The “Star Trek” franchise currently includes 10 television series, with two more in production. Those 10 series add up to almost 800 episodes of television. Though the franchise has turned out some incredibly innovative and unique episodes, ideas are bound to be reused when there are so many episodes in total.
Sometimes when the Trek writers recycled ideas, they built upon the original concept and made a truly unique episode. However, this wasn’t always the case. Some of those reused ideas were turned into episodes that were near copies of the original.
Here are a few “Star Trek” episodes that essentially copied other Trek-isodes.
‘The Naked Now’ Copied ‘The Naked Time’
Even diehard “Star Trek” fans will admit that the first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was rough. According to “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years,” there was a lot of turnover in the writers’ room and a lot of drama behind the scenes. TNG’s first season also suffered because it was trying to recreate “The Original Series” rather than be its own show.
This was never more evident than in the episode “The Naked Now,” which was essentially a carbon copy of the TOS episode “The Naked Time.” According to “Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Continuing Mission,” the episode was deliberately based on “The Naked Time,” even using the episode title as a reference.
Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, thought the idea of an intoxicating infection was a great way to reveal the characters to the audience. It had worked so well with TOS, that he decided to do it again in TNG, even at the risk of being accused of copying his own work.
‘Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy’ Copied ‘Hollow Pursuits’
Trek’s showrunners made a deliberate attempt to return to the successful format of TNG with “Star Trek: Voyager.” The showrunners on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” had committed to a serial format rather than episodic, a departure from all previous “Star Trek” shows. “Voyager” returned to an episodic format and the overall feel of TNG.
The episode focused on The Doctor’s holographic dream world, where he was the commander of Voyager and the valiant hero. The program featured all his crewmates, who fawned over him and looked up to him.
Though the execution was unique, the concept was exactly the same as the TNG episode, “Hollow Pursuits.” In that episode, Reggie Barclay created a holographic world in which he was the hero. All of his male crewmates were the enemies he vanquished and all his female crewmates were his lovers.
The crew discovered the holographic fantasy world in both episodes and watched its creator interact with the program. The creator was mortified that their fantasy had been revealed and promised to spend more time in the real world.
‘Author, Author’ Copied ‘Measure of a Man’
The seventh season episode “Author, Author” was also very similar to a TNG episode — “The Measure of a Man.” Both episodes dealt with the legal definition of personhood and whether or not artificial lifeforms can meet that definition. They both featured a trial in which the artificial lifeform had to defend their own personhood. Both episodes ended with the same ruling — that artificial lifeforms do, in fact, meet the legal definition of personhood.
“Author, Author” and “The Measure of Man” both challenged the audience to reframe their ideas about humanity. They both asked fans to grapple with the question of who deserves human rights.
The setup for the legal proceedings was different in each episode, but the core idea, and even the legal proceedings themselves, were almost identical.
‘Doctor’s Orders’ Copied ‘One’
The last of the classic “Star Trek” shows, “Star Trek: Enterprise,” was very different from its predecessors. It showed the universe before the Prime Directive, even before the Federation. For the most part, it only vaguely resembled the “Star Trek” shows that came before.
In both episodes, one member of the crew was left awake while the rest of the crew was put in medical stasis. That crew member — Doctor Phlox in “Enterprise” and Seven of Nine in “Voyager” — had to run the ship alone and deal with the mental repercussions of being isolated for an extended period of time.
Both Seven and Dr. Phlox began to hallucinate during their time alone on the ship. Their hallucinations were based on their fears of an external threat being aboard the ship as well as their own fears about their place in the crew.
Though the crises faced by Dr. Phlox and Seven in these episodes were slightly different, the core concept of the episode, and many of the events, were nearly identical.
Though these episodes were copies of previous “Star Trek” episodes, the writers managed to make them just different enough that they were still entertaining.
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