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Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary: Your Favorite Trek

The first episode of Star Trek, "The Man Trap," aired on NBC on September 8, 1966.

The first episode of Star Trek, “The Man Trap,” aired on NBC on September 8, 1966.  While it was the sixth episode filmed, the studio elected to show it first because of its horror-based plot.

Fifty years ago today the very first episode of Star Trek aired.  In “The Man Trap,” viewers saw Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew battle a shapeshifting alien attempting to steal the salt in their bodies, which of course would kill them.  (Spoiler Alert: The crew survives and the mission continues… otherwise we probably wouldn’t be publishing this article!)  Reviews of the episode were mixed.  For what it’s worth, I like it.

Most people, including many in the cast and crew, expected the show to last only a season or two and to be nothing more than a footnote in television history.  As they say, the rest is history.  The Star Trek franchise is now valued in the billions of dollars and a cultural phenomenon that permeates many sectors, including the simming and online role playing community that we’re all a part of.  Just imagine, for a moment, simming without Star Trek.  Gene Roddenberry surely could not have foreseen all of this!

In the early days of Independence Fleet we had a section in our monthly newsletter entitled My Favorite Trek in which a member of the club would provide a short write-up about their all-time favorite Star Trek episode.  Over time it included just about every different type of Trek episode and covered, I believe, all five major series.  Some of the answers seemed obvious given the simmers’ styles and preferences in-game, but there were plenty of surprises too.  My Favorite Trek was one of the sections I always looked forward to in the newsletter.  With that being said, I can think of no better way for our community to honor now 50 years or Star Trek than to recount our favorite episodes.  Here are 21 such favorites, in the order they were received.  And yes, “The Man Trap” did make the list!

If you’re unsure of the abbreviations, scroll down to the bottom to see the abbreviation tables.

1. Audra of Independence Fleet

  1. Sulu from "The Naked Time"

    Sulu in “The Naked Time”

    Favorite Episode: The Naked Time (TOS, Season 1)

  2. Synopsis: “The landing crew pickup a strange virus that changes everyone’s behavior.  Hilarity, mayhem and sadness ensues.”
  3. Why this one? “Because of how it changed each crew member’s behavior to match their distinctive personality.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TOS, TNG, ENT, DSN, VOY
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TMP, TWOK, TSFS, TVH, TFF, TUC, G, FC, I, N, Abrams, ID, B

2. Silent Hunter of Phoenix Roleplaying

  1. Favorite Episode: Arena (TOS, Season 1)
  2. Synopsis: “Beaming down to the remote Earth outpost of Cestus III, the crew find it has been destroyed by alien attack. As they pursue the ship, they are stopped by another advanced group of aliens, which transport Kirk off the bridge and put in him in a contest to the death with the other ship’s captain, a powerful reptilian Gorn.”
  3. Why this one? “It’s a quintessential episode of Trek with all the classic elements and a superb threat; when William Shatner has a rematch for an advert, you know it’s iconic!”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: “Having only watched TOS in any depth, I can’t really answer this.”
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, Abrams, TUC, TVH, FC, TSFS, B, I, G, ID, TMP, TFF; not seen N.

3. Mike Bremer of Starbase 400 (Bravo Fleet)

  1. Favorite Episode: Sacrifice of Angels (DSN, Season 6)
  2. Synopsis: “A large fleet of Federation ships head towards Deep Space 9 to stop the Dominion destroying the Wormhole minefield. A Dominion fleet meets them in battle. Can the Defiant make it in time?”
  3. Why this one? “How can you not love the big Fleet vs. Fleet battle? The episode had good action, drama, and character development. The episode also came out about the same time as I took over as Bravo Fleet CO and we used it in the sim (then known as the USS Pegasus-A) as additional development for the sim.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, DS9, VOY, TOS, ENT, TAS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, FC, TUC, G, N, TVH, TSFS, I, TMP, TFF, B, Abrams, ID

4. Joseph Carroll of USS Washington (Independence Fleet)

  1. Benjamin Sisko in "In the Pale Moonlight"

    Benjamin Sisko in “In the Pale Moonlight”

    Favorite Episode: In the Pale Moonlight (DSN, Season 6)

  2. Synopsis: “Captain Sisko enlists Garak to assist him in a plot to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation.”
  3. Why this one? “I loved this episode from the date it first aired and it hasn’t lost anything over the years. Being an officer in wartime is difficult, and when you need to gain an advantage, you have to look deep inside to see how far you are willing to go. Honor, loyalty, integrity, these are words that soldiers know, but seeing them tested in times of desperation as s the case  in the plot of the show tells us what a character is truly made from. Sisko did what needed to be done, and all it cost was his soul.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DS9, TOS, ENT, TNG, VOY
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, FC, TUC, TVH, I, G, TMP, TSFS, TFF, N, B, ID, Abrams

5. CJ Short of Star Trek: Engage

  1. Favorite Episode: Far Beyond the Stars (DSN, Season 6)
  2. Synopsis: “Captain Sisko receives a vision from the Prophets that puts his mission in perspective.”
  3. Why this one? “Far Beyond the Stars is the best episode of Star Trek because it encapsulates the meaning of not only the whole franchise, but science fiction in general. Benny is a man who has the audacity to dream of a better future in spite of everything in the world telling him it can’t happen. The stories in his head of a black man who tries to make peace between worlds is a light against the darkness of the world he lives in, and that’s what Star Trek is to us: it’s hope for the hopeless, and the promise of a better tomorrow.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DS9, TNG, VOY, TOS, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TUC, FC, TWOK, N, B, TVH, TSFS, Abrams, G, I, TFF, ID, TMP

6. Sam Jones of Sixth Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: Unification (TNG, Season 5)
  2. Synopsis: “Basically, Romulus petitions Vulcan to reunify the two cousin species.  Spock appears, and shenanigans occur.”
  3. Why this one? “I have always loved this episode, ever since catching it first-run in 1991.  I have a soft spot for Romulans, and seeing the “good” side of them was fascinating.  (My first ever simming character was half Romulan.)  Spock is an added bonus, and the TNG crew is awesome as always.  Not to mention the surprises that happen!  I have re-watched the entirety of TNG and DS9 over the years and Unification is always a high point for me.  I’m still excited when I see it come on.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, DS9, TOS, VOY, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TUC, FC, TWOK, G, TVH, N, Abrams, TSFS, I, TMP, ID, TFF; not seen B

7. Mark Hyacinth of Sixth Fleet

  1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6 Cast

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6 Cast

    Favorite Episode: In the Pale Moonlight (DSN, Season 6)

  2. Synopsis: “Captain Sisko comes to the realization that the Federation – Klingon Alliance will lose the war if the Romulans can’t be persuaded to join them.”
  3. Why this one? “Simply one of the best episodes of the series. It illustrates that even good men can be driven to dark deeds in times of desperation. Deep Space Nine was always a different type of Star Trek program. This episode gave me a look at just how different. It showed a different side of the Federation, far removed from the utopia that Earth had become. “In The Pale Moonlight” questions everything we have come to know about the Federation, Starfleet Officers, and the human condition in the 24th century. Perhaps we are not as elevated as we seem. Great all around performance by Avery Brooks yet the episode centers on perhaps one of television’s most underrated characters, Cardassian Tailor Elim Garak. Played expertly by Andrew J. Robinson, no episode brings this character more to life. A must see for any Trek fan.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TOS, DSN, TNG, VOY, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, FC, TUC, TVH, Abrams, B, TMP, TSFS, ID, I, G, TFF, N

8. FSFJosh of Federation Sim Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: Call to Arms (DSN, Season 5)
  2. Synopsis: “As Dominion ships keep coming through the wormhole, Captain Sisko decides to mine the wormhole and prevent any more from entering the Alpha quadrant. But cutting off the supply of incoming ships only angers the Dominion, leading the Federation to the brink of war.”
  3. Why this one? “This episode was the start of the Dominion War. For me, it was the beginning of a long arc that lasted for the last two years of the show. The idea of major events unfolding behind the stories of individual episodes is what guided me with developing stories for my sim and has influenced the types of shows I watch.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DS9, TNG, VOY, ENT, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, FC, TUC, TVH, TSFS, I, N, G, B, Abrams, ID, TFF, TMP

