PATTERNS OF FORCE was described by someone at the IMDB as "the serious version of A PIECE OF THE ACTION". That's about right. Unlike the alleged "parallel evolution" of THE OMEGA GLORY and BREAD AND CIRCUSES, the gangster planet and Nazi planet were both the direct results of Earth missions contaminating the indiginous cultures. Of course, this meant in both cases, Kirk was free to "interfere", since he was trying to put right was was put wrong from previous interference.
This was one intense, nasty episode... and yet, unlike B&C, it's eminently watchable, even entertaining. I wonder, maybe Nazi stories are easier to deal with than Roman Empire stories, because in WW2, there were, in the long run, much greater powers poised to take down an obviously insane, hate-filled, self-destructive country... while, with Rome, there was nothing to stop them (apart from a mesage of peace and brotherhood, which itself became perverted when a Roman emperor decided to CO-OPT it as his new STATE RELIGION).
Maybe, it just seemed strange to me that if a phenomena that 'went as far as my instruments could go' and affected both the Klingon and Romulan empires in the main Star Trek universe didn't attract any attention in the anti-matter universe.
THE RETURN OF THE ARCHONS -- like so many of these, I've completely lost count of how many times I've seen it. I'm pretty sure I never saw this first-run, I think I first saw it 4 years later in syndication. (For some reason, in Philly, it took a whole year of no STAR TREK before one of the local stations finally got ahold of it.) Every time I'd see the title, I'd think it was a sequel to an episode I still hadn't seen yet. I really think THE WILL OF LANDRU would have been much better.
Jon Lormer is such an interesting character, I think he should have been a regular on some series. He had bad luck on STAR TREK-- he was in 3 episodes, practically only a cameo in each of them, got killed for "blasphemy" in 2 of them (you know the show was repeating itself when it redoes a plot idea AND brings back the same guest actor in the same episode), and his most interesting part (in THE CAGE) turned out to not even be REAL!
Harry Townes was certainly changable in this. He turns out to be their best ally, until it looks like things are finally hitting the fan, and then he breaks down and begins begging Landru for forgiveness! That didn't help Jon Lormer... Apart from this episode, I most remember Townes as being the very FIRST police officer that gave Dr. Richard Kimble a hard time and warned him to "Get outta town" (and that was before he had a clue as to who David Jansen really was). Don't you just HATE cops like that? Theh give all police officers a bad name.
Torin Thatcher, of course, will always be remembered as "Sokura The Magician" in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD... which is really saying something, since the very first thing I ever saw him in was almost without doubt "The Space Trader" episode in the 1st season of LOST IN SPACE. I also love watching him as the prosecuting attourney in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECTION, one of the very best Agatha Christie films ever, ever made!!! (You DON'T wanna see the Hallmark Hall Of Fame remake. It's crammed with great, great actors, all of whom are saddled with the must dull, plodding, lifeless, un-entertaining directing ever... which, come to think of it, was par for the course for Hallmark. I've seen several of their TV productions... and they're ALL like that! WTF??? In that case, Donald Pleasence played the prosecutor, and the one thing that stood out in my mind was, of all the actors in that film, HE seemed to be just barely concealing extreme annoyance at how BAD the film he was trying to act in really was.)
Whenever I see the "dungeon" scene in this, I'm reminded of the later one in CATSPAW... and for many years, I'd keep wishing I was watching that, instead. When McCoy goes berzerk and starts yelling, I found myself thinking, a year later and that would have been Chekov!
Because THE OMEGA GLORY was shelved, ARCHONS became the first episode to mention the "Non-Interference Directive". Interestingly enough, Landru mentions his own "Prime Directive". It's as if someone watched this and got the two confused, because in later stories, the Federation's edict would be "The Prime Directive".
For the 2nd time in a few episodes, some planetary computer is trying to DESTROY the Enterprise. But this time, it's DELIBERATE. Hey, "Landru" had it coming. All "he" (IT) had to do was ignore the Enterprise, and it would have gone away. But, just like in THE APPLE later on, as soon as it targetted Kirk's SHIP, its end was ordained. After WHAT ARE LITTLE GIRLS MADE OF, I suppose one could say this was the 2nd time Kirk used logic to destroy a computer. It wouldn't be the last.
