At some point in life, you learn to take the good with the bad. It’s not that you necessarily become better at dealing with the bad things in life, but rather that you learn to appreciate that the bad is simply a companion to the good. If you grew up a Star Trek fan, you likely got a head start on this valuable life lesson. Regardless of which Star Trek series you became hopelessly addicted to, you eventually learned that you had a roughly equal chance of seeing something truly great or something truly awful on a weekly basis. Eventually, you come to accept that the bad episodes add a little flavor to the great ones.
Just because bad Star Trek episodes are a vital thread in the franchise’s rich tapestry, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still some of the worst episodes to ever be broadcast on television. We’re not talking about episodes which stomp on the series’ continuity or ruin certain plot developments. These are the entries which Trek fans and non-Trek fans alike watch with their jaws agape. “How?” they say while struggling to reach some semblance of understanding. “How did this episode ever make it on-air?”
Original Series – 4 Episodes (5.0% of the episodes produced)
NextGen – 4 Episodes (2.2%)
Deep Space Nine – 1 Episode (0.5%)
Voyager – 3 Episodes (1.7%)
Enterprise – 3 Episodes (3.0%)
The usual suspects are on there, though not in the order I expected. Three of the four Original Series episodes listed were from the third season… the budget-cut third season. For NextGen, two were from the first season, and one was from the final season…. arguably two of the worst seasons for different reasons.
As for Shades Of Grey, not arguing that it’s isn’t the worst episodes for NextGen. However, it was part of the strike-shortened and delayed second season, and didn’t even air until July, 1989. It showed.
“We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz