September 8, 1966 saw the premiere of a new science fiction series titled Star Trek. Its creator, Gene Roddenberry, pitched his show as "Wagon Train to the stars," and for three seasons, viewers explored the final frontier alongside Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, and the rest of the intrepid crew of the USS Enterprise. Despite some impressive backers — civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lauded the show for its diversity, and famed science fiction author Professor Isaac Asimov praised it for bringing well-written science fiction stories to a mainstream audience — the show was never renewed for a fourth season.
It lived on in the hearts of its fans, however, and eventually it made its way onto the big screen in 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. From then on, there was no stopping this juggernaut; 12 movies and five television series later (six if you count The Animated Series), Star Trek is still going strong. This humble, low-budget 1960s science fiction drama became a cultural icon and has influenced the way technology has developed, and it's safe to say that the world would look considerably different if Star Trek hadn't been on the scene.
With the release of Star Trek Beyond on July 22 and a brand new TV series slated to premiere in January 2017, Star Trek has a bright, bold new future ahead of it. But since 2016 is its 50th anniversary year, why not take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from The Original Series?
10. 'No One Can Order Me' — 'Requiem For Methuselah'
This installment from Season 3 saw Kirk, Spock, and McCoy encounter the immortal Flint and his ward Rayna living on the supposedly uninhabited planet of Holberg 917-G while on a mission to gather ryetalyn to treat the Rigellian Fever that is running rampant aboard the Enterprise. During the course of their stay, Kirk falls in love with Rayna only to discover the horrible truth — Rayna is an android, and Flint has been using Kirk to awaken her emotions and teach her about love in the hope that when the Enterprise leaves, she will be able to love her creator. But Rayna is more human than either Kirk or Flint realize, and she will not allow others to make her choices for her.
9. 'There Must Be Thousands Of Them!' — 'The Trouble With Tribbles'
This Season 2 outing is the mother load of memorable Trek moments, but the most iconic scene from this classic episode is when Kirk goes to the storage compartment containing the quadrotriticale for Sherman's Planet and instead finds a compartment full of gorged tribbles. Tribbles have an insatiable appetite, and their hunger led them to the grain. However, there may be something more sinister about the quadrotriticale than anyone involved in the Sherman's Planet project initially believed.
8. 'The Choice Has Been Made' — 'The Empath'
This installment from Season 3 saw Kirk, Spock, and McCoy as the prisoners of the Vians, an alien race conducting experiments on pain tolerance and empathy. After subjecting Kirk to a rigorous torture session, they demand that he chooses either Spock or McCoy as the next subject in their experiment. If he chooses McCoy, there is an 87% chance his medical officer will die. If he chooses Spock, there is a 93% chance his science officer will suffer from brain damage and permanent insanity. Choosing which of his friends to sacrifice is the hardest decision Kirk has ever faced, but his friends are not about to let him make that choice alone.
7. 'We Are Creatures Of Duty' — 'Balance Of Terror'
This Season 1 classic was the first time the Romulans appeared on the show, and much to the Enterprise crew's surprise, Romulans bear a remarkable similarity to Vulcans. Spock reveals that the Romulans are distant cousins of Vulcans, but they chose to embrace passion instead of logic. Although they are considerably more violent than their Federation counterparts, they still have an incredibly strong sense of honor.
6. 'Interesting Game, This Poker' — 'The Corbomite Maneuver'
This memorable installment from Season 1 pits the crew of the Enterprise against the mysterious Balok, whose power appears to be far superior to anything the Enterprise possesses. Kirk's clever invention of a corbomite device that would destroy the Fesarius if it destroyed the Enterprise only buys a little bit of time, and Balok does not take long in reasserting his superiority.
5. 'How Long?' — 'Space Seed'
One of the most memorable episodes from Season 1 introduced the unforgettable Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered superbeing and survivor of the Eugenics War from the 1990s. When it became clear that the war was not going to end in their favor, Khan and some of his fellow superbeings use a sleeper ship to leave Earth and find elsewhere to live. They drifted through space for 200 years until the Enterprise found and revived them, but the centuries have not dulled Khan's appetite for domination.
4. 'I'm Going To Take This Thing Right Down Its Throat' — 'The Doomsday Machine'
This Season 2 installment saw the Enterprise face off with a massive planet-destroying machine that already incapacitated one starship and was completely capable of a repeat performance. Commodore Decker, commander of the doomed Constellation, blames himself for the deaths of his crew yet seems perfectly willing to sacrifice the crew of the Enterprise in his Ahab-esque obsession with destroying the machine. When lives are on the line, however, he is willing to pay with his own.
3. 'Your Agonizer, Please' — 'Mirror, Mirror'
What started as a routine diplomatic mission quickly turns into a nightmare for Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura in this iconic Season 2 installment. Beaming up during an ion storm somehow caused these four Starfleet officers to be trapped in a universe that is a mirror image of their own. However, images are reversed in mirrors, so while the universe they know is good, the one where they have just arrived is much, much darker.
2. 'Jim!' — 'Amok Time'
The Season 2 premiere saw Spock suffering from the pon farr, the Vulcan mating fever, and Kirk risking everything to save the life of his first officer and more importantly, his best friend. When Spock thinks he has killed Kirk in the kal-if-fee, the ritual combat over the woman intended to be Spock's wife, the shock is enough to break the fever. But the cure has come at a high cost (or has it)?
1. 'Do You Know What You Just Did?' — 'The City On The Edge Of Forever'
This Hugo-award winning episode from Season 1 saw Kirk and Spock travel back in time to prevent a cordrazine-crazed McCoy from altering the past and preventing the rise of the Federation and, by extension, Starfleet and the Enterprise. The Guardian of Forever, the time portal through which McCoy traveled, sends Kirk and Spock to 1930 to apprehend McCoy before he has a chance to change the past. While in the past, Kirk falls in love with the beautiful and idealistic Edith Keeler only to learn that her death is necessary for the birth of the future he calls home.
Did your favorite TOS moments make the cut, or are there others you would like to see mentioned? Let us know in the comments!