9. Emily Wolf of Pegasus Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: The Magnificent Ferengi (DSN, Season 6)
  2. Synopsis: “In this episode, Quark’s mother is kidnapped by the Ferengi and the Grand Nagus enlists Quark’s help to rescue her. Because it’s Quarks mother, and because of the reward attached to the rescue, Quark pulls together a rag-tag group of Ferengi to help rescue Moogie.”
  3. Why this one? “I loved this episode mostly because it made me laugh. Almost every episode with Quark made me laugh, but this one had a neat plotline to it. It was independent from the rest of DS9’s story arc, but I didn’t really mind that. Every single character had their own spotlight for their joke, and each one nailed it. In the midst of a large scale war, there isn’t much time for jokes but this episode was a fantastic comedic relief. The best part was, it put a real focus on the skills that the Ferengi posses – they aren’t soldiers, they’re businessmen – and they really did a great job of showing that attribute.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: VOY, DS9, TNG, ENT, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, TSFS, B, Abrams, FC, N, TUC, TFF, TVH, TMP, ID, I, G

10. Nathalie Chapman of Sixth Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: The Man Trap (TOS, Season 1)
  2. Synopsis: “Dr. McCoy discovers his old flame is not what she seems after crew members begin dying from a sudden lack of salt in their bodies.”
  3. Why this one? “The themes touched upon in one short episode were incredible for TV. Star Trek’s signature throughout has been to produce many times a very high level story-telling. This early episode is emblematic to me.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, TOS, VOY, DSN, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TMP, TWOK, TSFS, TVH, FC, TUC, G, I, TFF, B, Abrams, N, ID

11. Tristan Wolf of UFOP: StarBase 118

  1. Yar and Picard in "Yesterday's Enterprise"

    Yar and Picard in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”

    Favorite Episode: Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG, Season 3)

  2. Synopsis: “The Enterprise-D encounters a spacial rift through which the Enterprise-C drifts, and it changes everything about Starfleet and the state of the Federation.”
  3. Why this one? “This is a brutal question considering how many favorites I have across all the seasons, but I do love this episode for so many reasons: First, I love the message here that the Federation is supposed to be peaceful, point blank and period! Even when the timeline has been corrupted, that message comes through to Guinan and that helps set things right. No matter what, the Federation, and Starfleet, are about peaceful exploration.I also love about the way this episode rejects the military sense of command structure – Guinan is an important part of Picard’s inner circle and decision-making process, and he ends up trusting her intuition to send people back to their death. I mean, if you were Picard with modern sensibility, would you do that? I think it’s an incredibly powerful statement about Starfleet’s vision of families on the Enterprise. Without Guinan, a civilian, the timeline would never have been fixed.And of course, Tasha! She’s back, she’s awesome, and she makes the ultimate sacrifice right alongside the characters of the Enterprise-C, who are so well developed even in the very short amount of time we have with them. We get such a clear sense of who they are.The episode stands on its own as great science fiction and can be seen in a vacuum with people still understanding what’s going on. It’s just great writing – great television – all around.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: VOY, DS9, TNG, ENT, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TUC, FC, TWOK, Abrams, G, TSFS, I, TMP, TFF, TVH, ID, B, N

12. James D. West of USS Chuck Norris (Independence Fleet)

  1. Favorite Episode: Worst Case Scenario (VOY, season 3)
  2. Synopsis: “Some of the crew get stuck in a holodeck simulation regarding a mutiny perpetrated by the Maquis against Captain Janeway.”
  3. Why this one? “This was actually the first Voyager episode I had ever seen, and it immediately captured my interest and convinced me to go back and watch all of Voyager — I actually liked Voyager. During this episode the mutiny seemed very real until it was revealed to be a holodeck simulation. It makes you wonder, though, if the Maquis could have actually done something like this, and if so, how much of a very different series we would have had on our hands. And of course the episode is ripe with action, which I am a fan of. I wouldn’t say this is one of the greatest Trek episodes of all time, but it is one of my personal favorites from Voyager, and happened to be the first one that popped into my head when I found out about this article. So, I thought I’d list it.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DSN, TNG, TOS, VOY, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, TUC, TVH, G, FC, Abrams, TSFS, TFF, N, I, ID, B, TMP

13. John Nugra of UFOP: StarBase 118

  1. Gorn from "Arena"

    Gorn in “Arena”

    Favorite Episode: Arena (TOS, Season 1)

  2. Synopsis: “Captain Kirk chases alien and must decide on the moral choice when pitted against it.”
  3. Why this one? “This has always been one of my favorite episodes because it is one of the few that Kirk’s original decision is wrong. He has always been an amazing tactician and at many times his gut instinct turned out to be right. I love this episode not only because of the Gorn, but that Kirk was not only able to realize he was in the wrong, but he was able to admit it. Something a lot of people should learn to do.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TOS, ENT, VOY, TNG, DS9
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, TVH, TUC, FC, TSFS, TFF, G, I, N, ID, B, Abrams

