Episode Reviews – Star Trek: The Original Series (2016)

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This is an archive of my brief, capsule reviews of each Star Trek: The Original Series episode.  My grade, the Twitter community poll results (on a 1-4 scale), and a Trekkie Award listing for each episode is also included.

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Season One

01 – “Where No Man Has Gone Before
It’s quintessential Trek thematically. The writing is crisp and Kirk is immediately well defined. A great start.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.79
Trekkie Awards: Best Musical Score – Alexander Courage (win); Best Performance by a Guest Star – Gary Lockwood, Best Director – James Goldstone (nominations)

02 – “The Man Trap
It’s moody & evocative. The character dynamics are well established, but I wish the ending took a different turn.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.85
Trekkie Awards: N/A

03 – “Charlie X
The horror elements and the coming of age story work in equal measure. Walker’s performance holds up quite well.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.89
Trekkie Awards: N/A

04 – “The Naked Time
This is the first time the majority of the characters feel truly fleshed out. Nimoy in particular is fantastic.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.63
Trekkie Awards: N/A

05 – “The Enemy Within
Shatner gives a dynamic performance that only he could give. I really like the duality of man questions posed.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.20
Trekkie Awards: N/A

06 – “Mudd’s Women
While I like the western in space vibe, time has not been kind to this episode. The ending is also far too cute.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 2.08
Trekkie Awards: N/A

07 – “What Are Little Girls Made Of?
The science fiction ideas are very rich and Ruk is a truly awesome character. This is a rock solid early episode.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 3.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

08 – “Miri
This is another compelling science fiction concept, but the Kirk/Miri/Rand dynamic is too weird to carry the day.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.15
Trekkie Awards: N/A

09 – “Dagger of the Mind
The Van Gelder scenes are bizarrely fun but the A-story on Tantalus is extremely vanilla. Solidly above average.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.60
Trekkie Awards: N/A

10 – “The Corbomite Maneuver
It embodies everything Star Trek stands for. The production really stands up & the twist ending is an all-timer.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.75
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – William Shatner, Best Performance by a Series Lead – DeForest Kelley, Best Director – Joseph Sargent, Best Musical Score – Fred Steiner, Best Remastering (nominations)

11 – “The Menagerie, Part I
The framing device is a brilliant way to make use of the incredibly good original pilot. An amazing achievement.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.86
Trekkie Awards: Best Film Editing (win); Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Gene Roddenberry (nominations)

12 – “The Menagerie, Part II
Jeffrey Hunter and Susan Oliver are absolutely tremendous as Pike and Vina. Their chemistry is off the charts.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.87
Trekkie Awards: Best Film Editing (win); Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Gene Roddenberry (nominations)

13 – “The Conscience of the King
The mystery is rather standard, but it gives Shatner a chance to show his talent. Kirk’s inner conflict is great.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.67
Trekkie Awards: N/A

14 – “Balance of Terror
This is a perfect Star Trek episode. The tension is palpable and the messages remain as profound 50 years later.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.80
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – William Shatner, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Mark Lenard, Best Teleplay – Paul Schneider, Best Director – Vincent McEveety, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Remastering (nominations)

15 – “Shore Leave
The whimsical tone of the episode is well achieved, but the ending is too pat for my liking. Middle of the road.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.91
Trekkie Awards: Best Musical Score – Gerald Fried (nomination)

16 – “The Galileo Seven
Nimoy gives an awesome performance and it showcases interesting character development for Spock. A solid outing.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 3.41
Trekkie Awards: N/A

17 – “The Squire of Gothos
Trelane is a wonderfully over the top character played perfectly by William Campbell. Another quality episode.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.92
Trekkie Awards: Best Art Direction (nomination)

18 – “Arena
The Gorn itself clearly doesn’t hold up well, but the battle on Cestus III is amazing and the ending is perfect.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.47
Trekkie Awards: N/A

19 – “Tomorrow is Yesterday
The dialogue is witty and the pacing is up there with the best of TOS. The remastered effects are incredible.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.36
Trekkie Awards: Best Remastering (win)

20 – “Court Martial
The court martial scenes are well done and they feature an array of great performances but the ending is clunky.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 3.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

21 – “The Return of the Archons
The message is more interesting than the episode. The script lacks the cohesiveness to truly convey the idea.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 2.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

