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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old January 3 2013, 11:11 PM   #1
martine
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List of essential episodes.

I'm compiling a list for a friend who hasn't time to watch a lot. I found this thread, but it's far too extensive. My list is minimal.

I'm trying to include all the important story arcs and themes, e.g:
  • The Borg
  • Species 8472
  • Dreams; hallucinations; illusions
  • Q
  • Eugenics/Augments
  • Crossovers between series
  • Mirror universe
  • Time-travel
  • Nazis
  • Data and the Doctor dreaming or becoming more human; Dr. Soong
  • Commander Shran's friendship with Archer
  • Dominion War

I have more in mind, but not sure what's actually important. What themes do you think should be included?

What I need help with are hidden-gem episodes, like One Little Ship, The Haunting of Deck Twelve, Tuvix, Rascals and Distant Voices. I have no reliable way of finding these episodes. They fall under no conveniently searchable theme on Memory Alpha. What hidden gems do you know?
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Old January 3 2013, 11:15 PM   #2
BillJ
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Re: List of essential episodes.

Just with the themes you mention above, you're likely looking at 100 to 150 episodes.

The Naked Time (TOS) and Time Squared (TNG) both have elements of time travel involved.
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Old January 3 2013, 11:51 PM   #3
Finngle Bells
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Re: List of essential episodes.

^It depends on what storylines appeals to your friend.
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Old January 4 2013, 12:11 AM   #4
martine
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Re: List of essential episodes.

BillJ wrote: View Post
The Naked Time (TOS) and Time Squared (TNG) both have elements of time travel involved.
Time-travel episodes, Alternate timeline episodes, Parallel universe episodes. There's a lot of these, will have to filter out the bad eggs. And these don't even count the instances of "fake" time travel, e.g. that Hirogen holodeck simulation involving Nazis.

Time Squared is awesome -- I love time-loops! But I'm posting to see what appeals to others!
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Old January 4 2013, 12:21 AM   #5
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Re: List of essential episodes.

The Borg - Q, Who?
Species 8472 - Scorpion
Dreams; hallucinations; illusions - Unimatrix Zero
Q - Encounter at Farpoint/Hide and Q/All Good Things...
Eugenics/Augments - Space Seed/Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Mirror universe - Mirror, Mirror/In a Mirror, Darkly
Time-travel - Tomorrow is Yesterday/City on the Edge of Forever/Carbon Creek/Carpenter Street
Nazis - Zero Hour/Storm Front
Dominion War - In the Pale Moonlight/The Siege of AR-558
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Old January 4 2013, 12:28 AM   #6
JirinPanthosa
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Re: List of essential episodes.

For a time loop episode I'd go with Cause and Effect.

Other of my favorite hidden gems:
DS9:
Whispers
Tribunal
Civil Defense
One Man Bashir
Who Mourns for Morn
The Magnificent Farengi

Voyager:
Course: Oblivion
The Thaw
Counterpoint
Memorial
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Blink Of An Eye

TNG:
The Royale
The Enemy
The Defector
Future Imperfect
Disaster
Power Play
Frame of Mind
The Gambit
The Pegasus
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Old January 4 2013, 03:09 AM   #7
R. Star
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Re: List of essential episodes.

If you're wanting to cover ALL those themes your friend would just be better off watching them all in order.... I'd honestly just ask yourself what your friend is in Trek for and narrow down your list to 2-3 of those categories. You'd still get a couple dozen episodes.
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Old January 4 2013, 11:31 AM   #8
martine
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Re: List of essential episodes.

R. Star wrote: View Post
If you're wanting to cover ALL those themes your friend would just be better off watching them all in order.... I'd honestly just ask yourself what your friend is in Trek for and narrow down your list to 2-3 of those categories. You'd still get a couple dozen episodes.
This is good advice, thanks. I will think on it. That said, watching everything is not an option. We're very afraid to waste time -- we self-study. Even so, I intend to inject her with Star Trek culture. I'm under pressure as such to include enough hidden gems, the sort that really make you love Trek.
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Old January 4 2013, 05:53 PM   #9
at Quark's
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Re: List of essential episodes.

hmmm, although 'nazi's' are a recurring theme, I wouldn't call it 'important' (the only series without any nazi eps I can think of are TNG and DS9, unless you'd interpret the cardassians as nazis). That is, I've never really felt it to be integral to the Trek saga, more of a 'ohh, let's do an EVIL NAZIS IN OUTER SPACE-story, as we can't think of anything else this week!' - the result usually being a somewhat silly episode imho. (although I do like 'patterns of force').

