Series / Star Trek: The Original Series

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"Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
Captain James T. Kirk, the legendary Opening Narration

Star Trek is the first show in the Star Trek franchise. After the release of its spinoff series and the movies, it has been retroactively called Star Trek: The Original Series to differentiate it from the franchise as a whole.

The origin of the show came when Gene Roddenberry was looking to write hard-hitting political and moral commentary and could not do so with the regular dramas of the time. He deduced that by creating a science fiction show borrowing heavily from the film Forbidden Planet, he could slip in such commentary disguised as metaphors for the various current events. As such he pitched Star Trek to the networks as a merging of the two most popular genres of the time, science fiction anthologies and Westerns, into the original "Wagon Train to the Stars."

While troublesome to produce, it was a major Trope Maker, especially in Science Fiction (each of the three main characters has a trope named after them, and that's just for starters!). The cast was a dynamic mix of ethnicities and cultures, and while the focus was nearly always on Kirk, Spock and McCoy, they still had a Russian, an Asian and a black African woman in positions of responsibility, authority and respect, despite recent, brewing or ongoing conflicts concerning Real Life people of those ethnicities. According to the cast members, near everyone in Hollywood wanted to be a part of Star Trek because of the steps forward it was making. In particular George Takei said that almost every Asian actor wanted to be Sulu because they wouldn't be required to use an Asian accent or engage in Asian martial arts, instead breaking cultural stigma by being a practitioner of European fencing.note  This also resulted in attracting multiple high-profile guest stars and guest writers, including Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon and Richard Matheson.

In some ways the show was way ahead of its time; in others, hopelessly mired in The '60s. The women wore go-go boots and miniskirts, and often upsweep hairstyles, and usually only appeared in the roles of assistants and secretaries (although at least some of that was due to Executive Meddling; additionally, Grace Lee Whitney has mentioned that the female regulars objected to initial efforts to have them wear pants because they preferred showing off their legs). And while the visual design was ambitious, the actual production quality has not aged well.

Varied widely in quality from episode to episode and from season to season, depending upon who was writing. An episode chosen at random can be anything from high camp to geopolitical allegory to genuinely intelligent drama, and is likely to be at least two out of those three.

Common plots:

Some people are unaware of the original Trek pilot, featuring Captain Pike (who would be a character in the Abrams movie) played by Jeffrey Hunter, and Majel Barrett as first officer. The pilot was praised for a good story but was considered "too cerebral" and not as action packed as the network wanted to market it. This resulted in a near entire-cast replacement for a second pilot episode, except for Spock. In fact, Doctor McCoy didn't appear until after the second pilot was filmed. However, that first pilot did not go to waste—Roddenberry used a lot of it for the series' only two parter, "The Menagerie," which proved a Hugo science fiction award winner. The original pilot can be viewed in the DVD release, as well as on Netflix.

While the show was considered popular with general audiencesnote , the Nielsen ratings branded it a flop, barely managing out three seasons before being officially canceled, with a close call on the second season. Within a few weeks of its cancellation was the monumental first Moon Landing, and as a result the subsequent reruns of Star Trek were more popular than the original run. Television was also changing at the time, starting to account for demographics along with overall ratings, and found that Star Trek snagged the most coveted 18–35 male group that nearly every show aimed for. Star Trek conventions were jammed with thousands of dedicated fans, and seeing the potential for a revisit led into production for a new TV series. The first attempt was Star Trek: The Animated Series, which may have suffered from Filmation's cheapo production values, but more than compensated by having most of the original writers and cast, producing a great series that earned the franchise's first Emmy Award. Later, in the hope of creating a television network, a new Star Trek series was developed, eventually turning into the first Star Trek film in 1979, after the monumental success of Star Wars. The success of the films led to the Sequel Series in 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and another 18 straight years of Star Trek on television.

To be expected, the subtitle "The Original Series" is a Retronym used solely for commercial clarification once Star Trek: The Next Generation came out. It has always been referred to as Star Trek in its own opening sequence.

The 2009 Star Trek film, directed by J. J. Abrams, was an attempt to reboot the franchise by revisiting these same characters (of course played by new actors) with a new spin. It updates and modifies the general look and premise of the original series with modern special effects. The film has been a commercial and critical success (becoming the first Star Trek film to win an Oscar), but amongst the fans it has provoked debates. A sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, was released in 2013, with another (Star Trek Beyond) to follow in 2016.

If you're in the US, you can watch most episodes here. This show also has a tool for gathering and voting on Favorite Episodes. And over here we have a recap page.

It also gave birth to the earliest recorded case of slash fiction—and, by extension, Ho Yay—when fans began to ship Captain Kirk with his First Officer Spock.

Character profiles and roles in the script:


This series provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    A–B 
  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: In "The Return of the Archons" Landru guards his planet, long after its usefulness has ceased. Ditto the automated defense bot Losira in "That Which Survives".
  • Act of True Love: "The Empath", McCoy sacrifices himself to save Kirk and Spock from death or insanity via Cold-Blooded Torture. Again, he lives, but he didn't know that.
  • Alan Smithee: "A Private Little War" is meant as a commentary on The Vietnam War, which was still ongoing. Though friends with Roddenberry since their days as LAPD officers, Don Ingalls did not like Gene's re-write (removing Kor from the story, softening the Vietnam references), and credited himself as Jud Crucis ("Jesus Crucified"!)
  • Air-Vent Passageway
    • In "Dagger of the Mind", Dr. Helen Noel saves the day by using a passage to get to the power room and shut off the Tantalus Colony's force field.
    • In "Miri", the children use an air vent to infiltrate the lab where the Enterprise crew is working and steal their communicators.
    • In "The Trouble With Tribbles", Scotty speculates that the tribbles got into the food processors on the Enterprise via the actual air vents. Spock realizes that the grain the Enterprise is guarding on the nearby space station is in storage compartments with similar vents, prompting Kirk to beam over and leading to the episode's funniest moment.
  • Alice Allusion: "Shore Leave": Both in the characters seen by the good doctor, and the fact that the planet turns out to be one big Wonderland.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Prime Directive, which forbids the interference with the internal development of pre-warp civilizations. Story-wise, it's used as a plot device to keep the main characters from just using the easy way out of a problem.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Considering the technical and budgetary constraints, ridiculously so. The show hand waves it sometimes by making planets specifically based on Earth.
  • All There in the Manual: The script for "The Omega Glory" has the main characters theorize right at the beginning that the Yangs and Kohms are lost colonists from Earth's early space race. Presumably it was removed to make the reveal at the end a surprise, but in doing so it just made the whole thing ridiculously contrived.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Contrary to his reputation, Kirk doesn't initiate a lot of his kisses, and when he does it's nearly always used as a means to an end.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Computers besides the Enterprise's, androids, and for the most part the alien races called Romulans and Klingons except in the fifth film, which has one good Klingon, and the sixth film, which portrays Klingons as more varied. As originally written, the Klingons were Always Chaotic Evil to the Romulans' Lawful Evil: both Romulan commanders are shown as Worthy Opponents who just happen to be on the other side, and it's commented that if not for their allegiances, they and the Enterprise crew would probably get along just fine. This is changed in the movies, where the Romulans are relegated to the background and the Klingons given more development. Gene Roddenberry probably included an android and a Klingon as main characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation to subvert this trope.
    • The series also had several subversions, among them the Horta, who is initially presented and believed to be (as the episode title states) a "Devil in the Dark", but turns out to be a mother protecting her eggs, and the Romulans, who are introduced by launching an unprovoked sneak attack—but in the same episode the two main Romulan characters are examples of My Country, Right or Wrong and What a Senseless Waste of Human Life. Even the Klingons get a minor subversion in "Errand of Mercy", when the Organians predict that at some future time the Klingons and the Federation will become fast friends, working together.
    • There's also "Day of the Dove", when after learning they are being manipulated by an Energy Being into a senseless, endless war with Kirk's crew, the Klingons team up in an Enemy Mine.
      Kang: I do not need any urging to kill humans. A Klingon kills for his own reasons! Only a fool fights in a burning house!
  • Ambiguously Christian:
    • Captain Kirk's famous line to the alien impersonating the Greek god Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonais?":
      Kirk: Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.
    • In another episode, Kirk and Crew come upon a planet dominated by a Roman Empire but with 20th century technology, where a persecuted, pacifist new religion worships a sun god. At the end of the episode, Lieutenant Uhura discovers that this new religion does not worship the Sun but the Son, clearly referencing Jesus. Kirk even considers remaining at the planet for a number of years just so they can "watch it happen all over again."
    • In the Pilot Episode, Captain Christopher Pike's character was subjected to an illusion of Hell when he refused to cooperate with his Talosian jailers. The illusion was stated to be made from information gotten from his own mind, implying that he was raised Christian.
    • Angela Martine, from the episode Balance of Terror, genuflected before the altar during her marriage ceremony, implying that she is a member of the Catholic Church. (Note, however, that this is not exclusively a Roman Catholic practice. Some Episcopalians, for example, also genuflect in front of the altar.)
  • Amnesia Danger: In "The Paradise Syndrome", the danger was that the amnesiac character (Kirk) had forgotten that there was a danger. Hilariously, the main thing he knew that (once remembered) saved the day was learned literally second before he lost his memory.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The unfortunate fate that Captain Pike is ultimately reduced to. They fix it in "The Menagerie".
    • The fate of Lazarus and Anti-Lazarus in "The Alternative Factor".
    • Charlie's reaction to the ending of "Charlie X".
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Villains often find that this trope is what forces Kirk to comply to them. Textbook case in "The Squire of Gothos", with Spock as the collateral.
  • Antagonistic Governor: Kodos the Executioner, who was governor of a human colony that was facing starvation because of an exotic fungus. He executed 4,000 citizens in order to see to it that the other 4,000 wouldn't starve. He later disappeared, presumed dead, but in reality, had changed his name and was living life as an actor.
  • Antagonist Title:
    • "Charlie X": Charlie Evans becomes a Reality Warper and goes mad with power.
    • "The Enemy Within": Kirk is split into a good and an evil version. Guess which one is the enemy.
    • "The Devil in the Dark": Subverted. The silicon-based Horta was killing the miners to protect its eggs. The Enterprise crew heal it and communicate with it.
    • "The Doomsday Machine": It is a planet-eating machine from another Galaxy.
    • "The Ultimate Computer": M-5, the computer, is a typical A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
    • "The Tholian Web": The energy web is being created by the Tholians to destroy the Enterprise.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Losira's computer log in "That Which Survives", which explained how her colony died.
  • Applied Phlebotinum
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Surprisingly, one towards Kirk from the leader of the Organians in "Errand of Mercy" when they've stopped the Federation and the Klingon Empire from fighting.
    Kirk: Even if you have some power that we don't understand, you have no right to dictate to our Federation—
    Kor: Or our Empire!
    Kirk: —How to handle their interstellar relations! We have the right—
    Ayelborne: To wage war, Captain? To kill millions of innocent people? To destroy life on a planetary scale? Is that what you're defending?
  • Ascended Extra: Most of the main crew members (with the exception of Kirk and Spock) are not credited with starring roles in the opening credits, even McCoy (for the first season). Many of them don't appear in certain episodes, and don't even receive any real focus or characterization until late season 1 and throughout season 2. Only the movies credit them with starring roles.
  • Aside Comment: At the end of "Journey to Babel", Doctor McCoy looks directly into the camera and happily states, "I finally got the last word."
  • As You Know: In "Wolf in the Fold" Spock explains to Captain Kirk how ordering the computer to compute the value of pi to the last digit will drive the Redjack creature out of it.
  • Ass in Ambassador: How many times has the presence of Federation diplomatic personnel actually helped matters? More often than not Kirk and company have to smooth over problems created by overbearing Federation officials. Alien ambassadors aren't much of an improvement.
  • Asteroid Thicket: In "Mudd's Women", Harry Mudd's ship flies through one.
  • Auto Kitchen: The Enterprise has slots in the wall which can produce any food desired by inserting the correct computer tape. In The Next Generation, these are replaced by replicators.
  • Ax-Crazy: Captain, no, Lord Garth. Also most of his "court" of fellow asylum inmates, notably Green-Skinned Space Babe Marta, who is compelled to murder those she "loves."
  • Badass: Everyone. Admittedly, some of the supporting characters don't come into full bloom until the movies, but still.
  • Badass Crew: The Original Series establishes a long and proud tradition of these in Starfleet.
  • Batman Gambit: Kirk can pull these off in ways that would make Batman himself proud.
  • Battle Chant:
    • In the episode "Miri", at one point, the Long Lived children get together and start chanting the word "Bonk" repeatedly (as in "Bonk on the head") as an indication of what they plan to do to the Enterprise crew who have beamed down to their planet.
    • Not precisely "battle," but the space hippies in "The Way To Eden" have "Herbert! Herbert!"
  • Battle Theme Music:
    • The "Theme From Amok Time", an example of Orchestral Bombing which has been appropriated by so many homages and parodies it's practically an Undead Horse Trope at this point.
    • Similarly, the space battle music from the episode "The Doomsday Machine" became a standard used over and over again in later episodes.
  • Beard of Evil: "Mirror Mirror" provides the Trope Codifier of Evil Twins with beards, thanks to the Mirror-universe Spock's natty goatee.
  • Beeping Computers: The beeping on the Enterprise bridge is as iconic as background noise can be.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't insult the Enterprise within earshot of Scotty, much less to his face. The Klingons find this out the hard way in "The Trouble With Tribbles". Then again, they are Klingons, so they may have been looking for that fight.
    • Don't imply to McCoy that logic is a good substitute for compassion in a crisis.
  • Big Little Man:
    • In "The Corbomite Maneuver", the Enterprise encounters an alien vessel, and is able to get a video feed revealing the bridge, which shows the alien captain, Balok, to be a scowling monster that looks to be about 7 feet tall. However, later they manage to get onboard, revealing they had actually been watching an elaborate puppet show, and the real Balok is no larger than a child.
    • In "Plato's Stepchildren", Alexander is first seen as a massive shadow against a wall. Said shadow shrinks as he approaches Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, revealing he's actually rather short compared to them. The actor playing Alexander was 3 feet, 11 inches tall.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Lazarus in "The Alternative Factor".
    • Charlie Evans does this in "Charlie X".
  • Black and White Morality
  • Black Comedy: "A Piece of the Action", "The Trouble With Tribbles". Also dialogue moments in other episodes, such as this exchange in "This Side of Paradise" where Kirk and Spock (the only crew remaining on the Enterprise) are going to build a transmitter utilising the communicators' emergency channel, but first Kirk has to fight Spock to free him of the spores:
    Spock: As you are probably aware, striking a fellow officer is a court-martial offence.
    Kirk: If we're both in the brig, who's going to build the transmitter?
    Spock: A logical point, Captain.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted in "The Galileo Seven" and "By Any Other Name"; in both cases, the black male character survives to the end of the episode while one or more white characters die.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Eminiar and Vendikar, the two warring planets in "A Taste of Armageddon," have so sanitized their war with each other that they no longer send actual missiles—instead they just send computer signals signifying an attack and then have all civilians who happened to be within range of the theoretical attack disintegrate themselves in booths designed for that purpose. The leader of Eminiar considers Kirk a monster because he refuses to allow the same thing to happen to the crew of the Enterprise when the ship is calculated to have been "hit" by an "attack," and even more so when he destroys Eminiar's attack computers, immediately breaking the stalemate between the two planets.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: In "The Deadly Years", due to having been rapidly aged by mysterious radiation and gone senile, Kirk has stepped down from command. His incompetent replacement has led the ship through the Romulan Neutral Zone, and the Romulans are about to destroy them. Suddenly a cure is found, a restored Kirk appears on the bridge and gives an order to relay a message to Starfleet—using a code previously established as having been broken by the Romulans, which briefly causes the crew to wonder if he's still senile. Nevertheless, they open the channels and Kirk sends a message that the Enterprise will self destruct via the Corbomite Device and destroy any ship in a huge radius. The Romulans intercept the message and leave.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Spock.
  • Boldly Coming: Kirk is the Trope Maker. So much so that in "By Any Other Name", when they need to fight the aliens who have adopted human form, due to the Enterprise they have hijacked being suited to human life, each of the four remaining crew members uses their personal skills to take back the ship; McCoy secretly drugs the hijackers, Spock plays The Chessmaster and turns the aliens against each other, Scotty drinks an alien (and himself) into a complete stupor, and Kirk... seduces the head alien's girlfriend.

