What I've got is the new releases with the enhanced special effects - I'll comment on these as best I can, shame I haven't got the originals to compare and contrast, but such is life. I put up the "spoiler" just on the off chance that there's someone here that hasn't seen all these a million times - you never know, I suppose.
Just posted at the IMDB, in a thread discussing "The Ultimate Computer"...
"If only the Intellectual was in charge, rather than some guy from Texas with a drawl that doesn't have his diplomas, his pedigree, read his books or taught his classes, why, everything would be great! Until, that is, they do get in charge."
Back in the 80's, I worked for an engineering company that made the guts for the AWACS radar systems used in the Middle East. The chief engineer (and salesman) died of a heart attack (over-work). Instead of promoting someone who knew what they were doing, the other owners replaced him with a guy straight out of college, impressed with his DEGREE!!!
Within 2 months, 3 of their other engineers quit, frustrated because their new boss DIDN'T know what he was doing. 2 years later, a 4th engineer quit, and he told the owners why. Things got so bad, they actually suggested the guy find another job, for which they'd give him an excellent reccomendation. See... if they admitted they'd screwed up, they felt THEY would look bad.
20 years later, I was chatting with one of the owners, and at some point, she actually said to me, "I think it's the DEGREES that matter." Her company had almost gone belly-up because of that kind of thing, and had never really recovered, yet 20 years later, she hadn't learned a damn thing!
I've come to view this insistence on 4-year college degrees as nothing less than a "class war". It's people with money trying to keep those without money in their places. PERIOD.
This is one reason of many why every country on Earth is kicking America's A**.
I skipped "MIRI". After all, from the time I saw it, FIRST-RUN, I never liked that one. I was reminded recently that the James Blish book adaptation focused almost entirely on the crew, to the near-total exclusion of those rat-bastard kids. Which made it a lot more entertaining (or a lot less annoying-as-hell).
"THE CONSIENCE OF THE KING" could be seen as another "cheap" episode. The only sets built were the house where they had the party (don't you just love STAR TREK's ideas about future architecture?) and the "observation deck" of the shuttlecraft bay. Isn't that interesting, given that "THE GALILEO SEVEN" was filmed right after this? I'm not sure they ever featured this corridor again (unless it was redressed as some other part of the ship). Anyway, what a contrast-- from a totally savage environment, to a far more civilized look at the future. Then another savage enviornment the following episode. I know which one I'd rather spend time in.
Reading IMDB reviews, it seems depending on who you ask, this is either a strong favorite, or one of the "worst". I'd say there's a few technical things that could have been dealt with better-- like, the man with half his face covered, or how it is that they seem to be very dodgy when it comes to records for the identity of Governor Kodos or Anton Kiridian. I read Arnold Moss specialized in Shakespeare plays, so his casting was a good fit. I also recently saw him on an episode of THE MONKEES, where he played an Arab Sheik, who wanted Davy Jones to marry his daughter.
There's also the question about the famine. I'm not sure if the writers on the show had worked out exactly what you could do with transporter technology, or if the concept of "food replicators" ever came up. It may seem obvious now, after so many years of ST:TNG and ST:DS9, but I know it NEVER crossed my mind in the 60's, 70's, 80's. I guess we can just say they didn't have any on that planet, or if they did, they weren't working.
They still had some "small" details filling in the spaces here, as we get to see Uhura SING for the 2nd time. (Someone at the IMDB said this was unbearable punishment for anyone to sit thru-- these people obviously don't realize she spent time singing with a both Duke Ellington & Lionel Hampton, early in her career.) It is kinda funny that Riley, who took over engineering in "THE NAKED TIME", is assigned to engineering, and considers it a demotion. (Where's Scotty to set his attitude straight?) As charismatic as he was, I wish Riley had appeared on the show more than just twice.
The "mystery" part of this story seems a bit too obvious to me... except for the sudden realization that Kiridian's daughter is the one doing the killings. Somehow it never crossed my mind in all these years that this story was another "Nazi War Criminal" allegory. COMBAT and HOGAN'S HEROES aside, you just didn't hear about that kind of thing much on TV in the 60's. I wonder how long it took before JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG turned up on TV?
