Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
"Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Star Trek
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."
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
they still had a Russian
, an Asian
and a black African woman
in positions of responsibility, authority and respect. It has been discussed by the cast members that 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 it was said Sulu would not 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 Sixties
. The women wore go-go boots and miniskirts
, and usually only appeared in the roles of assistants and secretaries
(although at least some of that was due to Executive Meddling
). 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.
- Kirk leads a landing-party to a Planet of Hats, a recurring one being a society that perfectly mirrors one from Earth history. Their hosts rudely steal their communicators and phasers, usually because they just can't bear to let them leave. If captured, our heroes may escape by Dressing as the Enemy. Lots of running around and fistfights ensue. At the end, Kirk gives a Kirk Summation to point out what's wrong with the planet's Hat.
- The ship encounters a Negative Space Wedgie, which is defeated through Techno Babble or Deus Ex Nukina.
- A Sufficiently Advanced Alien is unkind, possibly putting Humanity on Trial.
- Our heroes get infected by The Plague and have to defeat it while being adversely affected.
- A godlike being will stow away or end up on the ship and wreak havoc with the crew, often manipulating laws of physics/reality or screwing with people's minds (examples: Charlie Evans, Gary Mitchell, the salt creature from "The Man Trap", the disease from "The Naked Time", Id-Kirk, Kirk Android, and that's just in
season one the first seven episodes.)
- A Mad Scientist has plans for the crew. If alien, the scientist may be attempting to understand humans. If it's a female alien, she will ask Kirk What Is This Thing You Call Love?. He will show her.
- Kirk matches wits with a Worthy Opponent.
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 considering 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.
The show was originally a commercial 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 the 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 version was Star Trek: The Animated Series
, which may have suffered from Filmation
's cheapo production values, but it more than compensated by having most of the original writers and cast to produce 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 successor series in 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation
and another 18 straight years of Star Trek
To be expected, the subtitle of "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.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
It also gave birth to the earliest recorded case of slash
fiction - and, by extension, Ho Yay
- when fans began to ship
with his First Officer Spock
Character profiles and roles in the script:
- James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner): The Captain, albeit a Military Maverick. An Ethical Slut who sleeps with Green Skinned Space Babes. Played by Large Ham William Shatner, with multiple Chewing the Scenery moments in almost every episode.
- Spock (Leonard Nimoy): Number Two, Sugar and Ice Personality, The Stoic, the Straw Vulcan (at times.) Calling him "cold-blooded" or "unfeeling" will result in Insult Backfire.
- Leonard "Bones" McCoy (De Forest Kelley): Chief Medical Officer, The Heart, The Medic and The Watson. Given a Promotion to Opening Titles in the second season.
- Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (James Doohan): A Mr. Fixit Engineer from Scotland. Played by a Canadian (as was Kirk).
- Uhura (Nichelle Nichols): Twofer Token Minority and the original Bridge Bunny. Serving as the Communications Officer, she was essentially a glorified telephone operator and didn't even have a first name until an alternate timeline claimed that it was Nyota. Nonetheless, at the time this was almost unthinkable authority to place in the hands of a woman or a minority, and when Nichols considered leaving the show she was talked out of it by none other than Martin Luther King Jr.
- Hikaru Sulu (George Takei): A regular Token Minority and a Fan of the Past. Was the ship's pilot, again an almost unthinkable position then for a minority.
- Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig): Added in the second season, a young ensign with a Monkees-esque hairstyle and a bad Russian accent. His immensely patriotic attitude towards "Mother Russia" was a Running Gag.
- Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett): Ship's nurse in Mad Love with Spock. Given The Cameo in a couple of the films.
- Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney): Ms. Fanservice with a Beehive Hairdo. Early reviews of the series called her a "Playboy Bunny-type waitress". She and Kirk had Unresolved Sexual Tension until she fell victim to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Given The Cameo in a few of the films.
- Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Roger C. Carmel): Trickster, Con Man... and quite a scoundrel.
