Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.2 (Where Silence Has Lease)

Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
Charles Douglass (Ensign Haskell)
Earl Boen(Nagilum)

Writer: Jack B. Sowards

This is a very unusual episode.  It has only one plot – many episodes have two things going on that somehow get linked, but this one concentrates fully on the one story.  The Enterprise finds a hole in space, and accidentally ends up inside it trying to get out.  The try flying out the way they came, going to maximum warp and hoping to fly out the other side… they try loads of stuff and basically it doesn’t work.

They encounter a Romulan vessel that turns out to be an illusion, they beam across to the USS Yamato (their sister ship, which also appears to be there but also turns out to be an illusion) and then they are tantalised with openings back into the real universe than vanish as soon as they set course for them.  In the end, they discover an entity called Nagilum that is effectively holding them prisoner in this void.  He kills a member of the crew just to see how much the human body can cope with, and asks Pulaski to demonstrate reproduction.  (Ugh, Troi would have been marginally better!)

Picard decides to destroy the ship (to prevent Nagilum studying human death, which he guesses will use between a third and half of the crew) so Nagilum sends duplicates of Troi and Data to talk him out of if, which of course doesn’t work.  They end up being set free.

Pulaski is still an odd character – she has taken a dislike (or at least an indifference) to Data who is at this point the most popular character on the show – last show she made a bit deal of pronouncing his name wrong (Daa-ta instead of Day-ta) and this time she questions whether or not he knows what he is doing when called upon to magnify an image on the viewscreen.  It is very hard to like her.

Oh, and there is this odd sequence on the holodeck with Worf at the start.  Has nothing to do with the story and shows him fighting monster things.  They do turn up again a number of times – presumably to justify the cost of the costumes and set in this episode.

This is just an odd episode.  It starts with Picard walking out of his ready room looking lost (perhaps he had a few too many in Ten Forward the night before) and just goes nowhere.  Hard to like, hard to have any opionions about at all really.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 3/10


September 13, 2008 Posted by | anomaly (spacial/temporal), chief o'brien, doubles or duplicates, inside another stafleet ship, self destruct, super beings, worfs holodeck exercise program | | 3 Comments

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.8 (The Battle)

Doug Warhit(Kazago)
Robert Towers(Rata)
Frank Corsentino(DaiMon Bok)

Writers: Larry Forrester, Herbert Wright

Years ago, Picard destroyed an alien vessel, but his own ship, the USS Stargazer, was crippled in the battle.  The crew abandoned ship and were rescued, but the ship was never recovered.  The Ferengi have now found it, and present it back to Picard.  However, they are also controlling his mind and they manipulate Picard into thinking that he is back at that battle and that the Enterprise is his adversary.  Picard uses the same maneuver that he used to win the original battle (the Picard Maneuver, which involves a high warp jump that makes the ship appear to be in two places at once) but as the Enterprise knows it is coming they managed to capture the Stargazer in a tractor beam and prevent it from attacking.  They talk Picard into destroying the device the Ferengi Captain is using to plant suggestions in Picards mind and everything is okay.

This is actually a really nice idea for an episode, and it is pretty well delivered as well.  It is nice to see a more old fashioned bridge in the Stargazer (a redress of the Enterprise bridge sets from the first four movies) and the Ferengi are not half as irritating in this episode.  Wesley appears for the first time in his hideous Acting Ensign uniform – luckily, someone realises how horrible it is and it gets replaced next season.

The Ferengi are developed a little further – at the end the Ferengi Captain is arrested as his plan against Picard is deemed “unprofitable” by his own people – it seems it was an act of revenge due to the death of Daimon Boks own son in the original battle.