    Nevertheless, Kirk's reputation for sleeping his way across the galaxy has been exaggerated in the public mind; while he makes out with many a Girl of the Week, sex is only implied in two instances: once when he gets a native girl pregnant while amnesiac, and once when the show returns from commercial to find a woman brushing her hair in his room while he puts his boots back on.
  • Book Ends:
    • Many episodes begin and end on a shot of the Enterprise flying through space as the dramatic fanfare plays her in (or out).
    • A more meta example: Sulu and Rand share a scene in the first episode aired, "The Man Trap". They don't share another scene until the sixth and final movie, with Rand as a Bridge Officer under Sulu's command.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Numerous episodes.
  • Brandishment Bluff: "The Corbomite Maneuver"
    Kirk: This is the Captain of the Enterprise. Our respect for other life forms requires that we give you this... warning. One critical item of information that has never been incorporated into the memory banks of any Earth ship. Since the early years of space exploration, Earth vessels have had incorporated into them a substance known as... corbomite. It is a material and a device which prevents attack on us. If any destructive energy touches our vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying—
    Balok: [over intercom] You now have two minutes.
    Kirk: —destroying the attacker. It may interest you to know that since the initial use of corbomite more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has... little meaning to us. If it has none to you then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness.
  • Bread and Circuses: The aptly named episode "Bread and Circuses" explores a planet in which the Roman Empire never fell. Gladiator sports are broadcast on TV and interrupted by commercial breaks.
  • Breakout Character: Spock became the fan favorite almost instantly, and the only way to keep William Shatner from raising a stink and leaving the series was for the writers to emphasize his close co-worker/friend relationship to the point of Heterosexual Life-Partner with Kirk note ; later, the Power Trio of Spock, Kirk and McCoy.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The things Kirk gets away with...
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Chekov does more screaming-in-pain than the rest of the crew combined. He even has a torture scene in the episode "Mirror, Mirror". This was explained as a convenient way to show there was mortal peril. Apparently, Kirk, Spock and McCoy all being older, dignified men would have made it improper for them to scream, but Chekov is in his early twenties and still very boyish, so it's all right for him. Doesn't make it any easier on the poor guy, though. In a nice inversion, he's the only one who doesn't get hit with the aging disease in "The Deadly Years". He still ends up getting subjected to a thousand and one medical checks, though.
      Chekov: Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If—if I live long enough, I'm going to run out of samples!
      Sulu: You'll live.
      Chekov: Oh yes, I'll live. But I won't enjoy it!
    • Sometimes Scotty, whenever he's left in charge of the Enterprise.
  • Butterfly of Doom: In "The City on the Edge of Forever", Edith Keeler's death must occur or else it will cause an alternate timeline where Germany wins World War II and Starfleet does not exist.

    C–D 
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": In "The Enemy Within", Evil Kirk insists that his subordinates bring him some "Saurian brandy." It's unlikely that whatever world the Saurians come from actually has grapes that can be fermented and distilled into real brandy. On Earth, brandy can be made from many different fruits; presumably, Saurian brandy is made from a fruit native to that world. Given that ale is specifically a barley-based beverage, however, one wonders what the Romulans are using to make "Romulan ale."
  • Calvin Ball: Fizzbin, the imaginary card game Kirk and Spock make up to confuse the gangsters in "A Piece of the Action", is an Ur-Example.
  • Captain's Log: The Trope Maker; Kirk's famous voice-over logs were conceived as a way of quickly introducing or recapping plot points that may have otherwise been confusing. He seems to do them in his head even when he's nowhere near a recorder. When he says "Captain's log, stardate.... unknown", it can be downright chilling.
  • Cargo Cult
  • Cartwright Curse: So frequent you could almost take bets on whether the Girl of the Week is going to buy the farm by the end of the episode (or if she doesn't, pull a High-Heel–Face Turn).
  • Catch Phrase: Dr. McCoy's "I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder" and "He's Dead, Jim." Spock's "Fascinating" and "Illogical."
  • Catch the Conscience: "The Conscience of the King" plays with this trope; a man suspected of being the murderous tyrant Kodos the Executioner happens to be an actor currently starring in a production of Hamlet.
  • The Cavalry:
  • Chekov's Gun: And no, they didn't play Russian Roulette with it.
  • Chewing the Scenery: A Klingon in "The Trouble With Tribbles" insults the Enterprise For the Evulz, underlining the last two words of this speech loud and clear with a wide-eyed stare: "I didn't mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage!"
  • City in a Bottle: "For The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" featured this on a generation ship.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Happens once in a while. In "Journey to Babel", Sarek is accused of murdering a Tellarite ambassador. The culprit is an Orion pretending to be a staff member of the Andorian ambassador. In "Court Martial", Kirk is accused of causing the death of one of his crew members. The crew member has faked his own death and is trying to sabotage Kirk's career, as he blames Kirk for ruining his.
    • Scotty has to do this in "Wolf in the Fold" after being set up for several murders by none other than Jack the Ripper himself—actually an alien entity who took possession over the centuries of (among others) Jack the Ripper and the city administrator investigating Scotty's alleged murders (conveniently stonewalling the investigation in the process).
    • Even Spock gets in on the fun in "The Menagerie", although the crime in Spock's case is mutiny, not murder, and the whole ordeal is arranged by an alien entity just like the other incidents, albeit out of compassion rather than any sinister motive.
  • Clip Show: "The Menagerie" shows us most of the original pilot episode, "The Cage".
  • Clothing Damage: Kirk must have a pretty steep uniform allowance to cover all of those shirts that get torn up (or completely torn off of him). An unintended case can be seen in "The Savage Curtain" when Kirk's pants split open in the back for a brief moment.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Chekov and his constant references to Glorious Mother Russia, which appear to only make sense in his mind. To a lesser extent, Sulu and his Fleeting Passionate Hobbies, which the rest of the crew regard as unusual for the time period.
  • Combat by Champion: "Arena" has Kirk vs. Gorn captain. "Amok Time" has Kirk vs. Spock. "The Gamesters of Triskelion" has Kirk, Chekov, and Uhura vs. an Amazing Technicolor Population.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Gold Key Comics published its first Star Trek comic in 1967 and the series outlived the TV show by a full decade (ending only because Marvel Comics took over the rights so it could publish comics set post-Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Early issues are noted for their bizarre artwork and extreme breaks with TV continuity, due in part to the artist being a freelancer living in Europe who had never seen the series and only had publicity photographs to work with. As a result, one issue features a cut-away drawing that suggests that the Enterprise isn't much bigger than a large yacht, while another issue has the Enterprise landing on a planet, decades before Star Trek: Voyager does it. Later, Marvel, DC Comics, and IDW Publishing all took turns publishing comics set in the TOS era.
  • Continuity Snarl: This series is responsible for a good 90% of the continuity problems in The Verse. It took quite a few episodes before they settled on what year it was (sometimes as near as the 2100s, sometimes as far as 2700), what group the Enterprise worked for (in some episodes it's the United Earth Space Probe Agency, in some it's Starfleet, etc.), the name of Spock's race (Vulcan is settled on later, but Vulcanian was still being used up till the end of the first season), references to the past that have already happened by the time the later series were being made (Khan's starship leaves in the 1990s, something plainly impossible today), and so on. Some of these have been handwaved or attempted to be explained away, but a lot of them still cause big problems that fans prefer to overlook.
  • Court-Martialed:
    • In "The Menagerie", Spock gets put on trial for commandeering the Enterprise and taking it to a forbidden planet.
    • "Court Martial": Kirk gets put on trial for (seemingly) causing the death of a crew member through negligence.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Court Martial", "Wolf In The Fold"
  • Cowboy Episode: "Spectre of the Gun", in which the main characters are forced to re-enact the gunfight at the O.K. Corral on an alien world.
  • Credits Montage: Featuring not only stills from the episode in question, but random shots from various other episodes as well.
  • Creepy Children Singing: The kids from "And the Children Shall Lead" use this song to summon Gorgon:
    Hail, hail, fire and snow
    Call the angel, we will go
    Far away, for to see
    Friendly angel come to me.
    • In "Miri" they just do the familiar "nyah nyah-nyah nyah nyah" chant but it's made very sinister.
  • Cukoloris: Shadows from devices like these were often used to suggest structural detail that's off camera (and so doesn't have to actually be built). Look in the "overhead" area of the ship's interiors, particularly where a corridor opens onto a larger junction.
  • Custom Uniform: Captain Kirk's deep green wraparound fatigue shirt, worn interchangeably with the usual uniform shirt in the first two seasons, is a good example of this trope in action. Kirk is the only person aboard who we see wearing this "casual" alternative uniform. At least, in the original series. Mirror universe Archer is seen wearing the one that formerly belonged to the captain of the Defiant (which was captured by the Tholians in "The Tholian Web") in Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In A Mirror Darkly (Part II)".
  • Cuteness Proximity:
  • Daddy's Little Villain: "The Conscience of the King" (a tragic Double Subversion). The daughter of a former villain in hiding uses their cover as a performing theater troupe to kill off the remaining witnesses to her father's previous crimes as a way of "protecting" him from recrimination. Her father is extremely displeased with her when he finds out, having hoped to start a legitimate new life in their cover identities, and appalled that the blood on his hands had irreversibly stained her, as well.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : "A Piece of the Action". The inhabitants of Sigma Iotia II are so enamored of 1920s Chicago gang culture that they decided to base their entire civilization on it.
  • Dead Man Writing: "That Which Survives". Losira's computer message to her fellow Kalandans about the death of the colony.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Romulan government at several points is implied to be one. The Platonians in "Plato's Stepchildren" started out with a good idea—create a society based upon Plato's Republic—but ended up as this after centuries of isolation. In "The Gamesters of Triskelion" the three brains running the planet have resorted to pitting random aliens against each other in gladiatorial combat after losing their purpose in life.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The epic snarkfests between McCoy and Spock are legendary for a reason.
  • Death Ray: Phasers, at their highest setting, become Disintegrator Rays.
  • Deus Est Machina: Several episodes, notably "The Apple".
  • Deus ex Machina: "Charlie X" (the Thasians), "Shore Leave" (the Keeper), "The Squire of Gothos" (Trelane's parents), "Errand of Mercy" (the Organians).
  • Deus Ex Nukina: In "The Doomsday Machine," Commodore Decker takes a shuttle and steers it down the throat of the planet killer—without an onboard nuke. But this gives Captain Kirk the idea to try Decker's plan with the already nearly-destroyed USS Constellation rigged to self-destruct in a big explosion. Kirk manually pilots the Constellation into the maw.
    • In "Obsession," the vampire cloud, which has been freely munching on the crew, finally heads home to reproduce. Kirk beams down to the planet Where It All Began to deliver a chunk of antimatter. When it blows, it rips half the planet's atmosphere away.
    • In "The Immunity Syndrome", the Enterprise must deliver an anti-matter bomb to the nucleus of the giant space amoeba. In a twist, Mr. Spock volunteers for a separate suicide mission, to deliver the probe that enables Kirk to target the nucleus.
  • Death World:
    • The planet Gamma Trianguli VI in "The Apple" includes plants that throw poisonous thorns, rocks that act like anti-personnel mines and directed lightning strikes.
    • The planet Eden in the episode "The Way To Eden". Looks beautiful, but beware of differing chemistry; the fruit is poisonous and the grass has acid for blood.
  • Death of the Old Gods: "Who Mourns For Adonais" has the Enterprise meeting Apollo, the last of the Greek gods (who were actually Sufficiently Advanced Aliens). Kirk pretty much tells him to stuff it, and then gets schizophrenic about whether humanity has Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions as religion in general, or just moved on to Christianity.
    • The network made him say it, as always worried about losing Southern and Bible Belt audiences.
  • Devil's Advocate: Spock would occasionally preform the duty of the Devil's Advocate, typically countering McCoy's or Kirk's spontaneous, Gut Feeling-inspired actions.
  • Discontinuity Nod:
    • Various extra-series material (novels, for example), often refer in a disparaging way to the more "out there" episodes from The Original Series, usually in the form of Starfleet Officials claiming Kirk made up a large number of his reports, with his motive being contempt for his superiors. Invariably mentioned is the universally disbelieved incident in which aliens "stole the brain of Kirk's Science Officer," a reference to the episode in which Spock's brain is, indeed, stolen by alien babes, and which is considered to be the worst episode of the original series, if not of Star Trek as a whole.
    • The foreword to the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture essentially says that the original series is a overwrought dramatization of actual events which should be regarded as unreliable. Fans debate its canonicity, since, while Trek literature is officially considered non-canonical, it's the only novel written by Gene Roddenberry himself.
  • Disney Dog Fight: At the end of "Requiem for Methuselah", Robot Girl Rayna Kapec must choose between Flint and Captain Kirk. The strain causes her to overload and die.
  • Distress Call: 14 different episodes (including both pilots) start with the Enterprise receiving or already responding to a distress signal.
  • Doomsday Device: "The Doomsday Machine" features a planet-eating device.
  • Downer Ending: "Who Mourns For Adonais", "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", "The City On The Edge Of Forever", "Requiem for Methuselah", "Charlie X" and "A Private Little War".
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: "The Return of the Archons" starts with Sulu and another crewman running from some pursuers in a city street. They're both caught.
  • Dramatic Downstage Turn: Several instances, especially during dramatic scenes featuring female cast members. One simple example appears in a conversation between Leila and Spock near the end of the episode "This Side of Paradise".
  • Dress-Up Episode: a lot. "A Piece of the Action", "Return of the Archons", "Assignment: Earth", "The City on the Edge of Forever", that one where they ended up dressed as Nazis... This trope was popular because it allowed them to use standard, pre-existing costumes, props and sets, rather than having to make expensive new ones. There had been very few science fiction television shows (as opposed to movies) up to that time, outside of children's series like Captain Video and Tom Corbett Space Cadet. Series like One Step Beyond and The Twilight Zone often had people in normal clothing facing unusual situations. There were very few props hanging around to be re-used, unlike today, when science fiction has been popular for a long time.
  • Dropped After the Pilot:
    • Perhaps the most famous example, Captain Pike from the first pilot. More accurately, everyone but Spock was replaced.
    • The 2nd pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", has Ship's Doctor Mark Piper, Communications Officer Alden, and Yeoman Smith. They were replaced by Leonard McCoy, Lieutenant Uhura, and Janice Rand, respectively, in the series.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. Among Kirk's various honors and awards: the Grankite Order of Tactics, the Kargite Order of Heroism, the Palm Leaf of the Axanar Peace Mission, the Prentares ribbon of Commendation, the Starfleet Award of Valor, the Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, the Starfleet Silver Palm with Cluster, and the Starfleet Medal of Honor. The list goes on for so long that it has to be stopped early so that the episode can continue.
    • Spock's no slouch either. He's in the Vulcan Scientific Legion of Honor, and received two decorations for valor from Starfleet Command.
  • Duel to the Death: "Arena", "Amok Time", "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
  • Dying Race: The Talosians in "The Menagerie", the Calandans in "That Which Survives" and the Scalosians in "Wink of an Eye".

