Help Me Build a Comprehensive Star Trek Experience

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by EATERoftheDEAD, May 5, 2013.

  1. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    I have done a lot of searching online trying to put together lists of episodes that will create a comprehensive Star Trek experience. So far my searching has gotten me a lot of great suggestions but ultimately have not really achieved what I am looking for. So now I turn to you to help me make this list.

    I have been a major fan of Star Trek since a very young age and I have seen every episode of both TOS and TNG as well as all of the films. However, my experience with DS9 and Voyager are somewhat limited and I have seen only a grand total of two episodes of Enterprise and no episodes of the cartoon. With all of the series on Netflix now I wanted to get into all the great episodes I haven't seen and revisit some of the others. However, rather than sit through 725 episodes and 10 films, roughly 556.5 hours of screen time, I wanted to boil it all down to something more manageable.

    So what I would like for fans of each series is to help me come up with roughly 30-70 episodes from each series, less TAS obviously, that show the evolution of the series, plotlines, and characters. I want to see all about the Dominion War and the Xindi but I also want to see the evolution of Worf and Alexander or Tom and B'Ellana or even Barclay and... Barclay. I want to know the essential episodes in terms of plot and character. I feel that The Inner Light is every bit as important as The Best of Both Worlds because Picard really shines in both. These don't need to all be great episodes if they have some major development for the overall story. That being said I don't want to watch episodes just because they are bad, I'm looking at you Spock's Brain.

    The Original Series

    This list should start with The Cage, Where No Man Has Gone Before, and The Corbomite Maneuver obviously because that gives us a setup for the premise and introduces the characters. Beyond that there are some classics that should be included such as Amok Time, Space Seed (if for no other reason than to lead to Wrath of Khan), Balance of Terror, The Trouble with Tribbles, and City on the Edge of Forever.

    The Animated Series

    This is the series I know the least about. Are there any that stand out and really move the plots and characters forward. I gather that Yesteryear was pretty good. Wasn't the precursor to the holodeck introduced in this series?


    I am very familiar with the films and own the special editions on DVD. Wrath of Khan is an obvious inclusion. While I was not a big fan of Search for Spock and The Voyage Home they show the destruction of the Enterprise and the conflict between Kirk and the Klingons. Final Frontier has the introduction of the Enterprise-A and the Uhura fan dance... wait, you mean that wasn't integral to the overall advancement of the plot? Generations, while I felt was a weak film, has the destruction of the Enterprise-D and Kirk's death. First Contact is a great film and a climax to the Borg invasion storyline in TNG and Nemesis, also not one of my favorites, gives some conclusion to the Romulan cold war episodes.

    The Next Generation

    There are a lot of stand out episodes but there are also a lot of storylines that developed over seven years such as the interactions with Q or Wesley and the Traveler. There are some great stand alone episodes too, such as The Inner Light which is easily one of my favorite Star Trek episodes period.

    Deep Space Nine

    This is where my knowledge of the franchise starts to break down. I was only able to watch a handful of the episodes when they first aired in the beginning of the series and missed out on the whole Dominion War. I happened to catch Little Green Men when it aired and loved it. This series is also where it gets tricky to try to make this list and the main reason I decided to come on here and ask for help. There are a ton of plotlines and short of just watching the entire series I didn't know how to separate out what was important and what was filler. There is, of course, the Dominion War but there are a lot of other things going on like Nog joining Starfleet, Section 31, and who knows what else.


    I've seen a smattering of Voyager episodes from across the series run but don't really know where to start because there seems to be a lot going on here as well. I know the Maquis were created for this series and there is a plotline about a Cardassian spy that I caught part of as well as the travels through Kazon space toward the beginning and then the conflicts with the Borg later on. The handful of episodes that I saw I really enjoyed, such as Macrocosm which was a neat actioner, but I can't really identify the others.


    I finally gave up trying to make my own list when I got here and the Xindi storyline. Memory Alpha simply told me to watch the entirety of season three and that wasn't helpful at all.

    So in closing what would you list as the episodes to watch to get the comprehensive Star Trek experience?

