If going by production order — which, Trekkies will tell you, is the only correct order in which to watch the original series — then “The Man Trap” is the show’s fifth episode. Broadcast order (feh) had it running first. Either way, a precedent was set early on “Star Trek,” and audiences would frequently see magical sci-fi creatures of devices that could read the minds of Starfleet officers and physically manifest their desires. In “The Man Trap” (September 8, 1966), Kirk (William Shatner) found an intruder on his ship in the form of a shapeshifting alien called simply the M-113 Creature. The creature is a leech monster who, as a defense mechanism, can appear differently to different people.
In the episode “Shore Leave” (December 29, 1966), the crew of the Enterprise finds themselves on a planet that can read their thoughts and instantly construct robots based on whatever they’re thinking of. Kirk thinks of an old school rival. Sulu (George Takei) dreams of a handgun. Dr. McCoy (De Forest Kelley) dreams of the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.”
In the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “Where No One Has Gone Before” (October 26, 1987), the Enterprise is stranded in a distant part of the universe that, just as a natural phenomenon, manifested thoughts as reality, and Worf (Michael Dorn) created a beloved childhood pet. Picard (Patrick Stewart) had tea with his dead mother.
In the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “If Wishes Were Horses” (May 17, 1993), the station crew finds figures like Rumpelstiltskin (Michael Anderson) wandering the station, as well as a hornier doppelgänger of Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell).
It seems that wishes do come true.