In the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, the intrepid crew of the U.S.S. Protostar stumbled onto a strange planet, one where the world’s inhabitants had based their entire culture on the adventures of Captain Kirk’s Enterprise!
Yes, due to a redshirt wearing ensign crashing a Galileo shuttle onto the world, this culture became obsessed with Starfleet and what it represents. They modeled their clothes after the uniforms, named their children after famous crew members, and even reenacted moments from the ensign’s recordings out as a form of entertainment.
A planet modeled after Starfleet? When can we visit?!
To celebrate this episode, we’ve curated a list of some family friendly episodes featuring the Star Trek: The Original Series crew to share with the littlest ensigns in your life. Some of them are live action, while others come from The Animated Series.
How could any list not include this episode? This delightful episode showcases the crew at their most hilarious, and no one can resist the adorable, if ever populous, tribbles who take over the ship. Younger ensigns will delight in both the cute animals and the slapstick humor of Kirk being overwhelmed by a wall of tribbles or Scotty’s bar room brawl.
“More Tribbles, More Troubles”
Cyrano Jones, the trader behind the tribble scheme from “The Trouble with Tribbles,” is back, and he swears he’s found “safe” tribbles that don’t reproduce quite as much. However, his plan hasn’t quite worked out, as now there are giant tribbles running amok, thanks to Klingon radiation! It’s another fun installment that helps introduce the crew to a younger audience through an incredibly humorous story.
While Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Gorn are terrifying, the Gorn from The Original Series are a bit more humorous to look at. Kids are sure to get a kick out of watching Kirk rumble with his opponent, but the episode also has a lesson about kindness and mercy as Kirk decides not to condemn the Gorn captain and crew. This episode can serve as a great way to show the philosophical side of Star Trek packaged as an adventure story filled with action.
Careful, this episode might be a bit too creepy for younger viewers, but if the ensign in your life likes some creepier stories, this might be the perfect intro. Witches, black cats, and magic abound as the crew tries to find a missing landing party on a mysterious and misty planet. It features enough action to keep kids engaged, while also telling a fun sci-fi story that will thrill them.
Another episode that could be for the slightly older ensigns, Kirk and Spock must find a creature that’s killing miners on a planet. It packs a powerful Star Trek story about understanding each other and finding peaceful solutions into a thrilling hour. You can springboard into a discussion about how Star Trek and Starfleet promote listening to each other from it, and tie it back to how Rok-Tahk felt misunderstood before the universal translator to connect it to Star Trek: Prodigy.
We’re jumping back to fun episodes with "Bem," which features Commander Ari bn Bem from the planet Pandro. Bem can disconnect his body into three parts, which leads to a great deal of animated silliness as Kirk and Spock try to clean up Bem’s mess during a routine mission. The comedy is a perfect way to appeal to younger audiences, while still capturing the characterization of the crew perfectly.
"A Piece of the Action”
Are we on Earth in 1920 or on a different planet? The crew arrives on a planet that’s modeled after the mobster culture of 1920s America and must find a way to not break the Prime Directive while still helping the inhabitants. It’s a decidedly fun plot, featuring Kirk ad-libbing a game of “fizzbin” and Spock in a fedora and suit. It also has a generally hopeful ending where Kirk posits that the society might grow into something more ethical.
The Enterprise time travels to 1968 to stop an interstellar agent from interfering with Earth’s past. The episode, originally shot as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off about two of the characters introduced in the episode, is a fun time travel adventure that clearly lays out the rules of Trek’s time travel. For younger fans who love the sci-fi elements of Trek, it’s a perfect first viewing that will introduce them to the possibilities of the franchise.
What are your favorite family friendly episodes to share from TOS or TAS? Let us know on social!
Julian Gardner (they/them) is on the editorial team for StarTrek.com
Star Trek: Prodigy currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in U.S., Latin America, Australia, South Korea, Italy and the U.K. and is coming soon to Paramount+ in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France as well as to Nickelodeon international channels, which are available in 180 countries globally. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Prodigy is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.