Star Trek fans have long forgiven the series for its sins. For those of you who don’t know, Star Trek can be and has been rather silly when it comes to its storylines. It is a series that takes place in the far reaches of space, involving enterprising explorers who meet new alien creatures and endure strange, new situations. It’s a promising premise, but the only problem is that the imagination behind Star Trek occasionally exceeds the budget. The creators of the show have had to be very creative in order to simulate new aliens and futuristic devices.
Unfortunately, these attempts don’t always hit the mark, and the results of these failures are quite hilarious. I have never laughed so much at a television show as I have laughed while watching Star Trek. The thing that makes it so funny is that the show isn’t trying to be comedic. These shows are often trying to portray serious moments, but they just miss the mark. Of course, any Star Trek fan will ignore these moments in favor of watching the show.
But the best Star Trek fan will love the show even more for these moments. Even the most embarrassing part of a storyline will endear the episode to fans. We look back on these episodes fondly and talk about how ridiculous they were and how little they contribute to the show’s canon. So while the creators of these episodes might be more than a bit embarrassed by the episode, fans will always appreciate that awkwardness. Read on if you want to remember some of the worst/best Star Trek storylines we have ever seen.
25 What Good Is A Brain?
Any sane and regular person would assume that a brain is necessary for living. If you were to lose your brain, you would have a very small chance of surviving the situation. And by “lose your brain,” I mean that your entire brain is just gone from your head.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to Spock in the Star Trek episode “Spock’s Brain.” Spock’s brain is stolen from his cranium, but by the end of the episode, he was fine and walking around like nothing was wrong.
24 Data Cowboy
When Worf decides to spend some time on the holodeck with his son, they engage in a Wild West simulation. Unfortunately, Data was busy working on the ship’s systems, so when things go wrong, all of the characters in Worf’s simulation begin to look like Data.
Seeing the usually stoic android as numerous Wild West characters was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen. At least it was the most hilarious thing I had ever seen aside from some more of these other Star Trek episodes.
23 Take Me Out To The Ball Game
I like it when my TV shows about space travel take place in space and involve space-related adventures. I get a little bit confused when they involve baseball. Captain Sisko and an old rival of his decide to play a game of baseball between their crews.
The whole episode is devoted to Sisko’s crew learning how to play the game.
They even get their own uniforms when they play. Deep Space Nine was never my favorite Star Trek series, but I have to admit, this episode made me like the show a tad more.
22 Strange Phaser Settings
I thought I knew how phasers worked. Since the classic Star Trek series, phasers have sent a beam of light through someone, and it either stuns them or offs them. That is classic phaser usage.
However, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker and Picard use their phasers to make a man’s head explode. True, the man was infected by a parasite that was planning to take over humanoid life-forms. But I hardly think that crime warranted a blasted noggin.
21 Save The Whales
Time travel has played a part in many a Star Trek episode. It is often used confusingly and awkwardly, but it makes for some humorous times. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew of the Enterprise has to go back in time in order to save the whales.
It makes for a touching story about protecting the environment, but this is the crew of the starship Enterprise we’re talking about here. They’ve faced off against Klingons in the past. And yet here they are in this movie carting around Humpback whales.
20 When Hippies Invade
Hippies suck eggs in every galaxy. I’m just kidding. But it was a bit of a trip to see the Hippie movement take place in the futuristic world of Star Trek. In the episode “The Way to Eden,” a group of hippie-like people beam aboard the Enterprise and almost take over the entire ship.
That wasn’t the worst thing about this episode.
The cringe-factor came from watching these rainbow-bedazzled persons interacting and singing songs with the crew members of the Enterprise.
19 The Secret Thoughts Of Barclay
The holodeck just screams bad idea. It causes so many problems in The Next Generation that it’s a wonder that it is not considered a villain of the show. One particularly embarrassing moment occurred when an engineer used the holodeck to simulate interactions with the crew members of the ship.
