YMMV / Star Trek: The Original Series

  • Accidental Innuendo: In "This Side of Paradise", Kirk says of Spock "Aroused, his great physical strength could kill." This little gem also becomes Hilarious in Hindsight once you watch "Amok Time" and realize that Kirk's wording was actually pretty accurate.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • "Amok Time": T'Pring—nasty, manipulative villainess or justifiably angry Woman Scorned? Spock has been ignoring her and their marriage for roughly twenty standard years, basically humiliating her in front the entire planet. In the meantime she's found a man who loves her and treats her right and doesn't want to risk his life.
    • "What makes a great villain? Part 1: Star Trek’s T’Pring", by Thomas Stockel describes T'Pring's actions as brilliant, self-affirming and in keeping with second wave feminism.
    • When Spock tells T'Pau that he will "do neither [live long or prosper]", did he mean he was suicidal or did he expect to suffer Death by Despair over Kirk's murder?
    • "The Lights of Zetar": Reportedly, James Doohan performed this episode under protest because he didn't think it believable that "an old Aberdeen pub crawler" like Scotty would fall madly in love with a bookworm like Mira.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Many international fans dislike "The Omega Glory", thinking it indulges too much in Eagleland. Not that there aren't a significant number of Americans who share the exact same view...
  • Angst? What Angst?: In "Operation: Annihilate!", the jocular tone of the epilogue is somewhat jarring, considering the deaths of Kirk's brother and sister-in-law are not even mentioned. (A more sombre scene that would have immediately preceded it and wrapped up that subplot was filmed but cut for time.)
  • Best Known for the Fanservice:
    • "The Menagerie": The green slave girl.
    • "The Naked Time": A shirtless and freaking ripped as hell Mr. Sulu. Oh my!
    • "Mirror, Mirror": Shatner's guns and Nichols' abs of steel.
    • Hell, practically every female on the show. Roddenberry included women more out of a sense of decoration than equality, and he liked'em with big doe eyes and bigger boobs. This interview by Denise Crosby (who played Tasha Yar over on Star Trek: The Next Generation) reveals that he more or less told her that this was her sole purpose on the show, which is one of the reasons that led her to resign. Apparently most of the feminism in the show came from the writers rather than Gene.
  • Canon Fodder: The Romulan War, and in particular Stiles' ancestor's role in it, as mentioned but not elaborated on in "Balance of Terror".
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Kirk and the Enterprise, the only lady he truly loves. Made hilarious by one episode in which the ship's computer is programmed to call him "dear".
    • Hell, in "Elaan of Troyius" Kirk is able to single-handedly overcome a love potion just because he loves the Enterprise so much!
    • And Scotty/Enterprise.
      Scotty: Don't you think you should... rephrase that?
  • Complete Monster:
    • Redjac, introduced in season 2's "Wolf in the Fold", is a non-corporeal being that feeds on fear and terror, but enjoys causing fear just as much as the actual consumption of it. Redjac has the ability to take a humanoid host, and used these hosts for centuries to commit mass murders, most notably as Jack the Ripper. It targets women because their deaths tend to generate more fear, and was responsible for dozens of deaths across multiple planets, and almost certainly countless more, as it claims to have existed since the dawn of time. In the episode, Redjac murders three women and frames Scotty for all of them. When it’s discovered, it takes control of the Enterprise’s computers and attempts to kill everyone on board, cackling all the while. While it appears to have been defeated, it reappears in both the DC and WildStorm comics. In the DC two-parter, "Wolf on the Prowl" and "Wolf at the Door", it commits several more murders in the body of an Enterprise crewperson, has established itself as the "God of Evil" on a primitive planet, and kills thousands of said planet’s inhabitants to give itself power in a last-ditch effort to get revenge on Kirk by destroying the Enterprise. In the Wildstorm comic "Embrace the Wolf", it provokes an all-out nuclear war on a peaceful Federation planet, and challenges Data in his Sherlock Holmes persona to save his fellow crew members while Redjac takes up its mantle once again as Jack the Ripper. Acting less as a senseless predator and more as a psychotic serial killer on a galactic level, Redjac is one of the worst that Star Trek has to offer.
    • Melakon from season 2’s "Patterns of Force" is a devotee of Nazism, which was introduced to his people by a former Starfleet officer named John Gill in an attempt to soften it. Shunning the attempt to water down Hitler's philosophy, Melakon decides to embrace Hitler's path. He overthrows his mentor and forms a fascist regime on his homeworld Ekos while trying to organize a new holocaust on a neighboring planet called Zeon. Before murdering his mentor, Melakon is denounced by him as nothing more as a self-seeking adventurer, a traitor to his people and all they stand for.
    • Gorgan from season 3's "And the Children Shall Lead" is an evil Energy Being and the last surviving member of a race of marauders who were destroyed by those whom they had victimized. Gorgan sealed himself into a cave and waited for an opportunity to strike. That opportunity came when a small team of Federation scientists arrived on Gorgan's planet to set up a colony. Gorgan took the form of a "friendly angel", manipulating the children into becoming his minions and using his Mind Control powers to drive all the adults to suicide. After the Enterprise comes upon the colony, they take the children aboard the ship. Gorgan convinces the children to use the mind control abilities he has granted them to take over the ship and send it to Marcos 12, a heavily populated Federation colony. When they arrive, Gorgan plans to make all the children of Marcos 12 his minions and kill all the adults. Gorgan forces the crew of the Enterprise to comply with his plan, by exposing them to their worst fears if they don't. After several failed attempts to regain control of the ship, Kirk manages to summon Gorgan and break his hold on the children. Enraged, Gorgan threatens to kill the children if they don't obey him.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • Samuel Matlovsky's arrangement of strings and bass captures the combination of humor and seriousness of the situation in "I, Mudd."
