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-   -   The Quinessential Trek Episode (http://www.fiveminute.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1147)

Nate the Great 08-15-2006 06:50 PM

The Quinessential Trek Episode
 
Note I don't say "the best Trek episode." I said quinessential, as in "if you met someone who had never heard of Star Trek (a next to impossible proposition, I grant you), what one episode would you show to that person to tell them what Star Trek is all about?" The options in this poll are the result of my going through the episode lists on startrek.com and picking the ones I think are good at showing the meaning of Trek. Very few of these would fall in my personal top ten (or even top 25). I'm also limited to ten poll options, so I'll admit to a lot of self-filtering, but I think this is a good selection to get a little discussion going.

Nate the Great 08-15-2006 08:18 PM

Firstly, I apologize for the typo in the topic title.

Secondly, I'm glad that the first vote is for Death Wish. Now, as a bonus, some Death Wish quotes!

"She never told me she liked rabbit. What is a 'rabbit' anyway?"

"Without Q, there would have been no concert at, uh..."
"Woodstock."
"Whatever."

"Oh, dear, that's not right..."

"Now tell me, is this a ship of the Valkeries, or have you human women finally done away with your men altogether?"

"Will you condemn him to eternal imprisonment or assist him in his suicide plan? That's a toughie, but that's why they made you Captain, isn't it? To handle the really tough ones. I guess we'll see if the pants really fit."

"Imagine that you have been transported to the future and are aboard a starship seventy-five thousand light-years from Earth. (beat) You're having a very strange dream."

Chancellor Valium 08-15-2006 09:28 PM

I would have to go with 'Spock's Brain'.

Nate the Great 08-15-2006 10:04 PM

Spock's Brain? Quintessential Trek? Is that some kind of lame joke?

Okay, here's a subpoll, very unofficial. What's the one episode you'd never EVER want to be the first one a Trek-ignorant person saw? For me it'd be Shades of Grey, then Spock's Brain.

Celeste 08-16-2006 01:05 AM

Hmm.. Quinessential trek, eh? And you've got Distant Origins on there? Isn't that the Voyager episode with the dinosaurs? Or do I have the names messed up. There's so many series! >_<

I dunno.. i'd have to go with probably a DS9 ep. Something like their series finale. I think the perfect Trek episode has elements of exploring, and learning about different alien cultures other than our own, as well as the sucessfull cooperation with all of the human race, as well as other species. Because, that's what Star Trek is. The thought that one day, everything will be peace. And that we'll be able to get along with not only ourselves, but with other aliens in this big galaxy of ours.

Of course that's exactly the oposite feeling that the producers of DS9 wanted to have. :D

evay 08-16-2006 01:57 AM

mmm, wow, that's hard. Between "Battlefield" and "Measure of a Man." I don't even remember "The Assignment."

Trek has such a range, it's hard to pick one "quintessential." There are many important repeating themes: IDIC, joy in exploration and the new, overcoming ignorance, respect for the individual and treating all individuals as equal regardless of what or who that individual is, rejection of utopia as a blind fantasy, the 'outsider' commenting on Terrans/humanity, the positive outlook for the future, needs of the many vs. needs of the few or the one, with great power comes great responsibility, the loyalty of friends, the greater duty of "let me help." It's hard to pack all that into a season, let alone one episode.

Nate the Great 08-16-2006 02:15 AM

Yeah, I put Distant Origins in there. That's the one where they rehash the story of Galileo for a modern audience. I liked it and think it's great Trek.

Okay, you mentioned "let me help." It's in The City on the Edge of Forever that Kirk mentioned that those three words will top "I love you" in importance, right?

The DS9 finale is not quintessential Trek. That's the tieing up of four seasons of character arcs in a barely satisfactory way.

mudshark 08-16-2006 02:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by evay (Post 69594)
I don't even remember "The Assignment."

In a nutshell: Pah-Wraiths possess Keiko, torture O'Brien.

Not a bad ep -- possibly Rosalind Chao's best outing.

voyager0929 08-16-2006 04:55 AM

Of the choices I think Far Beyond the Stars is easily one of the standouts- truly capturing the meaning of Trek- or at least part of what it means to me-- keeping dreams alive. Other episodes that come to my mind that I think might deserve to make the list: TNG'S The Chase, All Good Things.., and Voyager's One Small Step and The Gift. I agree with most of the choices but if you don't mind my asking what do you think is special about the Assignment besides being one of Keiko's few spotlights?