But, if you like that stuff, by all means include those eps in your list

By contrast, I would include a 'holodeck malfunction'- ep, just to convey the idea. But only one of them
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Old January 4 2013, 07:12 PM   #10
R. Star
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Re: List of essential episodes.

martine wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
If you're wanting to cover ALL those themes your friend would just be better off watching them all in order.... I'd honestly just ask yourself what your friend is in Trek for and narrow down your list to 2-3 of those categories. You'd still get a couple dozen episodes.
This is good advice, thanks. I will think on it. That said, watching everything is not an option. We're very afraid to waste time -- we self-study. Even so, I intend to inject her with Star Trek culture. I'm under pressure as such to include enough hidden gems, the sort that really make you love Trek.
Well you'd know your friend better than us. I will say, among my Trek converts, I've had more luck using DS9 than any other series to get them hooked. Chances are if your friend doesn't like Trials and Tribbleations, the rest of Trek will be lost on her too.
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Old January 4 2013, 07:18 PM   #11
The Mirrorball Man
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Re: List of essential episodes.

Just pick two or three episodes of each series, if your friend enjoys them, add some more based on her reactions. It should be simple enough.
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Old January 5 2013, 04:04 AM   #12
AdmiralScreed
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Re: List of essential episodes.

I've been rewatching TNG, so if I were to give a "best of" from the first two seasons I'd say:

In airdate order:

Season 1:
Justice
11001001

Season 2:
The Child
The Schizoid Man
The Dauphin
Time Squared
The Icarus Factor
Manhunt
The Emissary

It may not be exactly what you're asking for, but in my view the essential episodes to watch are the ones that highlight the strengths of the series. In my humble opinion, the episodes I listed above do that very well!
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Old January 6 2013, 04:04 AM   #13
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Re: List of essential episodes.

Your list would definitely overwhelm your friend. Here are a couple of essentials that I like:

TOS-
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Amok Time
City on the Edge of Forever

TAS-
Yesteryear

TNG-
The Inner Light
Family

DS9-
Trials and Tribble-ations
Pilot episode

VOY-
The Caretaker, Parts 1 & 2

ENT-
Carbon Creek

This short list can be a primer for those wanting to know more about Star Trek. IMO, it also comprises some of the best of Trek series.
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Last edited by Sector 7; January 6 2013 at 04:20 AM.
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Old January 6 2013, 08:02 AM   #14
TorontoTrekker
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Re: List of essential episodes.

Sector 7 wrote: View Post
Your list would definitely overwhelm your friend. Here are a couple of essentials that I like:

TOS-
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Amok Time
City on the Edge of Forever

TAS-
Yesteryear

TNG-
The Inner Light
Family

DS9-
Trials and Tribble-ations
Pilot episode

VOY-
The Caretaker, Parts 1 & 2

ENT-
Carbon Creek

This short list can be a primer for those wanting to know more about Star Trek. IMO, it also comprises some of the best of Trek series.
I'm not sure that Trials and Tribble-ations makes sense without first having seen The Trouble With Tribbles, though.

As for the other series, I would substitute "Year Of Hell" for "Caretaker", and "Shuttlepod One" or "Observer Effect" for "Carbon Creek". Or perhaps one of the S4 arcs - "Babel One"/"United"/"The Aenar" might be a good choice.

For Q episodes, "Encounter At Farpoint" is a must because it introduces Q, "All Good Things..." because it brings the story full circle, and I'd throw in "Death Wish" from VOY because it deals with the whole omnipotence thing and its pitfalls.

I can't disagree with any of Sector 7's other choices, though I'd also add "Cause And Effect".
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Old January 6 2013, 10:37 PM   #15
d'Anconia
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Re: List of essential episodes.

You should add Maquis episodes from TNG/DS9/VOY as well. Together they form a great arc of stories.
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