Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.7 (Justice)

Cast:
Brenda Bakke (Rivan)
Jay Louden (Liator)
Josh Clark (Conn Officer)
David Graves (Edo Boy #2)
Eric Matthew (Edo Boy #1)
Brad Zerbst (Nurse)
Richard Lavin (Second Mediator)
David Q. Combs (First Mediator)
Judith Jones (Edo Girl)

Writer: Ralph Wills, Worley Thorne

An away team beam down to the planet Edo to assess the place for shore leave.  Since it has already been determined as safe by another team, Wesley beams down as well.  Although there are very few laws, and very little law enforcement (bascially a random zone is monitored daily) Wesley unfortunately breaks a greenhouse in an active zone and is sentenced to death.  They are out of contact with the Enterprise, which has made contact with a being that sees itself as the protector of the planet below.

Eventually contact is restored and Picard talks his way out of Wesley’s execution.  They are allowed to leave by the creature in space.

This episode is naff.  The people of the planet are all scantily clad and the suggestion is that they spend most of their time shagging.  There are a couple of nice moments amonst the silliness (Worf’s assertion that he cannot make love to a human woman as they are too fragile is funny) and I also really like the way that Picard sends Geordi to a window to “have a real look” at the vessel thing outside.  Also, we see a character on the bridge played by Josh Clark who may very well be Carey, a character we see from time to time on Voyager.  He is not named, so there is nothing here to say that it isn’t him.

Unfortunately, this episode is just an excuse to show flesh, and perhaps to reinforce the existence of the Prime Directive – it takes so long to rescue Wesley because Picard won’t just take him, he has to do it in a way that is within the law of the Edo (and that doesn’tm piss off their God, the thing in orbit).  We also see the first site to site transport, when God gets upset when they bring an Edo onto the Enterprise.

Not great, but a nice performance from Patrick Stewart save it a bit.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
Score: 5 

June 13, 2008 Posted by | formless creature, primitive cultures | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 3.3 (The Paradise Syndrome)

Cast:

Sabrina Scharf(Miramanee)
Rudy Solari (Salish)
Richard Hale (II)(Chief Goro)
Naomi Pollack (Indian Woman)
John Lindesmith (Engineer)
Peter Virgo Jr.(Lumo)
Lamont Laird (Indian Boy)

Writer: Margaret Armen

This isn’t bad at all.  In fact, the opening moments of the episode actually take a few moments to show you the setting that the story is set in – a nice shot that shows how nice it is.  Even the opening scene takes things slowly, when the three people in the landing party (Kirk, Spock and McCoy) having a look around and taking a sneaky peek at the Native American Indian culture on the planet.

Now, the problem is that in a couple of months time, this planet will be hit by an asteroid and destroyed.  And the point beyond which the Enterprise will be incapable of deflecting it is rapidly approaching, yet they still have a look around!

For once, the Earth based culture works really well, and the other thing I like about this episode is that it is set over two months, as a damaged Enterprise runs just ahead of the asteroid after their failed deflection attempt.  Kirk even gets married and gets his wife pregnant in this episode (don’t worry, she dies before she has the baby!)

The final solution is a bit obvious, but there is something about the way this episode deals with Kirks relationship that is nice rather than hokey.  And if you think about it, Spock is Captain of the ship for two months as they head back to the planet.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Score: 7/10

April 28, 2008 Posted by | asteroid, earth based culture, mind meld, primitive cultures, saving a planet | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 3.1 (Spock’s Brain)

Cast:
Marj Dusay (Kara)
James Daris(Morg)
Sheila Leighton(Luma)

Writer: Gene L. Coon

Spock’s Brain has been stolen from his body.  And they have twenty four hours to find it and restore it or his body will not even stay alive on the life support system.  Yes, really.

It gets sillier.  When they locate the place the brain is, they take Spock with them, his arms and legs operated by a remote control so he can walk around.  Yes, really.

It’s all played so seriously.  I have read somewhere that the shows new producer really didn’t like shows that were played for laughs (such as last seasons The Trouble with Tribbles) so he decided that the show could be taken more seriously.  And that is why this episode is so utterly shit – had it been played for laughs they actually might have got away with such a silly story.

