How would you introduce someone to Star Trek?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Scott Kellogg, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey Folks,

    Just a random thought I've pondered:
    If you met someone who you were trying to get interested in Star Trek, but had never watched it.
    What episode would you chose to show them to try to get them hooked?

    Scott Kellogg
     
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  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

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    I assume it would depend on the person and their interests.
     
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  3. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Depends on the persons, and what they want out of entertainment. I think, with TOS, I would start with episodes like Balance of Terror, Corbomite Maneuver, Errand of Mercy or others like that.
     
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  4. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    I would show them the worst episodes first, then medium ones, and lastly, the best ones.

    Hey, it can only get better and better that way. A lot of people recommend watching the best episodes first and I find this depressing because it can only go downhill from there.

    Seriously, like others have said, it depends on the person. What I would do myself is not to get too invested in trying to get someone interested. Either they'll like it or they won't.

    My niece, who was born in 1982 is a TNG fan. One time when she mentioned Star Trek, I asked if she had seen any TOS and she said no in a tone that said 'Why would I?'

    If you think she's an idiot well all I can say is that i don't think so, she's simply not interested in anything from before she was born, it's just her taste.

    I saw "The Fugitive" series for the first time when I was about 30 years old in 1990 and I really liked it. I had a close friend, a guitar player in a rock band that I played bass in who had hardly even heard of the show so I tried to get him into it. When I started up a good Fugitive episode from the first season, his mouth dropped open and he said unbelievingly, "It's in black and white?!?"

    Oh well... I was surprised because being two years older than me, he should have been more used to b and w than me and I never minded it myself. But like my niece, he's just not interested in old stuff. So my two efforts to get people interested in shows I like goes down in flames.

    Back to what TOS eps to show, in general, I would say show average episodes, reasonably decent ones and not necessarily the best ones. Like I said they'll either like it or they won't, I wouldn't think it would absolutely hinge on showing them what you consider the all time best episodes. And like I also said, it could only go downhill from there.

    Robert
     
  5. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd probably tell them some favorite episodes and plot synopses - of both favorites and general episodes, depending on how they react. Then whip out the episodes.

    If they demand to see the series premiere first, tell them anything made in the 20th century doesn't really work that way. Or let them know that the show might shake up its format later on and to bask in the early characterizations because later episodes have a great payoff.

    Or pretend seasons 1 - x of whatever didn't exist. "Red Dwarf" is a good example, though anyone slogging through series 1's most bland and enjoying series 2 would be pleasantly and utterly gobsmacked by how awesome series 3 is. And likely again with series 5, the creme de la creme of RD's run, though after that and if they survive series 7-9, they'll find 10 onward to be a solid resurgence that often hold their own to the halcyon days of series 3-6...

    But this is Star Trek, so let's dive in:

    TOS - it makes some sense to show from the beginning and explain how 60s tv was made. But I'd still go for many of the fan favorites and the different styles they carry. I wouldn't show "The Man Trap" necessarily right out of the gate... Or "The Trouble with Tribbles" either, whose comedy works in part because it's a break from the established setup and not such a major campy off-the-wall break (e.g. half of "I, Mudd"). It does depend on the viewer and what they look for in a show, but synopses of episodes would be a start. If they want something as camp as 1966 Batman, they'll be in for mostly disappointment... TOS is varied in styles, so I'd use a mix of what I like and what I know of them and what they like and go from there...

    TNG - oh dear. Get the antidepressants on hand because I wouldn't bother with season 1, unless I didn't want them to become a fan in which case I'd push 'em to watch "Justice", "The Naked Now", "The Last Outpost", "Code of Honor", and any of the "first twelve" that Roddenberry threw tantrums over until he got his less-stellar indulgences put in. Especially "Justice", good grief... Maybe not "Datalore" because, despite its issues, there's a spark of something rather awesome and we simply can't have that when trying to drive people away from a show... "Farpoint" was a mixed bag but otherwise could easily have been far worse, with "Q" being the strongest aspect (despite being Trelane on meth, John DeLancie was quick to make the being more than what was on paper). But exploring the awe and wonder of two dimorphic space jellyfish fondling each others' tentacles as intergalactic foreplay as an exciting conclusion... isn't.

