Christmas is this week, meaning there will be plenty of time with friends and loved ones to binge on episodes of Star Trek. But what might be the most appropriate for the season? Well just as we did for Halloween, we at TrekMovie have got you covered.
10. Dagger of the Mind (TOS)
The question as to whether or not humans of the future celebrate Christmas is answered in this episode, as we meet a comely young scientist who hooked up with Kirk after the “science lab Christmas party.” Best of all the character’s name is Dr. Noel.
I love the image of a Christmas party for just one science lab that Kirk hears about and stumbles into, hoping to score some Saurian brandy off of his junior officers. Also it’s the first episode to feature the Vulcan mind-meld – and isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?
9. Good Shepherd (VOY)
Because Gene’s vision of the future was pretty secular-humanist, there aren’t many oblique references to religion in the whole franchise. The only Trek episode with an explicitly Christian title, this engaging episode of Voyager features Captain Janeway tending to three losers (though she more generously refers to them as “lost sheep”).
8. The Child (TNG)
OK this might be a little sacrilegious, but “The Child” does technically feature an immaculate conception as an energy being quickens Troi’s womb:
This episode is also remarkable as the first appearance of Guinan. With those crazy hats of hers, they kind of look like an angel’s halo, right?
7. Bread and Circuses (TOS)
Along the lines of Good Shepherd, “Bread and Circuses” is one of the few Trek episodes with an explicit Christian theme. Set on a Roman-like planet, Lt. Uhura teaches our Holy Trinity the difference between “sun” and “son” worshippers:
6. Once More Unto The Breach (DS9)
Though the name comes from a Shakespearean call to battle, the theme of this episode – a Klingon general learning the value of forgiveness – is perfectly appropriate for Christmas time. Also if you aren’t singing this warrior chant with your egg nog or other seasonal beverage, I hope you choke on your gagh.
If this episode isn’t your speed, but you still want to get your Kling on, then try “Rightful Heir” (TNG) which features the second coming of the Klingon Messiah.
5. Death Wish (VOY)
Through the magic of the Q, Voyager is literally transformed into a Hallmark Christmas ornament – proving that while the Trek creative staff may have been cautious about the religious aspect of the holiday, the marketing folks were only too happy to capitalize on the commercial part of it.
4. Silicon Avatar (TNG)
We’re stretching here, but the antagonist of this episode is described as a “giant snowflake,” and what would Christmas be without a little snow?
While not one of the more celebrated entries in the film franchise, Generations features the only instance in Trek canon of people actually celebrating Christmas:
Just try not to remember that Picard is celebrating Christmas while mourning the death of his brother and nephew. Also shouldn’t his fantasy family have been the same one from The Inner Light?
2. Devil’s Due (TNG)
You probably saw this one coming. “Devil’s Due” starts with Data playing Scrooge on the holodeck in a re-creation of A Christmas Carol. As an allegory for the rest of the episode – overcoming superstition – it doesn’t really work, but it is a charming scene:
If you want more of a Judeo-Christian devil, may I suggest this entry from The Animated Series.
1. A Christmas Carol
If that Data scene is the figgy pudding for fans of both Trek and Charles Dickens, the roast beast would be the USA version starring Patrick Stewart. Magnificently produced, this is definitely worth watching (and rewatching).
Spoiler alert: Tiny Tim lives.
Honorable Mention: Xmas Story (Futurama)
There are enough Trek jokes in Futurama to make any fan happy, so the episode Xmas Story, where the crew of Planet Express fight Robot Santa, is definitely a “must see.”
Merry Christmas, Trek fans! May all the good tidings of the season energize into your celebrations, and may you warp into a happy new year.
*Header image is a real gingerbread Enterprise made by Blackmarket Bakery in California.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Corylea who linked us to this imgur album of more pictures of the incredible gingerbread Enterprise and it’s pepperminty beam of destruction.