The City on the Edge of Forever  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"The City on the Edge of Forever" is the 28th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek and the penultimate episode of the first season. It was first broadcast in the United States on NBC on April 6, 1967. In the episode, after a heavily medicated Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) travels back in time and changes history, Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) follow him to correct the timeline. In doing so, Kirk falls in love with Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), but realizes that in order to save his future, he must allow her to die.

The writing of this episode took over ten months, from the initial pitch by Harlan Ellison to the final re-write by Gene Roddenberry. Steven W. Carabatsos and D. C. Fontana, both story editors on the show, undertook re-writes of the teleplay, and changes have also been attributed to producer Gene L. Coon. The experience led to animosity between Ellison and Roddenberry for the rest of the latter's life, in particular over a claim by Roddenberry that Ellison had the character Scotty dealing drugs in one version of the script. The episode went over budget by more than $50,000 and overran the production schedule. Mistakes were made in the set design with an instruction for "runes" misconstrued as a request for "ruins". With Matt Jefferies ill, Rolland Brooks designed the set and the Guardian of Forever, to the surprise of Jefferies on his return.

"The City on the Edge of Forever" placed second in the ratings, with Nielsen ratings showing 11.64 million viewers watching the first half hour and a 28.4 percent audience share for the remainder. The episode received widespread critical acclaim and has been frequently stated to be the best episode of the entire franchise, with it fondly received by cast, crew, and critics. Elements such as the tragic ending were highlighted by several reviewers. It won several awards, including the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama on Television and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Despite claims by Roddenberry, it did not win a Nebula Award. The Guardian of Forever later re-appeared in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear", and was suggested at one point to appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It has been included in a variety of Star Trek novels, comic books and video games. "The City on the Edge of Forever" was one of the first instances of "hell" being used as profanity on television.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The City on the Edge of Forever" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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