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).
THE LORELEI SIGNAL brings back Margaret Armen as writer. She had previously done 3 episodes of the show: THE GAMESTERS OF TRISKELLION, THE PARADISE SYNDROME, and THE CLOUD MINDERS. Gee, I skipped 2 of those on this current go-round. You'd think that wouldn't bode well for this one.
Apparently, from discussions with both the Klingons and Romulans, the Federation has discovered that a starship has disappeared in a particular sector of space every 29 years. Setting themselves up as the next disappear-ee, The Enterprise (so often following up on previous Starship disasters) enters said sector of space, and Spock, in perhaps his most absurd bit of calculating, announces to the second when "something" should happen. Sure enough, they pick up a signal, and discover they're being scanned from a planet 29 light years away. The signal seems to send all the men of the crew into an almost delerious state of tranquility, with visual hallucinations accopanying it. But the women are unaffected, as first noted by Lt. Uhura. She asks Christine to come to the bridge and observe, and Christine gets no reply from McCoy in sickbay.
Perhap it wasn't the smartest thing to do when Kirk, Spock, McCoy and some un-named redshirt beam down to the planet. They find wondrous architecture, evidence of a once-great city, but the place is nearly deserted. However, on reaching a "temple", they're met by a group of tall, beautiful, gorgeous women, who greet them by name and invite them to a banquet in their honor. They have a computer, an "oracle" of sorts, which can reveal any secret and answer any question put to it (which is how they knew Kirk by name). Worried that all the men on the ship seem to be in a trance-like state, Uhura shocks Christine by taking command of the Enterprise!
Good thing, too. After falling unconscious, Kirk & co. awake to find themselves wearing headbands which are draining their life energy, and causing them to age at a rate of ten years per day! And from what the women have said, all the remaining men on the ship will be lured into this same "trap" after they're gone. Escaping, they hide in a huge outdoor urn, while Spock uses the temple's computer to find their communicators. Next thing, Uhura beams down with an all-female security team (it's like something out of a James Bond film-- or is that Derek Flint?). These women are packing heat and not afraid to use it.
At gunpoint, "Thena", the leader of the women, uses their computer to reveal the sad history of their planet. Migrating there after their original planet died, before long they discovered something in the atmosphere of the planet caused me to weaken, while the women mutated in such a way that they were able to control the men, but also, live forever. But this has become a horror, as they're forced to "regenerate" every 29 years, and are incapable even of having children. The computer manages to find Kirk & co., who, now so weak they're unable to climb out of the urn, are in danger of drowning due to a rainfall filling up their hiding place!
Back on the ship, Christine is unable to find any way to reverse the terrible effects on the landing party. That is, until Spock makes the wild suggestion to use the transporter, which stores their body patterns when it beams them down. By re-programming it to return them to their state BEFORE they beamed down to the planet, he hopes to restore their youth. But he calculates the chances of succes are 99.7 percent against. So of course, it works... Thena destroys the device which lures starships to their doom... and Uhura promises that an all-female starship will return, soon, to transplant all the women to another planet, where, within a few months away from the planet's influence, they're physiologies should return to normal. "Hope for a new life!"
If you figure that the majority of science-fiction fans are teenage boys or younger, this is exactly the sort of story that would increase their natural youthful disdain for girls and possibly put them off of interest in women for good. NOT a good thing, maybe! On the plus side, both Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barrett really got to shine in this story, their characters both having more screen time, more to do, and more dialogue than in most of their live-action appearances put together. (I'm reminded, this is actually the first time Christine has any dialogue on the cartoons, and she winds up having more than usual.) And, they both got to play more than one role, as each also did the voices for at least one of the females on the planet (with Majel Barrett voicing "Thena", the leader).
I'm not sure if it was interesting, amusing, or just embarrassing to have Scotty, in his delerious state, singing some Scottish folk tune on the bridge. When Uhura announces she's taking over, he replies, "Ah, that's mighty thoughtful of ye, lassie!"