I just realized... Gene Roddenberry came up with the story for ARCHONS, and when it opens, it looks, for a moment, like you're watching some period piece set on Earth, maybe around the year 1900. And it deals with the "Prime Directive".
Most of this was also true of THE OMEGA GLORY and BREAD AND CIRCUSES. It makes me strongly suspect both BREAD AND CIRCUSES and ARCHONS may have been among the earliest scripts written, before they decided NOT to do what became known as "parallel Earth" stories. Of the 3, ARCHONS is the least like a "parallel Earth" story, as you have the mixture of "primitive" culture with "advanced" technology, and the unusual back-story of how one led to the other.
Kirk does look kinda cool in that outfit. Like he was ready to team up with Jim WEST. (This couldn't have been a rejected WWW script... could it?)
MUDD'S PASSION gives us, for the 2nd episode in a row, a genuine sequel. And, like the YESTERYEAR and the TRIBBLES episodes, this one also managed to bring back a guest-star from the live-action show-- in this case, Roger C. Carmel, reprising his signature role as Harry Mudd!
Responding to a report of fraud, Kirk arrives on a non-Federation planet in time to see Harry, like a classic medicine-show man, selling crystals that can inspire love in another person. Told to mind their own business, until Spock reveals Harry's use of an illusion-casting lizard, Harry manages to escape an angry mob by turning himself in and asking to be arrested.
On board ship, Harry insinuates himself into Christine's mind by telling her that Spock could be hers. Reluctant to believe, she breaks down when he suggests she treats it as "scientific research". She tries it, and it seems to have no effect... while, below, Harry effects an escape from the brig, and is about to steal a shuttlecraft, when a very angry Christine confronts him. He gets the better of her, and makes off with a shuttlecraft, with her along as a temporary hostage. Above, news of this brings results surprising to the entire bridge crew, as Spock begins to get very emotional and declares he must rescue "the woman I love!"
On a desert planet, Harry sets down, but soon he & Christine are in deadly danger, as a gigantic monster that at rest had looked like just a pile of rock decides to attack. As Kirk is about to follow Mudd, McCoy asks if it's such a good idea to let Spock accompany him. "In his condition?" "Try and STOP him!" Just as they leave, chemicals that were released into the air conditioning system when Christine struggled with Mudd finally begin to affect the entire crew-- and everyone on board starts acting love-happy! (It gets particularly amusing when Scott & the cat-woman M'Ress start to get very cozy. PRRRRRRR!)
On the planet, Kirk manages to save everyone from brutal death by using the last of Harry's crystals on the rock monsters. Shocked, Harry exclaims, "It worked. It actually WORKED! And to think I was selling those things for only 300 credits apiece!" The effect on the giant rock-monsters is only temporary, and everyone is luckily beamed to safety before things turn even uglier. Back on board, just about everyone is in a foul, sour mood. It turns out Harry's crystals were not such a bargain after all. "A few moments of love-- followed by hours of hate." Later, in the brig, now anticipating another "rehabilitation" program in his future, Harry laments that he'll have to be leaving the ship, and all the "friends" he's made. As he puts it, "All my LOVED ones!"
The most interesting visuals this time have to be the rock monsters (which remind me of something Gray Morrow did on the SPIDER-MAN show, but with a better budget), the shuttlecraft hangar (with an actual variety of several different, unique craft), and the depiction of Harry Mudd, which really manages to capture Roger C. Carmel's lieness to a "T". I find it strange, then, that his delievery of lines in this story comes across as so sluggish and stiff, with hardly a hint of the lively rogue we got to see in 2 previous stories. By comparison, Majel Barrett's acting as Christine is VERY lively, relaxed, natural in this one. I'll say it again, she really came along as an actress, and kept improving as she went.
