To watch all of The Star Trek franchise, it would take you nearly a month of no-sleep-marathoning. Nearly 550 hours at this point. Twenty-four days. AND THEY'RE STILL MAKING MORE. You don't have that kind of time.
I've attempted to put together a much more condensed series of Star Trek. Dividing it into ten episode seasons. For the most part, these are My Favorite Episodes. I've left out some that are historically important episodes, in favor of things that I found fun to watch. If you're a Trekkie or Trekker, or just consider yourself a fan, I may have left off your favorite episode. Sorry. But this is more a list for people like me, who had seen an episode here and there, were interested in seeing more, but don't want to invest in the whole 530+ hours. I'm doing it, so others don't have to.
We spent much of last season with Adorians, Vulcans, and Tellarites. We met Spock's family, we saw some of Kirk's die, we saw some Starfleet staff lose their minds, and we saw the crew age really quickly. So in many ways, this season will be exactly the same. Except we'll be taking a trip through an alternate dimension that will span two series in a Near Crossover, and we'll fly through the TOS movies. Boldly going pretty much where we went last season, but with some better acting, and more refined directing.
Star Trek Season 3:
The Logic Of History
Episode 1: The Enterprise Incident
(Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Chekov, Sulu, Chapel)
We started this series with The Enterprise chasing down Romulans, but haven't seen them since. Well, Starfleet has decided that the crew needs to go on board a Romulan vessel and steal a Romulan cloaking device. We've seen Kirk get creepy with the ladies, but this time good old Spock will be the catfish bait for the Romulan captain. He will, of course, me-ow logically.
Episode 2: City On The Edge Of Forever
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Sulu, Chapel)
Many people have this as their favorite episode ever of The Original Series. I am not one of those people. I think this is a middle-of-the-road episode, but if you don't see this, your Trek friends will snub you at your next antisocial gathering. Joan Collins guest stars in this time travel tale where Kirk and Spock follow a crazed McCoy through a dimensional gate. Kirk falls in love with someone historically important, and decisions must be made. May you love this episode as much as the people who expressed rage at my indifference.
Episode 3: A Piece Of The Action
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Chekov)
City On The Edge Of Forever took place in New York City, during the Depression. This episode takes place on an alien world, but an alien world that has based their system of government on 1930s Chicago gangster rule. Kirk does a hilariously and probably intentionally bad gangster accent for most of the episode. This is a truly silly episode that encapsulates some of the potential that most of The Original Series aspired to but didn't quite reach.
Episode 4: Tholian Web
(Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Uhura, Chapel, Chekov, Kirk)
The beginning of a weird trilogy finds The Enterprise Crew encountering The Defiant, another Starfleet ship that appears to be phasing through dimensions. When Kirk also phases, Spock decides the ship can't leave the location, even though an alien species called the Tholians are ensnaring The Enterprise in a web that could doom them to the same fate.
Episode 5: In A Mirror, Darkly
(Archer, T'Pol, Phlox, Sato, Mayweather, Reed, Forrest)
So where did The Defiant go when it phased? The Mirrorverse. An alternate dimension where good and evil are flip-flopped, and nobody behaves in a familiar way. The crew of The Mirrorverse Enterprise become embroiled in a political conundrum where they think their best chance of survival is to take The Defiant as their new ship.
Episode 6: Mirror, Mirror
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Chekov)
It's TOS's crew's turn to explore the Mirrorverse, as Kirk ends up in the topsy-turvy world where crew members must kill to be promoted. Will Spock help him return to his home dimension? I mean, he must, otherwise this would be the end of the series, right?
Episode 7: The Wrath Of Khan
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, Khan, Scott, Sulu, Uhura, Saavik)
Sure, we're back in the original dimension, but it's many years later. Kirk is an admiral, Spock's back on Vulcan, and Chekov is a commander on The Reliant. On a research mission, Chekov runs into Khan from back in the first season, and is forced into a trap intended to ensnare Kirk. But what's more important to Khan? Killing Kirk or getting his hands on The Genesis Device?
Episode 8: The Search For Spock
(Kirk, McCoy, Scott, Saavik, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Sarek, Spock)
The Wrath Of Khan is considered by most to be The Best Star Trek movie, and I don't disagree. It sets all the rest of The Star Trek films into motion as a really cool storyarc on aging military personnel desperately clinging to power. Here, the crew of The Enterprise must defy Starfleet to rescue their missing friend. Also, Klingon bastards do Something that will incur The Wrath Of Kirk.
Episode 9: The Voyage Home
(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, Uhura, Scott, Sulu, Sarek, Saavik, Rand)
After the events of The Search For Spock, the former Enterprise crew must journey back to 20th century Earth in an unfamiliar vessel in order to bring some whales back to Earth to keep it from being obliterated by an amok probe. It's a weird premise, and the movie is filled with more Colorful Metaphors than you'd expect in a Star Trek film. This is the most honestly funny chapter in TOS, as its humor is based on the various crew members' failure to understand 20th century culture. And it's very much a mid 1980s comedy. It's also fun to see Rand show up again, even if it's Very Briefly.
Episode 10: The Undiscovered Country
(Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Sulu, Uhura, Scott, Chekov, Rand, Sarek, Worf)
This is it, the end of The Original Series cast. That offhanded joke I made about The Wrath Of Kirk? Wellllll, he may have gone a little bit speciesist, and his behavior makes him the prime suspect when a Klingon Peace Advocate is assassinated. It's up to the crew of The Enterprise, along with Captain Sulu from The Excelsior (a ship The Enterprise sabotaged back in Search For Spock) to clear Kirk's name. Again, we get a Rand cameo, and we also see Michael Dorn, who played Worf in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, play an unnamed Klingon lawyer, who I like to believe was Worf, and that the kangarooness of the court proceedings led him to quit the bar and join Starfleet. Wave goodbye to the crew. You might see one or two of them pop up in future seasons, but this is the last time the bulk of the cast gets to interact, as it's finally time for The Enterprise to be decommissioned.
Five bonus episodes, if you like this season:
If you want to get some silliness in early, Spock's Brain is justifiably considered one of The Worst Episodes Of The Original Series. And it is bonkers, and I nearly turned it off right at the beginning, but it does have an ending that it, frankly, doesn't earn, but that's fun to watch. Check it out between episodes 1 and 2. For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky is one of many Star Trek TOS episodes where they visit a ship full of people who don't know they're on a ship. It's not A Great Episode, but there is a focus on McCoy that we rarely get. Watch it between episodes 2 and 3 so it seems like a reward for what McCoy has to go through in City On The Edge Of Forever. The Savage Curtain is fucken bonkers. A volcano planet that produces a human who thinks he is Abraham Lincoln that leads the crew into a deadly sparring match between famous good and evil historical figures. It's exactly the kind of nonsense that fits snugly between episodes 3 and 4. You can follow up Savage Curtain with Doomsday Device, where we get a planet killer, another insane Starfleet Captain, mutiny, and other tropes that feed into the Throlian trilogy of episodes 4, 5, and 6. Finally, I, personally can't watch Star Trek The Motion Picture. Its pacing is awful, I couldn't tell you the plot because I've never had the stamina to watch it all the way through, and there is an orchestra flare after almost every line. But, unlike Star Trek 5: Final Frontier, which is almost universally reviled, The Motion Picture has some fans. If you feel the need to experience it, it fits right between the conclusion of the Mirrorverse arc in episode 6, and The Wrath of Khan. I recommend hallucinogens and uppers if you want to make it all the way through.
Ruminations on television, movies, and serialized novel series with an emphasis on creating a continuity or discussing the relationship between franchises.