    Suffice to say, if you were not a fan of a particular series commenting 'voyager sux0rz' isn't particularly useful or productive. I am coming off from watching my list of comprehensive Doctor Who, which, despite having 26 years of episodes to sort, was actually pretty easy to compile. I am surprised that I had such difficulty making a list given the fact that I grew up obsessed with Star Trek while Doctor Who was a passing fancy I picked up as a kid on PBS and got renewed only a couple years ago with the revival series.
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    Taking up space
    If you want a truly comprehensive experience, then watch every episode.
  3. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    While that would be a truly comprehensive experience it is, unfortunately, more time than I can really devote. I want to be able to get the experience without having to watch everything. I know it's possible to trim away the chaff and boil the shows down to a digestible amount.
  4. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    This is what I have for the Original Series so far. Some of the episodes introduce characters or plots or themes while others are just great episodes. One of the failings of TOS, from what I remember, is a lack of major character development. If I've missed episodes that are stand outs in advancing characters or whatnot, give your own input. I haven't seen these episodes for quite some time and have been relying on the infallible internet to refresh my memory.

    1.00 The Cage
    1.01 Where No Man Has Gone Before
    1.02 The Corbomite Maneuver
    These three episodes introduce us to all of the characters and give a great look at what Star Trek is all about.

    1.03 Mudd's Women - This is the first of the Harry Mudd episodes. I don't recall liking the character and the episodes much.
    1.06 The Naked Time - This episode is kind of weak in my opinion but it does advance the relationship between Kirk and Rand and introduces Nurse Chapel. The relationship doesn't really go anywhere so the Kirk/Rand episodes can probably be skipped.
    1.08 Balance of Terror - This is our first look at Romulans and is just a great episode.
    1.11 Miri - This episode advances the Kirk/Rand relationship but seems otherwise kind of forgettable.
    1.12 The Conscience of the King - Rand leaves the show in this episode leaving the developing relationship between her and Kirk unresolved.
    1.13 The Galileo Seven
    1.15-16 The Menagerie, Parts I&II - These episodes return to Captain Pike and the events begun in The Cage.
    1.24 Space Seed - KHAAAAAAAAN!!! Oh wait, that comes later.
    1.26 The Devil in the Dark
    1.27 Errand of Mercy - The Klingons show up for the first time here.
    1.28 The City on the Edge of Forever
    2.01 Catspaw - This episode adds Chekov to the crew.
    2.02 Metamorphosis - Zefrham Cochrane is in this one and we learn some history unless I do not remember correctly.
    2.03 Friday's Child - This one has Klingons in it but I don't know how much it moves forward the Kilingon/Federation story.
    2.05 Amok Time - Not only is this a great episode it shows a lot about Vulcan culture and advances the friendship between Kirk and Spock and advances the relationship between Spock and Chapel.
    2.06 The Doomsday Machine
    2.10 Mirror, Mirror - This is the first time we see the Mirror Universe and it comes back a bunch in Deep Space Nine from what I hear. The Deadly years
    2.11The Deadly Years -The Romulans are back.
    2.12 I, Mudd - Harry Mudd is back.
    2.13 The Trouble with Tribbles - I have a pet tribble that hangs out on my computer desk.
    2.16 A Private Little War - More Klingons but like Friday's Child I don't know how necessary it is.
    3.02 Elaan of Troyius - See above.
    3.04 The Enterprise Incident - Not only is this a great episode but it also has Romulans.
    3.09 The Tholian Web - According to Memory Alpha this is a Mirror Universe episode by way of Enterprise's In a Mirror, Darkly.
    3.11 Day of the Dove - More Klingons.

    This list makes the Original Series a mere 28 episodes. Some of them seem skippable if the Harry Mudd storyline or the Kirk/Rand story don't strike your fancy.

    I know this list probably needs a lot of work. What do you think should be added or removed?
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    Each series has its favorites and clunkers among fans. But you'll get as many different lists as there are fans, so all you'll get is a bunch of differences of opinion. The only way it can be comprehensive is to view them yourself, rather than depending on others to tell you what to watch.
  6. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    Great Britain
    DSN is a harder one to pare down the number of episodes given it's more serialised based format in the later seasons

    But here goes, it is by no means definite and it has gaps in the arc building.

