My best friend recently saw Star Trek Into Darkness and loved it. Brace yourselves: this is a person who has seen no more than a handful of minutes of Star Trek anything. So, she approached me, Aimee, the big fat Star Trek nerd, and asked the question that we Star Trek fans are never asked.
"I don't know anything about this. Where do I start?"
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that people like me enjoy making lists about any obsessive interests we have, especially in the realm of comics, video games, or sci-fi. I collect knitting patterns, too, but no one asked me to make a list about knitting. Which is good, because I can't knit for beans, although I try.
So below, you'll find the little write up I actually gave my BFF, with a few minor changes. It's probably rare to have an Electric Frankfurter reader who isn't familiar with Star Trek at all, but I had fun writing it, so you may have fun reading it. And for goodness' sake, what fan doesn't want to debate the merits of my list endlessly? I debated it for two days and I wrote it!
On the off chance that we have a reader (hi, dad!) and that reader doesn't know anything at all about the majesty that is Star Trek, maybe you'll find this helpful. But really, I doubt it. I don't know why I'm putting this up here. We need content, and I'm lazy. Read now:
The Ultimate Star Trek Primer for Aimee's Uninitiated Best Friend
The design of this primer is to guide you through the Star Trek universe in an easy-to-manage course that will afford you just enough understanding to tell if you might enjoy it, without also overwhelming you. The episodes selected include iconic episodes, typical episodes, essential episodes and personal favorites. Many amazing and many infamous episodes have been left off of this first course but can be found in the “further watching” list.
Using a guide may be extremely helpful to you, as not every Star Trek episode is exactly, well, good. Some of the ones provided on your list are cheesy and some are very serious, but they are all fun. Star Trek fans know and appreciate that these are from the 1960s—it’s absolutely ok to find something unintentionally hilarious.
This is a real screenshot from “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” and it is absolutely ok to
think that this is absurd and amazing and in need of many captions.
Feel free after any phase has completed to drop out completely. Star Trek is immense and not for everyone, but intensely rewarding if you stick it out. And if you feel like you’d enjoy watching any part of it with experienced nerds, our door is always open (and we own all the movies.) And now, the lists.
1. The Naked Time
2. Balance of Terror
3. Space Seed
4. A Taste of Armageddon
5. The Devil in the Dark
6. The City on the Edge of Forever
7. Amok Time
8. Mirror, Mirror
9. Journey To Babel
10. The Trouble with Tribbles
11. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
12. The Mark of Gideon
If you are really into it, you may also want to take a look at the following episodes before moving on, but don’t feel obligated, you’ve seen enough to “get” anything that comes next.
1. The Man Trap
2. The Enemy Within
3. Mudd’s Women
4. What Are Little Girls Made Of?
6. The Conscience of the King
7. The Squire of Gothos
8. The Return of the Archons
9. Alternative Factor
10. Who Mourns for Adonis?
11. A Private Little War
12. Patterns of Force
13. The Omega Glory
14. Ultimate Computer
15. Spectre of the Gun
16. The Tholian Web
17. The Savage Curtain
18. All Our Yesterdays
Upon completing this list, it is the consensus of this team that you should proceed to the following movies in THIS ORDER:
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
After you have watched these movies, you may safely begin watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, in order, by season, if you wish. There are very few bad episodes and I regard this series as one of the finest sci-fi series ever made.
When/if you decide to finish Star Trek: The Next Generation, follow it up by watching Star Trek: First Contact.
After that, fill in gaps by watching the original series episodes that you skipped, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: Generations, and Star Trek: Insurrection. If you’ve thoroughly devoured Star Trek in all forms listed, take a look at Deep Space 9.
DO NOT WATCH: Voyager, Enterprise, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, or Star Trek: Nemesis. At least not until you’ve become so well versed that you’d be comfortable picking them apart. These series and movies are just not very good at all and aren’t even that much fun to laugh at. No matter what anyone else tells you…these are NOT good. They just aren’t. No. No. No.
If you complete this list, you’ll know why this is one of George Takei’s favorite Star Trek memes. Stan and I can identify the episode from which this image was taken (out of context) and quote almost precisely what she’s saying here. Welcome to the club, we hope you enjoy.