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10 Star Trek Episodes & Movies That Prove Peabody Award Is Deserved

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Summary

  • Star Trek’s diverse cast and uplifing themes make it deserving of the prestigious Peabody Award for promoting empathy and understanding.
  • Iconic Star Trek episodes such as “The Inner Light” and “The Visitor” showcase timeless storytelling and emotional depth that resonate with fans.
  • The series continues to reflect on important social issues through episodes like “Far Beyond the Stars” and “The Measure of a Man,” exploring themes of humanity.
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Over the course of its near-60-year history, Star Trek has produced some truly phenomenal stories that prove the franchise deserves its recent Peabody Award win. According to the official website for the Peabody Awards, the purpose of the awards is to “elevate stories that defend the public interest, encourage empathy with others, and teach us to expand our understanding of the world around us.”As part of the 84th Peabody Awards, the entire Star Trek franchise won the 2024 Institutional Award, which celebrates programs that have an enduring legacy and impact.

Since Star Trek: The Original Series began in 1966, the franchise has always celebrated the best of humanity, with its diverse cast of profoundly empathetic characters. The primary mission of the Starship Enterprise and her crew has always been exploration, and the United Federation of Planets is a peaceful coalition of peoples from all over the galaxy. Star Trek won the Peabody Award “for its enduring dedication to storytelling that projects the best of humanity into the distant future,” and few franchises embody the spirit of the awards so well, as evidenced by these 10 Star Trek episodes and movie.

This is not the first Peabody Award that the Star Trek franchise has won. In 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, episode 12, “The Big Goodbye” won a Peabody, in part for setting “a new standard of quality for first-run syndication.”

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10 “Face The Strange”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 4

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With a classic science fiction premise, Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 4, “Face the Strange” sends Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her new First Officer, Commander Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie), jumping through time. The USS Discovery has been trapped in a time loop thanks to a Krenim time bug, and Burnham and Rayner must work with Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) to find a way out of their predicament.

Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 4, “Face the Strange” celebrates the series’ past, present, and possible future.

In Star Trek: Discovery’s past, Captain Burnham encounters herself from Discovery season 1. Specialist Burnham, Starfleet’s first mutineer, trusts no one, and she immediately lashes out at her future self whom the younger Michael thinks is a Changeling. After a brief fistfight, future Burnham renders her past self unconscious with a Vulcan nerve pinch. Burnham then uses her knowledge of the USS Discovery’s crew members to convince them she’s from the future. “Face the Strange” is an incredibly fun episode of television that shows just how much Michael Burnham has changed throughout Star Trek: Discovery‘s five seasons.

9 “The Last Generation”

Star Trek: Picard Season 3, Episode 10

Star Trek: The Next Generation already had a great finale in “All Good Things…,” but the final adventure for the TNG crew in Star Trek: Nemesis was lackluster. Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his USS Enterprise-D crew reunited in Star Trek: Picard season 3 to face off against a threat from the Borg and the Changelings. After they saved the galaxy one final time, Picard and his friends sat down for their traditional game of poker.

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With the introduction of Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) as the son of Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Star Trek: Picard season 3 told a story of legacy and acted as a passing of the torch to the new generation. With the return of several beloved characters and the introduction of some great new faces, Star Trek:Picard season 3 was a nostalgic tour-de-force that ended on the perfect note with its series finale, “The Last Generation.”

Despite the perfect setup for a spin-off featuring the newly rechristened USS Enterprise-G, Picard‘s long-rumored Star Trek: Legacy seems like a long shot at this point.

8 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

“They like you very much, but they are not the hell ‘your’ whales.”

In Star Trek’s most lighthearted film, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew travel back in time for a fun romp through 1980s San Francisco. After the darker storylines of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home takes a lighter approach, closing out the movies’ unofficial “Genesis Trilogy” with a storyline that centers around finding humpback whales to bring back and save the future.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has a timely ecological message and is an endlessly joyful watch.

As Kirk, Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and the crew attempt to navigate the 20th century, they hilariously misuse curse words and stumble into and out of trouble. Kirk enjoys a flirtatious chemistry with Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), who travels back to the future with the crew and later joins a Starfleet science vessel. In the end, Kirk and his crew rescue two whales, George and Gracie, and save Earth from certain disaster. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has a timely ecological message and is an endlessly joyful watch.

After returning to his own time, Kirk is demoted from Admiral to Captain and given command of the newly christened USS Enterprise-A.

7 “Ad Astra Per Aspera”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 2

Star Trek Strange New Worlds Poster-1

When Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Number One, Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn), is put on trial for lying about being a genetically enhanced Illyrian, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and the USS Enterprise crew rally to her defense. In a powerful Star Trek courtroom episode, Number One opens up about the oppression she faced as a young girl and says she joined Starfleet because she believed in its mission.

Number One’s belief in Starfleet is not just felt by fans but echoes into Starfleet’s future, as Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) joined Starfleet because he was inspired by Una’s Starfleet recruitment poster.

Una’s attorney and childhood friend, Neera Ketoul (Yetide Badaki), argues that Una could be seen as seeking asylum by joining Starfleet. Although the judges do not overthrow Starfleet’s ban on genetic engineering, they do side with Neera and Una, allowing Number One to go back to her position on the Enterprise. “Ad Astra Per Aspera” highlights the goodness of the individuals within Starfleet and the Federation even when the organizations themselves sometimes falter.

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6 “Darmok”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5, Episode 2

Star Trek the Next Generation Poster

In Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Darmok,” Captain Picard finds himself stranded on a planet with a Tamarian Captain named Dathon (Paul Winfield). Because of the Tamarians’ complex language of metaphors, the two Captains cannot understand one another. Picard grows increasingly frustrated as he tries to understand his companion, and the two slowly begin to form an unspoken bond.

