Fans of Star Trek have a divisive relationship with the holodeck. On the one hand, it's a device that lets you essentially tell whatever story you want. Unfortunately, given that the Star Trek holodeck was full of fake characters, the danger and story tension often felt manufactured when it was used to put the entire ship on the line. Much like Star Trek's silliest props, the worst holodeck episodes were often constrained by the production budget - but there were also plenty of contrived stories and goofy ideas that made fans cringe.
That's not to say there aren't good holodeck episodes, but for every "Our Man Bashir" there's a "Fistful of Datas" just around the corner. As the series continued, the writers were forced to make holodeck episodes with crazier concepts to keep them fresh. Star Trek: Enterprise promised to do away with them... until a series finale that managed to kill Star Trek on television for more than a decade. If audiences never see another holodeck episode, it'll be too soon. Vote up the holodeck horror stories that most derailed the show.
Episode: "These Are The Voyages"What Happened: The final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise is framed by the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus." Riker is having a crisis of conscience that leads him to hang out with the NX-01 crew during their last mission before the birth of the Federation. Riker uses the holodeck to impersonate many people in the NX-01's crew... most notably the elusive ship's chef.
Original Airing: May 13 2005
Season: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4
Episode Number: 22
Director: Allan Kroeker
Episode: "Unexpected"What Happened: While this isn't a dedicated holodeck episode, the device is a big cause of everyone's problems. When Tucker hangs out on an alien spacecraft to assist in repairs, he spends time with their engineer on a holodeck and then plays a game that involves reading each other's minds. Turns out that game was actually a one night stand, which gets him pregnant. They end up transferring the embryo to another host... and Tucker travels the universe as an absentee dad.
Original Airing: Oct 17 2001
Season: Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1
Episode Number: 5
Director: Mike Vejar
Episode: "The Cost Of Living"What Happened: When Lwaxana Troi decides to hold her wedding aboard the Enterprise, everyone is shocked to hear her husband-to-be was matched to her via a computer program. She then discovers he's not everything she hoped for, so she takes Worf's son to the holodeck, where they take a mud bath. Together, Alexander and Lwaxana encourage each other to follow their hearts.
Original Airing: April 20, 1991
Season: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5
Episode Number: 20
Director: Winrich Kolbe
Episode: "Once Upon a Time"What Happened: When Naomi Wildman's mom is in peril during an away mission, Neelix takes Naomi to the holodeck so they don't have to explain anything to her. They lose themselves in a children's program called "The Adventures of Flotter," which isn't annoying at all. Later, of course, Neelix has to tell Naomi what's going on... but her mom ends up being just fine.
Original Airing: Nov 11 1998
Season: Star Trek: Voyager Season 5
Episode Number: 5
Director: John T. Kretchmer