The 10 most popular Original Star Trek episodes

28 February 2023
Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, is a science-fiction television series that has captivated audiences for over five decades. It first aired in 1966 and has since spawned numerous spin-offs, movies, and a devoted fan base known as "Trekkies."

The original series, which ran for three seasons, followed the adventures of the starship Enterprise and its crew as they explored the galaxy and encountered strange new worlds and civilizations.

In this article, we will be discussing the ten most popular episodes of the original Star Trek series, examining their plots and covering what made them so popular with viewers.

original crew

From action-packed space battles to thought-provoking explorations of morality and ethics, these episodes showcase the best that Star Trek has to offer. 

"The City on the Edge of Forever" (Season 1, Episode 28, aired April 6, 1967) - This episode has often been cited as one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever made. The plot involves the crew of the Enterprise traveling back in time to the 1930s and accidentally altering history. They must work to fix their mistake while facing the moral dilemma of sacrificing the life of a loved one in order to save the future. The episode is notable for its emotional depth, complex themes, and strong performances from the cast.

"The Trouble with Tribbles" (Season 2, Episode 15, aired December 29, 1967) - This lighthearted episode has become a fan favorite for its humorous tone and adorable alien creatures. The plot centers around the Enterprise crew dealing with an infestation of Tribbles, small furry creatures that reproduce rapidly and wreak havoc on the ship. The episode is notable for its witty dialogue and comedic timing, as well as its commentary on the dangers of overconsumption.

"Mirror, Mirror" (Season 2, Episode 4, aired October 6, 1967) - This episode introduced the concept of the Mirror Universe, a parallel dimension where the crew of the Enterprise are evil and ruthless. In this episode, the crew is accidentally transported to the Mirror Universe and must navigate a dangerous world where everyone is out for themselves. The episode is notable for its thrilling action scenes, alternate versions of familiar characters, and its exploration of the darker side of human nature.

"The Menagerie" (Season 1, Episode 11, aired November 17-24, 1966) - This episode is unique in that it uses footage from the unaired pilot episode of Star Trek, "The Cage," as a framing device for a new story. The plot centers around Spock, who hijacks the Enterprise to take his former captain, Christopher Pike, to a planet where he can live out his days in peace. The episode is notable for its use of flashbacks and its exploration of the theme of sacrifice. This story was completed in a second part.

"Amok Time" (Season 2, Episode 1, aired September 15, 1967) - This episode is famous for exploring the culture of the Vulcan race and introducing the concept of the Vulcan Pon Farr, a ritualistic mating process that occurs once every seven years. In this episode, Spock experiences the Pon Farr and must return to his home planet to participate in the ritual. The episode is notable for its intense emotional drama and for deepening our understanding of Spock as a character.

"Balance of Terror"
(Season 1, Episode 14, aired December 15, 1966) - This episode is often cited as one of the best examples of Star Trek's exploration of Cold War themes. The plot involves the Enterprise facing off against a Romulan ship in a game of cat and mouse, with both sides trying to outmaneuver each other. The episode is notable for its tense atmosphere, moral complexity, and its use of submarine warfare tropes.

"Space Seed" (Season 1, Episode 22, aired February 16, 1967) - This episode introduced the character of Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered superhuman who would later become the main antagonist in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In this episode, the Enterprise discovers a ship carrying Khan and his followers, who had been in suspended animation for centuries. The episode is notable for its exploration of the dangers of eugenics and its memorable performance by Ricardo Montalban as Khan.

"Journey to Babel"
(Season 2, Episode 10, aired November 17, 1967) - This episode is notable for its exploration of family relationships, as Spock's parents, Sarek and Amanda, are on board the Enterprise for a diplomatic mission. The episode's plot involves an assassination attempt on a diplomat, and the Enterprise crew must work to uncover the truth and prevent a war from breaking out. The episode is notable for its complex portrayal of the Vulcans, as well as its exploration of the sacrifices that families make for each other.

"The Doomsday Machine" (Season 2, Episode 6, aired October 20, 1967) - This episode features a powerful and destructive planet-destroying machine that is wreaking havoc on the galaxy. The Enterprise is sent to stop it, but they soon discover that it is nearly indestructible. The episode is notable for its thrilling action sequences, as well as its exploration of the dangers of weaponizing technology.

"The Enterprise Incident" (Season 3, Episode 2, aired September 27, 1968) - This episode involves the Enterprise being sent on a mission to steal a Romulan cloaking device, and the crew must go undercover to accomplish their goal. The episode is notable for its exploration of the theme of loyalty, as well as its complex and nuanced portrayal of the Romulans as a formidable adversary.


In "The City on the Edge of Forever," the role of Edith Keeler was originally offered to Joan Collins, but she turned it down. The role eventually went to actress Joan Collins' sister, Jacqueline. 

In "The Trouble with Tribbles," the original script called for the Tribbles to be revealed as a dangerous and deadly species, but the director changed the tone to make them more lighthearted and comedic. "Mirror, Mirror" was the first episode of Star Trek to feature the iconic "evil twin" trope.




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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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