|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Marc Daniels|
|Story by||Carey Wilber|
|Featured music||Alexander Courage|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Production code||024[n 1]|
|Original air date||February 16, 1967|
"Space Seed" is an episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. It is the 22nd episode of the first season and was first broadcast on NBC on February 16, 1967. "Space Seed" was written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, based on a story by Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. In the plot, the crew of the starship USS Enterprise encounters a sleeper ship holding genetically-engineered supermen and women from Earth's war-torn past. The supermen's leader, Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán), attempts to take control of Enterprise to begin a new conquest. The episode also guest stars Madlyn Rhue as Lt. Marla McGivers.
During conception and writing of the episode numerous changes were made; the villain changed from a Nordic superman to a Sikh. Despite being planned as a bottle episode, the special sets and shots using starship miniatures caused the episode to go over budget.
"Space Seed" is commonly considered one of the best episodes of the series. The 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan serves as a sequel to this episode. Plot elements of the episode and The Wrath of Khan were also used in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness.
On stardate 3141.9, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, finds a derelict ship floating in space. Its hull identifies it as the SS Botany Bay, a ship launched from Earth in the 1990s, during Earth's last great world conflict—the Eugenics Wars. A landing party consisting of Captain Kirk, Doctor Leonard McCoy, Chief Engineer Scott, and historian Lieutenant Marla McGivers, is beamed over to the freighter. Kirk selects McGivers because she specializes in late 20th-century history and culture.
The landing party finds a cargo of 84 humans, 72 of whom are still alive in suspended animation after nearly 200 years. McGivers finds the stasis tube that contains the body of the group's leader. The male occupant begins to revive, but his stasis cell begins to fail; he is taken back to Enterprise for a medical examination.
Kirk has Botany Bay taken in tow by a tractor beam, and Enterprise sets course for Starbase 12. In sickbay, Lt. McGivers marvels over the man, who is a living relic from an era she has studied all her life. The patient puts a scalpel to McCoy's throat, demanding to know where he is. McCoy responds by suggesting the optimal way to kill him if he wishes to do so. Impressed by McCoy's bravery, the man puts the scalpel down and introduces himself as "Khan".
First Officer Spock discovers that their guest is Khan Noonien Singh who, along with his people, are products of 20th-century genetic engineering designed to be perfect humans. The genetic superhumans instead became warlords and conquered more than one third of the Earth, sparking global war. At end of the Eugenics Wars, between eighty and ninety of them were unaccounted for; Khan is recorded the most dangerous of these warriors.
Khan is given quarters, although his door is locked and an armed guard posted outside. McGivers is sent to brief him on current events. Taking advantage of McGivers' attraction towards him, Khan tells her he means to rule mankind again and needs her help to take over Enterprise. Reluctantly, she agrees and beams Khan to Botany Bay, where he revives the rest of his supermen. They return to Enterprise and assume control of the ship. Khan throws Kirk into a decompression tank, and threatens to slowly suffocate him unless Kirk's command crew agree to follow Khan. Having a change of heart, McGivers frees Kirk from the chamber. Kirk and Spock vent anesthetic gas throughout the entire ship to disable Khan and his cohorts. Khan escapes the gas and heads to Engineering, where he attempts to destroy Enterprise, but Kirk confronts him and a brawl ensues. Though outmatched by Khan's superior strength, Kirk uses a tool as a club to knock the superman unconscious.
When Khan and the other superhumans are rounded up, Kirk holds a hearing to decide their fate. Kirk decides that Khan and his followers should be exiled, and picks Ceti Alpha V, a dangerous world that Kirk believes would be a perfect place for Khan to start his kingdom over again. Khan, impressed with the idea, claims he is up to the challenge and accepts Kirk's offer. Instead of a court-martial for Lt. McGivers, Kirk allows her to go into exile with Khan. Spock notes that it would be interesting to see what Khan makes of Ceti Alpha V in 100 years.
Writer Carey Wilber first proposed the story of what became "Space Seed" in September 1966, early in Star Trek's history. In the proposal, the villain was Harold Erickson, an ordinary criminal exiled into space in suspended animation. He sought to free his gang from the Botany Bay, seize the Enterprise, and become pirates. Gene L. Coon proposed that Erickson should be a true rival to Kirk, a genetic superman who had once ruled part of Earth. After Ricardo Montalbán was cast, the character was changed from the blond Nordic Erickson to the dark Khan Noonien. ("Noonien" came from Gene Roddenberry, who had an old Chinese friend named Noonien Wang that he had lost touch with. Roddenberry hoped that perhaps Wang would see the episode and contact him.) Both Wilber and Coon were credited with writing the script, although Coon was credited under the psuedonym of Lee Cronin.
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Filming and postproduction
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Filming of Space Seed began Thursday, December 15, 1966, and concluded on December 22 after six shooting days.
"Space Seed" was first broadcast in the United States on February 16, 1967 on NBC. A 12-city overnight Trendex report compiled by Nielsen ratings showed that during the first half hour, it held second place in the ratings behind Bewitched on ABC with 14.44 million viewers compared to "Space Seed" with 13.12. It beat My Three Sons on CBS. During the second half hour it was pushed into third place in the ratings by the start of the Thursday Night Movie on CBS, the Western film One-Eyed Jacks starring Marlon Brando, which received 35.5 percent of the audience share compared to 28 percent for "Space Seed".
IGN ranked "Space Seed" as the fourth best episode of the series, praising the fist fight between Kirk and Khan. The episode was also included in a list of ten "must see" episodes on The A.V. Club. Reviewer Zack Handlen said that it "features a terrific performance from guest star Montalban, gives the franchise one of its greatest villains, and sets the stage for one of best science-fiction adventure movies ever made."
- Listed as Production Code 024 on StarTrek.com; Cushman and Osborn (p. 500) gives this number as 023, noting 'incorrectly listed in many sources' as 024.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (March 20, 2013). "Inside Secrets of the Making of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and "Space Seed"!". io9. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Jose, Maria; John Tenuto (July 16, 2013). "Khan Was Almost... Harald Ericsson". StarTrek.com. CBS Entertainment. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- Jose, Maria; John Tenuto (July 31, 2013). "The Evolution of "Space Seed," Part 2". StarTrek.com. CBS Entertainment. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- Jose, Maria; John Tenuto (September 26, 2013). "The Evolution of "Space Seed," Part 3". StarTrek.com. CBS Entertainment. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- Solow & Justman (1996): p. 139
- Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 450
- Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 453
- Handlen, Zack (April 3, 2009). ""Space Seed" / The Wrath Of Khan". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Collura, Scott; Pirrello, Phil; Vejvoda, Jim (April 16, 2009). "IGN's Top 10 Classic Star Trek Episodes". IGN. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- Handlen, Zack (August 15, 2012). "10 must-see episodes of Star Trek". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- Block, Paula M.; Erdmann, Terry J. (2010). Star Trek: The Original Series 365. New York: Abrams. ISBN 9780810991729.
- Cushman, Marc; Osborn, Susan (2013). These are the Voyages: TOS, Season One. San Diego, CA: Jacobs Brown Press. ISBN 978-0989238113.
- Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (1993). Captain's Logs: The Complete Trek Voyages. London: Boxtree. ISBN 978-1-85283-899-7.
- Solow, Herbert F.; Justman, Robert H. (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0671896287.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: "Space Seed"|
- "Space Seed" at StarTrek.com
- "Space Seed" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Space Seed" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Space Seed" Second revised final draft December 13, 1966; report & analysis by Dave Eversole
- "Space Seed" Video on CBS Classics (USA Only)