Even the worst of Star Trek has some teachable moments
Star Trek: The Original Series had some incredibly good episodes like The City on the Edge of Forever, Doomsday Machine, The Corbomite Maneuver, and Amok Time. Out of seventy-nine episodes there weren’t that many that could be classified as really bad or forgettable. Still, there are a few that made us cringe and put on our never-to-be-watched-again list.
The Original Series adhered to the tenets outlined by creator Gene Roddenberry, and most every episode had a moral to it, something that could only be described as a teachable moment even if you had to look hard to find it. Surprisingly, The Way to Eden had several, which I covered in an essay for Startrek.com.
In some of the episodes, it was difficult to overlook the bad acting and the blatant attempts at heart-tugging moments to see anything beyond an episode you’d rather skip on a rewatch. But that’s what makes the learning moments so important. It’s the realization that the entire fifty minutes or so wasn’t just about filling in time. Even though the actors might not have appreciated the art within the story, there was actually a benefit to the episode.