"The Menagerie" doesn't impress with its dramatic values. "The Cage" is a story that deserved to be aired, even if in this somewhat truncated form - but the framing story is a senseless collection of unconvincing transitions and implausible actions, and the extremely thin story there only serves to undermine everything "The Cage" stood for.
While it may be senseless and unconvincing, I think a framing story was necessary. We have the advantage of looking back at "The Cage" and "The Menagerie" from nearly 50 years later. We've come to accept Pike in command of the Enterprise and understand that there were personnel changes in the 11 years following.
But, back in 1966, the audience didn't have such a framework to rely upon. The Menagerie were episodes 11 and 12 of Season 1. Most of the viewing audience would have been totally confused by all the differences between the established Trek series and the unaired original pilot. Some kind of framing story was needed in order not to confuse or lose the audience.
There was a short lived (1 season) scifi show in the late 70s or early 80s. It was either "The Powers of Matthew Star" or "The Phoenix" (Starring Star Trek II's Judson Scott); I can't remember which one. Anyway, the show was cancelled before season 1 even ended (the more I think about it, the more I think it was Matthew Star). They showed the original unaired pilot as the last episode. It was so totally different from the previous episodes that I was totally confused and lost the whole episode. Nothing made any sense.
When thinking about this incident, I'm glad they put some kind of framework around "The Cage."
I don't think radiation-burned Pike and post-menopausal Vina would produce any children for the Talosians. But you have a point about the framing story undoing the themes of "The Cage."
Cloning would work. Of course, why not send an appeal to other planets for volunteers to resettle the planet? Why not clone Talosians?
[quote[Maybe they should have done a traditional flash-back episode where let's say Jose Tyler or Miss Colt visits, and Spock says "Remember when..."
More artfully than that, of course.[/QUOTE]
That'd work. Of course, neither of those two were crew members on the current Enterprise. But I like the direction you're heading. Any chance to see Miss Colt again...