Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two
The ratings for the first season of Star Trek were low which, in previous years, would have seen the series cancelled straight away, but NBC decided to renew the series for a second season – mainly because it appealed to a younger audience. The series was given an episode order of 26 episodes, which in future years became the average number for an episode order of Star Trek.
There were a few changes in the Season 2: like cast member Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand quit the show due to personal reasons; they introduced a new character called Ensign Chekov, who was brought in to appeal to the younger audience and he had a very Beatles like hairpiece in his early episodes – as this season progressed they got rid of the hairpiece and let him have his own hair(!); and also they added DeForest Kelley (McCoy) to the opening credits which made him the third lead character in the series from that point on.
The character of Mr Spock became a breakout character and a sex symbol after the first season had aired, and in this season there were many episodes centred around Spock – such as the seasons opening episode ‘Amok Time’ which was set on his home planet Vulcan and where Kirk and Spock have to fight to death.
Some of the writers from the first year returned to write scripts for the second year – including as Gene L. Coon and D. C Fontana. They were joined by new writers such as John Merdyth Lucas, Robert Sabaroff and John Kingsbridge who wrote some classic episodes of this season, like ‘Patterns of Force’ which had that common theme in the original series of Star Trek where they beam onto a planet that represents an alien society ;in the context of earth history like in this episode it represents Nazi Germany in the 1930s. There were many episodes like that in this season, another being ‘A Piece of the Action’ which represents an alien society in 1920s gangster culture. Another standout episode in this season was ‘Mirror Mirror’ where members of the Enterprise crew were transported on an alternative Enterprise. This episode famously had a badass Mr Spock with a beard and the crew kill each other to move up in rank.
Top 5 Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two
5) The Gamester of Triskelion
In this episode Captain Kirk and his companion are kidnapped into slavery and trained to become gladiators. It’s a real “starter episode” if you want to get into the original series; and your always wondering how Kirk and crew are going to get out of this one. It’s one of the many cliché episodes where they have a lot of stylized fight scenes and Kirk gets the girl. But overall it’s a little bit of fun.
4) A Private Little War
In this episode the crew of the Enterprise see the interference of a once peaceful planet from the Klingon Empire. It’s another one that tackles a social issue of the time, which is the Vietnam War, which was at it’s height in 1968 when this episode aired. It’s an episode I have always enjoyed – even if it’s flawed somewhat.
3) The Doomsday Machine
The Enterprise has discovered a planet destroying weapon and a Commodore that puts the crew of the Enterprise in danger, in crazy mission of revenge. This is one of most popular episodes of the original series. The highlight of the episode is the performance of William Windom, who played the vengeful Commodore Matt Decker, and his obsession of wanting to destroy the planet destroying weapon The Doomsday Machine.
2) Mirror Mirror
First of many “Mirror Universe” episodes and I think this is still the best – come on who doesn’t like seeing the crew of the enterprise being bad to the bone for one episode? Plus Spock has a beard and is being as bad ass as ever!
1) Amok Time
I’m sure you saw this one coming… could it really be any other episode? What’s not to love about this episode and visiting Spock’s home planet and watching Kirk and Spock fight to the death? And that brilliant ending where you see Spock almost being human.