Dave's Least Favorite Episodes

By David Beck

*** Warning: This document contains naughty words and "adult" themes. If my parents are reading this document, they are hereby asked to note the byline, because this time it's Dave's fault.***

1. "The Paradise Syndrome" -- Cripes, is this episode horrid. Violently atrocious. It is so detestable that the thought of its completely undeserved place in Star Trek history makes one ashamed to be a Trekkie. (I think we're outside that realm. -- GP) It is such an agonizing experience watching it that I consider it a sworn duty to enlighten those who haven't seen it to protect them from taking an hour's worth of their precious lives and tossing it into the crapper.

Okay, here's what happens:

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to some forest in what would correspond to Oregon on some other planet. They find this obelisk thing into which Kirk falls, bumps his head, puts his hand into an oversized electrical socket, loses his memory, and walks around for the rest of the episode among American Indians and thinking he is the Sun God incarnate. Bu-lyeech. (Gotta love them barf-pitching noises. -- GP)

First of all, the whole amnesia thing is so painfully irritating -- not just here but in any show in which it is used. It's not just trite, but cruelly overused -- what is it, something like 1,000 television people get amnesia for every real-life person? And the thing is, if it worked it would be okay, but it doesn't work. The formula is the same all the time. In "Paradise Syndrome" Kirk spends the first half hour trying to discover who he is, and he fails. What a waste of time!

The second half hour is spent with Kirk (pardon me, Kirok (Sometimes Kurak. -- GP)) and Miramanee (Oh, no: I can hear that insipid incidental music now.) frolicking through the forest in vacuous bliss, while Kirk belches out the occasional "I... am... Kirok!" and "Miramaneeeeeee!"

At the end (after the gratuitous asteroid-heading-in-a-collision-course-for-the-planet is misdirected) Miramanee bumps her head, and does she get amnesia? No, she dies. (Sort of like on Barnaby Jones. -- GP) Yeah, you figure it out. The last scene has Kirk fawning over her, and because the whole episode fails miserably to evoke any sympathy from us, the sappy ending's highlight is the fly that buzzes around (and lands on) Kirk's face. Gruesomely bad, and my nomination for Leonard Pinth Garnell's next installment of Bad Television. Eeyugg.

2. "The Omega Glory" -- It is truly unfortunate that this episode ranks and reeks so highly on this list because Gene Roddenberry himself wrote it and because it is so egregiously vile that it can be placed nowhere else.

I really think the thought was promising, but it eventually manifested as this garbage and it's only fair to be honest. The major strike against it is that it was just so poorly made. The directing was bad, the writing was bad, the acting was bad, the camera work was bad -- everyone working on it just seemed to be going through the motions as though they knew it was bad, so why bother? It was like they all had slept in six days into the week, realized they had an episode to shoot, came up with something and splished it all together -- while all anyone could think about was the fruit salad he or she forgot to make for the annual potluck office party scheduled that evening. You know what they say: "Aplegg alegga...."

This is also one of two episodes I know of -- there may be more -- in which Kirk (or anyone else) is shown for a split second in a reversed frame. That is, if one pays close attention, for that one or two seconds Kirk can be seen with his hair parted on the other side of his head and his tunic insignia reversed and on his right pec instead of his left. In both episodes -- the other is "The Way to Eden" -- it happens toward the end, and I'm certain this is because the editors knew the audience would have been squirming in pain, struggling to pay attention to such garbage, that they could get away with rushing out of the editing room with such an amateurish effort. (In fact, you can also include "The Enemy Within" here, though my understanding is that they deliberately showed the bad Kirk backwards -- something about fitting into the frame. I dunno. -- GP)

3. "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" -- What a moronic title to begin with. The writer must have come up with this to entice us into thinking we'd be seeing some wild special effects about some planet with people living on its inside. What we get is McCoy falling for some decent looking woman (but one who is just as silly as all the other people in this asteroid -- as it turns out -- because of the brutally ridiculous costumes they have on). His love interest is totally gratuitous -- it is painfully obvious -- because Kirk and Spock have already had theirs. It is time for McCoy to have one, so an episode is created around that, and it fails big-time.

