Happy new year to everyone!
And here we go, the big two-year Star Trek Marathon. Here's some of my thoughts on the first episode.
TOS 0x01 The Cage
"The Cage", being the first pilot, wasn't seen by the public in its original form until released on VHS in 1986 (it aired for the first time in '88 during a TNG season break). Nevertheless, most of its footage had already been reused in the two-parter "The Menagerie" (coming up January 16/17)
Said two-parter almost makes "The Cage" feel a little redundant, since it's essentially nothing more than a clever move on Roddenberry's part to get "The Cage" on TV screens after all. A number of people go so far as to consider this first pilot non-canon, partly also because of numerous inconsistencies with the rest of the series.
Jeffrey Hunter as Pike is believable and engaging. For some reason I can't help but think of "Planet of the Apes" (and maybe even more so "Beneath") when watching this episode. Sure there's similarities in the plot, but the thickness and heroics of both Heston's Astronaut Taylor and Captain Pike are anything but unlike.
I would have loved to see Hunter do a few more episodes as captain or at least guest-star along Shatner. I can't see him romance the women like Kirk though.
That Spock's emotionlessness hadn't been decided on at the time this episode was shot is pretty obvious. His whole tone is different from the Spock we know.
One might notice that the transporter special effect is a bit different from the one we're used to. Here are Roddenberry's instructions:
"Appearances and disappearances of crew:
Eliminate the thick line around the crew members as they are transported. Have a subtle suggestion of sparkle rather than the Peter Pan sparkle being used. Get rid of the colored outline. Have crew members slowly dissolve. Maintain whole image with slight flickering of color instead of present solid color. All the actors should have the same color effect instead of the present individual assortment of colors.
- G. R."
"The Cage" is a thoroughly enjoyable episode. Apart from the fact that it's Pike and not Kirk, it's a perfectly adequate pilot to the series and, as such, feels more accessible than "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
- "Sometimes, a man'll tell his bartender things he'll never tell his doctor." (Boyce)
- "Alright, telepathy!" (Pike)
- "The women!" (Spock)