    • The fight music from "Amok Time", so good it was reused in several later episodes.
  • Ear Worm:
    • Alexander Courage's theme music.
    • Gerald Fried's 'Ancient Battle' theme for "Amok Time", which has been spoofed in The Cable Guy, Futurama and The Simpsons. Dun-Dun-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-Dun-Dun-DUN-DUN...
    • From the same composer, the piece that plays throughout the episode "Shore Leave" often referred to as "Finnegan's Theme".
    • It took decades, but La-La Land issued all the series' original music in a 15-disc set in 2012.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Hikaru Sulu's popularity has gone way up in recent years, in no small part due to George Takei's newfound prominence as a civil rights activist. Having an insane number of followers on Facebook and Twitter doesn't hurt either.
  • Escapist Character: Spock, for socially awkward Trekkies. Spock is smart, respected, physically powerful, long-lived, and blessed with loving and devoted friends even though he himself has never learned human social skills. The fact that he was picked on as a child on Vulcan as a "Half-Breed" further cements how much you can identify with him.
    • Nimoy created much of Spock's backstory as a mixed-race person figuring out where and how he belongs. He responded publicly and at length to a mixed-race girl who wrote a letter to Spock talking about being outcast by both black and white peers.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • It's definitely a series that needs to be viewed with an understanding of the historical context. Like, if Kirk snapped his fingers and had a yeoman sit on his face it wouldn't be that shocking.note  Not just in the way that every female member of the crew goes around in those miniskirts and is being sexually harassed all the time, plus the alien babes in their skimpy outfits, but also the lighthearted "aw shucks" tone with which the show addresses it. There are so many moments when a female crewmember is complimented, followed by: "...for a woman".
      • Also note that despite whatever Roddenberry's intentions were, they had to fly with the TV execs. This is why you have a female second officer in the pilot, but not in the actual series. The execs felt it wasn't believable.
      • Robert Justman and Herb Solow have revealed that the "for a woman" business, the almost-nude alien babes and microskirted female crewmembers as sex toys was all Roddenberry.note  He saw women as brainless, decorative objects and (according to Word of Nimoy) believed that all women were "cunts" who could not be trustednote  and should never be allowed to run things. The more progressive elements of the show came from Gene Coon, Justman and Dorothy Fontana.
    • Nothing so bad as James Bond pimp-handing a lesbian so hard it turns her straight, but it does occasionally cross the line: Rand being molested by Kirk, and Spock telling her she must have enjoyed it, is particularly disarming, adding nothing to the scene. This is the one thing that really bleeds over from the 60s. The fact that this show was considered a beacon of progressiveness shows just how backwards things were back then.
    • When Neil Degrasse Tyson was talking to Takei about how Uhura was an example of how progressive the show was, Takei remarked, "Please! Uhura was the secretary. She answered the phone..." (What Takei is referring to is the fact that women were accepted as telephone switchboard operators.) The importance of Uhura is played up even today, despite the fact that Uhura was horribly under-utilised and shows like I Spy and Julia were doing a much better job of showcasing black characters.
    • Having a woman officer stationed on the bridge, in an important position on a spacegoing vessel, was extremely radical for the time. Even when she primarily served as The Chick, casting a black woman in the role was a huge deal in the 1960s. (A black woman who sat at rear center stage, right behind the Captain's seat where viewers could not possibly miss seeing her. Holy diversity, Batman!) And novels written as early as the '70s indicate that Uhura was far more than a glorified switchboard operator—she is in fact a linguistic genius who can leave Kirk's head spinning with language theory. Even in the episodes, there are occasional hints of her mechanical abilities implying that she can take apart and fix the communications equipment as well as operate it. Also, Uhura was technically fifth in command of the Enterprise (and did take command for at least one episode of the animated series) meaning that out of the entire crew only Kirk, Spock, Scotty, or Sulu could override her decisions (although in one episode Mauve Shirt DeSalle takes command ahead of her).
      • The Writer's Guide has her fourth in command (she originally wore gold, not red). She took the helm in "Court Martial" and says she was supposed to do so again in a third season episode, but Roddenberry prevented it. When she confronted him, he said "you can't have females taking over a man's ship."
      • One story going around is that Nichelle Nichols was considering leaving the show at one point, but Martin Luther King, Jr. himself told her how much the world needed to see an African-American woman on television being treated as an equal by white characters.
    • Aside from Uhura, the series also showed that black people definitely had a place in the future decades before DS9 and Sisko; Commodore Stone from "Court Martial" (the highest-ranked black character to appear in the original series) conducted Kirk's trial because he actually outranked him! Not to mention that the computers used by Starfleet (and presumably by everybody in the Federation) run on the "duotronic" system invented by a black man! (Yeah, Daystrom goes off his rocker, but it's clear it's a case of Teen Genius becoming a Nervous Wreck trying to live up to a prior reputation, leading to insanity, and it's implied he will be all right.)