    DS9 - IMHO, start with season 4 and if they become a fan, segue to the earlier seasons before getting to season 5. DS9, IMHO, is almost its own prequel in that regard, except it actually works. Watching it in "proper" chronological order might detract, though "Duet" and bits of "Emissary" are quick to show what this spinoff was very much capable of... That was my experience and YMMV, but watching them out of order helped me developer a greater fondness and appreciation of the earlier episodes later after the quick and strong hook season 4 provided. It probably helps to be a fan of 24th century Klingons as well as DS9 did the impossible and revitalized them, in part because DS9 could do so much more at its core... then again, seasons 1 through 3 do indeed hold their own and do have a number of standout episodes. I'd have to think about this one, especially as the Maquis, Bajorans, and Founders do have parts to play throughout its entire run. This goes back to bringing up plot synopses; hand-picking personal favorites might not be seen the same way no matter what the percentages in fan consensus is. Heck, I find more ideas in "Let he who is without sin" stronger in the story ideas department than, say, "The Visitor", and you don't exactly hear that every day... (though the latter has a bit better follow-through and the individual viewer could have any number of takes on both episodes, and both might read as being marvelous on paper as synopsis...)

    VOY - ugh. I don't dislike the show but the first three seasons are a real slogfest. There's some attempted sci-fi in there but half the time we're not familiar enough with the characters impacted by the story to really feel for it. I'd probably start with Scorpion after telling them how they got there and wait until after season 5 or 6 (prior to the season 6 finale). The difference is, DS9 has more oompf to its earlier episodes and is such a stronger series overall. Trek lost its way in the mid-90s and DS9 had already found itself before franchise fatigue set in. VOY did find its way but it's amazing it didn't get shelved prior to its shake-up. I also indulged a person who demanded to see "Caretaker" a few years ago. His reactions were fairly conclusive... not that I could blame him, just not for the identical set of reasons... it'd be the only time that his delving into the bottle might have been understandable, but that's a different issue altogether...

    ENT - what is it with 90s Trek and the 4th season is where everything comes together (even if far more fanservicey than any of the previous iterations, even next to TNG season 1)? Even then, ENT is to Trek as what Caprica is to BSG04, it's just (ostensibly) filling in gaps that don't always hit the mark. Prequels just aren't my thing, and weren't back then. YMMV.
     
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  6. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think this. My wife enjoys a lot of classic sci-fi shows like The Twilight Zone and Out of the Unknown, so if I were to get her into Trek I'd start with TOS and then with some strong episodes. She has an interest in classic actors too, so City on the Edge of Forever would be a great place to start, with Joan Collins, a user-friendly environment and focus on the character of Kirk and Spock rather than high-end sci-fi (or worse in TOS's case, hokey stuff). I'd follow up with episodes like Shore Leave, Arena, Journey to Babel, Trouble with Tribbles, Amok Time... episodes that showed range. From there, I'd slip in things like Spock's Brain between classics.

    For a different person the above might be suicide in terms of getting into the show though. Most likely Strange New Worlds will represent a good jumping on point, or Star Trek 09.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  7. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You've got some Very good points!

    I guess the reason I found this an interesting question is, my wife really doesn't care for Star Trek much.
    She's a comedy fan and writer and Trek is just too serious for her tastes. She liked the Tribbles, but that and I, Mudd are really the only full on comedy episodes. She finds Babylon 5 to be too serious, so that'll give you a baseline.
    The only episodes she consistently enjoyed were the Animated Series.

    Oh, well, 15 years of trying to get her to laugh has taught me a thing or two.

    Interesting you don't care for the first couple seasons of Red Dwarf. Those were my favorites... Well, we recently got the box set of DVDs, maybe that'll work.

    Also an interesting idea on DS9. I've tried to get into the show several times, but I kept bouncing off. Maybe Season 4 would be a better start.

    Thanks!

    Scott Kellogg
     
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  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek 2009 is one that I use a lot. My wife is largely not a science fiction fan and my mom hates it. But both enjoyed 09 and my wife ended up watching DS9 for more interest.

    So, it depends.
     
  9. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fascinating!

    B5 - I didn't care for it at the time but in a random repeat, I saw and stayed for more, and like the "Bewitched" vs "I Dream of Jeannie", I enjoy both B5 and DS9 despite some superficial similarities. Season 4 got a raw deal, but I digress... If she found B5 too serious, there may not be much hope for DS9 but I'll return to that in a moment...

    In the right mood, I do rewatch both the full-on comedy episodes and "Tribbles" is the more subtle, but "Mudd" had some loud guffaw moments too and I sided with Stella at the end despite the antique humor being applied, because it manages to work -- I thank the on-screen chemistry between the actors playing Stella and Harry because they play it just right, and to underplay it would probably feel more sinister than comedic - something the episode did not need... on the flip side, only Spock's "beads and rattles" line and the OTT miming at the end were detracting... I do prefer the more serious side to Trek, or perhaps more balanced. It's interesting to note the many types of audiences, too...

    The Animated Series is rather underrated, especially for what it was trying to do in 1973 under limited conditions. "The Lorelei Factor" (sp) was probably my favorite one, but many are very watchable.

    Humor is a spice to life for sure...