    E–H 
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Due to Values Dissonance, arguably this series as a whole is Early Installment Weirdness for the franchise. Also, the earliest episodes have a number of oddities:
    • While still part of the Federation, the Enterprise is explicitly an Earth vessel in early episodes, implying that each Federation world supplies its own military force. Later in the series, and in all series afterward, the Federation has a single consolidated defense armada.
    • Early on, Spock is the only Vulcan in Starfleet. Later in the series, we learn that there is at least an entire vessel of them. (And in Star Trek: First Contact, it turns out that they were the first alien race humans ever encountered.)
    • The unaired original pilot, "The Cage": completely different crew, gooseneck viewers, much more serious in its presentation, Captain Pike angsting somewhat... and being allegedly getting used to a woman on the bridge, despite the presence of the very much female First Officer! (Who does seem to be an unusually strong female character by comparison to most of the series, too.) In addition, the pilot uses "hyperdrive" instead of "warp" for the Faster-Than-Light Travel.
    • Uhura is wearing a gold command uniform in the episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Mudd's Women", the first two episodes filmed that she appears in.
    • The make-up used on Leonard Nimoy for Spock is substantially different in the two pilots; this is very obvious in the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which for reasons unknown aired as the third episode. At least when footage from the first pilot, "The Cage", aired as part of the later episode "The Menagerie" an in-show excuse is given by saying it took place 13 year earlier (maybe Spock's eyebrows migrated down his forehead during that time?).
    • In some early episodes (such as "The Corbomite Maneuver") it was necessary to turn a knob in order to use the turbolift (ship's elevator). In later episodes turbolifts could be operated by voice command.
  • Easily Forgiven: The Kelvans in "By Any Other Name". They hijack the ship, threaten the entire crew, and kill a female yeoman as a demonstration of their power. (She wasn't acting as a danger to them in any way.) And yet, at the end, Kirk forgives and agrees to help them.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: In "Errand of Mercy", the Organians refuse to use violence to stop the Klingons from taking over their planet, but easily thwart them with their Psychic Powers.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The Horta.
  • Eldritch Starship: The ethereal Thasians' ship, an odd lighting effect; the Planet Killer, a conical machine miles long that eats planets; and Balok's enormous, odd spaceship, the Fesarius.
  • Empathic Healer: Gem of "The Empath" heals injuries by taking the patient's pain into herself.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: In "The Mark of Gideon", there is a germ-free "paradise" of a planet which is willing to join the Federation. However, the reason why they invite only Kirk to their planet is so they can decrease the planet's overpopulation by using Kirk, who had a rare disease in his blood, to infect people.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Klingons team up with the Enterprise crew in "Day of the Dove".
    • In "Errand of Mercy", ironically, Kirk and Kor seem to be united in their mutual loathing of the Organians.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: In "Whom Gods Destroy", the insane Garth tries to convince Kirk and Spock that they should be friends (with the implication that the other option would be "or I kill you").
    Spock: On what, precisely, is our friendship to be based?
    Garth: Upon the firmest of foundations, Mister Spock. Enlightened self-interest.
  • Ethical Slut: Kirk goes at it again and again, while remaining morally upstanding.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Well, everybody but Spock. "Shore Leave", "The Trouble With Tribbles", "The Galileo Seven", "Spock's Brain". An actual plot point in "Day of the Dove", when the laughter drives the Energy Being away.
  • Every Episode Ending: The Enterprise flies off into parts unknown, as the dramatic fanfare plays her out. Very rarely averted.
  • Evil Is Hammy: "The Enemy Within" has Evil!Kirk Chewing the Scenery.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Tribbles are hermaphroditic and born pregnant.
    McCoy: The nearest thing I can figure out is they're born pregnant... which seems to be quite a time saver!
  • Explosive Overclocking: The ship's engines, frequently (probably the source of all the "she cannae hauld no muir!" parodies of Scotty). Also, phasers have a setting which allows them to be used as time bombs.
  • Expositron 9000: The ship's computer.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Several of the alien beings that the TOS crew encounter have vastly expanded lifespans and/or have dabbled in Earth's history in some way.
    • A key example can be found in the episode "Requiem for Methuselah". In Flint's home, Mr. Spock finds a waltz by Johannes Brahms written in original manuscript in Brahms' own hand, but which is unknown. Likewise, Flint has a collection of Leonardo da Vinci masterpieces that have been recently painted on contemporary canvas with contemporary materials. Flint later admits that he was Brahms and da Vinci, among others.
    • "Who Mourns for Adonais?" reveals that the Greek gods were actually nearly-immortal aliens who helped inspire and build classial Greek culture in exchange for being worshipped.
  • The Face: Uhura is the Communications Officer, though Kirk handles important parleys, negotiations, and First Contacts himself.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: In the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", in one scene with Gary Mitchell after he has undergone his transformation, the rest of the screen fades out, leaving only his silver eyes visible.
  • Fallen Hero: Gary Mitchell, John Gill, Garth of Izar.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Dr. McCoy seems full of it, insulting Spock's "green blood," "computer" mind, and other Vulcan traits. Kirk and Spock often comment on the differences between Vulcans and Humans, but in a Gentleman Snarker way without any malice.
    • Spock gives back as good as he gets with his snarking about "human emotion." However, the context makes it clear that this is nothing more than banter amongst good friends and colleagues. Anyone but Kirk, Spock, McCoy, or (occasionally) Scotty trying to invoke this trope gets smacked down hard (usually—and appropriately—by Kirk, but Scotty does it to a junior officer in at least one episode).
    • Several episodes also revolve around two alien species' hatred of each other for no good reason.
  • Fanservice:
    • Outfits worn by the hot-girl-of-the-week, and those famous Starfleet miniskirts.
    • Many women find that the numerous Kirk-shirt tears of Season 1 would count as this as well.
    • Dear god, "Mirror, Mirror" shows that Uhura has nice abs. And then there's "Patterns of Force" with its whips, chains, and shirtlessness.
    • Sulu topless in "The Naked Time". Kirk topless several times (and naked in one episode).
    • "Charlie X" has Kirk shirtless and in tights. It's very distracting.
    • Legend has it that when Sherry Jackson walked into the NBC commissary wearing her Andrea costume from "What Little Girls Are Made Of"—bell-bottoms and two straps crossed over her chest—forks stopped halfway between plate and mouth.
    • The costume designer for the show was William Ware Theiss, Trope Codifier and Trope Namer for the Theiss Titillation Theory. You could show an AMAZING amount of skin as long as it did not include belly buttons or the underside of women's breasts, as if executives were afraid moss grew there...
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: When Spock raises his eyebrow, he says "fascinating" very nearly every time.
  • The Final Temptation: In "This Side of Paradise", the spores caused the target to be content with living a simple comfortable life, abandoning any greater ambitions.
  • Force-Field Door: The ship's brig has one of these.
  • Forgets to Eat: Spock, occasionally.
    • In "Amok Time", McCoy uses the fact that Spock hasn't eaten for three days in an attempt to convince Kirk that something is wrong, and Kirk dismisses it as simply being Spock in one of his contemplative phases.
    • Another example is "The Paradise Syndrome", where Spock hardly eats for weeks while studying the obelisk.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Everyone who got killed on the show.
  • Forgot the Call: In "The Paradise Syndrome", Kirk loses his memory and becomes a simple farmer, living on a planet with a bunch of displaced Native Americans.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Trelane ("The Squire of Gothos"), the Organians ("Errand of Mercy"), and the Metrons ("Arena").
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Captain Kirk's willingness to break the Prime Directive whenever he needs to save the Enterprise and/or a "stagnant" culture is well known. He's also a hypocrite on the issue, condemning Captain Tracy in "The Omega Glory" for doing something he has done before and will do again.
  • Freudian Trio: Kirk (Ego), Spock (Superego) and McCoy (Id) form the page image for this trope.
  • A Friend in Need: How the Enterprise crew sticks by each other, through thick and thin.
    • Spock risks his career, and possibly his life, for his former captain (Pike) in "The Menagerie". Kirk does the same for Spock in "Amok Time", and again in the third movie.
  • Friends Are Chosen, Family Aren't: Spock has a very good relationship with his crewmates (particularly Kirk and McCoy), considering he's culturally required to be The Stoic, but he has severe issues with his father, to the point where they didn't speak to one another as family for almost two decades. Stories involving his family show a different and troubled side to Spock.
  • Gender Bender: "Turnabout Intruder" (via Grand Theft Me)
  • Get Back to the Future: "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", "All Our Yesterdays".
  • Get It Over With: Dr. McCoy has a version of this when he is attacked by Khan in Sickbay in "Space Seed":
    Dr. McCoy: Well, either choke me or cut my throat. Make up your mind!
    Khan: English... I thought I'd dreamed hearing it. Where am I?
    Dr. McCoy: You're in bed, holding a knife at your doctor's throat.
    Khan: Answer my question.
    Dr. McCoy: It would be most effective if you would cut the carotid artery, just under the left ear.
  • Genre Savvy:
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Often, a scene of Kirk kissing a Green-Skinned Space Babe would cut away, and following the commercials, either Kirk or the Green-Skinned Space Babe would have somewhat more disheveled hair. This particular instance is especially apparent in the third-season episode "Wink of an Eye", in which, after the requisite Fade to Black, the next scene shows Kirk sitting on his bed, finishing dressing after an interlude with Deela, the Green-Skinned Space Babe of the week. And in "Elaan of Troiyus", Kirk is sitting shirtless on his bed while Elaan lies next to him.
    • Clever wordplay in "The Naked Time", when Sulu imagines himself a heroic swordsman.
      Sulu: [grabbing Uhura] Aha, fair maiden!
      Uhura: [pushing him away] Sorry, neither!
    • Star Trek did show the first televised interracial kiss between Uhura and Chapel in the first season episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of", albeit as just a brief congratulatory peck on the cheek between two sisterly colleagues.
    • What gets all the historical attention, however, is the first "romantic" interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura in "Plato's Stepchildren" in the third season. This scene isn't really that romantic as presented, since they are both being coerced, though it does have her confessing to her captain that she finds his commanding presence very comforting in scary times such as this one. Also, the kiss is shown at an angle from which viewers can't see the actors' lips, although Nichols insists in her memoirs that it was entirely real.
    • In "Mudd's Women", the titular women have an obvious effect on the male crewmembers. During a physical with one of them, a somewhat agitated McCoy notices an odd reading on the medical scanner as the woman walks past.
      McCoy: [Distracted] Would you walk past my panel again?
      Woman: [Chuckling] Your what?
      McCoy: [snapping out of it] Uh... my scanner. Walk past the scanner again.
    • In "The Return of the Archons", they wanted to make it very clear that Bilar rapes Tula during the festival, and in fact that there are a lot of rapes going on. They kept the baccanal scene very short, but director Joe Pevney projected on the side of a building the shadow of a man attacking a woman. Describing this in These Are the Voyages, Marc Cushman says, "Pevney not only snuck it by NBC Broadcast Standards by only showing it in giant shadow form, but he added greatly to the stylistic nature of the episode."
  • God Guise: A recurring theme:
    • In "The Paradise Syndrome", an amnesiac Kirk is mistaken for a deity by transplanted American Indians on a distant planet.
    • "Who Mourns for Adonais?" has an actual surviving Greek God who reveals he's just a powerful alien who had become too used to being worshiped by mortals.
    • In "The Omega Glory", Spock is mistaken for the devil. (This was actually a real-life objection the producers had to his appearance.)
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Gary Mitchell gains these when he gains godlike powers.
  • Godwin's Law of Time Travel: "The City on the Edge of Forever" has a plot where McCoy saving the life of Kirk's Girl of the Week causes a peace movement that leads to the US losing WWII and the Federation never existing. The episode ends with Kirk letting her die to preserve history.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: The captains wear gold uniforms. Anyone wearing a Red Shirt is not so lucky. This all changes starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation, however. The command uniforms were originally a greenish shade close to chartreuse, but the color came out on many people's TV sets as yellowish, so eventually the producers threw in the towel and changed them to gold.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • In "The Alternative Factor", Matter!Lazarus goes stark raving mad upon learning of the existence of his Anti-Matter double and becomes bent on destroying him, even if it means the destruction of both universes.
    • "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" revolves around Kollos, an ambassador of the Medusan race, whose physical appearance is so hideous: or maybe so beautiful: that any humanoid who looks at them directly goes insane. This is a subversion, as Kollos, in contrast with Shoggoths and Eldritch horrors, is clearly a good guy.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: In "The Savage Curtain", Surak, Spock and President Lincoln have a hard time understanding the motives and actions of the opposing "evil" side. Only Kirk seems to have a grasp of their potential for deceptiveness and duplicity.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Kirk's usual response to problems when the Kirk Summation just isn't getting the job done. All of the core cast are capable of throwing down when necessary, but Spock especially stands out as a Badass Bookworm with his Vulcan nerve pinch.
    • In "Return of the Archons" Spock decks somebody with an ordinary punch and Kirk says "Isn't that a little old-fashioned?"
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Why the Federation is unlike the Klingons, according to Kirk.
  • Gorn: Doesn't apply to the show, but one of the most famous scenes of the show involved Kirk fighting a lizard whose species was called the Gorn.
  • Got the Whole World in My Hand: The Terran Empire's sigil from "Mirror, Mirror" shows a dagger stabbed through the Earth.
  • Grand Theft Me: In "Turnabout Intruder", the Girl of the Week and Mad Scientist Dr. Janice Lester uses an alien device to swap her mind into Kirk's body (poor, desperate girl) in order to fulfill her dream of being a starship Captain, because, y'know, chicks can't do that stuff in The Future... Anyhoo, Hilarity Ensues, and we get to watch William Shatner act like an Large Ham with a side of girl, instead of the usual Large Ham.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: In "The Enterprise Incident", the Starfleet Command sent the Enterprise on a mission to steal a cloaking device so they could learn how to neutralize it.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up:
    • Wait, did Chekov say "Leningrad" in My Grandma Can Do Better Than You below?
    • Chekov also attributes one of the "Russian inwentions" to somebody in Minsk, which was part of the Soviet Union but is now in modern-day Belarus.
  • The Great Repair: In "The Galileo Seven", an Enterprise shuttlecraft is pulled off course and crashes on an unknown planet. The crew is repeatedly attacked by primitive humanoids, and there's dissent over Commander Spock's decisions while Scotty attempts to repair the shuttle.
  • Grudging "Thank You":
    • In the episode "Bread and Circuses" Bones gives Spock a Grudging "Thank You" and receives a Think Nothing of It in return.
      McCoy: Spock, er, I know we've, er, had our disagreements. Er, maybe they're jokes, I don't know. As Jim says, we're not often sure ourselves sometimes. But, er... what I'm trying to say is...
      Spock: Doctor, I am seeking a means of escape. Will you please be brief?
      McCoy: What I'm trying to say is, you saved my life in the arena.
      Spock: Yes, that's quite true.
      McCoy: [indignant] I'm trying to thank you, you pointed-eared hobgoblin!
      Spock: Oh yes, you humans have that emotional need to express gratitude. "You're welcome," I believe is the correct response.
    • There's another one in "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield". One of the aliens of the week is set up as someone who's hotheaded and difficult, but ultimately at least somewhat sympathetic. Viewers get a hint of that second half coming when in his first exchange with Kirk and McCoy, after reacting very angrily to their (perfectly accurate) accusation that he had stolen a Federation ship, the alien visibly pulls himself together enough to thank them quite sincerely for rescuing him.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In "A Taste of Armageddon", "Space Seed", "All Our Yesterdays", "A Piece of the Action" and "Whom Gods Destroy".
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: The Federation brings peace, justice, and brotherhood... and if you don't like it, Captain Kirk brings a phaser.
    • "A Piece of the Action" is the funniest example. Captain Kirk positively revels in giving all the mob chiefs offers they can't refuse.
    • The series was partially inspired by the Horatio Hornblower books.
    • Parodied in a line given to Kirk in one of the classic fan songs, "Star Trekkin'" — "We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill," which was in turn inspired by a scene in one episode where Kirk declares, "We come in peace!" while pointing his phaser at the alien. He never actually said those words.
  • Halloween Episode: "Catspaw", which was first broadcast on October 27, 1967.
  • Hate Plague: In "Day of the Dove", an Energy Being that feeds on hate brings the Federation and the Klingons, who are trying to abide by the peace treaty, into conflict. It goes as far as implanting False Memories so that the manipulated will have an extra source of conflict. Those who are killed are somehow brought back to life with their fatal wounds healed to fight again. Once they all figure it out, the creature is repelled from the ship by laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: This trope is why Alexander, the court jester of the Platonians in "Plato's Stepchildren", refuses to take McCoy's concoction that will give him psychic powers. As much as he loathes Parmen for his abuse, the idea that he could turn out as cruel and manipulative as his master, along with even greater psychic abilities to boot, sickens him even more.
  • Held Gaze:
    • Kirk and Spock do this all. The. Damn. Time. In the episode "Miri," they hold each other's gaze for a full twelve seconds, in complete silence, as the camera flicked back and forth between closeups of their faces, after engaging in extremely flirty dialogue. They're still doing the exact same thing twenty years later in The Undiscovered Country, when Kirk whispers in Spock's ear and then pulls away just far enough to lock gazes with him. (That one is a deep breath away from being a kiss.) This trope contributes enormously to their Ho Yay.
    • At the time, many poor ignorant fans saw incipient telepathy in these exchanges. Fan writers (notably Jacqueline Lichtenberg, author of the monumental Kraith series) gathered that Spock, who is telepathic in canon, was teaching Kirk to communicate this way.
    • Kirk and McCoy engage in the purely platonic "meaningful look" variant when they drop the friendly banter and display the fact that they are rock-solid best friends (or at least second best—see above.)
    • Spock and McCoy also have a few such "we understand each other" moments.
  • The Hero: Captain Kirk
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Decker in "The Doomsday Machine"... that is until he faces the planet-killer one-on-one.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several one-shot characters die nobly, but the undisputed champion (and not just for the Star Trek franchise) is Spock sacrificing himself to save the ship and crew, at the end of the second movie. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kirk and Spock and their intergalactic bromance.
  • High Concept: Many idea and concepts for episodes can be described thus but also the idea of the show itself, "Wagon Train to the Stars," was a High Concept in its day.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Frequently with women Kirk seduced.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: In "Wolf in the Fold" it is discovered that Redjac is a noncorporeal lifeform which has been a serial killer on several planets, including Earth where it was Jack the Ripper as well as a few other unnamed killers (in China in 1952 and Kiev in 1974).
  • Hollow World: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky" has a variation, a shell covering an artificial planetoid to hold the atmosphere in.
  • Hollywood Torches: In "Errand of Mercy" and "Catspaw".
  • Holodeck Malfunction: Subverted in the episode "Shore Leave". The planet's safety protocols are working just fine, but the landing party doesn't know that and thinks they are actually in danger. The protocols do break down when the Enterprise returns to the planet in the animated series.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Spectre of the Gun", Kirk refuses to ambush the Earps, in spite of the severe danger they present. Even after one of them kills Chekhov, he doesn't kill the defeated party.
  • Human Aliens: Most alien races encountered are indistinguishable from humans, even the Klingons; they weren't given rubber foreheads until the films. This is mostly due to budget reasons, though it's odd that only Spock requires a disguise whenever the crew infiltrates an alien world.

