"Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
Star Trek is the first show in the Star Trek franchise. After the release of its spinoff series and the movies, it has been retroactively called Star Trek: The Original Series to differentiate it from the franchise as a whole.The origin of the show came when Gene Roddenberry was looking to write hard-hitting political and moral commentary and could not do so with the regular dramas of the time. He deduced that by creating a science fiction show borrowing heavily from the film Forbidden Planet, he could slip in such commentary disguised as metaphors for the various current events. As such he pitched Star Trek to the networks as a merging of the two most popular genres of the time, science fiction anthologies and Westerns, into the original "Wagon Train to the Stars."While troublesome to produce, it was a major Trope Maker, especially in Science Fiction (each of the three main characters has a trope named after them - and that's just for starters!). The cast was a dynamic mix of ethnicities and cultures, and while the focus was nearly always on Kirk, Spock and McCoy they still had a Russian, an Asian and a black Africanwoman 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 Takei put down fencing on his resume (despite not actually knowing how to fence) so he wouldn't be given a Samurai sword, once it came up in the script he got a crash course the weekend before filming. 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.
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.)
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 Trekfilm 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 on television.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 page.It also gave birth to the earliest recorded case of slash fiction - and, by extension, Ho Yay - when fans began to ship Captain Kirk with his First Officer Spock.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!"
Berserk Button - Don't insult the Enterprise within earshot of Scotty, much less to his face. (It is, however, okay to insult Kirk around him - which may have gone down just fine with James "I worked with William Shatner for three decades and I never liked the man" Doohan.)
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.
Kirk had to force this trope onto Spock in "This Side of Paradise" in order to purge him of the spores.
Don't raise your hand to Kirk while Spock is around. He'll whip the tar out of you now and come up with a logical excuse later.
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.
Black Comedy: "A Piece of the Action", "The Trouble With Tribbles". Also dialogue moments in other episodes, such as this exchange in "This Side of Paradise" where Kirk and Spock (the only crew remaining on the Enterprise) are going to build a transmitter utilising the communicators' emergency channel, but first Kirk has to fight Spock to free him of the spores:
Spock: As you are probably aware, striking a fellow officer is a court-martial offence. Kirk: If we're both in the brig, who's going to build the transmitter? Spock: A logical point, Captain.
Black Dude Dies First: Averted in "The Galileo Seven" and "By Any Other Name"; in both cases, the black male character survives to the end of the episode while one or more white characters die.
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.
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.
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.
Kirk: - destroying the attacker. It may interest you to know that since the initial use of corbomite more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has... little meaning to us. If it has none to you then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Easily Forgiven: The Kelvins 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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."
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.
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.
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.
Spock: *To Alice 27* I love you. *To Alice 210* However, I hate you. Alice 210: But I'm identical in every way with Alice 27. Spock: Yes, of course. That is exactly why I hate you; because you are identical. * both Alices succumb to the logic bomb* Spock: Fascinating.
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. Scottycatches on immediately and concludes that Kirk must be in trouble, since the real Kirk would never "test" him like that.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 Platoians 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!).
"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 The Deadly Years, but Kirk isn't knocked out, and has no intention of sacrificing himself anyway. Just using himself as bait.
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 transported 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.
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 Übermensch like himself, at the very least.
Not Rare Over There: In "Elaan of Troyius", the ship's dilithium crystals crack in the middle of a battle. Unfortunately, there are none left... until they realise that Elaan's necklace has a bunch of them. She surrenders it gladly, bemused that they would want what to her planet are Worthless Yellow Rocks.
Not So Different - In the episode "Balance of Terror", the defeated Romulan Commander says that he and Kirk "are of a kind", just before blowing himself up.
Romulan Commander: You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend. We are creatures of duty, captain. I have lived my life by it. Just... one more duty... to perform.
The Klingon commander in "Errand of Mercy" is all over this, but Kirk shouts him down.
The Organians look like this for most of "Errand of Mercy". Spock describes the planet as a stagnant culture on 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.
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 lipra (the staffs with really big blades) are produced, T'Pau announces, "If both survive the lipra, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Reckless Gun Usage - Two instances, both involving Time Travel and the not-gun-shaped Phaser. In "The City On The Edge of Forever", a 1930s bum gets hold of one and vaporizes himself playing with it. In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", Kirk is captured by Air Police in 1969, and cringes (with priceless facial expressions) as they fiddle with his weapon, toss it around, and several times almost press the trigger, conflicted between justifiable fear and the need to not let them know who he is or what they have.
Red Shirt: Actually 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.
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".
Science Marches On: In one episode, Spock rightly points out that "evolution is man evolving from apes" is a grossly misleading and deliberate mischaracterization—but describes evolution as life forms evolving from "lower" to "advanced" stages. Now, evolution is understood as life forms changing over time to suit their environment. While they usually become more complex than their ancestors, they do sometimes become less complex if losing a trait 1. makes them more successful in their environment or 2. doesn't hurt them either way.
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.
"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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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 Yoandan: Where... is outside?
Kirk (solemnly): Up there. Outside, up there, everywhere.
Elder Yoandan: 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 Yoandan(winces in pain): I am not sure. (winces again) But things are not as they... teach us, for the world... is hollow, and I... touched the sky! (screams in pain, falling over dead)
Most of the episodes get a Title Drop, including "Obsession", "The Changelling"' 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."
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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 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.
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 and, in Shatner's case, as a television lawyer in a Canadian Perry Mason copycat, 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.
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.