Star Trek Best Trek

Rating Definitions

Episodes are rated on a five point scale. I generally recommend watching episodes rated three stars or above, but you might want to set the cutoff elsewhere.

Here’s what the ratings mean so you can make your own decision.


One star means “bad.” These episodes are have dull pacing, frustrating storytelling, tonal whiplash, people acting out of character, themes that run counter to what makes Trek great, or other significant problems. Unless you’re looking to watch all the Trek (in which case you don’t need me to tell you which episodes to watch anyway) I think you’ll have a better time if you skip these.


Two stars means “flawed.” These episodes aren’t totally ruined by their problems, but they also don’t have quite enough going for them to be worth recommending. If you want to consume most of Trek but not spend time on the weak parts, skip these. You won’t be missing much.

You might notice that the so-called “worst” episodes such as “Spock’s Brain” and “Threshold” are rated two stars rather than one. This is because they are not actually the worst episodes. They are known as the worst because they are bad for amusing reasons and are thus fun to talk about, but they are at least entertaining in a “so bad it’s good” way. The truly bad episodes are bad for much less interesting reasons.


Three stars means “solid.” These episodes may have small problems but they also tell entertaining stories in entertaining ways or provide interesting and satisfying development for characters, plots, or worldbuilding. If you’re in a rush, you can skip them without missing out on what makes Trek great, but if you’re here to enjoy Trek more than just to get up to speed on its references, I recommend watching these.


Four stars means “good.” These episodes are the ones people look back on fondly when recalling a series. Storytelling, characterization, and everything else comes together to form a well-told story that lets the spirit and essence of Star Trek shine. These are the episodes you’re here for. I recommend watching these.

Best Trek

Five stars means “Best Trek.” These episodes are the absolute best of the best, my top favorite installments that showcase what I love about Star Trek.

However, I don’t recommend watching only the five-star episodes. In many cases, what makes them truly great is the context provided by the other episodes. It’s hard to appreciate emotional or storytelling peaks without a sense of the history and status quo which they lean on and stand out from. If you’re here just to watch the best of Trek, I still recommend including the four-star episodes or you’ll probably be left wondering what the big deal was in the first place.