Burt 08-16-2006 02:44 PM

I'd just have to go with 'The measure of a man'. While 'Who watches the watchers', is a great episode, with some good Picard speeches (And really nice, haunting music near the end), TMOAM has just the best speech ever, by Picard. I must have watched it a thousand times. He wins, not by clever tricks or fancy debating, but because he is just right. I love that episode. You know, I think I'm gonna watch it now.

Nate the Great 08-16-2006 04:13 PM

I apologize for The Assignment. I was muddled at the time and thought that that was the one where O'Brien infiltrates the Syndicate and finds out that right and wrong, good and evil aren't quite as clear-cut as I thought. Which one is that?

"Our mission is to seek out new life, well THERE IT SITS!"

The Chase-Great episode, but a bit bogged down with existental quandaries and politics. Remember, this is the first episode our hypothetical Mr. Trek Ignorant is going to see. Do we really want to bog him down with half a dozen alien races his first trek out?
All Good Things-Not a good choice. It's the culmination of seven years of personal relationships and issues spanning that time. I'm not sure Mr. Trek Ignorant would be able to understand it.
One Small Step-Agreed. If I were to rewrite the polls this would get on it.
The Gift-Good episode, but I've always felt that this one substitutes Seven for Kes a LITTLE too neatly. Besides, everyone was so sad that Kes left, but I think she was mentioned once (The Voyager Conspiracy, the horrible Fury doesn't count) since that time.

PointyHairedJedi 08-16-2006 04:29 PM

Because there is only one Star Trek (yes, just sometimes I'm a terrible pedant), I'd have to say 'The Devil in the Dark'. It really does have everything - it's good science fiction (I just love those stories anyway that require a sudden and shocking shift in perspective); it's well played out and entertaining to watch; it encapsulates the essense of what the UFP is supposed to stand for, namely advancement through cooperation; and last but not least, it has redshirts going "GAK!" right left and centre.

As with this, all the very best episodes of all the series are ones that are apreciable in their own right as being good stories, and it seems to me that we're losing some of that to an overeliance on 'character development' to carry things through (I'm looking at you, George Lucas). A lot more episodes like 'Vox Sola' and a lot less like 'Judgement' and 'Precious Cargo' would have made the first two season of ENT a hell of a lot more watchable, but B&B got lazy and in the end it's the fans that paid the price.

As for what I'd tell someone new to the Trek franchise not to watch, I'd say season seven of Voyager. Some of the worst episodes of VOY were in that season, including the finale, which for me is one of the biggest "just what the feck were they thinking?" moments in television SF (along with Fox's decision to cancel Futurama).

Nate the Great 08-16-2006 04:55 PM

Hey, I liked most of the episodes of VOY Season Seven. Don't let a few isolated incidents color your opinion.

If you're going to get persnickety about "only one Star Trek," then I'm going to have to refer you to the topic title. Trek episode, not Star Trek episode, and all four "real" series count as Trek.

You should be glad I chose to delete the four paragraphs I wrote about why there are no Enterprise episodes on this list. E-mail if you want the full rant.

voyager0929 08-16-2006 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability (Post 69600)
I apologize for The Assignment. I was muddled at the time and thought that that was the one where O'Brien infiltrates the Syndicate and finds out that right and wrong, good and evil aren't quite as clear-cut as I thought. Which one is that?

"Our mission is to seek out new life, well THERE IT SITS!"

The Chase-Great episode, but a bit bogged down with existental quandaries and politics. Remember, this is the first episode our hypothetical Mr. Trek Ignorant is going to see. Do we really want to bog him down with half a dozen alien races his first trek out?
All Good Things-Not a good choice. It's the culmination of seven years of personal relationships and issues spanning that time. I'm not sure Mr. Trek Ignorant would be able to understand it.
One Small Step-Agreed. If I were to rewrite the polls this would get on it.
The Gift-Good episode, but I've always felt that this one substitutes Seven for Kes a LITTLE too neatly. Besides, everyone was so sad that Kes left, but I think she was mentioned once (The Voyager Conspiracy, the horrible Fury doesn't count) since that time.

Oh that O'Brien ep you're thinking of is Honor Among Thieves from season 6. Yea I agree that one's good and I think deserves to make it there more than the Assignment. And I see what you mean about the chase and all good things.. might be confusing to a newbie who doesnt know the characters or alien races at all. And I agree while Gift is one of my all-time Trek favorites I was sorry to see Kes leave so abruptly and I agree Fury only soured the Gift. In fact, I think I would've rather they got rid of Harry than Kes since she was a more interesting character. And weren't they debating between the two of them at the end of Scorpion- which to get rid of and that's why Harry was dying at the end of part one? At least I think I read that somewhere.

