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Cliche Guide

It seems a bit harsh to call them "cliches," but these are the recurring plot elements which define Trek. (The list is complete through season one only.)

3DC - Three-Dimensional Chess 1-P02 1-P08 1-P15

Queen to Queen's level three.

AAI - Androids/Artificial Intelligence 1-P10 1-P22

They look or think like people, only better!

AB - Alien Beverage 1-P03 1-P05 1-P06 1-P08 1-P12 1-P23 1-P24 1-P27

They stopped making brandy on Earth once the Saurian variety was discovered. (See also Bartending Doctor.)

AC - Alien Comparison

Comparisons more slippery than a Denebian Slime Devil.

AD - Artificial Deadline 1-P05 1-P12 1-P14 1-P22 1-P26

The plague is getting worse! The asteroid is getting closer! We need to solve this now! (See also Explosion/Destruction Imminent.)

ADA - Aliens Dress Alike

They must have all called each other that morning.

BESP - Burning/Exploding/Smoking Panels 1-P02 1-P05 1-P08 1-P09 1-P11 1-P14 1-P15 1-P20 1-P22 1-P23 1-P26 1-P28

Poor Scotty. Panels are always exploding around him.

BMUS - Beam Me Up, Scotty (the variations) 1-P05 1-P06 1-P18 1-P19 1-P22 1-P25

They said it all the time, right? Yes, but not with those words. (See also Transporter Malfunction.)

BD - Bartending Doctor 0-P01 1-P03 1-P05 1-P11 1-P13

Doctors always have the best booze. (See also, Alien Beverage.)

CDW - Communicator Doesn't Work (includes communicator stolen, missing, confiscated) 0-P01 1-P10 1-P11 1-P12 1-P14 1-P17 1-P18 1-P22 1-P23 1-P27

Let me just call the ship. Hey! This thing doesn't work! (See also Phasers Don't Work and Warp Engines Don't Work)

CMT - Court Martial/Trial 1-P04 1-P15 1-P16 1-P18 1-P24

Nothing like a courtroom drama. (See also Dress Uniforms.)

CTKNT - Chance to Kill Not Taken 0-P01 1-P14 1-P19 1-P26

Too civilized to kill arbitrarily, they can get their hands around a neck, but they just can't squeeze.

CWM - Computer Works Miracles 1-P04 1-P23 1-P28

But does it have Minesweeper?

DAOF - Diplomats and Other Fools 1-P14 1-P23

They come aboard just to make trouble...

DC - Dilithium Crystals 1-P04 1-P20

They're beautiful. They're fragile. The ship can't operate without them. But they never seem to carry spares... (See also Warp Engines Don't Work.)

DDC - Dead/Dying Civilization/Planet 0-P01 1-P06 1-P07 1-P10 1-P12 1-P16 1-P20 1-P26 1-P28

For a ship whose mission was "to seek out new life and new civilizations," they sure found a lot of dead ones.

DHR - Dead Heroes Resurrected 1-P08 1-P17 1-P24

He's dead, Jim. No wait, he's all better now. (See also, He's Dead, Jim.)

DS - Distress Signal 0-P01 1-P02 1-P03 1-P04 1-P12 1-P14 1-P26

You're out in space and something goes wrong. Don't worry. The Enterprise is just waiting for your distress signal.

DU - Dress Uniforms 1-P15 1-P16 1-P24

They're shiny, they have medals, and they only come out on special occasions. (See also Court Martial/Trial.)

EDI - Explosion/Destruction Imminent 1-P03 1-P04 1-P07 1-P09 1-P14 1-P15 1-P20 1-P21 1-P22 1-P24

Would you work in an office that was just about to explode on a regular basis? (See also Artificial Deadline.)

EPS - Eden/Paradise/Shangri-La 1-P17 1-P22 1-P25

Ahh, this planet is so beautiful that it's like the Garden of Eden. Oh, except for that poison plant/hostile alien/gaseous cloud/exploding rock/etc.

ET - Evil Twin (includes twins which are not technically evil) 0-P01 1-P05 1-P06 1-P10 1-P20

Two Kirks (or Spocks or whoever) for the price of one.

EV - Emotional Vulcan 0-P01 1-P07 1-P14 1-P25 1-P28 1-P29

For a species with no emotion (or a half-breed with emotionless ambitions) they sure do smile and cry a lot. (See also Spock Says "Jim.")

FF - Fist Fight 1-P02 1-P05 1-P06 1-P07 1-P10 1-P11 1-P12 1-P15 1-P16 1-P17 1-P19 1-P21 1-P22 1-P23 1-P24 1-P25 1-P27

When phasers just aren't enough.

