Trek wrap-up

OK, time to wrap this thing up. First off, here are composite ratings for each season for me and, who had two reviewers for each episode. They also use a 0-6 scale, where I used 0-5, so I scaled their ratings back to mine. I was going to include the AV Club ratings but they use a completely different grading system like report cards, giving out A, A-, B, etc. Only they never seem to give out anything worse than a B, at least for TOS. Seemed hard to figure out what meant what in comparison, so forget them. How much time am I really willing to put into this? Too much already. Anyway:

(Note: they used a different pair of reviewers in season 3.)

Some takeaways:

  • I am the most generous rater, giving higher ratings per season then the Tor reviewers.
  • We all agree that the show was best in its first season, OK in its second, and just bad in the third.
  • We even all pretty much agree as to the rate at which the series declined:

Josh’s Bottom 6

Here are the episodes I gave either 1 or 0 out of five.

Episode Name Rating
1×21 (21) The Return of the Archons 1
1×26 (26) Errand of Mercy 1
2×17 (46) A Piece of the Action 1
2×23 (52) The Omega Glory 1
3×18 (73) The Lights of Zetar 1
3×01 (56) Spock‚Äôs Brain 0

Maybe I was a little hard on “Return of the Archons”. It’s got a decent reputation. I just fell right asleep. And it’s typical of the kind of episode I don’t like, so, too bad, “Return of the Archons.” The other 1s are simply too boring, ridiculous, or irritating.

“Spock’s Brain” is easily the worst episode in the series. But you don’t need me to tell you that, INTERNET. The title was won as soon as Spock began narrating his own brain surgery.

Josh’s Top 17

And the 5 out of 5s:

Episode Name Rating
1×04 The Naked Time 5
1×11/12 The Menagerie, parts 1-2 5
1×13 The Conscience of the King 5
1×14 Balance of Terror 5
1×18 Arena 5
1×22 Space Seed 5
1×25 The Devil in the Dark 5
1×28 The City on the Edge of Forever 5
2×01 (30) Amok Time 5
2×03 (32) The Changeling 5
2×04 (33) Mirror, Mirror 5
2×10 (39) Journey to Babel 5
2×15 (44) The Trouble With Tribbles 5
2×20 (49) Return to Tomorrow 5
3×02 (57) The Enterprise Incident 5
3×11 (66) Wink of an Eye 5
3×19 (74) Requiem for Methuselah 5

These are all terrific, but the real top three are “The Trouble With Tribbles”, “Arena”, and “Amok Time”. Most people might swap out “Mirror, Mirror” with “Arena”, but I’m an “Arena” person.

Final Bits

I probably saw TOS for the first time when I was like ten. I watched them on TV and with my Dad here and there growing up. Then once in a while as an adult I’d catch a few and remember how great it was. Well, I think the lesson is, it IS a great show when you don’t watch it too much. When it’s fresh, it seems inconceivably original, fun, and stylish. But for sustained viewing in 2013-ish, frankly, it really doesn’t hold up. There are too many shaky or boring episodes. In some ways I don’t think it’s Trek’s fault, it can never escape its time. And in its time, you could have a boring TV show as long as there was some fightin’. There’s probably a lot of the same on now, only it’d be a lot better paced.

Anyway, overall there’s no real question I’d give TNG the nod as a better show. The characters aren’t as classic, but there aren’t so many throwaway episodes, and it’s generally a much smarter show: better writing, less reliance on tropes and conventions. There are some bad TNG episodes, of course, but nothing like TOS season three’s sustained putridity.

Down the road I’ll watch DS9. K is watching TNG right now and liking it, so I’ll probably save DS9 for us to watch together in a year or two.


  1. I’ve loved this series and am sad to see it go. Have you considered doing the movies as a coda?

    Also, I think your last post was the first time you mentioned that you watched the special edition version of the show. Did you have any thoughts on the new effects/ the experience of watching the new effects? My own Trek-rewatch is original formula all the way.

  2. Thanks, man. Glad it was worthwhile to someone other than myself.

    I’ve seen all the original movies a billion times each, it might be hard to develop new opinions on them at this point. Might be interesting to re-watch the Next Generation movies, which I’ve only watched maybe once each.

    I started watching the special editions entirely as a matter of convenience rather than any sort of preference. I have DVDs, but realized TOS was on Netflix, which ended up being less of a hassle and a better picture, so I was doing that over the last 20 episodes or so. By coincidence, the streaming version was special edition, so I got a taste of that. All things considered…it’s fine. It certainly looks better when employed, but it doesn’t add anything materially important to the show. The special edition updates are largely hands-off. They could have done tons of new stuff, especially with some of the creatures, but they didn’t, which I’m glad for. It’s mostly just touch-ups of the ship in orbit or other space effects. It’d be a different story if they’d have CGI’d the Gorn Captain or something.

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