Friday, September 3, 2010

Treknobabble's Official TOS Top Ten List

To arrive at our top ten, we polled four of Treknobabble's contributors, and asked each to come up with their own personal Top 15 list for the series. We gave each number 1 pick 15 points, each number 2 pick 14, etc. Then, we added the totals of each list together, and the top ten totals gave us the ten episodes that earned the most accolades from us.

Without further ado, here they are:

10. The Doomsday Machine (22 Points)

In Soviet Russia, super joint smoke YOU!

A great "fallen captain" and a lot of peril make this episode a consistent entertainer. Ship after ship meet their ends in the maw of the planet-eater, and Kirk's level head prevails over Commodore Decker's rashness.

9. The Enterprise Incident (23 Points)


One of the best female roles in TOS, the Romulan Commander, is the highlight of this show, as is the seduction between her and Spock. Also explored in detail is the Cloaking Device, which becomes a plot point in many later Trek shows. Only some unshielded beaming-logic issues hold this one back a tad.

8. Amok Time (33 Points)

Spock gets punk'd...

Our first real in-depth examination of the Vulcan people never fails to entertain. Pon Farr, Ahn-Woons, and Koon-Ut-Kal-If-Fees... Oh, My! Also features one of the best warm character moments between Kirk and Spock.

7. All Our Yesterdays (38 Points)

This image has been cropped in an interesting way...

A sleeper hit with a slam-bang sci-fi premise. This episode also features a nice romance for Spock, and some serious pin-up action with Zarabeth's cave-girl costume.

6. The Trouble with Tribbles (38 Points)

Tally Ho, Captain! I'm back to tribble you again, old sport!

Easily the most comedic episode, something about those irresistible Tribbles just can't be denied. Perhaps a prejudice for drama over comedy is responsible for this show's 6th place finish.

5. Balance Of Terror (40 Points)
In future religion, the light always follows your eyes...

Easily the most "hard boiled" TOS episode, the wages of war with the Romulans are explored here. Superb performances and an unrelenting, grim tone outweigh some slightly sluggish pacing. Mark Lenard also gives a great guest turn as the Romulan commander.
4. Mirror, Mirror (44 Points)
Sooner or later, you just have to conclude that he wanted it.
The first and easily best of the "mirror universe" shows, the inventiveness and fun of this story propel it to great heights. Even better, though, are its creepy undertones and deliciously evil performances by the supporting cast.

3. Where No Man Has Gone Before (45 Points)

Captain, every seven years a Vulcan male must go through the eyebrow-tweezing ritual of fal-tor-ooch!

The second pilot is a show with almost no flaws, with the possible exception of two guest characters who, if you know the rest of the show, you pretty much know are going to get axed. Nonetheless, this episode's crisp writing, great special effects, and stirring action make for a great ride.

2. The Menagerie (51 Points)

Beep once for great, twice for really great...

Coming in at a surprisingly strong second, the Menagerie may be a bit of a cheat. For one thing, it's two episodes. For another, it has a second episode embedded within it, the superb first pilot, "The Cage." Either way, this melding of new and old material fires on all cylinders.

1. The City on the Edge of Forever (60 Points)

Let me help... you out of those bloomers.

With a clean sweep of the number one spot, "City" was our unanimous pick for the best-ever TOS episode. It's pretty easy to see why. A strong sci-fi story, a heart-breaking emotional core, great performances (especially from Shatner), and wonderful atmosphere make this the perfect TOS show. Is it also the best single Trek episode ever? Time shall tell...

Think we missed one? Argue its merits in the comments!


  1. It should be mentioned that our fan poll also picked City on the Edge of Forever by a pretty wide margin. I would indeed argue that it's the single best Trek episode, but that's another post. :)

  2. A point of clarification, "The Cage" was left off of most of our lists because it was unaired, and duplicated almost in its entirety with "The Menagerie." Had it been judged against all of these, it probably would have landed at #2 just like "Menagerie" did. Considering the good framing story of the latter, probably #3. But all the better that we get to feature one more TOS episode by leaving it off.