He had a pretty ripe imagination when it came to how Commander Deanna Troi would act around him in the simulation. I wanted to sink into my couch over how humiliating the whole situation was.
18 Doctor Crusher's Ghost Fixation
If you want to talk about horrible Star Trek episodes, look no further than “Sub Rosa.” Beverly Crusher attends her grandmother’s funeral on her home planet, and while she’s there, she falls in love with this ghost man who ends up being an alien who possessed her grandmother while simultaneously romancing her.
This alien tries to do the same to Dr. Crusher.
If you’re confused about the plot, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I’ve watched it more than five times and still can’t understand what the heck is happening.
17 Quark's Parts Get Rearranged
Remember how when you were in school, in order to get you to understand compassion, your teachers would tell you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Deep Space Nine takes that to a whole other level.
In order to help his mom, Quark has to change his male parts to female parts in order to take over her job temporarily while she’s out of commission. This experience teaches Quark to respect females more than he had previously.
16 Kickin' It Greek Style
Ancient Greek culture is seen as the height of Western sophistication in the past. Multiple movies have been made depicting what that culture may have been like. The original Star Trek tried its hand at that as well, and we never want to see it again.
Kirk and Spock wore brightly colored robes that made my eyes hurt. And Spock eventually had to pick up a harp and start singing. Why can’t my space shows just be about space? Why do they have to dawdle in the past?
15 Fencing Without Garments
I have a soft spot in my heart for when a Star Trek episode involves people behaving in a way that’s absolutely different from how they normally behave. The actors usually take it to another level.
Take, for example, that time when Sulu ran around the Enterprise like a crazy person. He was shirtless and he had a fencing sword in his hand. That was basically how we learned that Sulu knew how to fence. And that’s why we like silly episodes like this.
14 Draw, Partner!
Some Star Trek episodes seem like excuses to have certain situations take place. It’s as if the plot and common sense take a back seat to an interesting premise. So when Kirk and his buddies are placed in a perilous reenactment of the OK Corral for no particular reason, you know that the episode is going to be comedy gold.
At least we got to see Kirk do his “cowboy” thing in an appropriate setting. No better time or place for him to act like a calm maniac than in the Wild West.
13 Quoting The Bard
The debate about which starship captain is better, Kirk or Picard, has been raging for years. I believe that they’re each special in their own way. Kirk is the master of awkward hand-to-hand combat, for instance. But only Picard can recite Shakespeare and save one of his own crewmates by doing so.
In order to save Troi’s mom, Picard had to rattle off some Shakespeare sonnets. Does the reason why he had to do this matter? No, not really. All that matters is that it happened and that it was priceless.
12 Trouble With Exes
Technology works in magical ways in the Star Trek universe. No, seriously, it feels more like magic than it feels like science. At one point in the original series, Kirk has his body inhabited by a former girlfriend. She takes over his body and traps him in hers.
For most of the episode, Kirk was acting like this vindictive woman.
Only the inimitable Spock could tell that it wasn’t really Captain Kirk in there. And of course there was a “science-fiction” way to return Kirk’s mind to his body.
11 Children Of The Corny
Children can be really creepy when used in a sinister fashion in movies and television shows. Take the Star Trek episode, “And the Children Shall Lead.” A bunch of parentless children climb aboard the Enterprise, but unbeknownst to the crew, they are under the influence of a villainous being.
At the end of the show, the being is destroyed and the children are released and everything ends happily. The only problem is that it feels weird because the children look so content, and yet their parents were eliminated earlier in the episode…by the children’s own hands.
10 The Ultimate Fighting Partner
Oh, if there is one thing I adore from the original series, it is the fighting. Whenever that bombastic music began to play and Kirk started swinging wild punches at somebody, I always felt gleeful. Those moments are simply hilarious.
No other fight is as funny as Kirk’s fight with the Gorn.
The Gorn are these large reptilian people, and Kirk gets pitted against one when he is stuck in an arena. What follows is the most ludicrous bit of wrestling I have ever seen in my life. The way they grappled each other was almost amorous.
