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The Top Five Worst Star Trek: TOS episodes of all time

Updated on August 11, 2018
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Curt is a fan of history, including 20th-century America, presidents of the United States, and classic cinema.

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations unfortunately includes a few stinkers.
Infinite diversity in infinite combinations unfortunately includes a few stinkers. | Source

"During the entire shooting of that episode, I was embarrassed - a feeling that overcame me many times during the final season of Star Trek."

-Leonard Nimoy, recounting "Spock's Brain," "I am Spock," p. 115.

Let's not defend bad, just because it is Star Trek

Star Trek: The Original Series ran from 1966-1969 on NBC Television. Like most good Sci-Fi, it was prophetic, it was compelling, and it had wonderful analogies and metaphors applicable to life outside of the Star Trek universe.

Still, some of the episodes were just awful, and one could debate whether they improved upon the blank television screen. Most of the worst episodes occurred in the show's third and final season, as budgets were cut and the show moved to an unattractive time slot.

It is impossible to calculate how many potential fans were lost by being introduced to the series with these five dogs.

The worst from best to worst

5. Spocks Brain. Arguably the worst TOS episode ever filmed gets the best spot on this list. It's so bad, it's enjoyable. What do we like best about it? Remote controlled Spock? Dr. McCoy's wide-eyed reaction when he wears the teacher like a beauty-salon hair dryer? How about the Vulcan physiology that keeps Spock alive for 24 hours without a brain? Why not? A lot of humans seem to operate 24 hours a day without a brain.

4. The Way to Eden. We reach, Herbert. One. Star Trek could have dealt with hippie culture in metaphor, rather than simply by bringing hippies aboard the Enterprise to sing and wear strange clothing and curiously not do any drugs. It wasn't until twenty years later, when Kirk and Crew traveled to Sha-Ka-Ree, that they truly found Eden. Or not.

3. The Paradise Syndrome. When Captain Kirk falls into an obelisk and is zapped into amnesia, he wakes up thinking he's a Native American and falls in love with a squaw named Miramanee. Miramanee makes him "so happy, so very happy" that he spends what seems like a quarter of the episode grinning and giggling and talking about "joining" with her. Had Miramanee only had access to a copy of "The City on the Edge of Forever," she would know her fate. In the meantime, Mr. Spock tries to stop an asteroid.

Apparently, there were no drugs in "The Way to Eden" because they were all being consumed in the writer's room.

So happy.
So happy. | Source


Which would YOU rank as the worst of the worst Star Trek TOS episodes?

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2. And the Children Shall Lead.Orphaned kids sing a ring-around-the-rosie rhyme to summon attorney Melvin Belli, who has a guest-starring role wearing a robe and shimmering with green. The children exercise mind control by pumping their fists and making Uhura look like she just walked out of a Halloween pop-up store. Kirk has the most Shatner-esque breakdown of the entire Star Trek canon in a turbolift. The weak, weak script offers no suspense, or memorable anything, really. The most memorable aspect of the episode are the silly clothes worn by the kids.

1. Plato's Stepchildren. Here's what I remember about Plato's Stepchildren: A dwarf with a lyre. Captain Kirk slapping himself. Mr. Spock with laurels around his head, laughing and crying and singing and dancing. Captain Kirk reciting Shakespeare. More dancing. The much-discussed interracial kiss. More of the dwarf. I recall all l of this after I blocked out the really bad parts. Pure agony booth.

Plato's Stepchildren

Buy Star Trek: Season 3 and witness the awfulness for yourself!


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