Tuesday, April 2, 2013

100 Greatest Moments: The Original Series Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

26) Sulu fences ("The Naked Time")
This is one of those instantly iconic images from the original series.  It doesn't mean much and it didn't particularly effect Sulu's growth (although no character had growth in the TV run), but if you ask anyone what the most memorable image was from "The Naked Time," this will invariably come up. (#100)

25) Spock's pet dies ("Yesteryear")
Few fans know much about the animated series, but anyone who does will always point to this episode as its most memorable moment.  It's the rare details of a personal nature, particularly the background element, that enhances its prospects. (#98) 

24) Kirk fights the Mugato ("A Private Little War")
One of two memorable fights Kirk has with an alien who is an actor dressed up in a full body suit. (#89)

23) Sarek and Amanda's marriage ("Journey to Babel")
It's one thing to know that Spock is half human.  It's another to know that you might as well have assumed that Spock was fully Vulcan in his typical presentation.  And then you meet his parents. (#88) 

22) McCoy wins an argument with Spock ("Journey to Babel")
The magazine does a good job of pointing out how fun a moment this is, with Bones literally turning to the audience to express his delight. (#83)

21) Kirk is put under observation ("The Mark of Gideon")
This happened all the time.  But apparently the magazine wanted to emphasize it. (#74)

20) Zephram Cochrane's mate exposed ("Metamorphosis")
The magazine's point with this one is that Cochrane is dismayed to learn the true nature of his mate, although fans who subsequently saw the warp engine creator in Star Trek: First Contact probably saw it as perfectly appropriate in hindsight. (#73)

19) Spock with hippies! ("The Way to Eden")
There were a lot of strange things that happened in the series.  This oddly feels like one of the less strange developments. (#72)

18) Kirk explains Fizzbin ("A Piece of the Action")
Along with his classic Corbomite bluff, this is Kirk gambling that he can outsmart his foe no matter what it takes. (#70)

17) Kirk ends the war games ("A Taste of Armageddon")
They were stupid war games.  But it also meant that Kirk blatantly defied the Prime Directive. (#67)

16) Kirk fights Finnegan ("Shore Leave")
Kirk made a lot of enemies and came across a lot of his former associates during the series.  Finnegan was a tormentor at Starfleet Academy.  The fight was just an illusion, but I'm sure it felt good all the same. (#58)

15) Pike embraces an illusion ("The Menagerie Part II")
Following the events of the original, unaired pilot "The Cage," the original captain of the Enterprise had some bad luck, remedied by the very aliens who had once tormented him.  Sometimes those weird planets turn out to be a good thing. (#51)

14) the spores attack Spock ("This Side of Paradise")
The magazine's point with this one is that it affected Spock's personality.  It was always worth seeing the usually stoic Vulcan out of character, which is why it happened to Tuvok, too, on Voyager.  Not the spores, though. (#45)

13) Commodore Decker dies ("The Doomsday Machine")
A rare instance where the guest character has the memorable ending, fighting the cone-shaped menace that became an obsession for him. (#44)

12) Kirk battles Spock ("Amok Time")
Another classic image, the two iconic characters of the series locking up in mortal combat. (#38)

11) Kirk fights the Gorn ("Arena")
Kirk fights an alien played by a stunt actor in a full body suit, part 2  One of his more iconic fights, even though it's terrible. (#36)

10) Gary Mitchell evolves ("Where No Man Has Gone Before")
The second pilot reveals that Kirk's previous best friend was basically a mutant, the male Jean Grey if you will. (#33)

9) Kirk outwits Nomad ("The Changeling")
Otherwise known as a precursor to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Worth noting that Uhura gets her mind completely erased during the course of the episode. (#32)

8) enter: Khan ("Space Seed")
The most famous villain Kirk ever faced, originally a dictator who came from sometime in the 1990s.  Voyager visited that era.  They didn't notice him either, so don't feel bad. (#28)

7) Kirk and the Tribbles ("The Trouble with Tribbles")
So memorable that it resulted in the exact moment being revisited with even more comedic value added in Deep Space Nine.  Comedic, that is, if you laugh at the prospect of Kirk being exploded by a Tribble bomb! (#27)

6) Kirk and Mirror Spock ("Mirror, Mirror")
You know Mirror Spock as the one with the goatee.  Kirk knows him as the only evil variation of the people he knows who still has a trace of logic in him.  It only figures. (#23)

5) Scotty outsmarts by outdrinking ("By Any Other Name")
Scotty was like the fifth Beatle (except in this case he'd be the fourth after the big three of the series), known as a miracle worker.  But he was also Scottish, as you might have guessed by his accent, his last name, or his nickname.  He liked to drink.  In this instance, it proves strategically valuable! (#22)

4) Spock discovers that Kirk is still alive ("Amok Time")
Spock breaks his usually stony expression when he discovers that he didn't actually kill Kirk.  As good a time as any to do so! (#16)

3) Spock mind melds with the Horta ("The Devil in the Dark")
The magazine seems to list every single instance of a Spock mind meld.  And they're absolutely worth remembering each time.  This one turns its entire episode on its head, revealing the apparent monsters to be the actual victims in a mining incident. (#10)

2) Edith Keeler ("The City on the Edge of Forever")
I'm simplifying this one because the magazine refers to Keeler and the episode in general only in the way she summarizes Kirk and Spock.  Yet we all know the most memorable aspect of "City" is its ending, when Kirk realizes she has to do. (#4)

1) Kirk kisses Uhura ("Plato's Stepchildren")
Culturally this is the biggest moment the series could have ever had.  Uhura already made history by being not only a woman but a black woman on the bridge of the Enterprise (and the magazine does a neat job of explaining how Nichelle Nichols was going to leave until Martin Luther King, Jr. explained how important that was).  She inspired many of the actors who would follow her in the franchise, including LeVar Burton and Whoopi Goldberg.  Now, in case you have no clue, while Uhura is black, Kirk is white.  When they kissed, by contrivance, it was the first time a white man kissed a black woman on national television.  It seems odd to us now, but a huge chunk of American history made such an idea unthinkable.  It's basically TV's Jackie Robinson moment, brought to you by Star Trek.  The sad part is that most fans today probably don't appreciate this, based merely on the episode in which it happened, one of what's routinely described as the typical dregs of the third and final season.  Yet there it is, and it shouldn't be forgotten, and it should be celebrated.  The magazine, at least, gets it right. (#2)

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