22 – “Space Seed
Khan is absolutely the perfect TOS antagonist. His charisma and physicality make him the perfect match for Kirk.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.69
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – Ricardo Montalbon (win); Best Teleplay – Gene L. Coon & Carey Wilber (nomination)

23 – “A Taste of Armageddon”
A piecing allegory for the dehumanization of war which still merits examination today. I love the sci-fi concept.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.30
Trekkie Awards: N/A

24 – “This Side of Paradise
The emotional heart of the episode absolutely resonates. Nimoy & Jill Ireland both give tremendous performances.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.29
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – Leonard Nimoy (nomination)

25 – “The Devil in the Dark
Take everything Trek stands for, roll it all up into one episode and you get this. Perfect in every possible way.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 4.00
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Gene L. Coon, Best Director – Joseph Pevney, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction (nominations)

26 – “Errand of Mercy
Colicos’ Kor is delightfully menacing and another formidable antagonist. The ending conveys a profound message.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.67
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – John Colicos (nomination)

27 – “The Alternative Factor
A huge mess. It’s a half baked idea, leading to a ton of repetitive scenes and a lack of overall cohesiveness.
My Grade: D-
Twitter Poll: 1.40
Trekkie Awards: N/A

28 – “The City on the Edge of Forever
The tremendously cinematic qualities make this Trek’s greatest achievement. It’s transcendently great television.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.95
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – William Shatner, Best Teleplay – Harlan Ellison, Best Director – Joseph Pevney, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design (wins); Best Performance by a Guest Star – Joan Collins, Best Film Editing (nominations)

29 – “Operation — Annihilate!
Certain elements work quite well for me, but the extremely pat ending drops this into mostly average territory.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.36
Trekkie Awards: N/A

Season Two

30 – “Amok Time
Nimoy’s greatest performance. The script, production design, music and performances make this one of the greats.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.81
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Leonard Nimoy, Best Teleplay – Theodore Sturgeon, Best Art Direction, Best Musical Score – Gerald Fried (wins); Best Performance by a Guest Star – Celia Lovsky, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing (nominations)

31 – “Who Mourns for Adonais?
An excellent science fiction concept is unfortunately hampered by the altogether clunky Scotty/Palamas dynamic.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.41
Trekkie Awards: N/A

32 – “The Changeling
A well executed, if somewhat standard outing. Nomad holds up surprisingly well but the ending is a little silly.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.75
Trekkie Awards: N/A

33 – “Mirror, Mirror
Revolutionary sci-fi. The direction and production values are top of the line and the ending is truly incredible.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.90
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Jerome Bixby, Best Director – Marc Daniels, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing (nominations)

34 – “The Apple
The action is goofy and the resolution is hackneyed. It’s ably performed as usual, but it’s well below average.
My Grade: D+
Twitter Poll: 2.14
Trekkie Awards: N/A

35 – “The Doomsday Machine
It’s amazing how well the action holds up. Every moment is perfectly played by everyone, and especially Windom.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.76
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – William Windom, Best Director – Marc Daniels, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Remastering (win); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – William Shatner, Best Teleplay – Norman Spinrad, Best Art Direction, Best Musical Score – Sol Kaplan (nominations)

36 – “Catspaw
It feels far more concerned with delivering flat gags than conveying any substance of consequence. A big failure.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.60
Trekkie Awards: N/A

37 – “I, Mudd
A fair amount of the humor works & there’s no denying Carmel’s talent. A moderately above average, fun episode.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.15
Trekkie Awards: N/A

38 – “Metamorphosis
The emotional beats all work for me and the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic is at its best. It’s also beautifully shot.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 2.91
Trekkie Awards: Best Cinematography (nomination)

39 – “Journey to Babel
Another episode with a strong emotional backbone. Spock’s relationship with Sarek & Amanda feels perfectly real.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.71
Trekkie Awards: Best Costume Design (win); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Leonard Nimoy, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Mark Lenard, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Jane Wyatt (nominations)

40 – “Friday’s Child
DeForest Kelley really shines and the location photography is great, however the Capellans are a bit cartoonish.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.30
Trekkie Awards: N/A

41 – “The Deadly Years
The makeup may not hold up but the actors do a nice job. The competency hearing is well written and performed.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.55
Trekkie Awards: N/A