PointyHairedJedi 08-16-2006 05:26 PM

It is a true statement - there is only one Star Trek. All the other series have addendums of some kind tacked on to that. It is only a minor irritant, to be sure, but I wish people would more make the distinction between Star Trek and the franchise as a whole. I will refer to it as the Original Series to distinguish it if I have to, but I wish I didn't. It's like having to refer to Doctor Who as the 'classic' series and 'new' series - it would be so much easier and less annoying just to call the 'new' series one series twenty seven, but the BBC are far too keen in my mind to make the distinction between the two even though there really isn't any.

The title is okay. I just wish you'd used the same wording in the poll, really.

evay 08-16-2006 06:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability
You should be glad I chose to delete the four paragraphs I wrote about why there are no Enterprise episodes on this list.

I think "Babel One/United" would be a good entry, or even "Cease Fire." But it's your poll.

Chancellor Valium 08-16-2006 06:49 PM

All right, I'll play fair. A Quintessential Trek episode? Hmm...How about that TOS one with the people with super-ESP powers, and the phaser rifle? Can't remember the name, or the TNG one which first introduces The Traveller (can't remember the title of that one either...).

As for the Trek episodes I would show to a person who had never heard of Trek first - "In the Pale Moonlight", "Far Beyond The Stars", "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", "The Battle Of AR-558", "Duet", "The Search", and eventually all of DS9.

Nate the Great 08-16-2006 07:53 PM

"Eventually all of DS9." That's a good question. Which one series encapsulates the Trek vision more than any other. Taking TOS right out as the obvious, what's your second choice? TNG, DS9, or VOY?

ESP/phaser rifle=Where No Man Has Gone Before. Good episode, but not one of the top ten quintessential.

Traveller into=Where No One Has Gone before. Ditto.

Yeah, I hear it took some doing to keep Harry.

It is my poll, and if I did revise the ten options there still wouldn't be any ENT episodes in there. Should we revise the poll?

Chancellor Valium 08-16-2006 08:03 PM

The one truest to the Trek vision I suppose would be VOY - exploring the unknown, moral dilemmas, etc.

I chose DS9 because personally I think it is the best Trek, with some of the best episodes in all sci-fi - "Pale Moonlight", for example...

ijdgaf 10-02-2006 08:48 PM

Surprised I didn't see this earlier.

The correct answer is "The Corbomite Maneuver". I've been saying for years that it's the quintessential Trek episode. It's the prototype. So many of the trademarks of what we think of as "Star Trek" today stem from this one episode. Run the franchise through a distillery and that's what you'd get.

PointyHairedJedi 10-02-2006 09:13 PM

Shocking. I'd never have guessed, IJD.

ijdgaf 10-02-2006 09:15 PM

My opinions are factual, sir.

Nate the Great 10-03-2006 01:01 AM

You may have a point about Corbomite Maneuver. Great Trek, but I'm still a little jaded about the notion that the Romulans would buy the idea that we have a weapon thats suicidal and violates the laws of energy conservation.

Scooter 10-03-2006 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ijdgaf (Post 70283)
Surprised I didn't see this earlier.

The correct answer is "The Corbomite Maneuver". I've been saying for years that it's the quintessential Trek episode. It's the prototype. So many of the trademarks of what we think of as "Star Trek" today stem from this one episode. Run the franchise through a distillery and that's what you'd get.

You know, I was going to say "Amok Time" but then I saw your reply and went, "Duh." Definitely "Corbomite Maneuver." It's one of the few episodes that captures the real vastness of space, the sense of how alone and vulnerable Kirk and crew are in their tiny tin can so far from home, surrounded by so much they haven't encountered.

Maybe the Romulans wouldn't have bought it, but Clint Howard did because the humans were just as alien to him as he was to them. I think that's part of the point. It's a great name too, and yet it sounds like something Kirk would pull out of his ass.

Felicity 10-06-2006 01:47 AM

Rambling
 
Saddly none of those episodes' titles mean anything to me. I'm terrible at associating names with actual espisodes. I tend to be like "remember that one where Janeway was running around a damaged Voyager and everyone was acting out parts in World War II..." ie. The Killing Game (I learned the title, I am so proud.)

But as for the first episode viewed by a non-trekkie, I fondly remember "Species 8472" scared me to death and was the first epsiode of Voyager (and Star Trek in general) that I ever saw. And while it didn't overview the whole series well, it didn't screw me up either.

I think I'm rambling, in fact I don't think I answered either of the questions posed. Okay so consider these comments with no real purpose.

