This Side of Paradise (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"This Side of Paradise"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Smiling Spock and Leila Kalomi.png
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 24
Directed byRalph Senensky
Story byD. C. Fontana
Nathan Butler
Teleplay byD. C. Fontana
Featured musicAlexander Courage
Cinematography byGerald Finnerman
Production code025
Original air dateMarch 2, 1967 (1967-03-02)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"A Taste of Armageddon"
Next →
"The Devil in the Dark"
Star Trek: The Original Series (season 1)
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"This Side of Paradise" is the twenty-fourth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by D. C. Fontana and Jerry Sohl (using the pseudonym Nathan Butler) and directed by Ralph Senensky, it was first broadcast on March 2, 1967.

In the episode, the USS Enterprise visits a planet where the inhabitants are under the influence of strange plant life.

The title is taken from the poem "Tiare Tahiti" by Rupert Brooke and the novel This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Enterprise is ordered to a Federation colony on Omicron Ceti III. Shortly after the colony was founded some years before, it was discovered the planet was bathed in Berthold rays, a lethal form of radiation. The colonists are now presumed dead.

Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and others beam down to the colony, and are surprised to find the colonists all alive and well. Their leader, Elias Sandoval, welcomes them and explains they only lost communications due to equipment failure. Also present is Leila Kalomi, an acquaintance of Spock's. Kirk orders the landing party to explore the colony. They notice the lack of animal life including livestock brought to the colony. Sandoval and other colonists allow McCoy to examine them. McCoy finds no sign of disease or injury in any of them: even Sandoval, who has had an appendectomy, now has a healthy appendix.

Kalomi offers to show Spock how the colonists have survived, and takes him to a field of strange flowers. The flowers expel spores that cover Spock, after which he professes his love for Kalomi, and blithely disregards orders to begin the evacuation of the colony. The rest of the landing party are also exposed to the spores and, with the exception of Kirk, exhibit the same sort of behavior. It is eventually revealed that the spores, in addition to this tranquilizing effect, also provide perfect health including protection from Berthold rays.

Kirk returns to the ship while the rest of its crew, under the influence of spore plants that have been brought on board, are beginning to abandon the ship. Lt. Uhura has sabotaged the communication system to prevent contact with Starfleet. Kirk is soon the last one aboard, and after a second exposure to the spores, he too prepares to leave, but as he is about to beam down, he is seized by a sudden anger. The effect of the spores seems to disappear, and Kirk surmises that violent emotions somehow destroy them. Kirk lures Spock back aboard Enterprise and goads him into attacking Kirk. As Spock is about to bludgeon Kirk with a stool, he notices that the spores' influence on him is gone.

Kirk and Spock begin work on a means to induce a similar effect on the planet below by broadcasting an irritating subsonic frequency to the crew's communicators. Kalomi beams aboard to find Spock no longer affected by the spores, and her heartbroken reaction frees her also. The subsonic broadcast is successful, provoking fights among the colonists and crew, followed by calls to the Enterprise.

As they leave orbit with the colonists aboard, Kirk asks Spock about his experiences on the planet – to which Spock replies that for the first time in his life, he was happy.


  • Writer Jerry Sohl had his name replaced by the pseudonym "Nathan Butler", after D.C. Fontana rewrote the original draft (entitled "The Way of the Spores").[1]
  • This was actor Frank Overton's last performance before his death on April 24, 1967, less than two months after the episode first aired.
  • When Michael Barrier and Grant Woods were cast to play the characters Lieutenant Timothy Fletcher and Crewman Dimont, the names were changed to DeSalle and Kelowitz, whom the two actors played in previous episodes.[2]
  • The shot of the empty Enterprise bridge was reused in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics", to depict Scotty's holodeck re-creation of his old ship.[3]


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave this episode an "A" rating, describing it as "an intriguingly ambiguous episode", and he praised its sense of humor.[4]

In 2015, SyFy ranked this episode as one of the top ten essential Star Trek original series episodes.[5]

In 2016, SyFy ranked guest star Jill Ireland's performance as Leila, as the 15th best guest star on the original series.[6]

In 2016, Empire ranked this the 24th best out of the top 50 episodes of all the 700 plus Star Trek television episodes.[7]

In 2016, IGN ranked "This Side of Paradise" the 24th best episode of all Star Trek including later series.[8] They note this episode for featuring a romance of sorts between Spock and an inhabitant of the planet Omicron Ceti III.[8]

In 2018, PopMatters ranked this the 18th best episode of the original series.[9]

A 2018 Star Trek binge-watching guide by Den of Geek recommended this episode for featuring the trio of characters Kirk, Spock, and Bones of the original series.[10]

In 2019, Nerdist included this episode on their "Best of Spock" binge-watching guide.[11]


  1. ^ Benjamin Szumskyj, Robert Hood (2009). The man who collected psychos: critical essays on Robert Bloch. McFarland. p. 213. ISBN 9780786442089.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Handlen, Zack (April 10, 2009). "'This Side of Paradise'/'The Devil in the Dark'". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  5. ^ Kaye, Don (2015-02-27). "Long Live Spock: 10 essential Star Trek: The Original Series episodes". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  6. ^ Kaye, Don (2016-09-16). "The 17 best Star Trek: The Original Series guest stars (hero or villain)". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  7. ^ "The 50 best Star Trek episodes ever". Empire. 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2019-06-29.
  8. ^ a b Star Trek: The Top 25 Episodes - IGN, retrieved 2019-08-02
  9. ^ "The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'". PopMatters. 2018-07-16. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  10. ^ "Star Trek: An Episode Roadmap for Beginners". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2019-07-24.
  11. ^ "A Guide to Binge Watching 7 Great STAR TREK Arcs". Nerdist. Retrieved 2019-07-15.

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