Star Trek, for the longest time, celebrated the format of individual, stand-alone episodes. That gave the audience such gems as The City On The Edge Of Forever, The Inner Light, and In The Pale Moonlight. Having said that, it also led to such horror shows as Spock's Brain, Code Of Honor, and Profit And Lace.
The Great Bird of the Galaxy giveth, and he also taketh away.
Then there are those bottle shows that exist somewhere in the middle. They may be examples of weaker writing or acting. They may have moments contained within that have stuck in the audiences' minds for years after the fact, despite the quality of the overall end product. Be it for reasons such as terrible plotting, but elegant design, or even massively important story beats wrapped up in a fairly mediocre episode, there are some shows that just pop into the memory like intrusive thoughts during an exam.
This isn't a list of the worst bottle shows, nor even the most divisive. This is a list to remind us that even in some dark and dingy places, one can always find some key to the future of Star Trek.
10. Mudd's Women
Mudd's Women is the sixth episode of the Original Series, though had in fact been considered as the pilot while Roddenberry was putting the series pitch together. It introduces the character of Harcourt Fenton Mudd, who would return again in both the Original and Animated Series, with Rainn Wilson taking over the character from Roger C. Carmel for Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks.
The episode revolves around intergalactic pimp and criminal Mudd, rescued from his failing ship by the Enterprise. Three women - Eve, Magda, and Ruth - accompany him. It transpires they are to be sold to miners on Rigel XII as wives.
The episode is best remembered for the introduction of Mudd, though behind the scenes it was one of the more innovative episodes of the first season. The planetary backgrounds were updated and altered from their appearances in The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before so that audiences wouldn't simply expect the same backdrop every week.
It was also a crucial episode when it came to lighting and colouring. The show was broadcast on NBC in colour, so the production crew put more time and effort into showing off the various hues they could. The end result was a show about the performance that is inherent with beauty - both in the script, and the production.
The plot may have aged quite badly, though to be fair it was questioned at the time as well. However, it must be said that Mudd's Women became one of the most important early episodes of Star Trek overall.