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View Poll Results: What's the Quintessential Episode of Star Trek?
Errand of Mercy 0 0%
Who Mourns for Adonais? 0 0%
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield 3 27.27%
The Measure of a Man 3 27.27%
Who Watches the Watchers 1 9.09%
Far Beyond the Stars 1 9.09%
The Assignment 0 0%
Death Wish 1 9.09%
Distant Origin 1 9.09%
Living Witness 1 9.09%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 08-15-2006, 06:50 PM
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Default 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.
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Old 08-15-2006, 08:18 PM
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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."
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:28 PM
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I would have to go with 'Spock's Brain'.
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:04 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:05 AM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:57 AM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:15 AM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evay View Post
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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:55 AM
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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?
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:44 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:13 PM
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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.
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

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Old 08-16-2006, 04:29 PM
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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).
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:55 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability View Post
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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:26 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:35 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:49 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:53 PM
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"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?
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:03 PM
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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...
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Old 10-02-2006, 08:48 PM
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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.
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