Star Trek recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. It's one of the largest franchises in history, spinning off multiple movies and five television shows adding up to an impressive 703 episodes. While it's best known for being futuristic and political science fiction, through the years it has explored dozens of genres. We've had plenty of comedies, romantic comedies, even an episode where the Captain and crew rip off a casino! As a lifelong Trekkie here are some of the most obscure Star Trek episodes you've probably never seen!
1. 'Qpid' (The Next Generation, 1991)
When Captain Picard is reunited with an old flame, Vash, the antihero Q sends the entire crew into a Robin Hood fantasy where they take up the roles of the heroes. Picard becomes Robin Hood and learns he has until the next day to rescue Maid Marian (Vash) or she'll be killed. We get to see the futuristic crew fight with swords and bows instead of phasers and it's exactly as hokey and fun as it sounds!
2. & 3. 'Trouble With Tribbles' (The Original Series, 1967) & 'Trials And Tribble-ations' (Deep Space Nine, 1996)
One of the most iconic episodes from #StarTrekTheOriginalSeries was "The Trouble With Tribbles" a comedy about some pesky alien critters, the Tribbles, who only eat and multiply. Twenty-nine years later the crew of Deep Space Nine were sent back in time to the events of this episode with Kirk, Spock and the original Enterprise. It's fun because they use green screen to put the new crew into scenes from the original episode. Both episodes have become iconic, and are incredibly fun to watch back-to-back
4. 'Message In A Bottle' (Voyager, 1998)
Voyager is unique because on their first mission an alien kidnapped them and then died before he could return them home, and as a result the entire show is about the crew of the Voyager exploring new places and cultures as they begin their 75-year journey back to Earth. In the fourth season Voyager finally was able to make long distance contact with home, letting them know they were alive. Andy Dick guest stars as EMH-2 and his scenes and interaction with the Voyager EMH are some of the funniest in all of Trek.
5. 'The House Of Quark' (Deep Space Nine, 1994)
In Klingon culture a female can't take control of her family's property, even in the event of her husband's death. When a Klingon accidentally dies in Quark's bar he decides to take credit for it to drum up bar business. When the widow, Grilka, arrives, Quark is forced to marry her so she can lead her family. Unfortunately for the small Ferengi, a large male Klingon challenges him for Grilka's hand in marriage.
6. 'Little Green Men' (Deep Space Nine, 1995)
The Ferengi characters on DS9 were perfectly used as comedic breaks during the high war and religious drama that made #DeepSpaceNine great. In this episode Quark, his brother Rom, and nephew Nog accidentally travel back in time to 1947 Roswell and become the little green men that have been immortalized by conspiracy theorists around the world.
7. 'Take Me Out To The Holosuite' (Deep Space Nine, 1998)
Captain Sisko was a lifelong fan of baseball, and throughout the series we occasionally saw small nods to his love of the game. In 'Take Me Out to the Holosuite,' he runs into someone from his youth who challenges him and his crew to a game of baseball. Sisko and his son teach them how to play, but they stand no match to the physically superior Vulcan crew. Watching these aliens and humans attempt to play baseball is one of the most funny and odd things to ever happen in Star Trek.
#Westerns have been a staple of television and film since its beginning. Originally in the '60s, Star Trek was branded as a western in space. It's no wonder that it had multiple homages to the genre.
8. 'A Fistful Of Datas' (The Next Generation, 1992)
Holodecks often play a pivotal role on Trek, and in this episode Troi, Worf, and his son Alexander become trapped in an Old West story because of some experiments Data is running in another part of the ship. In order to escape alive they must play out the Western. Fun fact: this episode was actually directed by Patrick Stewart!
9. 'North Star' (Enterprise, 2003)
#StarTrekEnterprise was a prequel series that took place before the stories of Captain Kirk and the Enterprise, and took fans to the beginning of Starfleet and the Federation. In this episode Archer and his crew come across a human colony living far from Earth, but still living out the Old West ways. These humans had been taken from Earth and brought to this planet as slaves hundreds of years earlier, but their ancestors had fought back and destroyed their alien oppressors.
Secret Agents And Spies
#JamesBond, and recently #JasonBourne, have put spy films and secret agents on the map. Bond originally appeared on screen before Star Trek back in 1962. In those days the gadgets and toys that Bond used were more science fiction, but are considered silly by today's standards. Check out these two Trek episodes that pay homage to the spy genre.
10. 'Our Man Bashir' (Deep Space Nine, 1995)
Another holodeck episode starts out with Bashir playing out a James Bond-type story, but during a transport accident with the main crew the computer crashes, saving the crew within the running holodeck. Each character in the 007 story becomes one of Bashir's crewmates, and he must play out the story without letting any of them die or they'll be permanently erased. This episode is hilarious, definitely one of Bashir's best.