The only bit that annoys me is the fact that the device that controls Picard is brought across with all of his other belongings from his quarters on the Stargazer.  By Worf, future head of security.  Didn’t someone think to check the stuff before they beamed it across?  Surely even Worf would have thought that there was something slightly suspicious about a big glowing orb.  Oh well!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
Score: 7/10  

June 16, 2008 Posted by | daimon bok, disease/sickness, ferengi, flashbacks, inside another stafleet ship | | 1 Comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.2 (The Naked Now)

Skip Stellrecht (Engineering Crewman)
Lorine Mendell(Diana Giddings)
Kenny Koch (Kissing Crewman)
David Renan (Conn)
Michael Rider (Transporter Chief)
Benjamin W.S. Lum(Jim Shimoda)
Brooke Bundy(Sarah McDougal)

Writers: . Michael Bingham, John D.F. Black, D.C. Fontana

The Enterprise discover the USS Tsiolkovsky just as the last of her crew die when the open the bridge emergency hatch into space.  When they beam an away team aboard, everyone is dead – many frozen, inlcuding one in the shower.

It soon becomes apparent that whatever killed the crew (a disease that gives similar symptoms to intoxication) of the other ship is loose on the Enterprise.  Under the influence, Wesley Crusher takes over engineering and removes all the control chips from the engines.  Then, the star they are in orbit explodes (that was what the Tsiolkovsky was there to witness) and a hunk of rock is heading for the Enterprise!  Data repairs the system in the nick of time and they all escape.

Okay, this episode is a total remake of The Naked Time – even down to the rustling sound that indicates that the disease has been passed on.  And the series makes no pretence of it – they refer to the specific incident and even reference Kirk by name (the first character from the old show to be named on this one – we saw McCoy in episode one but he is never named!)  The characters all lose their inhibitions – including Data – and we get to find out some additional thinks about the crew.  For example, we learn that there is a definite attraction between Picard and Beverly Crusher.  We also get to find out that Tasha, although a bit of a tomboy, does have a feminine side, (in terms of wanting to look pretty) but she also has a fairly agressive sexual nature, and as well as throwing herself at men in the corridor she actually seduces Data.  In fact, everyone gets rather amorous – once Wesley seals himself into engineering with a force field, the other six crew on the other side are all over each other! 

The funny moments in this are genuinely funny, especially Picard – once intoxicated, whenever he walks through a door he does a little jump, which is just hilarious, as are all his scenes with Beverly.  (When they wave at each other on the bridge!)  And when Data walks into the bridge for the first time after he has contracted the intoxication that is the precise moment where everyone fell in love with that character.  Brent Spiner is hilarious – in a scene that could have been rubbish delivered by another actor, he makes that character his own.  His pratfall is second only to David Jason’s in an episode of Only Fools and Horses

We get to meet the first of several Chief Engineers this season – Sarah McDougal.  She’s okay, but it does get much better when Geordi gets it next season.

It’s not a bad episode, and is does show how capable some of the actors are.  Data, Picard and Crusher do especially well out of it.  It still feels like an episode from the original series though.

Crew Deaths: 0

Total Crew Deaths So Far: 0

Score: 7.5/10

June 6, 2008 Posted by | destruction of a starfleet ship, disease/sickness, inside another stafleet ship, ship/station taken over | | 1 Comment

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
George Takei(Sulu)
Kim Cattrall(Valeris)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Leon Russom(Starfleet Commander in Chief)
Kurtwood Smith (Federation President)
Christopher Plummer (General Chang)
Rosanna DeSoto(Azetbur)
David Warner(Chancellor Gorkon)
John Schuck (Klingon ambassador)
Michael Dorn(Colonel Worf)
Jeremy Roberts(Lieutenant Dimitri Valtane)

Writers: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Nicholas Meyer, Denny Martin Flinn

One of the moons surrounding the Klingon home world explodes, causing the Federation to offer help.  The first thing that is needed is a peace treaty, so Kirk is sent out to meet the Klingon chancellor and escort him to Earth for these talks.  After a dinner in which both parties prove that it will take a while for the Federation and the Klingons to see eye to eye, the Enterprise appears to fire on the Klingon ship.  Two Federation suited officers beam across and murder the Klingon chancellor in the chaos.  McCoy and Kirk beam across to try to help and are arrested for the murder.  They are trialled and sentenced to life imprisonment at the penal colony/dilithium mine Rura Penthe, where they escape, discover that the whole with has been a set up between Klingon General Chang and a high up Federation officer.  They get to the peace conference at Khitomer just in time to prevent the Federation presidents assassination by a human disguised as a Klingon.  They are then told to head back to Earth to be decommissioned.

