ship this week and meet some baddies.
488) “Turnabout Intruder” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Eek. This is no way for The Original Series to end. Yet, this cringeworthy bit of sexism is what we have to deal with. Kirk’s ex-gf switches bodies with him because she wants to be a Captain. (And women are not allowed to be captains, which, thankfully, was retconned away at the earliest opportunity.) Then she cracks under the pressure, it is because she’s a baddie not because the misogynistic jerks who wrote this were right. The full-on hammy Shatner still makes this something of a must-see, despite the problematic storyline.
487) “Vanishing Point” (Enterprise, Season 2)
After a trip through the (then still scary) transporter, Hoshi gets caught in some sort of inter-dimensional phase space. Or maybe an alien is screwin’ with her. Or maybe she’s just crazy.
486) “Civilization” (Enterprise, Season 1)
No Star Trek crew can pass up a chance to observe a planet whose culture is similar to one from Earth’s past – just like no Star Trek writing staff can avoid writing such an episode.
485) “Past Prologue” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
This early episode is best for showing that none of the characters really want to be there. Except Dr. Bashir, who everyone thinks is a goof.
484) “Beyond the Farthest Star” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
The first animated episode lays it down. Yes, this is for kids, but this is going to be the far-out stuff that we couldn’t show in live action. Big crazy spaceships, weirdo aliens. Great. The story (the computer is possessed) is merely okay and the 23 minute run time needs getting used to, but go with it. These are full stories. Trust me.
483) “The Slaver Weapon” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A really strange and dense story about inter-species negotiations that ties Star Trek in with Larry Niven’s “Known Space” universe. Lots of Sulu in this one, too.
482) “Galaxy’s Child” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Holodeck fantasies come home to roost. LaForge is busted.
481) “Virtuoso” (Voyager, Season 6)
The Doctor becomes a superstar opera singer on an alien planet. But is it “his” voice?
480) “Suspicions” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Dr. Crusher thinks she’s Quincy.
479) “Ménage à Troi” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Admittedly, the Lwaxana episodes kinda blur together. This is the one where she, Deanna and Riker are captured by a Ferengi, and she’s at Peak Rue McLanahan. (Also: the introduction of Oo-mox.)
478) “Miri” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Aside from having Kim Darby (!) and Michael J. Pollard (!!) in it, this planet of rapscallion-y kids who want to bonk the “grups” on the head is a little bit annoying even if it is an agreed-upon classic. Only Star Trek can create such paradoxes!
477) “Final Mission” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Wesley and Picard trapped under a rock or something. When’s this kid leaving for the Academy?
476) “Looking For Par’Mach In All The Wrong Places” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Worf acts as Cyrano to Quark as he woos a Klingon woman. Plus Dax and Worf finally get it on. A lighthearted one, mostly.
475) “Things Past” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Odo shows how things were on Terok Nor. It’s a little discomforting to see Kira as an actual terrorist, but we can’t deny the past if we are to seize the future.
474) “Fortunate Son” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Early Starfleet vs the “Boomer” culture of space haulers. Nice bit of world building, as they say.
473) “Chosen Realm” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Zealous sphere-worshipers cause unrest in the Expanse, as well as an interesting quandary for Archer who respects alien culture but can not abide by any doctrine that brings about suffering.
472) “Friendship One” (Voyager, Season 7)
Janeway’s first on-the-books Starfleet assignment in years: locate an old Earth probe. And, as expected, clean up the mess it caused.
471) “Faces” (Voyager, Season 1)
B’Elanna is split in two – half Klingon, half Latina. The Doctor is able to splice her DNA back together before the Viidians do anything too nasty.
470) “Wolf in the Fold” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Scotty murders a woman after picking her up at a bar. What? Never! He was actually possessed by Jack the Ripper, who, we now know, is an ancient swirl of colorful gas that feeds off or primal fear. Hey, I’m just delivering the news. Listen, anything with a lot of Scotty in it is good.
469) “Dax” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Is Jadzia culpable for the crimes of her earlier hosts? This wanted to be DS9‘s version of “Measure of a Man” and it isn’t quite that, but it’s still good.
468) “The Disease” (Voyager, Season 5)
Love conquers all … or does it? Harry Kim falls for an alien hottie, but her biochemistry puts them at risk (and he disobeys the Captain whilst getting it on.) This is a metaphor for something, I’m sure.
467) “The High Ground” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter is another man’s TNG episode that had strong potential but doesn’t quite come together.
466) “Vox Sola” (Enterprise, Season 1)
A weird symbiotic creature captures and cocoons much of the crew, forcing Hoshi to get uncharacteristically aggressive and communicate with the alien lifeform.
465) “The Communicator” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Malcolm Reed loses his cell phone and ends up contaminating a culture. A fun look at why we need a Prime Directive.
464) “Unexpected” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Trip Tucker gets pregnant. Just by sticking his fingers in some stones! Doesn’t even need to take injections. Some fans point to this as one of the worst in the franchise. They are wrong; it has much merit. It is, in fact, ranked in the middle 400s. Not too shabby for ol’ Trip!
463) “The Savage Curtain” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Abraham Lincoln shows up floating in space then calls Uhura and “enchanting Negress.” Listen, we Trek fans have to face up to our history no matter how painful. This episode is so incredibly dumb it ends up being one I watch more often than most simply because I can’t believe it is real.
462) “The Lights of Zetar” (The Original Series, Season 3)
A cute librarian (there are some things not even warp drive will change) gets possessed by non-corporeal beings.
461) “The Voyager Conspiracy” (Voyager, Season 6)
The moral of this one: too much information makes you paranoid. Seven of Nine’s absorption of the entire ship’s data turns her into Alex Jones.
460) “One Of Our Planets Is Missing” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A humongous cloud is eating planets. The Enterprise gets chomped and, I swear, tries to find its way out the other end. This was in a Saturday morning cartoon.
459) “Melora” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Both an allegory about prejudice toward the disabled as well as the closest TV would get to showing sex in zero G.
458) “Equilibrium” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Jadzia learns of a secret host for the Dax symbiont. She should keep a guest book or something.
457) “The Red Angel” (Discovery, Season 2)
The longer arcs of Discovery mean some episodes can be more utilitarian in nature. That’s the case here, because setting up the weirdness of Michael Burnham’s caught-in-time mother takes some explaining.
456) “Shakaar” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Bajor’s post-liberation growing pains continue, as Kai Winn locks horns with Kira’s old resistance cell leader. Things are always easier when there’s an intruder to hate!
455) “Judgement” (Enterprise, Season 2)
A wee bit of fan service as a thank you to the viewers. A trip to Rura Penthe and a replay of the courtroom scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (though with Duras and Martok stand-ins, not Worf.)
454) “Fusion” (Enterprise, Season 1)
The V’Tosh Ka’tur, like Spock’s half-brother Sybok (never forget!) are all about Vulcans having emotion. This causes trouble for T’Pol.
453) “Gravity” (Voyager, Season 5)
Do you ever sometimes feel like you’re in a spatial sinkhole? If so, and you’re a Vulcan, that’s the time to start falling in love.
452) “Silent Enemy” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Sometimes you can’t reason with a villain – they just want to shoot you. An important lesson. Also, the new crew must work together to build a phase cannon, but how can they do that when they realize no one knows what Malcolm Reed likes to eat?
452) “When It Rains” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Odo is getting sick, and it’s Section 31’s fault. Dukat goes blind with Pah-wraith fever. It’s cool and all, but — and this may be a sin to say — toward the end of DS9‘s great Dominion War arc there might be a smidge of stalling for time now and then.
451) “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry” (Discovery, Season 1)
The fourth episode of Discovery is when the big plot engines finally start to rev up. Spore drives, tardigrades and L’Rell/Voq begin to (mostly) make sense. Also: the Klingons ate Michelle Yeoh. They fucking ate her.
450) “The Nagus” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
This was the start of Star Trek‘s biggest stunt: turning the Ferengi from a punchline into a culture worthy of respect. IDIC put to practice. Punch that ticket and you are a Trekkie for life.
449) “The Apple” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Of all the times Kirk violated the Prime Directive, this is the most egregious. A stagnant culture is having a groovy time worshiping their false god and just hanging out. But Kirk (and really Bones) decide that they need to grow up. Harsh mansplainers!
448) “Family Business” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
If you are one who can’t take the Ferengi seriously, this trip to Ferenginar will be as annoying as a Sherlock Holmes holodeck episode. But I find the rainy, money-crazed place rather amusing.
447) “Dreadnought” (Voyager, Season 2)
A visit from an old friend: a souped-up Cardassian missile that B’Elanna altered back when she was a Maquis. Can she change it back in time to save the ship? Or make it destroy itself with logic like Kirk used to do?
446) “Hunters” (Voyager, Season 4)
What’s up with the Hirogen? They have a communications array that can get messages back from the Alpha Quadrant but get all pissy when you try to use it. Really not nice. Also: Janeway’s officially single. Chakotay make your move.
445) “Alice” (Voyager, Season 6)
Tom Paris anthropomorphizes a vehicle like he’s a walking Bruce Springsteen song. Then an on-board computer takes advantage.
444) “We’ll Always Have Paris” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Time loop paradoxes are good. Love stories on the Holodeck are not. This season 1 episode has both, so it’s a mixed bag.
443) “Resistance” (Voyager, Season 2)
The ship needs supplies by any means possible. When Tuvok and B’Elanna are captured, Janeway has to align with a somewhat demented Joey Grey to free them. Should she exploit this man, who thinks she’s his lost daughter? These decisions aren’t easy!
442) “Shore Leave” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Old memories come to haunt us – and Kirk must battle his nuisance old classmate Finnegan. The final shots of Bones McCoy with the two gals from Rigel II is, indeed, something of a perfect 60s time capsule.
441) “Contagion” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Action in the Neutral Zone!
440) “Dawn” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Trip Tucker plays the Dennis Quaid role in a shrunk-down version of Enemy Mine. A few extra twists keep it interesting.
439) “Detained” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Enterprise got its Quantum Leap reunion out of the way early on season 1, casting Dean Stockwell in this prison episode. Good to add some depth to the Suliban, early Enterprise’s big baddies, showing that only an elite few in power are the ones rattling sabers. Just like on Earth!
438) “Frame of Mind” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Riker wakes up in the nut house, accused of murder. We know he didn’t do it, but how many wheels-within-wheels must he stop from spinning before he can find the truth? This is a fan favorite, but I know the truth: it’s a little dopey.
437) “Into the Forest I Go” (Discovery, Season 1)
The confounding Captain Lorca makes some decisions in this one that tip his hand for close viewers. Kol and the Sarcophagus ship explode. Good riddance. L’Rell and Voq/Tyler are great characters but the rest of Discovery’s rebooted Klingons can use something of a reboot, even if the costumes look amazing.
436) “Business As Usual” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Quark gets in the arms business, but his time with hu-mans has given him (gasp!) a moral compass. Such a disgrace to his Ferengi heritage! He’s now as much a traitor as Worf once was.
435) “Loud As A Whisper” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
What if the only man who could bring peace to two warring worlds couldn’t actually speak? A TNG classic with its liberal heart on its sleeve.
434) “The Assignment” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
There are no side characters on Deep Space Nine. Everyone gets their moment – and this time it is Keiko O’Brien, possessed by a Pah-Wraith.
433) “Blaze of Glory” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Michael Eddington and the Maquis’ last gasp, featuring preventive strikes and complex alliances. Also: Martok picking on Nog, which is not nice but sure is funny.
432) “Tribunal” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Chief O’Brien is Josef K. on Cardassia Prime. Not a good position to be in.
431) “Eye of the Needle” (Voyager, Season 1)
Good news! Harry Kim found a wormhole. Bad news! It is so small only a microprobe can go through – and there are Romulans on the other side. Will Voyager convince them to be nice guys and tell the Federation they’re okay? Maybe!
430) “Home” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The crew needs to lick their wounds after the Xindi Arc and “Storm Front.” Lacks the kick of TNG’s “Family,” but then again there is only one Patrick Stewart.
429) “Two Days and Two Nights” (Enterprise, Season 1)
The gang gets some R&R on Risa. Hoshi literally lets her hair down. Dr. Phlox tries to get some shuteye. Comedy all around.
428) “Night Terrors” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
No one can sleep. Troi floats around in a void, allowing the camera to shoot her from below.
427) “The Changeling” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Lookout – here comes’ NOMAD. It may look like restaurant grade espresso machine, but it’s actually a very dangerous probe. Many Redshirts go down on this one and Uhura gets her entire memory wiped. But she takes a week off and is back at her post soon enough. Not the best argument for continuity in the franchise, but a good hour of television nonetheless.
426) “The Omega Glory” (The Original Series, Season 2)
You didn’t hallucinate this. One night you were up late and caught an old episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk reads a beat-up copy of the Constitution.
425) “Carpenter Street” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Crewman Daniels sends Archer and T’Pol back to the future, to figure out what Xindi are doing in early 21st Century Detroit! (So that explains the bankruptcy problem.)
424) “The Breach” (Enterprise, Season 2)
The gang needs to rescue Denobulan scientists in a cave (a space cave!) and Dr. Phlox tries to save an Antaran who refuses his treatment for prejudicial reasons. Adventure!
423) “Shadows of P’Jem” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Turns out the Vulcans can still be real whiny jerks sometimes. Like when demanding T’Pol leave the crew. But maybe they’ll realize that only the Terrans can help them bring detente with the Andorians? All that logic but no foresight!
422) “Before And After” (Voyager, Season 3)
Kes tries to extend her Ocampan lifespan and ends up phasing in and out of the timeline (and into ugly makeup!) We see a possible future with a Captain Chakotay. How horrible!
