I'm wondering if there's any Star Trek episode which could have been set in any pretty much any other (non-futuristic) setting without modification, even if the appearance of the technology is incidental.

For the purpose of this question I'm going to assume that the following are roughly achievable with today's technology:

  • communicators (in a vicinity of a planet/ship)
  • turbolifts
  • natural language processing and database querying

And that the mere appearance of an alien or android doesn't disqualify the episode unless extraordinary non-human capabilities/characteristics of that being are portrayed. Cultural differences are okay because they are story elements, not technology.

Examples of things that automatically disqualify:

  • impulse drive and warp drive
  • time travel
  • replicators, transporters, phasers

Is there any episode where we do not see advanced technology or alien traits?


2 Answers 2


With the proviso that you ignore the framing device, there are three episodes that broadly fit your description:

  • DS9: Far Beyond the Stars

    Aside from an opening sequence where Sisko is walking around the station and a brief ending where he's in sickbay wearing a cortical monitor, the episode is entirely set on Earth in the 1950s.

  • VOY: 11:59

    Aside from a few brief interludes where Janeway and Seven use various imagining devices to research family history (and a scene in astrometrics) more than 90% of the episode is set on Earth in the year 2000 and follows Janeway's ancestor.

  • ENT: Carbon Creek

    This one is a push because you see a (highly generic) (Vulcan) spaceship crashing and another one taking off at the start and end of the episode. Aside from that, the whole episode is basically a story about a couple moving to a small American town and the troubles that that can bring.

  • You can even include the framing on Carbon Creek. It's just 3 people having dinner.
    – Alarion
    Feb 8, 2019 at 21:14
  • @Valorum I would also possibly include The Drumhead, as it's just a trial practically.
    – Hans Olo
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:08
  • 1
    @Loki - I excluded it because there are multiple uses of tricorder and replicators. Also Satee and her team come on board via transporter.
    – Valorum
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:17
  • @Valorum Good points.
    – Hans Olo
    Feb 9, 2019 at 13:24
  • I was really hoping for something without ignoring framining devices, etc, but this may be as good as it gets... Feb 12, 2019 at 16:15

The TNG episode Family mainly takes place on Earth (and is one of the few, maybe only, episodes that depict Non-Starfleet, non-past (relative to the main setting) Earth), and has only incidental technology. Welsey views a hologram, but that's probably achievable with today's technology.

  • 1
    The Rozhenkos transport to and from the ship - per the question, that's an automatic disqualification
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 11, 2019 at 22:10

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