These are the… episodes that have sent a cold shiver down our spines, or made us look over our shoulder with dread.
Okay, maybe not quite so dramatic, but you get the picture. Over its run, Star Trek has featured every sort of tone. It’s diversity in this regard is unmatched by any other television show out there. Humor, mystery, political commentary, wonder, reflection… the list goes on. However, Star Trek has mostly refrained from making scary episodes. Now, there have been plenty that were frightening because of their similarities to the world of today, or due to their plausibility in some undesirable aspect. But they are rarely creepy, rarely based around terror. Note the word “rarely”.
While they may not be plentiful, these types of episodes often leave their marks. As someone who has experienced acute sleep deprivation, “Night Terrors” – an often-mocked Next Generation episode – has always left me somewhat uncomfortable. Others have found “Schisms” to be chill-inducing. In this one, members of the crew are whisked away in their sleep to be experimented on in horrible ways. Things are no longer a joke when the viewer learns that Riker’s arm has been amputated and reattached, though he has no memory of it. Still others, such as the more cerebral “Frame of Mind” strikes unease in many. Riker is again at the center of the story, but this time, it is the unnerving breakdown of his sanity that provides the fear.
In appreciation of our next spooky holiday, this Poll of the Week asks you which episode frightened you the most. Did the calculated brutality found in “Empok Nor” strike a fearful cord? Or were you more affected by the vast scale of the Federation’s takeover in “Conspiracy?”