421) “For The Cause” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Sisko’s girlfriend is a Maquis smuggler?!? Garak in an inappropriate sauna situation with Dukat’s daughter? Oy!
420) “Armageddon Game” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Chief O’Brien and Dr. Bashir help warring races dispose of their high-tech weapons – but the aliens are so committed to peace they’ve decided they now must kill Federation visitors just in case they decide to apply what they’ve learned. Not nice!
419) “Shadowplay” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Odo and Dax said Hologram Rights! A nice bit of foreshadowing for Voyager. Also: Kira and Vedek Bareil get all kissy-face.
418) “That Which Survives” (The Original Series, Season 3)
A deserted planet left their security system on. And she is a badass chick in a groovy purple dress with an itchy trigger finger.
417) “Heart of Glory” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
It took late into the first season until we got our first Worf-focused episode. That the mighty Son of Mogh would eventually be the character to appear in more episodes in the franchise shows that the producers, at first, didn’t realize the ridged forehead of awesomeness they had in their midst.
416) “Cost of Living” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
I agree with sticking Alexander with Lwaxana – but the idea is to get them off screen and not film them! #diss.
415) “The Time Trap” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A Bermuda triangle in space where a calm peace (Pax Void!)has broken out – until the Enterprise and Klingons get there.
414) “Dagger of the Mind” (The Original Series, Season 1)
A Federation doctor is doing mind control experiments at a penal colony, and Kirk is going to be the one who stops it. Lots of Shatner making pained faces in this one.
413) “Plato’s Stepchildren” (The Original Series, Season 3)
This is the one they always mention: the first interracial kiss on American television. And, yes, that’s a really big deal. (The Brits already did this years before, but let’s not split hairs.) Of course, Kirk and Uhura are “forced” to kiss – they aren’t choosing to do so. This made the network breathe easier, and maybe that’s “right,” because even though Uhura didn’t have the most substantial role on the bridge, she was a professional and so was the Captain. She did her job well and was almost always treated the same as her male counterparts. The actual story in this episode is kinda doofy, but it is a significant marker in Earth’s development into the world this very franchise promises.
412) “Profit and Loss” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
A Ferengi Casablanca with Quark as Rick. Also, this episode marks Garak gliding into his true role as the best supporting player in the entire galaxy.
412) “The Abandoned” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Just when we thought we had a true evil we could hate with all our might – the Jem’Hadar – there’s a baby in a basket left at the station. Odo, pointedly enough, is the one who tries to raise him.
411) “Who Mourns for Adonais?” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Kirk and company run afoul of the Greek Gods (who were actually space aliens that came to Earth.) So the ancient art wing and the planetarium should just be one price now, okay? Any problems have them speak to me.
410) “Scientific Method” (Voyager, Season 4)
Do you ever get the feeling that invisible aliens are conducting medical experiments on you? This one ought to grant you some validation.
409) “Demons” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Before Peter Weller was a jerk in “Into Darkness” he was a jerk here, too, hating aliens and promoting isolationism. How could you be isolationist when T’Pol and Trip are gonna have a child? Those genes are incredible!
408) “Blood Fever” (Voyager, Season 3)
The Vulcan mating season gets complicated when it triggers B’Ellana’s animalistic Klingon response. Thank God for the holodeck and towels.
407) “The Void” (Voyager, Season 7)
A Bermuda triangle (again) sucks in any spacecraft in the area and the noobs are immediately plundered by older ships trying to survive. Will Janeway’s crew turn savage or build an alliance? What do you think?
406) “Singularity” (Enterprise, Season 2)
A fun take at the “typical day” type episode. The implication here is that Malcolm’s “Reed Alert” is the father of the “Red Alert,” which I refuse to accept and neither should you.
405) “Hatchery” (Enterprise, Season 3)
The gang finds a bunch of Xindi-Reptilian eggs. What to do? Well, while having a drawn-out ethical debate, be sure not to get zapped with any amniotic fluid, I’ll tell you that much.
404) “Indiscretion” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
If you were looking for the one where Gul Dukat rubs his tush with a tissue regenerator, this is it.
403) “Honor Among Thieves” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
O’Brien as Donnie Brasco with Orion traders and other nefarious folk. Neat to see this side of the Galaxy – it’s like a Blade Runner-lite, but the story is predictable.
402) “For The Cause” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Good Jem’Hadar fight bad Jem’Hadar in the woods, and Weyoun makes his first appearance. The first Weyoun, that is.
401) “A Private Little War” (The Original Series, Season 2)
A Vietnam parable with no clear victory, which was significantly dangerous stuff for the time. The best we can do is increase the arms race, hope mutual assured destruction prevents total war and eventually, maybe, enlightenment will win out over totalitarianism. A downer, maybe, but also features the Mugato, second only to the Corn for cosplay, which is a plus.
400) “Carbon Creek” Enterprise, Season 1
A nice twist on DS9‘s “Little Green Men.” Turns out T’Pol’s grandmother and three others made First Contact on Earth in the 1950s. That is, if her story ain’t a fib. This is a really good episode. All these episodes are good.
399) “Observer Effect” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The recurring question of whether interfering with the “natural order of things” is right when it can save lives. This time, however, it’s our crew that needs some help, so that may change things! Bonus points for a guest appearance by some Organians!
398) “Stigma” (Enterprise, Season 2)
T’Pol and Dr. Phlox must keep her post-mind meld disease a secret. Also, one of Phlox’s wives wants to get busy with Trip, with everyone’s consent. Social contrast!
397) “I, Mudd” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Harcourt Fenton Mudd has trapped the crew and wants the Enterprise. But his android harem is about to get destroyed by logic. How do you like that, laddybuck?
396) “The Icarus Factor” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Worf faces the Painstik Gauntlet. If GIFs were around back then …
395) “Schisms” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Subspace wormholes really do a number on your beauty sleep.
394) “Heart of Stone” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Kira is trapped with an expanding rock formation (naturally) and Nog wants to be the first Ferengi in Starfleet. Somehow, the two stories work in counterpoint.
393) “Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Kira learns about her mother and Dukat. She’ll need to shower for six weeks.
392) “Friday’s Child” (The Original Series, Season 2)
“Only Mack-Coy!” Factions on a planet are at each other’s throats, but a pregnant woman (who really digs Bones) means stepping in to set things straight. Scotty’s back on the ship running things, which I imagine is always a delight for the remaining crew.
391) “Choose Your Pain” (Discovery, Season 1)
Enter: Ash Tyler. Also enter, Harry Mudd, a smart way to pluck from canon without messing with the timeline too much. Also, exit Ash Tyler as he breaks out of Klingon jail with Lorca. Or does he?
390) “Tin Man” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
A giant sentient spaceship needs our help. Why do the Troi episodes have to be so earnest? This is a fan favorite but sometimes the fans are wrong. It is the 390th best episode. Good enough.
389) “Where Silence Has Lease” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
The Enterprise is toyed with by a superior force. This sort of thing happens a lot.
388) “This Side of Paradise” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Spores blast Spock with happy dust, make him fall in love. He eventually “overcomes” (not that it was so terrible) and concludes with the most slyly funny line in TOS. As his love is leaving, and the touching music is gushing on the soundtrack, she asks if Spock has another name. Tenderly, and drying her tears, Spock replies “you couldn’t pronounce it.”
387) “One” (Voyager, Season 4)
Janeway needs that shortcut, even if there’s a dangerous nebula. She plows through, putting everyone in stasis except for Seven of Nine who, naturally, starts to go bonkers.
386) “Memorial” (Voyager, Season 6)
An atrocity memorial imprints its tragedy on visitors, causing Chakotay and an away team to go into a deep, guilt-ridden funk. Not a good place for a picnic!
385) “Projections” (Voyager, Season 2)
The Doctor is activated and informed he isn’t who he thinks he is, but is actually Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, the creator of the EMH program. As we’re seeing it from The Doctor’s POV it’s impossible to know who is correct. I love stuff like this!
384) “The Chute” (Voyager, Season 3)
Weird-as-hell episode where Paris and Kim get stuck in a floating prison (featuring a not-so super fun happy slide.)
383) “The Terratin Incident” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A beam of some sort makes everyone shrink. The crew uses their marbles to figure out how to run the ship when they’re the size of Cheetos.
382) “Shattered” (Voyager, Season 7)
A much smarter version of a “clips episode.” Chakotay is unstuck in time and zips around the ship’s past, present & future to try and make things right.
381) “Cardassians” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
DS9 is all about realistic repercussions of sweeping political actions. So if the Cardassians are exiting Bajor, what about the children left behind? Shades of gray, I tell you!
380) “Requiem For Methuselah” (The Original Series, Season 3)
While looking for the antidote to a disease, the crew meet this crazy old bugger who turns out to have been many of Earth’s greatest heroes and artists. It’s quite a list of boldfaced names. When Kirk has his heart broken Spock uses his Vulcan powers to wipe the captain’s memories, without really asking. Is that cool?
379) “Harbinger” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Reed and the MACOs nip at each other in a power struggle. That’s the A-story. But really, this is all about Trip and T’Pol getting NAKED NUDE NAKED JOLENE BLALOCK NUDE JPGS TORRENT FREE CODE BENGHAZI NUDE BLALOCK NAKED together.
378) Our Man Bashir, Deep Space Nine, Season 4
DS9 goes 007. Dr. Bashir looks spectacular in a tux but, sorry, this holosuite episode is kinda silly.
377) “Once More Into The Breach” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Q’aplah, Dahar Master. Kor wants to go out swingin’. You wanna be the one to tell him no?
376) “Penumbra” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
The first move in the series’ endgame. Sisko and Kasidy are going to get married, which is nice. And Worf is finally being pleasant to Ezri. Also nice.
375) “Collective” (Voyager, Season 6)
While negotiating with a damaged (but still deadly) Borg Cube, Seven of Nine discovers that it is being run by children. Can our stunted robo-gal access her nurturing databanks?
374) “Inheritance” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Oh, we already did a Data’s father bit? Okay then, here’s Data’s mother.
373) “The Omega Directive” (Voyager, Season 4)
Message from home sends Janeway on an important, dangerous and secret mission to hunt Omega Particles, even if it means monkeying a bit with the Prime Directive. Seven of Nine has a psychedelic experience looking at molecules. Unusual and dark episode.
372) “One Small Step” (Voyager, Season 6)
A space anomaly presents a long lost part of Voyager’s past (but our future) so they risk life and limb for the sake of history.
371) “Cold Front” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Get your paranoia shields up. Among a group of happy stargazers is, in fact, a Suliban in disguise, working toward a nefarious end and kicking off the Temporal Cold War.
370) “Doctor’s Orders” (Enterprise, Season 3)
A section of the Delphic Expanse is so treacherous that Dr. Phlox has to sedate everyone and ride through it solo. He then has hallucinations, as is common to those who they ride on the ship alone. We know this because each series does this episode.
369) “Legacy” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Lt. Yar’s sister appears in what was the series’ best pre-Seven of Nine catsuit.
368) “For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky” (The Original Series, Season 3)
The concept of a generation ship that doesn’t know it is a generation ship freaks me out. How do I know that I’m not on a giant generation ship right now? Oh, wait, the Earth kinda is one, only we’re going around in circles. Ahhhhhh!
367) “The Ensigns of Command” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Whether or not DS9‘s Bajor is a giant metaphor for Israel is debate that can go way, way into the night. But this episode, with its “make the deserts bloom” storyline, is pretty cut-and-dry.
366) “Man of the People” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Rule of thumb – visiting diplomats are usually evil. I live in New York, so I know this to be true.
365) “The War Without, The War Within” (Discovery, Season 1)
Back from the Mirror U, the Discovery crew discovers a galaxy in disarray. Lots of talking, lots of sighing, lots of Tyler looking handsome and finally Emperor Georgiou absolutely badass in the center seat.
364) “The Collaborator” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
The Marshal Pétain of Bajor wants to come home. And if it means destroying that nice boy Vedek Bareil to do so, so be it.
363) “The Tholian Web” (The Original Series, Season 3)
I love the space suits in this one. What the hell are they wearing? Bones’ antagonism to Spock is a little over the line here, but he can take it. Anyway, the effects of the titular web looked great for back then. The remastered version can’t hold a candle.
362) “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Dr. Bashir takes on Section 31 in the heart of the Romulan Star Empire. An episode with that much Latin in the title means it’s going to be heavy.
361) “Return to Grace” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Dukat and Kira join forces – temporarily – to chase down some Klingons. And he hits on her, which is so, so gross, considering.
360) “The Pirates of Orion” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
Spock’s physiology is usually a great boon, but this time it makes him contract a disease. To get the cure, we’ve got to bargain with Orion traders. And fast!
359) “Allegiance” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Picard is kidnapped, replaced with a doppelgänger. We know because he’s all merry in Ten-Forward. Our captain is kind, not fun. There’s a difference.
358) “Lessons” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Is there room for love in the Captain’s quarters? No, we’ve already established that. But good to see Picard try once in a while. Some genuinely moving scenes in this one.
357) “The Andorian Incident” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Our first look at the Vulcan-Andorian conflict. Enterprise’s first season surprised everyone by portraying Vulcans quite differently than before. It was a break from what was established (and some of this leaked into the J.J. Abrams films a bit), but who is to say that these seemingly infallible sages didn’t have some recent, significant advances? There’s a lot we don’t know.
356) “Rajiin” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Archer runs afoul of an Interstellar Hottie; a would-be damsel actually spying for the Xindi. Don’t trust anyone in the Expanse, no matter how saucy!
