There is a claim that the studio chose to air the show's sixth episode ("Mantrap") first because they wanted to kick off the show with a "real monster".

There are numerous examples besides the above where broadcast order was not aligned with production order. What were the reasons behind all the other examples where this happened?

See this list on Wikipedia and notice that there are several examples throughout the show's 3 year run where broadcast order is out of sequence with production order.

  • I recommend reading Marc Cushman's exhaustive three-volume series "These Are the Voyages" that covers the production of each episode per season. Lots of deep info in there as to scripting, production. For example, sometimes a particular episode's effects may not have been completed on time, etc... – NKCampbell Jan 5 '17 at 21:58

According to Wikipedia:

A month prior to the premiere of Star Trek, Desilu held a screening for NBC executives to help decide which episode to broadcast first, and several stories were considered.[39] Executives were concerned that "Mudd's Women", one potential choice, would have reviewers discussing "space hookers"; they felt another possibility, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", contained too much exposition—even though it was filmed as a second pilot. The final choice was between "The Man Trap" and "The Naked Time".[39] Justman felt that "The Naked Time" would make it easier for viewers to understand the characters, but later agreed with NBC's decision to show "The Man Trap" first. In the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, he suggests that it was "scarier and more exploitable than the others".[39]

"The Man Trap" was the sixth episode produced. Although Rodenberry initially disagreed with NBC's decision, he and producer Herbert Franklin Solow came to believe it was the correct choice.[39][40] Shatner also disagreed with the network, feeling that "The Man Trap" was the worst episode out of those available.[40] The episode was the first episode of Star Trek broadcast in the United States, on NBC on September 8, 1966.

[39] = Shatner, William; Kreski, Chris (1993). Star Trek Memories. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers. ISBN 978-0-06-017734-8.

[40] = Solow, Herbert F.; Justman, Robert H. (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-89628-7.

As for the other being out of order, this is not unusual, and is often the result of executives changing things in an effort to boost a show's ratings. This has become a TV Trope. This has happened for multiple shows (notably, Firefly), and can happen in any genre.

This is sometimes deliberate - the order in which episodes are filmed can be different to broadcast, usually for budget or other reasons. A good example of this is Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode "Skin of Evil" in which Tasha Yar is killed, was filmed before the preceding episode, Symbiosis. As such, at the very end of Symbiosis, you can see Denise Crosby wave goodbye to the camera.

I'd suggest reading the TV Tropes link for a full list of reasons, as they are somewhat varied.

  • OK, that clears up the first one. Wondering about all the other examples. – Anthony X Jan 4 '17 at 2:47
  • @AnthonyX - same reasons, usually. The Executives make decisions about which episode to show next all the time. If you look into the history of Firefly, for example, you'll find that they messed things around for that show too. Since TOS episodes were largely standalone, it didn't really make much difference. To know for certain, you'd probably have to read up on the history of each and every episode. – Tim Jan 4 '17 at 3:02

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