Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)
It might seem blasphemous to put the original show in third place – though like the next two it is a huge step up on the previous entries. Not only did it launch one of the most successful franchises of all time, it was a huge influence, not just on sci-fi, but television and culture in general. Nichelle Nichols was a black woman in a position of influence, Walter Koeing a Russian officer working alongside his American colleagues, and all of them were exploring a future where there was no conflict among humanity and hope and joy existed in exploring the stars.
The first season is arguably the strongest of any Star Trek series and gave audiences superb episodes like ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’. And while season two had great stories too (‘Amok Time’, ‘Mirror Mirror’) there was a huge decline in its final season. No one is going to put ‘The Way to Eden’ or ‘Spock’s Brain’ on their list of favourites.
The Original Series was groundbreaking television but it stumbled along the way and with just three seasons there wasn’t enough to make it a stronger piece of television than its two immediate successors…