• Encounters in Star Trek often mirror Earth civilizations; from Roman spectaculars to Nazi influences, the show draws parallels to history.
  • TOS writers reused sets and props for alien worlds to reflect Hodgkin’s Law; Earth-type planets develop similar civilizations.
  • Star Trek explores ethical and political themes; from the Vietnam War analogy on Neural to the totalitarianism on Ekos, each planet’s tale has a lesson.

Space, proclaims Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, is the final frontier, an undiscovered place full of groundbreaking discoveries just waiting to be made. While the heroes of Star Trek: The Original Series do meet a variety of strange alien lifeforms during their voyages, other encounters hit far closer to home.


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TOS was not afraid to reuse props and sets from other productions when crafting alien worlds. Indeed, Star Trek‘s writers even devised an explanation for this practice: Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, referenced in several episodes, states that all Earth-type planets are likely to display similar civilizational arcs. From modern-day Romans to a gangster planet, Kirk gets a taste of home, no matter how far out he explores.

8 Miri

Before The Planet Was Called “Miri,” It Was Referred To As “Earth Two”

The planet Miri in Star Trek.

  • “Miri” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Earth, the planet Miri is beset by a deadly virus when the Enterprise makes contact. As a result of a science experiment gone wrong, the adult population has died out, leaving the planet under the control of its infant inhabitants. Kirk and his crew soon find themselves not only at the mercy of the children but also suffering from the effects of the planet’s disease. However, Dr. McCoy is able to cure the virus, laying the foundations for Miri’s return to normality.

Indeed, Miri is so similar to Earth that the planet was not named in the episode’s initial script, instead being referred to as “Earth Two.” Subsequent Star Trek novels seized on this connection, with one suggesting that Miri was Earth itself, albeit from a different timeline, and another stating that the planet was one of several Earth duplicates created by the ancient Preservers.

7 Sigma Iotia II

Home To A 1920s Gangster Civilization

The planet Sigma Iotia II in Star Trek.

  • “A Piece Of The Action” (Season 2, Episode 17)

Season 2’s “A Piece of the Action” sees the Enterprise travel to Sigma Iotia II, a planet located in the Beta Quadrant. Kirk and his colleagues discover that the planet’s natives are living like 1920s gangsters from Earth, and they soon determine the cause of this deviation. A century prior, another Federation starship visited the planet, forever altering the course of Iotian history. The ship, Horizon, soon departed, but it left behind an item that changed everything.


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The primitive Iotians based their society on a book discarded by Horizon, namely Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. This served as a civilizational handbook, trapping the developing culture in a gangland quagmire. However, Kirk’s intervention puts the planet back on the right path.

6 Neural

Offers A Moral Vietnam War Story

The planet Neural in Star Trek.

  • “A Private Little War” (Season 2, Episode 19)

While The Original Series showed an interest in re-purposing ancient history to generate plots, the show didn’t shy away from addressing more contemporary themes. In “A Private Little War,” the Enterprise becomes involved in a proxy war on the planet Neural. The Klingon Empire is backing one faction on the planet by providing it with advanced weapons; Kirk must intervene to restore balance to the primitive planet.

While Neural lacks the reused sets and props that so often characterize a TOS parallel Earth episode, it serves as the basis for a clear parable about the Vietnam War. This engagement with allegory elevates the story above others in the sub-genre, as it draws on real-world politics rather than simple aesthetics.

5 Elas

Draws Inspiration From Greek Mythology

The titular Elaan of Troyius in Star Trek.

  • “Elaan Of Troyius” (Season 3, Episode 13)

While little is clear about the planet Elas, the circumstances surrounding it and the neighboring world of Troyius are deeply rooted in Earth mythology. Troyius and Elas, both located in the Tellun system, are at war; only a diplomatic marriage between Elaan, an Elasian, and the ruler of Troyius has any hope of ending the conflict.


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While the Enterprise is assigned to assist with the marriage plans, the hotblooded nature of the Elasians complicates matters. They are a proud warrior race, recalling Earth civilizations like the Spartans, while the episode’s title is a space-age twist on Helen of Troy, a figure from Ancient Greek poetry. However, the female Elasians have something that no human has ever possessed: tears that act as a powerful love potion. The Elasians may be rooted in classical antiquity, but they are not entirely derivative.

4 Ekos

Reminiscent Of Nazi Germany

The planet Ekos in Star Trek.

  • “Patterns Of Force” (Season 2, Episode 21)

Seen in the “Patterns of Force” episode, the planet Ekos is modeled on the Nazi Germany of Earth’s twentieth century. Originally a lawless pre-warp world, intervention by a Federation historian transformed the planet by introducing the Ekosians to the principles of National Socialism, somewhat naively believing that this would create an ordered society without any drawbacks.

By the time of the Enterprise’s visit to Ekos, the planet has adopted a variety of Nazi iconography and practices. Thankfully, Kirk and Spock are able to remedy the situation on Ekos, hopefully ushering in a less genocidal system of government for the planet’s population.

3 892-IV

Showcases A Technologically Superior Ancient Rome

The planet 892-IV in Star Trek.

  • “Bread And Circuses” (Season 2, Episode 25)

“Bread and Circuses” not only finds a way to incorporate the fashions of Ancient Rome into Star Trek‘s future but also skewers contemporary network TV production with its televised gladiator battles. The episode features the Enterprise investigating 892-IV, a planet where Roman practices coexist with twentieth-century technology.

The Roman-style society on 892-IV is notable in that Kirk’s intervention fails to significantly alter it. Rather than overthrowing the cruel model of government, Kirk and his fellow officers are only able to escape. However, a transmission detected by Uhura suggests the presence of a Christianity-adjacent movement on the planet. The Enterprise’s crew concludes that, since the Rome of 892-IV so closely mirrors their own, it too will fall given time.

2 Platonius

A Civilization That Adopts The Worst Aspects Of Humanity

The planet Platonius in Star Trek.

  • “Plato’s Stepchildren” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Today, “Plato’s Stepchildren” is best remembered for featuring what is widely (but incorrectly) referred to as television’s first interracial kiss. However, the episode is also notable for how it reuses imagery from Ancient Greece in order to create the world of Platonius. This is understandable, as the alien Platonians admit to being heavily inspired by the teachings of Plato and Socrates.


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Unfortunately, Platonius and its citizens reproduce many of the worst features of Earth’s history. They are cruel and petty, choosing to use their telekinetic powers to abuse those whom they consider inferior. Indeed, the Platonian’s treatment of Kirk and his crew resulted in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s refusal to air the episode on the grounds that it contained sadistic themes. Platonius may be modeled on Earth, but few of humanity’s virtues are on display there.

1 Omega IV

A Civilization That Shares An Almost Identical History To Earth

Star Trek The Omega Force Omega IV

  • “The Omega Glory” (Season 2, Episode 23)

While “The Omega Glory” is widely regarded as being one of the worst episodes of The Original Series, it does introduce the notable world of Omega IV. The Enterprise’s visit to the planet uncovers a conflict between the Kohms and the Yangs, a war that is being interfered in by a stranded Starfleet captain.

It is revealed, somewhat implausibly, that Omega IV experienced a nearly parallel history to Earth, although the Cold War on Omega IV escalated into a full-blown conflict. The United States Constitution was also written independently on the planet in what must be Star Trek‘s biggest-ever coincidence. With contrivances like these, it’s a mercy that “The Omega Glory” was not chosen as Star Trek‘s second pilot, although Gene Roddenberry did consider the idea.


Star Trek
Created by
Gene Roddenberry

First Film
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

First TV Show
Star Trek: The Original Series

Creation Year


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