355) “Bread and Circuses” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Some planets are like reproductions of Earth’s past. But this one is half that (ancient Rome) mixed with the present. So 1960s style live TV broadcasts of gladiator fights are the natural star of the show. Ends on a weirdly out-of-character Jesus-y beat, which probably annoyed William Shatner, who is Jewish, when he had to give the lines.
354) “Chimera” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Finally, at almost the end of the series, Odo finds someone else he can relate to – another castaway Founder. Conversations about ethics ensue.
353) “Force of Nature” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Blaze by the same region of space at warp speed enough times and it’s gonna ruin the pavement. Makes sense! Environmentalism and Trek never collided as much as you might think, so this is a nice episode.
352) “The Begotten” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
A baby O’Brien is born. Thanks for the rental, Kira! Alas, Odo’s petri dish Founder doesn’t make it.
351) “The Augments (Enterprise, Season 4)
Pound for pound, this Enterprise episode may have the greatest amount of deep cut fan-wank of anything else in the franchise. That’s gotta count for something.
350) “Similitude” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Trip Tucker will die unless Dr. Phlox creates a clone that can harvest some cells. This “child” will live its full life cycle in only fifteen days. And not, like, as an infant, but growing into an adult. Is it right to do this? Get me a Space Rabbi on the phone, stat!
349) “In The Hands of the Prophets” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
So we’re out here trying to help the Bajorans, persecuted for their beliefs, but hardliners are at odds with the freethinking Federation. And it’s going to turn to violence. Season 1 concluded with a warning shot across the bow: this show was going to get into some realpolitik likes we haven’t seen on Star Trek before.
348) Descent, The Next Generation, Season 6-7
By this stage in the game an end-of-season cliffhanger was expected. This overly complex one doesn’t 100% gel, and Data’s emotion chip is a little played-out, but the stakes are high and the action is big.
347) “The Enemy” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Let Worf be Worf! The Mighty Son of Mogh will not give blood to the Romulans unless ordered. Moral complications ensue. Plus, space storms.
346) “Renaissance Man” (Voyager, Season 7)
Janeway is kidnapped so The Doctor has to pretend to be other people to negotiate her return. Not quite sure it makes sense but Robert Picardo is a great actor and he squeezes every drop out of this script.
345) “The Forgotten” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Archer tries to reason with the non-Reptilian Xindi and convince them that they’re all being played by outside forces. Not bad, but honestly here’s where we really coulda used a Picard.
344) “Patterns of Force” (The Original Series, Season 2)
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both Jewish, outsmart and defeat space Nazis. That must have been nice for them.
343) “The Siege of AR-558” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
The bleakest episode in the whole series? Nog loses a leg in battle! Nog! We saw him as a kid shilling self-sealing stem bolts – now he’s getting his leg blown off. The future is rough.
342) “Booby Trap” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
A deadly race against the clock, so LaForge heads to the holodeck and falls in love with the simulation of Dr. Leah Brahms. Dear Lord, is the title of this episode meant to be an immature pun? I really, really hope not. Anyway, there’s talk of Geordi being incel or volcel or who the hell knows. All I can say regarding holodeck love is judge not lest ye be judged!
341) “Caretaker” (Voyager, Season 1)
Of all the Trek sequels this pilot was toughest one to sell before Discovery. Two crews at war in a far-flung place, plus the somewhat confusing alien being that gets them there. It takes a long while for the actors to settle into the characters – especially Tom Paris, and never Kes – but Captain Janeway presents herself as one of the finest leaders from the get go.
340) “Impulse” (Enterprise, Season 3)
There were hints that the phase-shifting phenomena of the Delphic Expanse could make you loopy, and now we see it. You want Zombie Vulcans, you got Zombie Vulcans. Too much fun to wave off.
339) “First Flight” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Can a prequel have a prequel? This episode says yes, as Archer tells T’Pol all about his early days trying to break the Warp 2 barrier. Has a nice The Right Stuff-on-a-shoestring vibe.
338) “Will You Take My Hand?” (Discovery, Season 1)
Clint Howard is an Orion drug dealer and Klingons either have two penises or a seriously bifurcated stream. That’s sure one way to end the season.
337) “Drive” (Voyager, Season 7)
A fun spin of an episode involving a chariot race. Even though terrorists are involved, the stakes remain light. Also: Tom and B’Elanna get married. Mazel tov!
336) “Attached” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Picard and Dr. Crusher get a gewgaw attached to ‘em and now they read each other’s thoughts. Hot.
335) “Body and Soul” (Voyager, Season 7)
Thanks to jerks who hate “photonics” The Doctor must hide inside Seven of Nine’s implants. (That’s her BORG implants, ahem.) Anyway, this is like the movie All of Me but in space.
334) “You Are Cordially Invited” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Is the middle of a war a good time to get married? No, it is the BEST time to get married. Congrats, Jadzia and Worf, you both look lovely!
333) “Progress” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
Major Kira has to deal with settlers in a contested Bajoran region while Jake and Nog have to deal with Yamok sauce and self-sealing stem bolts. This season 1 episode started to sink its teeth into the characters.
332) “The Shipment” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Archer tracks down where the terrible Xindi weapons are manufactured. They can destroy them or they can make allies with the Xindi-Sloth underclass forced to work for the other Xindis. Should Archer unleash the MACOs or should he make build toward a long term strategy? What would Kirk do and What would Picard do? do not enter into it. What will Archer do?
331) “Strange New World” (Enterprise, Season 1)
“Galileo Seven” meets “This Side of Paradise” when marooned members of the crew get loopy from airborne spores. Star Trek loves spores. But this time it makes the humans nasty. An essential early episode to get the anti-Vulcan grievances out in front of T’Pol.
330) “The Homecoming” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Bajoran extremists and political strife. DS9‘s second season starts off complex.
329) “Transfigurations” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Another look at evolution beyond humanoid form. If you will it, it is no dream! But before it can happen, our dude’s gotta wear the tightest, whitest spandex unitard imaginable. I seriously don’t know how this was allowed on television.
328) “For The Uniform” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Sisko puts an end to Eddington and the Maquis storyline. The Maquis, born out of the end of TNG and inspiring the beginning of Voyager, is truly the crux of the extra-Roddenberry vision. You either love it or you hate it.
327) “Paradise Lost” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Only Sisko can recognize Earth’s power outage as the Reichstag fire it truly is. He’ll fight for what’s right, but it’s becoming less clear who he can trust. DS9, you get so complicated in your second half! And that’s why we love you.
326) “E2” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Just when Archer thinks he’s got the Xindi superweapon problem solved, he’s hit with this: taking Degra’s wormhole shortcut zips the Enterprise 100 years in the past. The crew’s descendants (!) choose to be a stagnant generation ship just to warn them! Even after 100 years, T’Pol’s clothing will still be tight. Consistency!
325) “Empok Nor” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
A drugged-out Garak goes all Jason Voorhees on an abandoned Cardassian space station. Effectively spooky!
324) “All Our Yesterdays” (The Original Series, Season 3)
“I have eaten animal flesh and I’ve enjoyed it.” Kirk, Spock and McCoy get trapped in different parts of a planet’s past. While figuring out how to get home they meet new people and freeze a little bit. A nail-biter.
323) “Human Error” (Voyager, Season 7)
All eyes are on Seven of Nine as Voyager traverses a particularly daunting area of space. But it’s a really bad performance week for her, as she thinks she’s falling in love!
322) “Half a Life” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Lwaxana Troi and Winchester from M*A*S*H in a Dr. Kevorkian allegory. Heavy.
321) “Brother” (Discovery, Season 2)
Season 2 of Discovery begins the clean-up of canon that previous showrunners thought wouldn’t bother anyone. Uniforms and holograms are explained away. Klingons not-so-much. More importantly, if the Enterprise is out there, just go ahead and use it. Exciting!
320) “Deadlock” (Voyager, Season 2)
“Weird is just part of the job,” Janeway tells Harry Kim, but not HER Harry Kim. That one blew up with a clone ship, and everyone seems kinda okay with that. This is a fun, twisty episode with a surprise ending that some feel doesn’t jibe with the rest of Trek (certainly not with the way Janeway rolls at the end of the series.)
319) “Imperfection” (Voyager, Season 7)
Seven of Nine may be learning how to feel. Good thing? Not so much – it’s a malfunction. And the only spare part is with the final Borg child that she’s grown so attached to.
318) “Cease Fire” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Jeffrey Combs enters Enterprise as Shran, possibly his greatest character. Archer finds himself the official liaison between Andoria and Vulcan.
317) “Divergence” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Fans that really want to SEE the science of warp bubbles at work, this one is for you. Those who want to see comic relief character Dr. Phlox stand-up and become a hero, this one is also for you. If you are at the center of this Venn Diagram, bring a change of clothes.
316) “Peak Performance” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Games simulators that ARE NO GAME! Orson Scott Card would like a word. Kinda dopey but wins points with lots of color on the periphery.
315) “Mudd’s Passion” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Because every Saturday morning kids’ show needs a jovial pimp.
314) “The Drumhead” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Occasionally Picard slips into holier-than-thou territory. This is one of those times. But a quality courtroom episode directed by Jonathan Frakes.
313) “The Way To Eden” (The Original Series, Season 3)
“We reach.” Space hippies. Hey, it was the 60s, and the writers were not Herbert! Don’t show this episode to noobs, it’ll turn them off completely.
312) “Tears of the Prophets” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
The Dominion War rages on, and Terry Farrell’s contract runs up. Worf cries. We all cry.
311) “Image in the Sand” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Sisko’s development as a Bajoran religious figure involves having visions of his mother floating in the sand. Hey, don’t laugh until it happens to you.
310) “Return to Tomorrow” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Three ancient, super-intelligent beings that live in ceramic lighting fixtures possess Kirk, Spock and a Female of the Week with their approval. At first.
300) “The Haunting of Deck Twelve” (Voyager, Season 6)
Neelix tells the kids a ghost story. Oh, Neelix, when you will you come to my house and play with me???
299) “The Deadly Years” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Rapid aging hits the crew. Imagine if the tunes you listen to in the shower are considered oldies by dinner!
298) “Treachery, Faith and the Great River” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
The newest Weyoun has a defect: he recognizes that the only true answer is peace. This won’t do.
297) “Thine Own Self” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Blank Slate Data infects a pre-Contact civilization (bad) and Troi decides to get her Commander’s rank (good.)
296) “Shockwave” (Enterprise, Season 1-2)
The Suliban frame the Enterprise for murdering thousands on a mining colony and Archer is zipped off by Crewman Daniels into the far future, thus potentially spiking the eventual development of the Federation (which is all news to Archer.) I’ll say this about the Temporal Cold War – it acts as a nice wink to the writers, who themselves are working within a framework of “what eventually has to be” when crafting this prequel series.
295) “Flashback” (Voyager, Season 3)
A virus in the form of false memories means Janeway has to explore Tuvok’s mind – and “serve” aboard the Excelsior under Captain Sulu! It’s kinda like Trek meets Annie Hall, at least from the observer’s point of view. This was Voyager’s contribution to the 30th anniversary of Trek. DS9’s was “Trials and Tribble-ations” and, yeah, they took to the assignment better. (Not that this isn’t cool!)
294) “Warhead” (Voyager, Season 5)
Trek established that androids and holograms could be sentient, so what about a (really) smart bomb? When its “consciousness” fuses with The Doctor’s, we discover that its whole life is about destruction. Is it right to kill it? This sounds dopey but actually kinda works if you go with it.
293) “The Outcast” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Some people think this obvious LGBT metaphor is progressive for its time, others say it is a harmful reiteration of stereotypes. I’m saying Riker’s heart — and the show’s heart — is in the right place.
292) “Ship in a Bottle” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes are back. This time is a little better than the others, but how did this ever become a thing?
291) “Lineage” (Voyager, Season 7)
Tom and B’Elanna are going to have a baby. The crew goes nuts, but B’Elanna’s fear of abandonment starts to cause trouble.
290) “The Enemy Within” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Our first transporter malfunction splits Captain Kirk in two. His evil half is assaulting Yeoman Rand, and his good half is cowering in the corner somewhere. We need the whole package together for Kirk to lead his ship to glory. I know this is a classic, but this is one that gets a little dull once you’ve seen it more than 15 times.
289) “The Xindi” (Enterprise, Season 3)
The third season of Enterprise is shot out of a canon. We’ve got a new goal (find the Xindi), new crew members (the MACOs), a great setting (the eerie Expanse) and a reason to get T’Pol into a new outfit (she’s resigned her official commission.)
288) “Proving Ground” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Commander Shran brings his Andorian ship to the Expanse, allegedly to help the Enterprise. Hard to trust this guy, but we need all the friends we can get. Jeffrey Combs is always such a terrific addition to any show.
287) “Rules of Acquisition” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
A closer look at Ferengi society shows it is in need of reform and that, surprisingly, Quark is something of an enlightened individual.
286) “The Darkness and Light” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Kira will never escape her past, even when she’s pregnant. Someone is whacking former members of the Shakaar cell. Vengeance? Justice? A little of both?
285) “Shattered Mirror” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Some of the Mirror Universe stuff all gets jumbled. But this one has Evil Worf barking “Make it so!”
284) “Future’s End” (Voyager, Season 3)
Voyager goes back to the mid-90s and finds the young Sarah Silverman! An evil tech CEO must be stopped from creating an environmental disaster. The show can sell the future, but the present looked like a joke even back then.
283) “Regeneration” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Did we know about the Borg years before Q ever snapped his fingers? This episode says yes, even if they never say the name. As with all terrifying science fiction beings, they are hiding in a glacier.
282) “The Siege” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Sisko and the Federation will save Bajor from itself, and that means hiding in the rafters while Frank Langella and his zealots try to take over the station.
