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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 17 2011, 01:57 AM   #976
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
"Requiem For Methuselah" ****

The Enterprise encounters an enigmatic recluse on a supposedly uninhabited planet.

I rather like this episode and I always have in varying degrees. And that's even while acknowledging that it has a glaring flaw: Kirk falling so hard and so fast for Rayna just isn't credible. The only rationalization I can imagine is that Kirk was being manipulated or influenced beyond what we see onscreen.

Perhaps Rayna was made with highly powerful pheromones or some other agent or means that influenced and enhanced Kirk's responses. It could have been very much like Elan's tears seen previously in "Elaan Of Troyius." The pity is we can only speculate because we're not given any clue onscreen.

Setting that issue aside I do think this is an interesting story on a number of levels. Never mind the historical fudging (because this is Star Trek's reality and not ours), but that an immortal having lived through the centuries and having been many well known figures is a compelling idea for a story. And then in the far future he elects to create a mate for himself, as immortal and as brilliant as he. Then in the end he not only loses what could have been the love of his life, but also learns he himself is no longer immortal. And if Rayna had survived then she would have outlived him.

Although they sidestep any technobabble that would surely have been tossed in if this story had been done in TNG, I admit that Rayna's death seems very much like Lal's in TNG's "The Offspring." Both were artificial lifeforms that hadn't had time to adapt to their new found emotions.

I must also say that I was gratified to see Rayna portrayed more like the Roger Corby type androids in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" rather than the stupidity portrayed in "I, Mudd." Indeed she seems much more like the kind of construct that Sargon and Thalassa and Henock (from "Return To Tomorrow") could have inhabited.

The episode is also dressed better than some other third season episodes with Flint's and Rayna's costumes and Flint's elaborate home and laboratory.

This also wasn't a run-and-jump style adventure story. This was more a thoughtful science fiction story and an interesting compliment and contrast to "The Way To Eden" before it. The two episodes give us something of two different glimpses of TOS' far future society.

I find it rather classy for lack of a better word. That sense is certainly bolstered by its rather literary sounding title.
The tale of the immortal living throughout ancient times and into the present, as well as the future has been told by SF authors for many years. Its an intriguing if unlikely subject...its one of the few cases where I probably wanted to BE one of the ST characters. I enjoy living in modern times but imagine if your current existence was the product of so many experiences...I think the perspective may be a little different. Eventually, without some sort of major body-mind altering event, might come boredom, a lack of empathy for the humanity you left behind, and an ironic sense of loss and need for that same humanity...Flint is that man...

Its a great concept, not quite lived up to by the execution. For one Flint starts off ok, but winds up getting into a macho clash of wills with Kirk. I find this hard to believe for a man with such experience. Kirk also seems to fall in love rather easily in season 3...it might have been better if they simply wrote Kirk as a man who wanted to "save" Rayna from the life she was living. What's worse, Rayna is interesting up until an emotional breakdown that she simply couldn't handle! Emotion does her in because of course, AI can never handle such things. Despite that, Rayna is one of the more advanced androids in TOS. Much of this can be forgiven, the episode is rather leisurely paced, but it seems very appropriate and works throughout. There is some very good writing here.

The episode was written by Jerome Bixby, who later went on to adapt it once again into the excellent, award winning: "Man From Earth" movie screenplay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_From_Earth

Note must be made of a staggeringly good matte by Max Gabl of Flint's home in the TOS-R version, which adds fine little touches, like a rocket and observatory in giving TOS's locales some variety.



The original was pretty darn good too:



As an aside...isn't it interesting to see a helper robot for Flint? Seems logical that such hovering, flitting machines would exist by this time, helping with everything from science missions to getting Kirk's shoes. Its efficiency is obvious, it even does a better job than Spock at some tasks. Episode: **** stars

Warped9 wrote: View Post
“The Savage Curtain” ***

An alien compels Kirk and Spock to demonstrate the differences between good and evil.
I have one central impression of this episode, it actually rings true...despite all the black and white images we may have of good and evil, quite often they really do use the same methods...there are lots of shades of gray which people are not ready to admit. The episode could have had uber hero Kirk, pacifist Surak, idealized Lincoln and near-pacifist Spock really come off as straight-laced boy scouts. The historical characters give a rare glimpse into the history of the Earth and some other high profile planets. There is a rare attempt to make a truly alien being. Overall, it lacks the necessary cohesion and intensity to be a great episode, but its a step above the usual 3rd season episode. **** stars
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Old June 17 2011, 02:43 AM   #977
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

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As much as I like "Requiem", it does really screw with Kirk's character.

