When Star Trek went wrong

You may know that I am a quasi-closet Trekie.  I’ve been a Star Trek fan since I was 10 years old and have watched all of the movies and episodes from all 5 different series countless times.  In fact, I pop in one of the DVD’s and kill at least 1 episode before bed-time each night (currently I’m bouncing back & forth between Season 6 of DS9 and Season 1 of Voyager).

While I am a big Star Trek fan, I’m not a Trek Koolaid drinker.  I would actually consider myself a skeptical Trek fan.  Not every episode is a great episode – in fact, there were some pretty crappy episodes.  I have respect for Rick Berman and what he means to Star Trek, but I also firmly believe he’s responsible for running the franchise into the ground and why there’s currently no Trek on TV.  I’m also glad that he’s nowhere near the 2009 movie project.

Some of these episodes were isolated, but then again some of them represented the point-of-no-return for the series, leading to a “ho-hum” burnout.  After watching as much Star Trek as I have, I think I have a good sense of possible indicators to the point of no return for many of the series.  This is completely subjective, and I actually would encourage anyone to offer their own opinions. Maybe you have a different opinion on the episode/season/timeframe, or you could disagree that the series made a turn for the worse.


SpocksBrain This one was most difficult for me, largely due to my relative unfamiliarity with the series.  We also have to take the fact that virtually all 60’s TV was campy into consideration as well.  I’m going to take the easy road out and take a swipe at “Spock’s Brain“.  While this episode is consensually considered the worst TOS ever, this pick is based on the fact it was the season 3 premier.  After reading the Star Trek Memories book that William Shatner wrote, this was the first episode after the circumstances that took place before the season: the move to bad time-slot, the budget cuts and the way Roddenberry’s hands were so tied he felt forced to leave the show.  The movies obviously rebounded the series, and while there was a roller-coaster of good and bad TOS movies, the series ultimately ended on a strong note with Undiscovered Country.


This is also difficult because the series was so good and arguably enabled the green light for the subsequent series’.  I don’t mean to sound like a TNG fanboy, but I don’t really think the show suffered any kind of downward spiral – at least not in their TV run.  The first season was a bit hokey, but you can’t hold any first season (of any series) to the fire.  The spiral did unfortunately met it’s demise on the big-screen, in the form of Insurrection.  The plot of the movie could have been passable, had it not been for the lame dialog.  Part of the reasons TNG movies struggled was because they were completely Picard-centric, to the detriment of all other characters.


CordiallyInvited This one is easy: Season 6 “You Are Cordially Invited…“.  It wasn’t that this episode necessarily bad, it was just the first episode that wasn’t good in DS9.  The Dominion was the best and worst thing that happened to DS9.  Many would argue that the Dominion gave DS9 a purpose, but at the same time it really pigeon-holed the whole series.  It seemed that after the writers had the crew return back to the station, they often wanted to forget that the show revolved around the war – implausible for a space station that was supposed to be in the thick of things.  True, the latter part of Season 6 brought us “In the Pale Moonlight” – one of the best episodes ever – but we still can’t forget that 9-episode mess that was the end of the 7th season.  The ending of the web site just seemed forced.


Voyager did the roller-coaster for a majority of it’s run, but had more strong episodes than weak ones.  However, any episode that had to do with the Borg tarnished the Trek legacy.  It’s disappointing that the writers of Voyager took arguably the greatest foe in Trek and relegated them to mediocrity.  The episode that drove the nail into the Borg coffin was the finale: Endgame.  If there was anything more mistreated in Voyager than the Borg was temporal paradoxes, especially involving not-really-alternate-future-but-should-have-been-erased-from-time-after-altering-the-past Admiral Janeway.


Xindi The Xindi, which started the serialization of a once-promising series.  Serial dramas like Lost and 24 worked for a lot of shows, but not for Trek – DS9 taught us that.  At the same time, we saw this drastic change of the show, where Archer went from being a fledgling explorer to a crazed madman, shooting from the hip and basing all of his actions on revenge.  By the time everyone realized this in Season 4 it was too late and the series was already canceled.  It was a shame, as the 4th season offered compelling material. If left many Trekies wondering why they didn’t trot this stuff out during the troubled second and third seasons.  The problem with Enterprise was that Paramount placed it on the crappy UPN.  Voyager barely survived the removal from syndication that made TNG & DS9 popular.  I realize syndication is not what it once was, but part of me believes that Enterprise would still be on the air if it was syndicated or even on a cable network.

Where did I go wrong?  Please let me know!