The 50 Greatest Star Trek moments of all time

David Brown selects his personal highlights from a half century of the sci-fi franchise

45. Earth is attacked – The Expanse

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By the end of its second season, lacklustre prequel spin-off Enterprise was in dire need of a shot in the arm. From a lacklustre crew to that godawful theme music, it seemed like Captain Archer wasn’t boldly going anywhere memorable. Then came a cliffhanger episode that began with a devastating sight: an alien probe cutting a swathe of destruction across Earth. Seven million die – and Enterprise gets a new season-long story arc that finally introduced some jeopardy thanks to new foe, the Xindi.

44. Garak tries root beer – The Way of the Warrior

DS9 is the Paradise Lost of Star Trek – the series in which Starfleet’s utopian ideals came to be tested in the midst of a bloody war. Here, Quark and Garak discuss their attitude towards the Federation (and root beer) in a conversation that you feel would have been verboten in Gene Roddenberry’s day. “It’s so bubbly, cloying and happy,” says Quark of the Earth drink. To which Garak replies: “Just like the Federation.” But as the pair admit, the more you drink, the more you like it. “It’s insidious,” they agree.

43. George Kirk dies – Star Trek

If proof was needed that this wasn’t your daddy’s Star Trek, JJ Abrams provides it with this opening space battle in which James T Kirk is born mid-conflict and his father George (Chris Hemsworth) sacrifices himself for the sake of his family and his ship. Edgy, disorientating and suffused with a realism that we’d not witnessed before in Star Trek’s history, this really did bring the franchise bang up to date. Even though nearly every scene that followed seemed to then climax with an unnecessary punch-up.

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42. “Mr President, I stand with my shipmates” – Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home

At the climax of a three-movie arc that has seen Spock die, Spock resurrected and Earth saved thanks to the actions of Kirk et al, the Enterprise are have their fate decided after stealing (and destroying) the ship. Touchingly, Spock – loyal to the last – stands with his shipmates despite not having played a part in their ‘crime’. And don’t go telling me that logic had anything to do with his decision!

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41. Picard wakes up with Q – Tapestry

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Know-it-all Q is always a royal pain in the rump for Picard, but here he teaches the good captain a valuable lesson: that it’s his willingness to take risks that has made him who he is. One of those risks being to share a bed with an omnipotent being. “Good morning, darling…”

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