As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see what she said about her top 5 favorite episodes of the first season of The Original Series.
5. Shore Leave
Aside from Kirk’s annoying old rival and old flame with bad fashion, this was a pretty entertaining episode that I remembered from the first time around, but did not remember being as entertained by it before as I was this time around. And it feels like a precursor to the Deep Space Nine episode “If Wishes Were Horses.”
4. Space Seed
I’ve technically seen Space Seed twice before this rewatch, once during my first watch of the series, and a second time before I rewatched Wrath of Khan one time. I wasn’t impressed with it either time. Quite frankly, though this is blasphemous to say as a Trek fan, The Wrath of Khan has never done a whole lot for me either. This time, I don’t know what happened, but I was WAY more into this episode. You know what I think it for me this time?
That’s right, Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal as Khan in Into Darkness made me appreciate Khan as a villain, because I found him to be so much more charismatic than Ricardo Montalban. YOU HEARD ME. I have said it and will not apologize for it. Benedict Cumberbatch is not the original Khan, and Montalban was a great Khan for the original series, but for me, I could relate to Cumberbath’s performance much more. I almost believed him in Into Darkness, even though I completely knew better! He really was tricky; not clearly the abusive jerk I found Montalban’s Khan to be. And yet, watching Space Seed again, I bought into it better, even though he wasn’t Cumberbatch. They’re both Khan and they play different dynamics of him and they both look so completely different but WHATEVER. It’s OK.
I got off on a tangent, and all that is just to say I never dreamed this would make my top five favorite episodes of season one. But it did.
3. The Menagerie
This is technically two episodes, but I’m counting them as one since they go together. Plus, they also feature the original Star Trek pilot, The Cage, which never aired. I technically like The Cage better since it’s one storyline instead of an interesting story within a convoluted storyline about Spock completely disregarding rules to help his old captain out, but again, since it’s not really part of season one, I’m going with The Menagerie instead. I have always found the idea thought-provoking: what if you were offered the chance to live out fantasies for the rest of your life? They wouldn’t be real, but they would be everything you wanted. Would you accept it, or fight back for reality? Those kinds of questions are why I love Star Trek to begin with.
2. The Naked Time
I just love this episode because it is so much fun. Sulu runs around like crazy fencing, Spock has emotions, an officer named O’Riley serenades the whole ship with his off-key rendition of an Irish tune. Sometimes, you just need a fun episode. However, there is also a pretty poignant scene with Spock when he breaks down, full of emotion.
1. The City on the Edge of Forever
How Kirk, Spock, and McCoy end up back in time is a little convoluted, but really, there is just something special about this episode. (Charlene agrees because it’s her #1 pick too!) Again there’s a question: Would you allow events to unfold as they must to save millions, if it means watching someone you love suffer? It’s good stuff, people.
And just for fun, here are my two favorite aliens featured in season 1…
That’s right folks, it’s a dog wearing an “alien” costume and (presumably) a man underneath some sort of lasagna-looking rug (I refer to this creature affectionately as Pasta Puppy) that are my favorite aliens of season one. Forget the introduction of the Romulans or the Klingons and forget the Gorn. This is where it’s at.
I also wanted to say that this season my favorite character has actually turned out to be Scotty! After my first time watching the original series I really loved Spock, and Spock is great, but Scotty didn’t take crap from anyone in season one, which I respect.