I do suspect they went too far when they decided to push the uses of the transporter and turned it into a medical miracle. If reprogramming the transporter can fix any injury incurred by an away-team, would this put McCoy out of a job?
Margaret Armen would return for one more episode, THE AMBERGRIS ELEMENT.
This type of transporter-as-cure was also used in the classic trek episode that split Kirk into two personalities...and restored Dr. Pulaski in ST:TNG when they found her DNA in a strand of hair caught in her hair brush. Not a bad solution, not that I think of it.
Do you REALLY think that watching this Lorelei Signal episode would turn young men gay? Really? LOL!
You're right, the transporter did "fix" Kirk in THE ENEMY WITHIN... but then again, it was the transporter that "broke" him in the first place in that story.
GAY? I never said that!!!!! (LOL) But it might turn them into (ahem) "confirmed bachelors". (heehee)
MORE TRIBBLE, MORE TROUBLES-- okay, this one is probably self-explanatory, but I'll review it anyway. David Gerrold's first script for the show (a comedy) proved SO popular, he wrote a sequel for the next season. But, 3rd-season producer Fred Freiberger decided HE didn't think STAR TREK should do comedies. So, the script was shelved. Until 5 years later.
The Enterprise is using remote-control to pilot a pair of cargo ships carrying "quintro-triticale" (obviously the next generation wheat from "quatro-triticale") to Sherman's Planet (where have we heard that name before?) where a famine has broken out. En route, they run across a Klingon Battle Cruiser firing on a Federation one-man scout vessel. Kirk tells them to cease firing, they don't, The Enterprise beams the pilot to safety... but just then is HIT by a tremendous power beam from the Klingon ship, which knocks out their weapons and main engines. Plus, it screws with the transporter, so Scotty can't re-integrate the pilot he was trying to yank to safety.
Captain Koloth (where have we heard THAT name before?), this time voiced by James Doohan (of course) demands Kirk hand over the pilot, who has been accused of ecological sabotage and espionage. Using one of the remote-control cargo ships to try and ram the Klingons, Kirk manages to drive them off. With the energy ray no longer in action, Scotty manages to materialize-- YOU GUESSED IT-- Cyrano Jones-- who, as everyone quickly notices-- has TRIBBLES with him. (Oh, no!)
While giving Jones sancutary, Kirk also informs him he's currently in violation of 3 Federation statutes and 27 local ones. That's a lot! Jones explains that the tribbles he's transporting are "safe", as they've been genetically engineered NOT to reproduce. McCoy confirms this-- these tribbles only get fat. It seems Jones also has another genetically-engineered creature with him-- a "glommer"-- which EATS tribbles. However, things get steadily worse, as the grain from the 1st ship (whose engines were damaged by Klingon fire) have been transfgerred onto the Enterprise, and soon they're also towing the other ship. As Scotty puts it, "We've got tribbles on the ship, quinto-triticale in the halls, Klingons in the quadrant-- it can RUIN your WHOLE DAY!"
As Koloth persists in his attacks, Scotty (on Spock's advice) beams ALL the tribbles (which have become VERY fat) onto the Klingon ship, causing Koloth to finally admit what they really want back is not Jones, but the "glommer"-- which was developed by Klingon scientists to get rid of the "ecological sabotage" Jones had caused by selling tribbles on a Klingon-run planet. McCoy then reveals that Jones' "genetic engineering" was very dodgy, as the new tribbles are actually colony creatures. A dose of some wonder-drug causes them to "break down" into individual (and small) tribbles, and THESE, he says, really are safe, as they won't reproduce.
I'm not sure I buy this at all... especially as this explanation seems to exist solely to set up a pair of visual gags, when, first Koloth, then Kirk, have a mountain of tribbles dumped on them. "When will I ever learn?" The music during some of the "tribble" scenes reaches new lows for Saturday-morning "goofiness". Some reviewers at the IMDB have referred to the music on this show as "Filmation stock music", and while I don't believe that's true for most of it, certain bits, like the "tribble" music, do seem like it might have been reused much later on shows like BLACKSTAR, another "adventure" show that was too "cutesy" for its own good.