Writer Stephen Kandel returns for his 3rd Harry Mudd adventure (yes, he wrote all 3!). He did one more episode, THE JIHAD, which turned out to be one of my favorites of the ST cartoons. He had quite a career writing TV shows, everything from BATMAN to MIKE HAMMER-- and 37 episodes of IRON HORSE!!! (out of a total of 47)
A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON is another one I saw first-run, and it's been a favorite of mine frm the beginning. It features an almost TWILIGHT ZONE exploration of a bizarre, seemingly insane sci-fi concept, a war fought entirely with computers, so the civilization continues on and on, while millions willingly step into disintegration chambers. As Kirk says, "You've made it so near and clean, you haven't had a reason to stop it!"
After dozens of viewings over the years, this latest time it actually struck me just how similar the situation was, with Anon-7 trying to use Kirk & his landing party as hostages in order to force the entire crew of The Enterprise to beam down to the planet (AND DIE!!!), to the one in BREAD AND CIRCUSES. One more reason I suspect B&C may well have been written long before most of the episodes filmed, but shelved, until just before Gene Coon stepped down as producer. Between the 2, I much prefer THIS story, as the entire back-story and setting is far more interesting.
It's also interesting that this was the 2nd episode filmed in a row about a planet virtually run by computers, where The Enterprise is attacked while in orbit. And once again, Kirk feels compelled to step in and put a STOP to what had been, for centuries, "business as usual". I love the exchange in Anon-7's quarters. "You were absolutely right. I am a barbarian." "I had hoped I was only speaking figuratively." "Oh, no, you were quite accurate. I intend to PROVE it!" It gets genuinely SCARY when Kirk orders "General Order 27". And even more so when Scotty gets on the radio and declares, in NO uncertain terms, that in TWO HOURS, he will begin firing on EVERY major population center on the entire planet! it's like something out of STAR BLAZERS, or MACROSS, except, fortunately, they didn't actually go through with it. (Unlike "Landru", Emeniar 7's computers did not come equipped with self-awareness, or their own defensive mechanisms. One well-placed phaser blast did the trick.)
I've long heard that DOCTOR WHO producer Barry Letts was a huge fan of STAR TREK, and that a lot of ST found its way into Lett's 5 years on the show. Looking at guest-star David Opatoshu (as Anon-7), I can't help but wonder if he may not have been the inspiration for Lett's casting actor Roger Delgado as The Master. Opatoshu had prviously had a large role in the film EXODUS, and later was the main villain in Sy Weintraub's TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD.
SPACE SEED -- I know it would have eliminated the "drama" of the episode, but the whole time I watched this again tonight, I kept thinking, WHY didn't Kirk , when he was "interrogating" Khan, make him a proposal to find Khan the very sort of planet that Khan allegedly left Earth to find and build in the first place? Of course, he may not have gone for it, given a choice, and it's pretty obvious Khan was hoping for a quicker, "simpler" solution of starting with a planet that was already civilized and then taking it over and guiding it his way. But at the end, with no real choice, one can't help but notice how delighted and EAGER Khan seems, once Kirk actually does suggest that very thing.
Also, do you mean to tell me NOT ONE of those officers wouldn't have tried to be deceitful, and pretended to go along with Khan, just to save Kirk's life?
For me, the ending has always been the most interesting part of this story, and the thing that, in retrospect, when I think about it, makes it such a CRIME that the film STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN turned out the way it did. Looking back, I do not see this story as merely a "prologue" to the "main event" in the later movie (as I do when comparing 2001 and 2010). I now see the later movie as unfortunately perverting, and indeed, throwing away unneccesarily, the potential of what a far-better, far bigger in scope, far more interesting sequel to this story COULD have, SHOULD have been. Let's face it. STAR TREK 2 was made the way it was for 2 main reasons. 1)ST1 was dull, boring and lifeless, with all the emphasis on the visual effects and none on the characters, and 2)they wanted an "action" story.
I couldn't help but not that when Khan has taken over Engineering (at least the 2nd time someone's done this so far, or is it the 3rd?) the way he stands there talking to Kirk over the communications is just about the exact same pose and camera set-up used later with Michael Ansara in DAY OF THE DOVE. Except, I preferred the latter episode to this one.
