These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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 loved the Enterprise so much!
"Don't you think you should...rephrase that?"
Complete Monster: Melakon from season 2’s “Patterns of Force” was a devotee of Nazism introduced to his people in an attempt to soften it by a former Starfleet officer named John Gil. Shunning the attempt to water down Hitler's philosophy, Melakon decided to embrace Hitler's path. He overthrew his mentor and formed 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 was denounced by him as nothing more as a self-seeking adventurer, a traitor to his people and all they stood for.
Crowning Moment of Heartwarming - In "Amok Time" after Spock had believed he had killed his captain and friend. He went to McCoy and began readying himself for court martial, but just as he began giving McCoy orders to turn the ship over to Scotty, Kirk walked in behind him, snarking, "Don't you think you'd better check with me first?" Spock grabbed his friend by the shoulders, whirled him around, let loose with a beaming smile and cried, "Jim!" At which point every viewer watching squeed. Oh for... Here. First minute or so.
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."
From the same composer, the piece that plays throughout the episode "Shore Leave" often referred to as "Finnegan's Theme".
Um, HELLO?!? Alexander Courage's theme music?
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.
Uhura: Although now it seems normal and unremarkable for a woman to have a job other than a secretary, back then Uhura being in a (almost military) job and being black was a huge leap forward.
Not only that, even when she primarily served as The Chick, casting a black woman in the role was a huge deal in the 1960s. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 its 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.
Nichelle Nichols revealed in 2011 that she auditioned for Spock. Who knows how that might have changed the history of fandom itself?
Nichols has been telling that story since the early 70s. Her audition was a formality, and she (supposedly) didn't know it. They didn't even have a character for her to be yet; Gene wanted her on the show because she was black, a good actress, and an old girlfriend. They gave her Spock's lines to read and at first she wouldn't do it because she wasn't going to play Spock. They joked that they could put pointed ears on her and call her a Vulcanita.
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.
In the episode "Assignment: Earth", Spock lists several scenarios that Gary Seven could have been sent to effect 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.
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.
"The Menagerie" when you consider that Jeffery Hunter (Captain Pike) was later injured in an on set 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.
Uhura's teasing Spock in song in "Charlie X" in light of the recent movie.
Spock once remarks that "the most unfortunate lack in current computer programming is that there is nothing available to immediately replace the starship surgeon."
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.
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...
See the trope page itself for many, many more examples.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That was a huge groan at the time. Nobody took it seriously and it was regarded as the second worst episode ever, right after "Spock's Brain".
Believe me, even Americans find that scene ridiculous.
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.
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 if he wasn't being a male Femme Fatale, amnesiac, or mind-controlled, it was a sincerely felt attraction that failed because of the woman's death or his "marriage" to Enterprise.
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.
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.
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).
"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. C'mon, say it, people:
"Brain and brain!What is BRAIN?!"
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.
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.
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).
Undermined By Reality: Gene Roddenberry's vision of a socialist 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.
TOS features one of the few instances of the franchise boldly going into this territory, in "The Paradise Syndrome". Kirk loses his memory, goes native on the Planet Of The Week and falls for the Girl of the Week - in this case, the natives being translocated descendants of Native Americans. Yes, that's right, Trek featuring a "mighty white man conquering the beautiful, suggestible native woman" story. (The natives even straight-up mistake Kirk for a god. Yep.) It was barely acceptable when it aired, and these days is almost universally seen as an embarrassment and one of TOS' lowest points. (This was a third season episode, natch.)
Not to mention the show's open sexism. In one episode the effects of a Negative Space Wedgie causes members of the crew to start passing out, Kirk orders them given booster shots. McCoy is later shown injecting a line of Starfleet personnel — who are all female. Presumably tough spacemen are not in the habit of swooning. To the point of the Bridge Bunnies wearing incredibly short skirts and generally having menial, unimportant roles except as background characters or the Captain's Girl of the Week.
Although keep in mind that at the time, the miniskirt was a symbol of feminine empowerment. Yes, the short skirts were in the show as Fanservice, but that isn't the only purpose they served.
The original script had Mc Coy saying "Jim, I'm getting reports from all over the ship. Half the women on the ship just fainted." But in the final script, the words you heard when you saw the episode were "Half the people on the ship just fainted." Apparently that change was made very late in the game, so you still see a line of women.
Another example was Wolf in the Fold, which involved the spirit of Jack the Ripper feeding on peoples' fear. How is that sexist? Because the spirit overwhelmingly preyed on women, and Spock explicitly stated that this was because women feel fear more strongly and easily than men. (If you look carefully, the female crewmember in the foreground looks distinctly unimpressed when the line is read...)
"Spock's Brain" features the moral that without the guidance and leadership of a strong male individual, women will inevitably become dull-witted and lazy. Notably, this episode was written under the pseudonym of "Lee Cronin" by the otherwise-talented Gene L. Coon, and rumours persist to this day that it was either a sly joke on his part or an act of rebellion against Fred Freiberger, the newly appointed producer.
Perhaps the worst of all is the Series Finale "Turnabout Intruder," which reveals that Roddenberry's vision of an ideal, utopian future (and Roddenberry himself came up with this story, mind you) includes women being legally barred from becoming starship captains. This one was such an embarrassment to latter-day Trek that an episode of Enterprise casually revealed that Starfleet did allow women to be captains, implying that Janice Lester's psychotic mind imagined that bit of oppression.
Though it should be noted that Roddenberry was actually forced to put in the bit about women not being allowed to command starships and did not enjoy being forced to put it in.
Roddenberry literally stated in a production meeting that "You’d never want to let women actually get into power. All women are cunts, and you can’t trust them." Whether or not this comment was meant as a jest or not is currently up in the air.
In "The Return of the Archons" Kirk feels that the computer that has been running the society of Beta III is just a machine and has no soul, and that therefore there's no problem in destroying it. The crew of a certain otherEnterprise might have a thing or two to say about that.
In "The Changeling" there is a robot that looks very much like a Dalek that steal's Uhura's memory. The robot said that her thinking was irrational. Spock replies succinctly, "That unit is a woman." To make it even worse, when Uhura is being rehabilitated, she remembers how to speak Swahili. This have the implication that Swahili is very primitive compared to English.
Alternately, though, they may simply have been saying that Swahili is easier to learn than English (which isn't unreasonable, considering the high number of non-standard pronunciations in English), or they just thought it made sense that Uhura would remember how to speak her first language before remembering how to speak her second language.
That was Nichols' idea. Nichols thought she should be speaking Swahili, but since she didn't know any, the director thought she should deliver her lines in English. Nichols insisted that Uhura knew Swahili. They brought in a Swahili speaker to give her a few lines;note sikumbuka, "I don't remember": mbwa hii na tufe, "the dog has a ball" problem solved.
Chekov's entire characterization in the original series across the films. Yeah, it's great to see a Russian Communist working with an American Capitalist - so long as the Russian is clearly inferior to his American boss and just about everyone else around him.
"The Enemy Within": Kirk needs the part of himself that wants to rape women to be an effective captain.
That's not the worst part. At the end, Mr. Spock comments to Yeoman Rand about how Evil!Kirk had some very interesting qualities and wonders if she noticed, with the implication being she enjoyed the experience. The actress herself pointed out that this is arguably the most insensitive thing you can say to a sexual assault victim, and it was done for comedy.
Values Dissonance: 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!
Values Resonance: Several episodes, like "A Taste of Armageddon", and most notably, "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
What an Idiot: Joe Tomerlin, the Red Shirt who accompanied Spock down to the planet. 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.
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.)