281) “Captain’s Holiday” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
A stupid plot (but with Max Grodénchik as a Ferengi!) as Picard gets his groove on with Vash on Risa. And Vash (and Risa) are AWESOME. It’s nice to see our Captan happy.
280) “Inside Man” (Voyager, Season 7)
A hologram Reg Barclay pops up on the ship to tell everyone how they can get home. But does the real Reg know what his other self is doing?
279) “Court Martial” (The Original Series, Season 1)
The death of a crewman may have been due to Kirk’s bad call. Now he’s gotta defend himself and seeing the set of his lawyer’s space station apartment was one of the earliest glimpses of what a human’s domicile looked like in the future.
278) “The Nth Degree” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Reg Barclay redeems himself by becoming Braniac.
277) “Metamorphosis” (The Original Series, Season 2)
The creator of warp drive, Zefram Cochrane, disappeared ages ago but now he’s found – still young – kept alive by a glowy, floaty cloud. Our first deep discussion about the universal translator in this one. And, uh, the love between air and gas.
276) “Fallen Hero” (Enterprise, Season 1)
A dissident-though-badass Vulcan official hitches a ride with Enterprise back to her home planet for a scolding. They encounter enemy fire along the way and, as a result, a new mutual respect arises among the two species.
275) “Mudd’s Women” (The Original Series, Season 1)
I feel like when I was very young and first discovering Star Trek this was the episode that was always on. To sum it up, Space Hookers.
274) “Babel One” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Enterprise’s salute to “Journey to Babel” with Tellarites and others aboard for a diplomatic mission. When Shran’s ship in in trouble, Andorians arrive and with them come some fireworks.
273) “Rejoined” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
A big deal at the time for its same-sex kiss, this one explores the issue of Trills and the people from their previous hosts’ past. Solid.
272) “Hippocratic Oath” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Pack in those shades of gray – that’s the Deep Space Nine way! Oay, so those mustache-twirling villains the Jem’Hadar? Turns out they are just exploited pawns, and the Founders and Vorta keep motivate their violence through an addiction to Ketracel-White. Is there NO ONE we can just openly hate?!?
271) “Worst Case Scenario” (Voyager, Season 3)
Not bad for a holodeck episode. This one concerns a secret program wherein Seska, back from the dead, leads a Maquis uprising. Some intriguing musings on the darker side of human psychology and fantasy.
270) “Life Line” (Voyager, Season 6)
The Doctor zaps himself back to the Alpha Quadrant to help save his “father” Lewis Zimmerman. A pop-in from Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi let’s us know how things have been going on Earth since we’ve been gone. This is pure catnip for the fans who like — excuse me, who need — to see this all as one enormous, connected continuity.
269) “Time Squares” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Temporal loops. Doesn’t exactly click the way some similar episodes do, but mindscramblers like this are what we crave.
268) “Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy” (Voyager, Season 5)
The Doctor’s daydreams cause confusion for an alien observer. Robert Picardo pivots from pest to hero quite nicely in this one.
267) “Think Tank” (Voyager, Season 5)
A win for brains over brawn! A group of eggheads (Jason Alexander among them!) floating through subspace will help anyone sleuth-out whatever conundrum ails them – but for a price. In the case of Voyager, they want Seven of Nine! (Who wouldn’t?)
266) “Homefront” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Shapeshifters! They’re everywhere! Look inside the gumbo, they could be hiding!
265) “Point of Light” (Discovery, Season 2)
The L’Rell/Tyler arc is backburnered for much of Discovery’s season 2, but here we get to see some genuine drama surrounding their child and also some badass Klingon Machiavellian schemes with the aid of Section 31.
264) “Cogenitor” (Enterprise, Season 2)
A multi-gendered species keeps a small group of their kind as indentured servants. Trip Tucker is ready to get all John Brown … but who asked him to? A fascinating look at social structures, privilege and intervention.
263) “The Survivor” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
A squid monster appears on the ship, right near the Neutral Zone. In actuality, he’s not as evil as he looks.
262) “The Gamesters of Triskelion” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Members of the Enterprise are forced to engage in gladiatorial conduct. They don’t even get a cut of the door if they win. The big winners here are the cosplayers 50 years hence
261) “Whom Gods Destroy” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Lord Garth of Izar and his close family of screwballs (including Marta, Yvonne Craig’s take on an Orion Slave Girl) has our crew somewhat trapped. Scotty, left in charge while in orbit, is tough as brass.
260) “Encounter at Farpoint” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
There’s a lot to pack in when you are relaunching a major franchise. TNG’s big debut is a little dull to be honest, and Troi’s declaration of “great joy and gratitude!” is one of the cringiest things in the galaxy. But it’s still got the vibe Roddenberry we wanted. Hard to think about changing a thing now.
259) “Broken Bow” (Enterprise, Season 1)
All those questions we’ve ever had about how this glorious future was formed. They’ll all be answered, yes? Well, not really. That’s part of what makes Enterprise a little frustrating. However, when it debuted with a big bow on top in this nicely done two-part opener, it got the warp engines purring.
258) “Anomaly” (Enterprise, Season 3)
The 9/11-informed third season makes clear distinctions. Crew members can die and Archer will bend when the ends justify the means. Star Trek (and, you know, The United States of America) were in a weird place. Also a weird place: the Delphic Expanse! Physics be damned!
257) “Captive Pursuit” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
The Prime Directive vs. saving a life vs. The Most Dangerous Game. This is, I declare, season 1 of DS9‘s first episode that really popped with fun and adventure.
256) “Defiant” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Will Riker visits. But it’s Tom Riker! And he’s with the Maquis on a suicide mission. Sisko must align with Dukat, who discovers something of a reverse-Maquis within the Obsidian Order.
255) “Elaan of Troyius” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Diplomatic hardships as Helen of Troy – er, Elaan of Troyius – causes havoc on the ship. Her henchmen’s outfits are made from place mats!
254) “Hope and Fear” (Voyager, Season 4)
Looks like some new tech to get the ship home is just around the corner. As Seven of Nine panics at the thought of being amongst so many Terrans, Janeway’s new alien friend drops hints that this may cause some interplanetary geo-political ripples. Which is always the case.
253) “Power Play” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Data, Troi and O’Brien get possessed and try to take over the ship. Lots of side characters get their moment in this one, and “Troi” as a baddie is a great bit of fun both for Marina Sirtis and for us.
252) “Borderland” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Klingons are ready to go to war thanks to some genetically augmented jerks created by, naturally, Dr. Arik Soong in a surprise appearance from Brent Spiner.
251) “Redemption” (The Next Generation, Season 4-5)
Worf finds himself at the center of a Klingon civil war in this two-parter. Qapla’!
250) “Thirty Days” (Voyager, Season 5)
Paris breaks the rules and desalinates a space ocean. Hey, a guy’s gotta have hobbies. Anyway he gets demoted to Ensign. Seriously. Janeway ain’t playin’ around. I love a show with consequences!
249) “Day of Honor” (Voyager, Season 4)
B’Elanna and Tom Paris admit feelings for one another and finally kiss, though they are in space suits and their oxygen is running low. It’s like Gravity for two only with a lot less action and done for one zillionth the budget, kinda.
248) “Night” (Voyager, Season 5)
Warp kinda takes the vastness out of space, so this episode presents a patch of the galaxy so remote that, like, there’s nothing there and no one to talk to for a good long while. Everyone goes a little nuts and Janeway begins to doubt herself. Eventually it all works out.
247) “The Mind’s Eye” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
LaForge is used as a Manchurian Candidate by the Romulans to screw up the Klingon-Federation alliance. Solid.
246) “Author, Author” (Voyager, Season 7)
Is The Doctor a sentient being? Kinda hard to nail down and I feel like we’ve been arguing about this in one form or another forever. But is he an artist? Aha! Yes And he deserves royalties!
245) Remember Me, The Next Generation, Season 4
I feel like every character gets their “trapped alone on the ship” moment. This is Dr. Crusher’s turn, and its especially Twilight Zone-y. (It is also a strong and eloquent meditation on death and familial bonds.)
244) “The Maquis” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
A bit of a crossover with TNG, and also something of a point of no return for some die hards who felt Roddenberry would not approve. This is the moment when Trek got darker than ever before – the Federation is not a utopian society, and there are schisms within. You either love the complexity or reject the soiling of a dream.
243) “Dr. Bashir, I Presume” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Secrets from Dr. Bashir’s past! Turns out he is genetically enhanced. This is a no-go in the Federation (and behind the scenes, too – Alexander Siddig hated this.) But it’s always fun to meet the parents.
242) Datalore, The Next Generation, Season 1
Data’s origin story offers just enough to answer questions (no one can replicate him!) but retain mystery (no one knows why!) We learn more over the years (and will continue to learn more on Star Trek: Picard) but these are and always will be the basics.
241) “11001001” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Goofy fun with very yes-or-no blue aliens. (The Bynars, get it?) An important breath of fresh air in TNG‘s first season that was, let’s face it, a little all over the place.
240) “Drone” (Voyager, Season 5)
Another (!) transporter malfunction fuses Seven of Nine’s nanoprobes and The Doctor’s mobile emitter and – tada! – here comes a Superborg from the future. B’Elanna has the right idea (kill!) but Janeway decides to teach it goodness. It works. It kills itself.
239) “Visionary” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Chief O’Brien keeps flashing a few hours ahead of the timeline. If he trades places with his future self, is he still himself? Far out …
238) “Cold Station 12” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Dr. Noonian Soong (played by Brent Spiner) now realizes that his augmented “children” are trying to create a new Eugenics War. Dr. Phlox teams up with jokey character actor Richard Riehle, which is just about perfect. Good to see this bunch aboard.
237) “Warlord” (Voyager, Season 3)
Ah, the Kes conundrum. A main cast character that really never made sense. But here’s the thing: Jennifer Lien was a good actress. None of this was her fault. Well in this episode Li’l Kes ends up possessed by a vicious warrior, and fireworks ensue. It’s so good!
236) “Light and Shadows” (Discovery, Season 2)
So, we’re really doing another Spock? We’re really doing another Spock. It’s a big swing and Ethan Peck does a great job. The scene of him flipping out in the Vulcan tomb is terrific. We all have mixed feelings about this, but Peck is a great addition to the franchise.
235) “Ethics” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
To walk a light year in Worf’s shoes . . .
234) “The Cloud Minders” (The Original Series, Season 3)
A worker’s struggle with sky beauties and cave brutes. Some of the best costumes in TOS. Droxine the dream …
233) “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Telepathy, transferring consciousness, unknown voids. This one has it all, plus spooky organs, crazy sunglasses, a wild use of color flashes and far out wide angle lenses. The Nineteen Sixties!
232) “Canamar” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Archer and Trip are mistakenly placed on a Ben-Hur-like prison ship, headed towards certain doom. Just as their names are cleared, there’s a prisoner revolt! Take off or take action? What a question!
231) “Sarek” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Spock’s father beams in, giving fans at the end of season 3 what they always wanted – a more concrete tie-in to pre-existing lore, specifically Spock. (Oh, imagine a pre-Discovery time, when we were so pure!) The episode itself doesn’t quite live up to its very high promise, in my opinion, but it set a very important precedent.
230) “The Practical Joker” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
The ship’s computer gets infected with a bad case of pranksteritis. Verily, we say “Kirk is a jerk!”
229) “Latent Image” (Voyager, Season 5)
The Doctor discovers he’s got a short term memory problem. Rooting out the cause leads to a surprise (that may ultimately lead to a brighter future?)
228) “Whispers” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Really smart Twilight Zone-ish episode, all done from Chief O’Brien’s POV (or is it really the Chief!!?)
227) “Affliction” (Enterprise, Season 4)
When enough people asked “why do the Klingons look different than in the old show?” they finally broke down and made this episode. And all the nerds relaxed. Until Discovery came along. Whoopsie! (Added value: a Hoshi-T’Pol mind-meld.)
226) “The Next Phase” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
LaForge and Ro are “out of phase.” They eventually find their way back. Ro rules.
225) “Wink of an Eye” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Time dilation right there on the ship. Is that a mosquito buzzing around your head or is it your crewman saying “hey! I’m existing on another temporal plane! Do something!!”
224) “The Ship” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
A stand-off between our gang in a busted-up Jem’Hadar ship and an untrustworthy (tho scantily clad!) Vorta.
223) “The Circle” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
You may need a pie chart to figure out all the factions at play here, but the theme is basically that plurality is good, isolation is bad. And Frank Langella is not who he seems.
222) “The Dauphin” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Wesley’s got a GIRRRRRRLFRIEND.
221) “Sons and Daughters” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Alexander Rozhenko shows up as a new recruit aboard the IKS Rotarran. Can Worf handle that? Lovely Ziyal shows up aboard the (once again named) Terok Nor to be with her father Dukat. Can Kira handle that? Complications!
220) “An Obol For Charon” (Discovery, Season 2)
I love enormous data spheres, even when they almost inadvertently kill my friends.
219) “Dragon’s Teeth” (Voyager, Season 6)
Moral ambiguity, thy home lies in the Delta Quadrant. Janeway and company are on the run from some baddies and land on a planet with some allegedly extinct folks in stasis. After waking them Voyager discovers that their new allies are even worse than the other guys.
218) “Apocalypse Rising” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
The Federation-Klingon schism is at an end. And how did it happen? By Sisko dressing up as a mighty warrior, that’s how. No one gets between him and is bloodwine!
217) “Nor The Battle To The Strong” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Jake Sisko reports from the battlefront and it isn’t pretty. Gruesome violence and cowardice are not what Gene Roddenberry had in mind, but to suggest they would not exist the future is probably inhuman.
