"The Man Trap" or "Where No Man Has Gone Before" - where do I start?
October 18, 2007 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Trekkie/Trekker Filter: Should I watch the episodes of TOS in the order in which they were produced, or the order in which they were aired?

I have decided to make use of my new iPod Classic by watching the original Star Trek, of which I have only previously seen an episode here or there (Mirror, Mirror and City on the Edge of Forever are the only ones I can recall off the top of my head).

My husband has organized them in order by date of production, but I'm wondering if I should try and capture the "watching it for the first time like they did back in the 60's" feel of the show by watching them in the order they were aired.

Or am I overthinking a pile of beans?
posted by Lucinda to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (and yes, I realize the first episode technically is "The Cage")
posted by Lucinda at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2007

It only matters IMO for the first half of the first season. There are some notably strange episodes by costume, makeup etc. that would be less jarring in production order. But, yeah, probably overthinking it since I don't think it will matter either way. :)
posted by R343L at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2007

I'd say production date; "Where No Man has Gone Before" -> "The Corbomite Manuever" is an easier leap to make than going with "The Man Trap" -> "Charlie X" and then leaping back to "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2007

These Trekkies seem to think production order, as does this self proclaimed Star Trek "expert."
posted by letahl at 12:36 PM on October 18, 2007

Definitely in order of production, except that you should watch The Menagerie as part of the series and skip The Cage. The incorporation of the original pilot into the series was artfully done, and improves on a already great story.
posted by Manjusri at 12:40 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Production order, but it's not like the plots really build on themselves that much. R343L has it right. After the first hald of season one, you could pretty much watch them randomly and it wouldn't affect your appreciation. In fact, it might be better to spread out the suckier season three episodes with the stronger ones from season two.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:52 PM on October 18, 2007

Earlier this year I watched the first season in order of airdate (because that's how they're ordered on the DVDs, and I couldn't be bothered to be hardcore about it) and it seems like there's an implied romantic tension between Kirk and Yeoman Rand that changes its character over time, and that'd be more apparent if you watched the episodes in production order.
posted by Prospero at 12:59 PM on October 18, 2007

Yeah, I'd watch "Where No Man Has Gone Before" first (actually, "The Cage," before that, if you're going to watch it separately, although I agree with Manjusri that you shouldn't and just get to that story as part of "The Menagerie.")

Beyond that, I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:05 PM on October 18, 2007

Well, on my disks I see the "Next Week on Star Trek" preview and I just go to that episode, i.e. broadcast order. But then I am reliving my original experience of TOS, back when the Earth was cooling.
posted by OlderThanTOS at 1:10 PM on October 18, 2007

It is very much only something that matters for the first few episodes, if it matters that much. Where No Man... is the only one you really need to watch before the others because it did air seriously out of order, and I think the suggestion to skip The Cage and watch it as part of The Menagerie is a good one, but not mandatory.

I do strongly suggest skipping Spock's Brain entirely, though. It throws off the curve for the whole series.
posted by dhartung at 5:30 PM on October 18, 2007

Absolutely not! You must watch Spock's Brain, though I recommend heavy sedation or at least imbibing to survive the experience. It is so execrably bad as to be hilarious, and thus has inspired many references in popular culture, including the name of a local climbing route: What have you done with Spock's Brain? If you pay attention to the stardates you will note that time appears to run backwards.

Have fun with the series. I'm currently working on a repeat viewing with the fiance in an as yet unsuccessful attempt to educate her about who is the real captain of the Enterprise. Part of the fun of viewing in production order is to watch as the actors settle into their roles and flesh them out. What makes TOS so great that you can enjoy it on several different levels at the same time. High Fantasy mixed with High Camp. Splendid acting which is at the same time over the top melodrama. Great SciFi storylines mixed with groan inducing gaffes. Bare bones special effects and design that is often laughably transparent, but brilliantly original and inspiring to today's special effects artisans and designers.

After viewing you might enjoy the best screensaver ever made which coincidentally I installed today before reading this thread. A fellow has tweaked it to work on Windows XP.
posted by Manjusri at 12:26 AM on October 19, 2007

Skip Spock's Brain? Miss the planet of petulant cheerleaders? Miss the classic "Brain and brain! What is Brain?" No way!
posted by OlderThanTOS at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2007

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