- Cyrano Jones: A more affable, less competent Trickster than Harry.
- Khan Noonien Singh: An Affably Evil Human Popsicle and Designer Baby Übermensch who was once an Evil Overlord. Later became The Unfettered Big Bad of the second movie.
- Lieutenants Leslie and Kyle: The two most prominent Red Shirt characters. The former appeared in the background of most episodes and even managed to come Back from the Dead, and is known as "King of the Redshirts"; the latter was the only Red Shirt to have a steady job (transporter chief) and frequent dialogue, making him the closest thing the series had to a Mauve Shirt. He even appeared in one movie and the animated series.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
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- A Day in the Limelight: "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky" is this for McCoy.
- "A Wolf in the Fold" and "The Lights of Zetar" for Scotty.
- Aesoptinum — "The Apple", "The Cloud Minders", "A Taste of Armageddon", etc.
- Affectionate Parody: "A Piece of The Action" was an Affectionate Parody of gangster movies.
- The series itself inspired several Affectionate Parodies.
- 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.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot — "The Changeling", "The Ultimate Computer", "The Return of the Archons", "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky", etc.
- Amnesia Danger — "The Paradise Syndrome"
- Archaeological Arms Race - The episode "A Private Little War" was an allegory of the Vietnam War, with both factions being armed by humans and Klingons.
- Beard of Evil — "Mirror Mirror"
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy - "Wolf in the Fold", "Requiem for Methuselah"
- 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", even more so when he destroys Eminiar's attack computers, immediately breaking the stalemate between the two planets.
- Bread and Circuses — "Bread And Circuses"
- 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.
- City in a Bottle — "For The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
- Clip Show — "The Menagerie" (showed us most of the original pilot episode "The Cage")
- Combat by Champion — "Arena", "Amok Time"
- Courtroom Episode — "Court Martial", "Wolf In The Fold"
- Cowboy Episode — "Spectre of the Gun"
- Daddy's Little Villain — "The Conscience of the King" (a tragic Double Subversion)
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster — "A Piece of the Action". The inhabitants of Sigma Iotia II were so enamored of 1920's Chicago gang culture that they decided to base their entire civilization on it.
- Deadly Decadent Court — "Plato's Stepchildren", "The Gamesters of Triskelion", arguably "A Taste of Armageddon" as well.
- Death World — "The Apple", "The Way to Eden"
- Death of the Old Gods — "Who Mourns For Adonais"
- Deus Ex Nukina — "The Doomsday Machine," "Obsession," "The Immunity Syndrome"
- Disney Death — "Amok Time", "The Enterprise Incident", "The Tholian Web"
- Doomsday Device — "The Doomsday Machine"
- 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.
- Dying Race — The Talosians in "The Menagerie"
- Empathic Healer — "The Empath"
- Enforced Cold War — "Balance of Terror", "Errand of Mercy", "The Trouble with Tribbles", "Friday's Child", "Elaan of Troyius"
- Everybody Laughs Except Spock Ending — "Shore Leave", "The Trouble With Tribbles", "The Galileo Seven", "Spock's Brain". Was an actual plot point in "Day of the Dove", where the laughter drives the Energy Being away.
- Evil Is Hammy — "The Enemy Within" (guess which side of Kirk was the ham)
- Evil Twin — "Mirror, Mirror", "The Enemy Within"
- Fantastic Racism — "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" comes off very heavy-handed.
- The Final Temptation — "This Side of Paradise"
- Forgot the Call — "The Paradise Syndrome"
- Gender Bender — "Turnabout Intruder" (via Grand Theft Me)
- Gladiator Revolt — "The Gamesters of Triskelion"
- Godwin's Law of Time Travel — "The City on the Edge of Forever"
- Gone Horribly Right — "Patterns of Force", "That Which Survives"
- Gone Horribly Wrong — "Miri", "The Ultimate Computer"
- Grand Theft Me — "Turnabout Intruder"
- Grand Theft Prototype - "The Enterprise Incident"
- The Great Repair — "Galileo Seven"
- Hate Plague — "Day of the Dove"
- Hollow World — "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky"
- Industrialized Evil — "A Taste of Armageddon"
- Jekyll & Hyde — "The Enemy Within"
- 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.
