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).

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CHARLIE X I never liked.  Still don't.  Except, oddly enough, I do get a strange kick out of that one scene most fans seem to despise-- the one n the lounge, where Uhura interrupts Spock playing (1st time we've seen him do that) by singing.  Nichelle Nichols, earlier in her career, had actually sung with a big band!

BALANCE OF TERROR -- this is always good.

I think this is the only time we ever saw Phaser Control.  I just ignore the fact that they show the effect associated with photo torpedoes.

I often wonder, when Kirk orders "emercency reverse", does the ship actually GO in reverse?  They didn't seem like they had time to turn around.  On the other hand, once they get up to warp speed, and they realize they have TWO MINUTES before the plasma bolt catches up with them, WHY don't they turn and get out of its way?  It reminds me of one of those Warner Bros. cartoons where Wile E. Coyote is running from a giant boulder, and doesn't think to just SIDE-STEP it.

I keep wishing that Janice Rand had stuck around on the show longer.  I'd really have liked to have seen where things might have gone with her.

I know now that this story was based, and rather closely at that, on the film THE ENEMY BELOW.  Considering it was a German U-boat in the movie, it seems to me the Romulans' attitude reminds me more of the Roman Empire-- or the Japanese, at a point where the military completely over-rode the Emperor, but used their people's absolute loyalty to the Emperor to support their murderous expansionist policies.  I suppose all Imperialists are the same, when it comes down to it. "We're the more powerful, therefore, let's KILL everyone else and steal what they have."

Considering how much of this was based on a feature film, it's almost shocking when you consider that this TV tribute has a far more downbeat finale than the movie did.

I wonder why they held this one back for so long?  Effects taking too long to get made?

Writer Paul Schneider would return for 2 more ST episodes-- THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS, and, on the cartoons, THE TERRATIN INCIDENT.

DAGGER OF THE MIND -- this go-round, I actually let myself watch this, imagining that Morgan Woodward was really Captain Ron Tracey, following the events of THE OMEGA GLORY (which was written much earlier than this!).  It's amazing, apart from the fact that the character he played was supposed to have been assigned to the penal colony 6 months earlier, as Dr. Adams' associate, so much in his character, behavior, attiturte, actions, would make it easy to think that he was someone Kirk had met before.  And after all that Tracey did in that other story, WHY would Kirk trust what he says now?

It's also interesting how enthusiastic Kirk is early-on about Adams' work and his reputation, YET, once he's down on the surface with Helen Noel, SHE's overly-gushing praises for Adams, while Kirk has become more suspicious.  (Maybe they should have introduced her to Simon van Gelder before she beamed down.)  Of course, her opinion cnages ABRUPTLY, the moment Adams' zombie-fied sidekick grabs her and Adams reveals what a SICK, TWISTED, SADISTIC, POWER-MAD BASTARD he really is.  (The fact that Adams' expression never changes-- he just keeps on smiling-- I think, really shows how sick he is.)

Like last time, I find myself once more wondering at the end... did they use the neural neutralizer to counter-act its earlier effect, on Van Gelder, or Kirk, or anyone else?  Or did they just figure it would wear off eventually?  The expression on Kirk's face at the end suggests to me that he's still walking around with all the damage Adams inflicted on him.

As the guest-stars appeared this time, I found myself quoting lines from other shows they'd appeared in.

Morgan Woodward:  "Now come with me, Captain, or I'll BURN your two friends where they stand!"

Marianna Hill:  "You know what you are? TRASH! You're nothing but an ANIMAL"  "Well, ma'am, you have a habit of bringing that out in people."   (The other voice belongs, of course, to Clint Eastwood.)

James Gregory:  "Now I'm not saying that all men are evil, just because their skin is white-- NO!  But our great Lawgiuver has told that, that man is INCAPABLE of distinguishing between good-- and evil.  The only GOOD human-- is a DEAD human!!!"

I had to pass this on... discussing BALANCE OF TERROR.

Oddly this idea that they would self destruct rather than be taken prisoner was carried over to star Fleet with it's auto destruct bombs in star ships.
 
 
    Ah!  I forgot to mention that.  Last night, I noticed that.  The Romulans carried several old-style atomic devices, "for self destruct".  They put one out with the debris, and the Enterprise winds up detonating it, a mere 100 meters (or was it 1000 meters?) away.
 
    And it made me think of THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE.
 
    Someone online suggested, if The Enterprise had been carrying an atomic bomb, they could have set it out for the planet-killer to swallow, and just as it got INSIDE the maw, detonated it.
 
    The fact that they didn't-- the fact that Kirk had to fly the entire Constellation starship into the maw-- suggests they DON'T carry self-destruct devices around with them.
 
    This is strengthened by the story BY ANY OTHER NAME, when Scotty has to jury-rig a device that will blow up the ship when they enter the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy.
 
    Obviously, at that time, The Enterprise DID NOT have a self-destruct device!
 
