25 Best Star Trek TOS Episodes: Consensus-Classics Chronology

by professor_feather | created - 16 May 2014 | updated - 16 May 2014 | Public

Instead of my personal opinions, I've tried to give the consensus-best episodes (based on my 40 years as a Star Trek fan). I'm thinking of someone who's never seen the show and wants to watch only the best.

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1. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The flight recorder of the 200-year-old U.S.S. Valiant relays a tale of terror--a magnetic storm at the edge of the galaxy!

Director: James Goldstone | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gary Lockwood, Sally Kellerman

Votes: 3,846

The second pilot, so looks a little different than the rest of the series, but a great episode. No Dr. McCoy.

2. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Enemy Within (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A transporter malfunction splits Captain Kirk into two halves: one meek and indecisive, the other violent and ill tempered. The remaining crew members stranded on the planet cannot be beamed up to the ship until a problem is fixed.

Director: Leo Penn | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney

Votes: 2,606

Good Kirk vs. Evil Kirk, but much better than that sounds, and offering some real psychological truth thanks to writer Richard Matheson, and the cast. Note that Kirk commits a horrible crime in this one.

3. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Mudd's Women (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Enterprise picks up untrustworthy entrepreneur Harry Mudd accompanied by three beautiful women who immediately put a spell on all the male crew members.

Director: Harvey Hart | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Roger C. Carmel, Karen Steele

Votes: 2,536

Harry Mudd, one of the classic Trek antagonists, in an unusual and imaginative episode that mixes humor, suspense, sex appeal, and speculation. Gorgeous photography, as in all S1 shows.

4. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Corbomite Maneuver (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

After the Enterprise is forced to destroy a dangerous marker buoy, a gigantic alien ship arrives to capture and condemn the crew as trespassers.

Director: Joseph Sargent | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Anthony D. Call, Clint Howard

Votes: 2,573

A very early episode, a cinematic and exciting space adventure with an anti-war message.

5. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Menagerie: Part I (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Spock kidnaps the crippled Capt. Pike, hijacks the Enterprise and then surrenders for court martial.

Directors: Marc Daniels, Robert Butler | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver

Votes: 2,514

This two-parter recycles the first pilot (known as "The Cage"), otherwise unusable because it had a different Captain.

6. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Menagerie: Part II (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

At Spock's court martial, he explains himself with mysterious footage about when Capt. Pike was kidnapped by powerful illusion casting aliens.

Directors: Robert Butler, Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver

Votes: 2,422

The conclusion of a movie-quality epic in which Spock mutinies -- but why? This story has been compared to "Forbidden Planet," but Star Trek's version may be even better.

7. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Balance of Terror (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Enterprise must decide on its response when a Romulan ship makes a destructively hostile armed probe of Federation territory.

Director: Vincent McEveety | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Mark Lenard, Paul Comi

Votes: 2,982

Another anti-war episode, and the introduction of the Romulans. One of the most naval episodes, similar to a submarine movie.

8. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Shore Leave (1966)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The past three months has left the crew of the Enterprise exhausted and in desperate need of a break, but does this explain McCoy's encounter with a human-sized white rabbit or Kirk ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Sparr | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Emily Banks, Oliver McGowan

Votes: 2,371

Whimsical, but suspenseful too. Written by Theodore Sturgeon.

9. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Arena (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

For bringing hostility into their solar system, a superior alien race brings Captain Kirk in mortal combat against the reptilian captain of an alien ship he was pursuing.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei

Votes: 2,381

The one with the lizard-man, called the Gorn. Kirk vs. the Gorn on a deserted planet.

10. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Space Seed (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

While on patrol in deep space, Captain Kirk and his crew find and revive a genetically engineered world conqueror and his compatriots from Earth's 20th century.

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban, Madlyn Rhue

Votes: 2,945

Introduces Khan, the genetically-engineered dictator who'll return as the villain in 1982's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

11. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: This Side of Paradise (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Enterprise investigates a planet whose colonists should be dead, but are not.

Director: Ralph Senensky | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Jill Ireland, Frank Overton

Votes: 2,160

A heartbreaking love story, another Eden-that-wasn't-meant-to-be.

12. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Devil in the Dark (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Enterprise is sent to a mining colony that is being terrorized by a mysterious monster, only to find that the situation is not that simple.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Ken Lynch

Votes: 2,325

Only Spock can communicate with a "monster" that's preying on miners. One of the great "message" episodes.

13. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The City on the Edge of Forever (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

When a temporarily insane Dr. McCoy accidentally changes history and destroys his time, Kirk and Spock follow him to prevent the disaster, but the price to do so is high.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Joan Collins, DeForest Kelley

Votes: 3,556

Often cited as the best episode of TOS, has Kirk and Spock go back in time to fix the timeline. From a script by Harlan Ellison.

14. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Amok Time (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

In the throes of his Pon Farr mating period, Spock must return to Vulcan to meet his intended future wife, betrothed from childhood.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Celia Lovsky

Votes: 2,542

Theodore Sturgeon again, and the S2 premiere, taking us to Spock's home planet of Vulcan for lots of sturm and drang.

15. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Mirror, Mirror (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A transporter accident places Captain Kirk's landing party in an alternate universe, where the Enterprise is in the service of a barbarically brutal empire.

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, BarBara Luna

Votes: 2,756

Spock has a goatee, and promotions come by assassination -- must be an alternate universe.

16. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Doomsday Machine (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The USS Enterprise encounters the wrecked USS Constellation and its distraught commodore who's determined to stop the giant planet-destroying robot ship that killed his crew.

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, William Windom

Votes: 2,412

Imagine "Alien," if the Alien was a mobile weapon. Sort of like a giant drone in outer space.

17. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Metamorphosis (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

While returning to the Enterprise aboard the shuttlecraft, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a seriously ill Federation diplomat find themselves kidnapped by an energized cloud.

Director: Ralph Senensky | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Glenn Corbett

Votes: 1,897

Haunting, unique episode with a message of tolerance. Zephram Cochrane would reappear (but played by a different actor) in "Star Trek: First Contact."

18. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Journey to Babel (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Enterprise hosts a number of quarrelling diplomats, including Spock's father, but someone on board has murder in mind.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Jane Wyatt

Votes: 2,106

Fans love this one because we meet Spock's parents (and we see why it took so long).

19. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Trouble with Tribbles (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler who sells furry, purring, hungry little creatures as pets.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, William Schallert

Votes: 2,658

One of the most famous episodes, about the perils of an invasive species, even a cute one.

20. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Enterprise Incident (1968)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

An apparently insane Capt. Kirk has the Enterprise deliberately enter the Romulan Neutral Zone where the ship is immediately captured by the enemy.

Director: John Meredyth Lucas | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Joanne Linville

Votes: 2,015

One of the best S3 episodes, concerns the ethics of espionage and maintaining a balance of power, in this case with the Romulans.

21. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Day of the Dove (1968)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Both humans and Klingons have been lured to a planet by a formless entity that feeds on hatred and has set about to fashion them into a permanent food supply for itself.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Michael Ansara

Votes: 1,736

Like "Errand of Mercy" from S1, a memorable use of the Klingons in an anti-war story.

22. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Tholian Web (1968)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

With Capt. Kirk and the derelict USS Defiant apparently lost, the Enterprise grapples with an insanity causing plague and an attack by the Tholians.

Director: Herb Wallerstein | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan

Votes: 1,742

A mournful episode, as the characters fear that Captain Kirk is dead. They need to get him back before the Tholians web them in.

23. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: The Empath (1968)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Trapped in an alien laboratory, Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet an empath and are involved in a series of experiments.

Director: John Erman | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Kathryn Hays

Votes: 1,687

A science-fiction passion play, very unusual and hard to forget.

24. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Requiem for Methuselah (1969)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

On a planet, looking for an urgent medicinal cure, Kirk, Spock and McCoy come across a dignified recluse living privately but in splendor with his sheltered ward and a very protective robot servant.

Director: Murray Golden | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Daly

Votes: 1,666

Another star-crossed love affair for one of the space wanderers of the Enterprise.

25. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: All Our Yesterdays (1969)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

When Kirk, Spock and McCoy investigate the disappearance of a doomed planet's population, they find themselves trapped in different periods of that world's past.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Mariette Hartley

Votes: 1,799

A typically fatalistic S3 show, with time-travel, romance, suspense and drama. Followed by the novel "Yesterday's Son."



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