The original Star Trek is quite critically acclaimed. While being a namesake contender against the other franchise Star Wars, it focuses strongly on scientific elements and has been producing content for over half a century! However, nothing catches our attention unlike the initial and original episodes of Star Trek. The logical conclusion of the Vulcan species of Spock, the craftiness of the doctor McCoy and the steadfastness of the leader, Captain James T. Kirk. We all have memories watching this masterpiece. Here are five of my favourite episodes from the Original Star Trek which was aired 1967 onwards.
Errand of Mercy
This episode was marked by the the USS Enterprise beaming down to the planet of Organia. Organia was a planet inhabited by Organians and led by Ayelborne. This was a group which espoused militarian pacifism. They ensured no one in space ever confronts in the space in their presence and very well achieved it.
Their scientific advancement is beyond what normal humans can perceive hence, they take a primitive life form and enjoy simple things. On a technological aspect, Ornagians can destabilise weapons at will by heating them to a temperature no one can withstand. They are also able to see across past, present and future. It is true that millions of years ago, Organians were also like us, humans – warlike and of conquering nature. However, on the planet of Organia, they lead simple lives like backward, village peasants.
In the episode, the protagonists (Spock and James T Kirk) was sent to defend the planet Organia from Klingons. The Klingons wreaked havoc and even “killed” multitudes of Organians but all Ayelborne and his village council did were to sit and smile. They knew what they were capable of and what the Klingons had actually achieved.
The Organians also predicted that Klingons and Humans would work together in future and in the very next series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, there is a Klingon character, Worf in the lead.
The Way to Eden
Many may have felt offended by this episode (only if they’re too far left on the political spectrum) and picked on how biased writers were in the 1960s about youngsters who just want to live their life. I do not buy it. I believe this was prophetic and showed just how cults are formed:
- The belief in an otherwise impossible utopia (Eden)
- Psychological manipulation of the people (of the Enterprise) by trick or threat
- Being a rabid contrarian and persistently defying every set of rules (by calling the captain “Herbert”, their local euphemism for bureaucrat, refusing medical check ups etc).
This episode intended to say what too much anarchy leads to, especially what happens to the “Seekers of Eden“.
“That’s right. Someone else is running the ship. I am!”
The Devil in the Dark
This one episode proved Star Trek was far ahead of it’s time. While everyone were busy finding what in the mines were swallowing the miners alive, it appeared as a one-of-its-kind intelligent Silicon based life form called Horta. A life form which can only exist in deep mines without much of oxygen. While we talk about sci fi and life forms based on other elements in a post 2000 world, this episode was aired in 1967-68! The rock in red and brown from the pic below? That’s Horta, the silicate, rock-like creature! As the creature conveys its pain to Spock, Kirk asks McCoy, the doctor to beam down on the planet from the spaceship. The episode shows how we label the other as a devil when we do not know enough about it.
One memorable quote from this episode by Dr McCoy was:
“I’m a doctor, Kirk. Not a bricklayer!”
The entire planet of Gamma Trianguli VI lived like a group of happy children and had minimal desires. Their minimal desires was fulfilled by an energy source called Vaal, in exchange for certain degree of veneration (supplying dangerous fuel). They lived like a mix of monk and children and their lifestyle was primitive, in villages. They did not like “touching” and lived full of joy. They were immortal and lived the life of children who were reactionary and juvenile in nature. One of the woman of the tribe was asked about children and she didn’t know what children was. She was then, asked about “replacements” to which she said, they were not needed. This is because Vaal, the energy source, also kept them immortal.
( Vaal )
This episode, was one of my favourites. It makes you question whether growing up is worth it? Possibly one of the only episodes where I agreed with the antagonists more than the protagonists. It probably has more to do with my own choice of jobs that I’ve picked or my upbringing. I know for certain that comfort zone is not worth leaving because there is no guarantee in this poor world that you’d come across a vault of gold. You do it because others do it and there is no better system available in this world. (Reference to the slogan: Capitalism uses you, other systems abuses you. It’s better to be used, rather than being abused.)
And this episode showed a place where comfort zone was institutionalized by all. It is probably the unfinished dream of all of us. Imagine immortality and forever childishness being institutionalized. A life in comfort zone!
What did the lead characters of Star Trek do here? They destroyed the Vaal and replaced it with mortality and sexual fertility which is inherently inferior (viz poor countries having more TFR than richer ones). A reverse colonization of sorts. WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT? This episode was probably my favourite because at the end of it, I was smirking because it made least sense to me. On a second thought, it was quite brave of Max Ehlrich, the storywriter, in creating such a storyline to experiment with such plot.
All Our Yesterdays
This has to be one of the most thrilling episodes ever in any science fiction thriller series. In this episode, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy beam down and find themselves in a library which actually sends people back in time. The librarian, called Atoz sends the planet dwellers back in time through a warp in the library and unknowingly, Kirk shifts himself back in time. To find them, Spock and Dr McCoy too landed in another world.
Spock and McCoy found themselves in the deepest cold weather and were saved by a woman named Zarabeth. Contrary to his emotionless nature, Spock sparked an interest in her. This episode showed the human side of Spock, where he catered to his natural, or in his words, primitive instinct in full display.