- Let's You and Him Fight — "Day of the Dove", "Arena", "Amok Time"
- Literal Split Personality — "The Enemy Within"
- Logic Bomb — "The Changeling", "I, Mudd", "Return of the Archons", "The Ultimate Computer", "Wolf In The Fold"
- Lotus-Eater Machine — "The Cage"
- Love Potion— "A Private Little War", "Elaan of Troyius"
- Low Culture, High Tech
- The Mafia — "A Piece of the Action"
- Mars Needs Women: "Mudd's Women"
- The Masquerade — Gary Seven.
- Mate or Die — "Amok Time".
- Mirror Universe — "Mirror, Mirror". Implied by the ending of "The Alternative Factor".
- Monster Is a Mommy — "The Devil in the Dark"
- No Immortal Inertia — "Miri"
- No Social Skills — "Charlie X", "Elaan of Troyius"
- Not So Stoic — "Amok Time" (especially Spock's reaction at the end)
- Outlaw Town — "A Piece of the Action"
- Parent Ex Machina — "Charlie X," "The Squire of Gothos"
- People Puppets — "Plato's Stepchildren" (A literal example in the ending of the original version of "Catspaw").
- Planet Space Ship — "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky".
- Pleasure Planet — "Shore Leave"
- Poorly Disguised Pilot — "Assignment: Earth"
- Portal Door — "All Our Yesterdays"
- Pre-teen Wasteland — "Miri"
- Puppeteer Parasite — "Operation: Annihilate!", "Wolf in the Fold", "Catspaw"
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend — "Turnabout Intruder"
- Psychopathic Manchild — 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.
- Really 700 Years Old — "Miri", "Requiem for Methuselah"
- 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.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right — "Amok Time", "Balance of Terror", "The Menagerie"
- Send in the Search Team — "Patterns of Force", "Bread and Circuses", "Return of the Archons"
- Silly Reason for War — "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". In "A Taste of Armageddon" the two warring powers have forgotten why they were fighting in the first place!
- Solar CPR — "All Our Yesterdays"
- Space Amish — "The Way to Eden" plays the trope straight; "Errand of Mercy" subverts it.
- Spot the Imposter — "Whom Gods Destroy"; "The Man Trap"; "The Enemy Within"
- Stealth in Space — "Balance of Terror", "The Enterprise Incident"
- Stockholm Syndrome — "Metamorphosis"
- Strange Bedfellows — "Day of the Dove"
- Straw Vulcan — "The Galileo 7" LIVES on this.
- Terminally Dependent Society — "The Apple"
- Those Wacky Nazis — "Patterns of Force"
- Time Stands Still — "Wink of an Eye"
- Time Travel — "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", "The City on the Edge of Forever", "Assignment: Earth"
- Time Travel Romance — Kirk, in "The City on the Edge of Forever."
- 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? — "Spock's Brain"
- You Are in Command Now — "Catspaw"
- You Can't Fight Fate — "The City on the Edge of Forever"
- 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.
- Aggressive Negotiations
- Air-Vent Passageway - Used to escape in "Dagger of the Mind".
- Prime Directive.
- All Cavemen Were Neanderthals
- 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 didn't initiate a lot of his kisses, and when he did it was 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 had one good Klingon, and the sixth film, which portrayed Klingons as more varied.
- 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", where 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!
- 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.
- 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
- Ascended Extra: Most of the main crew members (with the exception of Kirk and Spock) were not credited with starring roles in the opening credits, even McCoy (for the first season.) Many of them didn't appear in certain episodes, and didn't even receive any real focus or characterization until late season 1 and throughout season 2.