Funny enough, right when Khan tells Kirk he has 5 times Kirk's strength, Kirk pulls out one of those "belaying pins" (or whatever the hell they were), and beats the HELL out of Khan. For some reason, tonight, I was reminded of that man-ape beating another man-ape to death with a bone he's turned into a club, in 2001.
I also got to thinking about the Franz Joseph blueprints of the Enterprise that came out in the 70's. In those, there's a 2nd door on the bridge, just to the left of the main viewing screen. It leads to a maintenance hallway that goes all the way around the back of the consoles on the bridge, and about halfway around, there's a "ship's ladder" that goes down to the next level. Now WHY in the HELL didn't they stick a 2nd door on the bridge when they did the original show? If you look CLOSE enough, it's actually there IN THE CARTOONS! (In this episode, it's where they suddenly added a large bank of buttons for the "environmental controls".) It's also maddening how many times over the course of this series all the controls on the bridge are made to be utterly useless, by someone over-riding them in another part of the ship. Wouldn't you think this would be considered, after awhile, to be a MAJOR design flaw, that should be looked into, and changed?
While watching this again tonight, a thought crossed my mind early on, when they were bringing Khan out of hibernation. Imagine if this had been a crossover with LOST IN SPACE, and the ship they found was the Jupiter 2, with everyone having gone back into hibernation following some disaster. Instead of Ricardo Montalban, it could have been Armando Catalano (Guy Williams) who woke up first. Then they could have reminisced about the late 1990's disastrous over-population problems... and trouble would have arisen when Dr. Smith started doing the kind of S*** Dr. Smith always does. (He could have been like "Lazarus".) : )
Checking the IMDB, I find writer Carey Wilber actually wrote 7 episodes of LOST IN SPACE! These included the one with the giant cyclops, both with Albert Salmi's "pirate" character, and the one with Gerald Mohr as "Morbus"!!
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE has been another favorite of mine since I saw it first-run.
The damndest thing crossed my mind watching it tonight. In SPACE SEED, Kirk leaves Khan and his people to start a brand-new colony on a wild, unpopulated planet. At the beginning of PARADISE, The Enterprise arrives at a previously-unpopulated planet where, 3 years before, a group of colonists had arrived to start building a new life for themselves. Imagine if this had been a sequel, and the head of the farm commuity was Ricardo Montalban!
It's strange, but I've been noticing this sort of thing more and more as I rewatch these episodes in production order. It's almost as if, in a loose sort of way, the entire 1st season is like one long "big story", with each episode segueing into the next. I know they don't... but in some ways, they almost feel as if they are.
Once again, Spock claims emotions are foreign to him. Even Leila says Spock's captain may believe that... but she doesn't. Well, Jim Kirk doesn't believe it, either! That's the cool thing about those two. Kirk and Spock are such good friends, Kirk understands how Spock was brought up, and how he's been conditioned to act, and the front he always puts on. And because they're friends, he goes along with it-- even though he KNOWS it's a put-on.
Of course, that put-on is so deeply entrenched, so powerfully ingrained, that it does wind up causing him genuine physical pain when the spores begin to affect him. Fortunately, it doesn't last long.
The funniest bit in the story is probably when McCoy becomes concerned about Spock, and Kirk says, "I thought you said you could get to like him if he mellowed a bit." "I never said that!"
I love how Alexander Courage's music from SHORE LEAVE, and other episodes, is reused so effectively here. "Ruth's Theme" becomes Leila's theme, and that eerie music from THE CAGE turns up whenever the spores are going into action (so to speak).
I guess my favorite dialogue from this story is either the scene when Spock refuses to obey orders, and Kirk can't believe what he's seeing and hearing; or, when Kirk taunts Spock in the transporter room; or, when McCoy says, "Do you want to see how fast I can put you in a hospital?" Of course, there's als one of Mr. Leslie's best scenes in the entire series. "This is mutiny, mister!" "YES, sir!"
