How to get friends into Trek?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Spicy Thunder, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. I really need help guys.
  2. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 18, 2017
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    Welcome to the forum! :)

    I'll stick predominantly to the original series when using my anecdotal meanderings, though the same basic tenets can be applied to any of the Trek shows. Do they like sci-fi? If so, which shows do they tend to gravitate toward, and why they're drawn to them. Are these shows more comedic? Or dramatic?

    Conversely, are the preferred episodes within those shows more dramatic or comedic?

    Here's a biggie: Can they sit through television made 50 years ago? If not, start with TNG. TOS is good, but it's dated badly in some ways. Every show does date, in some ways worse than others - that is inevitable. But many people do find that the older the show, the harder it often is for them to enjoy or appreciate it. Television is still revolving around contemporary or then-relevant issues, or made as entertainment while being stuck within contemporary or then-relevant issues because the general audience is the largest, even with the age- and gender-based demographic differentials within.

    A dramatic show can have a comedic episode as being top-tier, such as that little-known Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".

    Do they like spy and espionage fare, like "The Enterprise Incident"?

    Time travel and preserving the future such as "The City on the Edge of Forever" or "Tomorrow is Yesterday"? Both are dramatic, but "City" is more character-driven (if not outright love story) whereas "Tomorrow" is more situation-based. I'd recommend both of these episodes to view, regardless.

    Going back to comedy vs drama, but enjoying time travel, "Tomorrow is Yesterday"'s dramatic gravitas versus "Assignment: Earth"'s comedy moments also come into play.

    How pure do you want pulp sci-fi? "Plato's Stepchildren" is very high concept and is often pointed at squarely (and unfairly) to as means to deride the entire series with. And without breaking the fourth wall. It also discusses human nature... but not as directly as:

    "The Enemy Within", an episode that also fluffs around sci-fi elements and puts to the side in favor of fantasy-that-is-simply-impossible because it wants to focus on the human nature aspect. I love this episode BTW because it's all metaphor for aspects of the human condition and uses its time wisely to drive some suspense and drama in the process, even though it's playing fast and loose with the transporter sci-fi/fantasy aspect... nothing more than a plot device and the transporter wasn't used like this in TOS very often. In TNG, they rely on it for a third of season 6 -- but not always to the same effect.

    Want some great pulp sci-fi TNG? Then watch, in order, "Q Who" followed by "The Best of Both Worlds". Those are great, but the latter relies on the former but to make up for that, it is a lot more polished in its plot.

    Want war stories? Deep Space Nine is loaded with them, though I might start with season 4's "The Way of the Warrior" and watch the remainder of the season. Then continue to seasons 1 through 3 do set up the Cardassians, Dominion and Changelings. I was, at the time, not a big fan of DS9 until season 4 - while others adored the show since day one of season one. To be fair, while missing chunks of seasons 1-3, when I did get to them later on I was quick to be a fan. But season 4 is just too magical to not start out with. Somebody please help me here, it's better to start with season one episode one and move from there...

    Oh, another episode or two of DS9 that are high points:
    * For gripping character drama: "The Visitor"
    * For open-ended, non-preachy character drama that will leave you far more breathless: "Duet" (season one's pinnacle, but I'd still need to recommend "The Emissary" being viewed first since it sets up the conflict between the Federation, Bajorans, and Cardassians in moving forward)
    * For high concept thrill: "Our Man Bashir" (though it helps to know the characters for a while, then to ignore the technobabble as it's on par with "The Enemy Within" in that regard but if you like James Bond and James Bond spoofs, this one is a genuine winner and it's one of my favorites.)
    * For time travel fun that doesn't break the 4th wall too often: "Little Green Men"
    * For general game changing plotting: "The Way of the Warrior"

    So many good episodes, but DS9 is serialized meaning other episodes I want to say require a running knowledge of events up to those episodes' point.

    So good, robust and stout Trek needn't necessarily be pure sci-fi, it still has to do something strong with its goal while playing pros and cons to all the variables within an episode. It's why TNG's "Rascals" doesn't make the cut - one of season 6's numerous "the transporter did it" escapades that had some interesting ideas but was lackadaisically written by comparison to "Enemy Within".

    Do you want an episode that reasons multiple sides of an issue or preaches one side as being better than any other regardless of valid rebuttals? Or something in between?

    Do you want the show to take itself completely seriously, even if it's doing comedy like "The Trouble with Tribbles" or dredging through a throwaway like "Spock's Brain"? Or do you want it to not take itself seriously and even break the fourth wall? (Of which most Trek shows don't have such an episode, but I will mention Discovery's "The Trouble With Edward" since
    it not only breaks the wall, it even pretends it's still 1985 at the end to double down on turning third rate fan scripts into actual canon.

    Granted, I could also turn to any number of Doctor Who episodes between 1977-1980 or 2005-present for examples of 4th wall shattering.

    Along with drama, is it personal-driven such as love triangles or how people react to society-changing events? (Though this time I'll point out a different series: 1984's "V - The Final Battle" versus 1983's "V".)