- Only the movies credited them with starring roles.
- 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 weren't much of an improvement.
- Asteroid Thicket: In "Mudd's Women" Harry Mudd's ship flies through one.
- Auto Kitchen - The Enterprise had slots in the wall which could produce any food desired by inserting the correct computer tape. In The Next Generation these were 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 - Established a long and proud tradition of these in Starfleet.
- Batman Gambit - Kirk could 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' had "Herbert! Herbert!"
- Battle Theme Music / Orchestral Bombing - The "Theme From Amok Time", 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.
- Beeping Computers
- Berserk Button:
- Don't insult the Enterprise within earshot of Scotty, much less to his face. The Klingons found this out the hard way in "The Trouble With Tribbles". Then again, they were 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.
- 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:
: 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.
- 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 and his incompetent replacement has led the ship through the Romulan Neutral Zone and the latter 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. 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.
- 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 [voice]: You now have two minutes.
: - 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.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer - The things Kirk got away with...
- Butt Monkey: Chekov did more screaming-in-pain than the rest of the crew combined. He even got 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 was left in charge of the Enterprise.
- 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
- Cargo Cult
- Cartwright Curse - So frequent you could almost take bets on whether the Girl of the Week was 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".
- The Cavalry - Usually in the form of the Enterprise or a second landing party arriving to save the day.
- 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 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!"
- Clear My Name - Happens once in a while. In "Journey to Babel" Sarek was accused of murdering a Tellarite ambassador. It was an Orion pretending to be a staff member of the Andorian ambassador. In "Court-Martial" Kirk was accused of causing the death of one of his crew members. The crew member had faked his own death and tried to sabotage Kirk's career as he blamed 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 was mutiny, not murder and was all arranged by an alien entity just like the other incidents, albeit out of compassion rather than any sinister motive.
- 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" where Kirk's pants split open in the back for a brief moment.
- Cloud Cuckoolander - Chekov and his constant references to 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.
- 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 featured a cut-away drawing that suggested that the Enterprise wasn't much bigger than a large yacht, while another issue had the Enterprise landing on a planet, decades before Star Trek: Voyager did 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 2100s, sometimes as far as 2700), what group the Enterprise worked for (In some episodes it's 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.
- Credits Montage: Featuring not only stills from the episode in question, but random shots from various other eps as well.
- Creepy Children Singing:
Hail, hail, fire and snow
Call the angel, we will go
Far away, for to see
Friendly angel come to me.
- 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.
- Cuteness Proximity - Spock was totally unaffected by Tribbles. He was only petting it because it was logical... What's everybody looking at?
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Scotty, whenever he was left in command of the Enterprise. There's "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me," and the time that he receives an audio message from "Kirk" and the first thing he does is run it through a voice analyzer which proves it wasn't really Kirk. Do not fuck with Scotty.
- 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 a Disintegrator Ray.
- 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).
- 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 was, indeed, stolen by alien temptresses and which is considered the worst episode of the Original Series, if not of Star Trek as a whole.
- The forward 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
- Distress Call: 14 different episodes (including both pilots) started with the Enterprise receiving or already responding to a distress signal.
- 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 shows up to this time, and there were very few props hanging around to be re-used, unlike today where 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" had 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 Medal of Honor, the Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, The Kerrigite Order of Heroism.. The list goes on for so long that it has to be stopped early so that the episode can continue.
- Duel to the Death - "Arena", "Amok Time", "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
- Early Installment Weirdness: Due to Values Dissonance, arguably this series as a whole is Early Installment Weirdness for the franchise. Also, the earliest episodes had a number of oddities:
- It is implied that the Enterprise is an Earth vessel, rather than being from the United Federation of Planets.
- The Federation itself is not mentioned. Instead, Enterprise is said to be part of the United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA).
- It is implied 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.)
- Vulcans' emotional suppression was not thought of for several episodes. Spock can be seen smiling in the original pilot.
