I'll admit, I never got into TOS, always a fan of TNG and later, minus Enterprise. But I'm not opposed to seeing something new just because it's old. I watched the first few episodes of TOS and felt like, this is crap. But I also saw a later episode, the one where Kirk meets Khan, and felt, this is pretty good.
So my question is, is there some point where it goes from crap to good? Like TNG did after season 2? Or is it just randomly good from time to time?
TOS works like this, 1/3 are crap, 1/3 are watchable and 1/3 are good and they're mixed in with each other. The 3rd season is the one with the most crap (See: Spock's Brain)
For most people, I think your first Trek experience is the one you like most. Personally, I started with TOS a few years back, and it's still the era I enjoy above the others.
That said, the quality of the episodes is erratic, though Season One was definitely strongest. Season Two is decent, though they used one particular formula (encountering cultures that took after particular Earth historical periods, usually due to someone knowingly violating the Prime Directive) for several episodes. Obviously, it got predictable after awhile.
Season Three goes way off the deep end. There are still plenty of "okay" episodes, but it still feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion half the time.
Well, TNG on usually took till season 3 before it got good. TOS (which I never watched until last year) was just b-rated good. The blatent use of stunt doubles was awesome. Looking into the face of the fat dude that clearly isn't Kirk fighting the guy that clearly isn't Khan and has a bad wig in the engineering room is amazing and hilarious.
The overly sexist attidudes was also pretty outrageous and gave me a giggle knowing society as a whole no longer thinks that way. I forget what episode it was, but some probe was wondering why the chicks thoughts were random and illogical, the reason "they're women." HAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHA
I could go on with others, but this reply is long enough. This is my opinion and I am sure others will disagree or want to add to it.
I will tell you this, though. If you have seen Space Seed and haven't seen Star Trek II - Wrath of Kahn...
Run, don't walk, to your local video store and get Wrath of Khan!
Actually, I'm watching Wrath of Khan right now. The whole reason I got around to watching Space Seed is because I started watching Wrath of Khan and just HAD TO SEE what Chekov was freaking out about before watching any further. So I paused it and went to the CBS website to see it.
But yea, I've seen some of the episodes you listed. I'm a big fan of DS9 and saw that episode. And I've seen Balance of Terror and Trouble with Tribbles. Saw those on TV a long time ago though, maybe one day I'll get around to sitting through the series, but it doesn't seem like the good episodes come often enough to keep me interested. So I'll probably marathon through them next time I find myself with a free weekend and an ounce.
For its time, TOS was very forward thinking. Remember that man hadn't even walked on the moon yet. Cell phones weren't even a pipe dream. And women would be wearing minnie skirts forever, why change that? I have a closet full of them. NOT!
Also special effects were...umm.. cartooney and rubbery. The Gorn from the Arena anyone?
Maybe keeping that in mind might make the show some of the campy bits a bit more tolerable.
Some eps are horrid. But there are enough to make your Trek trek worth the journey. IMHO.
The problem with Star Trek after DS9 was that it was silly.
The premise of Voyager was great, but
1) A new alien every week? Really? Why not "shake it up a bit" and have the same alien for a month? Why does each alien species have to have a singlular problem that defines them as a species?
2) Why "voyager"? If you noticed, as long as they were in that ship, they were always safe, right? What would have added an actual element of danger in the show is if they lost voyager and actually had to salvage, deal, "bend", rules to make it back to the Alpha Quadrant. Get a bad ship, and have to "fix it up". Have more than one ship!
Enterprise couldn't have worked.
Too much canon.
An "Elite Force" - like show would have worked better.
They should have listened to Ron Moore because he always spoke a lot of sense. On the whole franchise, post Vouager, he said:
I donít know how theyíre going to come up with a whole new series, given the fact that they havenít really given themselves a breather to let Voyager run its course, take a time out, step back, look at the overall franchise and then say, "letís play around and see what we can do."
It feels to me that if youíre going to do another Star Trek series after Voyager, youíve done three series that were based on the premise of a crew on a starship going someplace, and youíve done one series that was based on a space station.
I think the next one has to be something different. And Iím just afraid that when all is said and done, weíre going to have another group of characters on another bridge, looking at another view screen, falling out of another set of chairs. And that worries me because it feels like thereís a sense out there in the audience that weíve seen this. All right already.
These turned out to be quite the profetic words.
