[John’s Note: This list of top 20 Star Trek episode comes from film book author and scholar Dennis Fischer.]
1. “The Cage”/ “The Menagerie” --Roddenberry's original pilot was neatly incorporated into a compelling two-part episode which still limns the dangers of living in a virtual reality and still has something to say.
2. “The City on the Edge of Forever” --Ellison's script presented a terrific dramatic situation--Kirk has to decide to sacrifice the woman he loves to save Earth's timeline.
3. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” --If humans got psionic powers, how would they treat mere humanity?
4. “Balance of Terror”--The Enterprise is attacked by Romulans which could trigger an unwanted war. How will Kirk handle the situation?
5. “Amok Time” --The logical Mr. Spock has his logic ripped from him due to a Vulcan biological urge. How will Kirk cope when he is drawn into conflict with his own First Officer and best friend?
6. “The Doomsday Machine” --The Enterprise comes across a commander (William Windom) whose crew was killed by a planet destroyer and is an almost unstoppable killing machine. Will the Enterprise be next?
7. The Trouble With Tribbles” --Heinlein's Martian Flatcats reconceived as tribbles, the nonaggressive menace in Star Trek's best humorous episode.
8. “Mirror, Mirror” --In a parallel universe, the Enterprise crew sees what life would be like a ruthless version of the Federation.
9. “This Side of Paradise” --Alien spores release inhibitions, allowing Spock to experience love for the first time.
10. “Space Seed”--Genetic supermen from the past take over the Enterprise and must be defeated.
11. “The Conscience of the King”--Kirk plays Hamlet as he has to decide what to do if the actor he is seeing is really Kodos the Executioner.
12. “Arena” --Kirk is caught in a conflict with an alien species and learns that the Federation may have inadvertently annexed their territory.
13. “Errand of Mercy” --Superior aliens stop a conflict between the Federation and the Klingons.
14. “The Devil in the Dark”--An apparently rock-dissolving monster is really just a mother protecting her brood.
15. “Journey to Babel”--We met Spock's parents as a spy sabotages a diplomatic mission
16. “Shore Leave”--Sturgeon creates a paradise planet where people's desires are materialized.
17. “The Squire of Gothos”--An immature alien with great powers wants to play at war.
18. “The Enemy Within”--A transporter accident causes two Kirks to appear, one a Jekyll and the other a Hyde.
19. “Requiem for Methuselah”--The crew meet a man who has lived many lifetimes and been an important artist on Earth.
20. “Metamorphosis”--An alien falls in love with the inventor of warp drive and is reluctant to let him go.