FH - Future History 1-P02 1-P06 1-P21 1-P24

They know so much about our future... (See also Twentieth Century Mention and Historical List Extended.)

GB - Galactic Barrier 1-P02

It's pink and undulating and scientifically impossible, but there it is -- again!

HDJ - He's Dead, Jim 1-P05 1-P06 1-P11 1-P12

Three little words -- most of the time. (See also Dead Heroes Resurrected.)

HF - Hailing Frequencies 1-P03 1-P06 1-P09 1-P23

Poor Uhura. She's perpetually picking up the receiver to check for 22nd century dial tone.

HLE - Historical List Extended 1-P10 1-P15

Worst dictators in history? Greatest composers? Hey, they weren't all on Earth! (See also Future History and Twentieth Century Mention.)

HSP - Humans, So Primitive... 0-P01 1-P02 1-P08 1-P10 1-P17 1-P18 1-P19 1-P26 1-P27 1-P28

But one day, maybe, they'll amount to something.

IAD - I'm a Doctor... 1-P03 1-P17 1-P23 1-P25 1-P26 1-P28

We know what you are, but what aren't you, Bones?

ICJTK - I'm Captain James T. Kirk 1-P03 1-P04 1-P05 1-P06 1-P13 1-P18 1-P21 1-P23 1-P24 1-P27 1-P28

It's a big galaxy, and not everyone has heard of him, so he's constantly introducing himself.

IRCS - Impossible Repairs Completed Successfully 1-P05 1-P07

It can't be repaired. It just can't be done. It's simply impossible. Oh wait, I did it. (See also Quick Fix.)

KGTG - Kirk Gets the Girl 1-P10 1-P11 1-P12 1-P13 1-P15 1-P28

Sometimes a Captain has to remove his boots.

LLAP - Live Long and Prosper

Aloha, in Vulcan.

LWM - Leave Without Me 1-P02 1-P14 1-P18 1-P19 1-P27 1-P28

If you don't hear from him, get his ship out of there, dammit!

LOIK - Last of Its Kind 1-P06 1-P20 1-P26

Don't kill it. There are no more!

ME - Miraculous Escape 1-P10 1-P18 1-P23 1-P27

It's a pretty secure prison cell. Escape looks impossible. But wait, this bar is loose!

MM - Mind Meld 1-P11 1-P22 1-P23 1-P26

The ultimate meeting of the minds.

MSEIP - Monitor Shows Episode In Progress 0-P01 1-P02 1-P09 1-P15 1-P16 1-P19 1-P24

You know how sometimes the back of your neck gets prickly? That's when someone is watching you on a screen as filmed through the lens of a great cinematographer.

MW - Mysterious Workings ("I don't know how it does it..." "I've never seen readings like this.") 1-P03 1-P14 1-P18 1-P19 1-P28

Those sensors and tricorders are great, but often baffled. (See also Unknown/Impenetrable Metal/Substance.)

MU - Mutiny 1-P07 1-P16 1-P25

Disciplined, but sometimes you gotta bend the rules.

NVT - Non-Vulcan Telepathy 0-P01 1-P06 1-P17 1-P22

Hey, Vulcans aren't the only aliens who can read minds.

OBTY - Old Beyond Their Years 1-P03 1-P10 1-P12 1-P19 1-P24 1-P27

But they look so young...

OPKC - One Punch/Karate Chop 1-P05 1-P11 1-P20 1-P21 1-P22 1-P23 1-P24 1-P26 1-P28

The easiest way to handle an armed security guard.

OSL - Old Space Legend 1-P08 1-P19

Everybody says that planet is haunted!

PC - Planetary Council 1-P23 1-P27

There's no leadership on this planet. Unless you mean the planetary council.

PD - Prime Directive 1-P22

Don't worry. I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply in this situation.

PDE - Phasers Do Everything 1-P03 1-P05 1-P14

It's a gun. It's a heater. It's a bomb. It's a toaster. It dehydrates food. (See also Phaser Overload and Phasers Don't Work)

PDW - Phasers Don't Work (includes Phasers confiscated) 0-P01 1-P17 1-P22 1-P27

You're in a tough jam and you reach for your phaser. Hey, I just charged this thing! (See also Communicators Don't Work and Warp Engines Don't Work)

PIPO - Pop-In/Pop-Out (things/people appearing and disappearing with no transition) 1-P18 1-P19

When the transporter is simply too expensive.

PJLE - Planet Just Like Earth 1-P12 1-P17

Here we are on an alien world. Hey, look! Everything here developed just like good ol' Earth!

PO - Phaser Overload 0-P01 1-P13 1-P28

The quickest way to catch an alien's attention. (See also Phasers Do Everything.)