As things go, this is not a bad movie.  I don’t think it’s as good as everyone seems to remember.  There are some good moments – the first time the Enterprise fires on the Klingon ship must have been quite shocking if you didn’t know it was coming.  And the Vulcan Valeris was a surprise traitor, though it would have been better if it has been Saavik as per the original plan (but neither previous actress was available and they didn’t want to recast again).

The Klingons came across rather well in this story – both David Warner and Christopher Plummer were excellent in their roles.

The worst thing about it was the silly humour.  The “if the boot fits” gag with the Dax character (not the Dax we get to know later on DS9) was pathetic, as was the section when they are trying to speak Klingon go get into Klingon space without rousing suspicion.

The characters were all talking about retirement at the start.  This makes sense – you get the impression that films two through five are meant to happen quickly in relation to one another, with a large gap between one and two and a large one between five and six.  Kirk has not really seemed old until this film – Shatner in his fifties was easily able to pull off Kirk, and although they were all good fun in this movie it was the right move not to do any more.  Scotty, Spock and McCoy in particular are looking very old indeed!

It was a nice send off.  It was great to see Sulu in his own ship.  It does, however, seem unreal that I will not see these people together again.  I have been watching the classic series and movies for this blog for the best part of a year now, and it does not seem real that I won’t see them again.  (Although truth be told the only character I will never see again is Uhura – the others all turn up in various shows or movies.  In fact, one of them show up in the next thing I am going to watch!

Many crew must have died in this, but as no dialogue in the film confirmed the casualty figures, I shall assume they all survived.  So Kirk lost 58 crew in his film and TV adventures.

It’s been fun, but now I have a new group of people to get used to!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Confirmed Crew Deaths Under Captain Kirk: 58 (to be reset for the next series)
Score: 7.5/10

June 4, 2008 Posted by | cloaking devices, doubles or duplicates, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, prisons/penal colonies, romulans, sarek, set on earth | | 1 Comment

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Jane Wyatt (Amanda)
Catherine Hicks (Gillian Taylor)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Robert Ellenstein (President)
John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Majel Barrett (Chapel)

Writer: Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer

The fourth film in the series starts where the previous film left off on Vulcan, with the crew about to depart for Earth to learn of the consequences of their actions in the previous film.  As they leave, a strange alien probe heads for Earth and starts tranmsitting a signal to the Earth from orbit.  The signal causes mass power failure, and also disrupts the atmosphere, causing one hundred percent cloud coverage.  They send out a message for nobody to come to Earth, as the planet is doomed.

En route, the main Enterprise crew inside their stolen Klingon ship pick up the signals.  Uhura distorts the signal so that they can hear what it would sound like underwater, and Spock recognises the sound as the singing of the extinct humpback whale.  So Kirk suggests that they go back in time and get some!

After a successful Time Warp, they arrive in 1986 San Fransisco.  Kirk and Spock cry and find where the whale are kept, McCoy, Sulu and Scotty arrange for the tank to be built inside the Klingon ships hold, and Uhura and Checkov try to find a nuclear power source to collect radioactive particles to regenerate the knackered dilithium crystals.  It all happens, and when they return to the present the whales talk to the probe and it buggers off.  The only punishment they get for what happened in the previous film is Kirk gets demoted to Captain and is given command of the new USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A.

This is often mentioned in the same breath as film two, and whilst it’s not quite as good, it is an excellent movie.  It is the only story played for laughs (I’m not saying it is a comedy, it isn’t) and some of the humour is excellent.  Spock in particular, as he tries to fit into his new surroundings by using what he calls “colourful metaphors” are very funny, as is the scene where he mind melds with the whale.

The film is unabashedly conservationist, the message is hammered home with a lack of subtlety that could be off putting.  Luckily, it isn’t, and there are some moments in the film that are quite tense – when they only prevent their whales being killed by whalers in the nick of time it’s quite tense, although it’s so far into the movie and you know at this point that if they loose the whales there is no time to find any more.

