The Bottom Ten
Article submitted by Allen Shull
Well, they can’t all be gems.
In the canon of live-action Star Trek television series, there are 694 episodes. And while we wanted to know which episodes you thought were worthy of recognition in our tribute to 50 years of Trek, we couldn’t help to notice the flip side. That seamy underbelly. Those episodes that make you cringe whenever they come on. These are not the stories that you play over and over on the Blu-Ray. These are the ones that you ridicule; the ones you think about with disgust; these are the ones you look down your nose and scream “What were they thinking?”
Just so everyone is clear, there isn’t a series of Trek that isn’t represented here. Each series may have their particular good qualities and spectacular episodes, but that didn’t stop them from occasionally laying the proverbial egg. In this Hall of Shame, TOS is represented twice, TNG and DS9 stink it up with three each, and Voyager and Enterprise each donated an episode to the cause.
So here they are, counting down to the worst episode as voted by you, our sophisticated listeners.
#10 (#685 on the list) – DS9, Season 6, Episode 23: “Profit and Lace”
Basically, it’s “Some Like It Hot” in space. Or it can be summed up as “Let’s put Quark in dress, bring in all the Ferengi characters, and let hilarity ensue.” Despite the usual stellar performances by Armin Shimerman, Jeffrey Combs, and Wallace Shawn, the cringe-inducing and contrived plot to try to produce this farce based on the misogyny of the Ferengi culture really only served to be ridiculous and insulting.
#9 (#686) – TNG, Season 7, Episode 14: “Sub Rosa”
I’ve seen the episode once. I can honestly say once is enough. (Yawn.) Crusher is seduced by a ghost/alien. (Yawn.) It is all soft-focus-y, misty-smoky, gothic-y. (Yawn.) According to Memory-Alpha, even Executive Producer Rick Berman and Head Writer Michael Pillar weren’t sold on it: “They considered it a romance novel in space and felt the possibility for embarrassment was monumental…” I think that sums it up quite well. Although, Gates McFadden writhing just like Meg Ryan does in the restaurant/orgasm scene from “When Harry Met Sally” is worth, um, watching.
#8 (#687) – TOS, Season 3, Episode 5: “And the Children Shall Lead”
This episode is most notable for annoying, fist pumping, chanting children and stunt casting. Melvin Belli, defense attorney best known for defending Jack Ruby for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, was cast as the evil, controlling alien Gorgan because, well, you tell me. As Spock says to Kirk “Captain, so long as the children are present, there is danger.” The writers should have heeded their own advice.
#7 (#688) – DS9, Season1, Episode 10: “Move Along Home”
“Allamaraine!” Quark cheats a delegation of aliens who force him to play a game where DS9 crew members are the “pieces”. “Double their peril, double your winnings!” Unfortunately, it turns out to be only faux peril and one is left at the end wondering why they wasted their time watching this. “Move Along Home?” How about move along on to a better story.
#6 (#689) – DS9, Season 5, Episode 7: “Let He Who is Without Sin…”
Mopey Worf and Jadzia take a vacation on Risa. Worf mostly complains, Jadzia acts put out, Julian and Leeta happily break-up, and, oh, something about a moral revolution and terrorists whose threat is to make it rain. It seems like this was supposed to be a light-hearted romp, but nobody looks like they are having any fun.
#5 (#690) – TOS, Season 3 Episode 6: “Spock’s Brain”
“Brain, what is brain?” That could be asked of everyone involved in this one. Spock’s brain is stolen by an alien race so that his intelligence can maintain their society’s controlling computer. This story has such a B-movie sensibility. According to several different sources, everyone disliked working on this episode. Leonard Nimoy is quoted “Frankly during the entire shooting of that episode, I was embarrassed – a feeling that overcame me many times during the final season of Star Trek.” In our survey, “Spock’s Brain” received the highest number of “What were they thinking” votes.
#4 (#691) – TNG, Season 1, Episode 3: “Code of Honor”
Wow. That’s all one can say about this one. The blatant racial stereotyping and sexist clichés combined with ridiculous plot holes are enough to put this one in the trash forever.
#3 (#692) – Enterprise, Season 4, Episode 22: “These are the Voyages…”
Ah, Enterprise. You were just getting good and then the execs pulled the rug out. But at least you got to do a final episode to tie up loose ends and send off the characters with style. And then you gave us this. As it has been pointed out repeatedly, this should actually be considered a TNG episode. This obviously hastily-contrived plot had Wil Riker using the holodeck to review the historical records (for chrissake this isn’t “Galaxy Quest”) in order to decide if he should come clean about his involvement in the Pegasus Incident. Really? We are going to go back to an episode from another show from twenty years earlier? Besides that contrivance, every other aspect of the plot was poorly written and only served to leave the viewer with a sour taste. Maybe the intent was to turn everyone off so no one would regret walking away. This episode had the highest percentage of negative votes in our survey, with 67% voting “What were they thinking?”
#2 (#693) – Voyager, Season 2, Episode 15: “Threshold”
Paris invents a Warp 10 Engine, which besides going fast, turns him into a salamander, where he in turn kidnaps Captain Janeway, takes her for a ride in his new souped up shuttle so they can mate and make little salamander babies before being somehow returned to normal by the EMH Doctor. No shit. That was the plot. Outside of the appallingly offensive salamander “thing”, this stupid episode actual leaves us with other unanswered questions, like, what happened to the offspring? I mean, they introduced a new human hybrid species on some random planet and just left it there? Talk about a Prime Directive breach. Oh wait, I forgot, this was Voyager. Never mind.
#1 (#694) – TNG, Season 2, Episode 22: “Shades of Gray”
Yep. This is the most crap-tacular of them all. An alien plant stings Riker and while in a coma he re-lives a highlight reel of his scenes from the first 40-some episodes. I wonder if it might have been better if this happened later in the series where they might have had a higher volume of footage to use? Who am I kidding? The episode was nothing more than a clip show because they had exhausted the season’s budget and had to get one more in the can. It was cheaply done on every front.
So there you have it. The worst of the worst. I say we go back to the other side of the spectrum as soon as possible. As for me, after going through this list, I gotta take a shower.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
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