Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 2.7 (Catspaw)

Cast:

Antoinette Bower (Sylvia)
Theodore Marcuse (Korob)
Michael Barrier (II) (Lt. Vincent DeSalle)
Rhodie Cogan (Witch #1)
Gail Bonney (Witch #2)
Mary Esther Denver (Witch #3)
Writer: Robert Bloch
Having just watched a Trek tour de force, I suppose that it makes sense that the episode that follows it is a bucket of old poo. I cannot think of anything better to say about this episode. It makes sense for shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to have halloween episodes. But what the hell was this all about? The opening moments (especially the three witches) was just embarassing and awful.
This has the trappings of episodes like The Squire of Gothos and Who Mourns for Adonais (aliens that have almost magical powers that they can use to do almost anything, who have a piece of equipment that gives them their power, the destroying of which destroys their power). Those episodes have some merits (although neither are, in my opinion, examples of Trek at it’s best) but there is something about the way this episode is acted that makes the two protragonists down on the planet even more unbelievable than the characters in the aforementioned shows. The fact that neither are acted very well doesn’t help. You cannot empathise with either.
And I think Sylvia was supposed to be sexy. No she isn’t (Kirk really must have forced himseld to kiss her… no, I forgot, this is Kirk we are talking about) and I think somehow they should have cast someone who could move in a somewhat feline way (we do also see her transform into a cat after all). And whilst I am on the subject of the things that piss me off, the moment where she puts the model Enterprise over that bloody candle just winds me up. I don’t know why. It is just so cringeworthy. It is the kind of moment that people who don’t like this show could latch into as a good reason not to watch “s**t like that” and sadly they’d be right. Coupled with the scenes with the giant cat… awful. Just awful.
And the final revelation of what the aliens really look like. They look like they should be from some dreadful BBC kids 1970’s puppet show. This is an episode that fans should only watch if they, like me, are watching them in sequence. One of my least favourite episodes of Star Trek. Ever.
Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 33
Score: 2/10

February 13, 2008 Posted by | super beings | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.6 (The Doomsday Machine)

Cast:

William Windom (Commodore Matthew Decker)
Jerry Catron (Crewman Montgomery)
Tim Burns (Crewman Russ)
John Copage (Crewman Elliot)
Richard Compton (Crewman Washburn)
Elizabeth Rogers (Lt. Palmer)
Writer: Norman Spinrad
I admit a bias towards this episode, not quite sure why. It’s not like it was one of the first episodes I ever saw or anything like that. I like this one simply because it’s great.
This is the first time (I think) we get to see another StarFleet vessel, certainly inside it. Okay, so it’s the Entperprise sets smashed up with some rubble thrown in, but you don’t get to see that very often.
Secondly, the guest actor (William Windom as Matt Decker) is excellent. His performance as he tells Kirk what happened to the crew of his ship, the USS Constellation, is amazing, you can feel his anguish at what happened. This part in the hands of a less capable actor could have ruined the episode – has Decker not convinced then a lot of what happened would have looked like hokey nonsence. Escpecially his suicide at the end. (If he died. New Voyages fans will think otherwise!)
Then there is the premise. An ancient robotic weapon is heading in a straight line to the most densely populated part of our galaxy (the thing that smashed up the Constellation) and must be stopped. We don’t know what it is or why it is there, Kirks theory that it is a leftover doomsday weapon from some ancient war is plausible but never proved. I think that is another reason I love this episode so much – in later versions of Trek they would have beamed aboard and found some database that they could translate and so on. No explanations here. This thing just is and must be stopped.
And finally there is the pacing. If all gets sorted in the last moments that it could be sorted (of course) and even the transporter needed to save Kirk from certian death breaks down thirty seconds before he will die. Again, a bit of a Trek cliche but here it is excellent.
Can’t say anything bad. It only doesn’t get a ten as I don’t give them. One of the best Star Trek episodes from any of the series.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 32
Score: 9.5/10

February 12, 2008 Posted by | inside another stafleet ship | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.5 (The Apple)

Cast:

Shari Nims (Sayana)
David Soul (Makora)
Celeste Yarnell (Yeoman Martha Landon)
Keith Andes (Akuta)
Mal Friedman (Hendorff)
Jerry Daniels (Marple)
Writers: Gene L. Coon, Max Ehrlich
This is the kind of episode that I dread when watching a large number of original Star Trek episodes. Indeed, my dread of stuff like this actually account for why I it is taking me so long to get through these original episodes.
The crew of the Enterprise encounter a giant paper mache dragons head thing that contains a massive computer thing that is running the lives of all of the people on the planet (not that there are many, and no children). The computer stops the population from shagging and has put crap antenna in their heads that look rather like twisted bits of tin foil glued just behind their ears.
Some of the scripting is just awful as well. Before the opening titles, a member of the crew is killed by a plant that shoots poisanous spikes. So rather than beam back up to the ship and continue in some form of environment suit, they carry on and it is actually Kirk who nearly falls foul of them again. Add to these rocks that are chemically so unstable that treading on them makes them explode like a land mine and you are somewhere unfit for humans. After the death of a second crewmember (who trod on the wrong type of rock) Spock says that Kirk has behaved correctly and there was nothing else he could have done. Yeah, right.
Add to it the “it came from Russia” gag that is already wearing thin and the fact that the race on the planet learn about physical contact from watching Checkov snog some Yeoman… just skip this one. It’s crap.
Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 32
Score: 3/10

February 12, 2008 Posted by | primitive cultures, super computers | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.4 (Mirror Mirror)

Cast:
Barbara Luna (Lt. Marlena Moreau)
Garth Pillsbury (Wilson)
Pete Kellett (Farrell)

Writer: Jerome Bixby

Every now and then there comes an episode from the original series that merits the hype that surrounds it. This is one of those.