    • Sulu: Not to the same degree as Uhura, but it does not seem particularly notable or progressive today to have an Asian supporting character while all the leads were white. However, in the 1960s, it was a pretty big deal that Sulu had no accent, did not do martial arts, and overall was not an offensive stereotype of Asians. Just about every Asian-American actor was clamoring for the role as a result.
      • Having an Asian on the bridge would raise more than a few eyebrows among older viewers, especially since it was pretty obvious he was Japanese.
      • Of course, martial arts did eventually creep into Sulu's character by the third movie, and one animated series episode has a slightly uncomfortable joke about Asian racial stereotypes.
      • Martial arts training would make sense for an officer in a (quasi)military organization, Asian or not.
      • And he was going to have a big martial arts scene in "The Gamesters of Triskelion" before Takei had to bow out of the episode, resulting in him being replaced with Chekov and the scene becoming a standard '60s TV fight.
      • According to Takei's autobiography, the writer of the episode "The Naked Time" asked him if he wanted Sulu to swordfight with a rapier or a katana. Takei chose the rapier because he felt the katana would be too stereotypical.
    • While marred by the pop-culture idea that he's a playboy, the fact remains that even for today's standards, Kirk is one of the few male heroes who use the stereotypically feminine technique of using their sexuality to get information.
    • Having a Russian character on American TV at all in the 1960s, let alone making him one of the show's protagonists and showing him to have the main responsibilities over a military(ish) vessel's weapons system, was also pretty revolutionary for its time.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • The show’s conservative politics are lauded, but its endorsement of Vietnam in A Private Little War and The Omega Glory is regarded by fans as embarrassing, or even glossed over.
      • The Reveal in "The City on the Edge of Forever". Edith's peace movement not only should but must be killed, or else Franklin Delano Roosevelt will keep America out of World War II, which would result in the Nazis developing atomic power first and winning. "Pacifism is an ideal to aspire to, but reality is more cynical, and sometimes people must be prepared to fight."

        It's not necessarily a bad aesop, but it's certainly more cynical than you'd expect of a 60s show, and in rather stark contrast to the pretty strong "Pacifism = Good" message sent by earlier episodes. It can get worse when you consider the time the episode aired, and see it as a possible call for American intervention in Southeast Asia.

        Spock's backstory also contains this message. Vulcans are total pacifists and vegetarians... and serving in Starfleet means they must occasionally be ordered to kill. There is brief dialogue in "A Taste of Armageddon" to this effect, and in "Journey to Babel" this is revealed as the reason his dad didn't want him to join up.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The Guardian of Forever has appeared in dozens of Star Trek novels.
    • "Mirror, Mirror" provides a particularly rich vein of it, letting fans come with versions of any episode across the franchise from the Mirror Universe. And in the case of TNG and Voyager stories, this includes building the Mirror cast from scratch.
    • Gary Seven and his team from "Assignment: Earth", since their story was deliberately left open for further adventures. They've appeared in books and comics interacting with history both real and fictional (including encounters with Khan Noonien Singh during the Eugenics Wars).
    • In Alternate Universe 4 by Shirley Maiewski, Anna Mary Hall & Virginia Tilley, Kirk becomes one of the Assignment: Earth agents. They are called Lightfleet.
  • Fanon:
    • Trelane was a member of the Q Continuum. Or, indeed, possibly even the same Q who later encounters Picard...
    • Confirmed by Peter David in his TNG novel Q Squared. Trelane is even implied to be Q's illegitimate son.
    • The (technically) two seasons which compromise Star Trek: The Animated Series are actually the fourth and fifth year of the five year mission mentioned in the opening credits. The animated series isn't a different show, but the same one. Except it's a cartoon.
    • It's commonly speculated that Janice Lester in "Turnabout Intruder" was deemed too mentally unstable to command a starship and her psychotic mind twisted it into thinking that all women were forbidden from holding that position. This is more or less promoted to canon in Enterprise, which casually revealed that Starfleet does allow women captains.
      • In interviews for a book about Shatner, Nimoy confirmed that Roddenberry was indeed saying Starfleet didn't allow women captains, that they cannot do all that men do. "What Roddenberry set out to prove was that this lady, given command of the ship, would blow it." He had voiced repeated objections to this during production.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • So very, very much so it spawned the first Slash Fic. Yep, Kirk and Spock again...
    • In the very earliest days, the fandom were rooting for Spock/Christine, and an equal number seemed to go for Kirk/Uhura and Spock/Uhura. There was also strong fan support for Kirk and Marlene Moreau, the "Captain's Woman" from the mirror universe.
    • The later movies in the franchise hint at Scotty/Uhura being something close to canon, causing many fans to go back and preemptively start shipping them during the series, despite the fact that they don't have much personal interaction until the films.
  • Fight Scene Failure:
    • Kirk vs Gorn in "Arena". Behold.
    • During the Bar Brawl in "The Trouble with Tribbles", Scotty punches a Klingon across the room—without touching him.
  • First Installment Wins: In quality terms it's usually considered a three-way battle between this, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine for the best Trek series, with each of the three having their own unique strengths. In terms of enduring popularity among the general public however, this series wins hands-down.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: After Kirk drops the Logic Bomb on Nomad in "The Changeling", he jokes, "It's not easy to lose a bright and promising son... My son, the doctor." He later finds out how right he is.