42 – “Obsession
The Kirk backstory is intriguing. I love that it introduces and develops a lower decks crewman. It’s underrated.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.54
Trekkie Awards: N/A

43 – “Wolf in the Fold
The extreme misogyny sinks this episode. The mystery is weak, but Doohan is strong in a rare showcase for him.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 2.16
Trekkie Awards: N/A

44 – “The Trouble with Tribbles
The wonderfully funny script makes outstanding use of the ensemble and the ecological message is pitch perfect.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.85
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Teleplay – David Gerrold, Best Director – Joseph Pevney, Best Musical Score – Fred Steiner (nominations)

45 – “The Gamesters of Triskelion
It’s one of TOS’ most aged outings, but the ending manages to hit a uniquely epic tone. On balance it’s average.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.40
Trekkie Awards: N/A

46 – “A Piece of the Action
Another comedic hit for the season. It could have been an over the top mess but the actors really sell the fun.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.28
Trekkie Awards: Best Costume Design (nomination)

47 – “The Immunity Syndrome
The character interplay between Kirk, Spock and McCoy carries the day. The remastering is also incredibly cool.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.25
Trekkie Awards: Best Remastering (nomination)

48 – “A Private Little War
The opening & the last act are outstanding, but I find some of the padding in the middle tedious. A solid outing.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.67
Trekkie Awards: N/A

49 – “Return to Tomorrow
A vastly under-appreciated classic. It maintains an aspirational tone & the performances are uniformly excellent.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.20
Trekkie Awards: Best Teleplay – John Kingsbridge (nomination)

50 – “Patterns of Force
The message has weight and resonates, however the parallel-Earth type of stories have grown tired by this point.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.71
Trekkie Awards: N/A

51 – “By Any Other Name
A straight forward, fairly basic sci-fi story quite well executed. Nothing about it is spectacular but it works.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.88
Trekkie Awards: N/A

52 – “The Omega Glory
The opening is very strong, but the cringe-worthy ending goes so far off the rails that it totally falls apart.
My Grade: D+
Twitter Poll: 1.65
Trekkie Awards: N/A

53 – “The Ultimate Computer
Dynamic performances from Shatner and William Marshall make this another underrated classic. It really holds up.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.67
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – William Marshall, Best Director – John Meredyth Lucas, Best Remastering (nominations)

54 – “Bread and Circuses
The very odd parallel Earth concept is infinitely helped by outstanding dialogue and strong character interplay.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.67
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – DeForest Kelley (nomination)

55 – “Assignment: Earth
Rich guest performances by Lansing and Garr anchor what sometimes (understandably) feels like a different show.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 3.00
Trekkie Awards: N/A

Season Three

56 – “Spock’s Brain
There’s a tiny kernel of a good idea hidden in this, but the execution is a catastrophe. It earns its reputation.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.76
Trekkie Awards: N/A

57 – “The Enterprise Incident
Nimoy and Linville’s fantastically textured performances are what make this episode a real classic. Loads of fun!
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.65
Trekkie Awards: Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Leonard Nimoy, Best Teleplay – D.C. Fontana, Best Director – John Meredyth Lucas, Best Musical Score – Alexander Courage (wins); Best Performance by a Guest Star – Joanne Linville, Best Film Editing, Best Remastering (nominations)

58 – “The Paradise Syndrome
While I’m put off by the weak, stereotypical treatment of Native Americans, Kirk’s emotional arc is well earned.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.33
Trekkie Awards: N/A

59 – “And the Children Shall Lead
Utterly brutal. Everything from the child actors to Melvin Belli to Kirk’s false, cringe-worthy meltdown flops.
My Grade: F
Twitter Poll: 1.35
Trekkie Awards: N/A

60 – “Is There In Truth No Beauty?
An underrated episode anchored by yet another great Nimoy performance. Diana Muldaur also really delivers here.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.75
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – Diana Muldaur (nomination)

61 – “Spectre of the Gun
Neat, minimalist production design and evocative cinematography take it up a notch. Great style with substance.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.88
Trekkie Awards: Best Cinematography (win); Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Lee Cronin, Best Director – Vincent McEveety, Best Art Direction, Best Musical Score – Jerry Fielding (nominations)

