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Top Ten TOS Episodes June 3, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in television review.
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In honor of the newly revived Star Trek franchise I’ve decided to go through each of the series and rate what I consider to be the best episodes of that particular incarnation. We’re going to go chronologically here, so we’ll be starting with the original series.

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NUMBER TEN

The Trouble With Tribbles
Written by: David Gerrold

Wikipedia Says: A priority 1 distress call summons the Enterprise to Space Station K-7. On arrival, Kirk finds that rather than a true emergency, he has been called to protect a shipment of grain that will help the Federation to develop a planet which is also claimed by the Klingon Empire. While the crew is on shore leave, they discover little, fuzzy critters called tribbles, which are being sold by interstellar trader Cyrano Jones. Unfortunately, the tribbles reproduce uncontrollably when fed, and threaten to take over both the station and the Enterprise. A Klingon ship also arrives and claims shore leave rights, increasing tensions.

Keith Says: Those with a good eye will be able to spot a tribble in a cage behind Scotty’s head in the new Star Trek movie.

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NUMBER NINE

I, Mudd
Written by Stephen Kandel

Wikipedia Says: Captain Kirk and the crew has a second run in with the con man, Harry Mudd, this time finding him as the king of a planet of androids.

Keith Says: This is easily the funniest episode of Star Trek ever made, out of any series. I hope we see Harry Mudd in the new incarnation of Trek.

NUMBER EIGHT

Amok Time
Written by Theodore Sturgeon

Wikipedia Says: Mr. Spock shows evidence of starting to lose control over his emotions. When he insists that he needs to return home to Vulcan, despite being engaged in an important diplomatic mission, Kirk forces him to admit that Vulcan biology requires him to take a mate. After diverting to Vulcan against Starfleet’s direct orders, Kirk finds himself in a life-or-death struggle against Spock, at the instigation of Spock’s wife-to-be.

Keith Says: Spock goes into alien heat. Kirk and Spock fight with sweet Vulcan scythes. The dual music is awesome.

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NUMBER SEVEN

Space Seed
Written by Gene Coon

Wikipedia Says: The Enterprise discovers an ancient sleeper ship, the SS Botany Bay, which escaped from Earth’s Eugenics Wars in the late twentieth century. The genetically engineered passengers, let by war criminal Khan Noonien Singh, seize control of the Enterprise and attempt to destroy the ship.

Keith Says: This is a truly important episode because it introduces Khan, Star Trek’s greatest villain.

NUMBER SIX

Errand of Mercy
Written by Gene Coon

Wikipedia Says: Peace negotiations have collapsed between the Federation and the warlike Klingon Empire. The Enterprise is ordered to protect Organia, a peaceful planet located near the Klingon border. Kirk and Spock beam to the surface to warn the Organians about the Klingons, but soon a Klingon fleet arrives, forcing the Enterprise to abandon the duo on the planet. The natives protect Kirk and Spock, even as Kor, the new Klingon governor, orders mass executions of the Organian people. As both Federation and Klingon fleets converge above the planet, Kirk and Spock execute a daring raid on the Klingon headquarters in an effort to destabilize their control over the planet.

Keith Says: Never before in the series had the conflict between the Federation and the Klingon Empire felt this real and pressing. There are also hints of the ultimate peace accords between the Federation and the Empire here, something not realized until The Next Generation.

NUMBER FIVE

Where No Man Has Gone Before
Written by Samuel A. Peebles

Wikipedia Says: After the Enterprise attempts to cross the Great Barrier at the edge of the galaxy, crew members Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner develop “godlike” psychic powers which threaten the safety of the crew.

Keith Says: This established a Star Trek precedent of fighting crewmembers who are elevated to godlike status. It also promotes Spock to ship’s first officer as Kirk has to ultimately kill his best friend, Gary Mitchell.

NUMBER FOUR

A Taste of Armageddon
Written by Gene Coon

Wikipedia Says: On Eminiar VII, the Enterprise finds a civilization at war with its planetary neighbor. Unable to discern any signs of battle from orbit, Captain Kirk leads a landing party to the surface where he discovers the entire war is fought by computer. Even though the war is simulated, citizens who are listed as virtual casualties still report to termination booths to be killed for real. After the Enterprise is destroyed in an attack simulation, Kirk must fight to keep his crew from death.

Keith Says: Kirk’s solution to the war is both clever and necessary. I won’t spoil it, but watch this episode.

NUMBER THREE

The Cage/The Menagerie
Written by Gene Roddenberry

Wikipedia Says: After claiming to receive a subspace message, Spock diverts the Enterprise to Starbase 11 in order to visit the ship’s previous captain, Christopher Pike, who has been severely injured and confined to a wheelchair. Spock continues his deception by secretly transporting Pike to the Enterprise and uses falsified orders to take the ship to the quarantined world Talos IV (leaving Captain Kirk behind). Kirk and Commodore Mendez of Starbase 11 trail and eventually catch up to the Enterprise in a shuttle, where Spock surrenders. Mendez orders Spock to trial, where Spock uses the events of “The Cage” as his defense.

Keith Says: I’m combining The Cage and The Menagerie because not only do they cover the same material, but the plots of each reinforce one another. The Cage is truly important as it was the original pilot for Star Trek and introduced Christopher Pike, the great underappreciated Enterprise captain.

NUMBER TWO

The City on the Edge of Forever
Written by DC Fontana and Harlan Ellison

Wikipedia Says: After accidentally overdosing on a powerful stimulant, Dr. McCoy acts erratically and disappears through the Guardian of Forever, a newly-discovered time portal on a remote planet. Kirk and Spock follow after learning that McCoy somehow changed history. Arriving in the 1930s, the duo meet Edith Keeler, a New York social worker who gives them a place to stay. As the days pass, and McCoy is nowhere to be seen, Kirk finds himself falling in love with Keeler… but Spock discovers that Keeler must die to restore the timeline.

Keith Says: This is, simply put, one of the greatest time travel stories ever conceived. The moment when Kirk realizes that Edith Keeler MUST die for World War Two to ultimately be won by the Allies is heartbreaking.

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NUMBER ONE

Arena
Written by Gene Coon

Wikipedia Says: The Enterprise comes under attack by unknown aliens while investigating the near-destruction of the Cestus III colony. While chasing the aliens into unexplored space, both ships are captured by the powerful Metrons, who force Kirk and the alien captain (later identified as a member of the Gorn race) to trial by combat: the winner’s vessel will be set free, while the loser’s ship will be destroyed.

Keith Says: Picking the best TOS episode is tough, but this episode has it all. The Gorn fight! A ominpotent alien race teaching us a valuable lesson. THE MAKESHIFT CANNON!

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Next up: The Next Generation . . . .

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