14. Aoibhe Ni of Star Trek: Engage

  1. Favorite Episode: The Sound of Her Voice (DSN, Season 6)
  2. Synopsis: “The crew rush to save a stranded vessel’s one survivor. They communicate with her via comms for the entire trip during which we learn all about her, and about our own crew, too. The ending is one of my favourite pieces of Star Trek writing.”
  3. Why this one? “It’s poignant. The fact that they are speaking to her through a subspace distortion of some kind means that, on repeat viewing, her words, opinions and questions appear like those of a ghost. She’s alive as they speak to her, but she’s nonetheless long dead.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, TOS, DS9, VOY, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TVH, TMP, FC, TWOK, Abrams, TUC, G, I, B, TSFS, TFF, ID, N.

15. FSF Ignatius of Federation Sim Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: The Visitor (DSN, Season 4)
  2. Synopsis: ” Captain Benjamin Sisko is trapped in Subspace, fading in and out of time. His son, Jake, grows up without his father, Jake becomes a successful novelist, but is torn by the loss of his father. During specific events in his life, Benjamin Sisko fades in and out of existence.”
  3. Why this one? “This is one of the great Star Trek episodes (of any series). It is filled with emotion! My god, I cried the first time I saw the episode. From the very beginning, you feel this great sense of loss, and this sense of regret of the part of Jake.As a child, I always identified with Jake Sisko. In many ways, Jake is the reason I wanted to become a writer (now fulfilling that dream by studying literature and writing at Graduate School!).When my father died in 2014, I watched this episode several times. I had never understood what it was like to lose a parent, and I had no idea of the pain that Jake went through, until it happened to me. It’s a beautiful episode that captures the human condition so well, that it is unlikely that I’ll ever find another episode as significant to me as ‘The Visitor.'”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DSN, ENT, TNG, TOS, TAS, VOY
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TUC, TVH, TWOK, Abrams, TMP, FC, B, G, N, TSFS, ID, TFF, I

16. Myrkul Sharr of Obsidian Fleet

  1. Star Trek: Voyager Season 7 Cast

    Star Trek: Voyager Season 7 Cast

    Favorite Episode: Q2 (VOY, Season 7)

  2. Synopsis: “Q (John de Lancie) leaves his son with Captain Janeway as his babysitter in hopes that her stern, yet fair, approach to life will help him find his true ‘Qness.’”
  3. Why this one? “Originally I loved this episode for the quirkiness and the fun that it brought to the series. Q trying to control his son who was too reckless for the continuum, the irony makes the episode entertaining as you watch Q’s son succumb to the realisation he could be stuck with Janeway for the rest of his life and Q himself, for a brief moment, realises how much of a pain he had been.Over time I have liked this episode for various reasons, as a younger person I enjoyed Q’s antics and those of his son, who I thought was attractive at the time (guilty secret), while now as an adult I enjoy it though the way Kate Mulgrew plays Janeway, her interactions with her colleagues and with the two Qs, not putting up with any of their antics.Janeway is my favourite Captain, followed very closely by Picard.  The more I watch Voyager the more I come to enjoy the first female captain. The natural expression of the characters love for her crew and that she would do what was best for them, her scientific curiosity provided a lot for the writers to work with, for Q2 they showed her to be the caring person who would do the best she could for her charge.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: VOY, TNG, DSN, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: FC, G, TWOK, N, I, TUC, TMP, TSFS, TVH, TFF, B, Abrams, ID

17. Diego Herrera of Outpost Eden

  1. Favorite Episode: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (DSN, Season 7)
  2. Synopsis: “Tasked by Section 31 with a secret mission that runs alongside a chance to speak at a conference on Romulus, Dr. Julian Bashir turns to Captain Sisko and Admiral Ross for guidance.”
  3. Why this one? “The episode really shows how strong the moral fibre of some Starfleet officers is. Dr. Bashir is played like a fiddle because of it and so are the viewers. It’s the kind of episode where you don’t necessarily figure out everything that’s going on right until the end and I really enjoyed that I was kept guessing. It also features Dr. Bashir, who has come to be one of my favourite Star Trek characters, which says a lot being as I was not at all a fan when I first saw him! I think it also managed to raise even more questions about Section 31, taking everything we thought we knew and making us doubt it once again.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: DS9, VOY, TNG, ENT, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: FC, G, B, TSFS, TWOK, Abrams, N, I, ID, TUC, TVH, TFF, TMP

