The Trouble with Tribbles is one of Star Trek’s most popular episodes
On this day in 1967, Star Trek: The Original Series introduced viewers to an alien that would become as iconic as the Borg, Andorians, and Vulcans. Tribbles, as they were called, were the cute, furry little creatures that procreated prolifically and scared the big, bad Klingons. Unsurprisingly, The Trouble With Tribbles was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1968.
Written by then college student David Gerrold, the episode wasn’t a favorite of Gene Roddenberry’s according to Vanity Fair but went on to become one of the most popular episodes in Star Trek history. Gerrold originally entitled the episode “The Fuzzies” when he presented his proposal to the producers, but that proposal was different than what finally aired.
The Trouble with Tribbles was going to be scarier
Gerrold originally intended for the tribbles to be cute but dangerous, and their cuteness would distract people from exactly how dangerous they really were. In fact, the writer told Vanity Fair that he never intended for the episode to “get funny” until it entered production. That’s when he realized there was the possibility of a lot more humor.
Gerrold was certain that no one would remember this episode in twenty years. He couldn’t have foretold how very wrong he was as it has gone on to become one of the most highly-rated episodes in TOS. It was so good on the original night that it aired that it was given a network repeat, and the fans responded with copious amounts of letters showing support.
Looking back, if there was anything Gerrold could have changed about the episode, he told Vanity Fair that he didn’t like the “whiny tribble theme composed by Jerry Fielding nor the fur color, which was white and brown, of the Tribbles. He called it ugly, but it’s certainly not the way fans see it.
Fifty-four years later, tribbles remain a popular part of a classic series. So popular, in fact, that ingenious fans have created app-powered tribbles that will provide the squeak to scare away unwanted visitors. Not only is The Trouble with Tribbles well-remembered, the New York Times called the scene with Captain Kirk and the tribbles in the grain container as one of the “best-remembered moments” of the series. It’s certainly no wonder why we’re still talking about this episode today.