12 best Star Trek episodes in the franchise of all time

There are plenty of Star Trek shows and episodes out there, but which ones are the best ones in the franchise as a whole?

Nov. 2, 2015 – CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The brand-new “Star Trek” will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent
Nov. 2, 2015 – CBS Television Studios announced today it will launch a totally new “Star Trek” television series in January 2017. The brand-new “Star Trek” will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent /
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Star Trek as a whole is one of sci-fi's defining works. Gracing our screens via various incredible and different shows, movies, and video games, there are over 900 episodes that make us laugh, cry, cheer, throw things at the TV, and think extra hard about how we're choosing to live our lives.

Out of these 900 episodes, there are a few that stand out as some of the franchise's best episodes. While everyone has their own favorites, I have compiled a list of some of my personal favorite episodes from different Star Trek shows. These episodes have made me laugh, cry, sob, rage, and learn a few things about myself and my favorite characters.

From Star Trek: The Original Series to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, I inhaled these shows growing up as my dad kindly planted the enthusiasm and love I have for the sci-fi genre as a whole, but especially Star Trek.

Again - our lists may look different as we're all drawn to different things in episodes but, without further ado, let's take a look at 12 of my all-time favorite Star Trek episodes across the various series.

1. "The City on the Edge of Forever" (Star Trek: The Original Series)

Now that's an episode that'll both entertain you and touch your soul. Why is it hailed as one of the best Star Trek episodes ever, you ask? The crew of the USS Enterprise stumbles upon a time-travel portal. Time-traveling is fun and all (or not, if you've seen Loki), and it's all fun and games until the crew has to face a heart-wrenching dilemma when they learn that saving one life in the past could completely erase their future.

It's like a space version of a game of "What if?" mixed with a dash of drama and sprinkled with sci-fi goodness. The episode isn't just a fun escapade through time - it's a deep dive into moral quandaries that'll have you thinking about it all long after the credits roll. It's classic Trek magic - blending adventurous sci-fi with thoughtful storytelling, and it's clearly one of the best episodes of Star Trek to date.

2. "The Inner Light" (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

This episode from TNG is a masterclass in storytelling and transcends the typical boundaries of sci-fi. Imagine living an entire lifetime in the blink of an eye. That is the extraordinary journey Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself embarking on. The episode is a brilliantly painted canvas full of emotion, memory, and the very essence of what it means to be human.

Picard, known for his stoic leadership, is transformed into a man who experiences a lifetime's worth of joys, sorrows, and love in an alien world. The truth is that the entire experience only takes place in a few minutes in real time. This story not only stretches the imagination but also touches the viewer, leaving a lasting impression about the fragility and beauty of life. It's a stark reminder that, sometimes, the most powerful voyages are not through space, but through time and the human experience.