This blog has been far too serious for far too long, and as Christina and I have
been ever so slowly making our way through the entire modern Star Trek
series, I thought that I might do something fun here for a change.
Star Trek is a Big Deal for me. When I was a kid and oh-so-desperate to delay
my bedtime, my parents instituted one rule: we could stay up late so long as we
were watching Star Trek or the news. Star Trek's questions of morality and
ethics became part of my own internal dialogue and even today, at 34 years old,
when dealing with my own moral compass, I find myself making these decisions in
a Roddenberry context.
I give you, The Top 11 Best Star Trek Episodes Ev-ar (according to me) I've done my best to include relevant YouTube
video clips, but in many cases they were either too spoiler-ridden, or just didn't exist.
Because I can live with it... I can live with it.
Hands down, the most impressive episode for me has to be In the Pale
Moonlight, a brilliantly written and exceptionally acted self reflection of
"one Star Fleet Officer" and the good intentions that pave his personal road to
Hell. You don't even need to know much about the series to appreciate this one,
so if you're just curious about what DS9 is capable of, this might be a good
place to start.
You can pulp a story, but you cannot destroy an idea! Don't you understand,
that's ancient knowledge. You cannot destroy an idea! That future, I created it,
and it's real! Don't you understand? It is real! I created it and it's real!
This episode has very little to do with Star Trek at all, except that it sort of
has everything to do with it. It postulates the idea that science fiction is
more than just stories about robots and space ships, but a means of painting a
picture of a better world, a hypothetical, but more importantly possible
world. Set in the US in the 1950s, the entire episode is played by the regular
cast -- out of make up.
Now, the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard
this... creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a people we are, what
he is destined to be; it will reach far beyond this courtroom and this... one
android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and
freedom - expanding them for some... savagely curtailing them for others. Are
you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him, to servitude and
slavery? Your Honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life; well, there it
sits! - Waiting.
They'd spent a year introducing us to Data, teaching us that while he is
different, he is obviously still a person with rights... right? Measure of a
Man puts that assumption on trial and forces you to come to terms with
questions like the meaning of personhood.
War stories tend to glaze over the details, the parts we know to be brutal and
gruesome, but from a bird's eye view, not very interesting. Unfortunately this
tendency leads to glazing over the realities of PTSD, disfigurement, death, and
the moral choices we're left with when we're down to almost nothing. AR-558
tars the image of "war hero" with a reality brush unlike anything else I've ever
Yankees, in six games
A salute to explorers over the centuries, this episode tells the story of an
astronaut from the age when we basically strapped bombs to our backs and
propelled ourselves into space protected by little more than a tin can. The
really interesting dialogue here is from Seven of Nine, who cannot understand
the interest in such a historical find. She deems the technology antiquated and
the historical record useless, but comes to understand the value in exploration,
and why so many risk so much for the frontier.
With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first
thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.
Another exceptional episode from an early season of TNG, based loosely on
McCarthyism, but applicable to any witch-hunt mentality, Picard's big speech at
the end is something regularly referenced in serious dialogue even today.
But more than that, I believed that I could see five lights
Chain of Command explores the malleability of truth and the effects of
torture. There are two plots in this double-length episode, but fans only ever
remember "There are four lights!" We're asked to question the nature of
reality and whether there's anything to gain in accepting that which we know is
The line between courage and cowardice is a lot thinner than most people
Nor the Battle to the Strong attempts to dispel the image of soldiers as
war-hardened professionals and shed some light on the realities of warfare in
which fear is the ever-driving force. We follow the lives of a hospital under
attack, with our primary characters tending to the wounded and doing what they
can to survive the assault.
There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were... loose
threads - untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled
on one of those threads, it unraveled the tapestry of my life.
Aside from the classic scene where Q delivers flowers for a "John Luck Pikard",
this is a wonderful story about what it means to reflect on your life as a
whole, accepting your past regrets as part of who you are and who you would
It was almost like being part of a federation again.
What makes Star Trek great is that unlike so many other sci-fi series, it's
based in a utopian future where sharing and cooperation proves itself to be the
superior model. The problem with utopian models though is that all too often
they don't talk about how they got there. The Void is an attempt to show the
process, and they do a wonderful job.
Isn't it a coincidence that the Kyrians are portrayed in the best possible
light? Martyrs, heroes, saviors... Obviously, events have been reinterpreted to
make your people feel better about themselves. Revisionist history - it's such a
Living Witness explores the malleability of history: were the Bad Guys really
that bad, the Good Guys really that good? What if evidence were suddenly
presented that invalidated previous misconceptions? What obligation do we have
to set the record straight?