Another wonderful cliche turns up in this episode – the spectre of yet another rock throwing, primitive culture rears its ugly head.

They people on the planet are using the brain to run their city – and they are not advanced as they don’t have to be.  They can be taught, using a teaching machine, to do certain things – for example one learned how to do the surgery on Spock to remove his brain – but the knowledge only lasts a few hours.  And this is how this daft episode is resolved – McCoy downloads the knowledge, put the brain back and everything is hunky dory.  Oh, but he loses the knowledge halfway through but still manages to fix the brain back into place.  Oh, and he connects Spocks vocal cords first so Spock can talk him through the rest of the operation.  Utter crap.

The title logo has changed from this episode – from the old yellow to blue.  Scotty has also done something daft with his hair on this episode – perhaps they should have called the episode Scotty’s Hair.

Just laugh at it.  Then your brain might not explode.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Score: 2/10

April 24, 2008 Posted by | primitive cultures, theft of body parts | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.23 (The Omega Glory)

Cast:
Morgan Woodward (Capt. Ronald Tracey)
Roy Jenson (Cloud William)
Irene Kelly(Sirah)
Morgan Farley (Yang Scholar)
Lloyd Kino (Wu)
Frank Atienza (Executioner)

Writer:  Gene Roddenberry

You know what, I am getting pretty fed up of seeing primitive civilisations, either ones based on earth cultures or not.  This time round, the Enterprise comes across an empty ship, the USS Exeter.  They beam across and find all the crew are dead, and that they are infected so cannot return to the Enterprise.  So they beam down to the surface of the planet, and find the Captain of the Exeter, Ron Tracey, who has realised that something in the planet keeps humans alive a long longer than they would normally – Tracey thinks if McCoy can find out what it is, they will have the Fountain of Youth

As McCoy investigates, he finds out that if the Exeter crew had simply stayed on the surface of the planet they would have built up a natural immunity and survived.

Tracey is mental.  There is no way someone would end up behaving like this – they must psychologically profile every captain to make sure there is nothing in his past or behaviour that could make him do this.  He won’t let anyone beam back to the Enterprise, and he insists that Kirk supplies him weapons for the war that he is involved in.

Something else odd has happened.  I don’t think Scotty is aboard, because Sulu is acting Captain with Kirk not there.  This stands out, because he has been in hardly any episodes this season, and now suddenly he is back.

Oh, and then the crap revelation of parallel development.  One side is called the Yangs (yankees) and the others something based on the American Indians.  When one of the Yangs walks in with a Stars and Stripes and the incidental music goes all “land of the free” the rubbish score I was going to give this episode plummeted.  They even have their own constitution which is almost word for word the same as the American one.  Oh, and they have a Holy Bible with a picture of Satan which looks almost exactly like Spock.  I think I have lost the will to live.

So then Kirk has to fight Ron Tracey.  Can you guess who wins?

Utter crap.  The worst yet, which is a shame as the first ten minutes were quite promising.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 42
Score: 0.5/10

April 19, 2008 Posted by | primitive cultures, rogue captains | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 2.19 (A Private Little War)

Cast:
Gary Carpenter(Yutan)
Arthur Bernard(Apella)
Booker Bradshaw(Dr. M’Benga)
Ned Romero(Krell)
Michael Witney (Tyree)
Nancy Kovack (Nona)

Writers: Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry, Don Ingalls 

Kirk visits a planet that he first surveyed thirteen years ago, to find that that have gone from being a bronze age culture to having basic guns.  Spock is shot and badly injured, and then a Klingon ship turns up.  Kirk and McCoy beam down to the planet to work out why the sudden advancement in technology, and the Enterprise has to leave orbit so the Klingons don’t spot them.  Then Kirk is attacked and poisoned by a creature called the Mugato, so McCoy takes him to the village of someone he met on his first trip.  So far, so good.

Then it takes a turn for the worst.  A woman on the planet (Nona, the wife of Tyree who Kirk met last time he visited) is determined to get the more advanced weapons the crew carry.  Her opening scene is embarassingly written, and the acting is dire.  She does, however cure Kirk, in another scene that almost had me reaching for the sick bag.  (She appeared to use some form of magic, with a lot of head rolling and screaming.  It does work, but frankly if my Doctor ever does that little performance, I would rather be left to die).