Skipping "THE GALILEO SEVEN" (another one I NEVER, ever liked, to this day), next up is COURT MARTIAL. This could almost be seen as a variation of "CONSCIENCE". Both are "indoor" stories taking place either on the ship or in "civilized" surroundings. In one, the question comes up, IS Anton Kiridian a mass-murderer, or not? In this one, the question is, DID Kirk accidentally or deliberately cause the death one one crewman he knew hated him, then try to cover it up? Kirk also gets to romance very beautiful women in both episodes. In "CONSIENCE", it's interesting that Yeoman Rand makes her final appearance on the show, for all of a 5-second cameo, exiting the turbo-lift as Kiridian's daughter (WITH Kirk) is entering, and the look she gives the other woman says it all. ("Hey-- that used to be MY Captain!") In CM, McCoy tells Areel Shaw, "All my old friends look like doctors; all Jim's look like YOU." And so, we see the beginning of "Jim Kirk, interstellar ladies' man". I have no doubt the network was happy.
We see 2 different views of the Starbase buildings, which made me wonder-- were these 2 different matte paintings, or was it 2 different angles photographing a model? Could have been done either way.
I'm not sure the whole thing with the "ion storm" and "the pod" used to take scientific readings was ever properly explained, including how using such a pod during a storm could somehow endanger the ship if it wasn't jettisoned. It would have been nice if we'd have at least SEEN "the pod", or even a technical drawing of it, or some indication of where on the ship it was. I feel the "personal" and "human" elements of this story far outstrip the technical ones.
Apart from the prosecuting attourney knowing the defendant intimately (something, I'm sure, which would never be allowed in a normal court of law), I wonder about the procedures of this court-martial. Do they work differently from criminal trials? They seem to free-wheelingly switch back-and-forth between "prosecution" and "defense" parts, as Sam Cogley calls Kirk to the stand BEFORE Areel Shaw enters the damning computer evidence.
While the stunt (worthy of a 23rd-centry Perry Mason?) of moving the trial to the ship, then emptying the ship of almost all crewmen, then amplifying the sounds on the ship, seemed very clever the first time I saw it, it seems rather contrived now. They must have specified certain types of sounds, otherwise, how could it hear the heartbeats but not the voices, which should be much louder?
I couldn't help but think when Kirk got into that knock-down drag-out that it may have been another attempt at placating some network suit. "You need more FIGHTS!" We hadn't seen one this brutal since "WHERE NO MAN..." Kirk's narration in 2 spots seemed a bit awkward, though I'm sure it was done to speed the storytelling along. Also, when Kirk went up the tube to disengage the "sabotage", I found myself thinking, "All it took was some automobile jumper cables!"
The next episode on this tape is "SHORE LEAVE"... which means, first, I'm gonna go watch "THE MENAGERIE"-- again!!! (I recorded it earlier, separately.) What a fun way to watch the show... uncut, in production order, yet with the option to SKIP anything I consider unwatchable. (Now if only I had MUCH-cleaner copies...! Not only was Channel 17 running faded prints, but they had dirt on the projector lenses. Talk about a lack of pride in your work! And this is aside from the terrible antenna signal I taped these off of.)
My favorite line in the story:
"Is your blood red like ours? I'm gonna find out!"
It's quite a turn-around from the end of the pilot to the end of the 2-parter. I really got to HATE the aliens in this story. Treating other sentient life as if they were nothing but mindless animals, referring to someone as "it", etc. Of course, in light of the WW2 Nazi atrocity parallels I've begun seeing in some of these, maybe this isn't surprising. After all, to this day, some people all over this planet still treat other people that way. Anyway, by the end of the 2-parter, the aliens seem to have learned something after all, and may now be considered "nice guys" (although General Order 7 appears to still be in force, aspart from this one exception).
So ended Gene Roddenberry's run as producer. The next episode, which has long been a favorite of mine (from the time I saw it first-run), marked the debut of Gene Coon (who'd previously done the 1st season of THE WILD WILD WEST) as the show's producer. While the change in style and tone was quite noticeable, it wasn't the near-crippling step down in quality as when this kind of thing happened on THE OUTER LIMITS (between seasons 1 & 2). That would happen later.
It cracks me up to think I've seen Meg Wylie ("The Keeper") on several episaodes of NIGHT COURT.
There's also the question about the famine. I'm not sure if the writers on the show had worked out exactly what you could do with transporter technology, or if the concept of "food replicators" ever came up.
I don't remember food replicators in the original ST, just in TNG and DS9, which IIRC were set 80 years after the original. Is it possible they hadn't been invented at the time of the famine? This must have been 100 years before TNG, since Kirk was a boy at the time of the massacre.