I like the Gillian Taylor character – she is the marine scientist who is responsible for the whales in 1986, and it is nice that she ends up going forward in time with them.

It was also nice to see both of Spocks parents again – Sarek and Amanda both appear, although not together – she is on Vulcan, he is on Earth. 

It is a really nice film, and wraps up the unofficial trilogy of movies really well.  This is the longest story we get in Star Trek until we get into Deep Space Nine and I have to say that after watching the third film I had to watch the fourth on the same day.

So, I’m nearly there with this cast of characters.  Just two more movies to go, and after that I can only look forward to cameos of some of the characters in various of the future versions of the show…  I’m going to miss them, actually.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 8.5/10

June 2, 2008 Posted by | amanda, andorians, contemporary earth, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, saavik, sarek, saving a planet, set on earth, set on vulcan, time travel, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Christopher Lloyd(Kruge)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Judith Anderson (Vulcan High Priestess)
Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand)

Writer: Harve Bennett

You know, my memories of this particular story of the film series were not that great.  There is a theory among the fans that the odd numbered films are not that good.  I have to say both the first film and indeed this one prove that wrong.

The story is relatively simple.  The Enterprise arrives on Earth having returned directly from the events of the previous film.  McCoy is behaving oddly, and when they arrive, they are told that the Enterprise is so badly knackered that she will not be repaired – she is to be scrapped.  Spocks’ father, Sarek (played by the fantastic Mark Lenard) visits Kirk to find out where Spock placed his memories before he died.  It turned out to be McCoy.

Meanwhile, on the Genesis planet, David and Saavik find Spocks coffin but it is empty.  Their ship (the Grissom) is destroyed by a Klingon ship that wants the secrets of the Genesis device.  They find a young Spock with no memories who is rapidly aging, like the planet.

Kirk asks if he can take McCoy to the Genesis planet, but is told he cannot, so he steals the Enterprise and all but Uhura go to Genesis.  There they are attacked by the Klingons, David is killed because Kirk will not surrender and eventually they have to self destruct the Enterprise.  Just before it explodes they beam down to the Genesis planet, which is breaking up, Kirk fights the Klingon commander and wins, and pretends to b him and they get beamed up to the Klingon ship, capture it, and eventually take Spock back to Vulcan (he is now about the right age) and reunited with his body.

The story is not anything like as good as the previous film, but it does have some benefits.  Firstly, this is the first appearance by Klingons as we know them – bumpy foreheads, costumes, knives and everything.  We saw something that was a bit like this in the first film, but the Klingons here are the template used from this point on, and they are great.  Chrisopher Lloyd is especially good as their vicious Captain, who kills crewmembers just for making a mistake (he killed his gunner when the Grissom is destroyed, he only wanted it disabled) and he also orders the death of David (well, any death, it was up to the Klingon on the ground who actually died).  So Yay to the Klingons, they are finally here!

The next two bits I adore are the obvious bits: I love the sequence where Kirk and company steal the Enterprise – they are persued by the experimental TransWarp ship the USS Excelsior, but luckily Scotty has sabotaged their new engines, so the persuit does not go very far.

Also, the destruction of the Enterprise is a really big deal moment.  This is the ship we have seen in every TV episode, and every movie up until this point.  Okay, it was going to be scrapped, but the fact that Kirk destroys her is a poignant moment.  And the effects are pretty good as well – the saucer explodes, but the rest burns up in the atmosphere of the planet.

I also love the fact that Sarek is back – we see Mark Lenard in two more films, and even in a couple of episodes of The Next Generation.

So what if the plot isn’t the strongest, so what if the sequence on Vulcan where Spocks’ mind is taken from McCoy and put back into Spock go on for a bit.  It’s nice to see him again, even though he only gets a few words at the end.

As I said before, this is kind of the middle story in a trilogy, and whilst the two that surround it are much stronger (perhaps the best the series has to offer) I think this one is good too – the quality of two and four tend to push this third film into the shadow a tad.

