Star Trek Rankings

Star Trek Rankings

I know this is way random, but a friend of mine was picking my brain about Twitter and trying to get my opinion on various Star Trek things. I ended the writing portion of MovieByte so it feels a little weird to write a single random article there again. So I’m writing this here to answer the questions put to me.

A ranking of various Star Trek incarnations

The Original Series (TOS)

TOS has some very good episodes, some in each season — though season 3 has the least I think — even though it is certainly very much a product of its time and has many ’60s tropes. The HD re-mastering has helped it out a lot and I enjoy watching my favorite episodes that much more.

Some favorite TOS episodes

  • Dagger of the Mind (S1E9)
  • The Corbomite Maneuver (S1E10)
  • The Conscience of the King (S1E13)
  • Balance of Terror (S1E14)
  • The Galileo Seven (S1E16)
  • The Squire of Gothos (S1E17)
  • Arena (S1E18)
  • Tomorrow is Yesterday (S1E19)
  • Space Seed (S1E22)
  • A Taste of Armageddon (S1E23)
  • This Side of Paradise (S1E24)
  • The Devil in the Dark (S1E25)
  • Errand of Mercy (S1E26)
  • The City on the Edge of Forever (S1E28)
  • Operation – Annihilate! (S1E29)
  • Amok Time (S2E1)
  • Mirror, Mirror (S2E4)
  • The Doomsday Machine (S2E6)
  • Journey to Babel (S2E10)
  • Friday’s Child (S2E11)
  • A Piece of the Action (S2E17)
  • Patterns of Force (S2E21)
  • By Any Other Name (S2E22)
  • Bread and Circuses (S2E25)
  • Assignment: Earth (S2E26)
  • The Enterprise Incident (S3E2)
  • For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (S3E8)
  • Wink of an Eye (S3E11)
  • Whom Gods Destroy (S3E14)
  • Requiem for Methuselah (S3E19)

The Next Generation (TNG)

I always having a hard time deciding whether I like TNG or DS9 more (stop asking me to chose favorite children!). Ultimately it comes down to this: TNG has great characters and many amazing stories. But all those stories are one off episodes. DS9 is more arc based — particularly when the Dominion War starts. DS9 also has great characters. I like both shows.

Also note that the HD re-master is fantastic!

The list of favorite episodes is going to be long because there are A LOT of favorites. I recently just went through and watching all my favorite episodes so I remember more easily which ones are. I will not be able to do that with DS9 because it’s been about 4 years since I watched it. I’ve actually just started re-watching.

Some favorite TNG episodes

  • The Battle (S1E8)
  • Hide and Q (S1E9)
  • Datalore (S1E12)
  • 11001001 (S1E14)
  • Too Short a Season (S1E15)
  • Home Soil (S1E17)
  • Symbiosis (S1E21)
  • We’ll Always Have Paris (S1E23)
  • Conspiracy (S1E24)
  • The Neutral Zone (S1E25)
  • Where Silence Has Lease (S2E2)
  • Unnatural Selection (S2E7)
  • The Measure of a Man (S2E9)
  • Contagion (S2E11)
  • Q Who? (S2E16)
  • The Emissary (S2E20)
  • Peak Performance (S2E21)
  • The Ensigns of Command (S3E2)
  • The Survivors (S3E3)
  • Booby Trap (S3E6)
  • The Enemy (S3E7)
  • The Vengeance Factor (S3E9)
  • The Defector (S3E10)
  • The High Ground (S3E12)
  • Déjà Q (S3E13)
  • A Matter of Perspective (S3E14)
  • Yesterday’s Enterprise (S3E15)
  • The Offspring (S3E16)
  • Sins of the Father (S3E17)
  • Allegiance (S3E18)
  • Captain’s Holiday (S3E19)
  • Hollow Pursuits (S3E21)
  • The Most Toys (S3E22)
  • Sarek (S3E23)
  • The Best of Both Worlds (S3E26, S4E1)
  • Family (S4E2)
  • Reunion (S4E8)
  • Future Imperfect (S4E8)
  • Final Mission (S4E9)
  • Data’s Day (S4E12)
  • The Wounded (S4E12)
  • Devil’s Due (S4E13)
  • Clues (S4E14)
  • First Contact (S4E15)
  • Galaxy’s Child (S4E16)
  • The Drumhead (S4E21)
  • The Mind’s Eye (S4E24)
  • Redemption (S4E26, S5E1)
  • Ensign Ro (S5E3)
  • Disaster (S5E5)
  • The Game (S5E6)
  • Unification (S5E7, S5E8)
  • A Matter of Time (S5E9)
  • Conundrum (S5E14)
  • Ethics (S5E16)
  • Cause and Effect (S5E18)
  • The First Duty (S5E19)
  • I Borg (S5E23)
  • The Next Phase (S5E24)
  • The Inner Light (S5E25)
  • Time’s Arrow (S4E26, S6E1)
  • Realm of Fear (S6E2)
  • Relics (S6E3)
  • Rascals (S6E7)
  • Chain of Command (S6E11)
  • Ship in a Bottle (S6E12)
  • Face of the Enemy (S6E14)
  • Tapestry (S6E15)
  • Birthright (S6E16, S6E17)
  • Starship Mine (S6E18)
  • Lessons (S6E19)
  • The Chase (S6E20)
  • Rightful Heir (S6E23)
  • Second Chances (S6E24)
  • Timescape (S6E25)
  • Descent (S6E26, S7E1)
  • Gambit (S7E5, S7E6)
  • Attached (S7E8)
  • Inheritance (S7E10)
  • Parallels (S7E11)
  • The Pegasus (S7E12)
  • Lower Decks (S7E15)
  • All Good Things (S7E25)

Voyager

Voyager was not as good as it’s predecessors, but it wasn’t a bad show. I particularly always enjoyed The Doctor. I believe he had the best arc on the show without contest.