McCoy tells Areel Shaw, "All my old friends look like doctors; all Jim's look like YOU." And so, we see the beginning of "Jim Kirk, interstellar ladies' man".
Maybe they were picking up on James Bond behaviors from the Sean Connery movies that were being shown in the same period.
This has always been a fave of mine. It just never gets old! What a start to Gene Coon's run as producer.
THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS
This one, on the other hand, has slowly grown on me over the years. These days, I just have a smile on my face all the way thru. It's just one FUN, feel-good story! It's interesting seeing this right after SHORE LEAVE, as it almost seems a continuiation of it, or a variation on a similar theme. The crew is confronted with something totally inexplicable-- who, or what, are they dealing with? In the end, it turns out to be the "flip side" of CHARLIE X-- an immature being with super-powers, no self-control, and those who look after him who come to tell him it's time to come in now.
In a way, this may be the closest STAR TREK ever came to doing a LOST IN SPACE-type story. What's funny is, this never occured to me before tonight. During the "hunt" at the end, I suddenly pictured how it might have been with Guy Williams instead of William Shatner. Instead of throwing away the sword, he would have engaged Trelane in a genuine swordfight (set to John Williams music, no doubt).
It's hard to believe this was written by the same guy who did BALANCE OF TERROR-- Paul Schneider! That's quite a range.
The voices of Trelane's parents were supplied by Bart La Rue-- who did many voices on STAR TREK and other shows, including that of The Guardian of Forever-- and Barbara Babcock, who made 2 onscreen appearances on the show, and was a longtime regular on HILL STREET BLUES.
After 2 such lightweight episodes in a row, the next one would raise the intensity stakes considerably.
Teleplay by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber/Story by Carey Wilber
Directed by Marc Daniels
Synopsis: Our heroes find a sleeper ship full of war criminals.
1)"The last such vessel was built centuries ago - back in the 1990's." Just as with 60's Doctor Who, I doubt that when they wrote this, they ever thought that people would still be thinking about it in the 1990's or beyond.
2)"S.S. Botany Bay" - Why didn't they just call it the "S.S. We're a Bunch of Escaped Criminals"?
3)"The mid-1990's was the era of your last so-called 'World War'." "The Eugenics Wars". Yeah, remember the Eugenics Wars back in the 1990's? I spent the war manning an anti-missile particle beam cannon, myself. My apologies again to the former residents of Lansing, Michigan, but it was my first day, after all!
4)Can't say as I'm wild about Marla McGivers as a character - she's such a wishy-washy nonentity, folding faster than the Flash on laundry day and betraying her Starfleet oath just because some hot guy comes along. One wonders what Khan saw in her. Kirk certainly doesn't seem to think much of her.
5)"Two centuries, we estimate." Which would make them around the 2190's.
6)Always good to see Ricardo Montalban, one fo the few guys who could do "larger than life" better than Shatner.
7)"It's a pity you've wasted your life on command, Jim. You've made a fair psychologis." "'Fair'?"
8)I always liked the scene where McCoy advised Khan on the best way to cut his throat.
9)Kind of chuckleheaded of them to let Khan have access to so much information.
10)"Have you ever read Milton, Captain?" I have. Where is my "collected Milton", anyhow? I'd like to break that out again.
11)I question Kirk's decisions here - I'd certainly like to see how he justifies letting a bunch of war criminals go free just like that to Starfleet, not to mention explaining what happened to McGivers. I'll have more to say on this if there's ever a "Star Trek movies" thread.
12)"It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years..." Sooner then that, Spock-me-lad, sooner than that.
An OK episode - not a favorite of mine, but not that bad, I suppose. Of interest more because of Wrath of Khan than for its own merits.
A Taste of Armageddon:
Teleplay by Robert Hamner and Gene L.Coon/Story by Robert Hamner (One gets the impression that GLC meddled with the scripts alot.)
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Synopsis: The one with the "virtual" war.
1)Their government sure produces alot of obnoxious officials.
2)First use of the phrase "The United Federation of Planets".
3)David Opatoshu is good as Anan 7 - good "politely two-faced" acting. And there's Barbara Babcock as his daughter or niece or whatever she is.
4)Interesting - they're still saying "Vulcanians" instead of "Vulcans".
5)"Sir, there's a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder." Best line in all of Star Trek.