 
    So where the hell did the one in LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD come from???  (Clearly, Fred Freiberger had it installed personally.)
 
 
"And HERE's an addition I'm REALLY proud of, Gene baby!"
"What-- what the hell is THAT, Fred?"
"A SELF-DESTRUCT device!  At the slightest HINT anything's going wrong with the ratings, we can CANCEL the show in an instant!"
 
 
 
    There's a lot in the 3rd season that totally contradicted what had been established in earlier episodes.
 
    But like bad comic-books, once someone writes it, and it gets published, it becomes "official", and then later writers aren't allowed to ignore it.  Sometimes they should.

THE CONSCIENCE OF THE KING actually manages to be different from any other ST episode, and more so than other "different" episodes.

Halfway thru, we see Uhura once more hanging out in the rec room.  I've seen this at least a dozen times, 3 times just in the last 2 years.  And yet, tonight, something hit me that I NEVER noticed before.  What the HECK is Uhura doing with SPOCK's guitar??? Having just seen CHARLIE X 2 days ago, amd having talked about how there seemed to be something growing between her and him, which I NEVER noticed before, after all these years, this one seemingly-innocuous detail just adds to it.  Especially if you watch them in production order, when these 2 episodes are a lot closer together.

Another interesting bit was the scene in the observation deck above the Shuttlecraft hangar.  The Shuttlecraft made its debut in the very next episode... which I'll be skipping (AGAIN!).  It's great to have every episode on videotape. I can watch them whenever I want... or NOT.  The NOT part really comes in handy when you get to one you REALLY don't like.

I think it's been pointed out that, like BALANCE OF TERROR, there are some plot conventions that have been reused here, in a murder mystery, that just do not logically work within the framework of a futuristic space show.  In BALANCE, it was the whole thing about 2 ships maintaining silence, to the point of turning down the lights, and speaking very quietly.  SOUND DOESN'T TRAVEL in space!!!  In this case, it's the likeliness that a man like Kodos, a very public figure-- the Governor of an entire planet colony-- could ever remain a mystery.  Yet, the whole plot hinges on there only being 9 people who ever "saw" him in person-- and at the start of the story, 6 of them are dead.  OOPS!  Make that 7 now.  And, as Spock says, every time one of them died, the acting troupe was nearby.

I think McCoy just likes being contrary for the sake of it sometimes.  Here, he starts out relaxed, smiling, having a good time (he's drinking), and arguing with Spock.  Later, when Spock is trying so hard to get thru to Kirk, McCoy actually argues with Kirk, DEFENDING Spock! (Did he realize he was doing that?)

After watching DAGGER OF THE MIND just last night, I suspect Lenore Karidian is going to be meeting Simon van Gelder right after this story is finished.

I noticed Joseph Mullendore did his only STAR TREK score for this story.  According to the IMDB, he did 33 episodes of THE DICK POWELL THEATRE, 36 episodes of BURKE'S LAW, 28 episodes of HONEY WEST, 1 VOYAGE, 1 TIME TUNNEL, 1 STAR TREK, 5 LAND OF THE GIANTS, and 3 LOST IN SPACE episodes-- including "The Haunted Lighthouse" --which, funny enough, I just mentioned to someone earlier today!  As it happens, that's the only music of his I have in my music collection.

My re-rewatch of Star Trek in episode production order has slowed considerably the last couple of weeks. Last night I watched Man Trap (fifth in production order, first to air).

A couple of things jumped out at me -

-unless I missed something, most of Kirk's narration is simply narration and not attributed to "Ships Log". 

-two crewmen ogle Yeoman Rand in a passageway as she walks by with a food tray. One of the crewmen comments -

"how would you like to have her as your personal yeoman?" And then she takes the tray to Sulu - huh??

-and speaking of Sulu - he was established as navigator in the previous few episodes and in this episode he works in the biology lab???

It is almost as if this episode was produced as a stand alone with no relation to what came before or after. One of these days I will have to dig out my ancient volume of The Making of Star Trek - maybe it has a clue as to why Man Trap seems a bit off. One element that was consistent with other early episodes is the portrayal of Spock as a being trying to keep his emotions under control as opposed to the nearly emotionless creature he became later.

Interesting observations.  While MAN TRAP was the 5th with Kirk, it was the 6th with Spock, which I find interesting, as THE SURVIVOR, with a rather similar plot, was the 6th cartoon.

I wondered about Sulu & Rand.  Had she been re-assigned after the events of THE ENEMY WITHIN?  Is the Captain the only top officer who has his own yeoman, or do some of the others, as well?  And based on Riley's comments in THE NAKED TIME, it seems to me botony, and later fencing, were just Sulu's off-duty obsessions.

After decades, I continue to find more and more in these, especially the early ones, that I never notived before!  Amazing. What might the show have been like if Roddenberry continued as producer-- or, if he'd come back for the 3rd season?