Crew Deaths: 0 (David doesn’t count, he isn’t Enterprise crew)
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 7.5/10

May 30, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, cloaking devices, david marcus, death of a recurring character, destruction of a starfleet ship, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, pon farr, saavik, sarek, self destruct, set on earth, set on vulcan, stolen ship or shuttlecraft, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan (Scotty)
Walter Koenig (Checkov)
George Takei (Sulu)
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) 
Bibi Besch (Doctor Carole Marcus)
Merritt Butrick (Doctor David Marcus)
Paul Winfield (Captain Terrell)
Kirstie Alley(Saavik)
Ricardo Montalban (Khan)
Ike Eisenmann (Peter Preston)
John Winston (Cmdr. Kyle)

Writer: Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards

The USS Reliant accidentally comes across Khan, from the season one episode Space Seed.  He takes control of the ship, hell bent on only one thing: getting revenge on the man that abandoned him on Ceti Alpha V.  To do this, he steals project Genesis – a new device that will turn a lifeless moon into an instantly terraformed world.  If you happen to use it on a world that already has life, it will replace that life with the new matrix.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise is no longer doing missions, it is being used as a training vessel under the command of Captain Spock.  The ship picks up a confused message from the head of project Genesis, Doctor Carole Marcus, and so StarFleet send them out to investigate.  When they come across the Reliant, they assume she is friendly, until she fires.  As the shields are not up, the Enterprise is very badly damaged, but Kirk manages to find a code that enables him to make Reliant drop her shields.  Enterprise badly damages Reliant, then moved on to find the surviving Genesis staff in the bowels of the planet their research station is orbiting.  They trick Reliant into thinking the repairs will take a lot longer than they actually will, then make a break to hide in a Nebula.  The Reliant and Khan follow, but Kirk has the upper hand and virtually finishes off the Reliant.  So Khan stes off the captured Genesis device, which the Enterprise has no chance of outrunning as the repairs that need doing are in a radiation flooded compartment.  Spock carries out the repairs so they can escape, and dies as a result, his coffin left on the new Genesis planet.

This is an utterly superb movie.  I am not sure if it is my favourite one or not, I am in the process of watching them all, but it is great.  The acting is excellent – Saavik is a great new character, and she is played really well by Kirstie Allie in this film.  It is such a shame that she is played by someone else.

Other parts that are fantastic are the fights between the Enterprise and the Reliant.  This is the first time that we have seen ships in Star Trek blowing each others guts out, and the corresponding shots inside the vessels as they are hit are excellent.  The other effects that are great is the film that Kirk and company watches to inform them about Project Genesis – you see a moon transformed into a living, breathing planet.  Brilliant for it’s day.

The performance of the main cast is also brilliant.  The scene where Scotty loses his nephew is really good, as, of course, is the death scene for Spock.  Also, I really like the uniforms – that was something I forgot to say about the previous film, the one thing I didn’t like were the ghastly seventies uniforms.  These ones are much better, and last for all of these movies, as well as any flashback sequences from future series.

The music is also great.  In fact, I can’t think of anything bad to say about this movie.  It is interesting that Khan recognises Checkov, as Checkov was not in the series that Khan featured in.  I suppose we can assume that he was just on board, just not a member of the bridge crew.

I am not sure how many Enterprise crew are killed in this, I can only confirm two -Preston and Spock.  The amount of damage to the ship would suggest many people died, but there is no confirmation of how many deaths in any status updates given by anyone, so I am going to assume that there were many injuries but only two deaths.

Love this film, and also it kind of serves as the first in a trilogy.  This is Trek at it’s best.

Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 9.5/10

May 29, 2008 Posted by | david marcus, death of regular character, destruction of a starfleet ship, exes, family members, inside another stafleet ship, khan, mind meld, people from the past, saavik, set on earth | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 3.9 (The Tholian Web)

Writer: Judy Burns, Chet Richards

Who said that the third season was full of turkies?  So far, I am finding it about as consistent as the last season, meaning not as good as the first!  However, there are some truly classic episodes.  This is one of them.