Scotty sums things up by saying, "If we have to have tribbles, may all our tribbles be little ones." OY!
There's one point in the story where Spock says, "We could always throw tribbles." Kirk looks at him and says, "I thought Vulcans didn't have a sense of humor." "We don't." YEAH RIGHT!!!
I think the most amazing thing about this may not be that it was made at all, but that they actually got Stanley Adams to come back to do the voice of Cyrano Jones.
Henry, I just read aloud your review of this Tribbles episode to my family, and they howled with laughter. Now, they want desperately to see it. Can you tell us where we can find a copy of this show...and/or if the whole animated series is available somewhere?
Thanks, Kirk. When I write reviews at the IMDB, I don't usually like to get heavy-duty on sypnoses, since everybody else does, plus, that's what WATCHING the shows are for. But over here, somehow, I enjoy doing it... but especially if I can bring something "personal" to it. It's like, why just tell a story when you can tell it in an entertaining way?
The episode itself may not be as much fun to watch as my review was... : )
I have seen a link at the IMDB to Amazon which suggests the entire series (22 episodes) has been released on DVD. Go look! Or do a Google search. Or both. Also, when I go to Amazon.com, I usually use the site for info, but rarely ever buy direct from them. The "new and used" links take you to "Amazon Marketplace" stores, where a ton of affiliates have stuff, for a WIDE range of prices. Always listed from cheapest to most expensive, to to bottom. You can find som fabulous bargains there. But some of those guys list insane prices. As an off-the-top of my head example, WHY, if Amazon themselves had something NEW for $10.00, would some affiliaste store list it "USED" and try to charge $80.00 ? And who'd be dumb enough to pay that much when it's $10.00 on the other page at the SAME site?
At Henry's suggestion I am doing a bit of cut and paste with my comment from the Star Trek Re-Watch thread -
Having fallen way behind in my re-watch I decided to make a U turn and go back and watch the earliest episodes in order of production. This approach does give a better handle on the shows development. A few things that are most evident to me -
- Nimoys portrayal of Spock is a bit more human and is closer to how he played the role in The Cage as opposed to the mind melding, neck pinching, near super - Vulcan that he would later be. I find I prefer the earlier approach.
- Nichelle Nicols delivery of her lines is very terse - is this how she was told to play it or was she already unhappy with her role at this early stage?
- the bigger budget is very much in evidence with more sets and more extras in the background helping boost the illusion of the Enterprise as a very large ship with a very large crew.
It's crazy, but last night, I dug out THE CAGE to watch again. I have (more or less) 4 versions of this. First, THE MENAGERIE, which I have, not as a 2-parter, but as an edited "TV movie". When this was in syndication, it was missing from the rest of the syndication package! 2nd, a custom-edit version of THE CAGE, which I put together myself back in the 80's by editing THE MENAGERIE down to only the "flashback" sequences. 3rd, the initial videotape release, where they hadn't been able to find a full-length color print, so they spliced together the scenes used in THE MENAGERIE with the "missing" bits from Gene Roddenberry's personal print of the film-- which was in B&W. Bot only that, but the sound on his print had gone real bad over the years. So every few minutes, not only does it switch to B&W from color (then back again), but all the B&W parts, the sound SUCKS.
Finally (4th), the "full color" videotape of THE CAGE. They found a full-length color print, but, for whatever reason, the SOUND still sucks, in exactly the same places where it sucked in the B&W sections on the previous videotape. What I find particulary bizarre is, on close examination, the sound ALSO sucks in several sections where it was CRYSTAL CLEAR if you watch THE MENAGERIE version.
I've long suspected they did this deliberately, hoping to con people who'd already bought the story twice into buying it a 3rd time once they remastered the sound. (Did they ever? Like, for the DVD? I don't know, I only have the tapes...)
So, having seen this story in "edited" form no less than 3 TIMES a couple months ago (my own custom edit once, then, THE MENAGERIE-- twice!!-- I was just in the mood), I finally re-watched it uncut last night. As a result, the "previously missing" scenes stand out more this time. Lots of little edits, too, sometimes just a couple of lines, other times, a whole minute or two in one block.