I am not terribly impressed by episodes written by Roddenberry but as the so-called line producer he certainly produced a higher quality show than his successors. Some of the drop off can be attributed to budget cuts but still the first season with Roddenberry at the helm stands out from the rest.

During classes on portraiture when I was studying photography in college, one of our instructors used the lighting techniques in early Trek as an example of top notch technique. It was subtleties like this that fell off after Roddenberry stepped up to Executive Producer.

I often think Geen Coon did the most "popular" or "viewer-friendly" episodes of the show.  They were probably more what the network wanted, at any rate.  The strange thing, which I never noticed as a kid, was that he took over just about halfway thru season 1, but then left just about halfway thru season 2.  So he produced a full season's worth of episodes... just, not all in one season.

The major budget drop-off was definitely Season 3.  Oddly enough, I learned more about this reading the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE book than I ever did reading about STAR TREK.  I learned, for example, that Lucille Ball used her clout to coerce the sale of both shows.  If not for her, they might never have made it onto the air.  Sadly, she was also the indirect cause of their downfall.  When she remarried, her 2nd husband convinced her to sell the studio to Paramount, which really wanted Delilu's backlot (the one they'd inherited from RKO).

Due to a mix of changing public tastes and executive incompetence, every movie Paramount made that year bombed at the box office.  They reasoned that, if they could SLASH the budgets of these annoying TV shows that came as part of the package when they bought the studio, they could sink all that money saved into more expensive feature films.  They did-- the result being, EVEN BIGGER BOMBS.

Across the lot, M:I's creator and producer, Bruce Geller, came back from a meeting with Paramount's execs, who'd told him to cut the budget for his 3rd season.  He gathered all his department heads together and told them, "This year-- SPEND MORE!"  NBC was thrilled.  They'd already paid for the shows.  The audiences were thrilled.  They got an even better show than before!  The sponsors were thrilled-- they'd already paid their share.  Paramount was FURIOUS.  I believe it took them 2 years after that to have Geller permanently barred from the lot. A year before that, they managed to let Martin Landau (who did not have the same contract as every else) go, as a desperate way to cut costs.  In objection of their action, and support of her husband, Barbara Bain QUIT.  She annouced her decision while accepting her 3RD Emmy IN A ROW for "best actress in a dramatic program".  3 YEARS winning the same award. Insane. I don't care how good she may have been, that sort of thing shouldn't be allowed.  Anyway, that would be like if Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley both quit STAR TREK at the same time.

Crazy enough, Martin Landau wound up being replaced by Leonard Nimoy.

That's called incestuous casting...

I was never really satisfied with the various women (they went thru a number of them) they got to replace Barbara Bain.  Personally, my favorite, it turns out, only appeared in about 6 episodes-- Lee Meriweather.

Of course, in the long run, my favorite M:I girl turned out to be the last one, many years later...  Jane Badler!  It was so much fun seeing her play a "good" girl for a change!

After reading the synopsis of the annimated episodes here and there, and regaling my family with the description of the first animated episode, "More Troubles, More Tribbles"... I went on ebay last week and started shopping for them.  I found any number of combinations of VHS or DVDs to share various volumes or pairs of episodes.  And after initially thinking that I wanted to buy the entire set on DVD, I relaxed a bit, and found a dirt cheap copy of the first VHS, with both "the Tribbles sequel and the Infinite Vulcan"

Looking at the cover photos representing the 2nd episode, it looked like Spock was about to give the camera the finger, so I couldn't wait for that one.... but tonight my family gathered and we watched the Tribbles episode.  Almost immediately, people started pointing out errors... sound effects,  colors of tunics, colors of tribbles, illogical behaviors and motivations of Klingons, and of course, my tactically sophisticated son immediately shouted out the logical solution for Kirk to evade the Klingon's new force beam..."So attack from two different angles!"  before the character could get it out of his mouth.


For a Saturday evening meal, it was an interesting diversion, but everyone agreed that the Filmation animation left so much to be desired, that I'm glad I didn't invest in anything else right now.  Maybe later.

We were also amused by 3 other things: The second episode was written by Walter Konig (CHECKOV!),  the opening music doesn't match the original four notes of the opening credits... and the computer voice ain't Majel Barrett's voice...

but enough nit picking.   We had some family bonding time at the expense of the original actors once again!

If you go to the IMDB, you can find the entire run of 22 episodes listed in broadcast order. I have all 22 of 4 tapes (10 per tape at the "LP" speed, plus 2 leftovers, one each on 2 separate tapes-- I suspect the local channel ran al of them, possibly out of sequence, and I may have "copy-edited" them to get the first 20 in the right order).

As I think I explained earlier, you have to realize the HORRIBLE state of Saturday morning programming in the early 70's, and the generally-dreadful state of US TV animation from that period, to realize just-- YES-- HOW DAMN GOOD those STAR TREK cartoons really WERE!!  (Because, by comparison, EVERYTHING ELSE at the time was CRAP!!!)

: )

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