As Star Trek’s 50th anniversary year comes to a close, I took a fresh look at The Original Series and its episodes. I have developed a ratings scale to rate each episode. I will not be presenting a synopsis of every episode, there are many other places to find that information.
Mr. Spock’s Rating Scale
- Fascinating – The best episodes get this rating. A true classic.
- Interesting – A very good episode with many redeeming qualities.
- Logical – A good, solid episode.
- Insufficient – A decent, but not great episode.
- Illogical – What were they thinking?
- Unfortunate – Unwatchable.
Interesting – Star Trek is just getting its footings with this early episode. For one of the first episodes, it is an excellent example of Star Trek’s coming mission.
Logical – Another good episode, not great, but it passes as an early episode where the series is getting its footing.
Fascinating – For a second pilot episode, this excels at establishing the characters and environment.
Interesting – A great Trek episode with a nice blend of humor.
Illogical – This episode is full of implausibilities and confounding technical details. How can someone get divided into two in the transporter. Law of conservation of matter?
Interesting – Humor, high stakes, what more do you need?
Logical – A great little episode.
Logical – A great show about aging, dying, and disease.
Interesting – This episode was parodied on a very early episode of South Park. It deserves a high rating for that fact and its own merits.
Fascinating – The escape maneuver alone was worth making this a top-rated episode. Brain, not brawn, is used to escape a seemingly inescapable situation. Remember, Kirk doesn’t believe in the no-win scenario.
Interesting – A nice way to incorporate the first un-aired episode of the series and show a different perspective of a ship commander. Spock smiles.
Logical – A good episode, not great.
Fascinating – This is the first Romulan encounter in the Trek universe (at least in broadcast order).
Logical – Here we have some great humor in a puzzling scenario.
Illogical – Why does this episode make such a big deal about “Spock’s first command”???
Logical – Good humor.
Interesting – Nice use of gunpowder.
Unfortunate – This is one of the worst episodes of Star Trek. I hate time travel in general. The science never makes sense; the timing of the return trip is always perfect; and there are rarely repercussions that stick.
Interesting – A very good court episode. It is worthy of the best crime show dramas, just in a different century.
Interesting – This is borderline fascinating. Unfortunately it starts a long string of “let’s confuse the computer with illogic” episodes.
Fascinating – Kahn.
Interesting – A new way to wage war places this futuristic episode in the place of being a highly unique concept.
Illogical – Can a plant really protect against nasty radiation? Can that same plant really make people overly happy? No.
Interesting – Wow, so many getting this rating. Let’s keep going…
Insufficient – A fair episode with some good story ideas. Good, but it falls a bit flat.
Unfortunate – Who can really watch this one?
Illogical – This is often rated as one of Star Trek’s best episodes. It has time travel, therefore the bad rating.
Interesting – This gets a higher rating from me because it is the first episode I remember watching. I love it. A solid episode, but I’m probably overrating it.
Fascinating – One of Star Trek’s best episodes. It introduces Vulcan mysticism and cultural norms. I find it to be a very creative episode in that it establishes the Vulcans as a very different species from Humans.
Illogical – Maybe ancient aliens visited and acted as the prototypes for our mythology. Maybe. It’s an interesting idea, but that’s about it.
Insufficient – This episode, whether it was meant to or not, provides the prototype for the unfortunate Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It is another example of trying to outsmart a computer in order to get it to explode.
Interesting – We have another transporter malfunction episode, but a very solid one. This is the best mirror universe episode in the Star Trek canon. The evil characters are evil enough to be believable.
Insufficient – With exploding rocks and ANOTHER computer/machine to destroy through illogic. It’s ok, not great.
Logical – It is hard to imagine anyone building a machine large and powerful enough to destroy star systems. A great episode about a burnt out Commodore trying to take over the Enterprise.
Illogical – Star Trek’s Halloween episode. Need I say more?
Interesting – A great episode full of humor. Yes, we try to confuse androids with illogic, but still a great episode.
Logical – A good episode where we meet Zefram Cochrane, inventor of the warp drive.
Fascinating – Another Vulcan episode that shows the father-son struggle between Spock and Ambassador Sarek.
Illogical – This episode tries to show a primitive alien race that is very different from ours. It falls way short of a coherent story.
Interesting – A very good episode in which our heroes battle alien radiation.
Insufficient – This episode rubs me the wrong way. It is out of place for Kirk to be come obsessed about anything.
Logical – Did Jack the Ripper really survive? It’s an interesting notion and a worthy episode.
Fascinating – This is usually rated as one of Star Trek’s best episodes. The humor is top-notch. I love it.
Interesting – Super-beings are reduced to gambling for entertainment. It’s a great episode that shows a different type of slavery in action.
Insufficient – Do you really think an entire society is suggestible enough to build a life based on the gangsters of Chicago?
Logical – A decent bottle show.
Insufficient – I just don’t like this episode. Why would Klingons really want to arm a developing culture against another developing culture?
Interesting – A terrifically advanced race tries to save itself through our favorite characters.
Logical – I really don’t know how to rate this episode. It’s a fine episode on cultural contamination. The similarities with Nazi Germany are a little too close.
Interesting – A nice episode with an interesting story and plot line.
Illogical – This could have been a great episode if it didn’t use Communists and Yankees as the two groups of primitive species. That is what makes it horrible and barely watchable.
Logical – Do we need to outsmart another computer, again?
Logical – An interesting story about parallel Earth development with a terrific punchline.
Unfortunate – Time travel. See above.
Illogical – This episode has all the earmarks of a cheap dime store novel. I don’t find it to be all that bad, but most rank it as one of the worst episodes.
Fascinating – A terrific Romulan episode with intrigue and mystery.
Unfortunate – It’s so bad that I can’t watch it and therefore can’t rate it.
Logical – Children partaking in group chant is creepy. A very creepy episode.
Illogical – Can a species be so ugly as to make one mad? No way.
Illogical – Why? Oh, why?
Unfortunate – This gets the worst-of-the-worst rating due every aspect of the episode. The fighting is bad, the premise missing, the ending anemic. Happiness makes the being go away… REALLY?!?! This worst part of this episodes is that the Klingons now appear in blackface. Could they not be made up to look more cruel without applying 1960s racial stereotypes?
Fascinating – I love this episode. This is the model Star Trek episode to show what the whole series is about.
Logical – It’s okay, not great.
Fascinating – This is the most historically significant episode of Star Trek. We have the first interracial kiss on TV at just 17 months after interracial marriages became legal in all 50 states. Amazing.
Logical – I’m not sure how the science works, but it is an interesting concept.
Illogical – This is just a bad episode, but watchable.
Logical – I like this little episode. It has some great Klingon trickery.
Insufficient – I have problems with the magical quality of Captain Garth’s abilities. I love the challenge phrase.
Logical – This episode has my favorite scene. The self-destruct sequence is just a classic and it makes good sense. It was used well. I admit that I tend to like pomp and ritual.
Logical – A novel idea of an overcrowded planet, but the mechanics don’t work. Where do they grow their food… on their heads?
Interesting – A good episode with a great nail biter.
Illogical – I still don’t know what those flashing light things were. Bizarre, disjointed episode.
Fascinating – I really like this episode for its “what if” scenarios. It achieves a high level of believability… somehow.
Unfortunate – Star Trek’s hippy episode. Need I say more.
Fascinating – This is a wonderful statement on mental health.
Insufficient – Abe Lincoln in space. This episode could have been good, but just fell very flat.
Illogical – How can you magically transport to anywhere at anytime?
Insufficient – This might have been rated lower, but it is entertaining to see Kirk in a woman’s body.