- The unaired original pilot, The Cage: completely different crew, gooseneck viewers, much more serious in its way, 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.)
- Uhura is wearing a gold uniform in the episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Mudd's Women", the first two episodes filmed that she appeared 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 was given by saying it took place 13 year earlier (maybe Spock's eyebrows migrated down his forehead during that time?).
- Due to the later spin-off series, some episodes of TOS stand at odds with established continuity. For example, "Turnabout Intruder", the last TOS episode broadcast, clearly implies that Starfleet has no female starship captains, a fact contradicted by the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise.
- "Hyperdrive" for "Warp" in the first pilot
- 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. Also Balok's enormous, odd spaceship, the Fesarius
- Empire with a Dark Secret - In "The Mark of Gideon", there was a germ-free "paradise" of a planet who was willing to join the Federation. However, the reason why they invited only Kirk to their planet was so they could decrease the planet's overpopulation by using Kirk, who had a rare disease in his blood to do it.
- 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.
- Ethical Slut - Kirk at it again and again, while remaining morally upstanding.
- Every Episode Ending - The Enterprise flies off into parts unknown, as the dramatic fanfare plays her out. Very rarely averted.
- Explosive Breeder - The Tribbles.
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 encountered had vastly expanded lifespans and/or had dabbled in Earth's history in some way. A key example to 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.
- "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 both the Token Girl and the token black as well as the Communications Officer.
- Fallen Hero - Gary Mitchell, John Gill, Garth of Izar.
- Fate Worse Than Death - Poor, poor Charlie Evans...
- 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 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......
- Fantastic Racism: Everywhere with Bones 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 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's done it to a junior officer in at least one episode).
- Several episodes also revolved around two alien species' hatred of each other for no good reason.
- Fascinating Eyebrow - When Spock raises his eyebrow, he says "fascinating" very nearly every time.
- Five-Temperament Ensemble: Kirk (choleric), Spock (melancholic), Uhura (phlegmatic), "Bones" McCoy (sanguine), and Scotty (leukine).
- Five-Token Band - May well be the Trope Codifier.
- Food and Animal Attraction: In "The Cage", during one of the illusions the Talosians create for Captain Pike, a horse starts nuzzling his jacket pocket in search of the sugar therein.
- Force-Field Door - The ship's brig.
- Forced Prize Fight
- 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 (and that's a lot).
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Trelane ("The Squire of Gothos"), the Organians ("Errand of Mercy"), and the Metrons ("Arena").
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: See Five-Temperament above.
- Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow - The Prime Directive.
- Freudian Trio: Kirk (Ego), Spock (Superego) and McCoy (Id) form the page image for this trope.
- A Friend in Need - How the Enterprise crew stuck 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.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom — Gary Mitchell
- 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?
Khan: Answer my question.
- 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.
- Clever wordplay in "The Naked Time" with Sulu imagining himself a heroic swordsman.
Sulu (grabbing Uhura): "I'll protect you, 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, 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 wasn't really that romantic as presented, since they were both being coerced, though it did have her confessing to her captain that she found his commanding presence very comforting in scary times such as this one. Also, the kiss was shown at an angle from which viewers couldn't see the actors' lips, although Nichols insists in her memoirs that it was entirely real.
- In Mudd's Women the title 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.
- Go Mad from the Revelation
- From "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.
- 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.)
- Gold-Colored Superiority: The captains wore gold uniforms. Anyone wearing a Red Shirt was not so lucky. This all changed 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Great Politics Mess-Up - Wait, did Chekov say "Leningrad" in My Grandma Can Do Better Than You below?
- Chekov also attributed one of the "Russian inwentions" to somebody in Minsk, which was part of the Soviet Union but is now in modern-day Belarus.
- Grudging Thank You:
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 pulled 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: "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.
- Halloween Episode - "Catspaw", which was first broadcast on October 27 1967.