18. Zania of USS Zealous (Starfleet Legacy Alliance)

  1. Favorite Episode: Hollow Pursuits (TNG, Season 3)
  2. Synopsis: “Lt Barclay struggles to fit in within Engineering on board the USS Enterprise, often seeking solace within the safety and fantasy provided on the holodeck at the expense of his career and socialization with ship mates.”
  3. Why this one? “I’ve been a huge fan of Dwight Schultz for a very long time.  He is a tremendously gifted actor and this role was written specifically for him and intended to have the audience see an average Joe as an officer on board the ship, as compared to someone as bold, brave, and talented like Riker, Geordi, or even Data.  It is a fascinating episode, and Barclay’s immersion into the holodeck is very reminiscent of how we all all immerse ourselves in things that we enjoy . . . roleplaying, fan fiction, and even virtual environments.  Although it is good to have a form of entertainment, it is also a reminder that we can’t lose touch with reality.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, DSN, VOY, ENT, TOS
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: FC, G, I, TWOK, TSFS, TUC, Abrams, ID, B, TVH, TFF, TMP

19. Albannach of Bravo Fleet

  1. Romulan Commander and Centurion in "Balance of Terror"

    Romulan Commander and Centurion in “Balance of Terror”

    Favorite Episode: Balance of Terror (TOS, Season 1)

  2. Synopsis: “The Enterprise vs. Romulans.”
  3. Why this one? “While a seemingly basic submarine plot, it reminds us all not to judge others by differences, ad has the most bittersweet endings in the original series.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TOS, TNG, ENT, DS9, VOY
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TWOK, TUC, TSFS, Abrams, ID, B, FC, N, TMP, G, TVH, TFF, I

20. FSF Falk of Federation Sim Fleet

  1. Favorite Episode: The Visitor (DSN, Season 4)
  2. Synopsis: “Captain Sisko is stuck traveling through time, and meeting his son Jake as he gets older. Jake tries to figure out a way to get his dad ‘unstuck’ from the time problem.”
  3. Why this one? “I feel this really showed the father/son connection between Jake and Ben Sisko, and helped Ben realize what he was missing out with his son in the ‘normal’ time. The theme resounds with any father/son out there, either being as the son or the father. It gives perspective to what the connection is between even your own dad or child.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, DS9, TOS, VOY, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: TVH, FC, TWOK, TUC, Abrams, B, G, ID, I, TSFS, N, TMP, TFF

21. Raymond Dale of SS Star of India

  1. Favorite Episode: Measure of a Man (TNG, Season 2)
  2. Synopsis: “In this season two episode of The Next Generation, the question arises as to whether or not Data is a sentient individual, or simply an advanced mechanical tool that is property of Starfleet? A hearing is held in which Captain Picard must defend Data’s right to life and existence, to be seen as a sentient individual life form with as many rights as his fellow shipmates. Reluctantly, however, Commander Riker is tasked with serving on the other side of the argument and has to prove to the judge overseeing the case, that Data is not man, but rather a machine.”
  3. Why this one? “Having read some of Melinda Snodgrass’ books as well as seeing other Star Trek episodes she had written in addition to some episodes of other series such as Sea Quest, I can safely say that I tend to really love her work. This episode of The Next Generation is no exception to that, but it is exceptional in so that arguably no episode before this one gave Lieutenant Commander Data the significance in development of character that was needed. We know the fate of Data over the course of the series and the movies that follow, but this moment, this episode is what sets it all up for his discovery of what it is to be human.Data is not flesh and blood in the traditional sense. So, by the end of this episode, one had to adjust what they considered a sentient life form. I believe this speaks very highly of any group of individuals that has suffered persecution and been forced to struggle with societal ‘dehumanization’ of them. We have seen this in our ugly history on Earth. Slavery and eventual segregation due to the color of someone’s skin, the viewing women as the weaker sex and not allowing them equal rights or equal pay, and even down to homosexuality and gay rights issues. We spent so many years criminalizing them, forcing them into ‘corrective therapy’ and conversion camps, denying them the right to marry. In a way, Data in this episode is symbolic for all of it as we are faced at how we examine the measure of a man.”
  4. Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst: TNG, VOY, DS9, TOS, ENT
  5. Rank the Trek movies from best to worst: FC, TVH, I, TSFS, G, TWOK, N, TUC, TFF, TMP, ID, B, Abrams
STDS9

The former space station Terok Nor from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

One thing is certain: From our panel of contributors, DSN is king!  And if I were to be more specific, DSN Season 6 would be king!  Ten of the 21 episodes hail from DSN (six from season 6 alone), five from TOS (all from season 1), four from TNG, two from VOY, and sadly, zero from ENT.  Enterprise just can’t get a break!  Repeat choices include “Arena” from TOS and “In the Pale Moonlight” & “The Visitor” from DSN.  No episode received three selections.  In 12 of the 21 responses, the favorite episode came from the respondent’s favorite series.

