Star Trek has had a whole list of pilot episodes but which ones are the best?
Star Trek has existed over the span of seven different decades, starting in the 60s and going through the 2020s. During that time, 11 series and 12 pilots have been produced. They all range in quality and execution, making some better representatives of what Trek is all about. Yet, which ones are the best?
Well, Den of Geek put out their list of pilot episodes from Star Trek that they think are the best and we’re following suit. Now, our list is going to be different and won’t be nearly in-depth. After all, if you’re reading this list, you’ve probably already seen them all, anyway, and don’t need a recap on what each one was about.
So that said, here’s our list;
Every Star Trek pilot ranked from worst to best
12. The Original Series, “The Cage”
The Cage isn’t a bad episode, but it was. See, the Orignal Series had two pilots, the one with Captain Christopher Pike, and the one with Captain James T. Kirk. The first pilot, The Cage, was panned by the network and it caused the entire show to be reworked, save for Spock. Every character from the pilot would come back for the two-parter episode, The Menagerie, but if a pilot nearly kills a franchise, it has to be last.
11. The Animated Series – “Beyond the Farthest Star”
The Animated Series is one of the worst shows in the franchise’s history and its pilot reflects that. As with future animated series with Trek, it was like every other cartoon of the era just with Trek.
10. Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”/“Battle of the Binary Stars”
Discovery did a bad job introducing the show to fans; a bad design, retconning major character arcs, a terrible misdirection with the captain, and a very dull and unlikable lead.
9. Picard – “Remembrance”
Only beating out Discovery for the fact that it had Picard and Data. It also had a messy subplot with Romulus, Picard on the outs with Starfleet (which didn’t go over well with fans), and an annoying misdirection Dahj.
8. Lower Decks – “Second Contact”
When the greatest strengths and weakness of a show is that you’re Rick and Morty but Star Trek, your pilot will reflect that. While it has its fans, it was too vulgar and too un-Star Trek to warrant a higher ranking.
7. The Next Generation – “Encounter at Farpoint”
On one hand, we get Q. Yay. On the other hand, we get a flying squid plant-ship. So you know. Not great.
6. Deep Space Nine – “Emissary”
Getting Miles O’Brien back was great, and Benjamin Sisko’s backstory was compelling but you lost me with wormhole aliens.
5. Prodigy – “Lost & Found”
A largely inoffensive episode that highlighted the key characters and overall expectation of what the show could be.
4. The Original Series – “Where No Man Has Gone Before”
A simple story of exploration gone array and how a man mourns his friend was the perfect way to launch Star Trek. The closing moments hammer home what Star Trek is about; the complexities of life.
3. Voyager – “Caretaker”
Caretaker may be one of the weaker Voyager episodes in my opinion but it sets up who everyone is and how this show is going to pan out very well. The chemistry between the cast was great, despite being very early in the process.
2. Enterprise – “Broken Bow”
Some didn’t like Broken Bow, but it was great to see how a burgeoning Federation can deal with a less-than-ideal ally in the Vulcans, all while finding their place in a quadrant that includes the Klingons.
1. Strange New Worlds – “Strange New Worlds”
The new era of Trek shows has been hard to get into for many fans, but Strange New Worlds reset things, taking fans back to the golden era of the 90s with their first episode. It brought Star Trek back to asking moral questions but not browbeating people with answers, just like Trek was meant to be.