The Enterprise investigates the disappearance of the USS Defiant (no, not the one from Deep Space Nine) and finds the ship caught in some kind of dimensional anomaly, the ship seems to be phasing in and out of existence.  A landing party beams aboard, and it seems clear that something drove the crew insane, as the body of the Captain is found being strangled by one of the other bridge crew.  As the ship starts phasing again, most of the landing party managed to be beamed back (only just, since the transporter was playing up).  Kirk remains trapped aboard as the Defiant phases out of existence again.

All does not seem to be lost – the Defiant is due to phase back in in a couple of hours, and Kirk has just enough air for that.  But when a Tholian ship arrives, it upsets the anomaly, so the Defiant does not phase in on schedule.  The Tholians had given the crew the benefit of the doubt, and when the Defiant does not appear they assume that Spock was lying to them and opens fire.  Another Tholian ship arrives, and they start to build a web like energy field around the ship to trap them.  And to make things worse, it seems as though the madness that killed the crew of the Defiant is because of the area of space they are in and it starts to affect the crew of the Enterprise.

Of course, once the time is up and Kirks air supply must have run out, he is declared dead and Spock takes over.  When Uhura sees him in his space suit for a moment, they assume she is going mad as well.

I like this episode.  It is what they later referred to as a “bottle” show – little or no guest cast and filmed on existing sets, but it is really well done.  The Tholian web is fun, although it only works because the Enterprise is disabled – it does take them a while to build it. 

And what is it with Nurse Chapel?  When one of his staff attacks him, McCoy is almost killed and for ages Chapel just stands there and watches!  (Before she finally gets a hypo and knocks out the attacker).  And the cure for the madness that McCoy eventually finds is full of alcohol, and Scotty decides that it might make a good mixer for Whisky! 

Another thing I liked was they didn’t show anything of what was going on from Kirks point of view – the episode is all about what happened to the Enterprise crew, and this was a nice move – it was great that the episode focussed on someone other than Kirk for a change – nothing against him, but it made for a better episode.  This is something that later versions of Trek get good at, but it is unusual for this show.  Oh, and McCoy and Spock pretend that they never watched the tape of Kirk’s last orders to them after they declare him dead.
And we never see the Defiant – they rescue Kirk, but the ship vanishes into the anomaly.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45
Score: 8/10

May 6, 2008 Posted by | anomaly (spacial/temporal), inside another stafleet ship, post death message, tholians, transporter problems | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.24 (The Ultimate Computer)

William Marshall (Dr. Richard Daystrom)
Barry Russo (Commodore Robert Wesley)

Writer: D.C. Fontana

On paper, this sounds like another rubbish episode.  Doctor Richard Daystrom is the person who invented the computer systems that starships are based on now.  His latest invention is the M5 computer – a machine that is capable if running a Starship with a minimum crew.  It eventually goes slightly insane and attacks an ore freighter and ultimately other ships.

Why do I like this?  Well, there is quite a nice and intelligent conversation at the start.  Kirks initial reaction is that he thinks it’s a bad idea and doesn’t trust it, but after that he has a chat with McCoy about why he doesn’t like it, and asks his friend if it could simply be that a machine that leaves a Starship Captain redundant gives him a lack of prestige.  It is a nice moment, and makes the whole set up seem less hokey.

The computer thinks like a person because it has been programmed to mimick the human mind – sadly, Daystrom has used his own mind and this is the fatal flaw.  He made a breakthough that changed the face of computing in his mid twenties (ah, got it, he’s a nerd!) and had nowhere to go after that.  Now in his mid forties he wants something that is a revolutionary, and this is supposed to be it.

There is just enough of a glimpse into Daystrom’s background (he felt like he was laughed at behind his back when he was a young genius, he also believes in God, which is a rare admission in Trek) to make his breakdown and fall from grace realistic.  The M5 kills lots of people aboard the four ships sent to take him out, eventually Daystrom gets through to the machine and convinces it that it is guilty of murder, a sin.  So it shuts down, and everyone survives.

The action is tense, and this one is a lot of fun.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Score: 7/10

April 21, 2008 Posted by | inside another stafleet ship, ship/station taken over, super computers | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.6 (The Doomsday Machine)


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