  • Growing the Beard: Averted by the series proper, the only Star Trek series with a strong start. Among the movies, definitely The Wrath of Khan—see also Surprisingly Improved Sequel or Even Better Sequel, depending on your view of the first.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Evil Kirk's assault of Rand during "The Enemy Within" is pretty awful in light of the fact that Grace Lee Whitney was later sexually assaulted by one of the Trek producers.
      • You can go ahead and say it. It was Gene. It's very clear in her book. Leonard Nimoy knew about it and supported her.
    • "The Menagerie" when you consider that Jeffery Hunter (Captain Pike) was later injured in an explosion on a film set that eventually caused him to be partially paralyzed and lose his power of speech. Eventually, he recovered, but later still died from a cerebral hemorrhage caused by the explosion.
    • "Space Seed" ended with Kirk delivering a very optimistic line about the future of Khan's people...
    • The message in "A Taste of Armageddon", about the dehumanizing effects of computerized warfare, was haunting enough in 1967, when the computer was still in its infancy. Today, with things like UAVs and computer-guided missiles becoming indispensable parts of modern warfare, it hits harder than ever.
    • In "A Private Little War", Kirk says that the conflict in Vietnam was resolved by making sure both factions were equally armed with neither becoming stronger than the other. Real life solution? Run like hell!
    • In the episode "Assignment: Earth", Spock lists several scenarios that Gary Seven could have been sent to affect in 1968 Earth. One of them is "an important assassination". The episode aired March 28, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. To twist the knife even further, Robert Kennedy's assassination occurred just two months later.
    • In the aftermath of incidents like the Manson murders, Dr. Sevrin's actions in "The Way To Eden" become a lot more disturbing. He was originally meant as a Timothy Leary Expy, of course, but long before the Manson murders, people clearly had the idea that something like that could happen. Stories about rock- and acid-addled hippies running criminally amuck, obeying an insane or evil "guru", were rife. There was even one in Jimmy Olsen comics, "Hippie Olsen's Hate-In" (dated March 1969, it probably hit the stands in early January, seven months before the Manson killings).
    • In "Wink of an Eye," Kirk hears the hyper-accelerated aliens of the week as an annoying buzzing. William Shatner contracted permanent tinitus from an explosion on the show.
    • "The Cloud Minders" feels remarkably similar to the mass lead poisoning going on at the time, which wouldn't be discovered for a while longer.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In "Errand of Mercy", the first episode to feature the Klingons, the Organians speculate that someday, the Federation and Klingons will become allies. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, we see this indeed came true, and how it happened is explored in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. According to Star Trek: Enterprise, by the time of the 26th Century, the Klingon Empire will officially join as a member of the United Federation of Planets.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first pilot, "The Cage", Vina on Number One's breeding capabilities: "You'd have better luck with a computer!" During the episode's use in "The Menagerie" it was just plain funny, as Majel Barrett had already been voicing the computer for some time.
    • Leonard Nimoy playing an emotionless alien might have been if Invasion of the Body Snatchers had been a bigger phenomenon than Star Trek.
    • Uhura's teasing Spock in song in "Charlie X" in light of the 2009 movie.
    • In "The Corbomite Maneuver", Bones needles the svelte Captain Kirk over having put on a few pounds. Shatner had issues with his weight all the way through the series and was constantly exercising. In more recent years, William Shatner has been having serious weight problems.
    • The Simpsons has made it somewhat more difficult to be suitably grave about the possibility that a character in "The Conscience of the King" is the notorious Kodos in disguise.
    • Spock's surprised reaction to his first sight of the Romulans in "Balance of Terror" could now come off just as much as a reaction to the commander looking like his father.
    • Cogley's defence of Kirk in "Court Martial" partly rests on emotively arguing that man is superior to machine and the court therefore should not take it for granted that the computer's evidence is inviolate. A couple of decades later, Star Trek: The Next Generation's own courtroom episode "The Measure of a Man"—which even also includes the legal Fighting Your Friend trope—is about proving that a machine can be equal to man. Even more ironically, Cogley makes the exact plea "I speak of rights. A machine has none. A man must!", which is literally the entire basis of "The Measure of a Man".
    • Jame's outfit in "Court Martial" is nigh-identical to a Sailor Scout's.
    • "The Return of the Archons" features a society that is orderly and well-behaved except during a regular twelve hour period of complete anarchy. Seems familiar.
    • Mirror Sulu's lecherous interest in Uhura in "Mirror, Mirror". It really is a mirror universe, Ohhh Myyy!
    • It's hard to watch "The Immunity Syndrome" without thinking of the lyric from the Novelty Song "Star Trekkin'" that goes "Boldly going forward cuz we can't find reverse!"
    • In "Obsession", the Monster of the Week is literally a sparkly vampire.
    • Spock remarks in "The Ultimate Computer" that "the most unfortunate lack in current computer programming is that there is nothing available to immediately replace the starship surgeon." What makes this funnier is that Spock isn't actually proven wrong, as the Emergency Medical Hologram was considered by Starfleet to be a failure and by the end of the series they've gone through four different versions of the program without success.
    • The gladiatorial games as they're presented in "Bread and Circuses" seem a lot like modern reality game shows like Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Only with decapitations.
    • In the rejected first pilot episode, Captain Pike, Kirk's predecessor, annoyed with his crewmates, says, "What are we running here, a cadet ship?"
