I almost put “Catspaw” in this slot because of its silliness. But I found an even sillier episode for my #3 spot on my Worst Star Trek Episodes countdown: “The Savage Curtain”.
This episode follows the formula seen in better episodes like “The Corbomite Manuever”, “The Gamesters of Triskellion” and “Arena”, where the Enterprise crew is put to a test by advanced aliens. That’s not the problem I have with this episode, the premise is fine.
No, my first problem is the Excalibans, one of which is pictured above. The look horrible. “A Private Little War” had a silly monster, but it could be overlooked because the story was so well-written. This is not the case here. This is another episode from Star Trek‘s final season, and I’ve already told you why that season was so bad. This episode is the result of the season’s scrapped budget. Doctor Who’s budget during the classic era was probably on par with Star Trek, but even they had better monsters than this!
My other problem is the Excalibans’ test to see which is stronger, good or evil. They conduct this test by giving the Enterprise crew two heroes: Surak, a Vulcan philosopher whose ideals brought a “golden age” to Spock’s people…and Abraham Lincoln. The Klingons get an evil soldier from Starfleet’s past…and Genghis Khan. Yes, it’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. Maybe if the budget was better, I could excuse this episode. Then again, maybe not, because we still have Abraham Lincoln and Genghis Khan. It’s only going to get worse folks, because my #2 entry is the most infamously bad Star Trek episode in existence. But that’s later, next we’re back to the good stuff with the first appearance of the Romulans in “Balance of Terror”.