Star Trek:TOS – The Worst to Best Episodes

Overview

Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 10.33.35 AMI wrote a little program that sorts episodes based on my opinion of each. Remember the old website “Hot or Not” – where you’d be shown the pictures of two people and asked which is hotter? The same idea here.

There are 79 episodes (78 if you consider the two-part “The Menagerie” as one) and the program asked me 400 questions to determine the order.

I broke them down into the four categories: Worst, Mediocre, Good, and Best. Let me know if you agree with my list.

The Worst

  1. Catspaw – The crew of the Enterprise encounter two aliens from another galaxy with magical-seeming powers
  2. Spocks Brain – an alien female beams aboard the Enterprise and after incapacitating the rest of the crew surgically removes Spocks brain. Captain Kirk and the crew have just hours to locate and restore it before Spocks body dies. The episode is widely regarded as the worst episode of the series.
  3. The Tholian Web – Captain Kirk is caught between dimensions while the crew of the Enterprise works to retrieve him. All the while the Tholians are weaving a destructive energy web around the Enterprise.
  4. Day of the Dove – an alien force drives the crew of the Enterprise into brutal conflict with the Klingons.
  5. That Which Survives – the crew of the Enterprise visit an abandoned planet guarded by a mysterious woman.
  6. The Omega Glory – Captain Kirk must find the cure to a deadly disease and put an end to another Starfleet captains cultural interference.”
  7. The Cloud Minders – Captain Kirk races against time to acquire plague-fighting minerals from a world suffering from a grievous social class disparity.
  8. A Taste of Armageddon – the crew of the Enterprise visits a planet engaged in a completely computer-simulated war with a neighboring planet but the casualties including the Enterprises crew are supposed to be real.
  9. The Alternative Factor – the crew of the USS Enterprise encounters a “reality jumping” madman. It is the first Star Trek episode to deal with a parallel universe.
  10. For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky – the crew of the Enterprise rush to stop an asteroid from colliding with a Federation world but discover the asteroid is actually an inhabited ship.
  11. Wink of an Eye – normally invisible time-accelerated aliens take over the Enterprise and attempt to abduct the crew for use as breeding stock.
  12. The Paradise Syndrome – an alien device on a primitive planet erases Captain Kirks memory and he begins a new life with the planets indigenous people modeled on Native Americans.”
  13. Whom Gods Destroy – Captain Kirk faces off with a deranged shape-shifting starship captain determined to control the universe.
  14. The Apple – the crew of the Enterprise visits a planet whose inhabitants live only to serve a machine.

The Mediocre

  1. Fridays Child – the crew of the Enterprise become entangled in a planets tribal power struggle. Adding to their difficulty is the presence of the Klingons and a woman (Julie Newmar) who does not want her unborn child.”
  2. Turnabout Intruder – a woman switches bodies with Captain Kirk and then tries to take over command of the Enterprise.
  3. The Lights of Zetar – strange incorporeal aliens threaten the Memory Alpha station and the Enterprise.
  4. And the Children Shall Lead – the crew of the Enterprise find children with great powers at their disposal.
  5. The Empath – while visiting a doomed planet the landing party is subjected to torturous experiments by powerful aliens.
  6. The Way to Eden – the Enterprise is hijacked by a hippie-like group obsessed with finding a mythical paradise.
  7. Elaan of Troyius – the Enterprise ferries a spoiled princess whose betrothal is hoped will bring peace to a star system at war.
  8. Wolf in the Fold – a series of horrific murders of women on a world where such things never happen points to Mr. Scott as the prime suspect.
  9. A Private Little War – the crew of the Enterprise discovers Klingon interference in the development of a formerly peaceful planet and joins them in what becomes an arms race.
  10. The Mark of Gideon – a race of aliens from an overpopulated planet abduct Captain Kirk to solve their problem.
  11. Where No Man Has Gone Before – after the Enterprise attempts to cross the Great Barrier at the edge of the galaxy two crew members develop powerful ESP abilities which threaten the safety of the crew.
  12. What Are Little Girls Made Of? – Nurse Chapel searches for her long lost fiancé and uncovers his secret plan to create sophisticated androids for galactic conquest.
  13. The Man Trap – the crew visit an outpost on planet M-113 to conduct routine medical exams on the residents only to be attacked by a shapeshifting alien who kills by extracting salt from the victims body.”
  14. Requiem for Methuselah – the crew of the Enterprise encounters an immortal human.
  15. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield – the Enterprise encounters two survivors of a war-torn planet each half black and half white each committed to destroying each other.
  16. The Galileo Seven – First Officer Spock leads a scientific team from the Enterprise aboard the shuttlecraft Galileo on an ill-fated mission facing tough decisions when the shuttle crashes on a planet populated by aggressive giants.
  17. The Immunity Syndrome – the crew of the Enterprise encounters an energy-draining space-dwelling organism.
  18. Is There in Truth No Beauty? – the Enterprise travels with an alien ambassador whose appearance induces madness.
  19. The Savage Curtain – aliens force Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock to join forces with beings who appear to be Abraham Lincoln and Surak to battle villains in a contest between good and evil.
  20. Platos Stepchildren – the crew of the Enterprise encounter an ageless and sadistic race of humanoids with the power of telekinesis.”
  21. By Any Other Name – beings from another galaxy commandeer the Enterprise in an attempt to return home.
  22. Bread and Circuses – Captain Kirk and his companions are forced to fight in gladiatorial games on a planet resembling the Roman Empire but possessing mid-20th century Earth technology.