So what do you think?  Is your favorite episode represented above?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Top Episodes According to…

How does our list compare to some others out there?  Here are the results from three websites (picked because they were near the top of my Google search results).  I know, not very scientific.  Episodes selected by our contributors are in bold.

Rank Screenrant CNET Empire
1 In the Pale Moonlight (DSN) The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS) The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS)
2 The Inner Light (TNG) In the Pale Moonlight (DSN) The Devil in the Dark (TOS)
3 The Trouble with Tribbles (TOS) The Inner Light (TNG) Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG)
4 Year of Hell (VOY) Amok Time (TOS) Far Beyond the Stars (DSN)
5 The Visitor (DSN) Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG) The Best of Both Worlds (TNG)
6 Unification (TNG) The Visitor (DSN) Darmok (TNG)
7 Amok Time (TOS) Chain of Command (TNG) The Visitor (DSN)
8 Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG) Balance of Terror (TOS) The Trouble with Tribbles (TOS)
9 Sarek (TNG) In a Mirror, Darkly (ENT) The Doomsday Machine (TOS)
10 The Best of Both Worlds (TNG) The Magnificent Ferengi (DSN) The Inner Light (TNG)
11 The Tholian Web (TOS) N/A All Good Things (TNG)
12 Countdown/Zero Hour (ENT) N/A Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
13 Trials and Tribble-ations (DSN) N/A In the Pale Moonlight (DSN)
14 All Good Things… (TNG) N/A Scorpion (VOY)
15 Space Seed (TOS) N/A The Enemy Within (TOS)
16 The Measure of a Man (TNG) N/A Chain of Command (TNG)
17 Mirror, Mirror (TOS) N/A The Measure of a Man (TNG)
18 Deja Q (TNG) N/A Trials And Tribble-ations (DSN)
19 The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS) N/A Brothers (TNG)
20 Take Me Out to the Holosuite (DSN) N/A Q Who (TNG)

If you’re interested, the Empire list goes all the way to 50.

Data

Data could never get the hang of contractions

No, not Mr. Data.

Well, that was fun!  What would we get if we quantified the responses from questions four and five?  I’ve taken the television and film rankings and assigned point values:  Five points for a #1 tv ranking, four points for #2, all the way down to one point for #5.  One point was also assigned if the show wasn’t ranked.  The movie rankings scale from 13 points to one.  Again, hardly scientific (beginning to see a theme?).  However, here’s what we have.

If you would like to receive the spreadsheet to do a more thorough analysis or just for your own amusement, let me know in the comments section below.  Also, what do you think?  Any surprises?  Or is this what you expect?

Television Shows

Rank Series Total Score #1 Rankings Favorite Episodes Editor’s Note
#1 TNG 78 7 4 Although only selected for a favorite episode four times, TNG squeaks ahead of DSN due to its slightly higher broad appeal.  The only show not to receive a single last place vote.
#2 DSN 74 6 10 Not quite as overall popular as TNG, but people who like DSN really like DSN.  A lot of really high scores, but a few more low scores than TNG received.
#3 TOS 56 4 5 The scores are all over the map.  Easily the highest standard deviation here (1.51).
#3 VOY 55 3 2 More consistent middling scores than TOS, but just a tad below due to a lower ceiling.
#5 ENT 37 0 0 Poor Enterprise.  It can’t even get a single favorite episode and finishes in last place… by a lot.  A full half of the last place votes went here.