      • This was hilarious in hindsight as far back as Wrath of Khan: the Enterprise was meant to be on a training cruise before flying off to deal with Khan and was largely full of cadets.
      • Captain Pike irritably asking Number One "are we running a cadet review?" takes on a whole new, unintended meaning in context of his role in the 2009 film.
      • Number One is derisively compared to a computer, when Majel Barrett would spend the rest of her life voicing computers in the franchise.
    • In "The Way to Eden" one of the female space hippies tries to seduce Sulu, who doesn't bite. And says "How do you know what I want?" with a giant grin on his face.
    • Revenge of the Sith was not the first sci-fi production to have a doctor diagnose a patient with a fatal deficiency of will to live.
    • Compare the older versions of Spock, McCoy and especially Kirk in "The Deadly Years" to how they really turned out.
    • In "Day of the Dove", Spock and Scotty warn Kirk about the dangers of intra-ship beaming. In Star Trek, Spock Prime (this Spock) reveals to Scotty that Scotty Prime eventually created a formula for interstellar beaming, which would explain how intra-ship beaming becomes commonplace by the 24th century.
    • In the episode "Metamorphosis", Zefram Cochrane's reaction to seeing the Federation commissioner essentially amounted to "Hey hot girl, let's jump in bed together!" Young healthy male marooned on planet for decades + newly marooned female = Hormone explosion; doesn't really take lot of analysis to see why he'd be all over her... but then in First Contact, back in the 21st century, Troi was complaining about how she'd gotten roped into drinking with Cochrane and spent a lot of time fending off all of his drunken efforts to grope her. If anything, he's improved! Arguably, an intentional Call Forward.
    • "Is There No Truth In Beauty?" features A. a blind person and B. a device called a Visor.
    • Uhura's fear of death in "And the Children Shall Lead" is shown by her having a hideously decayed face. Nichelle Nichols actually aged very gracefully.
  • Ho Yay: Spock had so much of this with Captain Kirk that entire web shows and essays have been devoted to it, and it spawned Slash Fic as a genre. But his Slap-Slap-Kiss with Dr. McCoy shouldn't be ignored...
    • It should be noted that the creator has said that Kirk and Spock's "affection was sufficient" for "physical love" "had that been the style of the 23rd Century"...but, I suppose that may vary?
      • Roddenberry was maneuvered into voicing this speculation by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, two of the most aggressive promoters of the "slash premise", who were working on the Shatner bio Shatner: Where No Man. It was supposed to be a comparison of Kirk and Spock with Alexander the Great and his second-in-command/lover Hephaistion. In the full quote Roddenberry admits the "lovers" idea had not occurred to him before the ladies suggested it. Of course, then he went on to create the Vulcan word "t'hy'la" specifically to describe Kirk and Spock's relationship, and proceeded to define it as "friend/brother/lover"...
    • See the trope page itself for many, many more examples.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The planet killer is consistently referred to as just that—however, it is sometimes remembered as the "Doomsday Machine", that being the name of the episode and everything.
  • Iron Woobie: Spock is perfectly willing to sacrifice himself for others. He will also stand by his principles even when he expects that Kirk, McCoy, or his parents will hate him for it.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Decker in "The Doomsday Machine". We feel bad for him since he's mourning the loss of his crew and clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, he can be a real jerk.
    • Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonais". Sure, he's a dick to the Enterprise crew after they won't worship him like the old days of Greek gods, but by the end, we see what a sad, lonely being Apollo really is, as he faces his defeat with a hefty dose of Manly Tears.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Several episodes try to wring tension from a main character's supposed death, most notably "Amok Time." Also, Spock's blindness from "Operation: Annihilate!" Given that the show is from the era of strict Status Quo Is God, the ending is never in doubt.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • T'Pring in "Amok Time." Vulcan marriage/divorce laws are very restrictive—betrothal from age seven, and no possibility of divorce except during the Pon Farr. As the years went by, T'Pring decided she didn't want to marry a distant, legendary figure and would rather be with a Vulcan she actually knew and liked, so she chose to challenge the marriage and chose Kirk as her champion. If Kirk won, he wouldn't want her, and she could be with Ston. If Spock won, he would still free her for bringing the challenge at all—or he would leave, and she could still be with Ston on Vulcan. Picking Kirk ensured that Ston would not die in the combat. As Spock said, flawlessly logical. Not especially nice to Kirk, but still pretty good as cunning plans go.
    • Khan Noonien Singh in "Space Seed". In the briefing room, Kirk, Scotty and others discuss their secret admiration of Khan the historical figure, to the complete bemusement of Spock. They eat their words when Khan's barbarism and complete psychopathy are revealed. Even then, McGyvers follows him willingly in exile to the savage planet.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Scotty has a big fanbase among Scottish Trekkies.
  • My Real Daddy: Gene Roddenberry was responsible for the series as a whole, but one of his producers/writers, Gene Coon, had a great deal to do with making the show great with classic ideas like the Klingons, the Prime Directive, Khan Noonien Singh and being the series' showrunner in the first two seasons who helped many of the stories used better. He was also one of the real progressives among the writer-producers.
  • Narm: Some aspects of the show have aged horribly, especially for people born after 1990; as a result, this trope ends up popping up in places where it's obvious that wasn't the intent at all. Of course, a lot of people don't see this as a bad thing, as noted directly below.