I don't even remember much more than that because it was all so horridly insipid, except that McCoy-is-terminally-ill-and-on-this-asteroid-he-gets-cured-all-the-while-courting-this-babe-the-end. Wow.

4. "The Cloud-Minders" -- This begins with the wild premise of a city in the clouds, and the special effects are actually pretty good. From there this thing drops like someone falling out of that city with a 6,000-ton weight tied to his wrists. Everything about this episode is boring. The characters are boring, the plot is boring, the love interests are boring, even Kirk, Spock and all the regulars are boring. And just that one gal who tries to be attractive in that blue toilet paper (See "Let's Talk Babes.") makes this episode supremely barf-worthy.

5. "Elaan of Troyius" -- Love tears. Cripes, give me a break. Even if Kirk was physiologically impelled to lust over this savagely unappealing woman, his more reasonable impulses should have been intact and thus he should have vomited while in her embrace. But we don't even get to see that, which may have salvaged this dirt. Instead we get Kirk being a babysitter. Who cares?

6. "Mudd's Women" -- Another one with good intentions, but we all know which road that paves. The big mark against this is that the three women are just not that attractive -- in their old or young states.

What we got is these women being shipped around the galaxy as gonad relief for miners on remote planets. At the beginning, when they are beamed on the Enterprise , about 10 minutes is spent with alternating shots of them in the transporter chamber -- each badly attempting to hold ludicrous sales-window poses -- and shots of Scott and McCoy drooling with glassy-eyed expressions while Spock looks at each of them as if they were subjects of lab study. Oh, and one of these sequences during this time goes like this:

Again I'm certain that the editors knew this episode was so bad that they thought they could slip some shoddy sequencing together, but if you're a dedicated Trekkie (I prefer "STV" -- Star Trek Viewer. -- GP) then at least some of these silly moments will not get past you.

Anyway, we then realize that these women need some kind of drug to remain young (though it does little for their looks) or else they get old and "unappealing" -- so they say. After that it gets so predictable that the time is better spent polishing the bathtub stopper. The women run out of drugs, the miners' pants are split, and the Enterprise must make things all better again. Ho hum. At least we get introduced to Harry Mudd, who appears in a genuinely good episode a year later.

7. "Miri" -- Kirk gets to be a babysitter again. How in the world can we take seriously a set of trained, fearless Star Fleet officers being terrorized by children? We are asked to identify with the six members of the landing party -- four of whom must return for the following week's episode -- who through the whole hour find they are infected with a supposedly lethal, incurable disease on a planet that looks like Earth. This episode is so bodaciously awful that I think I've oly seen the whole thing through once and thus I forget why this planet does indeed look like Earth or in what effortless way the Enterprise gang is magically cured. I'm sure McCoy bumped his head or something and the special human immune hormones leaped to rescue his dying body, so all the others then bumped their heads in suit and were instantly well enough to pat Miri on the back so we'd all cry for her just-to-tough-to-bear adolescence. Or something like that. Eeyee.

8. "The Empath" (Dave chose not to write anything about this episode -- and why bother? Just read what I wrote, and you'll get a good enough sense of it. -- GP)

9. "And the Children Shall Lead" (See "The Empath." This is apathy in action. -- GP)

10. "Mark of Gideon" -- Kirk is ready to beam down to a planet on a diplomatic mission and beams onto an Enterprise with no crew! Oooiee! Looks intriguing! He goes all over the ship without a soul to be seen. He goes to engineering. He goes to sick bay. He goes to the briefing rooms. He goes up and down all the halls. He goes to the bridge. (Yawn.) He goes through more halls. (Yaaawn.) Hey! Here's someone. A strange girl. (Real strange. -- GP) He asks her questions. She is clueless. He asks her again. She remains vapid. He asks her again. (Yaaaaawn.) She is still befuddled. (Yaaaaaaawn.) A few more things happen, but by this time I've fallen asleep and the whole thing would just be better off flushed. Ker-sploosh. (Incidentally, don't bother wondering about the identical Enterprise; we are never told where it came from or how they managed to find room for this huge setup on a plant packed buttock-to-buttock with people.)

Dishonorable Mention

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