Quick Star Trek introductory course for beginner

One of my good buddies is a big film buff—he loves everything from old black-and-white movies up to the present. Somehow, he has almost no knowledge of Star Trek. The only time he’s seen any Trek is when he went with me to Star Trek: Into Darkness.

I think he would like some Trek, given his tastes, but I’d like to present him with the best introduction that shows off the best array of what the various series have to offer.

So what I’m trying to do is give him a short course, not too long—12 episodes, perhaps? (I’m not wedded to that number)—covering the best of the original series, Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine.

In my view, the episodes don’t have to be chronological, but it would be good if they presented good material without requiring a lot of foreknowledge about the series, but showcasing the spirit, flexibility, and breadth of the show, and including some of its best moments, but also introducing him to the most important characters—Kirk, Spock, Picard, Data, Worf, Sisko, Odo, etc.

Just on first blush, I think The Trouble With Tribbles should be on that list.

Perhaps the first appearances of the Romulans and Klingons—Balance of Terror and Errand of Mercy—are important. And maybe the first appearance of Sarek, Journey to Babel.

And maybe, I’ll end the course with Space Seed and The Wrath of Khan.

As you can see, I haven’t given as much thought to TNG and DS9 yet.

Any thoughts? How would you go about creating an introductory course that’s not too overwhelming?

Given what you’ve said, I can’t see skipping The Measure Of A Man.

As far as the original series cast goes. Start with ST2: The Wrath of Khan. If he doesn’t like that then there’s little point in going further down that hole.

As far as Next Gen, start with this YouTube vid. Tongue is planted very firmly in cheek here but it gives a decent, newbie level, intro to the characters

And if you need a DS9 story, S6 - in the pale moonlight is a perennial favorite. It throws you into the middle of a long story arc but it’s a hell of a story.

TNG’s “Q Who” and “The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II” are the quintessential Borg episodes.

TNG’s “Ensign Ro” gives a great introduction to the Bajorans and Cardassians, who are two key species in DS9.

You gotta throw some Voyager in there.

I think the Next Gen episodes “The Inner Light” and “Tin Man” are excellent and thought-provoking, and are examples of ST at it’s best.

I think Tapestry gives you the best look into both who Picard is and what Q is actually trying to do.

I’m working from the premise that he and I have very similar tastes. So, I’m not going to afflict him with Voyager or Enterprise.

Don’t leave out the two part episode of Captain Pike.

It is a great episode, one of DS9’s best but I don’t think it is good for a beginner. They won’t get just how much gets sacrificed without knowing the universe and characters well which robs it of a lot of its power IMO.

I think the TOS episodes the OP mentions are good.

For TNG:

The Neutral Zones makes for a good “Pilot” for TNG

Measure of a Man

Sins of the Father

Q Who just because the Borg become so important.

The Drumhead

This is a start…


The Pilot (you really need it to set up the story)


In The Hands of the Prophets

Civil Defense

I think that is a good start to let them decide if they like it.

In your shoes, I’d find it hard to resist kicking off TNG by showing him Conundrum, introducing your buddy to the adventures of Jean-Luc Picard and his trusty sidekick, Kieran MacDuff. They just work so well together, y’know?

Amok Time and The City on the Edge of Forever.

I would think that it would be a good idea NOT to use episodes that reveal too much about where ST:TNG and ST:DS9 plotlines went as the series progressed. Star Trek doesn’t really have that problem, as that show didn’t do the story arc thing, and rarely made back-reference to earlier happenings. But with the latter two series, you risk removing the enjoyment of good episodes that are best appreciated only after having lived with the characters through the course of watching them.

I would suggest that there should be five Star Trek episodes, four ST:TNG episodes, and three ST:DS9 episodes. Mine would be:

Balance of Terror
Shore Leave
Amok Time
The Trouble With Tribbles

Heart of Glory
Q Who?
Elementary, Dear Data (you have to introduce your buddy to the holodeck episodes)
The Defector

Captive Pursuit
Necessary Evil

Obviously, not all of these are “excellent” episodes. However, they are at least average, and they give a taste of the main elements of each series, without revealing too much back information.

Smart move. Too bad he had to see ST: Into Darkness. That crap could sour anybody on the whole Trek universe.

My picks from TOS/TAS:

*The City On the Edge of Forever
Space Seed
Amok Time
Balance of Terror
Mirror, Mirror
The Devil in the Dark
The Naked Time
Journey to Babel
The Trouble With Tribbles

The Infinite Vulcan
The Slaver Weapon*

ST:TNG suggestions:

Encounter At Farpoint 1&2
Heart of Glory
The Measure of a Man
Q Who
The Emissary
Yesterday’s Enterprise
Best of Both Worlds 1&2
Ensign Ro
The Inner Light
Chain of Command 1&2
All Good Things…

Several years back they released some DVD collections called Fan Collectives, with episodes from each series grouped together into themes. Although I had seen an episode or two of some of the series over the years, I had minimal knowledge of the universe as a whole. I picked up the Time Travel collection and fell in love. There were also collections devoted to Q, the Klingons, the Borg, Alternate Realities, and then like a Captain’s favorites collection. I ended up getting all of them (there was surprisingly little overlap on episodes, but there was some) and enjoyed them so much I started seeking out the reruns of the series, which were playing all over (before their availability on Netflix of course).

They collect from Enterprise and Voyager too, and together they comprise probably several dozen episodes, but maybe if you looked at the episode lists from them and pared them down to only the series you are interested in, you can have a good list handy.

I personally recommend them all though.

It’s generally accepted that about a third of TOS episodes were excellent, a third OK, and a third kinda sucked (Which is significantly better than most TV shows, by the way). TNG had more OK episodes, and fewer that sucked, but also fewer that were outstanding.
In any case, you should throw in one of the lesser lights for each series, so that the viewer can get a better view of the whole.

Spock’s Brain and Subrosa it is then! :stuck_out_tongue:

As long as you don’t show The Alternative Factor, or Genesis, you can’t ruin it. Some people even like Spock’s Brain. (It has its moments.)