The Good

  1. Arena – while pursuing a Gorn vessel for an apparently unprovoked attack on a Federation outpost Captain Kirk is forced by powerful entities to battle the opposing captain.
  2. Return to Tomorrow – telepathic aliens take control of Captain Kirk Dr. Ann Mulhall (Diana Muldaur) and First Officer Spocks bodies in order to construct android hosts.
  3. Obsession – Captain Kirk becomes obsessed with destroying a deadly cloud-like entity that killed a crew he was on in the past.
  4. Who Mourns for Adonais? – the crew of the Enterprise are held captive by an alien who claims to be the Greek god Apollo.
  5. The Squire of Gothos – the childish but powerful ruler of the planet Gothos captures the crew of the Enterprise for his own amusement.
  6. The Conscience of the King – Captain Kirk crosses paths with an actor suspected of having been a mass-murdering dictator many years before.
  7. I, Mudd – The crew of the Enterprise has a second encounter with the conman Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel) first seen in the Season One episode “Mudds Women”. Mudd is now the supreme ruler of a planet of androids who cater to his every whim.`
  8. Mudd’s Women – the Enterprise pursues a vessel and rescues its occupants Harry Mudd an interstellar con man and the three mysteriously beautiful women he is transporting to become the wives of dilithium miners.”
  9. Charlie X – the Enterprise picks up an unstable 17-year-old boy who spent 14 years alone on a deserted planet and lacks the training and restraint to handle his superhuman mental powers wisely.
  10. Miri – the Enterprise discovers an exact duplicate of Earth where the only survivors of a deadly man-made plague are some of the planets children.”
  11. Errand of Mercy – with a war with the Klingons declared Captain Kirk and his First Officer Mr. Spock attempt to sway the incomprehensibly placid population of a planet near the Klingon border to resist an invading military occupation.
  12. The Corbomite Maneuver – the Enterprise encounters a massive and powerful alien starship and its unusual commander.
  13. Assignment: Earth – engaged in “historical research” the USS Enterprise travels back through time to 1968 Earth where they encounter an interstellar agent planning to intervene in 20th-century events. Kirk and Spock are uncertain of his motives.
  14. The Devil in the Dark – Captain Kirk and Spock face off with a deadly subterranean creature. They are called to investigate a mining facility on a planet and go on an away mission to the facility to try to resolve the issue.
  15. Spectre of the Gun – having been found trespassing into Melkotian space Captain Kirk and members of his crew are sent to die in a re-enactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
  16. Operation — Annihilate! – the crew of the Enterprise must find a way to exterminate behavior-altering parasites that have taken over the bodies of residents of a Federation colony.
  17. The Return of the Archons – the crew of the Enterprise visit a seemingly peaceful planet whose inhabitants are “of the Body” are controlled by an unseen ruler and enjoy a night of violence during “festival”.
  18. The Gamesters of Triskelion – Captain Kirk and his companions are abducted into slavery and trained to fight as gladiators for the gambling entertainment of three disembodied beings.
  19. Shore Leave – the crew of the Enterprise visits a bizarre planet where the fantasies of the landing party become reality.
  20. Patterns of Force – the crew of the Enterprise tracks down a Federation observer on a planet dominated by a “Naziesque” regime.
  21. Dagger of the Mind – the Enterprise visits a rehabilitation facility for the criminally insane where the chief doctor has been using a device which destroys the human mind.
  22. The Enemy Within – while beaming up from planet Alpha 177 a transporter malfunction causes Captain Kirk to be split into two people one “good” but indecisive and ineffectual; the other “evil” impulsive and irrational.
  23. The Ultimate Computer – the crew of the Enterprise race to disable a rogue computer in total control of the ship.
  24. Court Martial – Captain Kirk stands trial on charges of criminal negligence after jettisoning a manned pod during an emergency.
  25. Tomorrow Is Yesterday – the Enterprise is thrown back to Earth in the 1960s where the US Air Force detects it so the crew must find a way to correct the damage to the timeline.
  26. All Our Yesterdays – Captain Kirk Spock and Dr. McCoy are trapped in two timeframes of another planets past.”
  27. This Side of Paradise – the USS Enterprise visits a planet where the inhabitants are under the influence of strange plant life.
  28. Journey to Babel – the Enterprise must transport dignitaries to a diplomatic conference.
  29. The Naked Time – a strange intoxicating infection which lowers the crews inhibitions spreads throughout the Enterprise. As the madness spreads the entire ship is endangered.

