amNewYork’s resident Star Trek experts, Ivan Pereira and Scott A. Rosenberg came up a list of the top Star Trek episodes for each of the five TV shows. With more than 700 episodes to choose from, this was no easy task.
The episode sees Kirk and company face off against Khan, a genetically enhanced dictator from the then-distant 1990s. The story continued 15 years later on the big screen with “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
“Day of the Dove”
The story presented an amusing allegory to Cold War politics. A mysterious alien cloud forces the crew of Enterprise and a Klingon ship to do battle for its own amusement. The adversaries, however, discover the plot and work together to defeat the cloud with “good spirits.”
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”
“Best of Both Worlds”
The two-part episode that served as the Season 3 finale and Season 4 premiere left viewers on the edge of their seats as the Federation took on the futuristic zombies called the Borg. The fight amped up when the Borg kidnapped an assimilated Captain Picard and used him to fight his own crew, but the good guys were able to bring him back.
“The Inner Light”
A mysterious probe zaps Picard and traps him in a dream where he lives the life of a family man on another planet, which is suffering a long term environmental disaster. As the rest of the crew works to wake him up, Picard’s dream takes him from a young father to grandparent and learns that the probe was sent to tell the history and culture of the dead planet’s people.
“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”
Benjamin Sisko is trapped in a time limbo after a freak accident, and witnesses his son Jake spend decades trying to locate his father. An elderly Jake finally talks with his father who is sent back to the past and prevents the accident.
“In the Pale Moonlight”
During a critical time in the Dominion War, the show’s acclaimed season-long story arc, Sisko bribes and cheats his way to bringing the Romulans into the war to fight the Federation’s enemies. None of this bothers the captain, who ends the episode with a monologue about his choices: “So I will learn to live with it, because I can live with it. I can live with it.”
“Star Trek: Voyager”
“Year of Hell”
A series of setbacks across the span of the year wrecks the U.S.S. Voyager and her crew, who are fighting a villain obsessed with altering time. Captain Janeway ignores her losses and pushes on to defeat the villain and change the past so that the year of hell never takes place.
“Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy”
In a more comical story, aliens try to spy on the Voyager through its holographic doctor, but they are met with a surprise when they invade his daydreams. Not knowing what’s real or a dream, the aliens decide to take on Voyager, but the doctor, using his wits, forces them to back down.
“Star Trek: Enterprise”
The Borg make their only appearance on the prequel series and add a twist to the show’s mythology. Captain Archer tries to track down a group of borg who were found on earth. Although their ship is destroyed, the drones are able to transmit a message to their home planet, which will take at least 200 years to transmit, thus setting up their first encounter with Capt. Picard.
“In the Mirror Darkly”
The two part episode in Enterprise’s final season finally gave viewers the origin of the alternate timeline called the “Mirror Universe.” The episode begins with an alternate version of the ending to “Star Trek: First Contact” and proceeds to show an evil Archer try take over the galaxy with his own ship and later the U.S.S. Defiant, which disappeared in an episode of the original series.
Bonus: “The Trouble with Tribbles” (the original series) / ”Trials and Tribble-ations” (Deep Space Nine)
The original series episode is beloved by fans for its sci-fi silliness. Kirk and company encounter the Klingons and a furry creature that reproduces at an astounding rate. The furballs eventually clog every inch of the Enterprise and a nearby space station, but they are key resolving the dispute with the Klingons, including one named Arne Darvin. Scotty eventually beams every tribble onto a Klingon ship in revenge for dissing the Enterprise.
The same story was told from a different angle nearly 30 years later on “Deep Space Nine.” Sisko, his crew members, and an older Darvin, played by the same actor, are transported through time back right before the Enterprise crew meet the tribbles. Darvin takes advantage and tries to assassinate Kirk in revenge, but once again is stopped. Cutting-edge technology allowed the “Deep Space Nine” actors to seamlessly interact with the original series actors as they appeared in the episode.