Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 22

Space Seed (16 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,410 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 12 critic

Captain Kirk and his crew find and inadvertently revive a genetically augmented world conqueror and his compatriots from Earth's 20th century.



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Title: Space Seed (16 Feb 1967)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Madlyn Rhue ...
Makee K. Blaisdell ...
Spinelli (as Blaisdell Makee)
Mark Tobin ...
Kathy Ahart ...
Crew Woman
John Winston ...


The Enterprise finds a 20th century spaceship which contains dozens of people in suspended animation. While investigating, one of the people is revived automatically. His name is Khan, a strikingly handsome Sihk who charms the Enterprise's historian, Lt. McGivers. While recovering, Khan reads up on the nearly 300 years of history he's missed, plus a great deal of technical information on the Enterprise. Through research, Kirk discovers that he's a genetic superman that escaped after the Eugenics Wars of Earth's 20th century. But he's too late: Khan and McGivers have gone back to his ship, revived Khan's crew, and returned to commandeer the Enterprise. Before he's successful, the crew manages to lock out some controls of the ship. Khan attempts to coerce the bridge crew to give him the controls by torturing Kirk in a pressure chamber. They don't relent, and Kirk is believed to have died. However, McGivers had a change of heart and rescued Kirk. Together, they initiate an gas attack on ... Written by Tony-B4

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Release Date:

16 February 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode inspired two of the Star Trek films: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982); in which Ricardo Montalban once again played the role; and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013); in which Benedict Cumberbatch takes over the role. See more »


As Khan hides behind a wall in engineering just before Kirk enters, someone walks in front of a stage light and the shadow of his head passes across the floor. See more »


Khan Noonien Singh: Nothing ever changes, except man. Your technical accomplishments? Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity, but improve man and you gain a thousandfold. I am such a man.
See more »


Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Khan is my Name; Conquest is my Game
15 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Here we're introduced to perhaps Kirk's greatest nemesis, the product of selective breeding - eugenics - Mr. Khan (Montalban); actually, just call him Khan. Like some malignant malady waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting universe, he sleeps, along with his followers, drifting for over two centuries in a derelict ship. The Enterprise comes along and Capt. Kirk commits, unknowingly, a grievous error. He awakens this superman and the galaxy is no longer safe. According to the historical information presented here, Earth's 3rd world war was known as the Eugenics War and was fought in the 1990's. I've always thought, since the TNG series began with its own glimpses into Earth history, that this should have been revised to coincide with the world war that took place in the 21st century (as explained in the movie "Star Trek:First Contact" for example). Well, anyway...

The actor Montalban simply dominates every scene he's in as the superior man, Khan. McCoy describes Khan's magnetic presence as 'almost electric.' Well, there's no 'almost' about it. Through a combination of charisma and sheer intensity, Montalban shows what's possible as far as overwhelming everything & everyone in sight, to the point that all things & people must cater to his will. Bred for this lofty ambition, he's more like a force of nature, unable to behave in any other way. Kirk, usually the more macho figure in a scene, comes away as a distant 2nd best when Khan's in the room or - as Khan would put it - 'obviously inferior.' As probably the most memorable single figure to grace the starship with his presence during the original series, Khan imparted to this episode a unique frisson and style; there's something special about this particular one, especially with the passage of 40 years. It's definitely a classic at this point and even legendary.

When I saw this as a kid on a small tube, I also picked the fight scene between Kirk and Khan as my favorite for the series. Kirk put on some nice moves to avoid getting bashed by Khan's far superior strength. When I got a big screen TV and played the DVD of this episode, the stuntmen became all too apparent. Oh, well, another illusion shattered. Unlike almost all other episodes where we have to guess on what happens later after Kirk and crew made their impact known, we actually find out what happens with the seed Kirk plants here (as Spock puts it). Only the answer doesn't take place a century later, as Spock hints at; no, only about 15 years later we find out how Khan and his people are doing in the sequel to this story - "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." That was when, I think, Kirk really began to regret opening that chamber where Khan was harmlessly snoozing away.

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