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Blast from the Past: My favorite episodes of the original Star Trek

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Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk from the television program Star Trek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like a lot of kids who grew up in the 1970s, I watched a lot of Star Trek. I’m talking the original series here. This was when the notion of a Star Trek movie was just a dream, and the very idea of another television show (let alone a half dozen) was beyond imagination. But then Star Wars happened in 1977 and all things science fiction were suddenly cool.

Still, I can never forget those episodes, the ones I watched in re-runs late at night. To this day a number of them stick with me quite well. Below are my five favorites. Some minor spoilers are likely. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Balance of Terror

This might be my favorite episode from the original series. It involve the ship and crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise becoming embroiled in a deep-space battle with a Romulan Bird of Prey battleship. The story unfolds like that of a naval battle, with each side trying different maneuvers and tactics against the other. One of the most intense episodes ever.


This is another of my favorites. Captain Kirk and crew go into battle against an alien race known as the Gorn only to have the Metrons, a seemingly omnipotent race, force Kirk and the Gorn captain to fight one another in single combat, the winner being allowed to live while the loser and his crew to be destroyed.


In this episode, crew members of the starship Enterprise teleport down to a planet that looks exactly like Earth. Once down on the planet, the crew soon discovers a disease has wiped out all the adults, but leaves children unscathed. What’s worse, the disease still lingers in the atmosphere and the Enterprise crew and the oldest of the children are beginning to be affected.

The Squire of Gothos

English: Logo from the television program Star...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always thought this was one of the most fun Star Trek episodes, while still having a message to it in the end. A near-godlike being who calls himself the Squire of Gothos takes it upon himself to entertain Captain Kirk and some of the Enterprise crew on the planet Gothos, apparently a planet of the Squire’s own making. But the entertainment quickly turns to imprisonment and eventually Kirk finds himself having to physically confront a being who can do just about anything. What to do? What to do?

The City on the Edge of Forever

For many fans, this is considered the best episode ever of Star Trek. Entertainment Weekly and have it listed as the first of the ten-best episodes. The plot involves Captain Kirk and a handful of his crew traveling back in time through the powers of the Guardians of Forever only to find themselves in 1930s New York City. Kirk falls in love with a peace activist, Edith Keeler, and then learns Edith will be killed in an auto accident. The captain wants desperately to save the love of his life, but it is revealed that if Edith is not allowed to die then Nazi Germany will conquer the world. What can Kirk do? Watch and find out. And yes, I have to agree this is one of the best episodes ever.

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A former newspaper editor for two decades in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ty now earns his lunch money as a fiction writer, mostly in the fantasy and horror genres. He is vice president of Rogue Blades Foundation, a non-profit focused upon publishing heroic literature. In his free time he enjoys tabletop and video gaming, long swording, target shooting, reading, and bourbon. Find City of Rogues and other books and e-books by Ty Johnston at Amazon.

4 Responses

  1. longshotist
    | Reply

    Big TOS fan here (best series of the bunch no question!). A Taste of Armageddon is probably my No. 1 favorite episode. Mirror, Mirror is up there, too. And The Ultimate Computer is a great one. I mean, let’s face it – they’re all great!

  2. William C
    | Reply

    When I first watched the “Arena” episode is was like, “Ooh, is that a Sleastack?”

  3. charlesgramlich
    | Reply

    The Squire of Gathos is a great episode and one of my favorite’s. I think I got more laughs from it than any other. My favorite overall episode though is Mirror, Mirror. But there aren’t very many I don’t like in TOS

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