So, let's address the episodes that are not on this list front and centre. Shades Of Gray, Up The Long Ladder, and Extinction are all absent because, honestly, can anyone at all love them? Are they not the perfect example of 'hated for a good reason'?
For this list, these are the episodes that will almost always appear on a 'worst of' list of episodes, yet are they really as bad as their reputations suggest? There is a lot of fun to be had in some of the worst offerings of Star Trek, which is one of the reasons the franchise is as beloved as it is. For every All Good Things, In The Pale Moonlight, and Equinox, there are episodes like Encounter At Farpoint just waiting to steal the limelight.
That said, taste is subjective so this list is far from an exhaustive list of the greatest worst episodes. This is merely a smattering of some of the most enjoyably woeful stories in Star Trek's history, all of which are almost equal in their rankings.
Except the number one pick. That one...that one is special.
Tom Paris becomes a giant salamander. That's the sales pitch, and you know what? There are far worse ways for a story to go. This is another episode that has the benefit of time on its side, as when it was initially released it was just a little too rubbish to be properly appreciated. This is Star Trek: Voyager taking a risk in a completely bonkers way.
Breaking the Warp 10 barrier seems like it should be the primary aim of all propulsion experts in Starfleet. Therefore, seeing Paris attempt a flight isn't all that ridiculous. The fallout from this is a series of segments of the episode getting weirder and weirder as it goes. Then, Paris pulls out his tongue. As one does.
The idea is what hurt the episode. There will be several lists, including ones written by this author, where the episode is panned. But, is it really that bad? Ok, perhaps it is. But is it offensively bad? Not in the slightest. Robert Duncan McNeill is clearly having a ball playing this de-evolved version of humanity, the makeup effects are truly impressive, and even though the ending is highly questionable, those little salamander babies really are quite cute.
No one is arguing that it is a good episode. But, it is ridiculous fun all the same.