- 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 held each others' 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 was a deep breath away from being a kiss.) This trope contributed enormously to their Ho Yay.
- 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.)
- The Hero: Captain Kirk
- Heroic BSOD - 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 Star Trek) 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 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).
- 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 think they are actually in danger.
- 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 Ladder
- Humans Are Interesting: Or fascinating, even.
- Humans Need Aliens: The Aegis (Gary Seven's alien overlords) routinely protect civilizations from destroying themselves. Fridge Logic issues arises, as they are only ever seen in one episode, in which they operate in the past (20th century).
- I Can Still Fight - Justified, when Kirk was injured, but he insisted on being on the bridge because Spock was needed at the time to give a vital transplant to his father. However, the end of the episode suggests Kirk hates being cooped up in Sickbay.
- I, Noun - "I, Mudd".
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Kirk and Spock in "This Side of Paradise"; Kirk has to get Spock angry enough so he can overcome the influence of the mind-altering spores.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder - Trope Maker
- I'm Not Afraid of You
- 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, and Kirk, Spock and McCoy have to go on the run with Eleen to keep her safe.
- Implacable Man:
- The Gorn in Arena is very strong and shrugs off injuries that would kill a human, but it isn't very agile. Kirk finally manages to stop it using an improvised cannon.
- The two aliens in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" are the last members of their respective races and still continue to fight it out.
- 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 was a master: ropes, pillows, and that stick thing he used to beat Khan.
- 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. Watch it here.
- Involuntary Group Split - Happens to Kirk and Spock in "Devil in the Dark".
- It's the Same, Now It Sucks: 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*
- 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.
- 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 title device in "The Ultimate Computer".
- 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 then kill the poor, they were 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 was 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, where the writing quality also took a serious nosedive.
- 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 instrument, 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.
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 away team missions (something they rarely did on 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 Gameboy 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.
- 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.
- Long Lived: The children in "Miri" (hundreds of years) and Mr. Flint in "Requiem for Methuselah" (six thousand years).
- Ludicrous Precision: Spock's figures, constantly. Discussed in "Errand of Mercy".
- 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 with 'his' Enterprise to Picard.
- Mad Love - Nurse Chapel and Spock, Mcgyvers and Khan.
- 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.
- 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 have been a mentee of Kirk as well, but ended up on a different career path (in Starfleet Intelligence as opposed to starship command) after the second movie.
- Mechanistic Alien Culture: Various examples
- Memetic Hand Gesture - The Vulcan salute.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender - Only three female redshirts were killed in the whole series, whereas dozens of male Starfleet personnel were 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".
- Minored In Ass Kicking - The reserved, cerebral Spock and his skill at hand-to-hand fighting (Vulcan nerve pinch! Judo chop!).
- Monster Munch: While Red Shirts died in great numbers on this show, they were 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 died 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.
- Multiboobage - The cat creature in Star Trek V.
- 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!
- The Mutiny - In "Turnabout Intruder", when a crazy ex-lover of Kirk switched bodies with him and the suspicious crew had no valid proof and she began ordering the deaths of anyone who opposed her, Scotty suggested to McCoy that they mutiny, since they knew that it would throw the captain into a fit and they would be able to stop under regulations.
- Spock's actions in transporting Captain Pike to Talos IV constituted a mutiny, for which he was put on trial which was 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 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" were ever referred to by name.
- 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 called '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.
"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.
: 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.
- 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, JA 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 were 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 Star Trek: The Original Series episode "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 featured a stunt double that looked 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
- 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 made 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.
- There's another in an early episode ("The Man Trap"), that can appear as someone the viewer finds attractive... but whose true form is a shaggy creature with a lamprey-like mouth, that feeds through its fingers, on salt.
- Out-of-Character Alert - When his memories were going to be transferred over to a clone, Kirk quickly muttered "Mind your own business, Mr. Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed interference, do you hear?" Later on, when the clone met up with Spock, it said those lines, alerting Spock that this wasn'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: "I need the captain back, and you need to return."