216) “The Ultimate Computer” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Dr. Daystrom is coming to replace us all with a computer. That is, unless, Kirk can talk it to death with logic. This episode has the dubious distinction of inspiring the name of a subreddit.
215) “The Defector” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Do we ever trust a Romulan? This one’s a nail-biter and continues Trek’s legacy of including Shakespeare references.
214) “The Quickening” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
This episode rules because a lot of innocent people die in awful ways. Shows that DS9 isn’t afraid of anything. And that even Dr. Bashir is powerless before the Teplan Blight!
213) “Civil Defense” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Terrific ticking clock fun when Chief O’Brien accidentally sets off an auto-destruct sequence. Joke’s on Gul Dukat when he gets stuck on the station, too.
212) “Crossover” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
The Mirror Universe is back! And Kira is wearing silver pants.
211) “Context is for Kings” (Discovery, Season 1)
As far as I am concerned, this is the real pilot for Star Trek Discovery. Michael Burnham begins her long road to redemption after her first strike/mutiny and we get to meet the real crew and we hear the words “Black Alert.” The disfigured bodies on the Glenn is the first “yeah, this isn’t broadcast TV Trek” and it rules.
210) “In The Flesh” (Voyager, Season 5)
Species 8472 has created a simulation of Starfleet Academy, and they’ve got the details down all the way to Boothby. Excepting, of course, the human inclination to do good!
209) “Survival Instinct” (Voyager, Season 6)
Meet the of Nines! Seven of Nine meets up with some of her former drone companions (Two, Three and Four of Nine) and they want to get in her head.
208) “The Naked Now” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
This TOS retread is fully functional.
207) “Little Green Men” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
This Ferengi-focused time travel tale answers many questions – like what really happened at Roswell and how the Universal Translator really works. Extremely amusing.
206) “Future Tense” (Enterprise, Season 2)
If it walks like a TARDIS and talks like a TARDIS …? The gang finds an odd vessel with perplexing technology far from where any Terran has ever been. And inside is a human corpse. Then the time-shifting Suliban show up, not to mention those screechy, trigger-happy Tholians. Busy day! Why did Archer sign up for this?
205) “Disaster” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
The most sit com-y episode of all. A power breakdown means everyone is stuck where they are. Ensign Ro and Counselor Troi nearly claw at one another and Worf has to deliver Keiko O’Brien’s baby in Ten-Forward. Silly. Ah, who’m I kidding, it’s great!
204) “Genesis” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
The crew de-evolves (thanks to dumbass Reg Barclay.) Pure William Castle-esque horror. Best Worf entrance ever.
203) “Demon” (Voyager, Season 4)
A Class Y planet (which is awesome enough right there!) “bioforms” copies of the visiting Voyager crew. This is a hardcore SF mind-scrambler, with repercussions for future episodes.
202) “Juggernaut” (Voyager, Season 5)
B’Elanna’s natural inclination toward anger can sometimes be a good thing, especially as she battles an “Angel of Decay” aboard a doomed freighter.
201) “Assignment: Earth” (The Original Series, Season 2)
The backdoor pilot to a show that never happened, Interstellar Spy Gary Seven (and his sidekick Teri Garr!) are ready to save the sixties! Kirk and Spock pop by.
200) “Live Fast and Prosper” (Voyager, Season 6)
Some space scum are impersonating the crew of Voyager and ripping people off. Fun to watch, even if our heroes are growing a bad reputation throughout the Delta Quadrant!
199) “Flesh and Blood” (Voyager, Season 7)
The hologram prey that Janeway cooked up for the Hirogen have become self-aware (naturally) and now they want to align with The Doctor and convince him that he, too, is a slave. This one goes the extra mile because the baddies really do have a point.
198) “True Q” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
If you are looking for new people to join your Godlike Continuum, it may as well be Olivia D’Abo.
197) “Where No One Has Gone Before” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Wesley haters are gonna’ hate but his first encounter with The Traveler (and the Enterprise-D’s journey to Beyond the Infinite, which looks like the inside of a jar of marshmallow fluff) is good, far out stuff. Also: first proof that Picard really is French – he calls his mother “Maman.”
196) “Perpetual Infinity” (Discovery, Season 2)
Pogo-ing through spacetime, meet Michael Burnham’s mother. She’s going to save the galaxy and also offer her daughter emotional closure if it kills her.
195) “The Magnificent Ferengi” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6_
It’ll be controversial in some quarters, I know, for placing this as low on the list as I did, but … it’s still in the top 200. And honestly, I don’t buy that it is one of the greats. But is is certainly tremendous fun to watch Quark and his pals must save Moogie from a Vorta (Iggy Pop!) on Empok Nor! And, yes, a little touching, too.
194) “The Jem’Hadar” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Just when our interplanetary pals wanted to take a day to have some fun, they get a visit from these zealous and unstoppable killing machines from the other end of the wormhole. The first rumblings of the Dominion War.
193) “Through the Looking Glass” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
TOS created the Mirror Universe, but it was DS9 that revived and ran with it. Its second visit there offers pirates, freedom fighters and more of the libertine Intendant Kira Nerys in exotic outfits!
192) “Charlie X” (The Original Series, Season 1)
A bullied kid with unspeakable powers, perplexing hormones and anger issues? Nah, this won’t speak to Star Trek fans at all! This one’s also got Uhura singing to Spock as he strums his Vulcan lyre and Captain Kirk in red sweat pants.
191) “Terra Prime” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The REAL final episode of Enterprise, it’s basically Archer and company fighting for the concept of exploration and trust against a xenophobic, isolationist attitude. And it ends in blood and tears. No one said building the future would be easy.
190) Til Death Do Us Part, Deep Space Nine, Season 7
The Prophets tell Sisko he must walk his path alone. He’s not thrilled. Also: a closer inspection of the mysterious (and refrigerated) Breen.
189) “Bounty” (Enterprise, Season 2))
At the tail end of the second season the core audience got what it wanted all along: T’Pol in Pon Faar. And she’s begging the schlubbiest member of the crew (Dr. Phlox) to give her some lovin’. Also, the return of the nasty Tellarites. If you are gonna service the fans, give ’em the whole show.
188) “Zero Hour” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Action, adventure and Shran! Our team is split – half trying to blow up a Sphere, another group trying to disarm the Xindi superweapon. And they’ve got to time it just right . . .before the third season comes to its explosive simultaneous climax!
187) “Vaulting Ambition” (Discovery, Season 1)
When Captain Georgiou died in the second episode, it was annoying. Why put Michelle Yeoh in your show just to kill her off? Answer: to make the arrival of Her Most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo’noS, Regina Andor, Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius of the Terran Empire all that more of a gift. She eats Kelpien threat ganglia here.
186) “Qpid” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Picard and Vash in the Sherwood Forest. So stupid, but so fun. “I am not a merry man!” Somewhere out there in a parallel universe there was a 7-season Vash Chronicles series that made Jennifer Hetrick a superstar.
185) “Timescape” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Maybe the most far-out TNG episode of all, going deep into warp theory and quantum singularities. Plus Picard giggling at a smoke smiley face that, if you’ve seen online, you probably thought was photoshopped, but it is not.
184) “Birthright” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
An enormous two-parter with a lot of moving parts. There’s some DS9 crossover, plus Worf digging into his past and engaging his Klingon heritage. The big summation comes off as surprisingly bellicose for what we expect from Trek. But juicy.
183) “Spock’s Brain” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Okay. Listen. Yes, this is bad. Ridiculous. But funny! You see, there are some gorgeous space women and they are are hot for Spock’s brain. Who blames them? So they steal it. But Bones talks to it via radio. This is the best Star Trek episode to watch while drunk. Phish later named one of their lesser songs after it.
182) “Barge of the Dead” (Voyager, Season 6)
We may never get to Sto-Vo-Kor, but we know what to expect in Gre’thor. B’Elanna explores Klingon hell! METAL!
181) “Bride of Chaotica!” (Voyager, Season 5)
Of all the dopey holodeck scenarios, this one at least has the most zing. And a clear love of sci fi, which is nice. Does the crew of Voyager know that THEY are sci fi, too? One wonders.
180) “Tsunkatse” (Voyager, Season 6)
Seven of Nine wears a tighter than usual outfit (if that’s possible) in order to beat up The Rock in a cage match. Essential for connoisseurs of multiple predilections.
179) “Random Thoughts” (Voyager, Season 4)
Creative spin on the typical “trial on a weird planet.” B’Elanna had violent thoughts on a telepathic planet of pacifists and now she must pay. But how do these creatures REALLY control their minds? One of the more Philip K. Dick-ish episodes in the franchise.
178) “Brothers” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
So just how smart was it putting a super-strong, hyper-intelligent android third in command of the Enterprise? Luckily, he isn’t going full HAL-9000, just responding to a homing beacon from dear old Dad.
177) “Justice” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Too silly to hate. Wesley walks on flowers, pisses off sex-joggers. Cosplayers at conventions have never been the same. Season one, man.
176) “Data’s Day” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Outside the norm for a usual episode, shown exclusively from Data’s point of view. The lived-in approach with these characters is what makes this world so appealing.
175) Take Me Out To The Holosuite, Deep Space Nine, Season 7
One of the great dopey episodes. Our crew vs. a bunch of jerk Vulcans in a “Bad News Bears” story. Worf declaring “death to the opposition” is an all-timer zing.
174) “The Aenar” (Enterprise, Season 4)
A weirdo albino Andorian is telepathically controlling a Romulan ship so Archer and Shran hit the icy homeworld to find another of their kind. Lots of creative makeup in this one.
173) “Strange Bedfellows” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Damar grows a pair, switches sides and saves Worf and Ezri. Meanwhile, Dukat and Kai Winn are getting it on. Gross.
172) “The Price” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
This is the one where Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi get in their leotards and help each other stretch. Amazing.
171) “Shadows and Symbols” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Enter Ezri Dax. This would be enough to power an episode, but let’s add Sisko discovering his mother was a Wormhole Alien (excuse me, Prophet) and Worf prepping to dedicate a battle to the fallen Jadzia. I need a drink!
170) “I, Borg” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
A detached member of the Borg Collective searches for identity. Whereas “Measure of a Man” is brilliant, this feels like a lecture at times. Who’d’ve ever thought that Hugh would be back in the franchise, but Jonathan Del Arco is, indeed, returning for Star Trek: Picard.
169) “The Perfect Mate” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Young Famke Janssen “imprints” on Picard to become his ultimate fantasy woman. Yeah, this one had a lingering effect as a kid.
168) “The Emissary” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Enter K’Ehlayr (and what an entrance – fired off in a space pod to the dark reaches of space!) Worf’s heartaches are our gain.
167) “Who Mourns For Morn?” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
A gift to fans, celebrating the doofy lookin’ guy in the bar who never speaks.
166) “Second Skin” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
DS9 goes Franz Kafka when Kira wakes up to find herself a Cardassian. It’s actually a deep cover espionage assignment (with a temporary memory wipe) but there’s plenty of time to discuss the elusiveness of identity and confront her own personal demons.
165) “Damage” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Archer must attack an innocent ship to get the parts he needs to complete his mission (of, you know, saving Earth.) T’Pol admits she’s a full-blown Trellium junkie and the Xindi council is now in disarray thanks to a schism led by the Trans-Dimensional Sphere Builders. It was at this precise moment in season 3 when we fans had to stop making excuses for Enterprise and could say, no, wait, this show rules, and rules on its own terms, and anyone who has a problem with it doesn’t know what they are talking about!
164) “The Forge” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Those of us who always knew that Enterprise’s Vulcan High Command wasn’t quite right got a lot of vindication with this one.
163) “The House of Quark” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Quark bests the Klingons with his mad accounting skills. A great culture clash.
162) “The Changing Face of Evil” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Fight Fight Fight! The Breen hit Starfleet HQ. Damar schemes against Weyoun. Dukat has the wool over Kai Winn’s eyes. No place for a nice game of dom-jot anywhere.
161) “Time’s Arrow” (The Next Generation, Season 5-6)
Know this: Data is ready to lay in a cave for hundreds of years if his duty decrees it so. Also, Guinan and Mark Twain are chums. Why are you surprised?
160) “The Lorelei Signal” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Space sirens bewitch the crew. Even Spock. Uhura and Nurse Chapel have to take matters into their own hands. It’ll be a long time til we see a woman in the Captain’s seat again, sadly.
159) “Twilight” (Enterprise, Season 3)
A dark vision of the timeline as Archer gets zapped by a spatial distortion and can’t form longterm memories. He is thus unable to save Earth, and humanity ends up on the run, BSG-style. But it’s how the Archer-T’Pol relationship plays out in this possible future that leaves its mark.
158) “Obsession” (The Original Series, Season 2)
That sweet, sickly smell! Kirk’s letting a tragedy from his past effect his thinking. But screw that, he’s got to find out how to kill that murderous gas cloud!
157) “The Adversary” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
A Founder has snuck onto the scene and is going to do all he can to coax the Federation and Tzenkethi (who?) into war. He fails at that, but has a larger goal been achieved? Oh, only looking back now do we see the roots of that brutal Dominion War!
156) “The Conscience of the King” (The Original Series, Season 1)
A visiting actor aboard the Enterprise may in fact be a war criminal, even if he does have a lovely daughter. I love this episode because it showed what a Mad Men-era cocktail party on another planet would look like.
155) “Pathfinder” (Voyager, Season 6)
So who’s been obsessing about the return of Voyager? Reg Barclay! He’s a bit of a weirdo/stalker but his heart is in the right place. And dammit he’s going to help our people come home. Reg Barclay, the original trans-quadrant Stan? You know it.