    Season One

    Captive Pursuit
    In The Hands of the Prophets

    Season 2

    The Homecoming (1 of 3)
    The Circle (2 of 3)
    The Seige (3 of 3)]
    The Maquis, Part I
    The Maquis, Part II
    The Wire
    The Jem'Hadar

    Season Three

    The Search, Part I
    The Search, Part II
    Civil Defense
    Improbable Cause (1 of 2)
    The Die is Cast (2 of 2)
    The Adversary

    Season Four

    The Way of the Warrior
    The Visitor
    Paradise Lost
    To The Death
    Broken Link

    Season Five

    Apocalypse Rising
    The Ship
    Trials and Tribbleations
    Things Past
    The Begotten
    In Purgatory's Shadow (1 of 2)
    By Inferno's Light (2 of 2)
    Call to Arms

    Season Six

    A Time to Stand
    Rocks and Shoals
    Behind the Lines
    Favour the Bold
    Sacrifice of Angels
    Far Beyond the Stars
    In the Pale Moonlight
    Tearrs of the Prophets

    Season Seven

    Most of it.
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    Buy some short black boot, black pants and a long sleeve yellow t-shirt.


    Walk around in public ... welcome to the comprehensive Star Trek experience.

    (the pointed ears come later)

  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 15, 2012
    Yeah, going on someone else's opinion on what episodes are good and bad is doing yourself in injustice. Everyone's likes and dislikes will be different. Even the supposedly "universally" good and bad episodes will have people who dislike/advocate them respectively. Honestly, I'd just pick one series, whichever you think will suit you, and run with it. Then choose another one and repeat as needed. The material will always be there so it's not like there's a hurry.
  9. tafkats

    tafkats Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 17, 2003
    That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!
    I think you're looking for a representative experience, not a comprehensive one.

    Nonetheless, MacLeod's list looks pretty good to me.
  10. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    That's a really good point Mekalon. The lists I have found all have a slew of comments following them with suggestions for inclusion or replacement. Everyone is going to have their own opinions. Look at Lwaxana Troi, she has a whole storyline in TNG yet some folks hate her and the episodes she is in. Obviously her detractors would not say she is part of an essential experience while others would want her storyline included.

    This is tough.
  11. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    I probably should have used the word essential or something. Comprehensive is really inaccurate. The costume idea however might work....
  12. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    And get yourself some pointed ears. For one Halloween at work, a lot of people dressed up in costumes. I wore my usual slacks, shirt, tie, and jacket, but added Spock ears. And I had a little 5" TOS Enterprise always in my cubicle.
  13. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    So I just thought of an easier way to do this. Attempting to identify the key episodes from each series or season and create an experience that way is far too subjective so here is the idea:

    We have the episode sets that collect a handful of episodes such as the Borg, Q, or time travel so let's make some lists similar to that. If we identify a certain character or plotline we can then make a list of the episodes that advance or develop that part of the show. Lists of the best episodes of a particular series are easy enough to find but there is no reason we couldn't just add some great stand alone episodes that showcase what one of the series is all about.

    As an example here is the Essential Spock Episodes list I created.

    The Original Series
    1.01 The Cage
    1.02 Where No Man Has Gone Before
    1.03 The Corbomite Maneuver
    1.06 The Naked Time
    1.08 Balance of Terror
    1.13 The Galileo Seven
    1.14 Court Martial
    1.15-1.16 The Menagerie, Parts I&II
    1.24 Space Seed
    1.25 This Side of Paradise
    2.05 Amok Time
    2.15 Journey to Babel
    2.19 The Immunity Syndrome
    3.12 Plato’s Stepchildren
    3.23 All Our Yesterdays

    The Animated Series
    1.02 Yesteryear

    I The Motion Picture
    II The Wrath of Kahn
    III The Search for Spock
    IV The Voyage Home
    V The Final Frontier
    VI The Undiscovered Country

    The Next Generation
    5.07-5.08 Unification, Parts I&II

    XI Star Trek

    Possible Inclusions
    TOS 3.01 Spectre of the Gun
    TOS 3.06 Spock's Brain
    TNG 3.23 Sarek
    TNG 6.14 Face of the Enemy

