Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever (#1.28) (1967) Review
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i like some episodes of the original series, but certainly not this one. the popularity of this episode is truly confusing. although i am not expecting Ted Chiang, Greg Egan, Greg Bear, Larry Niven or Arthur C. Clarke in a star trek episode, this beloved episode is not science fiction and this premise--- altering the past and then the future-- was done repeatedly (and better) a decade or more before this piece (by bradbury and in outer limits) without the stultifying "drama."
there are some star trek episodes that have engaging science fiction ideas--- the corbomite maneuver, the changeling, metamorphoses and a taste of Armageddon--- but the many crappy time travel episodes in this series (or slight variations that show "parallel worlds" with gangsters and romans and gladiators and belly dancers and Nazis) are why i cannot fully embrace the show and feel it contributes to people not understanding what the term science fiction means.
more than a decade before this program, Hal Clement wrote mission of gravity and Clarke wrote childhood's end--- so weak time travel episodes (even worse in season 2) as well as the ones with evil kirks and the many creatures that can make your wishes into reality cannot be wholly excused because of the era. it seems like they were out of ideas or just had access to these costumes and sets and wrote something around them.
season three of star trek: the next generation was the first season of this franchise that is predominantly science fiction (even if the risible q character does turn up), and the first one that i, a sci-fi fan, like the major part of.
so for sci-fi fans looking to explore this show start with the above episodes or jump to the next generation season 3 (unless you want to watch joe piscopo, one of the least funny comedians ever, teach an android how to be funny in an episode that was probably not meant to be ironic). or just watch babylon 5, which is good from the very first season.