11. 'Bride Of Chaotica!' (Voyager, 1999)
In this fun episode Paris and Kim are living out a spoof of 1930s Flash Gordon, called Captain Proton on the holodeck (they can never get them working right!). However, aliens from another dimension misunderstand the holographic simulation as reality and begin waging real war in black and white. The crew must act out the roles of the characters in the story, and aid the aliens in the destruction of the villain: Chaotica. The episode is extremely campy as it's mimicking 1930s movie culture and reminds us of how awkward and weird we once thought the future would be.
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Heists And Capers
Ocean's 11, 12, 13, Heat, Bonnie and Clyde, Sugar and Spice and Inception: all heist films that we love. We love the mystery and the well thought out plans that always go awry because we wish we could do it. Star Trek is no exception. That's right, the Deep Space Nine crew was once forced to rob a casino.
12. 'Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang' (Deep Space Nine, 1999)
Another obscure holodeck episode involves Captain Sisko and his crew robbing a Vegas casino Ocean's 11 style! This time there's no malfunction, but when the crew is visiting their favorite program (a recreation of 1950s Las Vegas) for some relaxation their favorite casino is bought by gangsters and the entire vibe changes. They decide the best way to get rid of the gangsters is to steal from them before any money can be given to their investors.
As a whole, we love war movies. Mostly they're Oscar bait, but Star Trek is not without it's share of #action and war. These two two-parters showed us what a #scifi TV series could look like as a WWII drama.
13. 'The Killing Game: Parts 1 & 2' (Voyager, 1998)
You guessed it....another holodeck episode, although this time there's no malfunction. Instead, the ship has been taken over by aliens, and they've erased the crew's memory and forced them to run out holodeck programs so they can practice their "hunting" by chasing and murdering the crew in a WWII story where they play out the part of the French Resistance and their American allies. This episode has a ton of action, some decent comedy, but best of all, it has Klingons fighting Nazis.
14. 'Storm Front: Parts 1 & 2' (Enterprise, 2004)
An ongoing arc through Enterprise was the temporal cold war where aliens from the far future were manipulating the time stream and changing the past to suit their needs. At the end of the arc the Enterprise crew are thrown back in time to World War II, but find a very different world than what history remembers. In a #TheManInTheHighCastle-like twist, it's one where the Nazis are winning, have invaded New York, and all with alien technology and help!
#Horror films are a staple of pop culture, and some of the most iconic have shaped and re-shaped cinema. Star Trek has taken several stabs at the genre, and to round out our list here's the best from each series.
15. 'Catspaw' (The Original Series, 1967)
As the Enterprise crew explores a lifeless planet, Scotty and Sulu both disappear. Kirk and Spock search for them, but along the way they meet several witches and a black cat that transforms into a beautiful woman. The woman and her master kidnap the Captain and Spock, revealing that Sulu and Scotty are working for them under mind control. They also reveal a voodoo version of the Enterprise, and threaten to destroy the ship.
16. 'Night Terrors' (The Next Generation, 1991)
After finding a missing ship adrift but not damaged, the crew of the Enterprise soon realize the crew of the lost ship, save for one person, is dead. While investigating the ship they find it in complete working order, but it still will not move. To make things weirder, during the autopsies of the crew, Crusher finds that they've all died at each other's hands. Both ships become trapped and unable to move, and Troi begins to have hallucinations of death and hear ominous threats in her mind. This episode has aged extremely well, and still has some legitimately scary moments.
17. 'Empok Nor' (Deep Space Nine, 1997)
With the station beyond repair, and no spare Cardassian components to be found, O'Brien and an engineering team head to another abandoned Cardassian station to find what they need. However, when they arrive, they discover the place is booby-trapped. Their shuttle is destroyed and members of their team start to disappear into the darkness.
18. 'The Haunting Of Deck Twelve' (Voyager, 2000)
During a series of flashbacks that take place during a loss of power, Neelix tells the Borg children a story of another time Voyager lost power, long before they joined the crew. The story is done in a classic "ghost story around the campfire" style with Neelix telling the tall tale. It follows each crew member as they learn what's happening on the ship.
19. 'Impulse' (Enterprise, 2003)
After receiving a distress call from a Vulcan ship, the Enterprise crew finds the ship trashed, and the zombie-like stranded crew attack their rescuers. Zombie-Vulcans! The longer the Enterprise crew stay on board trying to figure out what's causing everything, the sicker T'Pol gets, as she starts to turn like the other Vulcans.
Did you know Star Trek had such a broad genre range? Had you heard or seen any of these episodes before? If not check out some of these favorite obscure Star Trek episodes on #Netflix now, and let me know what you think in the comments!