Among those that come to mind... the "park" scene, allegedly on Earth, where we see a futuristic city way in the background, and Pike says it's "Mojave", where he grew up-- and, that it used to be desert-land! This is a brief view and some info about future-Earth we never got to see in the entire run of the show. Then there's the "Orion" scene. I'm pretty sure the line where one of the sleazoids says, "Funny thing about this planet. They actually LIKE being taken advantage of!" was cut from the version that appeared in the 2-parter. Similarly, the scene in the cell where Pike comments that Vina is wearing the same garments as their captors, she says, "I have to wear something... don't I?" Maybe this stuff was cut for time reasons, or maybe someone at NBC objected because they felt Gene Roddenbery was trying to see what he could sneak past the censors (which he probably was).
On this last go-round, I found I really LIKED the early portrayal of Spock. It reminds one that Vulcans in general, and Spock in particular, DO have emotions! They just keep them under control. But, since Spock was serving in Starfleet, on a ship manned almost entirely by humans, and, he was half-human to begin with, he may have felt more comfortable showing emotions (to a limited extent) than most other Vulcans. Somehow, this makes his portrayal in the early episodes seem more REAL, more layered, and more believable. Later on, it was narrowed down to a one-note "schtick".
Oddly enough, this is almost the exact reverse of what happened with Majel Barrett. Between "Number One" and "Christine Chapel", she hardly showed any real acting skills in the entire 1st season (where she only appeared a handful of times). But when you get to the 2nd season, you can SEE she's coming along nicely. I bet she was taking acting lessons while the show in in production.
I'm gonna guess that, alng with not liking comedy episodes, that 3rd-season producer Fred Feriberger may not have liked Christine being in love with Spock. Not only is there NO references to her having feelings for him in the entire 3rd season (the closest she came was in THE ENTERPRISE INCIDENT where she says, first, "There's no such THING as a Vulcan death grip!", and then, "So Mr. Spock's NOT a traitor!"), but in several episodes that year, Spock wound up getting "involved" to some degree with different women. He was slowly becoming the show's "Ilya Kuriakan" (as if he hadn't always been from the start). Anyway, Majel Barett's acting had improved tremendously by the 3rd season, every scene she appears in, she comes across very "naturally".
I do like John Hoyt's doctor. I've seen him in a number of other things, including a 1st-season episode of GET SMART, where he played a KAOS agent operating in a department store.
Tonight: WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE. Oddly enough, I skipped this one before... but in this case, it was only because, I was really, really in the mood to watch THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER. And then I went on from there. But I caught up with it now.
I've seen this so many times, I was really trying to take notice tonight of what changes they made to the ship as far as the color scheme went, between THE CAGE and this. In THE CAGE, for example, on the bridge, the turbo-life door was silver, here it's red. The hand-rails that go around the bridge were black, here they're red.
Of course, nobody from THE CAGE came back for this... except Spock, and he seemed to get kind of harsh this time around. While reading the data from the flight recorder, he was shouting a lot. Later, he got very insistent that if Kirk wanted to save his ship, he'd KILL Gary Mitchell, "while you still have the chance." On the other hand, he was smiling at the beginning of the story, as he said, "Ah, yes, one of your EARTH emotions." --as if he DIDN'T have any. HAH! There's a hint of a smile at the very end, when Kirk tells him, "There may be hope for you yet."
As far as I can recall, this episode was the ONLY time the standard Irwin Allen cleche of control panels shooting off sparks and catching fire ever happened on STAR TREK. I'd seen so many episodes of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and LOST IN SPACE and THE TIME TUNNEL, that when I finally saw this story (when it first turned up in syndication), it was kind of a shock. If the Enterprise bridge is catching fire, DAMN, this crisis MUST be serious!