    • There are so many examples it'd be impossible to list them all, but one that stands out is the episode "The Omega Glory", in which another planet evolves the American flag and constitution, all for Kirk to make a ridiculously over-the-top patriotic speech about how America is one of the best countries in the world! Even Americans find that scene ridiculous.
      • And did at the time. That episode, sneeringly referred to by some fans as "The United States of Star Trek", was universally decried as scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrel.
    • The death of "Sam" Kirk. The reveal of Shatner with a fake mustache is possibly the biggest WTF moment in a series that's spoiled for choice.
      • On a 1960s television set, it did look like a different person. Digitally cleaned up visuals and high definition have not served this show well at all.
    • Once you're familiar with the concept of Redshirts, it's pretty hard to take their deaths seriously. Indeed, when you're thinking, "Yup, that guy's dead" as soon as they beam down, then when the time comes it can produce chuckles.
    • Some of the fight scenes aren't quite as terrifying as they were supposed to be.
    • McCoy's face at the end says it all.
    • Kirk's "No Blah Blah Blah" line in "Miri".
    • Pretty much all of "Spock's Brain." Say it together now:
      Brain and brain! What is brain?
    • Of all the gestures to indicate the kids' powers in "And the Children Shall Lead", they just had to go with the international symbol for masturbation.
    • Some of the "terrible" things the crew is forced to do in "Plato's Stepchildren" come off as more silly than menacing, especially Kirk acting like a horse while being ridden by Alexander.
  • Narm Charm: To the point where many fans decry the remastered episodes as losing much of what made the show memorable to begin with.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • William Shatner is often the butt of jokes for his Large Ham delivery that quickly alternates between drawn-out and rushed. He actually didn't get like this until the third season, where the quality of material he had to work with took a significant drop.
    • Kirk's reputation as a careless manwhore. He did sleep around a lot, but in several cases (where he wasn't being a male Femme Fatale, amnesiac, or mind-controlled), he experienced sincerely felt attraction that failed only because of the woman's death or his duties.
  • Newer Than They Think: Though this show is George Takei's most significant acting credit, by quite a large margin, it did not spawn his famous Catch Phrase "Oh myyyy...". You can thank The Howard Stern Show for that one.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The concept of transport beaming between star systems. It was introduced into Trek canon in the episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
    • In DS9's "The Siege of AR-558", the director wanted the actors to beam down to the planet in a crouching position. Nicole de Boer raised the point that "nobody ever beams in crouched down". She and the director got into it, and the production office had to be contacted. The studio ruled Nicole's way, and the Defiant crew beams down to the battlefield in the usual manner: way out in the open in a standing position with no cover. The punchline: Kirk and co. did duck down during transport in "The Corbomite Maneuver". Spock later beams down to the surface of Vulcan in a crouching position in the 2009 movie.
    • Themes: Ron Moore is a fan of "Conscience of the King", particularly the way Kirk wavers between his ethics and thirst for vengeance ("There's a stain of cruelty on your shining armor, Captain"). "The brooding tone and the morally ambiguous nature of the drama fascinated me and definitely influenced my thinking as to what Trek could and should be all about." Likewise, in his re-imagined version Battlestar Galactica, Moore named the prison barge Astral Queen after the ship commanded in this episode by Cpn. Daily.
    • Much has been made of how TOS depicted a "better" humanity than the "corrupt slug monsters" (™ Cracked) of later iterations, but it seems every time Kirk met someone important in the Federation, they either were stark raving bonkers or finally snapped in Kirk's presence.
      1. Doctor Adams, who had "done more to revolutionise, to humanise prisons and the treatment of prisoners than all the rest of humanity had done in forty centuries," was secretly torturing his patients.
      2. John Gill the historian, whose "treatment of Earth history as causes and motivations rather than dates and events" Spock found impressive, thought the best way to unite a fragmented planet was to recreate Nazi Germany. I mean what could possibly go wrong?
      3. Doctor Richard Daystrom (yes, that Daystrom), the Steve Jobs of the 23rd century, whose duotronic breakthrough won him the Nobel and Zee-Magnes prizes, had his engrams put into his computer...which quickly loses it and starts killing people...followed by Daystrom himself quickly losing it and stating "We're invincible. Look what we've done. Your mighty starships, Four toys to be crushed as we choose" followed by Spock shutting him up with a Vulcan neck pinch.
      4. Captain Garth of Izar, whose exploits were required reading, has totally lost it and compares himself to Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Lee Kuan, and Krotus! (Those last two were made-up conquerors.)
      5. Dr. Janice Lester, who was presumably a competent Starfleet officer with a legitimate complaint about discrimination in the service, goes off the deep end and resorts to a rather creepy kidnapping scheme to get what she always wanted: becoming a man!
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The third season, which was the weakest, was the only one without Gene Roddenberry's oversight.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: If Kirk and Spock weren't intended to be in love with each other from day one, note  Star Trek is guilty of quite possibly the greatest RWF in television history.note 
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • As the show went on, the missions just kept getting weirder and weirder. Prime examples include looking for Spock's brain, a showdown at the O.K. Corral and encounters with hippies, Chicago Gangsters, Native Americans, a modern day Roman Empire, Nazis, Abraham Lincoln and even the Greek god Apollo. Though most fans point to Roddenberry stepping out of day-to-day involvement at the start of Season 3, plus massive budget cuts, some fans believe that the show was already running out of steam in the latter third or so of Season 2, and point to the departure of Gene L. Coon midway through that season as when things started going wrong.