Kirk falls so hard and so fast for Rayna (in what, six hours?) that it strains credulity.

But worse than that... it's not just a matter of stopping by for a visit and falling for Rayna. The entire crew was at risk from the disease that would kill them all--in a matter of hours! Kirk endangers the lives of his whole crew, who are in imminent and mortal danger, to romance Rayna.

He should have known better, and Spock and McCoy should also have had a better sense of urgency about the whole matter.
And you sum up why there had to be some other powerful influence at work, only regrettably it isn't spelled out for us.
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Old June 17 2011, 02:44 AM   #978
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

RAMA wrote: View Post
. . . Note must be made of a staggeringly good matte by Max Gabl of Flint's home in the TOS-R version, which adds fine little touches, like a rocket and observatory in giving TOS's locales some variety.

Yes, it’s a beautiful matte painting. I see Romanesque arches, domes, campaniles and cupolas, something that looks like an observatory dome containing a telescope, and a large ornamental globe. Rocket? What rocket?

The original was pretty darn good too:

Of course, that’s the painting of the Rigel fortress recycled from “The Cage.” You knew that, right?
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Old June 17 2011, 03:01 AM   #979
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

I must say that in some cases I would award or detract half a point for episodes when I feel conflicted, but from the beginning I elected for a more clear cut whole number rating system.

Case in point:


“All Our Yesterdays” ***

Kirk, Spock and McCoy finds themselves trapped in a planet's distant past shortly before the planet's sun is to go nova.

There are some good moments in this, most particularly I like how it's McCoy that puts everything together before Spock does.

I do find it interesting that Sarpeidon's science has mastered time travel, but not space travel. Of course we don't know the culture or its history and there may well be a reason why they never developed space travel. Or perhaps once they had and later turned their back on it. At any rate it's an interesting idea that an entire planet's population escapes the destruction of their world by retreating into the past. It certainly sets up an interesting situation for our heroes who are inadvertently transported into that past.

The idea that the Atavachron "prepares" you for a past era sounds kind of dodgy to me. Evolution doesn't really work that way. Except for acquired knowledge there really isn't any physiological difference between contemporary humans and our ancestors. In extent of that there is no reason for Spock to revert to the behaviour of his distant ancestors...except that it makes for drama.

Mr Atoz has replicas as assistants. Of course, the term clone wasn't yet in widespread use. It's also interesting that in TOS' time they can time when a star will go nova practically to the minute, and without any technobabble.

Overall it's an okay episode. I must say I rather like that shot of the Enterprise flyby as the star goes nova.
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Old June 17 2011, 03:33 AM   #980
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post

“All Our Yesterdays” ***

Kirk, Spock and McCoy finds themselves trapped in a planet's distant past shortly before the planet's sun is to go nova.
A '****' outing for me. I like the concept, like Mr. Atoz and I love how the episode utilizes our heroes. And it also features the lovely Mariette Hartley.

I don't think it's being in the past that affects Spock so much as the environment. Probably a very primal survival instinct kicked in when he thought he was trapped in an ice age.
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Old June 17 2011, 03:47 AM   #981
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

scotpens wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
. . . Note must be made of a staggeringly good matte by Max Gabl of Flint's home in the TOS-R version, which adds fine little touches, like a rocket and observatory in giving TOS's locales some variety.

Yes, it’s a beautiful matte painting. I see Romanesque arches, domes, campaniles and cupolas, something that looks like an observatory dome containing a telescope, and a large ornamental globe. Rocket? What rocket?
That painting is absolutely stunning. But it is a little "too crisp" for the episode. The crispness makes it feel out-of-place when matched with the live-action elements.
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Old June 17 2011, 03:54 AM   #982
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

scotpens wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
. . . Note must be made of a staggeringly good matte by Max Gabl of Flint's home in the TOS-R version, which adds fine little touches, like a rocket and observatory in giving TOS's locales some variety.

Yes, it’s a beautiful matte painting. I see Romanesque arches, domes, campaniles and cupolas, something that looks like an observatory dome containing a telescope, and a large ornamental globe. Rocket? What rocket?