Enterprise

Enterprise Seasons 1 & 2 are some of the most consistently worst Star Trek ever made — boring, dull, lifeless — with a very occasional decent episode thrown in there. Also, that theme song. Can I just say WORST EVER?!? Seasons 3 and 4 are actually somewhat decent with some really great episodes. Unfortunately I think most people had quit watching the show by the time it recovered from seasons 1 and 2.

The Movies

The only bad Star Trek movies are The Motion Picture and The Final Frontier. The reboot has obviously breathed new life into the franchise. I was very much opposed to it when the first reboot film was in the works — and I still think it would have been better to move forward — but I was quite happy with Into Darkness even though the film had its annoyances.

A ranking of Star Trek films

  • The Wrath of Khan (2): 5 stars
  • The Undiscovered Country (6): 4.5 stars
  • First Contact (8): 4.5 stars
  • Into Darkness (12): 4 stars
  • The Voyage Home (4): 4 stars
  • Insurrection (9): 3.5 stars
  • Nemesis (10): 3.5 stars
  • Star Trek (2009) (11): 3.5 stars
  • The Search for Spock (3): 3.5 stars
  • Generations (7): 3.5 stars
  • The Motion Picture (1): 3 stars
  • The Final Frontier (5): 2.5 stars

A ranking of Star Trek Music

Ranking of Film scores:

  1. The Motion Picture
    Jerry Goldsmith really brought ST to the next level and established themes and motifs that still live on. While the film is kind of terrible, the score if FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.
  2. The Wrath of Khan
    This is basically James Horner’s great take on what Goldsmith did before him with a tone that matches the more action filled and much less boring film in question. And it feels like it has the heart of the original series.
  3. Into Darkness
    Michael Giacchino did some fantastic work here with a major update to his 2009 Star Trek score, introducing new and touching themes and motifs. I enjoy this one a lot.
  4. The Final Frontier
    Goldsmith returned to build upon his original work while establishing themes and motifs that would continue to carry the franchise. Again, the film was the worst in the series, which some of the best music — truly frustrating.
  5. The Undiscovered Country
    Cliff Eidelman’s score didn’t sound very “Star Treky” in some ways, but a lot of interesting is going on in his score and I always enjoy listening to it and it fits the film very well.
  6. First Contact
    Goldsmith is always fantastic and he always finds a way to build on his previous work in a way that references it but doesn’t feel like a completely re-use.
  7. The Search for Spock
    Mostly a more melancholy re-hash of Wrath of Khan with an added new Klingon theme that would go on to be heavily borrowed from in his Aliens score.
  8. Insurrection
    I think Jerry Goldsmith added some really nice and touching bits to build upon his previous work.
  9. Nemesis
    This is my least favorite work from Goldsmith in this franchise. It felt kind of tired, and he was experimenting with some sort of sound that I do not favor. That said, there are some great no motifs and awesome tracks here.
  10. Star Trek (2009)
    While I think Into Darkness takes the score to a whole new level that is much better, I don’t think the original film is Giacchino’s best work and feels a little like it ignores Star Trek’s legacy. I enjoy some of the tracks in this score, but overall a bit of a miss.
  11. Generations
    While I have enjoyed Denis McCarthy’s work on the various series (the first episode of Deep Space Nine is phenomenal), I don’t feel like he hit this one out of the park. Nevertheless, I do listen to the soundtrack sometimes. It’s okay, just not great.
  12. The Voyage Home
    Perhaps the worst misstep in the Star Trek movie franchise. Some of it works, some of it is mediocre, and much of it is terrible.

The Shows:

My favorite theme is probably the original Deep Space Nine theme. Also, the score for the first episode of Deep Space Nine is on Apple Music and I highly recommend it.

I also quite enjoy the main theme of The Next Generation. Goldsmith’s Voyager theme is top notch, but not my favorite.

Overall, starting in season 3 of TNG the scoring of each episode was usually good. The first 2 seasons of The Next Generation — while always composed and not canned music, felt way to synthesized and icky. Though the synthesized sound was sometimes still present in TNGs music from time to time in Season 3, it largely began to go away and was replaced by the symphonic sound we think of with Star Trek nowadays.

The only music I really don’t enjoy that much is pretty much the entirety of TOS. I’m not a fan of the theme, and most of the music is canned and reused throughout all three seasons. They basically wrote some various Star Trek mood motifs and reuse them all throughout. That was kind of the thing to do at the time.