In so many ways Star Trek was the Little Series that Could. It took two pilots before Gene Roddenberrys Wagon Train to the stars idea was picked up by a network, and even then the series was marred with doubts by the network execs, ever-decreasing budgets, schedule changes, producer changes, threat of cancellation, cancellation, and creative battles enough to fill volumes. And many of those volumes have been written.
When the series entered syndication in the early 1970s, people started to watch. In the end, Star Trek became a billion dollar franchise for Paramount and a cultural phenomenon, thanks largely to a loyal core audience and the power and universality of its storytelling. Long before the Star Trek movies, long before J.J. Abrams, long before Beam me up, Scotty was a bumper sticker, there was Gene Roddenberry. The creator and producer of the original Star Trek series was a visionary and hands-on executive who spent his nights rewriting scripts and striving to make Trek a powerfully unique vision for the future. But Roddenberrys many battles with the studio and the network resulted in his decreased participation over the series three seasons, and as a result the budget and quality of the episodes decreased accordingly. Therefore, in looking at the ten best episodes of the original series, the majority come from season one, when Roddenberry was heavily involved in every aspect of each show. In compiling the list, we considered the power of the storytelling, the impact of each show on the Star Trek canon, its relevance to and influence on science fiction culture then and now and its uniqueness overall. This list omits several favorites, including Journey to Babel and Trouble with the Tribbles, but we only have room for ten, so bear with us.