154) “Blood Oath” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Deep into Deep Space Nine‘s second season the show is confident enough to start playing with Trek’s legacy. And thus enter Kor, Kang and Koloth. And they’re friends with Jadzia. Qapla’!
153) “The Neutral Zone” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Relics from the present (more or less) appear, but they aren’t evil like Khan, just normal schmoes … who happen to be on the Enterprise when the Romulans make their debut. Great way for TNG‘s Season one to end, tying it nicely to Trek legacy.
152) “The Pegasus” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Skeletons from Riker’s past are trapped – or should I say cloaked – aboard this secretive ship.
151) “Broken Link” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
DS9‘s fourth season tried to end with as many complications as possible. Gowron is actually a shapeshifter and Odo tried to go “home” but was rejected by his fellow goop-men. Who to trust? WHO TO TRUUUUUST?! Trust that season 5 is going to be even better.
150) “Children of Time” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
A serious ethical conundrum. A quantum bubble creates an alternate timeline. To go back, descendants of our heroes must be winked out of existence. It’s up to Odo, whose love for Schrodinger’s Kira makes things difficult.
149) “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Nurse Chapel’s old beau is living in a cave with a giant manservant and a robo-hottie. Then he puts Kirk on a giant spinning wheel like they have at playgrounds to make a copy of him. It’s a weird cave.
148) “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Voyager, Season 5)
Seven of Nine heads into the holodeck to try and figure out how to act human. The Doctor discovers that he’s in love. Elsewhere, Neelix the would-be diplomat screws up with some forbidden fruit. This ship is nutty, I tell ya!
147) “Second Chances” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
A transporter mishap years ago created a long lost “brother” for Riker. Is he the same person? No, the intervening time changed all that. And this episode is so rich in dorm room theory.
146) “Countdown” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Now we know what happens when someone gets phasered mid-transport. It’s one of a million things going on just as the Xindi superweapon in en route to blow Earth to smithereens.
145) “Critical Care” (Voyager, Season 7)
The Doctor is kidnapped, brought to a hospital ship and begins to implement socialized medicine.
144) “Who Watches the Watchers?” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
A slip-up during an observation mission monkeys with a planet’s development and the Prime Directive. But shouldn’t everyone worship The Picard?
143) “Behind The Lines” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
The station is occupied and everyone is working an angle. Odo is in communion with The Great Link and Kira is ready to die for the cause. The show is on a cruise control of awesome.
142) “The Return of the Archons” (The Original Series, Season 1)
The Purge stole its idea from this episode, where Red Hour means you can go wild in the streets, or at least as wild as you could go on TV in the late 1960s.
141) “Unity” (Voyager, Season 3)
The crew discover a colony of ex-Borg who, get this, yearn to reconnect to the collective. Where’s your IDIC now, huh?
140) “The Search” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Enter the Defiant and the Great Link. Hard new tech and far-out concepts prove that DS9 ain’t afraid to open its third season as true nerdy sci-fi.
139) “Favor the Bold” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Sisko devises a plan to re-take the station. Worf and Martok need to convince Gowron to get on board. And Quark (Quark!?) is the man on the inside.
138) “In A Mirror, Darkly” (Enterprise, Season 4)
The DS9 and Discovery Mirror Universe episodes are fun but never had the snap of the original “Mirror, Mirror.” Enterprise‘s take nails it best. We aren’t a visitor, we’re just there – from the opening credits on. Then come the Gorn, Tholians, smooth-forehead Klingons and T’Pol with long hair and an exposed midriff. Enterprise was almost over and with only four seasons was something of a failure compared to Voyager and DS9. This two-part episode was a thank you to the fans who stood by as this crazy prequel idea tried to find itself. Too bad it ended just as it was getting absolutely fantastic.
137) “The Hunted” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Similar to themes in TOS’ “Taste of Armageddon” or even “Space Seed,” we see the downside of social engineering, even with good intentions. Also: the Enterprise gets its ass kicked by Space Rambo.
136) “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Aliens that look like black and white cookies. A little obvious with its racial subtext and maybe too many shots of running around the ship, but this is a tiny piece of classic literature.
135) “The Game” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Ashley Judd called your iPhone addiction decades ago!
134) “Rocks and Shoals” Deep Space Nine, Season 6
In the middle of the larger Dominion War fight Sisko gets stuck on a desert planet against a handful of Jem’Hadar. Gripping stuff with a killer ending.
133) “Statistical Probabilities” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
One Warped Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Dr. Bashir hosts a group of his fellow genetically engineered freaks.
132) “Future Imperfect” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Riker awakens to discover many years have passed and he’s the Captain. The ending cops out but it’s a great What If?
131) “The Masterpiece Society” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
A gem of an episode, once again taking the Prime Directive out for a spin. Can you save a society that doesn’t want to be saved?
130) “Skin of Evil” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Stakes are REAL in The Next Generation. In this episode Lt. Yar, who was introduced as a major character, is killed by a giant alien Hefty bag. My life was changed forever watching this as a kid in my grandmother’s kitchen. Did a major character on my new favorite show just die? How? How? How could this be? “No, no, she’ll be back next week,” they consoled me. She never was. I needed to grow, but not that fast.
129) “What’s Past is Prologue” (Discovery, Season 1)
Evil Lorca freeing his old crew from long-term agony booth torment after the most cockamaime scheme in the Multiverse actually worked is a big mood for me.
128) “Dark Frontier” (Voyager, Season 5)
Seven of Nine makes her big return to the collective and it is stressful for all involved. But the Borg Queen may have access to a transwarp coil, which may lead to secret corridors that … hey, it’s not important. Poor Annika Hansen has to face her demons first.
127) “More Tribbles, More Troubles” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Cyrano Jones is back and he’s brought Tribbles with him. But this time we have The Glommer!
126) “The Naked Time” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Don’t drink and warp! The crew gets loose when a toxin hits them all right in their inhibitions. Sulu shows up with a sword. Classic stuff.
125) “The Gift” (Voyager, Season 4)
Hey, Kes, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And, if you wouldn’t mind, use your evolving Ocampan self to scootch us a little closer to the Alpha Quadrant. While you’re doing that, we’re going to fix up an eye-popping costume and much more interesting character arc for your buxom replacement. (Our relationship with Kes remains nuanced.)
124) “Sacrifice of Angels” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
The biggest space battle of them all. Let’s hope the fleet can hold out until the Defiant gets there. The fans who buy the Ships of the Line calendars each year soiled themselves with delight at this episode.
123) “The Man Trap” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Salt vampire. What more is there to say?
122) “Clues” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
Is Data following orders if he refuses to tell Picard the truth? Even after Picard orders him to talk? Even if this was preceded by Picard ordering him to never divulge information then wiping his memory? Heavy. That logical fallacy conundrum aside, this one is like Murder, She Wrote in space.
121) “Year of Hell” (Voyager, Season 4)
Angry Kurtwood Smith is monkeying with the timeline and will stop at nothing to destroy the alien beings that ruined his life – even if it means steamrolling Voyager to “correct” history.
120) “Preemptive Strike” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Ro Laren must be true to her beliefs. And those beliefs include telling her surrogate father Captain Picard to go screw.
119) “The Ambergis Element” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Kirk and Spock grow gills! And there’s an underwater shuttle pod. And a faction of mer-pacifists!
118) “Dead Stop” (Enterprise, Season 1)
The ship gets free repairs from a bizarre, seemingly alive interstellar garage. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch, even in space!
117) “The Survivors” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
The trouble with pacifists. Nice Twilight Zone twist in this one.
116) “By Any Other Name” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Interstellar travel? Pshaw! Intergalactic travel is where it’s at! Here come the Andromedans and they mean business. In fact, they want the Enterprise, and with their ruthless use of advanced tech – like turning people into chalk 12-sided dice – looks like they’ll get it. Note: this is the only episode where a woman Redshirt gets killed! Progressive ideals!
115) “One Little Ship” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Trek goes Fantastic Voyage as O’Brien and friends must shrink down to fix something. Very clever production design. Was probably great fun to shoot. This is the type of thing that would NEVER fly today in a show with 13 episodes a season. The 1990s were a trip.
114) “Dear Doctor” (Enterprise, Season 1)
When Enterprise first launched part of the promised fun was seeing the seeds of future technology. (“The first transporter,” the commercials boasted.) But what about the Prime Directive? Its first real test came from the affable Dr. Phlox, who stands his ground making a tough decision.
113) “The Paradise Syndrome” (The Original Series, Season 3)
“I am Kirok!” Kirk gets yanked into a Native American-esque society and falls in love. Heartbreaking ending, even if, let’s face it, this one is more dated than most.
112) “First Contact” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
I love the rare episode where we see our characters from another point of view. (This is a very Roddenberry notion.) This time it is Riker as an interloper (but really just a Federation greeter who made a mistake.) Bonus points for Bebe Neuwirth.
111) “A Night in Sick Bay” (Enterprise, Season 1)
Porthos is sick. Dr. Phlox has the cure – for Archer to get laid! It takes a Denobulan to make that connection, and it takes the producers of Enterprise, God bless them, to put Jolene Blalock in so much skimpy blue underwear. What a show!
110) “Such Sweet Sorrow” (Discovery, Season 2)
A big two-parter, end-of-the-season battle with everything thrown against the wall: spores, Sphere data, a time crystal, the wacky girl who likes ice cream and a cliffhanger that a) legitimately goes where excuse me when no Trek has gone before and b) offers a big Zamboni-like cleanse of the timeline that explains why we’ve never heard of any of this before. Come on season 3!
109) “Reunion” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
A deep dive into Klingon ritual with K’Ehelyr, Duras and various angry claims of vengeance. Great stuff.
108) “Prey” (Voyager, Season 4)
There’s a stray 8472 bugger on Deck 11, causing a mini replay of Alien. Seven of Nine is able to condemn it to death on a Hirogen ship, and while this does save the day, it isn’t the way Janeway likes to play things. Captain Kathryn Janeway is a righteous woman! (At least when Tuvix isn’t involved.)
107) “Equinox” (Voyager, Season 5-6)
Surprise, another Federation ship is in the region. Only this one is a little more hardcore about getting home by any means necessary – including sucking the lifeforce from some sorry slug aliens. Janeway is tough but she isn’t that ruthless. And eventually she has to stand for righteousness, which gets hairy.
106) “Azati Prime” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Just when we get within firing range of the Xindi superweapon, Crewman Daniels arrives from eight centuries hence to yank Captain Archer away and introduce him to the REAL bad guys. You’d be throwing stuff at the TV in frustration if it weren’t for that glimpse at the Enterprise-J. That’s right you heard right Enterprise-J.
105) “Workforce” (Voyager, Season 7)
The bulk of the crew have been brainwashed into thinking they are industrial worker ants in a “Metropolis”-like scenario. Chakotay and others must try and save Janeway and the gang, but with no knowledge of their other life, is it right to save them? This adventure yarn just warped into some seriously heavy philosophical shit!
104) “The Offspring” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Data has a daughter. On paper this could have been just a typical “don’t mess with the Creator’s plans” episode, but surprisingly touching.
103) “Homestead” (Voyager, Season 7)
We find Talaxians on an asteroid and the crew offers to help them out and then Neelix. . . Neelix stays behind? What? You may not have realized it, but Neelix was one of the realest MFers out there in the galaxy. You may have a vision of yourself in the future as Riker or Kirk or Seven of Nine, but the truth of the matter is you’d be lucky to ride a lightyear in Neelix’s apron! Now he leaves us? Um … excuse me … I need a moment.
102) “Tacking Into The Wind” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Worf! Worf! Worf! Worf! The Mighty Son of Mogh defeats Gowron, then hands Martok the Chancellory. Honor! Valor! Strength! Virtue! Worf!
101) “In Purgatory’s Shadow” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
One head-exploding WTF revelation after another. Martok is still alive, Tain is Garak’s father and Bashir has been replaced by a Founder! Please, please, many of us Deep Space Nine fans have heart conditions!
100) “The Dogs of War” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Unforeseeable twists in the Dominon War! Damar will fight, but do Garak and Kira trust him? (The should; he is a righteous man.) All hell breaks out as the long arc — the most groundbreaking thing in television, let’s face it! — comes to a close. Also: Grand Nagus ROM?! Glory to the Great Exchequer!
99) “The Immunity Syndrome” (The Original Series, Season 2)
What if, like, all of space is just a huge body, and we’re cells, and the ship is an antibody, and “zones of darkness” (they didn’t say black hole then) was disease and … where was I, man?
98) “Unification” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
OHMYGOD IT’S SPOCK ON TNG!!!!11!11!11 After breathing into a paper bag to stop hyperventilating, let’s be honest about this. The second half of this two-parter is weak. The Spock-Data scene should have been better. But leaving Spock working with the Romulan underground was a nice place for J.J. Abrams to pick him up years later, allowing a nice link between the Kelvin Timeline and, uh, real Star Trek. (I kid, I kid.)
97) “Unimatrix Zero” (Voyager, Season 6-7)
A few Borg drones create a section of cyberspace in which they roam free of technology. Janeway sees this as her chance to start a rebellion. She sends in Seven of Nine but there are emotional complications. Exciting and weird.
96) “The Expanse” (Enterprise, Season 2)
Less than two years after 9/11 the producers of Enterprise decided, wisely, to try and make sense of what the country was going through with an ongoing storyline. Gone was the Temporal Cold War (basically) and it was time to make the preemptive strike against the Xindi.
95) “Stratagem” (Enterprise, Season 3)
Stone cold Archer goes full psy-ops against Degra to find out more about the Xindi superweapon. Best, he is placed back with no memory, in case he’s needed again. Gene Roddenberry would have a heart attack, but tough times call for tough measures.