The creation of the Mirror universe, with it’s differences (some huge, some tiny) is a work of genius, and the imagery from the episode has been lampooned on many occasions (I point you to the episode of South Park where you only know characters are from an alternative, evil universe because of their beards) and even though the story is very simple, it is compelling. Okay, so you know that the changes made to the uniforms and set design are minimal, but they are fasctinating much the same. It is almost a shame that this was not a two parter that featured more of the “evil” versions on “our” Enterprise (not going mad with anger as was shown here) but there are also some cool similarities – the fact that Spock is not as nasty as some of the others in this universe actually makes sense, had it not then the end of the story would have been quite ridiculous.
This was such a huge success that Deep Space Nine revisited this universe on several occasions (some episodes were great, some just plain silly) and even Enterprise went here as a kind of prequel in its final season.
So, all in all, a really enjoyable episode. Loads of crewmembers died, but sadly none of them count as they were in the other universe!
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 30
Score: 8/10

February 10, 2008 Posted by | parallel universes, transporter problems | | 3 Comments

Star Trek 2.3 (The Changeling)

Cast:

Barbara Gates (Astrochemist)
Blaisdell Makee (Lt. Singh)
Arnold Lessing (Lt. Carlisle)
Meade Martin (Engineer)
Arnold Lessing (voice of Security Guard)
Writer: John Meredyth Lucas
On paper, this episode does not look all that good. A machine that left Earth hundreds of years ago is on its way back, looking for it’s creator. Now, from that bried synopsis you might think that I am talking about Star Trek: The Motion Picture but obviously I am not. The computer (Nomad) has a mission to destroy anything that is not perfection, (including the Enterprise) although, unlike V’ger in the aforementioned film, it does not wish to kind it’s creator.
Another similarity is the mind meld that Spock performs on the machine (though how a Vulcan can meld with this I am not sure!) And we finally get some crew deaths in this episode – I am not bloodthirsty but we have not had a crew death in many episodes and in this one four rouge-cladded extras are sent to their graves!
Although in the end Kirk talks the machine into suicide, I don’t dislike this episode as much as I should. The main part that I hate is the fact that Uhura seems to have her brain totally erased, but five minutes later she is reading basic english and within a week she will be fit to return to duty! So that means that StarFleet Academy should be able to turn out officers in the same amount of time. Also, if her brain was erased then surely she is no longer the Uhura that we know? I am assuming that the brain erasure is not as complete as made out in the episode (she tries to speak Swahili at one point, suggesting that not everything is gone) but that part is still nonsense!
Crew Deaths: 4
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 30
Score: 7/10

February 10, 2008 Posted by | super computers | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.2 (Who mourns for Adonais?)

Cast:
John Winston (Lt. Kyle)
Leslie Parrish (Lt. Carolyn Palamas)

Michael Forest (Apollo)

Writers: Gene L. Coon, Gilbert A. Ralston

This episode is well remembered, although arguably not as one of the absolute classic episodes. I think the shot of the Enterprise being held in space by a giant hand is an enduring image from this series, although I would expect most people may not be sure what else happens in the episode.
Well, not much as it happens. Apollo brings some of the crew down to tell them that they have to dismantle the Enterprise, and beam down to the planet and worship him. Everyone thinks this is a rotten idea – everyone except anotehr weak willed female member of the crew, Carolyn Palamas (who Scotty has a thing for) who falls for Apollo. I find this very annoying and rather unlikely, just like the woman who fell for Kahn in Space Seed. I hate the way they feel they have to include these pathetic female characters who fall for someone poweful even though they are obviosuly dodgy. Palamas ultimately makes up for it and is instrumental in saving the day, but I just don’t believe that she would have fallen for him in the first place.
I also was annoyed by the sexism towards the females in this show – McCoy comments that Palamas will leave the service when she finds the right man – the idea that she could marry and stay in StarFleet just doesn’t enter his head. This is clearly sixties thinking, so is less annoying than the previous point, but it still rankles a little.
This episode is also rather cheap. There are the Enterprise sets (and all we really see is the bridge) and the planet (which is basically Apollo’s temple and a few shrubs) and that is all we see.
The notion at the end that perhaps this was the real Apollo is quite interesting, although I feel that Kirk accepts this idea rather too easily. For all he knows this could have just been another Squire of Gothos, especially as he is defeated in exactly the same way, the destruction of a “hidden” power source.
It really isn’t that original even for early Star Trek.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 5/10

February 10, 2008 Posted by | super beings | | Leave a comment