- Out-of-Character Moment - "The Naked Time", "This Side of Paradise" and "Amok Time" were 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.
- Polarity Reversal - The Trope Maker.
- 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 where 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 was 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 was as a result of the Bittersweet Ending.
"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.
- Proud Warrior Race - The Klingons, but also the Romulans and others.
- 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".
- Also Trelane. (Doubly?) subverted in that he's not (strictly speaking) a man, but is DEFINITELY 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" was not intended as such, but ended up being used this way.
- The Klingon Mind-Sifter in "Errand of Mercy."
- Put On Another Starship: Yeoman Rand after the first season. The starship comes back for the movies and a time travel episode of Voyager.
- 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".
- 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 caused the real ship to overheat when the model is exposed to a flame and caused the old girl to be surrounded by a force field when the model was in cased in hard plastic.
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy
- 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.
- Rebellious Princess
- Red Shirt: Actually a bit of an Unbuilt Trope, at least in terms of literal red-shirted crewmembers; however, by and large, most of the people who die in a given episode tend not to be very plot-important.
- 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".
- Right-Hand Cat - Isis (to Gary Seven) in "Assignment Earth" and Sylvia (to Korob) in "Catspaw".
- Running Gag - Trying to explain Spock's 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 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.
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 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 1920's Chicago (left by a previous Federation vessel) as their holy book.
- Sadistic Choice - Everyone was 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.
- 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 were 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", it was Sylvia and Korob... until Kirk shatters the power transmuter wand tied to the illusions to themselves and the planet. You may notice a theme.
- 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 - Multiple examples
- 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 meet 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 Mudd claims makes a woman more attractive.
- Mirror Universe Spock (who, complete with Van Dyke, provides the picture on the Beard of Evil page) is this for many viewers.
- Shape Shifter Swan Song
- Shapeshifting Seducer. The pilot episode and the season 2 episode "Catspaw" feature women who change shape to find a form that pleases the captain.
- Shirtless Scene: Kirk has a lot of these.
- Shout-Out: To the show's precursor Forbidden Planet, which included the early line, "we'll reach D.C. point at 1701."
- 30 years later the spinoff Star Trek: Enterprise would make several shout outs to things that would come along 100 years later during Kirk's adventures.
- Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: "A Taste of Armageddon", the Eminian leader insists that peace is impossible and that their 500-year-old simulated war with declared casualties reporting in to be neatly and cleanly killed is the lesser of two evils. Kirk insists that they can make peace if they just try harder. Kirk helpfully provides them with motivation to do so by shutting down the war computer and forcing them to choose between real-world messy warfare and swallowing enough pride to find a peaceful solution).
- Slasher Smile: See Psychotic Smirk.
- 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. He and Kirk are often seen playing while having a conversation relevant to the plot.
- As well as Kirk, who was stated to be quite bookish at the academy.
- 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 progressive, 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 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.
- 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 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.
- Stop Trick
- 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 were often subject to both ends of this trope.
- Take a Third Option - Kirk was famous for these.
- Talking the Monster to Death - Usually with Kirk delivering a Logic Bomb to a psychotic computer.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky - Spock definitely fits into this trope.
- Tap on the Head
- 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.
- Often played completely straight with the human characters.
- Techno Babble - Although not as bad as later series, there is still a lot. Remember, this is the show that invented the Polarity Reversal.
- 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:
- "Dagger of the Mind". The Tantalus penal colony has a security force field that blocks the Enterprise transporter.
- "Whom Gods Destroy". The asylum on Elba II has a force field that prevents the Enterprise from beaming anyone down.
- 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 TakeThats 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).
- 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".
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works - During one of the illusions that Captain Pike was subjected to in the original pilot episode, he wound 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 Travelers Are Spies - "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "Assignment: Earth".