Films

Rank Film Total Score #1 Rankings Highest Ranking Lowest Ranking Editor’s Note
#1 TWOK 244 9 1 6 Runs away with the #1 spot with nearly half of the #1 votes and the lowest standard deviation (1.5).  Only 4 responses below #3.  Was there ever any doubt?
#2 FC 226 4 1 8 Solid #2.  Highest number of #2 votes with 8.  Very well regarded movie throughout.
#3 TUC 209 4 1 10 Easily takes #3.  High marks nearly across the board, including 6 #3 votes.
#4 TVH 182 2 1 11 Similar scores to TUC, though with a few more low outliers to bring the overall score down.  The last of the top tier films.
#5 TSFS 165 0 2 10 Mostly middling scores, with a few exceptions.  Widely regarded as a slightly above average Trek flick.
#6 G 157 0 2 13 Slightly lower overall scores than TSFS, but a surprising 3 #2 votes.  It has its followers.
#7 Abrams 133 0 2 13 The second highest standard deviation of the lot (3.57).  Scores are all over the spectrum.  No real agreement on this one.
#8 I 122 0 3 13 Generally rated low-ish, with a few high outliers to pull up the final score.
#9 TMP 108 2 1 13 The only movie to receive both #1 and #13 place votes, and almost everything in-between.  Highest standard deviation (3.94).
#10 B 108 0 3 13 As with I, mostly low votes with a few high outliers to up the overall score.
#11 N 105 0 4 13 Generally rated pretty poorly.  The only film to have two contributors refuse to rank it.
#12 TFF 81 0 5 13 After all these years, it’s no longer to worst Trek movie.  At least it has that going for it.
#13 ID 71 0 5 13 Firmly brings in the rear with the second lowest standard deviation (1.96).  As with TWOK in #1, was there ever any doubt here either?

Here’s to another 50 years and beyond!

Abbreviation Tables

Television Shows

Series Abbr Years Seasons Episodes
Star Trek (The Original Series) TOS 1966-69 3 79
Star Trek: The Next Generation TNG 1987-94 7 178
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DSN 1993-99 7 176
Star Trek: Voyager VOY 1995-01 7 172
Star Trek: Enterprise ENT 2001-05 4 98
Total 28   703

Films

Movie Abbr Year Crew Director Budget* US Box Office* Yearly US Box Office Rank
Star Trek: The Motion Picture TMP 1979 TOS Robert Wise $35 $82 3
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan TWOK 1982 TOS Nicholas Meyer $11 $79 5
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock TSFS 1984 TOS Leonard Nimoy $17 $76 8
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home TVH 1986 TOS Leonard Nimoy $25 $110 5
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier TFF 1989 TOS William Shatner $29 $55 24
StarTrek VI: The Undiscovered Country TUC 1991 TOS Nicholas Meyer $30 $75 15
Star Trek Generations G 1994 TNG/TOS David Carson $35 $76 15
Star Trek: First Contact FC 1996 TNG Jonathan Frakes $45 $92 17
Star Trek: Insurrection I 1998 TNG Jonathan Frakes $58 $70 29
Star Trek: Nemesis N 2002 TNG Stuart Baird $60 $43 56
Star Trek Abrams 2009 Reboot JJ Abrams $150 $258 7
Star Trek Into Darkness ID 2013 Reboot JJ Abrams $190 $229 11
Star Trek Beyond B 2016 Reboot Justin Lin $185 $151 (in progress) TBD

*In millions (not adjusted for inflation).

You’re still here?

  • Audra Buchanan

    Wow! Great job by everyone involved! This is very informative and it kinda gives a sense of how Star Trek has effected our generation! 🙂

  • Nick Raythorne

    My favorite has been the City on the Edge of Forever from ToS always, but all good episodes.

  • Joseph

    Deep Space Nine rules supreme! And I wouldn’t say Enterprise got the shaft totally. Had I been asked, I could have provide additional favorite episodes which would include Enterprise episodes. Specifically, Season 2 Episode 15, “Cease Fire” comes to mind. I love the Andorians, and Enterprise won me over just by having them. Jeffrey Combs as Shran is a particular highlight that we get to see throughout the show. Heck, I based my simming character off of him. We need a new Trek series that gives us the action and character development we got from DS9, something ENT was trying to do, but was very hit and miss with. This was a wonderful article.

    • FSF Ignatius

      “Carbon Creek” was always my favorite ENT episode. It was hard naming a favorite. For me, it was a toss up between “The Visitor”, “Carbon Creek”, and “City on the Edge of Forever.”

      – Iggy

  • Lynzie Quinn

    DS9 is the best! Love all it’s episodes!!!!

  • Max

    My personal favorite was The Inner Light. It was a wonderful mix of scifi and drama. It cut to the heart of what Trek is about.

  • Bryan Keenly

    Easy for me: Amok Time.

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