    • In fact, the episode "Spock's Brain" is usually regarded as the absolute worst episode in at least the original series and sometimes in the whole of Star Trek.
    • Given a Lampshade Hanging in some of Kirk's in-universe biographies, which typically note that many of Kirk's reports were met with considerable disbelief from his superiors in Starfleet. The case where an alien race literally stole Spock's brain is usually mentioned in an especially disdainful manner.
    • The various bizarre episodes were partially justified, though: due to a lack of budget, Star Trek TOS often had to make do with spare props and costumes from some of the other studios on the lot. When they did a story about going to a gangster world, it was because all they had were spare gangster costumes and props to work with, for example.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Fwoof. TOS catches it bad these days. Not only has everyone who followed in its footsteps borrowed from it to some degree, but they've all tried to improve upon a lot of the problems the show had due to a limited budget, technological barriers of the time and the fact that the cast and crew were inventing a lot of tropes as they went. Fans who got into Trek with the newer installments can have trouble watching TOS nowadays.
  • Shipping: Kirk/Spock is obviously a near-legendary example of this, with other common pairings being Scotty/Uhura (mostly in an attempt to do their romance from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in a way that doesn't seem completely insane) and Sulu/Rand (due to the two's interactions in "The Man Trap" and the fact that Rand later wound up on the Excelsior).
  • So Bad, It's Good:
    • "Spock's Brain" is so awesomely bad that, when you approach it the right way, it becomes one of the funniest Trek episodes ever made. Rumor has it that the script originated as a prank at the expense of Gene Roddenberry.
    • The episode "The Omega Glory". There's something about that American flag. The Pledge and the Spock-like Satan illustration did not help. Shatner's trademark delivery worked well when he said, "Look at these words...written bigger... than the rest... tall words ... proudly saying ... 'We... the Pe... ople...
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Racism is self-destructive and it makes no sense to consider people "inferior" based on purely aesthetic features. Note that the episode aired just one year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • "The Omega Glory" is divisive, particularly among international fans, but it pulls no punches about how dangerous blind patriotism and nationalism can be.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • So many monsters... and the space-dog that is clearly a dog.
    • In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", it turns out that optical effect of the Enterprise doesn't work very well against the sky. It can be pretty laughable when they say they're going incredibly fast and then we see the ship looking like it's barely even moving.
    • In "The Alternative Factor", that constant "winking" effect with the overlays of a nebula and two ghostly figures struggling against each other. It was probably trying to be arty, but it comes across as pretentious, confusing, and just plain boring. All the scenes that get cut for syndication, and they couldn't reduce any of this useless Padding?
    • Modern reruns of the Original Series have digitally remastered special effects, but there was only so much they could do with the scene with the giant cat in "Catspaw". Remember the "black panthers" from Team America: World Police? Yeah, it was like that. The fuzzy blue marionettes representing Sylvia and Korob's true forms have since had most of the wires edited out.
    • During the showdown in "Spectre of the Gun", the Dramatic Thunder and accompanying lightning cause the trees to cast shadows on the painted backdrop. However, since this is after our heroes have realised they're in an artificial world, it kinda works!
  • Stoic Woobie: Spock definitely falls into this category. He's an alien to two races, and several times he is injured in the line of duty, or stands by his principles under severe criticism. A few episodes that highlight this are "Journey to Babel", "Operation: Annihilate", and "The Tholian Web".
  • Strangled by the Red String: Happens several times in Season 3, with Kirk genuinely falling in love rather than the pragmatic manipulation he'd done before. The worst is "Requiem for Methuselah," where it explicitly happens within four hours.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • Theiss Titillation Theory: The Trope Namer was the series costume designer, William Ware Theiss.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: For those who dislike the "remastered" episodes (and especially resent that CBS is obviously trying to supplant the original versions with them—though at least they aren't going full Lucas).
  • They Just Didn't Care:
    • One of the most prominent continuity errors in the entire series occurs in "Charlie X" when Kirk enters the turbolift with Charlie wearing his gold uniform top... and emerges with the green wraparound on. The only internally consistent explanation would involve the single most awkward elevator ride ever as Kirk changed his top in front of Charlie. (Or maybe Charlie changed it as a joke in the turbolift while talking with Kirk and Kirk didn't notice.)
    • In "Turnabout Intruder," the director ordered Shatner to exit the conference room the wrong way to get the shot he wanted, which Shatner pleaded against to no avail.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • In "Miri," the discovery of a planet identical to Earth on the other end of the galaxy is completely forgotten about after the first act, when it probably could have supported a whole story arc if the show hadn't been made in the era of absolute Status Quo Is God.
    • The idea of a man going insane when he learns he has a double from another universe and wants to kill said double at all costs is one of the more interesting concepts in the series. Unfortunately, the episode "The Alternative Factor" does little to effectively build upon it.
    • The so-called Hippie episode ("The Way to Eden") believe it or not. We learn here that the artificial atmospheres the Federation use (including the one on the Enterprise) are breeding extremely powerful diseases that apparently cannot be cured. If we actually had a Khan-level villain who had been infected here instead of the ridiculous one we actually got, we could have had the crew battle an horrific plague whilst trying to prevent an invader from stealing the ship.

      Plus, the idea that there would be rebellion against authority even within the supposed Utopian future of the series. The franchise would later revisit this with far more attention with the Maquis, though even then not much was really done with the idea of questioning how perfect the Federation really is.
