The “Spock’s Brain Award”: All Star Trek 101’s worst episodes ranked from to bad to worst

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the television series, "Star Trek."
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the television series, "Star Trek." /
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Star Trek 101’s “Spock’s Brain Award” is handy info for newcomers

Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, and Why is an absolutely indispensable reference guide to all things Star Trek (up until 2008 when it was published.) One of the best, and funniest sections of the book is the “Spock’s Brain Award,” given to the worst episode of each series.

For a franchise as massive and old as Star Trek, I find it impressive that it’s not completely impenetrable to newcomers. Back in the days of episodic TV, you could drop someone with no prior knowledge of the series into the middle of a season, and they’d be able to follow it just fine. But an encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise does make the viewing experience richer, and that’s where books like Star Trek 101 come in.

Not only do such resources provide background information on the show’s lore, but they also provide critical assessments that fill you in on what episodes are and are not essential. This too is invaluable to newcomers. Before the modern era of shorter seasons, even the best TV shows had massive amounts of filler and worse.

As a Star Trek fan, I believe everyone would benefit from adopting this fandom. But I know that life is short.  If you want to become fluent in the language of a franchise with over 800 episodes, it would be handy to know what lessons you can skip.

This is why, for all the issues that it’s caused, shorter seasons have been a good thing. It’s much easier to produce ten top-notch episodes in a year than it is to produce 26. The “Spock’s Brain Award” would be very difficult to apply to the modern Trek shows