    I–L 
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: In "Friday's Child", a usurper named Ma'ab kills Aka'ar, the Teer (tribal king), in an attempted coup. He then demands Aka'ar's pregnant wife Eleen and her unborn son killed, as the unborn son is the true heir of succession. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy have to go on the run with Eleen to keep her safe.
  • Implacable Man:
  • Impostor Exposing Test: In "The Trouble with Tribbles", the Tribble dislike for Klingons is used to identify the Klingon spy disguised as a human.
  • Improvised Weapon: The rough-and-tumble fights often involve these. Kirk in particular is a master: ropes, pillows, and that stick thing he uses to beat Khan.
  • Industrialized Evil: In "A Taste of Armageddon", the Enterprise discovers two planets are involved in a bizarre war in which computers simulate the conflict, and civilians deemed "killed" in the simulation are required to report to disintegration chambers. The people willingly go to their deaths, believing that in doing so, they are preventing an actual war from breaking out.
  • Inertial Impalement: In "The Menagerie", during the illusionary battle between Captain Pike and a Rigelian warrior, Pike is kneeling in a courtyard holding up a broken spearhead braced against the ground. The warrior jumps down on him and impales himself on the spearhead.
  • Inexplicable Cultural Ties: A key element of Roddenberry's goal for the series, to tell stories applicable to Earth in The '60s. The alien-culture-of-the-week will therefore be similar enough to one from Earth to get the point across. "Bread and Circuses" acknowledges the prevalence of these and implies that the phenomenon is understood by Federation scientists, providing an alternate Trope Namer, the Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planet Development.
  • Involuntary Group Split: Happens to Kirk and Spock in "Devil in the Dark".
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: invoked Used by Spock as a Logic Bomb in "I, Mudd":
    Spock: [to Alice 27] I love you. [to Alice 210] However, I hate you.
    Alice 210: But I'm identical in every way with Alice 27.
    Spock: Yes, of course. That is exactly why I hate you; because you are identical.
    [both Alices succumb to the logic bomb]
    Spock: Fascinating.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Garth uses this on Dr. Cory and Kirk in "Whom Gods Destroy" in an attempt to learn the transporter code word.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Subverted: the killer actually is Jack the Ripper, who was really a noncorporeal alien possessing human bodies.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: In "The Enemy Within", a Teleporter Accident splits Kirk into Good and Evil (or, if you prefer, hammy and extra hammy) halves. They both have to be convinced that they need each other before the split can be undone.
  • Jerk Jock: Though not a jock, Kirk was tormented endlessly by upperclassman Finnegan when he was younger. One of his fantasies is finally getting to punch him out.
  • Job-Stealing Robot:
    • The titular device in "The Ultimate Computer" is designed to run a starship with a minimal crew; the Enterprise is chosen for its test run.
    • In "A Taste of Armageddon" entire governments have been replaced this way.
  • Just Testing You: Kirk and Scotty set up a challenge/response password before Kirk beamed down to a planet in order to prevent imposters from getting beamed up. Naturally a shapeshifter takes Kirk's form and tries to get Scotty to beam him up. When he doesn't know the password, he tries to cover it up by saying that he was just testing Scotty. Scotty catches on immediately and concludes that Kirk must be in trouble, since the real Kirk would never "test" him like that.
  • Kill the Cutie: Edith Keeler in "The City on the Edge of Forever". After all, You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Kill the Poor: In the episode "The Cloud Minders", on the planet Ardana, rather than be killed, the poor are enslaved and forced to live out their entire lives underground.
  • Knockout Gas: In the episode "Space Seed". After Khan takes over the Enterprise, Kirk orders that all decks be flooded with Neural Gas, which would render everyone aboard unconscious. That attempt fails, but later the attempt succeeds.
  • Large Ham: William Shatner's Kirk is legendary... for the... oddly placed... pauses... and emphasis... in his sentences. Although like most things, this has been heavily exaggerated by people trying to make fun of him. This style is actually most notable when he is being possessed and/or imitated by another person. For the most part he gave Kirk a subtle, sly, devil-may-care attitude that made the character famous in the first place.
    • WEEEEE...THE PEEE-PLE!
    • IIIIII'M CAPTAIN KIIIIIIIRK!
    • And for what it's worth, it only gets really noticable in the third season, when the writing quality also takes a serious nosedive.
  • Last of His Kind: "Who Mourns for Adonais?", "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". "Devil in the Dark" plays with this one; the Horta is merely the last of her generation, trying to guard over a massive hoard of eggs until they hatch.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Mr. Spock was first given his distinctive theme music in the episode "Amok Time". The wistful, romantic melody is usually provided by a bass guitar: a deliberate choice by composer Gerald Fried, as he felt it would be a terrible match for such a utilitarian instrumentnote , a juxtaposition that suits the dichotomy of Spock's character.
    • Scotty also has his own leitmotif, typically used in lighter moments. It is prominently heard in both "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "By Any Other Name".
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: In "Space Seed", after Khan's attempt to take over the Enterprise fails, Kirk says that he and his followers can either be punished under Starfleet regulations (which would presumably involve a long prison sentence) or become colonists on an uninhabited planet.
    Khan: Have you ever read Milton, Captain?
    Kirk: I understand.
    [later]
    Scott: It's a shame for a good Scotsman to admit it, but I'm not up on Milton.
    Kirk: The statement Lucifer made when he fell into the pit. "It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."
  • Licensed Game: Arcade cabinet games, pinball machines, text games, Atari games, flight simulators, adventure games; you name it. Let's focus on the more notable ones.
    • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is a combination flight simulatior/Adventure Game voiced by the original cast, plus one generic Redshirt who is routinely the first to perish should the player screw up. The game was followed by Judgement Rites, in which Chekhov and Uhura are finally allowed to join the landing party (something they rarely did in the series).
    • There was also a 25th Anniversary port for the NES, though the setting and storyline are different. As exhaustively covered (and suffered) by The Angry Video Game Nerd, the final level deposits Kirk back on Iotia II, where Bones foolishly bet and lost his communicator in a card game. This causes a calamity in the future, forcing Kirk to complete a massive Chain of Deals to get the communicator back.
    • The Game Boy version of 25th Anniversary again changes the storyline, this time involving a Doomsday Machine roaming through space. Work on a defensive weapon begins in earnest, but the weaselly Klingons dissemble the device into 12 pieces and scatter them all over space, requiring Kirk to Catch 'Em All.
    • Star Trek: Starfleet Academy takes place in Kirk's era, though the Enterprise does not appear. It is, however, possible to beat the infamous Kobayashi Maru scenario by naming yourself "James T. Kirk", unlocking a prototype ship.
    • There were also three Pinball games:
  • Licensed Pinball Tables: There were technically two:
    • Bally's Star Trek, originally featured the crew in their television designs. Soon after production, however, it was redecorated to bring it closer to Star Trek: The Motion Picture instead.
    • Data East's Star Trek was released as part of the 25th Anniversary of the television series. Features oodles of character cameos on the playfield and a great transporter effect on the backglass.
  • Literal Maneater: The salt vampire from the episode "The Man Trap" mostly operates this way, though there is one exception where it takes on a hunky male form to attract Lt. Uhura.
  • Literal Split Personality: In "The Enemy Within", Kirk gets split into his good half and his evil half.
  • Lobotomy: The episode "Spock's Brain", in which aliens, to put it simply, steal Spock's brain, and the episode revolves around the Enterprise crew getting it back and reattaching it.
  • Logic Bomb: One of Kirk's favorite tactics for dealing with rogue computers; it invariably causes a shutdown, and occasionally a self-destruct. Examples include "The Changeling", "I, Mudd", "Return of the Archons", "The Ultimate Computer", and "Wolf In The Fold".
  • Long Lived: The children in "Miri" (hundreds of years) and Mr. Flint in "Requiem for Methuselah" (six thousand years).
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: This was the plot of the original pilot, "The Cage," though Pike sees through the ruse easily. However, another character trapped there doesn't want to leave the setup—and knows that it's all an illusion—as after having been horrifically mangled in a crash the aliens were able to restore the illusion of her original beautiful appearance. They give her a illusory Captain Pike to live with until the real Pike returns to the planet in a later episode made up of the original pilot.