94) “Despite Yourself” (Discovery, Season 1)
As if a Klingon war, a spore drive and reviving the whole franchise wasn’t enough, Discovery went to the Mirror Universe. Some of this arc gets a little bogged-down, but the first appearance is truly amazing. Captain Killy forever!
93) “The Infinite Vulcan” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Ten foot tall Spock.
92) “Rascals” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Remember when Picard didn’t like kids? Well now, thanks to some crazy space thing, he (and Guinan and Ro and Keiko) have become kids! There’s a minute when they all jump on the bed. This episode is hilarious.
91) “The Enterprise Incident” (The Original Series, Season 3)
Kirk and Spock use subterfuge go get more info about the Romulan cloaking device. Tricky espionage stuff that keeps you guessing – plus Kirk with the pointy ears this time. But all that is secondary to Joanne Linville
90) “Sins of the Father” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Drown me in hardcore Klingon lore, season 3 of Next Gen. Worf is excommunicated from the Empire. Picard has his back. This was the first episode in a long, long character arc that eventually led to the mighty Son of Mogh becoming the heart and soul of all of Star Trek. If you disagree with me, you are a p’tak!
89) “Endgame” (Voyager, Season 7)
Compared with DS9, Voyager’s finale is a little anticlimactic. But it’s still very smart. This series has never done anything the expected way. We open ten years from now on Earth. Admiral that’s right Admiral Janeway feels like a failure for how much her crew struggled and suffered and wants to give those people — our characters — another chance. So should we monkey with the timeline and rearrange history? Hey, when your life has been this strange, why not go all the way?
88) “Distant Origin” (Voyager, Season 3)
Told from the POV of the alien of the week (an insectoid Voth) the Voyager crew a scientific quarry that’s needed to prove the theory of his planet’s evolution. Voyager was so great at reminding us that even Starfleet is minuscule out there in the vastness of the Universe. Nifty mind-expanding stuff.
87) “Errand of Mercy” (The Original Series, Season 1)
The Enterprise versus the Klingons on Organia in peak Cold War form. Ultimately, the Space UN puts a freeze on them (by making their weapons hot) but as the tension increases there’s some really sharp writing and iconic performances. Shatner give a few weary sighs that are priceless.
86) “Operation – Annihilate!” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Neural parasites are flapping around the Deneva Colony and stinging the fine colonists to death! Great use of outdoor sets and wonderful scenes of Spock the martyr. For future reference: Vulcans have an inner eyelid.
85) “Timeless” (Voyager, Season 5_
A slipstream gets Harry and Chakotay home, but accidentally kills the rest of the crew. Fifteen years later guilt forces them to try and “correct” the timeline. Oh, if it were that easy!
84) “The Counter-Clock Incident” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
We’ve had rapid aging, well this is reverse-aging. So, Enterprise Babies, basically. Aw, cmon, don’t act like you don’t love it!
83) “The Council” (Enterprise, Season 3)
A total nail-biter as the Spheres reveal themselves to be part of the Xindi plan and Degra falls to the Reptilians. Diplomacy and espionage side-by-side as Archer and crew try to save Earth! This is juicy television!
82) “Necessary Evil” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Backstory into Kira and Odo’s first meetup on Terok Nor during the Cardassian Occupation. A great look into their characters, especially when compared to what they’d become.
81) “Conundrum” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
What happens when everyone gets amnesia? Worf takes command and Riker and Ensign Ro hop in the sack. I wish this episode would never end.
80) “Message in a Bottle” (Voyager, Season 4)
There’s a fleeting opportunity to zip The Doctor to a Federation ship via a communications array. He gets there and – oh no! – the ship is overrun by Romulans. He and the NEW Emergency Medical Hologram (Andy Dick!?!?) have to save the day.
79) “Tomorrow is Yesterday” (The Original Series, Season 1)
A pilot from “today” ends up aboard so Kirk and the gang have to very meticulously retrace their steps and put everything back where they found it. Some nice comedy bits in here, and some space age optimism, too.
78) “Through The Valley of Shadows” (Discovery, Season 2)
Time crystals, Klingon monks, Pike’s melted-face destiny, inject it all into my vein. Unlike Discovery’s “If Memory Serves,” this is an episode steeped in fan service done right.
77) “Inquisition” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Gene Roddenberry’s vision takes another kick to the gut as we meet Section 31. It’s troubling, but we want them on that wall, we need them on that wall. And we’re only getting more in the Discovery-and-after era.
76) “A Time To Stand” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
The Dominion War is not going well for the Federation. Sisko takes a daring mission – to knock out the Ketracel-White supply. Meanwhile, Weyoun bosses Dukat around to remove the minefield from the wormhole. Nothing is easy!
75) “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth” (The Animated Series, Season 2)
The Animated Series is at its best when it is completely insane. And bright. Many of Earth’s early cultures share the same style of mythical beast (look it up!) so, naturally, this winged serpent is really a visitor from outer space. Keep an eye open for Ensign Walking Bear, who makes his only appearance here.
74) “A Piece of the Action” (The Original Series, Season 2)
There’s an entire planet that’s nothing but a giant cheap gangster picture. Mel from the TV show “Alice” is there, Spock becomes “Spocko,” McCoy becomes “Sawbones” and then there’s the new card game called Fizbin. Most TOS episodes end with a little gag (usually between Spock and Bones) but this one is a bonafide freeze frame! Dumb! This should probably be much further back, I don’t know why I am ranking it so high. I have flaws!
73) “Far Beyond The Stars” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Maybe DS9 is all in the imagination of a science fiction author from the 1950s? And one persecuted for being black before the era of civil rights? Avery Brooks gobbled every bit of scenery on the Paramount lot for this one, but it still works, and was completely unexpected
72) “Call To Arms” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
A dispatch from deep within the Dominion War arc. The fighting comes home, and the station is left damaged and near-deserted at the end of the fifth season. Weyoun (boo!) and Dukat (double-boo!) have won this round. But at what cost?
71) “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
Nog experiences trauma in battle and hides in a Holosuite addiction. This episode has been cited time and again as one of the best depictions of PTSD in pretty much any medium. Yeah, so it’s with a Ferengi and a holographic copy of Frank Sinatra, but that’s where Aron Eisenberg and James Darren come in.
70) “Course: Oblivion” (Voyager, Season 5)
Those Class Y “copies” from the episode “Demon” have now taken to the heavens, and we get a chance to see slightly skewed versions our characters in extreme (and ultimately fatal) situations. A very unique and super clever spin on the alternate reality scenario.
69) “Soldiers of the Empire” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Worf brings honor back to the House of Martok. The crew singing Klingon battle songs is the greatest thing ever. “Qoy qeylIs puqloD! Qoy puqbe’pu’! yoHbogh matlhbogh je SuvwI’! Say’moHchu’ may’ ‘Iw!”
68) “The Lower Decks” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
So what’s the deal with all those extra people you see walking around the Enterprise? This is their story. And this is the episode for we nerds who spend A LOT of time daydreaming (okay, wishing) we could somehow wake up one day and live aboard the Enterprise.
67) “Conspiracy” (The Next Generation, Season 1)
Neural parasites, exploding brains, paranoia and mistrust. A major win for this TNG’s first season. Middle school kids worried they were watching a geek show (not the source of pride it is today) raised their heads a little higher.)
66) “Ensign Ro” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
A slow launch to the eventual chief conflict of Deep Space Nine. Michelle Forbes is fantastic as the freedom fighter/terrorist Bajoran that almost fits into Picard’s world.
65) “The Squire of Gothos” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Foreshadowing Q, Trelane, a nuisance omnipotent being, benignly tortures the crew. Twist at the end shows that he’s just a kid, or maybe I’m confusing this with the “Futurama” episode.
64) “Face of the Enemy” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Troi goes undercover as a Romulan. Star Trek’s deployment of an on-call shrink for action is maybe a bigger suspension of disbelief than the transporter, but let’s go for it. Nice call backs to Spock and his continuing mission.
63) “Awakening” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Surak’s katra has entered Archer, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the entire Vulcan High Council AND Vulcan High Command!
62) “The Chase” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Imagine “Chariots of the Gods?” meets “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
61) “Child’s Play” (Voyager, Season 6)
A rescued Borg child is brought back to his agrarian parents. But unbeknownst to him he’s actually hosting a secret and dangerous Borg virus. How will Janeway deal with this one?
60) “Family” (The Next Generation, Season 4)
The denouement to “Best of Both Worlds,” this remarkable episode shows us what both PTSD and winemaking will be like in the future.
59) “New Eden” (Discovery, Season 2)
Captain Pike Meets The Space Christians. The most TOS episode of the 21st century and it’s absolutely spectacular. It’s also only peripherally connected to the greater arc.
58) “The Doomsday Machine” (The Original Series, Season 2)
A rock solid adventure with a ticking clock and a mad captain. And a giant hollowed-out log floating around in space killin’ planets.
57) “United” (Enterprise, Season 4)
Jonathan Archer, noble Terran, has convinced the Vulcans, Tellarites and Andorians to all shake hands and join together in the face of a common enemy, the Romulans. Shran should have just said “And my axe!” Excuse me, I have something in my eye. . .
56) “Counterpoint” (Voyager, Season 5)
Voyager smuggles telepaths (including Tuvok!) past the noses of the Devore, a race that really really hates telepaths. This affords Kate Mulgrew some of her more triumphant scenes, proving she can be just as righteous as Picard.
55) “Space Seed” (The Original Series, Season 1)
A floating ship with sleeping passengers and, no, it can’t be! Yes, it’s 1990s tyrant/warrior-poet Khan Noonien Singh. And he’s going to take over the ship and reupholster the Captain’s seat in rich Corinthian leather.
54) “The Galileo Seven” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Spock, Bones and a few others are marooned on a planet. Spock’s hard logic methods cause friction with the crew. In the end, he learns that sometimes an emotional response gets the job done.
53) “Improbable Causes” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
Ain’t no backstory like Garak’s backstory!
52) “Rightful Heir” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Cloning the spiritual leader of Klingon from a shroud? Maybe not ethical, but certainly exciting.
51) “The Menagerie” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Spock is flat-out disobeying orders. Or is he still loyal to his former captain, Captain Pike, who is in the world’s worst wheelchair? This two-parter digs up “record tapes” that seem to have a POV of just about everything. These files couldn’t possibly be reels of footage from the original, unaired pilot, would they? It would explain why Spock looks and acts differently, but let’s not fret about that, especially since it’ll give Ethan Peck something fun to do 50 years later.
50) “What You Leave Behind” (Deep Space Nine, Season 7)
By some miracle, it all came together. The conclusion to Deep Space Nine feels complete. Even with a billion characters and a religion/mythology that was never easy to comprehend. The last shot of Kira and Jake staring out the Promenade window toward the Wormhole (or is it the Celestial Temple?) is just about perfect.
49) “Past Tense” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
The past is indeed tense, as the year 2024 features Children of Men-style crime ghettos. Sisko is there, mistaken for Gabriel Bell, a social justice warrior, but not in the obnoxious Internet meaning of the phrase. Dax is also trapped back in time, in a luxury high rise with a quality (now) retro-future desktop computer.
48) “The Way of the Warrior” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
What an entrance! Worf arrives on Deep Space Nine just as the Klingon-Federation alliance crumbles. Has Gowron lost his mind? Has Martok? Someone please bring reason to the Empire! And let that someone be the Son of Mogh!
47) “The First Duty” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Wesley is back and just in time for Picard to browbeat him with one of the greatest speeches in all of Trek. “You don’t deserve to wear that uniform!”
46) “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” (Discovery, Season 1)
The Fugees in space! Burnham trapped in Harry Mudd’s time-loop. Fun wacko sci-fi, the characters (especially Tilly) get to sink their teeth into characters for what’s basically a bottle episode. Truly great.
45) “The Magicks of Megas-tu” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Completely insane. The most tripped-out episode in the whole series. In the center of the galaxy, outside of time, are a bunch of folks just hangin’ out. Among them: Satan. Stay there for a while, as Kirk does, and you’ll get magic powers and your fists will glow and the background behind you will look like Fruit Stripe gum wrappers. I love this episode and show it to my metalhead friends who think Star Trek is lame and they always love it.
44) “A Matter of Time” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Is Matt Frewer really a historian from the future or just screwing with us? I am certain it’s just my hazy memory or coincidence but it seems like this one popped up as a rerun constantly as a kid. And was always a treat. “And LaForge remained below!”
43) “Relics” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Scotty comes back and brings a holodeck version of the REAL Enterprise with him. “No bloody A, B, C or D!” LaForge may roll his eyes from behind the VISOR but Picard comes to knock back a drink. Respect. A fan favorite for good reason.
42) “Realm of Fear” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
Reg Barclay vs. the Transporter. Not just a great Reg episode (of with there are many!) but one of the better “this is what every day life in the 24th Century is like” episodes. This is a gateway drug to tie-in fiction — don’t fight it, take one of the books out of the library, there are 300,000!
41) “Relativity” (Voyager, Season 5)
Relive the launch of Voyager through the eyes of Seven of Nine, who is brought to the past from the far future. You got that? It’s a little complicated, I know, but go with it. You see, there is (or was?) a saboteur on board and now we’re time cops. Sexy time cops!
40) “Kir’Shira” (Enterprise, Season 4)
I always knew Ambassador Soval would end up being a good guy! He and Trip and Shran (Shran!) join forces to root out the baddies lurking in Vulcan High Command. Meanwhile T’Pol gets a divorce and Archer, with Surak’s katra, has achieved, like, total consciousness. We’ve got action, we’ve got geeky sci-fi stuff AND a clever way of bouncing the story off of canon – everything Enterprise excelled at when it was really clicking. And then it got cancelled. Oy.