9 Simulated Love
Again, the holodeck rears its ugly head. I swear, that thing causes more problems than an entire army of Klingons. In Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway finds herself falling in love with a simulated character.
In case you still were not aware, that basically means she’s falling in love with a computer-programmed tangible hologram. It can’t get any weirder, right? Wrong! Captain Janeway ends up altering the programming a bit so that she can make her hologram man a bit more to her liking.
8 Careful With Your Video Games
I’m sick and tired of people saying video games are bad for you. True, in excess, playing a video game could be unhealthy, but anything in excess could be bad for you. Star Trek: The Next Generation showed its take on unhealthy video game obsession in its episode “The Game.”
The crew of the Enterprise got themselves addicted to this game Riker brought on board, so much so that they couldn’t seem to stop playing it. It ended up being a Ktarian ploy to take control of the Federation.
7 The Amorous Robot
Robot love is nothing all that new or all that strange. Vision and the Scarlet Witch are clearly in some kind of a relationship, and he’s an android. Star Trek just so happened to deal with robot love in a strange way.
Captain Kirk falls in love with a human-looking robot in a single day, so when she “malfunctions” and stops working, he falls into this deep depression. Calm down, Captain Kirk. You knew her, or should I say it, for a single day. Kirk is the queen of infatuation, that’s for sure.
6 Episode At The Edge Of Forever
You can always expect to have a good time when a Star Trek episode decides to indulge in some time-traveling. This occurs when Kirk, McCoy, and Spock go back in time to undo a mistake McCoy performed in the timeline and set things back to normal.
The episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” ended up being one of the most popular episodes to come out. Why? Because it had all the great aspects of Star Trek we know and love: bickering between McCoy and Spock, Kirk romancing, and a strange understanding of how time travel would work.
5 What Really Happened At Roswell
Roswell has become a popular location in the United States. It is the location most believe to be where the first aliens landed on Earth. Deep Space Nine has its own version of events to share in their episode titled “Little Green Men.”
Quark, his brother, and his nephew accidentally travel to Roswell, Nevada in 1947. That is when it is revealed that the three Ferengi are the supposed “Martians” scientists there thought they had met. So if you think about it, Quark and his family were meant to go back in time.
4 1920s Crime In The Future
Nothing is sillier than watching a Vulcan pretending to be a gangster from Earth’s history. Kirk and Spock land on a planet that is steeped in Earth’s 1920s gangster culture. While there, they both have to dress up in suits and hats and carry around Tommy guns.
Plus, when Kirk has to negotiate with people there, he takes up their mannerisms in dialogue. It makes for a pretty entertaining episode, but definitely one that makes you wince at all the stereotypes it is enacting.
3 The Next Young Generation
When watching a Star Trek episode, I have sometimes wondered why the crew makes such poor decisions. It is as if these starships are being run by children when it comes to sound decision-making. The Next Generation gave us a look at what that would really be like in the episode “Rascals.”
Some of the command crew gets turned into a bunch of adolescents, and they have to remain that way for a time and deal with the consequences of not being taken seriously.
2 Trials And Tribble-ations
The trouble with Tribbles is that they are a nonsensical piece of fluff that is somehow considered to be a living thing. Okay, okay, I’m being hard on Tribbles. Honestly, I love Tribbles. I think they’re cute. But they make no sense when you think about it.
All they do is reproduce, but where are their reproductive organs?
And if they are that virile, why haven’t they taken over the entirety of the Star Trek universe? I think that should be the next Star Trek movie, right? The Attack of the Tribbles.
1 Four Score And Seven Years Ahead
Nothing says ridiculous like including important historical figures into your science fiction universe. Granted, there are some shows that can pull this off. But the original Star Trek series wasn’t exactly one of them.
The show saw Abraham Lincoln beam aboard the Enterprise to assist Kirk in a battle arena he was trapped in with Spock. Together, they were supposed to fight against Genghis Khan and some other compatriots while this meatball alien looked on. This is sci-fi at its highest.