    M–P 
  • Machine Empathy: Scotty could often sense when something was wrong with the Enterprise from subtle changes in her "feel". Possibly justified, because machines cause vibrations that engineers familiar with said machine can actually feel when touching it, such as through the hull of a starship—Scotty himself confirms this in the NextGen episode "Relics" when he compares the Enterprise-D to his Enterprise with Picard.
  • Mad Love: Nurse Chapel and Spock, McGivers and Khan.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Kirk and his highest bridge officers beam into danger in every episode, despite the presence of specialists on board for that purpose. At least when McCoy is on the away team, Dr. M'Benga covers in Sickbay as acting CMO.
  • Male Gaze: In "Mudd's Women", the camera rather obviously pans to the women's derrieres as they walk along the corridors of the Enterprise after leaving the transporter room.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: In "Patterns of Force", a society of Human Aliens has emulated the regime of Nazi Germany, complete with atrocities committed in for racial and cultural motives. The officers of the regime carry out the orders of their Fuhrer, who they only see via television broadcast. It turns out later that the Fuhrer was drugged and under the control of his Deputy. It was the Deputy Fuhrer who was really responsible for giving orders to the Nazi forces, while the true Fuhrer had good intentions all along.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Pike—>Kirk—>Sulu (although seen briefly in TOS, the Pike-Kirk relationship is only shown in any detail in the reboot and in the non-canon Expanded Universe). Chekov appears to be a mentee of Kirk as well, but ends up on a different career path (in Starfleet Intelligence as opposed to starship command) after the second movie.
  • Mate or Die: The Vulcan pon-farr period provides a biological imperative that strong, as seen with Spock in "Amok Time". The Federation has no knowledge of it, as Vulcans do not speak of it even among themselves.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture:
    • The drone-like Lawgivers in "Return of the Archons." In that case, the drone-like humanoids were controlled by an intelligent supercomputer.
    • The original builders of the Androids on Exo III were also stated to have been a society of biological creatures who ruined their homeworld and retreated underground where they became a more mechanized, machine-like society.
    • The Kelvans from the Andromeda Galaxy are implied to have a culture like this; they are completely organic beings, but in their true form they experience none of the sensory distractions of humanoids, and consider themselves much more efficient. They go about trying to take over the Milky Way with very straightforward methods (transforming Kirk's crew into vulnerable dust-cubes that only their technology can restore to human form, for example) but without any of the typical Trek villains' hamminess. The Federation is saved from them by the fact that, when in artificial humanoid form, the Kelvans become Sense Freaks and can be incapacitated in a variety of ways, such as by the effects of alcohol or unfamiliar emotions like pleasure or jealousy.
    • The Eyemorg (humanoid female) society in the infamous episode "Spock's Brain" were totally reliant on a mechanized underground industrial complex run by advanced computers (for which purpose they tried to steal "Spock's Brain," because they lacked the knowledge to maintain this infrastructure themselves unless); this was in contrast to the primitive, Ice Age-like culture of males that lived on the surface.
    • The Fabrini who lived aboard a generational asteroid ship, which they all believed was actually a planet, were similarly run by an advanced, tyrannical computer called The Oracle. The Fabrini were less "rigidly mechanical" and more "rigidly traditional" though, the rigid traditions being enforced by The Oracle.
  • Mechanical Abomination
    • The Doomsday Machine is a planet-eating, extragalactic superweapon hypothesized to have destroyed its creators, and is now moving through the Federation's part of the galaxy. It's practically indestructible, and has an anti-proton beam capable of easily obliterating most starships, and consumes entire planets. In the end, it isn't even destroyed, just shut down due to internal damage.
    • Nomad is a hybrid of human and alien probes which travels through space on a mission to "sterilize" planets, i.e. kill all organic life forms for no other reason than they are imperfect. It was first encountered after killing four billion people, is powerful enough to easily outgun the Enterprise despite only being about five feet long, and can bring the dead back to life. It was only beaten by showing it that it, too, was imperfect, motivating it to self-destruct.
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: The Vulcan salute. Live long and prosper.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Only three female redshirts are killed in the whole series, whereas dozens of male Starfleet personnel are killed. In one of the three aversions, "By Any Other Name", the Black Dude Dies First trope is also averted, as the white female redshirt is killed by the Kelvans (sparing the black male redshirt in the party) when the Kelvan could have killed both of them just as easily. Probably Fair for Its Day.
  • Mildly Military: The crew of the Enterprise don't seem too keen on protocol and frequently question orders and argue with the captain. As well, what's the sense in the command staff (and thus the most important people on the ship) beaming down for every mission? We mostly see this from the senior staff, which is part of their role in helping Kirk make decisions: he needs their expert opinion, and a command staff of yes-men is a recipe for disaster in any organization. Lower-level personnel who question orders get smacked down rather hard by Kirk. Kirk's flouting of orders from Starfleet Command and civilian government officials, though, completely fulfulls the trope.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Used by the Platonians in "Plato's Stepchildren", with the most blatant example being Parmen forcing Spock to laugh and cry.
    • Mirror Spock forcibly mind-melding with Dr. McCoy in "Mirror, Mirror".
    • The Neural Neutralizer in "Dagger of the Mind" was used for this.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: The reserved, cerebral Spock and his skill at hand-to-hand fighting (Vulcan nerve pinch! Judo chop!).
  • Mirror Universe: "Mirror, Mirror" features an alternate universe where the Federation is part of the tyrannical Terran empire.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: "The Devil in the Dark" has the Horta, which is only protecting its eggs.
  • Monster Munch: While Red Shirts die in great numbers on this show, they are sometimes killed by the Monster of the Week, often in the first scene.
    • "Obsession". A couple of red shirt security personnel are drained of blood and killed by the vampire cloud in the opening scene.
    • "The Devil in the Dark". Two miners and an Enterprise Security man are destroyed by the Horta's acid secretions, one in the first scene.
    • ''Wolf in the Fold". Several women are slaughtered by the "Jack the Ripper" entity during the episode. One of them dies before the opening credits.
  • Monster of the Week: In SF author David Gerrold's book about writing the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles", he recounts seeing the first episode broadcast, which featured a creature that sucked all of the salt out of people's bodies, thereby killing them. He hoped Star Trek wasn't going to turn out to be a Monster of the Week show, which ironically for him, it did.
  • Mood Lighting: Whenever Kirk is putting the moves on a female (of any species), the lighting softens, playing up the female's sexiness.
  • More Hero Than Thou:
    • In "The Empath", when aliens offer Kirk the choice of sacrificing McCoy or Spock, McCoy takes out Kirk with drugs. Spock is glad; since this leaves him in command, he can make the sacrifice himself. McCoy proceeds to drug him as well and sacrifice himself.
    • Ensign Garrovick attempts to do this in "Obsession", but Kirk isn't knocked out, and has no intention of sacrificing himself anyway. Just using himself as bait.
  • Multinational Team: Each of the bridge crew represents a part of the world (and an alien).
  • Mundane Utility:
    • In multiple episodes, they use their phasers to create a heat source, by shooting a rock.
    • In one episode, Yeoman Rand uses a phaser to reheat Kirk's coffee!
  • Mundanization: Episodes in which the crew visits Earth's past, or a planet that unusually mimics it, derive a lot of the humor from the Fish out of Water setting.
  • The Mutiny:
    • In "Turnabout Intruder", when a crazy ex-lover of Kirk switches bodies with him and the suspicious crew has no valid proof and she begins ordering the deaths of anyone who opposes her, Scotty suggests to McCoy that they mutiny, since they know that it would throw the captain into a fit and they would be able to stop him under regulations.
    • Spock's actions in transporting Captain Pike to Talos IV constitute a mutiny, for which he is put on trial—which is a ruse to buy him more time.
    • Kirk considers the crew's actions in "This Side of Paradise" to be a mutiny: they abandon the ship due to being Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: The exchange where Scotty tells Chekov that Scotch whisky is a man's drink, and Chekov replies that it was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: in the episode "Mudd's Women", the computer tells the all-male hearing board the effect the women are having on them: elevated heart rate, sweating, rapid pulse. All except Spock.
  • Neck Snap: The Vulcan tal-shaya technique performed by the Orion spy in "Journey to Babel".
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: At the end of "This Side of Paradise", MCoy notes that this is the second time mankind has been thrown out of paradise. Kirk comments that, no, they left on their own, because maybe it's mankind's fate to only be happy when they have to struggle and fight for everything they get.
  • No Immortal Inertia: In "Miri", children live for hundreds of years due to a virus, but when they reach puberty they become ill and insane and die.
  • No Name Given: Several prominent examples:
    • The character played by Majel Barrett in "The Cage" is referred to only as "Number One," the unofficial nickname attached to her position as Captain Pike's first officer.
    • Neither the male Romulan Commander played by Mark Lenard in "Balance of Terror" nor the female Commander played by Joanne Linville in "The Enterprise Incident" are ever referred to by name.
  • Non-Standard Prescription: Doctor McCoy has Scotty visit a club with a bellydancer, saying it's a prescription. In the films, Bones drinks Romulan Ale for "medicinal purposes."
  • No-Paper Future:
    • Although paper still exists, characters take notes on what are obviously tablet computers. Most characters find reading e-books off of screens to be more convenient than hauling wood pulp around. And this was over forty years ago.
    • The characters are reading what the series calls "microtapes." Yet another example of Zeerust, in that microfilm was predicted to replace paper books back in the 1960's.
    • Averted in the unaired pilot, where the ship's computer produces printouts.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Discussed. When Khan is awoken in "Space Seed", he has a discussion with Kirk once they have determined his identity, lamenting the fact that the humans of the 2260s are practically indistinguishable from those of the 1990s. He was hoping to awaken in a world of genetically modified Ubermenschen like himself, at the very least.
  • No Social Skills: Charlie Evans, due to being raised by Energy Beings.
  • Not Love Interest: Kirk and Spock, for each other. See the trope page for more details, but... suffice it to say, Kirk and Spock have been the lodestars of each others' lives since almost the day they met.
    Spock: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
  • Not Rare Over There: In "Elaan of Troyius", the ship's dilithium crystals crack in the middle of a battle. Unfortunately, there are none left... until they realise that Elaan's necklace has a bunch of them. She surrenders it gladly, bemused that they would want what to her planet are Worthless Yellow Rocks.
