Star Trek: The Original Series premiered 50 years ago today. Rewatching the entire first season revealed just how much has changed and how little hasn’t since 1966.
An unfamiliar space vessel flashed across the screen in a classroom reserved for film screenings my sophomore year of college. It was Star Trek versus Star Wars week in Geek Lit, ENG 105, and I had never seen a second of either space-themed property.
While the latter remains a mystery, I dove into Star Trek a few years after that class, when I was living alone across the country from my friends and family. The various crews took me on plenty of adventures as I rarely left my tiny apartment to have my own.
There is something special about The Original Series. Spock and Kirk. Bones and Uhura. The red, yellow, and blue traversing across the bridge. Something that even the admirable attempts of Pine, Quinto, Saldana, and Urban fall short of with each movie. (Admittedly, the last movie came the close.)
Star Trek thrives on television and hopefully, with Bryan Fuller at the control, it will once again. As Trek celebrates 50 years of boldly going where no series has gone before, I revisited the Enterprise and took on a two month mission to rewatch the entire first season.
These thoughts are disjointed, at times illogical, but rest assured that they represent a deep connection to a beloved series. Links to episodes referenced are provided in each point.
50 thoughts I had rewatching ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ season 1
- Oh no, I forgot there are 30 episodes in season 1 that are all nearly 50 minutes long.
- The theme song never gets old. Never. Even if it makes it seem like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are the only two people in the show.
- SING TO ME UHURA! Nichelle Nichols is incredible.
- The threat of the week so far are all cases of miscommunication with people presumed to be “just like us.” A fear that is still so, so relevant today.
- “The Naked Time” really lays the groundwork for the relationships in TOS.
- Sword-wielding Sulu, crying Spock, Bones in crisis, who could ask for anything more?
- “I could never tell my mother I loved her… Jim, when I feel friendship for you I feel ashamed.” Shhh, Spock. Shhhh.
- LOOK AT THE DOG IN THE COSTUME.
- Mudd is transporting women as cargo and dresses like a literal space pirate… okay, there are some huge reminders that Star Trek isn’t perfect.
- The children always creep me out in “Miri.”
- Is everyone on every planet susceptible to Kirk’s charms? Yes.
- Some of the graphics/SFX are incredible when you think about the time. Others are still laughable.
- Commander Balok and the high stakes game of poker in the final frontier.
- Finally, “The Menagerie” block. I enjoy watching the original pilot woven into TOS to explain Spock’s history with the Enterprise.
- Also a reminder that Spock is a badass.
- And that Spock is more in tune with human emotions than I will ever be.
- Bones and Spock are the Watson and Holmes of Shakespeare in Space. The ripple effect of these episodes across television is astounding.
- In the moments where personal feelings get in the way, the crew is not afraid to pull rank. Logic versus emotions are always at play.
- The pain and loss and prejudice brought about by wars of the past are hard to bury. Especially when the enemy associated with the Romulans look like your science officer.
- Have I mentioned how much I love this series?
- “Don’t destroy the one named Kirk.” Bones knows how to save Kirk from himself.
- OMG “Shore Leave” is a trippy experience. A great reminder that this is made in the late ’60s.
- Spock breaking out his “let me tell you about Earthly amusements” stance gives me life.
- Beyond may not have been for everyone, but it really hit on what makes TOS so special.
- I’d watch an entire series of Bones and Spock sciencing things, hanging out, making fun of each other.
- Let’s play everyone’s favorite game: Get Spock to admit he made a decision based on emotion!
- This show takes the Napoleon-complex to an entirely new level in “The Squire of Gothos.”
- GORN! GORN! Perhaps the best costumed alien we’ve met so far.
- I’m pretty sure Spock has spent as much time in the chair as Kirk and we’re over halfway through season 1.
- “Tomorrow is Yesterday” — time for some simple time travel math.
- The costumes in “The Return of Archons” are incredible.
- Kirk talks down a computer and debunks AI with a modified Turing test.
- It’s been three weeks and now I am in the home stretch of this rewatch. It’s really just a countdown to “City on the Edge of Forever.”
- “It would be interesting Captain to return to that planet in 100 years and learn what crop has sprung from the seed you planted.” Oh, Nimoy… if only you knew what you’d be getting into in 40 years with Star Trek: Into Darkness.
- Speaking of which, Khan looks great
- Kirk without his crew is depressing, but the way in which he breaks Spock of his brush with paradise is just plain cruel. And then Spock tries to court-martial himself for hitting Kirk! Sometimes Kirk doesn’t deserve such a great first officer.
- Shatner’s well-mocked cadence is really picking up in these later episodes.
- “For the first time in my life I was happy.”
- “I suspect you are becoming more and more human all the time.” “Captain I see no reason to stand here and be insulted.” Oh right, Spock is my favorite aspect of this show. (Special shoutout to Bones.)
- Uhura is in a lot less of this than I remember. I miss her.
- I’m happy to say not skipping “The Alternative Factor” was a great decision. At the close, Kirk points out that the universe remains safe for those who can warp away from the problems they cannot fix. But what of the lives of those they leave behind?
- “THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER” TIME. “CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER” TIME.
- Netflix synopsis drags Bones and makes everything great: “Bones travels back to 1930’s America and inadvertently destroys the future.” Classic Bones.
- This was my first Star Trek episode and my only reference to the show for three years before I finally watched the series. It is still my all time favorite and I am not alone in that.
- Kirk working in service to a smaller good, watching him fall in love, witnessing his pain as it is ripped away, and seeing him return a changed man to the Enterprise will never fail to keep his character in check when he is sometimes at his worst in the series.
- All is not as it was before and that makes all the difference.
- I can honestly say I do not remember anything from this finale.
- Maybe season 1 of The Original Series is my favorite? I definitely need to rewatch Deep Space Nine in the near future to confirm.
- The first season could play on air today and every single episode would speak to a current fear. They do not die, they, like many Trek threats, simply take a different form.
- Luckily, Netflix autoplay boldly goes right into season 2 and beyond.
Happy Star Trek day, reader! Live long and prosper.
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