The Best

  1. The Deadly Years – strange radiation causes members of the crew of the Enterprise to age rapidly.
  2. Metamorphosis – a shuttle crew from the USS Enterprise encounters a man out of history and his mysterious alien companion.
  3. A Piece of the Action – The Enterprise visits a planet with an Earth-like 1920s gangster culture with Runyonesque dialog and costumes.
  4. The Trouble with Tribbles – In this comic episode the starship Enterprise visits a space station that soon becomes overwhelmed by rapidly-reproducing small furry creatures called “tribbles”.
  5. Amok Time – The episode features First Officer Spock returning to his homeworld for a brutal Vulcan wedding ritual. It is the only episode of The Original Series to depict scenes on the planet Vulcan.
  6. Space Seed – the Enterprise crew encounter a sleeper ship holding selectively bred superpeople from Earths past. Their leader Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán) attempts to take control of the Enterprise.”
  7. The Enterprise Incident – the crew of the Enterprise are on a secret mission to steal a Romulan cloaking device. A sub-plot is a romance of sorts between Spock and a Romulan commander.
  8. Mirror Mirror – a transporter malfunction that swaps Captain Kirk and his companions with their evil counterparts from a parallel universe. In this “mirror universe” the Enterprise is a ship of the Terran Empire a conquering and murdering organization where officers are assassinated as punishment and as a means of promotion.
  9. The Changeling – The crew of the USS Enterprise deals with a life-destroying space probe originally launched from Earth. The plot contains similarities to the later 1979 Star Trek film.[1]
  10. Balance of Terror – the Enterprise battles a Romulan ship after investigating an unidentified assailant who methodically destroys the Federations outposts at the Neutral Zone.”
  11. The Doomsday Machine – the starship Enterprise fights a powerful planet-killing machine from another galaxy.
  12. The Menagerie – Spock abducts his former commander Christopher Pike locks the Enterprise on a course to the forbidden planet Talos IV and turns himself in for court-martial where he presents an elaborate story explaining his actions.
  13. The City on the Edge of Forever – after a heavily medicated Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) travels back in time and changes history, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) follow him to correct the timeline. In doing so, Kirk falls in love with Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), but realizes that in order to save his future, he must allow her to die.’

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