The list of coolest Star Trek ships seen in the original series’ sophomore season (October 1967-March 1968) is small but mighty!
Season 2 didn’t offer viewers too many spaceships to look at apart from the star of the show, the Enterprise itself. (It did deliver more Enterprise than usual, however, considering we saw some of its “sister ships” in two episodes, as well as its Mirror Universe counterpart!)
The Romulan Bird of Prey (“The Deadly Years,” first aired December 8, 1967)
The Romulan Bird of Prey is definitely one of the coolest Star Trek ships ever. It actually debuted almost in season one’s “Balance of Terror” (first aired December 15, 1966). But because season two gave us fewer spaceships to choose from, let’s celebrate it here!
Wah Ming Chang, the talented artist and sculptor who contributed so many memorable designs to Star Trek, designed the iconic craft in just two weeks. Its curved lines, wide nacelle struts, “tail fin,” and, above all, distinctive markings truly give it the appearance of a hunting falcon or eagle in flight.
When “The Deadly Years” first aired, viewers saw only recycled footage of the Bird of Prey. The TOS remastering team took the opportunity to create new shots of all three enemy vessels attacking the Enterprise.
“The Deadly Years” marked the Bird of Prey’s last appearance in the original series. But the studio model’s destruction after “Balance of Terror” gave the creative team the chance to introduce another, brand-new ship in the third season. (We’ll talk about that next time!)
The Planet Killer (“The Doomsday Machine,” first aired October 20, 1967)
The miles-long conical killing machine from a war in the stars fought a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (but not that one) makes “The Doomsday Machine” one of the most memorable episodes in any season of Star Trek.
Who can forget the guilt-ridden Commodore Decker flying his shuttlecraft straight into the blazing maw of what he called a devil “right out of hell”?
Apparently fashioned from gaffers’ foil wrapped in blue lighting gels, according to the Memory Alpha wiki, the machine as we see it didn’t match writer Norman Spinrad’s original concept of something completely covered with wicked-looking weaponry.
The effects remastering team didn’t revive Spinrad’s vision, but did fix the vessel’s occasional transparency in the original footage.
The result? A much more solid, imposing, and ancient spacecraft whose maw, thanks to more detailed texture and improved animation, now looks even more like the mouth of hell itself.
Even though it doesn’t carry a crew, it’s one of the coolest Star Trek ships from one of the coolest Star Trek episodes!
Nomad (“The Changeling,” first aired September 29, 1967)
The little 21st-century craft from Earth was “the first interstellar probe to seek new life-forms,” according to Dr. McCoy. But a deep space chance meeting with alien probe Tan Ru, designed to sterilize soil samples, turned Nomad into a lethal weapon.
Drastically altered from its original launch configuration, Nomad is what a chess bishop might look like if outfitted with flashing lights, antennae, and lasers. Vic Perrin’s voice and skillfully designed sound effects make Nomad’s menacing impression complete.
Jim Rugg and Irving Feinberg built three Nomad props from Matt Jefferies’ design, again per Memory Alpha. Star Trek viewers would see elements of Nomad again in two third-season episodes, “The Enterprise Incident” and “Requiem for Methuselah.”
After all, it’s a shame to let a cool Star Trek ship go to waste!