  • Not So Different:
    • In the episode "Balance of Terror", the defeated Romulan Commander says that he and Kirk "are of a kind," just before blowing himself up.
      Romulan Commander: You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend. We are creatures of duty, captain. I have lived my life by it. Just... one more duty... to perform.
    • The Klingon commander in "Errand of Mercy" is all over this, but Kirk shouts him down.
  • Not So Stoic: "Amok Time" has Spock react in excitement when Kirk isn't dead.
  • Novelization: between 1967 and his death in the late 1970s, James Blish adapted virtually every TOS episode in short-story format for a series of paperback books (Star Trek 1, Star Trek 2, etc.). A handful of leftover stories were subsequently adapted by his widow, J.A. Lawrence, as the final Star Trek 12 volume, plus the Harry Mudd stories were combined with an original novella to form the novel Mudd's Angels. Early Blish volumes exhibit Early Installment Weirdness as they are based on early scripts of some episodes, resulting in noticeable differences in plot and characterization from the broadcast episodes.
  • Numbered Homeworld: Rigel VII ... XII ... how many of those were there, anyway?
  • Obstructionist Pacifist:
    • A famous example is Edith Keeler from "The City on the Edge of Forever". A time-traveling Dr. McCoy saves her, and because she lives, she leads a pacifist movement that prevents crucial war research during WWII, causing the Nazis to win the war. Kirk has to let her die to reset the timeline.
    • The Organians look like this for most of "Errand of Mercy". Spock describes the planet as a stagnant culture, and the planet seems to be populated by amiable old men who placidly allow the Klingons to conquer them, rebuking Kirk and Spock's efforts to inspire a resistance because they abhor violence so much they'd rather allow arbitrary executions than fight back. It's only at the end that we learn the Organians have simply pretended to be harmless (and executed, and humanoid) to make their visitors feel at ease. When tensions come to a head, they revert to their luminous true forms and make both sides sit in the corner.
  • Obvious Stunt Double:
    • The most infamous example might be the fight in "Amok Time", which features a stunt double that looks nothing like William Shatner fighting an equally non-Leonard-Nimoyish stuntman.
    • Though you could also cite the fight between Ricardo Montalban's stuntman and whoever was doubling for Shatner in "Space Seed".
    • Or the fight in "Court Martial", where seemingly two random guys fought in place of actors William Shatner and Richard Webb.
  • Of the People: In the episode "The Return of the Archons", outsiders are said to be not of the body.
  • Oh Crap!: In "Amok Time" Kirk is chosen to face Spock in battle. Kirk agrees, reasoning that, if things get bad, he'll quit and Spock will be declared the winner. Then, when the lirpa (the staffs with really big blades) are produced, T'Pau announces, "If both survive the lirpa, combat will continue with the ahn-woon." When Kirk asks about what she means, she tells him "This combat is to the death." The look on Kirk's face doubles as a (possibly intentional) Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Matter!Lazarus from "The Alternative Factor". In order to kill his enemy, his Anti-Matter double, he has to cross the threshold into the other universe, but bumping into said enemy while in the same universe will destroy both universes. Despite knowing this, he's so far gone that he simply doesn't care.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sylvia in "Catspaw" turns into a giant cat when Kirk refuses to obey her.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: if not the Trope Maker, then certainly the Trope Codifier with Captain Pike's portrayal in "The Menagerie".
  • Orchestral Bombing: Like many dramatic series of its era, the show makes full and effective use of a brassy orchestral soundtrack.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • The alien Kirk hunts down in "Obsession" is a shapeless cloud that can travel through space at warp speed without a ship, that subsists off of human blood.
    • In the first episode aired, "The Man Trap", the monster can appear as someone the viewer finds attractive... but its true form is a shaggy creature with a lamprey-like mouth, that feeds through its fingers, on salt.
  • Outlaw Town: "A Piece of the Action" has a planet whose culture has modeled itself after 1920s gangster culture.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • When his memories are about to be transferred over to a clone, Kirk quickly mutters, "Mind your own business, Mr. Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed interference, do you hear?" Later on, when the clone meets up with Spock, it says those lines, alerting Spock that this isn't their captain and prompting him to quickly gather a team to beam down.
    • Also occurs in "Day of the Dove," when Chekov is ranting about the Klingons having murdered his brother Piotr. Sulu immediately knows something is wrong because Chekov's an only child.
    • The rest of the crew is alerted to Janice Lester's hijacking of Kirk's body by her increasingly irrational and paranoid behavior in "Turnabout Intruder."
    • Used as part of a Batman Gambit in "Mirror, Mirror" when the crew convinces the Mirror Universe Spock to assist them in returning home and to set up the Heel–Face Turn that Mirror Spock would perform later on, as referenced in subsequent episodes of DS9 and Voyager.
      Mirror Spock: You must return to your universe, and I must have my captain back.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: "The Naked Time", "This Side of Paradise" and "Amok Time" are entire episodes about this trope.
  • Out of Order: The network aired a lot of episodes in a completely different order than they were produced. Some of this was justified ("The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Balance of Terror" needed a lot of post-production work done after they were filmed), while others were more arbitrary ("The Man Trap" was aired before "Where No Man Has Gone Before" despite the latter being the series pilot, as the network wanted something more like a typical B-movie plot to introduce the series instead of the actual pilot).
  • Papa Wolf: Kirk considers every man and woman under his command his responsibility, and if you harm them, he will not be happy.
  • Panty Shot: The ridiculously short skirts of the standard female uniform lead to most of the female Starfleet officers doing this at some point.
  • Parent Ex Machina: "The Squire of Gothos" has Trelene getting punished by his "parents" (who appear as blobs of energy).
  • People Puppets: "Plato's Stepchildren", and a literal example in the ending of the original version of "Catspaw".
  • Planet Spaceship: In "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", a group of aliens have been sequestered inside a large interstellar asteroid for so long that they have forgotten that they are actually inside one.
  • Pleasure Planet: "Shore Leave" takes place on a planet where aliens go for amusement and the Enterprise crew finds danger and weirdness.
  • Pointy Ears: On Spock and other Vulcans; appropriate for Space Elves. Romulans, which are related to Vulcans, also have pointed ears, and Spock comes in for some Fantastic Racism when the visual similarity is noticed.
  • Polarity Reversal: The Trope Maker.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Assignment: Earth" was intended to spin off a series of the same name. The existing script was reworked to include the Enterprise, but the focus is still clearly on Gary Seven and the other new characters; Kirk and his crew have almost no impact on the outcome.
  • Portal Door: "All Our Yesterdays" has the Atavachron, a machine that creates a portal door/wall to a time in that planet's past.
  • The Power of Legacy:
    • In his final log in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk merely notes that Mitchell "gave [his] life in performance of [his] duty", and omits the part where he first gained vast psionic powers and began to think of himself as a god who regarded humans as insects to be crushed.
    • Likewise, in "The Doomsday Machine" Kirk states that his log will note that Commodore Decker died in the line of duty, omitting the part where the man pretty much went insane with survivor's guilt and almost got the crew of the Enterprise killed. It's heavily suggested that Kirk is attempting to imply by omission that Decker performed a Heroic Sacrifice by piloting the Constellation into the Doomsday Machine to destroy it, instead of the truth, that he went out in a futile suicidal gesture by crashing into the machine with a shuttlecraft. Note that Spock is the one who brings up Kirk logging Decker as having died in the line of duty, which he seems to endorse despite having been in a power struggle with Decker for most of the episode. Although he doesn't say it in so many words, he obviously felt for Decker in the same way that he felt for Gary Mitchell.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lenore Karidian wears a short fur dress. Seen here, at 12:55: 14:47.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • There is only one curse in the entire series, occurring at the end of "The City on The Edge of Forever". It's notable for being one of the few curse words on American TV during the 1960s and showing just how hurt Kirk is as a result of the Bittersweet Ending.
      Kirk: Let's get the hell out of here.
    • Bones does say "Don't give me any damnable logic..." in one episode, and a gangster from the gangster episode does say "hell" in a non-religious context. Neither case is given the emphasis of Kirk's declaration.
  • Pressure Point: Spock's Vulcan nerve/neck pinch. According to Word of Nimoy, this was originally going to be a traditional Tap on the Head, but Nimoy insisted that Vulcans had something more sophisticated and reliable instead.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Klingons, but also the Romulans and others.
  • Proxy War: "A Private Little War" has the Klingons supplying increasingly advanced firearms to one tribe of a primitive planet, to install them as a puppet leader of that world. Another tribe, one that Kirk had met years before, begins to demand similar weapons by the end, and Kirk begins arranging a Federation-aligned alliance of tribes to oppose the Klingon-controlled ones. He even references the brush wars of the 20th century as he does so.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Janice Lester in "Turnabout Intruder" is an ex-lover of Kirk's. Given the sheer number of Kirk's conquests, the number of these looking for him probably is what drove him into space to begin with.
  • Psycho Serum: McCoy's adrenaline-like drug in "The City on the Edge of Forever", which causes temporary insanity when injected at overly high doses (which he accidentally does to himself).
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • Charlie Evans from "Charlie X".
    • Trelane from "The Squire of Gothos." Made even better by the fact that while he looks like an adult human, by his species' standards Trelane is a child.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Chekov gets a particularly nasty one in "Mirror, Mirror" when he threatens to kill Kirk for disobeying an order. Doubles as Slasher Smile.
  • Public Secret Message:
    • In "Space Seed", Khan Noonien Singh was named for Kim Noonien Singh, one of Roddenberry's buddies from World War II. Roddenberry hoped that the name would attract the attention of the Real Life Singh in hopes that they would reconnect.
    • David Gerrold did a similar thing in writing "The Trouble With Tribbles"; the space station on which the episode takes place is in orbit around "Sherman's Planet". Gerrold's girlfriend at the time was one Holly Sherman.
  • Punishment Box:
    • The appropriately-named Agony Booth in the episode "Mirror, Mirror."
    • The neural neutralizer in "Dagger of the Mind" is not intended as such, but ends up being used this way.
    • The Klingon Mind-Sifter in "Errand of Mercy."
  • Puppeteer Parasite:
    • In "Operation: Annihilate!", parasitic creatures that resemble flying pancakes attack planetary colonists—and eventually Spock.
    • In "Wolf in the Fold", the Enterprise crew encounters "Redjac", a noncorporeal parasite responsible for numerous serial killings throughout the centuries. One of the humans it possessed was Jack the Ripper.