    • McCoy's illness in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." Just imagine what a modern day show could do with a character having a fatal disease and racing against time to find a cure, rather than knowing it'll be fixed somehow by the end of the episode.
  • Took The Bad Episode Seriously: DeForest Kelley, an old-school character actor, made a living out of doing this, and carries on with it throughout the series, with aplomb. Contrast William Shatner and especially Leonard Nimoy, both of whom visibly stop trying whenever the writing is particularly sub-par.
  • Uncanny Valley: “Nancy” while she was stalking Rand’s salt. Creepy.
  • Undermined by Reality: Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future moneyless utopia falls rather flat when you learn that the man himself was a quite ruthless businessman, pulling shady moves like writing completely irrelevant lyrics to the show's theme song that were never intended to be used just so he could steal part of the composer's paycheck. Though you can still argue that the "idea" itself is more important than the flaws of the man behind it.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: The titular character from Elaan of Troyius. She's a Jerk Ass, true, but she's expected to learn perfect manners for her Arranged Marriage. Apparently this is the only method two space-faring races can think of two avert conflict...
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In "The Enemy Within", Rand's first instinct after Evil!Kirk tries to rape her is to cover for him. And note that she actually thinks it was Kirk himself! Even the blocking of the scene is unnerving these days, with the three guys all looming over the distraught Rand in what certainly seems like the position most likely to dissuade her from talking about it.
      • In one magazine interview, Grace Lee Whitney points out that Spock even seems to be a little turned on by the whole situation, as during Rand's public apology to Kirk at the end of the episode (and yes she apologizes to Kirk and not the other way around) he states the imposter had some interesting qualities wouldn't you say? before obviously leering at her as she walks away. She also states in another interview that her directions for the rape scene from Gene were to make it real but glamorous, which frankly are two words that go together like fire and water.
    • In "Who Mourns for Adonais?", Kirk and Bones regret the upcoming loss of a skilled female officer given what seems like her impending marriage to Scotty, with no thought to the possibility that a married woman would keep her job. Making it weirder is that the previous season's episode "Balance of Terror" featured two crew members getting married with no explicit mention of the woman quitting her job.
    • "The Paradise Syndrome" is a perfect storm of every offensive "Native American" and mighty whitey trope imaginable, plus Miramanee is played by a white actress in brownface.
    • "Elaan of Troyius" is a sci-fi take on The Taming of the Shrew played absolutely straight. Note that the play's horrific sexism had already started being mocked even while Shakespeare was still alive.
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," well-intentioned as it is, can be pretty cringe-inducing with its portrayal of both sides of the racial divide as being equally responsible for the hatred between them, even as it also clearly portrays one race as having put the other under horrible oppression. The Watts riots were still a recent memory at the time, but at our current remove from that, it can easily come off as putting undue blame on black people in their fight for equality.
  • Values Resonance: Several episodes, like "A Taste of Armageddon", and most notably, "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The true form of the salt vampire in "The Man Trap" is one of the show's most impressive (and scary) aliens. Too bad we don't get to see it for long.
    • The effects in "Who Mourns For Adonais?" are pretty good even before the digital remastering. Subtle but effective: swaying trees and bird song make the studio set look like it really is outside. We really do believe from the arranged shots that Apollo is growing. However, even modern SFX can't keep a giant green hand in space from looking a little silly.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Joe Tomerlin, the Red Shirt who accompanied Spock down to the planet at the beginning of "The Naked Time". He takes his protective glove off, puts his hand down on the surface of a planet where many people have died with no explanation, and scratches his nose with the same hand. Before he stabbed himself, he claimed that humanity didn't belong in space. Given his horrific failure to follow basic hazmat procedures on a space station where everyone has died for no evident cause, perhaps it was only he that did not belong in space.
    • Bones grabs the Idiot Ball in "The Alternative Factor". They got Laz in sick bay. Bones says he's "not going anywhere. Not this time." after telling a muscley Red Shirt to take a hike. Bones and Kirk then walk off, leaving Laz unattended. Bones even lingers by the doorway, as if trying to remember something he forgot. Oh yeah, he should've either tranqed or restrained the madman who was trying to steal the dilithium crystals!
  • The Woobie:
    • Miri in "Miri", when she cries and begs Kirk and co. not to hurt her.
    • Alexander in "Plato's Stepchildren", after being used for centuries as Parmen's Chew Toy.
    • Spock is seen as this by many fans.
    • McCoy has his woobie episodes in "The Empath" and "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky".
    • Chekov. While every one of the main cast gets into their fair share of trouble, it always seems to pull at your heartstrings a bit more when it happens to poor adorable Chekov. Additionally, the Big Brother Instinct Kirk seems to feel towards him is rather d'aww-inducing, particularly the way Kirk calls him by his first name when he's been hurt.
    • Yeoman Rand. Of the first four episodes aired, three of them had her having to fend off unwanted male attention (though the first one of them was actually a shapeshifting alien, as if that makes it any better for her).
  • Word of Gay: Inverted. When George Takei came out, a lot of fans began to speculate if Hikaru Sulu was gay too. Takei was among the first to quash these rumors, stating that Sulu was not only firmly heterosexual, but also Happily Married and a father.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: In "The Alternative Factor", Robert Brown seems to be wearing a different fake beard in just about every scene.

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