Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) has left an indelible mark on the science fiction genre and pop culture as a whole. From its debut in 1966, it has garnered a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim. One way to gauge the series’ impact is through the ratings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, according to IMDB. These episodes have stood the test of time and continue to captivate viewers with their timeless themes and groundbreaking storytelling.
- “The City on the Edge of Forever” (Season 1, Episode 28)
IMDB Rating: 9.2/10
The City on the Edge of Forever is widely regarded as one of the greatest Star Trek episodes ever created. Written by the legendary science fiction author Harlan Ellison, this episode takes our intrepid crew through time to the 1930s. The crew faces a moral dilemma when they discover that one woman’s survival or death can drastically alter the course of history. Stellar performances by William Shatner and Joan Collins make this a compelling and emotionally charged episode that delves into themes of sacrifice and the consequences of our choices.
- “The Trouble with Tribbles” (Season 2, Episode 15)
IMDB Rating: 8.9/10
“The Trouble with Tribbles” is a standout episode for a different reason – it showcases the lighter side of Star Trek. When the Enterprise visits a space station, a small, furry creature known as a Tribble causes chaos on the ship. The episode is a humorous take on the often-serious themes of the series, providing a much-needed dose of comedy. It has become a fan-favorite and a memorable example of the series’ versatility.
- “The Enemy Within” (Season 1, Episode 6)
IMDB Rating: 9.1/10
While the premise of this episode may seem somewhat whimsical – involving a transporter mishap that results in Captain Kirk’s division into two distinct entities – it serves as a compelling exploration of the individual who commands the Federation’s flagship. One incarnation of Kirk exhibits impulsiveness and recklessness, while the other is excessively passive to the point of being unable to lead effectively. What initially appears as a straightforward conflict between a “Good Kirk” and a “Bad Kirk” unfolds into a far more intricate character study, transcending mere moral distinctions. This episode offers an engaging and unexpectedly poignant introduction to the multifaceted nature of James T. Kirk.
- “Mirror, Mirror” (Season 2, Episode 4)
IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
“Mirror, Mirror” takes the crew to a parallel universe where the familiar Starfleet is replaced by a ruthless Terran Empire. This episode is notable for its exploration of the concept of moral duality and the consequences of one’s actions. It introduces the iconic concept of the “Mirror Universe,” which has since become a recurring theme in various Star Trek series.
- “The Doomsday Machine” (Season 2, Episode 6)
IMDB Rating: 8.8/10
In “The Doomsday Machine,” the Enterprise encounters a colossal planet-destroying machine, setting the stage for an epic battle. The episode delves into themes of survival, duty, and the cost of war. The Doomsday Machine itself is a memorable and menacing foe, making this episode one of the series’ standout adventures.
- “Amok Time” (Season 2, Episode 1)
IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
“Amok Time” explores the Vulcan ritual of Pon Farr, during which Spock must return to Vulcan to mate or face death. The episode offers a rare glimpse into Vulcan culture and highlights the inner struggle of Spock as he battles the potent emotions bubbling beneath his logical exterior. It’s a compelling character study that solidified Spock’s place as one of Star Trek’s most beloved characters.
- “Balance of Terror” (Season 1, Episode 14)
IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
“Balance of Terror” is often praised for its portrayal of a cat-and-mouse game between the Enterprise and a Romulan Bird-of-Prey, reminiscent of submarine warfare. This episode explores themes of prejudice, fear, and the importance of communication. It also marks the first appearance of the Romulan species in the Star Trek universe.
- “The Enterprise Incident” (Season 3, Episode 2)
IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
In “The Enterprise Incident,” Captain Kirk and Commander Spock undertake a covert mission to steal a Romulan cloaking device. This episode is a prime example of espionage and intrigue in the Star Trek universe. It showcases the resourcefulness of the crew and explores the complexities of ethics during times of war.
- “Space Seed” (Season 1, Episode 22)
IMDB Rating: 8.5/10
“Space Seed” introduces one of Star Trek’s most iconic villains, Khan Noonien Singh, played by Ricardo Montalbán. Khan is a genetically enhanced superhuman from Earth’s past, and his return threatens the crew of the Enterprise. This episode serves as the prelude to the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and is essential viewing for understanding Khan’s character.
- “The Ultimate Computer” (Season 2, Episode 24)
IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
“The Ultimate Computer” tackles the ethical implications of replacing human crew members with a highly advanced computer system known as the M-5. This thought-provoking episode raises questions about the role of humans in a technologically driven future. It’s a testament to the series’ ability to address contemporary issues through a science fiction lens.
Star Trek: The Original Series has left an enduring legacy, and its top-rated episodes on IMDB showcase the depth and diversity of the show’s storytelling. Whether exploring complex moral dilemmas, engaging in thrilling battles, or providing moments of humor, TOS has something for everyone. These 10 episodes, as rated by IMDB users, represent some of the finest examples of the series’ enduring appeal. Do you agree with their top 10 Episodes? Share your opinions with us in the comments below!