Quite quickly, Kirk manages to prove that the Klingons are actually supplying the new weapons to the other village, so Kirk gives similar guns to Tyree and Nonas village.  McCoy is against this (of course) but Kirk insists that there has to be a balance of power to preserve both sides.

It is a very unsatisfying episodes, and the Klingons don’t really play a huge part in this episode – you only see one (only in a couple of scenes) and you don’t see their ship at all.  And the ending is that Kirk buggers off leaving his “friends” with the same weapons the other village are using, they don’t seem to have made plans for what may happen next (the Klingons give them better guns, or phasers, or nukes or whatever).

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 40
Score: 4/10

 

April 15, 2008 Posted by | doctor m'benga, klingons, monsters, primitive cultures | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.11 (Fridays Child)

Cast:
Julie Newmar (Eleen)
Tige Andrews (Krag)
Michael Dante (Maab)
Cal Bolder (Keel)Ben Gage (Akaar)
Kirk Raymone (Duur)
Bob Bralver (Crewman Grant)

Writer: D.C. Fontana

There are some amazing episodes during the run of the original series of Star Trek. Sadly, this isn’t one of them.

The plot is dull – the crew beam down to a primitive planet that has dilithium in order to negotiate a treaty to mine the ore. The Klingons have beaten them to it and also have a representative there to agree a similar treaty.

Like many primitive cultures in this show, this one is just unbelievable, their leader gets killed early on in a badly orchestrated coup and the person who favours the Klingon bid ends up in charge. So Kirk, Spock and McCoy escape (with the heavily pregnant wife of the former leader) and escape from a camp where the sky is a sort of greeny purple into some location shots where they sky is… well, blue. And whilst I am moaning about colour, when Spock uses sonic vibrations to cause a rock fall, the rocks that fall down are grey but the hills are sandy coloured.

I can’t think of anything nice to say about this one, apart from the fact that I am surprised the prime directive allows them to make such contact with such a primitive culture. Perhaps they hadn’t thought of that yet.

This episode also marks the mid point in the run – there were 39 before, there are 39 after. Let’s hope some of them are better than this.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 34
Score: 3/10

April 1, 2008 Posted by | klingons, primitive cultures | | Leave a 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 1.8 (Miri)

First Aired: October 27, 1966

Cast:
Kim Darby (Miri)
Michael J. Pollard (Jahn)
Keith Taylor (Jahn’s Friend)
Kellie Flanagan (Blonde Girl)
Steven McEveety (Redheaded Boy)
Jim Goodwin (Lt. John Farrell)
John Megna (Little Boy)
Writer: Adrian Spies
In this episode, the Enterprise crew find a planet just like Earth and beam down to a back lot on the Paramount estate. There, they find lots of children, behaving like nutters, including one girl called Miri whom is almost old enough for Kirk to bone. But he doesn’t. They all get a disease that kills all adults. But they find a cure.
Aaaargh! This is supposed to be a classic episode. What annoys me. Well, for a start Janice Rand is one of the crew that beams down with Kirk, Spock and McCoy. And all she does is glares at Spock and Kirk as they talk (well, she has about three lines) and she gets really jealous of Miri, who likes Kirk. This is a classic idea – in fact, the basic idea is very similar to the idea behind the creation of the Reavers in Serenity. However, the fact that all the children behave like, well, children, despite the fact that they are over 300 years old… the idea is a good one. The story, as I said, is regarded as a classic. Yet it just annoyed me. The childish behaviour of the kids is stereotypical, badly acted, annoying, and the Miri character herself, whilst engaging, could have been a little more risque in the way they handled her, but in fact she is just a silly young girl falling in love (who just happens to be about 300 and about to go mental).
We get some more moments that Kirk and Rand like each other – this is one strand that it would have been interesting to see how it would have developed if Rand hadn’t left so suddenly later in the first season.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
Score: 4/10

July 29, 2007 Posted by | disease/sickness, primitive cultures | | Leave a comment