2019 was a rough year for those who worked on the Star Trek franchise and its fans.
Many people who were part of Star Trek's mission to "explore strange new worlds ..." passed away.
In their honor, let's take a look back at some of their finest TV adventures.
Star Trek wouldn't be the Star Trek we know and love without D.C. Fontana. She wrote many of Star Trek's best episodes and shaped its most iconic character, Spock. She also wrote for Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The Fontana penned Star Trek Season 2 Episode 15 is great as a standalone story. It may also be the franchise’s most influential episode. Star Trek: Discovery drew a lot of inspiration from the Spock family dynamic Fontana created in that episode.
Robert Walker Jr.
Trek characters encountering creepy adolescents happened a lot. One of the most notable occurred on Star Trek Season 1 Episode 2, thanks to Robert Walker Jr.’s performance as Charlie Evans, a teenager with reality-warping powers.
Walker’s performance as an awkward teen trying to fit in who is also a threat to the Enterprise makes the episode. Charlie committed monstrous deeds, but, thanks to Walker, it’s impossible not to feel for the characters as he pleads not to be taken away.
Sid Haig had a prolific career. He is probably known best for his roles in numerous horror movies. Star Trek fans may know him for his role on Star Trek Season 1 Episode 21.
Haig played the First Lawgiver, enforcer of the Landru’s will. The character is memorable because of how creepy and imposing Haig made him.
Jack Donner played (Romulan) Sub-Commander Tal on Star Trek Season 3 Episode 2. Donner’s performance contrasted with Shattner’s throughout the episode. When Kirk was losing control, Tal was calm and collected and vice versa.
Donner’s acting choices strengthened the adversarial relationship and the episode. Decades later, he would return to the franchise to guest star on Star Trek: Enterprise. Fittingly or ironically, he played a Vulcan priest.
Dick Miller showed up first on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3 Episode 11 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3 Episode 12 as Vin, a member of a law enforcement agency rounding up the homeless.
In only two episodes, Miller transformed his character from a bigot, believing the homeless deserved inhumane treatment to someone whose eyes were opened to the injustice he perpetuated.
W. Morgan Sheppard
W. Morgan Sheppard was featured on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, two Star Trek movies, and played four different characters. On Star Trek: Voyager Season 5 Episode 14, he played Qatai, an alien obsessed with revenge.
Sheppard easily pulls off the role. He also has great chemistry with the regular cast members, making it regrettable he was only a one-episode wonder. Star Trek: Voyager Season 5 Episode 14 isn’t a great episode, but it would be far worse without Sheppard.
Michael Lamper played an uncredited Acamarian gatherer on Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Episode 9.
Although he had no other onscreen Star Trek appearances, he had very personal ties to the franchise. Lamper was married to Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Jeremy Kemp proved to be an excellent scene partner for Patrick Stewart on Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 Episode 2. He played Robert Picard, someone who openly disapproved of the life choices his younger brother, Jean-Luc, made.
Kemp allowed the character's abrasive qualities to help Jean-Luc come to terms with what the Borg did to him. The character got killed off years ago, but, hopefully, Star Trek: Picard will find a way to pay tribute to both Robert and Kemp.
Barbara March played Lursa, one-half of the Durras sisters. The sisters' goal was to seize control of the Klingon Empire, and they ran afoul of both the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine crews.
March quickly established Lursa as the “bad cop” sister. How she worked in tandem with her sister acting as the seductress was best shown with their attempt to seduce Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Episode 1.
One of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's missions was to transform the Ferengi from despised caricatures into fully developed characters with their own goals and motivations. Aron Eisenberg's performance as Nog greatly contributed to making the Ferengi less despised.
Nog's series-long transformation from juvenile delinquent to Starfleet officer was engaging. Despite his status as a recurring player, Eisenberg proved he could carry an episode like a regular as shown on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 7 Episode 10.
Within the Star Trek franchise, Rene Auberjonois directed several episodes and played three different characters — most notably grumpy, shape-shifting Constable Odo. Even when he only shows up for one scene, Odo steals the show.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 2 Episode 8 is a prime example of his talent. Auberjonois demonstrates nearly all facets of Odo's personality: cynical detective, vulnerable outsider, and someone capable of feeling more than his gruff exterior suggests.
Who are the Star Trek legends you miss, TV Fanatics?
What Star Trek episodes were they in?
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.