6)"Knock her down and sit on her, if necessary." Woo-hoo!
7)"General Order 24" - So, Starfleet has a genocide rule?
8)Kirk pretty much interferes just because they've ticked him off. Not that I blame him.
9)"If I were you, I'd start making bombs." Always good advice.
10)"Captain, you almost make me believe in luck"
Watchable, but nothing special. One gets the feeling that the Eminians were way out of their depth tangling with Kirk.
The last time I watched SPACE SEED, I found the last 5 minutes the most interesting part of the story. Which made me suddenly feel that the 2nd movie should NEVER have happened the way it did. What a waste of so much story potential. In fact, in the long run, as good as some of the movies were, these days, I find myself wishing they'd never happened the way they did. I find the original show far more watchable, again, after so many years.
A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON continues to be a favorite. David Opatoshu can also be seen as the villain TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD.
My favorite exchange is, "You ARE a barbarian!" "You're RIGHT-- and I intend to PROVE it!"
This Side of Paradise:
Teleplay by D.C. Fontana/Story by Nathan Butler and D.C. Fontana
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Synopsis: The one with the spores and Spock gets a girlfriend.
1)I'm a little sketchy as to what prompted them to set up a colony on a world with deadly radiation in the first place.
2)Frank Overton does well as Elias Sandoval.
3)Even Spock has an old girlfriend, and it's Jill Ireland, yet!
4)Interesting how Kirk comes across as a bit of a heavy at first, insisting that the colonists have to move.
5)"I've never seen a dragon." "I have, on Berengaria VII."
6)I like Kirk's reaction to Spock screwing around - it's the first time we him utterly baffled.
7)Meanwhile, the spores turn McCoy into Snuffy Smith.
8)"This is mutiny, mister." "Yes, sir, it is."
9)"You're an overgrown jackrabbit - an elf with a hyperactive thyroid."
10)"My mother was a teacher, my father, an ambasador."
11)"The Vulcan never lived who had an ounce of integrity."
12)"Striking a fellow officer is a court martial offense." "Well, if we're both in the brig, who's gonna build the subsonic transmitter?" "That is quite logical, Captain."
13)The scene of Spock breaking up with Leila was quite touching.
14)"You never told me if you had another name, Mister Spock." "You couldn't pronounce it." Seriously? She couldn't pronounce "Harold"?
15)"Better make me a mechanic - then I can treat little tin gods like you."
16)"For the first time in my life, I was happy."
Another fun episode. A bit of a stretch, perhaps, that the mighty Kirk is the only one out of all of them who can fight off the spores, but then, he is the hero, I suppose.
I don’t think the production staff sweated too much about the “Stardates” (other than to make them sequential (for the most part)), but when you get to “Amok Time” take note that the Stardate placed it as happening before “This side of Paradise.” I have never heard anything to confirm this theory, but that action seems to me to have been quite obvious and I have long suspected it was to absolve Spock of the stigma of having “cheated” on T’Pring outside of their “marriage.”
ARENA starts out deceptively, the opening scene has a mood similar to that of the 2 previous episodes (SHORE LEAVE, THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS). Then they reach the surface, and it all goes NASTY. I've often thought of ARENA as, stylistically, the follow-up to BALANCE OF TERROR. Especially for the one line where someone says, "That ship must never reach its home base."
Although I know I've seen them in many TV shows and movies, I believe the rocks they filmed around in this story may in some fans minds me most associated with this story. I see where earlier they'd turned up in THE ZANTI MISFITS (with Bruce Dern). They actually used them in a FUTURAMA episode about STAR TREK. That's pretty iconic!
There's rocks behind the Philadelphia Museum Of Art that, as a kid, used to remind me of this episode.
And speaking of THE OUTER LIMITS, who turns up (if only in voice-over) by Vic Perrin, "The Control Voice", as the voice of the Metron (played onscreen by a tall woman).
THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR has gotten a lot of criticism over at the IMDB, some calling it the "worst" ST episode, and not just of the 1st season. One person said it was a "3rd season-style episode" run 2 years early. But I think that's missing a point. Watching it again the other night, I had a strangely different reaction to it. I think it was watching so many episodes back-to-back in production order, but this one DOES feel "different". Some of the regulars are missing, there's several characters we never saw before (or again, including 2 different black crew-women). The structure of the story does not seem to flow naturally for a STAR TREK, either for a "Gene Roddenberry" or a "Gene Coon" style story.
