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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Star Trek has something like 800 hours of entertainment. That is a lot of Star Trek to go around. Most of them are pretty enjoyable on some level, with a strong handful that really rises to the top. However, there are some episodes that are just incredibly goofy – which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for a franchise such as this. Those goofy episodes are not necessarily bad, but you do wonder what exactly were the writers thinking when they made it. In no particular order, let’s look at some of the stranger Star Trek episodes out there (two from each series).
“Spock’s Brain” (TOS) – The third season of the original Star Trek was a rough one when compared to the other two, but it’s opening episode really displayed the nuttiness of what was to come. In it, Spock’s brain is stolen and the crew has to get it back before his body dies (never mind how the brain can stay alive). The weirdest part: the brain is able to coach Dr. McCoy on how to get itself back into Spock’s body.
“The Way to Eden” (TOS) – Very much a product of its time: space hippies board the Enterprise and try to find a mythical planet where they can live in, like, paradise, man. A confusing message about 1960s counter-culture, the episode might have been a little too on the nose when trying to address its subject matter. But that’s what you get with space hippies.
“Genesis” (TNG) – The entire crew devolves into things that couldn’t possibly devolve to such as spiders, reptiles, or fish. None of that makes any sense. It made for a spooky episode (with some awesome make-up), but it is also one of the goofiest.
“A Fistful of Datas” (TNG) – Worf and his son got to the holodeck to play like cowboys. But, due to a glitch, all the other characters look exactly like Data and have his abilities. While the episode was a lot of fun seeing Brent Spiner playing a variety of roles, it was incredibly wacky.
“Profit and Lace” (DS9) – In an episode about women’s rights on the largely chauvinist planet Feregniar, Quark has to fool some important government official that he is a women to get a law passed. In order to do this, Quark gets a sex-change operation. From what I have read in the past, this episode was written as a farce, but was produced in a much more dramatic fashion. Then there is the whole sex-change element – which I guess was meant for a laugh, but it just comes off as a bit too strange for its own good.
“Our Man Bashier” (DS9) – The writers of Deep Space Nine must have wanted to do a James Bond episode after watching the then-new GoldenEye, because this is exactly that. And I don’t mean it is a spy story. I mean they have a 1960s James Bond-type adventure in the holodeck, complete with the Sean Connery-era aesthetic.
“Threshold” (VOY) – I already talked about this one in a previous entry, but Tom Paris (and later Captain Janeway) evolve into salamander-like creatures. What…what?!
“Bride of Chaotica!” (VOY) – The crew communicates to aliens though a holodeck program based on the sci-fi movie serials of the 1930s/1940s (think Flash Gordon). Lots of goofy cheese in this episode with Janeway as an over-the-top villain. What’s with the holodeck episodes and goofiness?
“Unexpected” (ENT) – Trip Trucker gets pregnant. Not a bad episode, but a very strange one considering they play up the idea of a male pregnancy for laughs while completely ignoring a lot of the other consequences of pregnancy (and male pregnancy). A completely fair take on the subject matter, but it make it a bit more goofy than intended.
“Rouge Planet” (ENT) – The crew of Enterprise encounter a hunting party on a planet wandering aimlessly though space. Sounds cool, but it makes not a lick of sense. How can there be basic things like gravity and atmosphere? I suppose helping the situation is that they don’t acknowledge it, so you do need to think about it. Still…very weird.
There are just some of the goofy episodes Star Trek has to offer. There are plenty more to choose from. To be fair, I do not mean to suggest these are bad episodes. Actually, I like most of these quite a bit. But, they are pretty out there and have some real strangeness attached to them. Maybe the producers needed to escape themselves when working on the show to just to something incredibly out of the box.
What do you think? Are there other episodes that are just a bit too nutty?