10 Star Trek Episodes That Deserved To Become Classics (But Didn't)

Has time done these Star Trek episodes dirty, or should they fade into the background forever more?

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CBS Media Ventures

If someone were to ask a person to think of a truly classic Star Trek episode, there are several that immediately jump to mind. The City On The Edge Of Forever, Yesterday's Enterprise, In The Pale Moonlight, and Far Beyond The Stars all fit easily into that category, so why even look at any of the rest?

Well, there are literally hundreds of episodes from the franchise, all of which bear some form of merit. Even Code Of Honor has a scene or two worth watching, if only for Tasha Yar alone (we felt dirty even typing that).

What makes a classic? Is it the story itself? Is it the way that the story is told? Does one only consider those episodes that would be fan favourites? Or is there some other way altogether of judging them - one free from arbitrary taste?

That is a difficult question to answer, so this article will present ten examples of episodes that we feel have earned the right. Please note, the most recent episode on this list comes from Star Trek: Discovery's second season, as from that point on the episodes are too new to say they haven't become classics yet!

10. A Private Little War

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When Star Trek is at its best, it is telling modern stories through a futuristic, sci-fi lens. Never is this more apparent than in The Original Series, which led to some of the strongest stories in Star Trek's run. Having said that, not every episode managed to make their way onto classic lists, with A Private Little War being one of them.

The episode is an on-the-nose allegory for the Vietnam War, and specifically the United States' involvement in said war. With its release in 1968, the War was very much in full swing, so the episode's close only leads to a sad, yet prophetic, conclusion.

Kirk decides to arm the villagers, aiding them in evening the odds with their Klingon-backed enemies. There is no winner here, nor is there a cessation of hostilities. In fact, Kirk's decision is questioned by Scotty, which leads Kirk to spout the immortal line:

A hundred...Serpents for the Garden Of Eden.

The episode is, to be honest, a bit of a slow burn - but its timely message has only become more pressing in the years that have passed, making this a story that was well ahead of its time.

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Writer. Reader. Host. I'm Seán, I live in Ireland and I'm the poster child for dangerous obsessions with Star Trek. Check me out on Twitter @seanferrick