Dathon and Picard work together to defend themselves against an alien beast on the planet, but Dathon is fatally wounded. After Picard is rescued by the Enterprise, he has learned enough to communicate with the Tamarian ship and he shares the story of Dathon’s sacrifice. Not only does “Darmok” show Picard at his best, but it also tells a simple and classic Star Trek story that celebrates the importance finding common ground.

5 “Far Beyond The Stars”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6, Episode 13

Star Trek Deep Space Nine Poster
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Cast
Avery Brooks , Rene Auberjonois , Cirroc Lofton , Colm Meaney , Armin Shimerman , Alexander Siddig , Nana Visitor , Michael Dorn , Nicole de Boer , Terry Farrell , Andrew Robinson

Release Date
January 3, 1993
Seasons
7
Showrunner
Michael Piller , Ira Steven Behr

In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s all-time classic “Far Beyond the Stars”, Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) is transported to a vision where he is Benny Russell, a Black 1950s science fiction writer for a magazine called Incredibles Tales. Russell imagines a story of a Black captain who commands a space station called Deep Space Nine. The other staff members of Incredibles Tales, played by the rest of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s cast, and they all love and support Russell’s story.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “Far Beyond the Stars” was directed by Avery Brooks.

The magazine’s unseen publisher, however, refuses to print a story with a Black protagonist. Meanwhile, a young hustler named Jimmy (Cirroc Lofton) is shot and killed by two white police officers, and Benny Russell is beaten when he protests. Captain Sisko later wakes up on DS9, deeply moved by his vision of life as Benny Russell. With its depictions of racism and violence against the Black community, “Far Beyond the Stars” remains one of Star Trek’s most socially relevant episodes even today.

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4 “The City on The Edge Of Forever”

Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1, Episode 28

Star Trek The Original Series TV Poster

In one of Star Trek’s most heartbreaking episodes, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) must follow Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) through a time portal and prevent history from being irrevocably changed. As Kirk and Spock interact with the locals of Depression-era New York City, Kirk begins a romance with a soup kitchen operator named Sister Edith Keeler (Joan Collins).

Although the aired version differs from the original story written by Harlan Ellison, “The City on the Edge of Forever” is considered Star Trek‘s greatest episode.

Spock soon learns that Edith Keeler must die to prevent an altered timeline in which the Nazis won World War II. Despite Kirk’s love for Edith, he sacrifices her to ensure the proper future is restored. Throughout Star Trek: The Original Series, Captain Kirk gained a reputation as a ladies’ man, but his romance with Edith Keeler felt different. “The City on The Edge Of Forever” took the time to develop their relationship, making its inevitable end all the more tragic.

3 “The Visitor”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4, Episode 2

“The Visitor” is another seminal Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode that begins with Captain Benjamin Sisko apparent death, which leaves his son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) heartbroken. However, Captain Sisko has actually become trapped in subspace outside the normal flow of time. Over the next several years, Sisko visits his Jake, gives up his writing career and becomes obsessed by finding a way to save his father. As a grown man, Jake (Tony Todd) chooses to sacrifice his own life to bring Captain Sisko back.

The Visitor” is a resonant portrayal of a son’s love for his father.

The elderly Jake injects himself with a lethal hypospray dose while his father is present, hoping that it will return them both to a time before the accident. As Jake hoped, his death restored Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s timeline and returned Captain Sisko, who understands the magnitude of Jake’s sacrifice. With powerhouse performances from Tony Todd, Cirroc Lofton, and Avery Brooks, “The Visitor” is a resonant portrayal of a son’s love for his father, and it remains one of Star Trek’s most emotionally powerful episodes.

2 “The Measure Of A Man”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2, Episode 9

In one of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s most celebrated episodes, a trial is held to determine the rights of the android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Anyone who has watched TNG up to this point knows that Data clearly has his own kind of humanity, making it grating every time Dr. Bruce Maddox (Brian Brophy) refers to the android as an “it.” Maddox eventually comes around, thanks in part to a powerful speech delivered by Captain Picard.

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With its conversations on what it means to be human, “The Measure of a Man” is quintessential Star Trek. As Picard eloquently points out, Data exemplifies the kind of new life that Starfleet seeks out, and claiming him as property would set a dangerous precedent. This landmark Star Trek: The Next Generation episode belongs to Data and Picard, but Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) also excels in the difficult job of testifying against his friend.

1 “The Inner Light”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5, Episode 25

“The Inner Light” has long been considered one of the finest hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and with good reason. With its creative and powerful Star Trek story, it’s no surprise the episode won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. When the USS Enterprise-D encounters a strange probe, Captain Picard wakes up as a villager named Kamin on the planet Kataan. Picard then lives Kamin’s entire lifetime, while only minutes pass for those aboard the Enterprise.

With a captivating, but nuanced performance from Patrick Stewart, “The Inner Light” remains a Star Trek classic.

As Kamin, Picard marries a woman named Eline (Margot Rose), has children, and then, later, grandchildren. Jean-Luc learns of a previously unknown alien culture who preserved their story within a probe to be found by someone centuries later. When Picard wakes up back on the Enterprise, he shares the story of the people of Kataan and reminisces about his time as Kamin. With a captivating and nuanced performance from Patrick Stewart, “The Inner Light” remains an all-time Star Trek classic.

Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, & Star Trek: Strange New Worlds are all available to stream on Paramount+.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is available to stream on Max.



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