Friday Five - Boldly going back to the start

Published March 13, 2020

Friday Five

Everyone has been raving about Picard, the new show on Prime, and I desperately want to watch it. But I realised, although I love Star Trek, my knowledge of the TV shows really isn’t that great. Of course I know the characters and the general idea but I can’t remember ever really watching it. Movies, sure, but TV shows? I don’t recall.

So, seeing as it’s all available on Netflix at the moment, I decided to go back to the very start and watch The Original Series. I wasn’t expecting to like it particularly, and thought I’d quite quickly move on to Next Generation. But I love it! I didn’t quite realise how much the show is about ethics and morals and decision-making, rather than just travelling around and looking at aliens. Boldly going where no man has gone before means addressing issues that no one had really addressed before, and that’s fascinating.

To celebrate this fact, I’ve picked five of my favourite episodes from the first series, with a quick note on why I like it.

1. A Taste of Armageddon

This one just really stuck with me, I don’t know why. The premise revolves around a planet that is involved in a virtual war with its neighbours, but that any reported casualties still get killed. Their argument that is the war is real enough, people are dying, but at least it’s not so real that the entire civilisation is being nuked. Captain Kirk doesn’t agree and has to save his own team from destruction.

2. Tomorrow Is Yesterday / The City on the Edge of Forever

Shock and surprise, I really love the time travel episodes. I’ve bundled them together, though, because although they are different things, the ultimate ethical quandary is the same: do something awful to right history or do something a bit easier and change the course of time. In the first episode, it’s about an Air Force pilot who may or may not be returned to his own timezone given the knowledge he has. In the second, Kirk falls in love with a woman who is destined to die soon, and if she doesn’t, the outcome of the Second World War would be very different!

3. The Devil in the Dark

I liked this one for its outcome more than the journey itself – a creature is destroying everything on a mining planet including the minors, and it’s down to Spock to try and understand the creatures thoughts and find out why. I loved that in the end, the result was happy for everyone – the creature and extended family, and the minors. Everyone wins!

4. The Enemy Within

Whilst it was a little unnerving to see the transporters malfunctioning, this episode’s dual Captain Kirk meant a great face-off between the two: the weak one and the dominant one. Neither are particularly nice people, but it turns out a good captain needs a little bit of both.

5. The Conscience of the King

I enjoyed the twists and turns of this episode – Kirk’s very careful step by step approach to identifying the former governor, the gradual revelations that unfolded, and then the big twist at the end that it was someone else all along.

I’m already a third of the way through series two, so expect another update very soon!

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