62 – “Day of the Dove
This is my favorite TOS treatment of the Klingons. Kang is a palpable threat who exudes gravitas and charisma.
My Grade: A-
Twitter Poll: 3.71
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Guest Star – Michael Ansara, Best Film Editing (wins); Best Episode, Best Teleplay – Jerome Bixby, Best Director – Marvin Chomsky, Best Cinematography (nominations)

63 – “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
Yonada is an extremely cool concept. McCoy’s attraction to Natria unfortunately never feels legitimately earned.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.47
Trekkie Awards: N/A

64 – “The Tholian Web
This is the definitive Spock/McCoy episode. Nimoy and Kelley’s chemistry lifts it into near great territory.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 3.48
Trekkie Awards: Best Remastering (win); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – DeForest Kelley, Best Director – Herb Wallerstein, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing (nominations)

65 – “Plato’s Stepchildren
If the execution weren’t so ridiculous and over the top, it could have been terrifying. An unfortunate misfire.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 1.75
Trekkie Awards: N/A

66 – “Wink of an Eye
The story doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but the performances give it enough life to keep it in average territory.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.27
Trekkie Awards: N/A

67 – “The Empath
Unusually dark & violent, yet there’s a sensitivity that I respond to. It’s better than its reputation suggests.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 2.23
Trekkie Awards: Best Musical Score – George Duning (nomination)

68 – “Elaan of Troyais
This episode is insanely schizophrenic. It’s bizarrely goofy, yet there’s an undeniable charm to it. Mixed bag.
My Grade: C+
Twitter Poll: 2.31
Trekkie Awards: N/A

69 – “Whom Gods Destroy
Tons of over the top silliness. Garth is an interesting character on paper, but too much of a cartoon on screen.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.27
Trekkie Awards: N/A

70 – “Let that Be Your Last Battlefield
Although the message is on the nose, it absolutely resonates. The plot however is razor thin and far too padded.
My Grade: B-
Twitter Poll: 3.07
Trekkie Awards: N/A

71 – “The Mark of Gideon
Logically it doesn’t work at all, but the dialogue is sharp & witty. It’s way too reminiscent of Wink of an Eye.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.29
Trekkie Awards: N/A

72 – “That Which Survives
While somewhat amusing in a vacuum, Spock is extremely out of character here. The planet-side A story is ho-hum.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 2.17
Trekkie Awards: N/A

73 – “The Lights of Zetar
There are horror elements that work, but the Scotty/Romaine romance is never sold, totally arbitrary and false.
My Grade: C-
Twitter Poll: 2.07
Trekkie Awards: N/A

74 – “Requiem for Methuselah
Nuanced, rich guest performances combine with Shatner’s best work of the season. Not perfect, but it has heart.
My Grade: B+
Twitter Poll: 2.79
Trekkie Awards: Best Performance by a Series Lead – William Shatner, Best Performance by a Guest Star – Louise Sorel, Best Teleplay – Jerome Bixby, Best Costume Design (nominations)

75 – “The Way to Eden
It’s infamously dated, however it doesn’t reach the ineptitude of some other TOS outings. Bad, but not the worst.
My Grade: D
Twitter Poll: 1.33
Trekkie Awards: N/A

76 – “The Cloud Minders
This episode brings the sci-fi goods, but also a brooding, emotional look at Spock. Nimoy and Kelley are amazing.
My Grade: B
Twitter Poll: 2.72
Trekkie Awards: N/A

77 – “The Savage Curtain
On the surface it’s ridiculous, but it’s not an unmitigated disaster. Lots of great Trek elements are introduced.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 2.47
Trekkie Awards: N/A

78 – “All Our Yesterdays
This episode brings the sci-fi goods, but also a brooding, emotional look at Spock. Nimoy and Kelley are amazing.
My Grade: A
Twitter Poll: 3.50
Trekkie Awards: Best Art Direction (win); Best Episode, Best Performance by a Series Lead – Leonard Nimoy, Best Performance by a Series Lead – DeForest Kelley, Best Teleplay – Jean Lisette Aroeste, Best Director – Marvin Chomsky, Best Costume Design (nominations)

79 – “Turnabout Intruder
The sexism is obvious & speaks for itself. Shatner does manage to give an insane performance only he could give.
My Grade: C
Twitter Poll: 1.87
Trekkie Awards: N/A

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