    I hope that helps!
    Wendall and Tim Thomason like this.
  3. Yes it does! Thank you!
  4. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

    Apr 18, 2019
    Depends a lot on their age and general taste. People under ~30 will probably find TOS too boring and slow, unless they're fans already. Even TNG seems boring and slow to my friends who are used to shows like Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, etc. I would show people some of the top 10 episodes that are recommended in the 101 book. Sometimes a specific episode might fit: I watched Interstellar with a friend and then showed him VOY Blink of an Eye afterwards cause they have similar concepts. I showed someone with relationship issues TNG In Theory, cause that's pretty much the problem they had...
  5. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    Show them the 2009 reboot movie. If they like that, they'll probably like Discovery and TOS.
    XCV330 likes this.
  6. Riker'sMailbox

    Riker'sMailbox Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 14, 2018
    My friends view my liking of Star Trek as a cute little quirk. Something tolerated, but not understood. Even as we got older and are now in our early 40s, the idea of using free time to watch Star Trek instead of going for cocktails is just something they would never do. So, I save myself the headache.
    Karellen, NCC-73515 and Prax like this.
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Buffer Time
    Show them “Threshold”. If they’re still your friends after that, they are some sick puppies. :rofl:
    SpocksOddSocks, Kor, Danja and 3 others like this.
  8. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    I don't know your friends so I can't say. If they respond well to threats and are into gardening, abduct a houseplant from each of their homes and send a leaf clipping to them in an envelop stating that unless they watch the 2009 Star Trek film you will continue to remove another leaf and another and another.

    If you're not evil and capable of killing a perfectly nice ficus, invite them over to watch TOS and have snacks. It's fun.
  9. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 7, 2011
    Aug 10, 1999
    I'd go with the movies. There are less of them, you can let them pick which one, and it's easier to gauge what they're responding to. Worse comes to worse, whichever one you watch is over in two hours.
    Admiral Archer likes this.
  10. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 1, 2017
    Any episode that you're not embarrassed to show them, from any series. I've never met someone that had any trouble enjoying the Andy Griffith show, or the original Twilight Zone, so TOS is definitely on the table, I would say.
  11. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    If somebody isn’t into Star Trek by now I’m not sure they can change their minds.

    I guess it depends what else they like. I would choose TOS, TNG or DS9 over the reboot movies or DSC. The reboot movies are for fans of blockbuster movies. DSC is for people who grew up with Trek. But those three are the real fan makers.

    Which one of those three you pick depends on the friend and whether they like a little lighter, a little darker, or a little more old school.
  12. That's really special and I may just try that...
    Danja likes this.
  13. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

    Jul 12, 2001
    Several of my colleagues have got into Trek through Discovery - some have gone on to enjoy other Trek series as a result, some haven't, but either way it served as an entry point where other series failed to. S1E3 is a decent starting point, creating a sense of mystery and wonder, and introducing the main characters.

    I really don't see TNG as a good entry point these days; in some ways it's dated worse than TOS with its stolid and sterile nature. Its best is still brilliant, but I struggle to re-watch much of the rest these days.
  14. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 19, 2010
    Show them an sampler of Star Trek:
    • TOS "Balance of Terror"
    • TOS "Space Seed"
    • Wrath Of Khan
    • Into Darkness
    • TUC
    • TMP
    • NG "Yesterday's Enterprise"
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  15. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Sep 13, 2011
    If you want to get the hooks into someone, you have to go with the crowd pleaser episodes and movies.

    TOS: Balance of Terror, City on the Edge of Forever, Mirror Mirror, The Doomsday Machine and Trouble With Tribbles

    TNG: Measure of a Man, Q Who, Yesterday's Enterprise, Sins of the Father, and Best of the Worlds

    DS9: Emissary, The Jem'Hadar, The Search, Way of the Warrior, Homefront, and Paradise Lost

    VOY: Scorpion, The Gift, Year of Hell, Drone and Dark Frontier

    ENT: Broken Bow, Regeneration, Forge, Awakening and Kir'Shara

    Fastest way I've discovered is to hook'em with the movies. The order I use for my non-Trek friends is:

    Wrath of Khan
    Search For Spock
    Voyage Home
    Undiscovered Country

    First Contact
    Star Trek 2009
    Into Darkness

    I'd advise going with the movies. 8 movies can be blasted through in no time.
    Admiral Archer, Danja and Lord Garth like this.
  16. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 7, 2011
    Aug 10, 1999
    I still stand by my opinion that the movies are the best way to go (those were my entry point 30 years ago), but it doesn't hurt to show them Discovery too. It's the current series and it wouldn't take very long to get caught up. Just 29 episodes.

    You don't have to know as much about Star Trek before watching DSC as you would before watching DS9. Even though you could get by without doing so, DS9 assumes you've seen TNG.
    donners22 likes this.
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    I’m not sure I agree. DS9 asks you to have basic knowledge of the important Trek races. DSC leans a lot harder on specific assumed knowledge.
  18. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 9, 2007
    Good list. But I would add "Mirror, Mirror" to it.
    Galileo7 likes this.
  19. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 13, 2019
    Unimatrix 259
    I would add Caretaker, Collective, The Raven, Child's Play, and Imperfection. :)

    (Watch "Infinite Regress" to REALLY see Jeri Ryan rock n' roll. The woman can ACT. :techman: )
  20. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 13, 2019
    Unimatrix 259
    Star Trek Picard is a follow-up to Nemesis.

    Anyone wanting to see the new show would be well-advised ro watch Nemesis first.