It's almost ridiculous how fast the entire ship is affected and decides to desert (once McCoy starts beaming those plants up). Still, as quick as things happen, this episode somehow feels like a much bigger story in its scope.
Near the end, when Spock is talking to Leila over the commuicator, it's so painfully obvous that he DOES have feelings for her, that is DOES love her, and deeply... and this is without the spores affecting him anymore. But obviously, they're just of two different worlds-- he with his starship, she with her farming. It wouldn't have worked. Still, you can see he's SMILING when she asks about his "other name", and he says, "You couldn't pronounce it." They may not be able to have a life together, but clearly, Spock does care about her, and there's no question he'll carry happy memories with him forever-- even if, on the surface, he tends not to show it. (That's just his way.)
I know someone else online suggested this... Omicron Ceti III sure seems like it should be considered by the Federation as an IDEAL place for seriously-ill, or terminally-ill people to go, either permanently, or as least temporarily (under careful supervision). I mean... you'd think Dr. Severin (in THE WAY TO EDEN), who A)wanted to find a simpler place to live away from technology, and B)was a carrier of a lethal contagious disease, could have been both happy there, but also CURED of his illness! (Didn't anyone involved in the 3rd year of the show think about things like this when they were writing scripts-- or butchering other people's scripts?)
I figured that after a while side effects cropped up about the cures. Like the life-support belts that they had in the animated series, I think I remembered reading something in the novels about them being dropped because they caused nerve damage or something.
Alright, I have heard recently that the actor/model who plays "The Most Exciting Man in the World" in those Dues XXX beer commericals was once hired as an extra for the original classic Star Trek series. It is said that if you watch for him, you can see him, sans beard, standing or walking in the pastel blue passage ways of the Enterprise in at least one of the first season shows.
Does anyone know what his stage name was at that time, and which episode this is in? I'd love to find a screen shot to post.
Kirk, I seem to enjoy answering your trivia questions tonight. "The Most Interesting Man in the World," aka Jonathan Goldsmith, aka Jonathan Lippe, was in the Corbomite Maneuver as an extra.
Image here: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Jonathan_Lippe
Stay thirsty, my friend.
I was caught up... time to do it again.
THE DEVIL IN THE DARK -- this is always a blast watching. Even moreso since I learned that the first of SEVERAL people to die horribly in this story was played by Biff Elliot, the 1st Mike Hammer (from I, THE JURY). I can just picture it... "How could anything kill someone like that?" "It was EASY!" I can actually remember sitting on the couch the night this was first-run, eating a bag of Wise potato chips, and my Dad watching right along with us. (He'd gotten hooked by then... but still not enough to made sure we saw the show EVERY week.)
ERRAND OF MERCY -- It's a toss-up for me right now, who turned in the more impressive acting job-- John Abbott as Ayelborne, or John Colicos as Kor. They make such perfect opposites! I find it interesting that Kor refers to both the Klingons and the Earthmen as "predators"-- the same word used by Trelayne in THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS. You know, it's very strange that the Organians NEVER made a return appearance on this show, or any or its sequels or spin-offs.
I actually considered watching "CITY..." this time... but I would have had to have done some fast-forwarding to find it, and with the counter not working on my VCR, I just said to heck with it. No big loss.
OPERATION-- ANNIHILATE! --now this is one SCARY episode. Those "flying pancakes" may be the most horrific, creepy MONSTERS to ever appear on this series... and this is coming just a few episodes after the Horta. The way they inject themselves into people's bodies, and start growing at a frightful rate, to where it is impossible to remove them thru conventional surgery (as McCoy described it), reminds me a bit of ALIEN. The way they use people, and force them to do their bidding through pain, just makes them PURE EVIL. There's no bargaining with THIS monster. It just NEEDS killing, period. Christine returns for her 3rd appearance here, and McCoy gets very upset when she hesitates while Spock is being operated on. I wish they could have found more actual locations for filming like they had here. After indoor sets, matte paintings, and desert or forest locations, it was quite a jolt to see a story at least partly filmed on location at a REAL "futuristic" city! (Something tells me it was the same place they filmed the climax of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.)