RP - Routine Physical (includes routine check-ups) 1-P03 1-P06 1-P07 1-P08 1-P25

It happens a lot, and usually involves running while upside down.

RPM - Random Planet Mention 1-P02 1-P06 1-P14 1-P17 1-P21 1-P25 1-P28

We're not orbiting it. We're not headed toward or away from it. It's probably named after the writer's girlfriend.

QF - Quick Fix (includes all Deus ex Machina endings) 1-P08 1-P17 1-P18 1-P25 1-P29

That pesky problem looked completely hopeless for 47 1/2 minutes. (See also Technical Improvisation and Impossible Repairs Completed Successfully.)

RS - Red Shirts 1-P06 1-P10 1-P19 1-P26

You're young, and eager, and the only anonymous crewmember assigned to the landing party. Now's the time to get your affairs in order.

1-P06 Darnell (Michael Zaslow), Blue, Salt vampire
1-P06 Sturgeon (John Arndt), Blue, Salt vampire
1-P06 Green (Bruce Watson), Gold, Salt vampire
1-P10 Mathews (Vince Deadrick), Red, Bottomless pit
1-P10 Rayburn (Budd Albright), Red, Unspecified death by giant ancient android
1-P19 O'Herlihy (Jerry Ayres), Red, Vaporized by Gorn attack
1-P19 Lang (), , Unspecified death by Gorn attack
1-P26 Unnamed (Jon Cavett?), Red, Horta

SBA - Ship Buffeted About 1-P02 1-P03 1-P07 1-P09 1-P13 1-P14 1-P15 1-P19 1-P20 1-P21 1-P23 1-P27 1-P28

Helmets, mouth guards and athletic supporters should be standard issue on a starship.

SC - Stolen Clothes (includes all disguises) 1-P22 1-P23 1-P27 1-P28

Quick! We need to find a weird hat to cover those ears!

SAMS - Spock and McCoy Sparring 1-P12 1-P13 1-P14

Small asides, big tension (or comedy).

SSJ - Spock Says "Jim" 1-P02 1-P03 1-P07 1-P08 1-P09 1-P11 1-P12 1-P13 1-P16 1-P19 1-P20 1-P25 1-P26 1-P27 1-P28

Who cares when McCoy says it -- he's human. But a Vulcan? Using the Captain's first name? Scandal. (See also Emotional Vulcan.)

SS - Shape-Shifting (includes energy beings taking corporeal form) 1-P06 1-P27

It looks like me. No, it looks like you.

ST - Selective Transportation 0-P01

Not everything (or everyone) in that transporter chamber is gonna make it to the planet...

TCM - Twentieth Century Mention 1-P12 1-P14 1-P17 1-P21 1-P24 1-P28

There are 80-some centuries of recorded Earth history, but that mid-20th century sure was fascinating. (See also Future History and Historical List Extended.)

TDW - Transporter Doesn't Work 1-P05 1-P14 1-P19 1-P27

All it has to do is convert me into pure energy, zap me through space, and turn me back into me. Is that so hard? (See also Beam Me Up, Scotty.)

TI - Technical Improvisation 1-P05 1-P14 1-P19 1-P21 1-P23 1-P25 1-P26 1-P28 1-P29

The gizmo wasn't designed for that, but now that you mention it, I can probably turn it into the perfect thing we need to solve our problem. (See also Quick Fix.)

UIMS - Unknown/Impenetrable Metal/Substance

Those tricorders seem to know everything. Except for just about every type of metal they encounter. (See also Mysterious Workings.)

VAD - Vulcan Anatomical Differences 1-P04 1-P06 1-P07 1-P12 1-P29

Everybody knows about the ears, but did you know his blood is green?

VH - Vulcan Harp 1-P08 1-P13

No self-respecting Vulcan travels without one.

VI - Voice Impersonation 1-P10 1-P16 1-P23

It sounds like the captain, but is it?

VNP - Vulcan Neck Pinch 1-P05 1-P07 1-P11 1-P16 1-P21 1-P22 1-P23 1-P24 1-P27 1-P28 1-P29

Part psychic, part pressure point, always money in the bank.

WEDW - Warp Engines Don't Work 1-P07 1-P15 1-P21 1-P22

Mixing matter and anti-matter is tiring business. Sometimes these engines go out back for a quick smoke. (See also Dilithium Crystals.)

WI - Warning Ignored 1-P03 1-P23

No pesky space buoy is gonna stop Kirk and Company.

YOTW - Yeoman of the Week (must have at least one line of dialogue) 0-P01 1-P02 1-P14 1-P17 1-P18 1-P23 1-P29

There's bound to be lots of turnover in such a stressful job.