Readers of this blog know that I’m a huge science fiction fan. Science fiction is a genre that has more worldview seeping into it and through it than almost any other one, in my opinion. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, I have teamed up with Mike Poteet of The Sci-Fi Christian (an excellent site and podcast you should follow in all forms) to share our top 25 moments each (50 total!) from all of Star Trek on screen. That’s right, from The Original Series all the way through Star Trek Beyond, we’re bringing you our favorite moments. Some of these are steeped with worldview, and some are just fun or interesting. Check them out, and let us know your favorites in the comments.
J.W. – Ro Chooses Sides (“Preemptive Strike,” TNG, 1994)
Ro Laren had been in and out of TNG for several episodes, and her Bajoran roots linked her plot with what was happening on DS9. Here, we see her go from favored protégé of Picard to betraying his trust to follow what she feels is the greater good.
Mike – Worf’s Bedside Manner (“Disaster,” TNG, 1991)
Pressed into medical service after catastrophe strikes the Enterprise (as it does), Worf makes ready to set a crewman’s broken leg with this blunt assessment: “This will hurt. Prepare yourself.” Afterward, he praises his patient: “You bore that well.” A pitch-perfect note of character-based comedy, at which mature TNG excelled.
J.W. – Finally Home (“Endgame,” Voyager, 2001)
Though we may not get as much of the story as we’d like, fans finally got to see the return of Voyager to, approximately, home. The whole premise of the show was based on the culmination of this event, and the payoff is emotionally captivating.
Mike – “Hello, computer!” (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986)
It’s hard to pick a favorite funny scene in a film full of them, but Scotty’s (admittedly unrealistic) ignorance of a 1980s computer—”The keyboard; how quaint”—is always a contender. The scene is also the template for Spock Prime’s “invention” of transwarp beaming for Scotty in Star Trek (2009).
J.W. – Blue Shirt? Kill me now! (“Tapestry,” TNG, 1993)
Picard must relive moments of his life that he would like to change as Q guides him to the realization that those choices made him who he was. The best part: when he ends up a blue shirt, he immediately demands death instead of continuing as a lowly science officer.
Mike – Khan Revealed (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
Ricardo Montalban’s performance as an older, crazier Khan so riveted me, I memorized much of it, including this scene. Montalban swings from nostalgic bitterness (“On Earth… 200 years ago…”) to unbridled outrage (“This is Ceti Alpha Five!”) All memories of Mr. Roark evaporate; here is the Trek films’ greatest villain.
J.W. – “Would you mind stopping that noise?” (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986)
Kirk asks a punk on the bus to turn off his boombox; in response, the punk turns it up. So Spock shuts him down and the bus applauds. This is one of the most memorable moments in all of Star Trek, in my opinion.
Mike – U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-A, Revealed (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986)
A cathartic moment that restores order to the recently chaotic Trek universe. The unveiling of the new Enterprise, to the strains of Alexander Courage’s fanfare, is arguably the franchise’s first overt acknowledgment that (as Roddenberry’s own, unused lyrics to the old theme say), this “star trek will go on forever.”
J.W. – Data is a Person (“The Measure of a Man,” TNG, 1989)
Riker must try to demonstrate Data is not a person, and does so by taking an arm off… he thinks. But Picard’s case comes out on top and Data is demonstrated to be a person with all the rights that entails. It’s a suspenseful, heartwarming moment early in TNG.
Mike – “This is 13 years ago…” (“The Menagerie,” TOS, 1966)
Gene Roddenberry faced the unenviable “no-win scenario” of needing to air the show’s unsold, radically different first pilot episode in order to fill out TOS’ first season. His solution was elegant, enveloping it in a frame story that instantly gave the Trek universe a “pre-history” and Spock a richer backstory.
The Sci-Fi Christian– There is so much to discuss when it comes to the intersection of faith and culture, and science fiction is often at the forefront of ways to drive this discussion forward. Check out The Sci-Fi Christian’s website and podcast for tons of discussion of related topics.
Eclectic Theist– Follow my “other interests” blog for discussion of sci fi, fantasy, movies, sports, food, and much, much more.