Top Three Star Trek Space Battles

A good space battle needs cohesive narration, sweeping shots, good music. Our heroes can’t be too outgunned or too powerful, so here are mine:

  1. Star Trek Nemesis. Yup. I said it. I disagree with the criticism that it apes Star Trek 2’s beats. It’s long. It’s interesting. It’s innovative. The music is great. It’s got great narrative cohesion and the flow of the battle ebbs back and forth. So if Nemesis is number one then of course number 2 is:

  2. Star Trek TWOK. To me, 1 and 2 are very close, Horner’s music is fantastic and iconic. It’s just not quite as good as one is to me. But of course its still fantastic. In fact three (And i like three a lot) is a huge drop-off after one and two

So to me…Star Trek First Contact is simply too short, the DS9 battles are just good-ok. I could almost give spot 3 to the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” but I’ll give it to:

  1. Star Trek 6. This is actually the FIRST time we see a Trek movie battle with a fully staffed, fully armed Enterprise that isn’t stupidly outgunned. in the TMP they are horribly outgunned, in 2 they are ambushed and are manned by cadets,in three they have a skeleton crew…this is the first time we see the Enterprise with her shields up and a fully manned ship.
    So dead last would be any Abrams or Discovery battles. Horrible sound effects, no weight to them. No sweeping shots. No narrative cohesion. Just blip blip blip…cut cut cut…blip blip blip…its just stupid. And in all the movies, our heroes are badly outgunned. I don’t get a kick out of seeing our heroes running and screaming failing.

The battle against the Borg at the start of First Contact may be brief, but has got to take one of the top spots. It has it all: a clearly visible large-scale fleet action, the Enterprise-E at the peak of its power sweeping in to the rescue, and of course, Worf in command of the Defiant. “Perhaps today IS a good day to die!”

The TNG series finale is one of the few times sci-fi realizes space has 3 dimensions.

Yeah it kicks ass…that music at 1:55…then the Klingon music when we see The Defiant…

I also agree Nemesis is underrated.

Some favorites off the top of my head:

  1. Kirk vs. the Romulans in Balance of Terror. I like the submarine warfare of it.

  2. The Wolf 359 sequence in the DS9 pilot.

  3. The Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar getting obliterated by the Dominion in, I think, The Die is Cast.

I realize that the OP is going for tv/movie battles, but I just wanted to throw in one from the books. In the novel “Federation” there’s a scene where, due to a series of circumstance that would permit such a plan to work, Picard rams a Romulan warbird from below, effectively decapitating it with the thin edge of the Enterprise-D saucer section. That made you sit up and take notice.

Top battle(s) are the ones between the Enterprise and the Reliant in TWOK, still by far the best Star Trek movie.
Second would be Balance of Terror on TOS.
Third would from Doomsday Machine.

You can hate on Discovery all you want, but love it or hate it, it had some of the best space battles not just on ST, but on TV or movies period.

I remember having to pick my jaw up off the floor after watching one particular scene. (can’t remember which episode though)

The best part about that was Worf growling with approval and Riker chuckling to himself while muttering “Ramming speed…”

Completely disagree. Been watching the clips on YT…no narrative cohesion…tons of drones and shuttles (??) and asteroids and everything going 'brrrp brrrp brrrp" while the camera swoops among all the clutter on the screen and shaky cams everywhere. Its just a mess.
But I’m glad you like it!

And you see ACTUAL TACTICS. “Full phaser spread, scan for shield impacts.” It took how many years for someone to figure out how to attack a cloaked ship?

I assume you mean the climactic Kirk/Khan battle. But, although it doesn’t really count, the opening scene (Kobayashi Maru) might be the most famous Star Trek space battle.

Yeah. And Riker comes in with the Enterprise-D, with three nacelles

  1. Balance of Terror
  2. Enterprise D vs the Duras Sisters in, “Generations.” (“Fire at will.” Next shot: Riker.)
  3. Klingon ship vs Earth whaling vessel in, “ST IV: The Voyage Home.” Short but sweet.

I never found them realistic, which considering its a fictional TV show isn’t surprising. They don’t have auto aim in the 24th century and still have to manually aim and fire the weapons? Its 2019 and we already have weapons that will automatically ID an adversary, aim the weapon and fire w/o human intervention. And in the real world, the borg would’ve conquered everyone a long long time ago. They are far more advanced. When Q said that if it weren’t for a different Q the Borq would’ve conquered the entire federation I found that very believable.

Probably the best battle (although its not a battle) was in first contact when the borg ship goes through a time portal, and you see a glimpse of earth after the borg conquered it.

“I’ll see if I can get the Klingons’ attention.”

This. The Enterprise swooping in majestically to take the hit that would have done in the Defiant actually brings a tear to my eye.

In “Yesterday’s Enterprise” I love the moments just prior to the battle with the Klingons. The Enterprise D maneuvers in a menacing way to cover C’s escape into the rift. Picard’s deadly serious, and slightly desperate speech to the crew. You have the sense this is no joke and shit is about to seriously get real.

Not exactly a battle, but the mining of the approaches to the wormhole outside Deep Space 9 from the Star Trek series of the same name (obviously). The fighting forces of the Dominion are made up primarily of drug-dependent disposable mooks, with near limitless reserves available in the gamma quadrant? Fine. Put up a cloaked, self-replicating minefield in front of the wormhole, interdict their supply lines, and let them wither on the vine.

It was like someone actually thought about the 2nd and 3rd order implications of some already established in-universe technology, and actually applied it as an inhabitant of the Star Trek universe would if they cared about winning, rather than just giving the audience what’s familiar to them.

The best battle is the battle that never happens because the characters are allowed to be seen thinking creatively to solve their seemingly insurmountable problems.

All of DS9 is Star Trek taken to its logical conclusion. That’s what makes it the best of the series.

Except Kira falling for Odo…BOOOoooo I say.

Though the ease of them “breaking up” made up some. No huge pathos.