    Q–T 
  • Radio Silence: In "Balance of Terror", the Romulan ship heads home under cover of a cloaking device and comm silence. Unfortunately for them, one of the officers violates orders in order to call home base to report the success of their mission, and the transmission is detected.
  • Ramming Always Works: How Kirk destroys the titular device in "The Doomsday Machine", using a derelict starship to which Scotty manages to restore some engine power.
  • Ray Gun Gothic: The Original Series was the last of the classic examples. Soon afterwards, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Real Life moon landings introduced more realism into the genre.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Said by everyone: Spock, Chekov, Uhura...
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: In "The Ultimate Computer", Dr. Richard Daystrom is cited as a 2243 Nobel Prize winner for the invention of duotronic computers.
  • Reality Changing Miniature: In "Catspaw", Silvia's little silver Enterprise causes the real ship to overheat when the model is exposed to a flame, and the old girl to be surrounded by a force field when the model is encased in hard plastic.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Two instances, both involving Time Travel and the not-gun-shaped Phaser. In "The City On The Edge of Forever", a 1930s bum gets hold of one and vaporizes himself playing with it. In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", Kirk is captured by Air Police in 1969, and cringes (with priceless facial expressions) as they fiddle with his weapon, toss it around, and several times almost press the trigger, conflicted between justifiable fear and the need to not let them know who he is or what they have.
  • Red Shirt: Actually an Unbuilt Trope: By and large, most of the people who die in a given episode tend not to be very plot-important, but only 24 red-shirted crewmembers died across all 80 episodes, in a series fraught with evil computer programs, shape-shifting salt vampires, planet destroying superweapons, and explosive rocks. Considering their job, and the fact that the ship has 430 crewmembers, that's not bad for a five-year mission.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in the 2nd pilot episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and Captain Merick in "Bread and Circuses".
  • Religion of Evil: The cult of Landru in "The Return of the Archons".
  • Repressive but Efficient: "Patterns of Force", in which a lawless planet adopts Nazism as its hat with the justification that it was "the most efficient state the Earth ever knew." Their version of Nazism is treated in-universe as just as flawlessly efficient.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Isis (to Gary Seven) in "Assignment: Earth" and Sylvia (to Korob) in "Catspaw".
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Inverted; Captain Kirk is a charming Officer and a Gentleman. By contrast, his first officer, Spock, is more tactless and ruthlessly pragmatic. The fact that he's also The Stoic when he does these things probably doesn't do his image any favors.
  • Running Gag:
    • Trying to explain Spock's Pointy Ears to native people. The cake-taker has to be this gem, from "The City on the Edge of Forever":
      Spock: You were saying you'd have no trouble explaining [the ears].
      Kirk: [to a cop] My friend... is obviously Chinese. I see you've noticed the ears... well, they're... actually easy to explain...
      Spock: Perhaps the unfortunate accident I had as a child...?
      Kirk: ...the unfortunate accident he had as a child. He caught his head in a mechanical... rice picker... but, fortunately, there was an American, uh, missionary living close by who was a, uh, skilled, uh, plastic surgeon in civilian life who...
      Cop: All right, all right. Drop those bundles and put your hands on the wall.
    • Chekov claiming everything was "inwented in Russia."
      Chekov: It makes me homesick... just like Russia.
      McCoy: More like the Garden of Eden, ensign.
      Chekov: Of course, doctor. The Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow. Very nice place.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Infamously, the Klingons (though they didn't even have the budget for that until the movies). Vulcans are Rubber Pointy Ear Aliens.
  • Sacred Scripture:
    • In "The Omega Glory", the Yangs have a sacred text which turns out to be identical to the US Constitution.
    • In "A Piece of the Action" our heroes discover a planet has been using a book about gangs in 1920s Chicago (left by a previous Federation vessel) as their holy book.
  • Sadistic Choice: Everyone is forced to make these every so often.
  • Sailor Fuku: In the episode "Court Martial", Jamie Finney wears a futuristic version of this.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Both Spock and Bones are devoted to the captain, but are also quite willing to question/make sarcastic comments about his orders when the situation warrants it.
    Spock: Captain, you are an excellent starship commander, but as a taxi driver, you leave something to be desired!
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The motivation behind violating orders 90% of the time (the other 10% being The Power of Friendship). The third and fourth movies are fueled entirely by this trope.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!:
    • Trelane, the Squire of Gothos... at least until Kirk breaks whatever it is he has behind that mirror. In the episode "Catspaw", Sylvia and Korob... until Kirk shatters the power transmuter wand tied to the illusions to themselves and the planet. You may notice a theme.
    • Justified/Played with in "Charlie X", because he really doesn't understand the rules.
    • Gary Mitchell from "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
  • Second Episode Introduction: McCoy doesn't appear in either of the pilots, but does appear in the first proper episode.
  • Secret Test: Balok in "The Corbomite Maneuver", the Ekosian Resistance in "Patterns of Force", and Korob in "Catspaw".
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: In one episode Kirk is infected by alien tears that cause men to be madly in love with the woman who shed them. Doctor McCoy looks for a cure, but in the end notes that the Captain had his own cure; he was in essence already married to the Enterprise.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Enterprise has one on board. It requires simultaneous voice input from three senior officers to activate.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The mirror universe.
  • Settling the Frontier: A couple of examples:
    • "This Side of Paradise" has the Enterprise on a rescue mission to settlers on a Federation colony, supposedly endangered by deadly radiation.
    • In "The Way to Eden", the crew of the Enterprise meets a group of space hippies who hope to settle a new colony on a planet they call Eden.
    • In "The Trouble with Tribbles" the Federation and the Klingons are competing to develop a colony world. The Enterprise is tasked with delivering a special grain hybrid to kickstart the colony's agriculture. A Klingon agent subsequently poisons the grain.
  • Sexier Alter Ego:
    • In the episode "Mudd's Women", Mudd has pills that he claims makes a woman more attractive.
    • Mirror Universe Spock is this for many viewers.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The series adhered to the level 2 of continuity (Status Quo Is God) well enough that with a scant few exceptions you can watch the series in any order and it generally makes perfect sense.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Spock, logically, as well as Kirk, who was stated to be quite bookish at the academy, play 3-D chess. They are often seen playing while having a conversation relevant to the plot.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Uhura was a Token Twofer who was also relegated to the position of space phone operator. For the time, she was rather progressivenote , but... This was due to Executive Meddling. The original pilot had a female second-in-command. The network couldn't fire her fast enough (even if she managed to sneak back on set anyway in a blonde wig and a nurse's outfit). The network might also have resented the fact that she was Gene Roddenberry's girlfriend. According to William Shatner at least, women in the test audiences found the female second-in-command "pushy" and "annoying." Maybe The World Was Not Ready... (It's also possible that Number One was simply perceived as being too abrasive toward her subordinates, though her being a woman with subordinates would probably contribute to this perception. On the other hand, it's noteworthy that Kirk was also frequently abrasive in the early episodes until the character was refined and solidified.) It's also been said that NBC gave Roddenberry a somewhat Sadistic Choice: either keep the female second-in-command or keep Spock, but not both. Years later, Majel Barrett would quip that he "kept the Vulcan and married the woman, 'cause he didn't think Leonard would have it the other way around."
  • Space Amish:
    • "The Way to Eden" features a group seeking a world where they can set up such a society. In the end, it doesn't work out (both because the planet they've chosen is uninhabitable, and because their leader is a nut), but it's interesting that, out of the whole crew, the one who is most sympathetic to their goal is Spock.
      • Spock. Miss Galliulin... It is my sincere hope that you do not give up your search for Eden. I have no doubt but that you will find it, or make it yourselves.
    • "Errand of Mercy" features an alien society that thrived for eons without technological advancement. Although, they really don't need to use technology. They are, after all Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Space Is an Ocean: The Enterprise is a "ship," equipped with "torpedoes," and the crew is arranged along naval lines. Several touches are intended to put the audience specifically in mind of the age of Wooden Ships and Iron Men: the in-ship intercom's attention chime is a bosun's whistle, and the standard bit of incidental music played when the Enterprise is in flight is in a style often used for incidental music accompanying a sailing ship under way.
  • Space Mines: In the episode "Balance of Terror", the Romulan ship uses one of its self-destruct devices as an impromptu mine in an attempt to destroy the Enterprise. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in The Kobayashi Maru scenario that starts off the movie, the ship the Enterprise needs to rescue was disabled by a gravitic mine.
  • Spot the Imposter:
    • In "Whom Gods Destroy", Spock sees Kirk standing right next to an insane shapeshifter who is posing as Kirk. Spock identifies the imposter getting into a fight and noticing that one Kirk orders them both shot to prevent the imposter from escaping. Knowing that the imposter would never give that kind of command, Spock stuns the other one. This may be the origin of the "shoot us both" gambit, which itself is so well-known that today it's more likely that the evil one will use it, expecting the decider to shoot the other one.
      • Spock knew that the shapeshifter in question couldn't hold another identity for more than a few minutes. He says so, and explains that all he has to do is wait. That's when the "Shoot him! No, shoot us both" dialogue occurs.
      • Leonard Nimoy hated this episode, noting that as The Smart Guy Spock should have been able to easily and quickly create the kind of highly personal trick questions only his best friend, Kirk, should be able to answer properly to identify himself. According to Spock, he did not make his choice based on the order to shoot them both, but rather based on which one was winning: Kirk was recovering from serious injuries and thus was at a disadvantage against the healthier duplicate.
    • "The Man Trap" features a shapeshifting creature that drains the salt from people. It shapeshifts several times before settling on shifting into McCoy's form. It can be spotted by its tendency to curve its index finger and nibble slightly on the arc of the finger.
    • In "The Enemy Within", Kirk is split by a transporter accident into his "good" and "evil" halves. In what might be considered a subversion, it turns out Kirk's "evil" half is not so much evil, as driven by passion and base instinct, and Kirk's "good" half, the logic and intellect side, is incapable of acting competently without it.
  • Starfish Alien:
    • Despite the franchise's well-earned reputation for Rubber-Forehead Aliens, the original series did introduce some nonhumanoid aliens in some of the series' most highly-regarded episodes: the Horta in "Devil in the Dark," the tribbles in "The Trouble with Tribbles"; the true forms of Sylvia and Korob as seen at the end of "Catspaw"; and several non-corporeal aliens. Within the limits of the special effects technology available at the time, the original series actually did fairly well in this regard. Additionally, the Kelvans are stated to have had a truly bizarre physiology before taking on human form to steal the Enterprise.
    • TOS also introduced the Tholians, an extremely xenophobic race that had the general appearance of a virus. Despite only appearing in one episode, they became a fan favorite and the subject of wild speculation. Eventually, throughout the remainder of the franchise, a few canonical facts were given about the species: They have six legs, no evidence of a circulatory system, require temperatures above 400 degrees Kelvin to survive (lower temperatures would cause their carapace to rupture and eventually explode), have two sexes despite being hermaphroditic, and can emit radiation as a means of communication.
  • Stealth in Space: The Romulans' cloaking device technology shields them from both visible light and sensor readings, but also blinds the ship itself, and draws so much power that it must be dropped in order to fire, allowing for "Balance of Terror" to be a submarine episode (specifically, the 1957 film The Enemy Below) Recycled IN SPACE!
  • Stealth Pun: The name of the librarian in "All Our Yesterdays" is "Atoz". Which is what you get if you take the phrase "A to Z" and compress it.
  • Straw Vulcan: Among other examples, in "The Galileo Seven", we're shown Spock's first command, as the shuttle he is in charge of crashes on a desolate planet filled with savage aliens. Spock determines that a display of superior force will logically frighten away these aliens while the crew make repairs to the shuttle. Instead, as Dr. McCoy points out, the aliens have an emotional reaction and become angry and attack, something Spock did not anticipate. In the end, Spock's desperate act of igniting the fuel from the shuttle to create a beacon proves to be the correct action since it gets the attention of the Enterprise and allows for a rescue. When called on this "emotional" act, Spock replies that the only logical course of action in that instance was one of desperation.
  • The Strength of Ten Men: In "Space Seed," Khan's "I have five times your strength!"
  • Styrofoam Rocks: In "Return of the Archons", a melon-sized "rock" bounces off a stuntman's head and he keeps running. Apparently it wasn't supposed to hit him at all, and was left in under time pressure.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Squire of Gothos" and more.
  • Super Cell Reception: Naturally, the communicators came before cell phones, but they look much like them (having arguably inspired their modern look), and are often subject to both ends of this trope.
  • Take a Third Option: Kirk is famous for these. When faced with two undesirable options in "Operation: Annihilate!", he outright tells his crew to go and find him a third one.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Usually with Kirk delivering a Logic Bomb to a psychotic computer.
  • Talking Is a Free Action, by way of the Captain's Log used to bring viewers up to speed on current events. In "By Any Other Name", as the Enterprise approaches the Energy Barrier, Kirk records a log detailing a plan to defeat the Kelvans—while the Kelvans are on the bridge with him.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Spock definitely fits into this trope.
  • Tap on the Head: Often played completely straight with the human characters, especially Kirk, but Spock uses his famous Vulcan nerve pinch instead.
  • Take That:
    • Chekov was supposedly introduced after an article in the Soviet state newspaper Pravda allegedly mocked the show for not having a Russian, when the Russians had been the first into space.
    • Chekov was then used as a delivery vessel for a number of minor Take Thats to the Russians for the remainder of the series, turning In the Original Klingon into an art form:
      Chekov: It makes me homesick. It's just like Russia.
      Bones: More like the Garden of Eden, Ensign.
      Chekov: Of course, Doctor. The Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow—a very nice place, must have made Adam and Eve very sad to leave.
    • The insult "Herbert" that the space hippies use in "The Way to Eden" was definitely a Take That at a real-life Herbert. However, no-one is exactly sure who it was supposed to be: depending on who you ask, it was either Herbert Hoover or Herbert Solow, who was the show's production executive for the first two seasons.
    • In "Charlie X", Uhura sings seductively to Spock (no, the 2009 movie didn't make up her having the hots for him) and jokingly describes him as being "in Satan's guise" (to which Spock struggles to suppress a smile)—a Take That to meddling executives who had feared that Spock's "devilish" appearance would offend conservative viewers (and doctored publicity photos to remove Spock's pointed ears and slanted eyebrows).
    • Uhura's normal place on the bridge was directly behind the captain's seat, the center of attention and focus. Many, many shots of Kirk included her. "There's a black lady on TV", indeed.
  • Techno Babble: Although not as bad as later series, there is still a lot. Remember, this is the show that invented the Polarity Reversal.
  • Teenage Wasteland: "Miri" features a planet where a virus has killed off all the adults, leaving the children to look after themselves.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Charlie in "Charlie X." Being a juvenile Reality Warper with boundary issues doesn't help, though he does turn out to have a serious Freudian Excuse.
  • Teleporter Accident:
    • Many (usually the transporter being out of order and unable to beam the heroes aboard), but notably in "The Enemy Within", which creates an Evil Knockoff and a wimpy knockoff of Kirk.
    • The lack of safety features of the transporter is highlighted in Season 3's "And the Children Shall Lead", when Kirk and Spock accidentally transport two crewmen into open space because the transporter system doesn't have any mechanism to warn that they are not locked on to a habitable location.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Federation correctional facilities, such as the Tantalus penal colony in "Dagger of the Mind" and the Elba II asylum in "Whom Gods Destroy", include security fields that prevent beaming in or out while in operation.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: The show would have one of these on occasion because Nichelle Nichols was a professional singer. Every now and then she would serenade the crew.
  • That's an Order!: Occurred in 13 different episodes.
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: In "Court Martial", McCoy is aghast to find Spock playing chess against the computer while Kirk is losing a court martial for criminal negligence. However, Spock reveals that he has been using the chess games to confirm that the ship's computer's memory banks have been tampered with to frame Kirk.
  • This Was His True Form: The shapeshifting creature in "The Man Trap"; the two telepathic aliens in "Catspaw".
  • Those Wacky Nazis: "Patterns of Force" features a planet of Nazis!
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: During one of the illusions that Captain Pike is subjected to in the original pilot episode, he winds up using this on a giant warrior threatening the Love Interest, causing it to fall and get impaled.
  • Time Bomb: "Obsession", "The Immunity Syndrome", "The Doomsday Machine".
  • Time Stands Still:
    • "Wink of an Eye" features aliens who move so fast that they're invisible to the naked eye and everyone else appears frozen to them. (Interestingly enough, so long as none of the aliens or the people they abducted into their 'timeframe' by means of a drug are actually around to watch, both they and the crew seem to function in parallel and on the same timescale just fine. This point is never addressed.)
    • Kirk receives the drug when it's slipped into his coffee, inadvertently making it look like he's on Caffeine Bullet Time.
  • Time Travel Episode: In "[The City on the Edge of Forever", Bones accidentally steps through a time portal that takes him back to the 1930s, where he inadvertently changes the timeline so humans never went into space. It's up to Kirk and Spock to follow him and repair the damage.
  • Time Travel Romance: Kirk falls for Edith Keeler in the 1930s in "The City on the Edge of Forever." Unfortunately, You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Time Travelers Are Spies: "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "Assignment: Earth".
  • Tim Taylor Technology: Scotty is very often called upon to wring more power out of the Enterprise engines. Despite calls of "I'm givin' her all she's got, cap'n!", he always comes through.
  • Title Drop:
    • Doubling as a Wham Line, from the episode "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky".
      Old Man: You are... not of Yonada?
      Kirk: No, we're from... outside your world.
      Elder Yonadan: Where... is outside?
      Kirk: [solemnly] Up there. Outside, up there, everywhere.
      Elder Yonadan: So they also... [seizes in pain, whispers] Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even though it is forbidden. [winces in pain]
      Kirk: Why is it forbidden?
      Elder Yonadan: [winces in pain] I am not sure. [winces again] But things are not as they... teach us, for the world... is hollow, and I... have touched the sky! [screams in pain, falling over dead]
    • Most of the episodes get a Title Drop, including "Obsession", "The Changeling"' and yes, "Spock's Brain".
  • That's What I Would Do: In "Balance of Terror", this is Kirk's comment after the nameless Romulan commander dodges one of the Enterprise's attacks: "He did exactly what I would have done. I won't underestimate him again."
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • One Girl of the Week has a guy obviously in love with her who is Too Dumb to Live. Given that said girl had to spend four years on Vulcan to retain her sanity, I'm sure trying to make her feel strong emotions is a wonderful idea! Oh, and what better way to get a girl to like you than by ruining her career by murdering the ambassador she's accompanying? The ambassador is an Eldritch Abomination the mere sight of which can make humans go mad. Just walk up, look it straight in the whatever-seeing-organs-it-possesses, and kill it. What could possibly go wrong?
    • Almost every Red Shirt seems Too Dumb to Live in a way. (Except in the cases where their deaths are the direct result of the orders or actions of a superior officer.) To expand on the example, let's examine just how well Starfleet Landing Parties are designed to kill the men and women assigned to them: They carry no protective gear of any kind (helmet, armour, gas mask etc), no emergency food or drink, no miscellaneous survival equipment such as a knife or stove, no emergency shelter, no storage capability beyond a small belt, refuse to change out of their thin brightly coloured uniforms into anything resembling camouflaged and/or practical gear, and they never ever carry a back-up communicator/combadge despite it constantly being broken or lost.
  • Trespassing to Talk: During the first season episode "A Taste of Armageddon", Kirk escapes captivity and waits in his captor's office to have a calm, albeit at gunpoint, conversation about the reasons for Kirk's imprisonment.
  • Trial by Combat:
    • Kirk must face the Gorn captain in "Arena" in a Duel to the Death to determine which of them has trespassed into the other's territory.
    • Kirk vs. Spock in "Amok Time" is the other classic example. Spock is Badass enough when he's in his right mind. Spock driven beyond the point of insanity by his mating instinct is horrifying for Kirk and McCoy!
  • Turns Red: The Companion, when Kirk and crew attack it with something like an EMP; it takes Cochrane to stop it from killing our gallant crew.
  • Turn the Other Fist: The episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" features this kind of punch by good ol' Scotty when a Klingon is insulting the Enterprise.
  • Two Girls to a Team: For most of the show, there are two women in the core cast: Lt. Uhura and Nurse Chapel. Initially, Yeoman Rand was part of the cast as well, but the actress was let go in the middle of the first season. Only one episode ("The Naked Time") features all three women; Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand never interact with each other, but Uhura seems to be on fairly good terms with the both of them.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Occurs in multiple episodes.

