I became a big fan of Star Trek when the original series was rerun in the 1970s. In the 1960s, I hardly gave it a thought because I was into a new age religion at the time.
In its first year in 1966, it placed 52 out of 94 TV series. Not very good. It's highly likely that the Star Trek subject matter was over the heads of many people. It wasn't escapist action science fiction. Serious subjects like prejudice, racism, godlike aliens, weapons of mass destruction, cults and the dangers of tampering with low tech cultures were discussed openly. There was also evidence that part of the motivation for Star Trek came from the U.S. Navy's "Secret Space Program".
After three years, the series was terminated because mankind wasn't ready for realistic meaty outer space adventures. "They couldn't handle the truth" as George Bush said recently, but that was back in the 1960s. It is now the biggest franchise of all time.
From the hundreds of Star Trek episodes and movies, I distilled my top ten stories from the different series and movies.
What I liked the most were stories that challenged my mind or touched my heart. Here they are:
- Generations: Obviously, this movie was more than Captain Kirk passing the torch to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Kirk got caught in "The Nexus"(a false heaven) where all of mankind's dreams can come true. Picard brought him back to reality. The climax was action packed and exciting.
- The Killing Game: The Hirogen (a reptilian species) who allied themselves with Nazi Germany took over Voyager's holodeck and tried to defeat the Voyager's crew. Incredibly, it was realistic and scary. Check out "The Nazi Secret Space Program".
- All Good Things: Picard almost annihilated the human race through his own sickness and quantum leaping. He discovered that he had to solve a massive temporal distortion through three separate time periods. "Q" with his god-like powers actually helped Picard in this final STNG episode.
- City On The Edge Of Forever: Kirk and Spock had to follow McCoy through a space-time portal to the late 1930s to stop him from altering the outcome of WW2. Joan Collins and Kirk were a hot item in this episode. Sad ending.
- Spectre Of The Gun: Kirk, Spock and some crew members encountered "The Melkotians" who were able to use "The Gunfight at the OK Corral" against them. A different kind of Western with a surprise ending.
- Death Wish: One of "The Q" was tired of being all-powerful and all-knowing and wanted to commit suicide. He sought asylum on Voyager. Captain Janeway was appointed judge and a compromise was reached. Interesting development of the original Q character.
- Star Trek, The Motion Picture: This was the first Star Trek movie in 1979. It was very underrated. A sentient AI (V'Ger) wanted to become one with its creator (Earth scientists) and achieve some kind of transcendence. Interesting, but not understood by most.
- The Survivors: A couple on a destroyed planet were its only living inhabitants. They held a horrible secret. The ending was surprising, moving and thought-provoking.
- The Offspring: Data built a female android who had emotions. Hard to believe that I cried at the ending of this story, but I could relate to the problems of the androids because it was a believable and well-told story.
- Cause and Effect: Fascinating tale of deja vu with temporal irregularities thrown in. Groundhog day in outer space.