Star Trek is in a league of its own as far as iconic sci-fi franchises go. Second only to George Lucas’ three-trilogy tale of a galaxy far, far away, Gene Rodenberry’s perennially popular series is beloved by legions of fans both casual and impressively obsessive, and each iteration of the long-running has its defenders and detractors.
Whether you’re for Kirk or Picard, a J.J Abrams fanboy or a lover of the original series, there’s a Star Trek for everyone, and the series has managed to balance humour, pathos, invention, and action throughout the decades since its debut.
That said, ever franchise has its moments of unintentional hilarity—hell, we already did a rundown of Star Wars’ own unforgettable goofy scenes, so it’s only fair to subject Trekkies to the same treatment. And boy is there plenty of content to choose from.
Every iteration of the franchise has its howlers, moments of po-faced self-seriousness which are impossible to watch without cracking a smile, and many fans find this part of the show’s appeal. With that in mind, it’s time to check out the ten most unintentionally funny moments in Star Trek’s long and storied history, and renew our hope that we’ll someday see a dignified depiction of Gorn onscreen.
10. Plato’s Stepchildren
Okay so the iconic tenth episode of
the original Star Trek series third season, Plato’s Stepchildren, does have an undeniable
claim to a place in television history. It’s the one with Uhura and Kirk’s
kiss, and as such is home to one of the first mainstream depictions of an
interracial relationship on mainstream American television.
But that’s not why we’re highlighting it here—no, we’re more concerned, for the purposes of this list, with the scenes which stopped the BBC from showing this episode upon its original release thanks to some “unpleasant” content.
And just what was said unpleasant content? Well, long before the horror genre made telekinesis terrifying, the crew encounter aliens able to control their behaviour to their own evil ends. Pretty unpleasant—in theory.
In practice, this results in scenes where Kirk and Spock helplessly slap themselves silly, struggling to look serious as they give the old adage “Stop hitting yourself” new life.