Assessing Star Trek’s strongest seasons is tough. However, it’s much easier than weighing up which series is best in the franchise, overall. So, we decided against that. Some series have been a lot easier to pick out the best season of, whilst others were much harder.
Star Trek: The Original Series – Season One
We’re going in chronological release order of each series. So, first up is the original vision of Gene Rodenberry – Star Trek (1966-1969). A close call between Season One, and Season two. But Season One just about pips it. Everything was fresh and new, including creative energy. The first few episodes weren’t the best, though. Perhaps ‘What Little Girls Are Made of’ is when things really started getting good. Other highlights of this season include ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘Space Seed’. The onscreen debuts of The Romulans, and Kahn Noonien Singh. ‘Balance of Terror’ was referenced in our Star Trek feature: Romulans: Dawning, Developments and Destiny. Also in Season One is what’s often voted greatest Star Trek episode ever – ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’. So, enough said, then . . .
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Six
It’s common knowledge that Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) got better as the seasons went on. The first two, and especially Season One, had some real doozies. But once we got to Season Six, the series peaked. In terms of episodic science fiction, certain episodes are amongst the very best there is. We saw Scotty again, in ‘Relics’, which featured a Dyson Sphere (see our obituary Freeman Dyson: A Fond Farewell). Amongst the other standout episodes were ‘A Fistful of Datas’, ‘Chain of Command Parts I & II’, and ‘Ship in a Bottle’. If they aren’t evidence enough, then later in the season was ‘Tapestry’, a truly fantastic character study of an episode.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season Seven
Season Seven of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993 – 1999) is one Star Trek’s strongest seasons per say. It’s where all of the previous seasons’ story arcs really come together, and viewers reap the rewards of incredible long term planning and story development. Deep Space Nine proved the hardest franchise series to pick a best season from. The previous two seasons, Five and Six, were also very strong. But episodes such as ‘Take Me out to the Holosuite’, ‘The Seige of AR-558’, and the powerful follow up to it, ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’, meant that Season Seven just about tipped it. The much missed Aron Eisenberg puts in one of the performances of the entire franchise, as a deeply traumatized Nog. The series finale ‘What You Leave Behind’ is easily the best finale of any Star Trek series so far.
Star Trek: Voyager – Season Three
Whilst Star Trek: Voyager (1995 -2001) had its moments, there weren’t really any season that were strong contender for Star Trek’s strongest seasons. The show was hugely popular, but it lacked freshness and serious character development at times. That said, the likes of ‘Future’s End, Parts I & II’ were enjoyable. Also, ‘Darkling’ was a standout episode. But the best episode of the season, and series was ‘Distant Origin’. It was the subject of our recent feature: Star Trek’s Greatest Ever Episodes – Distant Origin. Season Three also gave us the first glimpse of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), too. Her presence gave the show a renewed energy and kept things interesting.
Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Four
Star Trek: Enterprise (2001 – 2005) chose to go back . . . Mostly, it did so brilliantly, too. There were a few poorer episodes in the first two seasons. Then, the third season divided opinion. However, prevalent all the way through the show was the importance of the formation of The Federation. The fourth season dealt with that, wonderfully. Episodes such as ‘The Forge’ helped make the Vulcans interesting again. And, they showed how vital they were to human development. Other highlights include ‘The Augments’, which featured Brent Spiner, and explored the Eugenics Wars. Recently, we published Star Trek: Enterprise – Twenty Years On, a feature focusing on the importance of Enterprise. The show was just getting going, and Season Four is one of the very best in of all Star Trek.
There were a couple of tough decisions, but mostly we think we nailed it! But there’s one live action series missing –Star Trek: Discovery. We can’t judge it until it’s finished – that’s why we haven’t. However, it shows many signs of improvement and potential!