After NBC canceled Star Trek in 1969, the show immediately went to syndication to stations across the country. In Hampton Roads, the NBC affiliate WAVY TV obtained the syndication rights, and I happily greedily lovingly worshipfully watched every episode ad infinitum for at least the next four years, usually broadcast at 4:00 pm, and followed by repeats of The Wild Wild West at 5:00 pm. That schedule would change every other year, basically, with Wild Wild West at 4 and Trek at 5, and then vice versa.
During that time period—and the forty plus years since that halcyon era—there was only one episode that I have seen only once. Considering that, during a period of 1045 weekdays, every single one of Trek‘s 79 episodes would have been broadcast thirteen separate times, I should have seen that one episode at least twice, perhaps even five or six times, or more.
But I only saw “Spock’s Brain” once.
I have no proof to offer; only educated conjecture. But I suggest that “Spock’s Brain” was shown very infrequently in syndication back in the day because the episode was so bad it was embarrassing. This episode is roundly remembered as the single worst episode of the original Star Trek ever produced—the writer, classic Trek producer/writer Gene L. Coon, even used his pseudonym of Lee Cronin for the writing credit.
I saw the episode again for the first time in almost fifty years just last Saturday, after we watched War of the Colossal Beast on Svengoolie . . . which contained no war and only a borderline beast. It’s good for a few laughs—but if you’d like a different take on “Spock’s Brain,” read this by Trek novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido.
Yeah, sorry. I’ll even take “The Omega Glory” over this embarrassment. Shatner’s greatest Kirk speech makes that episode a classic of Trekkie cheese. More, please!