    Season 1 didn't do much for me, though I did enjoy "Waiting for God" from the get-go. Still can't really pin why season 1 doesn't do much for me. It's a good thing I got into it during series 2, which is pretty much six classics in a row but "Queeg" is flippin' awesome, but there's nary a clunker amongst them. Season 3 just feels more lively, punchy, confident, and rowdy in all the right places. But still has that sci-fi edge season 2 sold so well. Season 1 has the actors that really keep the show flowing and I'm still amazed the show even made it to production to begin with. It's a great premise...

    A friend I got the show for disliked seasons 1 and 2 but heard from others, corroborated by me, to keep truckin' through series 3. I remember the last time I saw him and he was floored by how great it was. But he didn't go for much of season 1 or 2.

    Good luck! DS9 I did speak mostly from my own experiences, but the show did have and keep a lot of fans from the start... I only tuned in for another try because they brought in Worf. They changed so much... and I'm a sucker for engaging war stories, not even expecting DS9 would have the guts to do something that big with the franchise. Then I gave more of the first three seasons a chance and really saw what the show could do. Never saw Duet on its original run, either, and that one's a truly impressive jaw-dropper and a great Kira story too...

    Given the Ferengi are a source of comic relief, she might enjoy "Little Green Men". Dare I suggest to show it out of order? It gives some clues to the ongoing arcs, but is pretty much its own breather after a few tense episodes and by and large it's told really well. It's not over the top with silliness, and when the Ferengi were given over the top material it led to some of the most horrendous episodes (IMHO). "Our Man Bashir" has a lot of comic nods but if she's not a Bond fan then it'd be a hard sell...
     
  10. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I would start someone off with any or all of these:
    "This Side of Paradise"
    "Amok Time"
    "Metamorphosis"
     
  11. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Someone, this is Star Trek. Star Trek, meet Someone."
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    "Amok Time" doesn't work well if you don't already know Spock.
     
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  13. mike hill

    mike hill Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Corbomite Maneuver!!

    The Kirk/McCoy/Spock triumvirate are all clearly introduced.
    Kirk is clearly in command.
    Exploration is at the heart of the episode.
    Crew are not perfect - but working on it.
    Ship looks "busy".
    My favourite ST episode ever!
     
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  14. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    Sure it does. The scene where he tries to explain to Kirk his unsuccessful struggle to maintain control tells you what you want to know about him. The only detail left vague is his half-human ancestry, referred to somewhat obliquely ("I'd hoped I would be spared this.") Later we see his devotion to logic when he comes out of the plak-tau and, despite the apparent tragedy of his killing Kirk, praises T'Pring for her "flawlessly logical" analysis and consequent choice of Kirk to fight him. NBC chose this as the season 2 opener for good reason. Also, Gerald Fried's music might draw in a viewer new to the series.
    Yes, another good one (although the music becomes a bit monotonous). I love the informality, in particular the "Green leaves!?" scene.
     
  15. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    I could say something like: "We could watch Star Trek. Do you want to do that?" And then they either will be interested or they won't. Or maybe they might be interested, but not right now -- maybe later.

    Obviously some eps might make better starting points than others, but don't invest too much of your stock in something that will ultimately not be your choice anyway. If they're not interested, or if they watch and decide it's really not a thing they're going to be into, then that's it: you'll need to find something else you can do together.

    Keep some perspective. You can't make someone "get hooked" on Star Trek. TV shows simply don't work that way.

    Neither do people. Not any of the ones who are going to be worth knowing, anyway.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Spock was the breakout character and getting a lot of press at the time. They were capitalizing on that. The episode only really works if you understand the contrast of Spock acting abnormally. If it’s the first time you see him it’s not as effective because you don’t know what he’s like normally to see that he’s acting in an aberrant way. It’s the same issue if you start with “The Naked TIme”. That’s why neither are a good first episode IMO.
     
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  17. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Captain Captain

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    Like a couple of people have said, it depends on their interests. If I was trying to appeal to someone who values story and character I'd just start with the first half of the first season, pretty much. If I was working with someone who wanted to see how it all fits in to what came later, I'd start with episodes which are referenced later, preferably heavily, like "The Menagerie." What are the things you thing they will enjoy in the show? Seek out those things.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    This always comes across a bit like missionaries trying to inculcate people. :)
     
  19. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe so, but it's also a Rorschach test.

    It tells the newbie around here multiple things.
    Obviously, it gives me an idea what folks favorite episodes are.
    It shows what folk's priorities are. (Science? Characters? Plot? Action? Effects? Humor?)
    It shows what people think about the show.
    It shows how people would deal with hypothetical others.

    In short, it really gets people to come out and introduce themselves without getting into an argument about what episode is "Best."

    Scott Kellogg
     
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  20. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Since we are in the TOS forum, I will assume we are talking about the original series specifically.
    I think I would start off with CoTEoF.

    Kor