The time has come for me to unveil my top 10 favorite of all Star Trek! Well, all minus the animated series and Discovery. While I do have some fan favorites on my list, I know this isn’t a typical top 10 of Star Trek, and you see my deep personal bias towards DS9. But this is about my personal favorites and I believe all these episodes are truly great, so I stand by my choices.
I quickly came up with a top 12 so it felt proper to share my two honorable mentions that I sadly had to cut from the final top 10 list.
Honorable Mentions: Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG) and Similitude (ENT)
Both of these episodes are fabulous and easily belong among the best of Star Trek. Yesterday’s Enterprise is a fantastic alternate timeline story, and Similitude explores ethics in a way that makes you squirm a little, but also makes you really think. Now, on to my top 10!
10. Bride of Chaotica! (Voyager)
This episode is a pure fun homage to classic science fiction, perfectly saluting the campy, black-and-white melodrama that paved the way for Star Trek.
9. Stratagem (Enterprise)
There’s just something about this episode for me. It almost has shades of DS9’s Pale Moonlight, but explores the question of what we would do to save our people from war in a different way. This episode has even affected my own writing.
8. Best of Both Worlds (The Next Generation)
The first time I saw Best of Both Worlds Part One I was completely stunned. They went there! They turned Picard into a freaking Borg! How could things ever go back and it still be a satisfying story? Well, all I can say is they delivered. This two-parter is still quite epic in my mind.
7. Chain of Command (The Next Generation)
I’ve said before that this is a very dark horse choice for me as my favorite of all TNG, but the psychology of this episode has truly impacted me. I think exploring the psyche of a person is one of the, if not the, most powerful tool of storytelling, and these two episodes certainly utilize it.
6. Far Beyond the Stars (Deep Space Nine)
This episode is so freaking important that I think every human being should probably watch it. It covers racism but also talks about ideas and storytelling, all in a very poignant way. Even though this isn’t my top episode, I think if an individual was to only watch one episode of Star Trek, this should be the one.
5. The City on the Edge of Forever (The Original Series)
This is one of the most beloved and heralded episodes of Star Trek, and for good reason. I feel this episode really sets up a lot of the reoccurring themes we find in Star Trek and science fiction, like allowing things to happen as they should of the betterment of humanity.
4. It’s Only a Paper Moon (Deep Space Nine)
This episode is the culmination of a character arc that I absolutely adore, exploring the loss of dreams and what could have been. It’s a tear-jerker for sure and it holds a very special place in my heart.
3. The Trouble With Tribbles (The Original Series)
This episode is just so stinking fun. I love it. And it’s made even better by…
2. Trials and Tribble-ations (Deep Space Nine)
This episode is a perfect homage to the previous episode, and seriously, can we ever have enough Tribbles?
1. Pale Moonlight (Deep Space Nine)
As brilliant as every episode on this list is, this one, in my opinion, is the most powerful exploration of what mankind is capable of. “So… I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all… I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again – I would.”
I’m curious what would be on your top 10 list of Star Trek episodes! So please tell me what yours are and how many we have in common. Or, if you still haven’t watched Star Trek yet, what are you waiting for? Check out this post I did several years ago about how to get started!