Sci-Fi for the Non-Nerdy

In honor of my first ever blog link-up with Heather for the Five Favorites Wednesday, we are going to shake things up a little.  Just in case you thought things were going to be serious here all the time, may I present the following:

Consider this my declaration to the internet:  “I am a NERD!”  (For those of you who do not share this same enthusiasm for all things nerdy, bear with me; the end of the article will hopefully be more relevant to you. )

As soon as I saw this video I called my husband over, “Nathan!!! You have to see this, it has all our favorite things!”

As we watched it our conversation included, but was not limited to the following: keeping track of the various nerdy costumes we have donned over the years, fondly recalling the RPG game we played together in college before we were dating (he was a paladin, I was three parts beguiler to one part rogue), reminding ourselves that going to a comic-con is on our bucket list, and noticing the Shepperton Design Studios’ Stormtrooper suits paired with the cheapo $5 Wallys World lightsaber.

It amuses my mother to no end that I, such an intellectual girl, have so strong an  attraction to all things sci-fi/fantasy.  I maintain, however, that it is my intellectual inclination that fosters my love of sci-fi/fantasy.

The reason I enjoy it so much is because it brings me a new appreciation for various aspects of the “real world,” while simultaneously offering me an escape from said world.

All too often we focus so hard on the everyday events of life, that we become blind to many of the more profound realities and ideas that surround us.  Sci-fi/fantasy casts such a different light on life that it forces us to view it differently and to discover new aspects that we hadn’t appreciated before.

In addition, it offers us an escape from the boredom that is so often present in this state that we call “real life.”

One of my favorite sci-fi shows is Star Trek.  While I will grant you that a ton of the episodes are ridiculous and corny, there are many that are genuinely good television (and that is coming from someone who said they would never be a Trekkie).

For those of a thoughtful bend who are curious to give Star Trek a try, here are five of my favorite  Star Trek episodes for non-Trekkies:

5. City on the Edge of Forever (Original Series) This episode is consistently the highest rated from the Original Series(TOS).  For those put off by the cheesy vibe of TOS, the majority of the episode takes place in the 1930s Great Depression Era.  It deals with themes of love and loss.

4.  Its Only a Paper Moon (Deep Space 9)  In this episode a young soldier struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after loosing his leg in battle.  He turns to an elaborate holographic computer program of a casino in the 1960s to hide from the trauma in his life.  This episode features a fantastic selection of great jazz songs sung by a fantastic cabaret singer.

3.  Counterpoint (Voyager)  Another episode that utilizes music to great effect.  This one explores the idea of romance through the musical idea of counterpoint.

2.  Family (The Next Generation) After his traumatic captivity with the Borg, Captain Picard returns home to France to re-examine his life and visit his estranged brother.  As the title would suggest, this episode explores the idea of the importance of family in our lives.

1.  Inner Light (The Next Generation)  If you only watch one episode from this list, please make it this one.  In this episode Captain Picard experiences another person’s lifetime in the expanse of half an hour.  This episode explores themes of what makes a life meaningful and what would you do if you could take a different path in life.  The orchestral suite to this episode is excellent.  

Please note: I don’t think these are the best episodes, however, each is ranked among the top for its series.  I included a representative from each series, except for Enterprise because I haven’t seen any of them yet. Episodes are available to stream for free with Netflix or Amazon Prime.  Also these episodes are of a rather melancholic bend, but that is not necessarily representative of Star Trek, just my personality 😉  


Have you ever watched Star Trek?  Have you seen any of these episodes?  What do you think of Sci-Fi or Fantasy?  I’d Love to hear your thoughts and nerdy shout outs in the com box!

4 thoughts on “Sci-Fi for the Non-Nerdy

  1. Matthew Bowman

    Oh, yeah, I remember that campaign. Too bad we never finished it! And too bad none of us have the time or are in the same location for another game.

    Good choices on the Star Trek episodes. There are several good TOS episodes that would work for this, but “City on the Edge of Forever” is definitely a good introduction because of how the science fiction is a framing device rather than the whole plot. “Family” almost has no science fiction in it, which disappointed me as a kid but I can really appreciate its themes as an adult. “Counterpoint” is an excellent choice, and I say that knowing I wouldn’t have thought of it.

    I’m not sure which single episode I’d pick for Enterprise; my favorite remains the three-part with Vulcan culture in the final season, but that is hardly a good intro point.

    And you can tell your mother from me that SF&F is DEFINITELY for intellectuals! Gosh, I don’t know how that claim still lives today. You should tell her to read “On Fairy Stories” by Tolkien and get back to me on how either it doesn’t apply, or how Tolkien wasn’t an intellectual. :)

    1. kscottkscott Post author

      It’s too based we couldn’t all get together again and play for old times sake. Maybe at homecoming,haha? Glad you like the list it was fun to put together :) Its so funny that you mention that Tolkien essay, I actually quoted from it in a rough draft! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to make it flow nicely. It was fun to see that many of my conclusions on the value of sci-fi / fantasy were shared by him.

  2. Leslie

    We are serious Star Trek fans here. Like we have a lot of the books, including such things as The Metaphysics of Star Trek which is obviously QUITE intellectual! We used to have all kinds of things like phasers and models and figurines but then our house burned down. Anyway, I’ve seen all the TOS and TNG eps and none of the others. I remember liking Inner Light very much. My favorite TOS episode is probably Amok Time, all for the sake of Spock’s smile at the end.

    1. kscottkscott Post author

      A kindred soul! That is one of my favorite moments at the end of Amok Time! My husband had quite the collection of Star Trek books, models, phasers, etc. from his childhood. My son just discovered his phaser and now I hear myself shouting things like “you had better be pretending that phaser is on stun if you are pointing it at your sister.” I am so sorry to hear that your house burned down ! That must have been so hard. Was it recent?


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