On Voyager itself, he said:
The premise has a lot of possibilities. Before it aired, I was at a convention in Pasadena, and Sternbach and Okuda were on stage, and they were answering questions from the audience about the new ship. It was all very technical, and they were talking about the fact that in the premise this ship was going to have problems. It wasnít going to have unlimited sources of energy. It wasnít going to have all the doodads of the Enterprise. It was going to be rougher, fending for themselves more, having to trade to get supplies that they want. That didnít happen. It doesnít happen at all, and itís a lie to the audience. I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. Voyager is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spic-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bull****ting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldnít act like this.
This pretty much hit the nail on the head.
As for advice to the OP, mine would be to stay away from episodes like "and the children shall lead" and "Spock's brain" and watch episodes such as "The City on the edge of forever", "The Doomsday machine" and everybody's favourite "The trouble with tribbles" which is frankly a comedy masterpeice
I love TOS
BUt probably not for the same reasons as most Trek fans.
The overacting, goofy effects, and bizarre "wholesome family" 60s logic cracks me up. The worse the episode, the more entertaining I find it generally. There's only a couple episodes I can't handle watching. Miri being one of them and the other probably being The Children Shall Lead
Though with The Children Shall Lead there's the added hilarity of a lawyer playing as the villain.
Spock's Brain? Intentional. It HAD TO BE. The crew, cast, the whole lot of them...they were just trolling all of us and it is glorious.
Thing with TOS is that it is difficult to view it in context sometimes. It was very innovative in lots of ways, being both a bold show in terms of format and bold in the way it challenged a number of perceptions and issues of the day. Of course you can look at the effects and say they are crap, but even a look at TNG reveals that its effects have dated, for example, the planets look pixellated on the SFX shots in TNG as the computer generation was limited in comparison to even what you see in a computer game these days, so even the (by comparison) modern TNG shows its age when viewed critically. Again it's worth looking at it in context, but one can often laugh at the 80s fashions and attitudes in TNG just as one can laugh at the 60s fashions and attitudes in TOS.
But in terms of actual scripting and casting, this is where TOS is strong when compared to other incarnations of ST. As you probably know, the concept of TOS was that it was a sandbox with a set of rules and guidelines, which was then offered to quality writers as a vehicle for their inventive stories. As such, you have some real quality sci-fi writers who worked on TOS, such as Harlan Ellison and DC Fontana. but by the same token, you do get the odd writer who is perhaps not quite so accomplished penning the odd episode. This is in stark contrast to episodes to be found in TNG and beyond, which are often penned by a committee of scriptwriters, and whilst this is not always a bad thing, it does sometimes stifle a singular vision and lead to a bit too much political correctness, which is evident in particularly TNG.
Nevertheless, on the downside for TOS, you also have the very obvious decline of the average story with the final series of TOS, as it was on its way out, which is ironic, since right after it got dropped, it started becoming massively popular in syndication. This was really when the ST legend was born, especially since its many analogies pertaining to the Vietnam War, which can be found in its storylines, were ironically even more in tune with the zeitgeist of particularly US audiences by the time ST had gained mainstream popularity. At that time, American audiences were very tired of their country's involvement in Vietnam, thus many viewers were more than ready to identify with the way TOS often questioned expansionist foreign policy in its narrative, of which the Prime Directive is one very obvious analogy to how America handled dealing with South East Asia. This at a time when most Americans couldn't wait for the US to cut its losses, bail out and bring the boys home, so the stories of 'perhaps there is another more peaceful way' struck a chord in many US homes when Kirk and his crewed played out their adventures.
What is an interesting thing to do when viewing the TOS Star Trek crew, is to look at the early 1970s StarTtrek Animated Adventures series. This was made by pretty much the same production crew as who made the TV series, but by that time, they knew that Star Trek was something that 'had legs', and so we see again some especially innovative and bold writing in a format that managed to get over some fairly adult themes and complex stories within roughly half the time of an episode of the live action TOS. And since they are voiced by the original cast, and made by the original production crew, they are almost like 'lost episodes of TOS' in many respects. In fact some of the scripts were ones that had been written for the original series, but were rejected as the effects possibilities were not up to it, which is not a limitation when using animation, so there is some inventive stuff in there. They are definitely worth seeking out if you can find them (which you can, since all 22 Star Trek Animated Adventures can be found in a boxed CBS/Paramount DVD set).