~Felicity

PointyHairedJedi 10-07-2006 08:56 AM

I think most posts in this forum are considered that way, so you're in good company. ;)

The only series that I can generally remember the episode titles for as well as which episode is which is Star Trek. I can remember a few from the later series, but not many - most of the time I have to look it up to jog my memory.

Nate the Great 10-07-2006 02:54 PM

Reminds me of when the creators of Friends were choosing their episode titles. They said something along the lines of "let's just call it whatever they're going to be talking about around the water cooler the next day." "The One With the Football," "The One With the Unagi," "The One With the Prom Video," etc. Kinda hard to forget episode titles like that, huh?

Might be time for another thread to "rename" Trek episodes into something easier to remember, just for fun. First off I'd rename all of those DS9 episodes that are Latin phrases. Those tick me off.

Scooter 10-08-2006 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability (Post 70346)
Reminds me of when the creators of Friends were choosing their episode titles. They said something along the lines of "let's just call it whatever they're going to be talking about around the water cooler the next day." "The One With the Football," "The One With the Unagi," "The One With the Prom Video," etc. Kinda hard to forget episode titles like that, huh?

Might be time for another thread to "rename" Trek episodes into something easier to remember, just for fun. First off I'd rename all of those DS9 episodes that are Latin phrases. Those tick me off.

Some people I know habitually rename Trek eps using the "Friends" format -- "The One with the Gorn," "The One with Ricardo Montalban," "The One where the Crew Are Turned into Dodecahedrons," etc. Works great with TOS, because there's usually one thing per episode that jumps out at you like that. But I dunno if it would work as well with later series. Like you'd end up with something like "The One where Janeway Creates a Time Paradox" (...the one?). "The One Where Sisko Glowers a Lot and Avoids Being the Emissary." "The One Where Pulaski Doesn't Die a Horrible Grisly Death."

70s Doctor Who has a similar problem, they all start to sound the same after a while... "City of Death," "Ambassadors of Death," "Robots of Death," "Stones of Blood," "Planet of Evil," "Mind of Evil," "Face of Evil," "Hand of Fear," "Web of Fear" ....

Derek 10-08-2006 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability (Post 70346)
First off I'd rename all of those DS9 episodes that are Latin phrases. Those tick me off.

"All" those episodes? Is it just me or is there only one? "Inter arma enim silent leges." The episode "Dramatis Personae" is also Latin words, but it's a technical term relating to story. It's as Latin as "Deus ex machina" is.

Nate the Great 10-08-2006 11:12 PM

Okay, so there is only one, but there's a whole bunch more that look like they were translated from Latin, phrases that may speak for the metaphysical theme of the episode, but don't help one figure out which particular plot they're talking about. "The Dogs of War" comes to mind. The whole last half of the series concerns the war, at least in theory, how does "The Dogs of War" help direct you to that particular plot?

mudshark 10-09-2006 12:15 AM

Got Shakespeare?

Nate the Great 10-10-2006 01:10 AM

Cute, too bad we can't put that web address into the credits of every episode. "Based upon Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, go to metaphorsexplained.com if the title confuses you."

Zeke 10-10-2006 02:36 AM

Not <a href="../startrek/fiver.php?ep=thechangeling">theobviousexplained.co m</a>?

[Edited to fix link. Dammit!]

Nate the Great 10-10-2006 03:15 AM

Beats me.

Oh, and just for the kicks of volleying the topic in a completely new direction (I'm a big ping-pong freak :)), I'm suddenly reminded of the list of classic bumper sticker messages. My favorite is "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup," followed by "save the whales; collect the whole set." Input?

Nate the Great 10-10-2006 04:29 AM

http://www.fiveminute.net/startrek/f...=thechangeling

I love it when old fivers suddenly become relevant to current conversations. That Spock is net-saavy, all right.

Zeke 10-11-2006 04:07 AM

...Nate, not to impugn your successful reference-catch, but how carefully did you look at my post?

Burt 10-12-2006 12:47 AM

I like Felicity. Funny stuff.

And, you know, what he said.

Nate the Great 10-12-2006 01:55 AM

Did your link look like that before?

So I missed something painfully obvious. Wasn't the first time and won't be the last. I'm absentminded and have had my share of painful experiences to teach me to come to grips with the fact. That's life.

Chancellor Valium 10-14-2006 08:45 PM

Re: latin titles/metaphors etc: II, it's not our fault if you're ill-educated :p

Nate the Great 12-03-2007 05:12 AM

So, a year has passed. Any new thoughts on this topic? I still agree that Corbomite Maneuver might have a strong claim on the title.


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