Star Trek is one of the media world’s oldest and most successful franchises, and its first iteration was made in a time when television shows followed a different template. The trend of television now often includes serialized plotlines that take up a whole season, which used to be known as a miniseries. Star Trek: The Original Series consisted mostly of one-and-done episodes that often had open endings. The show was canceled after only three seasons, so writers didn’t often have the opportunity to continue an unfinished story.

The most famous example is a dropped story thread from the episode “Space Seed” that was picked up and woven into one of the most successful movies in cinema history: Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. Considering its success, it’s a wonder that the makers of Star Trek don’t use this technique more often. There are lots of great ideas from the classic show that modern Trek can use, either as a plot in one of the many modern shows or even as a movie premise.



6 The Fate Of Triskelion

gamesters-of-triskelion-combat scene

“The Gamesters of Triskelion” is one of the more memed episodes of the older show, and it’s hard to resist the unique costumes and over-the-top drama. It’s one of the more recognizable old episodes, and it also has an open ending that could have some interesting future results.

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When Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise leave the planet Triskelion, the slaves that had previously fought for the amusement of the gambling gamesters are now free to build their own civilization. A few hundred years later, it would be an adventure to return and see how the project turned out.

5 Charlie X

Charlie X and Captain Kirk Star Trek TOS

The general idea of the precocious, godlike child is a trope of its own, but instead of magical or mysterious occult powers, Charlie X was raised by non-corporeal alien beings and has powers that no human should possess. He uses them to try and take over the Enterprise, and comes very close to succeeding before he is spirited away by his formless guardians.

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It was clear that Charlie didn’t want to leave the ship, the first place where he had been able to interact with other human beings, and the ending is a tragic one. The question of what eventually became of Charlie, as well as the identity of the beings that took him in when he was abandoned in a crash, is never resolved.

4 The Plight Of Planet Scalos

In The Wink Of An Eye screenshot Kirk with alien device cropped

The episode “Wink Of An Eye” was based on a creative premise that played with speed, time, and alternate forms of existence. The older trope that formed the basis for the story was that of the dying race on a crumbling planet, looking for recruits to compensate for their falling fertility rates.

The Scalosians attempt to seize the Enterprise and the whole crew for their purposes, and naturally, the heroes thwart them. The Enterprise departs in peace, but what became of the Scalosians after that? Kirk and the crew were only there to answer an old distress call, so did the Scalosians ever solve their problem, or did they go extinct?

3 Flint The Inventor

requiem for methuselah star trek tos flint and rayna cropped

There are more things in heaven or on earth than are dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy, or maybe his name was Flint. This obscure episode appears to be the genesis of a variety of big box office concepts, from The Highlander to Bladerunner. The main character is a human who can’t die, and in his eternal boredom, builds a perfect human-like android.

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The mystery of Flint’s immortality was never solved, and in the end, his experiment on Rayna was a failure, but what about the huge body of lost work that he left behind? Spock identified some of it as being priceless, not only in monetary cost but intellectual value. It would be interesting to find out what happened to Flint’s historic treasure trove.

2 The World Of Yonada

for the world is hollow TOS interior creator room

The title of this episode, “For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky,” gives away part of the twist. This is not a planet, but a spaceship disguised as one, and the people who inhabit it are none the wiser. The Enterprise crew discovers that this spaceship has malfunctioned, and is on a collision course with an inhabited planet, so they visit Yonanda in an attempt to correct the ship’s wayward route.

They succeed, and the last scene of the episode consists of some exposition as to when the ship will reach its final destination, only a little more than a year. It’s strongly hinted that McCoy would return since he had a personal reason, but the story was never told.

1 The Shore Leave Planet

bones on the pleasure planet of shore leave tos

Although there are several “pleasure planets” throughout the galaxy, with Risa the most famous example from The Next Generation era, none of them were quite like the planet in “Shore Leave.” In addition to the planet’s natural beauty, it also had the power to manifest anything the visitors’ hearts could desire. This sounds great, but it can also have deadly consequences.

After some hijinks that are exciting and rather shocking but mostly harmless, the crew figures out the planet’s secret and they have a restful shore leave. Considering how much potential this had for other stories, it’s disappointing that writers never visited the concept again.

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