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. – Pretty Much All of It (Star Trek: First Contact, 1996)
It’s difficult to pick a single moment from First Contact, which is my favorite Star Trek film. As a kid I found myself looking up at the sky outside to see if Borg were descending on me that very moment. Watching it now, I enjoy the strong plot and characters.
Mike – Captain Borg (“The Best of Both Worlds, Part I,” TNG, 1990)
Composer Ron Jones uses Alexander Courage’s classic Trek fanfare to ironic and chilling effect as the camera reveals Locutus of Borg, formerly our hero, Jean-Luc Picard. It’s a moment that fires on all cylinders, heralding Trek’s coming-of-age as a modern storytelling force to be reckoned with.
J.W. – “KHAAAAN!!” (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
It appears all is lost for Kirk and gang as Kirk yells his rival’s name bitterly into his communicator. In reality, Kirk has once again cheated the system, and it is this revelation that made the movie, to my younger self, utterly compelling. It remains captivating to this day.
Mike – The Kobyashi Maru Scenario (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
Viewers who dreamed of attending Starfleet Academy vicariously got their wish watching Saavik learn that “how we deal with death is… as important as how we deal with life.” (It’s also a brilliant fake-out, “killing off” Spock so fans lowered their guard before the movie lowered the real boom later.)
J.W. – Klingon Jesus Appears (“Rightful Heir,” TNG, 1993)
Worf goes to find himself but ends up finding the long-awaited Kahless has returned. Not only that, but Kahless specifically calls him back to an enlivened faith. Kahless turns out to be a clone, and the episode remains thought-provoking and intense throughout.
Mike – “The Meld” (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979)
Jerry Goldsmith’s lush score accompanies some of Trek’s most beautiful special effects as Decker, Ilia and V’Ger achieve transcendence. One of the franchise’s highest concept moments, dramatizing a yearning to “join with the Creator” that we Christians believe God perfectly fulfilled by coming to us (not vice versa) in Christ.
J.W. – Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra (“Darmok,” TNG, 1991)
Although it seems obvious a species that can only communicate through metaphor would have problems building spaceships, this episode poignantly portrays the struggles to communicate cross-culturally while serving up some choice quotes. Not watching this is like Shaka when the walls fell.
Mike – The Phoenix Takes Flight (Star Trek: First Contact, 1997)
The movie makes up for Zefram Cochrane’s earlier, cringeworthy name check of the franchise by showing us humanity’s first warp-powered spaceflight, accompanied by the strains of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.” It’s thrilling and inspiring, and a heck of a lot of fun—as Star Trek’s future, at its best, always is.
J.W. – Picard Lives a Second Life (“The Inner Light,” TNG, 1992)
Picard lives an entire lifetime’s memories in just a few short minutes “real time.” Coming to, he realizes it was all the memories of a lost civilization, and the episode ends with him playing a flute from the lost world alone in his cabin. It’s absurdly beautiful.
Mike – Stealing the Enterprise (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984)
The heist is perhaps out of character for our heroes and the franchise, but friendship is at stake. Horner’s scoring is masterful, the cast’s acting is tops, and Kirk’s determination to go even when warned he’ll “never sit in the captain’s chair again” reminds us what really matters in life.
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.