Star Trek and Doctor Who are constantly jockeying for historical significance
For decades, many have credited Star Trek for starting a variety of trends, both in science and in storytelling. We all know about how the communicators in the 60s ended up foreshadowing (and maybe inspiring) cellular phones 20 years later. They’ve been given the nod for having created many sci-fi tropes as well, but one that may not belong to them is the “bottle episode” concept.
Named so because it was a self-contained story, the concept is that the characters in the episode are restricted to one or two key locations. It’s an idea that’s been used in other television shows, in other genres, for decades. The first, according to many, was “The Naked Time”.
Yet, Star Trek was beaten to the concept even earlier. Trek released its first bottle episode in 1966, while Doctor Who released theirs, “The Edge of Destruction”, in 1964 as part of the show’s first season.
Yet, even they weren’t the first to do a bottle episode.
Star Trek and Doctor Who bend the knee to an icon
While Star Trek was bested by Doctor Who for the first-ever “bottle episode” by over two years, the first to do it wasn’t either, as Doctor Who was bested by just a few weeks. According to CBR, the show that created it wasn’t Star Trek or Doctor Who; but the Outer Limits.
The Outer Limits bested everyone to the party, specifically Doctor Who, by airing their first bottle episode roughly three weeks prior, with their season one episode “Controlled Experiment”.
The episode sees three people involved in a love triangle that ends tragically, but thanks to time manipulation, the events get rewound and examined to better understand the scenario at hand.