Star Trek’s Infamous Spock’s Brain Episode Was A Sneaky Dig At NBC Itself – SlashFilm


Daniels noted that the first draft of the “Spock’s Brain” teleplay left Spock on the Enterprise while the other characters located his missing brain. Daniels was the one who decided to turn Spock into a mechanical zombie who came along. “Then the concern was whether or not he would look like a zombie walking around. Thankfully Leonard was able to pull it off.” And, yes, Nimoy wasn’t a stiff-armed zombie, although he did still look a little silly. 

And, according to Gerrold, the silliness might have been the point. Gerrold suspected that the episode’s writer, Gene L. Coon (credited as Lee Cronin) was trying to confront Gene Roddenberry’s tendency to take “Star Trek” seriously to the point of it being no fun. Gerrold posited: 

“I suspect (…) that ‘Spock’s Brain’ was Gene L. Coon’s way of thumbing his nose at Roddenberry or something. If not Roddenberry, he was thumbing his nose at how seriously the show was taking itself. I suspect what had happened is that they were a little panic-stricken because there weren’t a lot of scripts to shoot. The history of ‘Star Trek’ is management by crisis. I think somebody called up Gene L. Coon and said, ‘We need a script in a hurry, can you do it?’ And he did it under a pen name, and I don’t think he deliberately set out to write that show seriously.” 

As such, Gerrold laid out what he suspected was Coon’s thought process: “I don’t think there’s any way you can take that episode seriously. You’ve got to take it as a joke. What’s the stupidest science fiction idea to do? What if somebody stole Spock’s brain?” This was a premise that could have been cribbed from a low-budget sci-fi horror thriller from 1953. 

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