39) “The Wire” (Deep Space Nine, Season 2)
Garak tells Dr. Bashir that all his stories were true. But what about the lies? ESPECIALLY the lies.
38) “Deja Q” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
Q loses his Q-ness. And getting sleepy never felt the same way again.
37) “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (The Original Series, Season 1)
The first episode for mass consumption, and it changed our world forever. Stuff like the uniforms (and Spock’s eyebrows) are a little different, but from the very first moments (“ah, yes, one of your Earth emotions!”) everything’s cruising at warp speed. I think I’ve watched this three hundred thousand times.
36) “Duet” (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)
The Eichmann trial in outer space. Season 1 of DS9 was good, but this episode toward the end was an indicator that greatness was to come. Major Kira’s freedom fighter/terrorist character would be a tough sell today.
35) “The Trouble With Tribbles” (The Original Series, Season 2)
A great entry point for non-fans, this Cold War tale has one great scene of dialogue after another. Shatner’s perfect as the alpha male Kirk and the whole crew really bonds together. Then there are the cute li’l Tribbles. Awwww. I’d buy one! Some people would put this in the top 10 but I feel like I’ve done the honest thing here.
34) “The Die is Cast” (Deep Space Nine, Season 3)
The Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar join forces for a preemptive strike on the Jem’Hadar. Odo is being held because that mushy shapeshifter knows something. And maybe he does! Who do we trust in this complex war? Watching Deep Space Nine is a great aid if you ever want to be able to pick up a copy of The Economist and understand what’s happening in Yemen or Kurdistan.
33) “Starship Mine” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
It’s Picard vs. Terrorists (and Tim Russ!) when he’s stuck alone on the ship during the ship’s annual beauty spa cleaning. (Don’t ask.)
32) “Q Who” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Q zaps the crew a country mile down the road, shows us the Borg and introduces pop culture to one of the greatest and most unique villains ever.
31) “Day of the Dove” (The Original Series, Season 3)
A gem of a short story. I mean this as a compliment when I say you could yank this out of Star Trek and plop it in a Golden Age sci fi pulp collection and it would still sing. Kirk vs. Kang, Human vs. Klingon. And between them, a glowy ball feeding off hate that will kill everyone if they don’t just chill.
30) “Blink of an Eye” (Voyager, Season 6)
Anomalies and synchronous orbit cause Voyager to appear visible on a planet’s surface. But a second on the ship equals a day down there, so we see their entire development from cave dwellers to warp capability. Finally, we get to see the long term aspects of violating the Prime Directive all the way through.
29) “The Devil in the Dark” (The Original Series, Season 1)
“Pain! Puuuuainnn! Painnn!” A mining colony is under terrorist assault so Kirk is ready to kick ass with a phaser. But it turns out that WE are the ones causing pain, by killing the eggs of a confusing (and, yes, ridiculous looking) life form.
28) “Parallels” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
Nobody said the Multiple Worlds Theory was going to be pretty. Too many Worfs!
27) “Saints of Imperfection” (Discovery, Season 2)
It’s like The Poseidon Adventure in space with an inter-dimensional pocket universe powered by mushrooms. Michael Burnham is particularly kick-ass in this one, and good to see Tilly face down her fears. Also: the return of Hugh! This is a bananas episode where it all clicks and suddenly we see what episodic Star Trek looks like with an enormous budget.
26) “The Measure of a Man” (The Next Generation, Season 2)
Atticus Picard argues that Data is as “alive” as anyone else. This mid-season 2 episode proved that hiring an actor of Patrick Stewart’s caliber really made a difference.
25) “Tapestry” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
You know what they say, never get into a dom-jot tournament with a drunken Nausicaan! One of the great all-time What Ifs? If Picard had never been daring as a young man (and nearly died as a result) he would have grown up to become … just some guy? Should I be out there behaving like an idiot more often? Something to think about.
24) “All Good Things …” (The Next Generation, Season 7)
TNG wrapped up with perfect symmetry – moving backward and forward through its timeline (and the Universe’s) to close with a real winner. A hundred times better than the Star Trek Generations feature film the same writers were struggling with at the same time (talk about parallel worlds!)
23) “Living Witness” (Voyager, Season 4)
Seven hundred years from now another planet will still be talking about their interaction with Voyager. And they’ll be getting it all wrong! Luckily, a copy of the EMH will be there to clear our heroes’ names. A fabulous look at historical bias and, basically, the Telephone Game.
22) “Journey to Babel” (The Original Series, Season 2)
The Enterprise becomes a floating UN with distrusting Andorians, Tellarites and Vulcans. Not just any Vulcans, Spock’s father! And human mother! Espionage, intrigue and assassinations lead to one of the great all time episodes, and one of the first that helped sell how vast the Star Trek galaxy was. Big ups to D.C. Fontana!
21) “Tuvix” (Voyager, Season 2)
I’m going to get so much hate mail for this. Yes, I am aware of how many legendary episodes I have ranked below this one. I know how roundly mocked this episode is among many in the hardcore Trek community. And yet, to myself I must be true. This episode – basically The Fly except between a Vulcan and a Talaxian, not a fly and a Jeff Goldblum, is marvelous. Tuvok + Neelix = Tuvix and Tuvix is all right with me, and all Tuvix wants is to live. But Janeway wants her crew back. She makes a choice. Captain Janeway, the minute you get back to the Alpha Quadrant you are under arrest for the murder of Tuvix.
20) “The Visitor” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
A marvelous study on the acceptance of grief. Old Jake Sisko (Tony Todd!) saying good-bye to his father after spending (wasting?) his life trying to rescue him is just as touching as Kirk and Spock’s farewell in “Wrath of Khan.” This is classic science fiction, taking a universal theme and dressing it in some nerdy clothing. Excuse me, I’m getting verklempt …
19) “Hard Time” (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)
Similar to “The Inner Light,” Chief O’Brien is “sentenced” to have memories implanted that make it seem like he suffered decades in a prison cell. Best is that the bulk of the episode is about his psychological fallout, not the torment itself, and how even his best friends can’t relate. Brilliant storytelling, truly.
18) “Balance of Terror” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Action along the neutral zone! Kirk battles the Romulans with photon torpedoes and with smarts. A white knuckle war picture, heavily influenced by “Run Silent, Run Deep.” It’s one of the more alpha male TOS episodes and it’s just terrific.
17) “A Taste of Armageddon” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Perfect in inspiration and execution. A planet engaged in unending war uses no weapons. Their culture and infrastructure is secure, but a computer dictates who is killed by collateral damage. And that’s where the state-led suicides begin. Kirk won’t have anything to do with this madness, so he violates the Prime Directive. (To be fair, his hand is forced a bit.) Also: this episode is a laugh riot. The gang is creeping around corridors and Spock kills with a line about “a multilegged creature on your shoulder” before using the Vulcan nerve pinch. This was my first Trek episode, so maybe I’m inflating it a little for emotional reasons, but I still say it’s great.
16) “Trials and Tribble-ations” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
Star Trek’s first and best big fat love letter to itself. Stupendous.
15) “Scorpion” (Voyager, Season 3-4)
More dangerous than the Borg? Species 8472. More dangerous than Species 8472? Captain Janeway when she’s decided to go full badass to protect her crew. This one concludes with a singularity in fluidic space, which sounds a lot less gross than it is. Also the line “I am designation Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One. But you can call me Seven of Nine.” If that isn’t pure Borscht Belt comedy I don’t know what it.
14) “Cause and Effect” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
Heavy nerd time loops that can only be smoothed out by Data’s pips. Maybe the best mindscrambler of ’em all.
13) “Amok Time” (The Original Series, Season 2)
Kroika! Spock vs. Kirk to the Death! And that music! Don’t interrupt me with Plomeek Soup while I’m watching this – I’ll hurl it across the room.
12) “Chain of Command” (The Next Generation, Season 6)
There Are Four Lights!
11) “The Corbomite Maneuver” (The Original Series, Season 1)
The first produced post-pilot episode and everything snaps into place. The sets, the costumes, Leonard Nimoy grokking Spock. (That first over-the-shoulder hand-held shot out of the turbolift is a TOS anomaly, and maybe my favorite visual of the first season.) Kirk is the master strategist against a much stronger but dumber foe. A foe who later reveals himself to be Clint Freakin’ Howard?! Man, I need a shot of tranya!
10) “In The Pale Moonlight” (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)
Maybe the most controversial of all episodes. I love it, but I am frightened of it. So it’s in the top 10, but at number 10. Any higher would mean revolution. Do the ends justify the means? Garak thinks so and, with his back against the wall, maybe Sisko does, too. A Gulf of Tonkin-like incident ropes the Romulans into the Dominion War. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, but you can’t just “erase that entire personal log.” You have to own it.
9) “Yesteryear” (The Animated Series, Season 1)
Hey, it’s my list. This episode takes up a lot of real estate in my head. Dialogue from it echoes as a loop. Lines are shorthand jokes with my friends. Yes, it’s a cartoon, but it’s brilliant. And I need a handkerchief to even begin to discuss it. Spock revisits his youth and his kahs-wan ritual. During his test of maturity, he must, among other things, say goodbye to I-Chaya, his loyal pet sehlat. There are broader implications with the timeline, too, but really it’s all about noble I-Chaya. Brave I-Chaya. Come back, I-Chaya, come back! Sob sob sob!
8) “The Best of Both Worlds” (The Next Generation, Season 3-4)
The most dramatic cliffhanger ever (those trumpets!!) made all the more exciting because no one knew if Patrick Stewart was on board for season four. Unfortunately, the second half of the episode didn’t have quite the oomph of the first, which glides along with absolute perfection. Discovering the secrets of the Borg, who just let you wander around, and Picard’s violent transformation into Locutus is such a marvelous juxtaposition. The Riker/Shelby stuff is terrific, too, and in a parallel universe their show ran for four more seasons.
7) “By Inferno’s Light” (Deep Space Nine, Season 5)
What separated DS9 from the rest was the serialized arc of the Dominion War, and this episode represents its apex. It’s when the rumblings of espionage and police action finally erupted into a full-out conflagration, and each of our beloved characters is put to the test. Garak is now friend to the Federation, but turns out this seemingly unflappable Cardassian suffers from crippling claustrophobia. Still, he’s got to get our team off a space rock of a prison, and as he schemes and tinkers the Mighty Worf is issuing DAILY BEATDOWNS to Jem’Hadar in the ring. For so long we’ve known Worf had the fire of a true warrior within him, but the violence-as-final-measure philosophy of Starfleet tended to keep this off-screen. But today? Glorious. I wish I could get that memory implant that Chief O’Brien got to make this episode last for years.
6) “Arena” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Kirk against the Gorn. Iconic, legendary stuff. But this episode has a lot more. The destruction of Cestus III. The Metrons. The chase to that godforsaken rock where Kirk has to assemble a homemade cannon. Kirk’s last minute blast of pacifism is the perfect ending to a perfect episode.
5) “Darmok” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
A great episode to lure in people (and linguistics majors) who wouldn’t ordinarily watch Star Trek. Fun and exciting but also deeply philosophical and smart. It’s a good story because it is loosely based on “Gilgamesh” which is, of course, the first story! So it’s vetted. Chaka, when the walls fell!
4) “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (The Next Generation, Season 3)
TNG’s spiritual response to “Mirror, Mirror,” an alternate timeline in which our heroes are at constant war. Lt. Yar is back and the Enterprise-C has a woman captain. Plus Guinan kinda saves the day. The moment when the bridge darkens is the most badass lighting cue in television.
3) “Mirror, Mirror” (The Original Series, Season 2)
I still remember seeing this at the age of ten. The ion storm near the Halkanian planet caused the ship to flip-flap back and forth for a moment and then – whammo – we’re somewhere else and Spock had a goatee. And instantly, somehow, I knew how the whole episode would play out. A bizarro world where the good guys are bad and ohmygod did I mention that Spock had a goatee? It’s so clever and so much fun and I went around saying “your agonizer, please” for years. I love Star Trek so much.
2) “The Inner Light” (The Next Generation, Season 5)
The great individuals are adaptable, so when Picard is marooned and can’t get back to his ship, as he has done countless times on other adventures, he creates another life for himself. But is it reality? This episode is a hundred times better and more insightful than The Matrix and the tones of a Ressikan Flute always make me cry. We love seeing our characters in places outside of where we expect them to be, and this is the champion of them all.
1) “The City on the Edge of Forever” (The Original Series, Season 1)
Yeah, I know, everyone always picks this one, but I watched again to make sure and, yes, it really is the best. It absolutely hums. Joan Collins’ Edith Keeler is a fascinating figure – someone so kind who, if left alone to promote pacifism at a key point in history, could potentially ruin the world. The ending is perfect, and emotionally devastating. Our three main characters, our eternal archetypes, are there. Kirk is clutching Bones after blocking him in his tracks. He’s holding on for dear life with his eyes shut. “I could have saved her!” Bones cries, as Edith now lies dead in the middle of the road. “He knows, doctor. He knows,” Spock replies, and even though the Vulcan is cold and logical, he’s hurting, too. Once they hop back through the Guardian and return to the planet, Shatner delivers the finest moment of acting in his career. A simple “let’s get the hell out of here.” It’s a throwaway line, but the spin he puts on it is absolutely heartbreaking. This is science fiction at its absolute finest, using a way-out and fantastical concept to address universal themes like loss and fate. It is, unquestionably, the greatest Star Trek episode of all time.