    I included the 2009 film on the list not for the bits about Quinto's Spock, which I personally enjoy, or the trials he faces but because the story serves as a great endcap to Nimoy's Spock.
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  14. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    Here is an easy one to do, the Essential Borg Invasion:

    TNG 1.13 Datalore
    TNG 1.26 The Neutral Zone
    TNG 2.16 Q, Who?
    TNG 2.21 Peak Performance
    TNG 3.26-4.01 The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I&II
    TNG 4.02 Family
    TNG 5.23 I, Borg
    TNG 6.26-7.01 Descent, Parts I&II
    MOV VIII First Contact
    ENT 2.23 Regeneration

    Datalore and Regeneration serve as good bookends to the plotline while First Contact is a fantastic climax. This is a plot that is extremely easy to get into with only a handful of episodes and one movie. Plus its an awesome plotline, an unstoppable alien menace with a desire only for destruction invades the Alpha Quadrant and is on a course for Earth and the Federation is woefully unprepared.
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  15. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    Taking a second look at this list I see that it could be cut down a little more for those seeking a truly essential episode list. Remove Datalore, Descent, and Regeneration and the arc still has its full impact without the Lore subplot or the epilogue.

    Along that same line of thinking you could cut Family from the list but I feel that it is important to see the impact of the Best of Both Worlds had on the characters, especially Picard and thus the emotional impact of First Contact is heightened.
  16. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Kingston, ON Canada
    Agreed. To get the full experience watch every episode of every variation of Trek. That's the only way you are going to determine what is 'essential' to you.
  17. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    What are some essential list you would create? They needn't be as long as something like the Dominion War but could be as simple as Q and the Enterprise or the Mirror Universe, both of which I believe received a DVD set.
  18. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    It has become clear to me that this really is the only way to have an 'essential' or 'comprehensive' experience, unfortunately I really don't have the time to dedicate to that kind of viewing experience. However, I know enough about the setting and the characters that I feel confident changing the focus of this project to be more focused on certain aspects of the show.

    This sort of approach will still be highly subjective but might help others experience the parts of Star trek they loved, such as the Borg invasion of the Alpha Quadrant for me, or perhaps never explored, such as the Dominion War for me.

    Plus, this focused approach is really pretty fun.
  19. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    Here is one I made for the Q fans in the house.

    Q the Adversary
    TNG 1.01-1.02 Encounter at Farpoint
    TNG 1.10 Hide and Q
    Q the Foil
    TNG 2.16 Q Who?
    TNG 3.13 Déjà Q
    Q and Vash
    TNG 3.19 Captain’s Holiday
    TNG 4.20 Qpid
    DS9 1.07 Q-Less
    Q the Antihero
    TNG 6.06 True Q
    TNG 6.15 Tapestry
    TNG 7.25-7.26 All Good Things...
    Q Civil War
    VOY 2.18 Death Wish
    VOY 3.11 The Q and the Grey
    VOY 7.19 Q2
    Additional Viewing
    TOS 1.18 The Squire of Gothos
    MOV V The Final Frontier

    Q goes through a lot of changes over his time in the franchise. He starts out as an adversary but by the end is a generally good character so his arc is a lot of fun. Sometimes he is played for comedy and it is during those times that I feel he is weakest.

    This list has a lot that can be removed for more focused viewing. Removing the entire Vash storyline looses nothing and the episodes are overall pretty weak, plus Captain's Holiday doesn't even include Q, it is an introduction to Vash. True Q can be skipped as well since, I feel, it doesn't do much to advance the character. I haven't seen any of the Voyager episodes so i can't speak to their quality. The other episodes form a nice arc beginning and ending with the first and last episodes of TNG quite nicely.

    The additional viewing do not include Q but they are a couple of examples of similar beings in the franchise and the shenanigans they get up to.
  20. EATERoftheDEAD

    EATERoftheDEAD Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 4, 2013
    Lewiston, ME
    I watched the Voyager Q episodes and would like to amend my Q list. The Q Civil War arc is quite interesting but really only encompasses Death Wish and The Q and the Grey. Q2 is a fun little episode but adds little to the overall list and is certainly skippable for anyone looking for a more concise watch list.