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.
The first seven seasons of this continuity have been about space travel. We've followed the crews of various Enterprises (and a couple of Birds Of Prey) as they've traveled the galaxy boldly going where plots determined they should go. But now is the time in continuity where we focus on a space station where alien races come and go while the crew mainly stays in orbit over Bajor, guarding a wormhole. While the crew of The Enterprise deals with time related problems, the crew of Deep Space Nine deals with various aspects of the Cardassian/Bajoran conflict.
Star Trek Season 8:
The Old Ways Don't Work Anymore
Episode 1: Cause & Effect
(Crusher, Riker, Laforge, Data, Picard, Worf, Ro)
It's Groundhog Day in space! as the crew of The Enterprise keeps living the explosion of their ship over and over again. Will they ever figure out how to escape from this loop, or will we be forced to leave the entire crew behind and find a whole new crew of protagonists?
Episode 2: Emissary
(Sisko, Picard, O'Brien, Kira, Odo, Jake, Quark, Dax, Bashir, Nog, Gul Dukat)
Way back in Season Five of this continuity, Capt. Picard became a borg named Locutus who blew up a bunch of Federation ships on his course to destroy Earth (which he failed to do). One of the ships he blew up contained Benjamin Sisko who is now traveling with Picard to an abandoned Cardassian space station called Deep Space Nine. Picard totally killed this guy's wife, so he is Not Pleased with him or the assignment, but he and his son decide to join the crew of Deep Space Nine, anyway, and are joined by Enterprise transporter engineer O'Brien, and his wife, Enterprise botanist Keiko. Plus a ragtag crew of Bajorans, Ferenghi, Trill, and whatever the hell Odo is.
Episode 3: Past Prologue
(Kira, Sisko, Bashir, Garak, Odo, O'Brien, Dax)
Much of this season focuses on Cardassian and Bajoran war criminals, and how to keep the peace after all the terrible things they did to one another during the war. Deep Space Nine's first officer, Kira, was once a member of a Bajoran underground movement that the Cardassians consider terrorists. When one of her old cohorts shows up, the newly assembled crew needs to figure out how much they can trust each other, and how much they can trust The Cardassians. And what the hell are the sisters of Duras from Redemption doing on Deep Space Nine?
Episode 4: Man Alone
(Odo, Sisko, Dax, O'Brien, Keiko, Bashir, Nog, Jake, Quark)
Deep Space Nine's security officer, Odo, has held the post since the station was run by Cardassians, and while some of the Bajorans trust him, everyone is put on edge when a criminal he sent to prison shows up on board and is swiftly murdered.
Episode 5: Babel
(O'Brien, Sisko, Quark, Odo, Bashir, Kira, Jake, Dax)
More a companion to Darmok than Journey To Babel or Babel One, the episode focuses on the effects of a Cardassian engineered virus that causes aphasia in its victims. And then they die, of course, unable to express what they're going through.
Episode 6: Timescape
(Picard, Data, Troi, Laforge, Crusher, Riker, Worf)
Oh man, is the crew of The Enterprise STILL stuck in that time loop? No that wouldn't make any sense, we saw Picard interacting with the Deep Space Nine crew in Emissary. While several key officers are on an away mission, The Enterprise attempts to rescue some Romulans and everything goes wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey. The away team thinks they've figured out a way to overcome the time problems, but can they fix The Enterprise or the Romulan vessel before either or both of them explode?
Episode 7: Duet
(Kira, Sisko, Bashir, Odo, Gul Dukat, Dax, Quark)
Someone who appears to be a Cardassian war criminal with ties to Kira's past shows up on Deep Space Nine. Kira wants him tried on Bajor, Gul Dukat wants him returned to the Cardassians. Despite a moderately weak and predictable ending, most of this episode is a very interesting look at the guilt of not-necessarily-innocent bystanders during acts of war.
Episode 8: Cardassians
(Bashir, Sisko, O'Brien, Garak, Gul Dukat, Keiko, Odo)
A Cardassian orphaned child raised by Bajorans ends up in the middle of a custody dispute. I really enjoy the writing on Deep Space Nine, but like most Star Trek shows, the episodes are usually pretty well telegraphed. This one doesn't have any M Night Shyamalan twists, it just doesn't take the easiest way out.
Episode 9: Rules Of Acquisition
(Quark, Kira, Dax, Nagus, Sisko, Rom, Odo)
Staying with The Deep Space Nine crew, but taking a break from all the Cardassian/Bajoran problems, we focus on the Ferengi bartender of the ship as he attempts to expand Ferengi business contacts to the other side of the Wormhole. Most of the focus of this episode is on gender politics in Ferengi culture, which is wildly misogynist, even for a Star Trek species. Also, his brother is a moron. And his even more misogynist mentor thinks intelligent Ferengi females are inconceivable, though he may not know what that word means.
Episode 10: Preemptive Strike
(Ro, Picard, Riker, Troi, Crusher, Worf, Data)
Back to the Bajoran/Cardassian storyline we go, but now we focus on the crew of The Enterprise, who send newly promoted Lieutenant Ro to go undercover in a Maquis terrorist cell. But will she go rogue and leave the Federation to help her Bajoran brethren battle the Cardassians? Nah, this is a Star Trek episode. I'm sure everything will go back to status quo by the end.
Five bonus episodes if you like this season:
I really enjoy the crew of Deep Space Nine, and we've spent a great deal of time with Enterprise, so all five of these episodes are DS9 focused. Between "Man Alone" and "Timescape", I would check out Nagus to get your first glimpse at Ferengi culture, and be introduced to Nagus, who will come into play again later in the season. After "Timescape", there's a trilogy of DS9 episodes: Homecoming, The Circle, and Seige that focus on the changing Bajoran government. I almost used it to close out this season, as it has a really good arc about building political myths for the benefit of a nation, but it's not quite as awesome as it could have been if they'd edited it down to two episodes. And after "Rules Of Acquisition", I would watch The Maquis, which introduces the terrorist cell that Ro goes undercover in during "Preemptive Strike". Similar to the trilogy above, it would have made the list if it were shorter. The first part of The Maquis is all set-up, and the second part fails to be an explosive follow up to it.