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: The Animated Series – “The Lorelei Signal”

“Why does it deserve the “Spock’s Brain Award”?

"“The beautiful sirens of Taurus II aren’t a lot brighter than the females of “Spock’s Brain” who conspired to steal Spock’s brain. The Taurean women have the technology to transmit a signal powerful enough to lure male victims to their world. But do they ever think of using that signal to summon help? Or to ask a passing starship to take them to a less deadly world?”"

Speaking of shooting fish in a barrel… Picking “The Lorelei Signal” as the “Spock’s Brain Award Recipient” seems like a bit of a random choice because any episode of TAS could be the worst. TAS had its moments, and it’s an important part of Star Trek history, but it wasn’t known for its quality.

Again, I suspect that “The Lorelei Signal” was chosen for being particularly nonsensical. The titular signal has an intoxicating effect on all the men in the crew, luring them to a planet populated by women who steal their life force. In the end, the women explain that they fled to this planet when their home planet became uninhabitable; the planet’s radiation killed their men, but the women developed a mutation that made them immortal, provided they drained victims’ life forces regularly.

As with all good Star Trek episodes, peace with the villains is the answer, and when the women are offered assistance to leave the planet, they’re grateful. But as Star Trek 101 pointed out, they have technology that can broadcast their signal 20 light years, so why did they not simply ask for help? With Star Trek being such a smart show, plot holes like this can sink an episode.

If it weren’t for TAS’s inherent flaws, I’d have put “The Lorelei Signal” higher on this list for one reason, Uhura saving the day. Having gotten used to the Uhura of the Kelvin universe, and of Strange New Worlds, it’s easy to forget that the original Uhura was given criminally little to do. But in “The Lorelei Signal,” with all the men of the crew intoxicated or captured, Uhura takes command with an all-female skeleton crew. She doesn’t just do so as a competent officer but as a leader and hero. That bit is still thrilling.

Imagine seeing that in live-action!