After all these years, I still don't buy this "energy barrier" at the edge of the galaxy thing. I mean, what the HELL is it? How far does it stretch? Are we supposed to believe it goes all the way around the entire galaxy, like a shell? It just doesn't seem right, with all the empty space, open nothingness between stars and planets, and even more so when you reach the (THEORETICAL) "edge" of the galaxy. That's like coming to the border of a country, looking down and seeing a line painted on the ground. And although it's really more a criticism of the sequel-- HOW COME in BY ANY OTHER NAME they don't have this kind of problem with things shorting out, crewmen getting killed, and certain ones mutating into super-beings?
Gary Mitchell was a complex character. It's clear he & Kirk go back quite a while, but it's also clear he's the kind of "friend" you wanna keep a watchful eye on at all times so he doesn't STICK IT to you while you're not looking. (I've known people like that, to my deep regret.) The scene where Kirk discovers-- YEARS after-the-fact-- that Gary intentionally sicced a "blonde lab assistant" on him, whom Kirk ALMOST MARRIED, shows the sort of uncaring, manipulative, "playing God" attitude that turned out to be his downfall, when he actually developed powers of a "god". It also, many years later, inspired the idea that Kirk had FATHERED A SON he never told any of us about, in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. What a shock-- not for Kirk, but for anyone who ever watched the show all those years before that movie came out. (When they puilled this stunt with Stacy Keach's MIKE HAMMER, more typically, he never knew he had a daughter until she turned up, fully-grown. That became like a new cleche of the 80's.)
Of course, if one wishes to view the movies as some sort of "reboot", then as far as we're concerned, Kirk DID NOT have a son. Period. It depends on how you want to look at things...
Watching all (well, most of) these episodes again recently, though, I suspect that there had already been a candidate for a "blonde lab assistant that kirk almost married" in one of the existing episodes. (I forget which one just now... was it THE DEADLY YEARS ?)
Elisabeth Dainer was very interesting. Sally Kellerman was much more liable here than later on when she played Margaret Houlihan in the movie M*A*S*H. She had earlier been in THE OUTER LIMITS episode, "The Human Factor", perhaps the BEST "mind-swapping" story I've ever seen. Dr. Dainer clearly believed Gary was NOT a threat, because, she was looking thru her own eyes. Which tells me, when SHE became a super-being, she would NOT have been a threat. It's not the powers, it's the person. And Gary was like a cat... it's been said, if a house-pet cat were as big as a tiger, it WOULD eat you. Because CATS are LIKE that.
If memory serves, I saw Paul Carr (Lee Kelso) on a VOYAGE, though I forget if he was a regular or not. He would have made a good regular here, if they hadn't strangled him to death. Lloyd Haynes also had real potential as a regular, a shame we never saw him again on the show, either. He became famous as the star of ROOM 222 !!!--which was a favorite of mine for 3 years (before they RUINED it at the start of its 4th season).
Andrea Drumm as Yeoman Smith was also easy on the eyes. I wonder why she (and Haynes) didn't return?
The one person I dind't much care for was Dr. Piper (Paul Fix). Funny enough, I've seen John Hoyt, Paul Fix AND DeForest Kelly all appear on westerns-- but then, I guess in the early 60's, everybody was appearing on westerns. There were so many, how could you avoid it? But of the 3 doctors (in 3 episodes), Piper made the least impression n me. Oh well.
I also wonder why Samuel A. Peeples didn't return to write more episodes? In his case, I KNOW he was doing a pile of westerns, before and after this. He didn't become a regular for sci-fi until the mid-70's. He did eventually return to STAR TREK, though. He did BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR-- the pilot for the cartoon show-- and, apparently, he was also the one who came up with the initial story that became STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN ! How's that for a trifecta?
NBC was really, really stupid not to run this episode FIRST. It makes a GREAT introduction to the entire series format, and the main characters.
I forgot to mention... I never noticed this before tonight-- but this episode also marked the debut of Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie. That's right, he was there right from the beginning! Incredibly, though he always seems to be in the background, and very rarerly ever has any dialogue at all, Leslie appeared in no less than 59 episodes of the show, more than Sulu, Chekov or Chapel!
I think the scene with him that always sticks in my memory is in THIS SIDE OF PARADISE. Kirk finds a line of crewmen in the hall, waiting to use the transporter to beam down to the planet. He tells Leslie to get back to his station. Leslie refuses. "This is MUTINY, Mister!" "YES, sir!" And he continus to stand there in line. Hilarious.
Last night: THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER. Considering I didn't actually watch my store-bought tapes of the 2 previous episodes the last time around, this was only the 3rd one I really watched twice so far. (The other 2 being THE MENAGERIE and CATSPAW.) This one never gets old. I read somewhere it was run so late in the season because they were having a lot of trouble getting the special effects for it done. I have never seen the "remastered" special effects for this, and I don't think I'd care to. Why? Because what they have in here is F****ING INCREDIBLE, just as it is!!! I just don't get people who watch a show from the 60's and complain about "cheap" or "(ALLEGEDLY!!!) "cheesy" effects. B***S***. (Now, if you wanna complain about 60's DOCTOR WHO effects, then you may have a legitmate beef. That was the BBC, after all.)
I love the scene where, for the briefest of moments, Spock's "shell" breaks down, and he actually stops himself, pulls himself together, then starts over, phrasing his words differently. One might almost think Leonard Nimoy forgot his lines (if this were DOCTOR WHO, or DARK SHADOWS), but no, this is damned good writing and acting. And a moment later, in a prolonged stretch of silence, a LOOK comes across Kirk's face, and you can SEE almost everyone else on the bridge, watching him, wondering-- or perhaps realizing-- that SOMETHING has crossed Kirk's mind-- and he's about to DO something about their hopeless-looking situation.
"Not, CHESS, Mr. Spock-- POKER."
And then, more from the expressions of everyone else's faces than in what or how Kirk actually says what he does, you can TELL... Kirk is LYING. There IS no self-destruct device on the Enterprise. But Balok doesn't know this!
I love this episode. It really should have been shown 2nd... right after WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE.
Tonight: MUDD'S WOMEN. This one has really grown on me over the years. Parts of it are very well-done, parts are still somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, but I guess it is what it is. And this is definitely NOT the kind of story that would ever appeal to kids, or even teenagers. (Or perhaps., even, overgrown adolescents. Which may explain why some many fans don't like this one.)
The BIG question, I kept asking myself, watching it again tonight, was... HOW is it even possible that a "character" like Roger C. Carmel NEVER appeared on all 3 years of LOST IN SPACE??? I mean, Harry Mudd looks he like stepped right out of an episode of LIS. He seems custom-made for that show. How did such an oversight ever happen? He was on both STAR TREK and BATMAN in the same TV season, but not LOST IN SPACE when it was at its goofiest?
And that's another thing that crossed my mind while watching. Just as LOST IN SPACE fell off the deep end into absurdist lunacy, along comes this new show, STAR TREK, which, no matter how ridiculous the plots or characters might be (and this one came very close to that), they still manage to play it "straight". Put another way, STAR TREK was like LOST IN SPACE, for "grown-ups". I guess that's why LIS was on at 7:30 pm, while ST was on at 8:30 pm. (Which makes me wonder-- would THE OUTER LIMITS have been a bigger hit if it had run at 10pm instead of 7:30pm the 1st season?)
I love watching Spock in this one. He seems mildly amused by everything that goes on, at least, until they beam down to the planet and he reminds Kirk they don't have time to spare. It REALLY got desperate for the Enterprise in this one. And it didn't take some mysterious, ALL-POWERFUL alien computer or other force to almost bring it down... just one really incompetent, selfish, careless, greedy, scheming recidivist.
All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, the final scene actually gives us a hint of the tone of the eventual sequel. "Couldn't you find a way to, oh, accidentally leave me behind? Here on this rock would be bad enough..." "I can't do that, Harry. But I'll be happy to testify at your trial as a character witness... if you think that'll help." "They'll THROW AWAY the key!"
It occurs to me that Harry C. Mudd might be the only non-crew guest-star to ever repeat during classic star trek. that is, the same character appearing in two different episodes. Am I wrong?