You know, what's funny is, I think they filmed around those same rocks as ARENA, 2 weeks in a row, only in this one, they took pains to photograph different areas, so you wouldn't realize it right away.
The idea that a matter-anti-matter explosion could somehow cause total destructrion of everything in the entire universe all at once is just going way, way, WAY to far over-the-top. I could see the planet, or part of the planet's surface, but turning it into a galactic disaster is just ridiculous.
I didn't have a problem with the character of Lazarus, except at times it was hard (before the end) to see any real difference between the two. And as someone pointed out, someone that unknown and unstable should never have been given free run of the ship.
I've often made the comparison that Roddenberry's run of producer reminded me of THE OUTER LIMITS, only in color with a regular cast. Well-- that goes double here. This feels EXACTLY like an OUTER LIMITS episode, many of which (to be honest) did have occasional dodgy writing, for the sake of getting some "big scary idea" across. The fact that it was directed by Gerd Oswald, who did 14 episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS, may have something to do with that.
I suspect that if you turned off the color on your set, this story might actually work better. I found myself trying to picture the story with some actors in it other than William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy (though both did guest-star on TOL), and perhaps with the story taking place either on Earth, or on some other planet that was an outpost of Earth, but without the Enterprise. Instead of the "universe" being at risk, it might be "the whole world", which would at least be a little easier to believe.
Then, just sub in some Dominic Frontiere music instead of Alexander Courage.
Despite its flaws, this somehow remains a mezmerizing story to watch. I just wish someone had tweaked the script a bit more.
During the preparation of the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Gene Roddenberry felt certain basic concepts should be shown in a manner to reflect either a military style or a futuristic style or both. He and Samuel A. Peeples, the writer of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", came up with the format of the stardate and based it on the concept of the Julian date, as it is used by the U.S. military (with which Roddenberry was familiar).
A Julian date, as commonly used by the military, computer programmers, and the food industry, is simply the ordinal date. That is, a four-digit number based on the Gregorian calendar---the first digit is the last number of the calendar year, while the last three digits represent the specific place of that date out of the 365 days of the year.
For example, the calendar date of "16 August 1999" is the Julian date of "9228"---9 (the last digit of "1999") plus 228 (as 16 August is the 228th day out of 365). To-day's date, 03 January 2013, would be the Julian date of 3003.
The rollover of decades is immaterial, for Julian dates aren't intended to be a perpetual calendar, but simply a way of tracking elapsed time---for military operations or transportation of supplies or perishableness of food stuffs. (Astronomers, who do use Julian dates as a perpetual calendar, employ a similar system. In their case, the Julian system counts the number of days since the beginning of the proleptic Julian calendar---01 January 4713 B.C., which was assigned the value of "0". Under this format, to-day's date, 03 January 2013, is 2456296, or the 2,456,296th day following 01 January 4713 B.C.)
Roddenberry amplified the concept of "stardate" in the series' bible as a guide to writers:
We invented "Stardate" to avoid continually mentioning Star Trek's century (actually, about two hundred years from now), and getting into arguments about whether this or that would have developed by then. Pick any combination of four numbers plus a percentage point, use it as your story's stardate. For example, 1313.5 is twelve o'clock noon of one day and 1314.5 would be noon of the next day. Each percentage point [sic] is roughly equivalent to one-tenth of one day. The progression of stardates in your script should remain constant but don't worry about whether or not there is a progression from other scripts. Stardates are a mathematical formula which varies depending on location in the galaxy, velocity of travel, and other factors, can vary widely from episode to episode.
The last sentence above was a techno-babble justification to account for the fact that episodes of Star Trek---as with all television series---aren't necessarily aired in the same order that they are filmed. Thus, when a viewer writes in asking why last week's adventure had a stardate of 3142.3 and this week's adventure's stardate was 2476.6, the answer is stardates don't progress in a universally linear fashion, as do calendar dates; instead, they are based relative to the starship's current velocity and position in space.
However, one will notice that---despite occasional discrepancies caused by the conflict between filming and airing of episodes---there was a generally linear advancement of time between "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (stardate 1312.4) and the last episode of the original series, "Turnabout Intruder" (stardate 5928.5).
Though the basic stardate format devised by Roddenberry and Peeples was kept for the subsequent television series in the Star Trek franchise, the producers of those shows added additional refinements.
Hope this helps.
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