Star Trek turns 50 today! And The Sci-Fi Christian’s resident unrepentant Trekkie, Mike, has teamed with up J.W. Wartick, author of the Always Have a Reason apologetics blog and fellow Trek fan, to celebrate.
J.W. and Mike have been cross-posting their 25 personal favorite moments from the length and breadth of the Star Trek franchise.
From the original series to the Kelvin timeline, these 50 moments in total are among the highest highlights Trek has to offer.
Some are iconic scenes that show Trek’s true heart. Others have special resonance for Christian Trek fans. Still others are just a whole lot of fun.
In keeping with the 50th birthday theme, Mike and J.W. have limited their comments about why they chose these moments to 50 words or less. (It wasn’t always easy!)
We hope you enjoyed counting down to Trek’s golden anniversary with us!
Today’s the big day! And some of Star Trek’s biggest and most iconic moments makeup the final installment of our countdown. We hope you’ve enjoyed it, and will tell us about some favorite Star Trek moments of your own in the comments!
J.W. – Pretty Much All of It (Star Trek: First Contact, 1996)
It’s difficult to pick a single moment from First Contact, which is my favorite Star Trek film. As a kid I found myself looking up at the sky outside to see if Borg were descending on me that very moment. Watching it now, I enjoy the strong plot and characters.
Mike – Captain Borg (“The Best of Both Worlds, Part I,” TNG, 1990)
Composer Ron Jones uses Alexander Courage’s classic Trek fanfare to ironic and chilling effect as the camera reveals Locutus of Borg, formerly our hero, Jean-Luc Picard. It’s a moment that fires on all cylinders, heralding Trek’s coming-of-age as a modern storytelling force to be reckoned with.
J.W. – “KHAAAAN!!” (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
It appears all is lost for Kirk and gang as Kirk yells his rival’s name bitterly into his communicator. In reality, Kirk has once again cheated the system, and it is this revelation that made the movie, to my younger self, utterly compelling. It remains captivating to this day.
Mike – The Kobyashi Maru Scenario (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
Viewers who dreamed of attending Starfleet Academy vicariously got their wish watching Saavik learn that “how we deal with death is… as important as how we deal with life.” (It’s also a brilliant fake-out, “killing off” Spock so fans lowered their guard before the movie lowered the real boom later.)
J.W. – Klingon Jesus Appears (“Rightful Heir,” TNG, 1993)
Worf goes to find himself but ends up finding the long-awaited Kahless has returned. Not only that, but Kahless specifically calls him back to an enlivened faith. Kahless turns out to be a clone, and the episode remains thought-provoking and intense throughout.
Mike – “The Meld” (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979)
Jerry Goldsmith’s lush score accompanies some of Trek’s most beautiful special effects as Decker, Ilia and V’Ger achieve transcendence. One of the franchise’s highest concept moments, dramatizing a yearning to “join with the Creator” that we Christians believe God perfectly fulfilled by coming to us (not vice versa) in Christ.
J.W. – Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra (“Darmok,” TNG, 1991)
Although it seems obvious a species that can only communicate through metaphor would have problems building spaceships, this episode poignantly portrays the struggles to communicate cross-culturally while serving up some choice quotes. Not watching this is like Shaka when the walls fell.
Mike – The Phoenix Takes Flight (Star Trek: First Contact, 1997)
The movie makes up for Zefram Cochrane’s earlier, cringeworthy name check of the franchise by showing us humanity’s first warp-powered spaceflight, accompanied by the strains of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.” It’s thrilling and inspiring, and a heck of a lot of fun—as Star Trek’s future, at its best, always is.
J.W. – Picard Lives a Second Life (“The Inner Light,” TNG, 1992)
Picard lives an entire lifetime’s memories in just a few short minutes “real time.” Coming to, he realizes it was all the memories of a lost civilization, and the episode ends with him playing a flute from the lost world alone in his cabin. It’s absurdly beautiful.
Mike – Stealing the Enterprise (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984)
The heist is perhaps out of character for our heroes and the franchise, but friendship is at stake. Horner’s scoring is masterful, the cast’s acting is tops, and Kirk’s determination to go even when warned he’ll “never sit in the captain’s chair again” reminds us what really matters in life.