Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 2.1 (Amok Time)

Cast:

Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov)
Celia Lovsky (T’Pau)
Arlene Martel (T’Pring)
Byron Morrow (Adm. Komack)
Lawrence Montaigne (Stonn)
Writer: Theodore Sturgeon
I commented on the final episode of series one that there was nothing special about it. Well, there is something special about the opening episode of season 2. This episode is all about Spock (arguably one of the more fascinating characters from the original series) and introduces us to some stuff that will continue throughout the franchise. It is in this story that we find out that Vulcan (males?) only have the urge to mate every seven years (no wonder the little buggers are such good card players, oops, wrong series) and if they don’t get their end away they die. So Kirk breaks some direct orders to take Spock back to Vulcan so that he can get some nookie.
Only it’s not that simple. His betrothed now wants to bone someone else (absense makes the heart grow fonder my arse) so Kirk and Spock end up having to have a fight to the death.
Some aspects of this episode are not great. The Vulcan set is a bit shit (a typical classic Trek badly dressed and lit soundstage) but on the plus side is a very alien culture in the Vulcans. So whilst this will never be one of the top ten, it is a crucial and pivotal episode nonetheless.
Oh, and of course we are introduced to Chekov.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 7/10
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January 31, 2008 Posted by | pon farr, set on vulcan, vulcans | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.29 (Operation — Annihilate!)

Cast:

Joan Swift (Aurelan Kirk)
Maurishka Taliferro (Yeoman Zahra Jamal)
Craig Hundley (Peter Kirk)
Fred Carson (Denevan #1)
Jerry Catron (Denevan #2)
Writer: Stephen W. Carabatsos
Because of the modern days of television where the season ends on either a massive finale or a huge cliffhanger, there is somehow something slightly unsatisfying about this episode. I understand that I am applying a modern day sensibility onto this episode, so for the purposes of this review we will look at it as just another episode.
This is the first time that we have seen the family of any of the regulars as far as I recall – Shatner has an uncredited cameo as the corpse of his brother George. The people of whatever planet they are on are on the path of some form of insanity, so they visit the planet in the hope of preventing whatever has been going on, but when they get there it has already arrived.
Spock gets infected by the same alien species, and this is the first part that I don’t like about this episode. Rather than persuading Kirk to let him go back to the planet (on the grounds that no further people are at risk since he is already infected) he tries to pull a gun on Scotty and force him to beam him down, a sign (to me anyway) that he is not himself.
Kirk ends up in a situation where he may have to kill the million colonists to prevent further spread of the madness, but of course we all know that he manages to defeat the aliens and save the day. So it is very average indeed – an obvious ending to a rather obvious story.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 5/10

January 30, 2008 Posted by | family members, monsters | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.28 (The City of the Edge of Forever)

Cast:

David L. Ross (Lt. Galloway)
John Winston (Lt. Kyle)
Bart La Rue (voice of The Guardian)
Joan Collins (Edith Keeler)
John Harmon (Rodent)
Hal Baylor (Policeman)
Writer: Harlan Ellison
When you ask a Star Trek fan to list their very favourite episodes, this one nearly always comes in the top three. Why. Does it deserve it or not?
Well, yes is the brief answer. For a start is introduces the concept of the Guardian of Forever, which is used to great effect down the line on an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages. It is also quite a clever story – high on a medication that is injected in error, McCoy goes through the portal and changes history so badly that the Enterprise no longer exists. Spock and Kirk follow (although the actually arrive first), and Kirk meets Edith Keeler (Joan Collins) and falls for her. Sadly, when Spock gets his tricorder working again he realises that her death is that turning point, and by saving her McCoy changes the future, so in a nutshell he has to let her die when he knows he can save her.

This is a really nice tale – set in the past, it has some nice dialogue and the interplay between Kirk and Spock is great, especially the moment where they explain Spocks ears to a cop! It is nice seeing our regulars as fish out of water in an environment they don’t really understand, but a lot of the episode revolves around Spock having to build a rudimentary computer to view the information stored on the tricorder. So what kind of tit designs a handheld unit that can store loads of data that cannot be accessed without a larger computer?

Oh, and the insistence of the director of doing all of the close up shots of Keeler in soft focus really gets very annoying very quickly. When every other shot is nice and sharp, those are just annoying.
And those really are the only gripes, the rest is great. It is regarded as a classic, and deservedly so.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 8/10

January 19, 2008 Posted by | time travel | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.27 (The Alternative Factor)

Cast:
Eddie Paskey (Lt. Leslie)

Robert Brown (XI) (Lazarus)
Janet MacLachlan (Lt. Charlene Masters)
Richard Derr (Commodore Barstow)
Arch Whiting (Assistant Engineer)
Christian Patrick (Transporter Chief)
Writer: Don Ingalls
Hey, I’m back. (Wanting to watch a Trek episode on my new TV had nothing to do with it, honest!) This is an interesting episode. It’s one of those average shows – it’s not awful but it’s not great. The central idea, that two identical looking guys from opposite universes (presumably one ours, one other) are locked in a fight, the ramifications of which are creating instability across the entire galaxy and beyond. The Enterprise is closest, so they draw the short straw to investigate.
Obviously, what is happening is not immediately revealed – Lazarus initially just looks like a schizoid nutter – but I liked the idea that they cross the universes though what is described as a tunnel that is like a “safety valve”. Having watched the Doctor Who story “Logopolis” recently, the concept sounds rather like the CVE that is used to cross into another universe, but I suspect that they didn’t nick it from here as the way the idea is used is very different.
Some silly stuff here. Lazarus is supposed to be this violent, dodgy geezer, yet they let him run around the Enterprise rather than keeping him locked up. And curiously, the scene set in the alternative universe is filmed on a soundstage rather than the location used for the scenes set in our universe. I don’t really understand why – surely it would have been cheaper just to film this sequence when they were on location? Or maybe someone thought the look had to be different enough so that even the stupid viewed could pick up on what was actually going on.
So, an okay concept averagely executed.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 6/10

January 19, 2008 Posted by | doubles or duplicates, parallel universes | | Leave a comment