- Tim Taylor Technology
- 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 had a guy obviously in love with her who was 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 were 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/Away Teams 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 misc 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 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 was in the wrong by straying into their space.
- 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!
- Tropes Examined by the MythBusters - They took on the homemade cannon from "Arena." Sadly, they busted it. But it was, nevertheless, ridiculously awesome - particularly the Build Team's glee and Grant's "Enterprise. Four to beam up."
- Though it came years before MythBusters, a Star Trek: The Next Generation Novel involving the Gorn revealed that, over the years, many a Starfleet cadet had tried to duplicate Kirk's cannon, often to extremely mixed results. Injuries were not uncommon.
- In fairness, in the episode it was alien bamboo. This still doesn't address the main problem that MythBusters came across, though, that it simply would not be possible to hand-mix the proper ratio of ingredients needed to make a properly explosive black powder in any amount of time, let alone in those time constraints.
- 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 were 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.
- 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."
- Unique Pilot Title Sequence: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" didn't have William Shatner's "Space, the final frontier" voiceover. This was "corrected" for the HD remastered version of the episode.
- 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
- "How is this guy still a captain?": The stuff that Kirk got away with.....
- "What the hell did he just say?": Star Trek damn near invented Technobabble.
- "There is no way that's going to work.": The show is one of the biggest users of Crazy Enough to Work plans.
- "So that's where they got the idea for flip cell-phones": Trek is recognized for having inspired many a real life invention. See also Life Imitates Art.
- Dr. Mc Coy's instruments (made from salt shakers) and the beds in Sickbay with their diagnostic panels were in development at the time (you can now see the diagnostic panels in any hospital). The uniforms were based on NASA designs for long-term deep space missions.
- Villainous Breakdown - Quite a few instances.
- Khan suffered a brief one when no one from the bridge was willing to join him, even with Kirk's life at stake.
- In "Turnabout Intruder", Dr Janice Lester grew increasingly unhinged as the rest of the suspicious crew began to mutiny and rebel against her orders while she was in Kirk's body.
- In "The Conscience of the King", the episode dealt 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. Kodos 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 epilog, 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:
"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...
- A double example: 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.
- A triple example: In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Kirk refers to Spock as the brother he once had and lost, seemingly forgetting about Sam altogether!
- What Measure Is a Non-Human? - The Horta (rock monster) in "The Devil in the Dark".
- Wide-Eyed Idealist/Wrong Genre Savvy - Edith Keeler in "The City on the Edge of Forever", a passionate advocate of peace... in the face of Nazi Germany.
"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 Westernsnote , it comes with the territory.
- Worthy Opponent - Several examples, with the Romulan commander in Balance of Terror being a particular standout.
- Wouldn't 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 was taken over or if they were under the influence of something). In one episode alone, one minion slapped Uhura and was going to do it on two more occasions if others hadn't stepped in.
- Another instance was with an ex-lover of Kirk's, while in Kirk's body, hit Kirk, who was in her body. This shocked the rest of the crew, who at this point didn't know about the change and grew suspicious, as Kirk would never hit a girl like that.
- Kirk chinned Shahna, his "drill thrall" in "The Gamesters of Triskelion, into unconsciousness, but it didn'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/shoulders and shaking them, even women he hasn't been sleeping with. This tendency towards physical conversation also extended to male crew members.
- This tendency didn'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 told Spock to push a little harder, believing Spock was 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" attempted to subvert this by portraying the white Yangs as barbaric and savage while the Kohms were more advanced and civilized. However, casting the Kohms as descended from Communists and the Yangs as fallen Americans turned 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 Look Familiar: Many actors, but notably Mark Lenard who first appeared as the Romulan commander in "Balance of Terror", then Spock's father Sarek.
- He then showed up as a Klingon in the prologue of the first movie, thus appearing as a member of all three major galactic powers of the era.
- 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, looked 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 gave it a different handwave; Uhura, stuck on another ship that used touchpads, mentioned that she and the rest of the crew preferred 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.