Best Star Trek Episodes to Watch Before Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the latest series in the long-running and beloved franchise. Set before the era of the original series, the show follows the exploits of the starship Enterprise, captained by Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), and his crew, consisting of Number One (Rebecca Romijn and Spock (Ethan Peck), among other characters, some of whom may be familiar to old Trekkies. The show has several connections to other Star Trek properties. We know there’s a lot to remember about this sprawling franchise, and you can get a quick refresher on key plot elements, characters, species, and throwbacks with this quick episode guide. Now you don’t have to google the details anymore, just add these episodes to your watch list!

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Star Trek: The Original Series – “The Menagerie” (Season 1, Episodes 11 & 12)


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Image via NBC

The original unaired pilot of Star Trek was reused as the two-part “The Menagerie”. In the two episodes, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) starts acting erratic after meeting his former captain, Christopher Pike (Sean Kenney† Spock eventually explains his actions through roles from an old mission when he was a young science officer working under a younger pike (Jeffrey Hunter† The events of this episode take place before the incidents of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and it is essential to understand the new version of Pike, as it informs his past and his future. These episodes will also help viewers interact better with the new Spock, who is younger and less in control of his logical, unemotional Vulcan side.

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Star Trek: Discovery – “Through the Valley of Shadows” (Season 2, Episode 12)


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Image via Paramount+

In this Star Trek: Discovery In this episode, Captain Pike takes a crew out to the Klingon planet Boreth. During the mission, Pike must make an impossible choice: help save the universe or save himself from his own future. You’d think that would be an easy decision, but Pike’s future, which viewers know after seeing “The Menagerie,” is hard to choose. But Pike, Starfleet’s best, determines his own destiny. The events on Boreth have a profound effect on Pike, one that he singles out in the second half of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. His struggle will likely continue in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: The Original Series – “Arena” (Season 1, Episode 18)


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Image via NBC

Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Spock and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) beam to an outpost and are immediately fired upon. But their troubles have only just begun. The powerful species, the Metrons, then pit Kirk against a reptilian species called the Gorn. The Gorn is a resilient, strong species, sharing the same space and technological capabilities as the Federation. They are a cold-blooded breed (literally and figuratively) but have not been seen often in the franchise. As the Mirror Universe versions – as seen in Star Trek: Enterprise episodes “In a Mirror, Darkly” – are all to go by, the Gorn are ruthless, vicious creatures best avoided.

Star Trek: The Original Series – “Space Seed” (Season 1, Episode 22)


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Image via NBC

Khan Noonien Singh () is considered the most infamous villain in Star Trek history. One of the most prominent creations of the 20th century Eugenics War era, Khan was a specially designed augment with superior abilities who ruled over much of the Earth in the early 1990s. Khan’s superior abilities were accompanied by superior arrogance and ambition. He was a tyrant who was eventually deposed and fell into stasis. The character was first introduced on “Space Seed” when he and his Augment cohorts were awakened about 300 years after their creation. Khan became Kirk’s greatest nemesis in Star Trek II: The Revenge of Khan† Khan and the other Augments were the main reason the Federation banned genetic engineering.


Star Trek: Enterprise – “Borderland”/”Cold Station 12″/”The Augments” (Season 4, Episodes 4-6)


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Image via UPN

A well-known dynasty in Star Trek is the Soong family. Though best known for their expertise in robotics, one ancestor was much more interested in humans. Geneticist Arik Soong (Brent Spiner) believed that humankind’s abandonment of genetic engineering was a mistake and chose to create its own Augments using 20th century embryos. Arik was confident that his “children,” the Augments he had created and cherished, would prove his theory correct. He was wrong. About this Star Trek: Enterprise three-part, Arik and his Augment children meet Jonathan Archer’s (Scott Bakula) ship and soon fight the crew. the augments showed their skills and intelligence, as well as their propensity for violence and murder.


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – “Doctor Bashir, I Presume” (Season 5, Episode 16)


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Image via CBS

You would think that a history of tyrannical and violent behavior would thwart any future attempt at genetic engineering, but you’d be wrong. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Doctor Bashir, I Presume”, the space station’s titular doctor meets infamous holo engineer Doctor Lewis Zimmerman (Robert Picardo† Zimmerman promises Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) immortal, but along the way, a dark and dangerous secret from Julian’s past is revealed that threatens to destroy his future. The episode delves into the aftereffects of the Federation’s rules on genetics from a very human perspective. The episode also acted as a precursor to “Statistical Probabilities,” a sharp look at the hidden, human costs of outlawing genetic engineering.


Star Trek: Enterprise – “Damage” (Season 3, Episode 19)


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Image via UPN

After a devastating attack, the Enterprise crew struggles with crippling damage to the ship when another ship appears to be in need of help. The second ship belongs to the Illyrians and the two crews help each other with repairs. However, the Illyrians also have parts that the Enterprise needs to get back on track, but a trade doesn’t go through. Captain Archer then finds himself in a difficult position that could endanger one of the ships. The Illyrians were elusive on screen, but have a deeper history in several Star Trek books and comics, including Vulcan’s Glorywho has a direct connection to one of the characters on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: The Original Series – “Amok Time” (Season 2, Episode 5)


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Image via NBC

“Amok Time” was the episode that introduced viewers to the concept of “pon farr” – the peculiar Vulcan condition that occurs every seven years. In the episode, Spock starts exhibiting unusual behavior and asks for leave to return to Vulcan. There, Kirk, McCoy and Nurse Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett) meets Spock’s “wife”, T-Pring (Arlene Martel† T-Pring and Spock are engaged in name only, but Spock is ready to complete the rituals of actually marrying T-Pring. However, she has other ideas and a fight to the death ensues. The Vulcans are curious, ritualistic people, and this episode provides an insight into an important, personal aspect of Spock’s life.

Star Trek: The Original Series – “The Naked Time” (Season 1, Episode 6)


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Image via NBC

Spock and another crew member arrive on a dying planet to find a group of researchers dead. The landing party returns to Enterprise and soon several crew members begin to behave unnaturally. The condition continues to expand as more crew members interact and touch each other. At one point, Nurse Chapel, who is secretly in love with Spock, finally reveals her feelings to him. Spock is overcome because his inhibitions are also lowered. dr. McCoy must find a solution before the ship tears apart. Seen Spock and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) appear together in Star Trek: Strange New Worldsthere’s a good chance that some of the romantic tension in the show will be announced.


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