    U–Z 
  • Unexplained Recovery: Two rather famous Redshirts. Lieutenant Leslie gets killed by the Dikironium Cloud Creature in "Obsession" and reappears unharmed later in the episode.note  Lieutenant Galloway gets disintegrated by a phaser in "The Omega Glory", but he shows up alive and well in "Turnabout Intruder."
    • In the episode "The Galileo Seven," Spock's legs get pinned between a large rock and a cliff. After he is freed, he is visibly limping; however, later in the episode, he is shown walking around the bridge with no indication that the injury had ever occured. Justified in that Spock may heal faster than humans and that McCoy may have had a chance to treat his injuries in the meantime.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Guest star Barbara Anderson (Lenore Karidian, "Conscience of a King") shares the record with Ricardo Montalban and Joan Collins for the most costumes worn in an episode (six).
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The broadcast version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" didn't have William Shatner's "Space, the final frontier" Opening Narration. This was "corrected" for the HD remastered version of the episode. The actual pilot version (first publically available on the Blu-Ray release of the series) had an even more unique title sequence. Alexander Courage's famous theme song was conspicuously absent (despite having been in the earlier pilot, "The Cage") and in its place was different music composed by Courage. The title itself was in a completely different font. Of the cast only Shatner as Kirk was credited with the title, as opposed to season one which credited both Shatner and Nimoy as Spock. Nimoy was instead credited later in the episode before the guest cast. This itself was also done in a way different then standard. Finally, the end titles credited the rest of the cast with their characters' professions (for example, "Ship's Doctor" or "Engineering Chief") rather then their characters' names. These differences (and a few others) can be viewed here.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Doctor McCoy (and Edith Keeler) in "The City on the Edge of Forever".
  • Viewer Stock Phrases: As any Trekkie (or Trekker) will tell you, this show might cause you to say...
  • Villainous Breakdown: Quite a few instances.
    • Khan suffers a brief one when no one from the bridge is willing to join him, even with Kirk's life at stake.
    • In "Turnabout Intruder", Dr Janice Lester grows increasingly unhinged as the rest of the suspicious crew begin to mutiny and rebel against her orders while she's in Kirk's body.
    • "The Conscience of the King" deals with trying to discover if actor Anton Karidian really was a murderous tyrant named Kodos the Executioner. By the end of the episode, this has happened to two villainous characters. Karidian, who is Kodos and becomes spooked when he overhears an argument between Riley and Kirk about his past during a performance of Hamlet, breaks down backstage during the intermission, believing the voices to be ghosts from his past. At the same time, his daughter Lenore reveals she has murdered seven of the nine witnesses who could still identify him, and plans to kill Kirk and Riley, even swearing she would destroy a planet to save him. Kodos breaks down further as he realizes his actions in the past have corrupted his own child as well. In true Shakespearian fashion, this causes a chain reaction that ends in the death of Kodos, who dies trying to stop Lenore from shooting Kirk and instead takes the lethal blast meant for Kirk. Lenore is pronounced completely insane in the epilogue, as she believes her father to be alive and well.
    • Evil Kirk in "Mirror, Mirror". "I. ORDER. YOU!!!!"
    • And Evil Kirk in "The Enemy Within". "IIIIIII'MMMMMMMM CAPTAIIIIIN KIIIIIIIRK!"
  • The Wall Around the World: The barrier around the galaxy in "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Appears again in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?", when a jealous (and then insane) engineer gets them lost on the wrong side of it and Spock must mind-meld with Kollos to get them back, and mentioned in "By Any Other Name" as the reason for the Kelvan expedition being stranded in our galaxy.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Spock in "Amok Time", almost word for word.
    Spock: After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical... but it is often true.
  • Weakened by the Light: In "Operation: Annihilate!", the parasites that infected the colonists on the planet Deneva are destroyed by bright light.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Vians in "The Empath" use a beautiful, mute empath in combination with our Power Trio to determine whether her race is worthy of survival before their sun goes nova. Their methods consist of torture and mutilation, resulting in gross physical and psychological damage. Turns out that the empath's race is worthy of preservation, and the Vians, logical and possessed of their own morals and ethics regarding life, needed only "good old-fashioned human emotion" to help them see that.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kirk's brother Sam and sister-in-law Aurelian are killed during the events of "Operation: Annihilate!", but his nephew Peter survives—never to be heard from or referred to by Kirk or anyone else again. Peter is the only living blood relative Kirk is known to have until the movies, when Kirk is finally introduced to his adult illegitimate son David Marcus. Even assuming someone else on Deneva took Peter in, you'd think Kirk (imagine how cool an uncle he'd be!) would check in on the boy from time to time. In addition, an earlier episode established that Kirk's brother had three sons, but the other two are nowhere in sight when Kirk visits the family home.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Horta (rock monster) in "The Devil in the Dark".
  • Where's the Fun in That?: "The Squire of Gothos". Kirk asks his captor, "Where's the sport?" in simply hanging him, as he had planned. Instead, Kirk talks his captor into staging a "royal hunt". This buys Kirk enough time for a deus ex machina rescue.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: In "Spock's Brain", Spock's brain is stolen by aliens who use it as a computer to run their planet's infrastructure. For some reason, his autonomic functions still work, but he is completely unconscious. Kirk has to get the brain back quickly, because Spock's Vulcan physiology is especially dependent on that tremendous brain. (While a brain-dead human could be kept "alive" easily for quite some time.) So that they can restore the brain quickly when they find it, McCoy rigs up a device that fits on Spock's head and allows his lifeless body to walk around, manipulated by a remote control. With three buttons. SPOCK has made a song called "Mr. Spock's Brain", based on the above episode.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Edith Keeler in "The City on the Edge of Forever", a passionate advocate of peace—in the face of Nazi Germany.
    Spock: She had the right idea ... but at the wrong time.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and to a lesser extent (or at least power level), "Whom Gods Destroy".
  • World of Ham: a galaxy of ham, in this case. With most of the principal cast being classically-trained stage actors and having earned their early TV credentials in Westerns,note  it comes with the territory.
  • Worthy Opponent: Several examples, with the Romulan commander in "Balance of Terror" being a particular standout.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Usually it's to show how evil the villains can get, as the main characters would rarely ever do it (unless their body is taken over or if they are under the influence of something). In one episode alone, one minion slaps Uhura and would do it on two more occasions if others hadn't stepped in.
    • Another instance is when an ex-lover of Kirk's, while in Kirk's body, hits Kirk, who is in her body. This shocks the rest of the crew, who at this point haven't learned about the change and grow suspicious, as Kirk would never hit a girl like that.
    • Kirk chins Shahna, his "drill thrall" in "The Gamesters of Triskelion", into unconsciousness, but it doesn't get him very far.
    • However, Kirk has a weird tendency to lay his hands on female characters as part of "normal" conversation, including grabbing them by the arms or shoulders and shaking them, even women he hasn't been sleeping with. This tendency towards physical conversation also extends to male crew members.
    • This tendency doesn't extend to when the girls hit first. Both Kirk and McCoy have slapped women right back in a few episodes.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: In the infamous backrub scene, Kirk tells Spock to push a little harder, believing Spock is the one giving him the backrub.
  • Xanatos Gambit: "Amok Time". T'pring benefits no matter who wins the duel. Turns out Vulcans love these, since they are, as Spock comments, "Logical. Flawlessly logical." They're always looking to turn some kind of benefit from plans and events.
  • Yellow Peril: "The Omega Glory" attempts to subvert this by portraying the white Yangs as barbaric and savage while the Kohms are more advanced and civilized. However, casting the Kohms as descended from Communists and the Yangs as fallen Americans turns it into a straight play of "Red China takes over the world." More here.
  • Ye Olde Butchered English: T'Pau in "Amok Time" consistently messes up "Thee" and "Thou," using "Thee" as second person singular subject.
  • You Are in Command Now: In "Catspaw", a landing party that includes Scott and Sulu is taken prisoner. Kirk assigns himself and Spock to the rescue party, which also gets captured. This leaves Assistant Chief Engineer Lt. DeSalle, an obscure character that most viewers have never heard of, in command of the Enterprise. (DeSalle appeared in a grand total of 3 episodes.) Robert Bloch's original script had everyone senior to Uhura off the ship, and left her in command, but Executive Meddling wouldn't allow for a black woman being put in command of the Enterprise.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In "The City on the Edge of Forever", Edith Keeler must die so that Germany doesn't win World War II and wipe the Federation from existence. (Had she lived, she would have founded a peace movement that would have delayed the United States' entry into the European front of WWII, allowing Nazi Germany sufficient time to develop the atomic bomb and thus win the war.)
  • Zeerust:
    • Absolutely infamous for it these days. They've got cellphones right, sure... but apparently 23rd-century starships are still controlled by analog switchboards, and don't even have detailed system displays available (something retroactively corrected in later shows which took a jaunt into this time period). The costume design, while provocative at times, is also unbelievably Sixties in all ways.
    • This was so bad that the prequel, Star Trek: Enterprise, looks more high-tech than this show, just due to the production assets available to the cast and crew of Enterprise.
    • Another example of how bad it is is the fact they now offer a remastered version of TOS with modern, CGI-based special effects. In contrast to the changes done on Star Wars, the remastering is generally (though far from universally) well-received (it helps that versions with the original effects remain widely available). It should also be noted they only remastered the special effects and didn't take the opportunity to tweak plot points.
    • Handwaved in the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" with Dax admiring "the classic 23rd century styling" of the tricorders and instruments.
    • At least one novel gives it a different handwave; Uhura, stuck on another ship that used touchpads, mentions that she and the rest of the crew prefer the more tactile controls—in fact, she recalls that the Enterprise was once refit with touch controls, but there were so many complaints about the new controls that the controls were changed back to the older keys and switches.
    • Averted, at least for a decade or two, with the "microtape" data cartridges which looked very much like 3.5" diskettes. That form factor has since given way to the keyfob-sized USB drive, but may someday return. At the very least recording tapes still exist as a means of long term bulk data storage, with higher capacity tapes and better formatting being made to fill this niche need.

"Second star to the right... and straight on 'til morning."

Alternative Title(s): Star Trek, Star Trek The Original Series

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries