Star Trek 1.1 (The Man Trap)
First Aired: September 8, 1966
William Shatner (Captain James Tiberius Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock)
DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy)
Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand)
George Takei (Lt. Sulu)
Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura)
Jeanne Bal (Nancy Crater)
Alfred Ryder (Prof. Robert Crater)
Bruce Watson (Crewman Darnell)
Michael Zaslow (Crewman Green)
Vince Howard (Crewman)
Francine Pyne (Nancy III)
Writer: George Clayton Johnson
Although not the first episode to be produced, this was the first one aired. There are some differences between this and what becomes the established series – the first is the treatment of the regulars other that Kirk, Spock and McCoy. They all seem to get some actual character development, something that you do not see that often in later episodes.
It is slow in places, especially after the quick-fire editing we are used to in modern television. There are some moments of sexism (especially the references to Yeoman Rand) that, whilst being the kind of things men no doubt would say in the modern age, just wouldn’t get shown on TV. Also the opening scene where everyone sees a different woman are not handled that well, and as for Crewman Darnell almost drooling all over Nancy… well, he deserved to die, that’s all I can say!
The soundstage representing the planet is also very basic even by Star Trek standards, however I am always impressed by the Enterprise. Okay, so the technology seems wrong by the standards of today, but there is still something enduring about the design of the ship, especially the interior. They were able to set most of a two part story from the final season of Enterprise within a very similar ship and it still looked great!
The story on this one is okay – in a way I feel that what is going on is a bit obvious, and I am never totally convinced by the character of Professor Crater – I don’t see that anyone would let as many people die to protect this secret, especially after the creature killed his wife.
The regulars are on fine form in this story. Kirk is very direct with McCoy about the death of his crewman early on, and this story gives an unusual focus on the good Doctor. I also really enjoyed the opening scene where Uhura tries to employ Spock in idle conversation, and Rand and Sulu in Sulu’s quarters with his plants. The only regular who does not appear is Scotty.
So, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The transformations of the creature are rather basic, and the monster at the end… somehow I don’t think any human could fall in love with that, even if it could change shape! So, not one of the best.
Crewman Death Count: 4
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4