The original was pretty darn good too:

Of course, that’s the painting of the Rigel fortress recycled from “The Cage.” You knew that, right?
Yup, that's why I mentioned it gave the show some variety with it's locales.

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Old June 17 2011, 04:42 AM   #983
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
. . . Mr Atoz has replicas as assistants. Of course, the term clone wasn't yet in widespread use.
Of course, we have no way of knowing whether Atoz’s “replicas” are biological clones, android duplicates, cyborgs, or some bio-engineered construct that today’s science can’t even imagine.

BillJ wrote: View Post
A '****' outing for me. I like the concept, like Mr. Atoz and I love how the episode utilizes our heroes. And it also features the lovely Mariette Hartley.
Half-dressed in another great William Theiss outfit. Never mind that there’s no practical reason why a woman living alone in a frozen wasteland should dress like a jungle girl.

I don't think it's being in the past that affects Spock so much as the environment. Probably a very primal survival instinct kicked in when he thought he was trapped in an ice age.
It’s specifically mentioned that Spock isn’t merely reverting to instinct; he’s regressing to the violent emotions of his Vulcan ancestors of thousands of years ago, who have now become his contemporaries. Perhaps staying in constant telepathic contact with the inhabitants of his home planet helps Spock keep his Vulcan cool — assuming that telepathy waves travel at warp speed.
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Old June 17 2011, 05:14 AM   #984
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

"Turnabout Intruder" **

Kirk finds himself trapped in the body of a former lover.

Even the description of this episode sounds loopy. And like some previous episodes there is a potentially interesting story to be told here, but it's marred by sloppy thinking.

Watching this and seeing "Kirk's" erratic behaviour when inhabited by the persona of Janice Lester I can't help think of the second season episode "Obsession." There McCoy and Spock seemed much more assured of challenging the Captain's authority when his behaviour was far less extreme than seen here. And for me this really undermines how far Lester/Kirk is allowed to go before things get really messy. I also find it wholly ludicrous that McCoy's tests show nothing psychologically wrong when Lester/Kirk's blatant behaviour is out there for anyone to see.

Shatner does an interesting job of portraying his body possessed by the erratic Janice Lester. He's comes across as soo self-conscious and affected. His body language as well as mannerisms and speech are so different from the familiar Kirk's. Sandra Smith also does a respectable job of portraying Kirk trapped in Lester's body with just the right touches of speech patterns and mannerisms.

Another bit of nonsense in my opinion is Lester/Kirk's reference to "months of preparation" to take over the real Kirk's position. It takes years for someone to be ready to command a starship yet Lester has prepared for only months??? It's really just another bit of evidence showing that Janice Lester is beyond being just bitter and definately crossed over into mentally unstable. Or in more plain language she's fucking crazy.

I also think it's pretty damned clear that Lester left Starfleet and that command wasn't possible for her because even way back then she just didn't have the temperament for it. Indeed Kirk/Lester actually states she wasn't suited for command because of lack of training and temperament. It has nothing to do with women not being able to command. Unstable women (or men) is another thing entirely.

While it's interesting to watch Shatner's performance I also found it unsettling even while understanding it was supposed to be. It's just so out there. But ultimately it taints the rest of the story for me.

This is TOS' last episode production wise as well as broadcast wise. Pity it couldn't have gone out on a better note. Or to quote Kirk's last line: "If only..."
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Old June 17 2011, 05:42 AM   #985
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

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"Turnabout Intruder" **

Kirk finds himself trapped in the body of a former lover.
Five stars all the way. This is one of the most 'fun' episodes of TOS and Shatner is chewing some serious scenery here. I really think TOS goes out on a memorable note with this one.
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Old June 17 2011, 06:05 AM   #986
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

So how have things shaped up?

Season 1 scored 127 of 145 = 87.5% = an episode average of 4.37 of 5.
Season 2 scored 97 of 130 = 74.6% = an episode average of 3.73 of 5.
Season 3 scored 79 of 120 = 65.8% = an episode average of 3.29 of 5.

***** Excellent = 4 episodes = 16.6%
“Elaan Of Troyius”
“The Enterprise Incident”
“Is There In Truth No Beauty?”
“The Tholian Web”

**** Good = 8 episodes = 33.3%
“Spectre Of The Gun”
“The Empath”
“Day Of The Dove”
“Plato’s Stepchildren”
“That Which Survives”
“The Cloud Minders”
“The Way To Eden”
“Requiem For Methuselah”

*** Fair = 6 episodes = 25%
“The Paradise Syndrome”
“For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky
“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”
“The Lights Of Zetar”
“The Savage Curtain”
“All Our Yesterdays”

** Poor = 3 episodes = 12.5%
“Spock’s Brain”
“The Mark Of Gideon”
“Turnabout Intruder”

* Bad = 3 episodes = 12.5%
“And The Children Shall Lead”
“Wink Of An Eye”
“Whom Gods Destroy”


Breakdown by Season
Good to Excellent - Season 3 slips about ten percent from Season 2. But even so half of its episodes are respectable and can stand with the better episodes of the previous two seasons.
Season 1 = 82.7% (24 episodes)
Season 2 = 61.5% (16 episodes)
Season 3 = 50% (12 episodes)

Fair - Interestingly Season 3 stays pretty close to same as Season 2 in terms of watchable episodes.
Season 1 = 17.2% (5 episodes)
Season 2 = 26.9% (7 episodes)
Season 3 = 25% (6 episodes)

Poor to Bad - Here is the swing. What Season 3 lost in top tier episodes it dropped to disappointing efforts.
Season 1 = 0% (0 episodes)
Season 2 = 11.5% (3 episodes)
Season 3 = 25% (6 episodes)

In the end Season 3 isn't as bad as what seems to be the generally held perspective. At least half of the episodes are respectable and if you include the watchable ones as well that's three quarters of the season is at least acceptable. That is still a damned good batting average. And while I don't have the hard numbers compared yet no TNG season did much better than that.

It's also interesting that Season 3's budget constraints didn't really make itself apparent as often as might be believed. Even under budgetary constraints quite a few episodes still put on a good show. And there was sufficiently abundant creativity and resourcefulness apparent throughout much of the season.

Where Season 3 fell down was in terms of careless thinking and careless execution. Things went south when ideas weren't thought through enough and the general execution felt rushed just to get the show in the can. A little more attention and overall polish could have gone a long way.


Series Breakdown:
Good to Excellent = 65.8% (52 episodes)
Fair = 22.7% (18 episodes)
Poor to Bad = 11.3% (9 episodes)

TOS certainly doesn't follow the "one third" results of my TNG revisit where I found about one third of the episodes Good-Excellent, one third Fair and one third Poor-Bad. For TOS I find nearly two thirds of the series to be Good-Excellent, a bit less than a quarter of it Fair and a little more than a tenth of it to be Poor-Bad.
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Old June 17 2011, 06:38 AM   #987
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Seasonal comparisons:

Good to Excellent - TNG never really gets close to TOS in terms of batting average here.
TNG Season 1 = 16% (4 episodes)
TNG Season 2 = 40.9% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 3 = 42.3% (11 episodes)
TNG Season 4 = 42.3% (11 episodes)
TNG Season 5 = 34.6% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 6 = 30.7% (8 episodes)
TNG Season 7 = 15.3% (4 episodes)
TOS Season 1 = 82.7% (24 episodes)
TOS Season 2 = 61.5% (16 episodes)
TOS Season 3 = 50% (12 episodes)

Fair - TNG picks up here where it loses in the better ratings. Whether that's win or lose is a matter of perspective. The closest equivalent is TNG's Season 4 with TOS' Seasons 2 and 3. In terms of numbers in any given season then it's pretty damned close.
TNG Season 1 = 36% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 2 = 22.7% (5 episodes)
TNG Season 3 = 30.7% (8 episodes)
TNG Season 4 = 26.9% (7 episodes)
TNG Season 5 = 34.6% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 6 = 34.6% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 7 = 34.6% (9 episodes)
TOS Season 1 = 17.2% (5 episodes)
TOS Season 2 = 26.9% (7 episodes)
TOS Season 3 = 25% (6 episodes)

Poor to Bad - The closest comparison is TNG's Season 3 with TOS' Season 3, but throughout the rest TNG has a poorer batting average.
TNG Season 1 = 48% (12 episodes)
TNG Season 2 = 36.3% (8 episodes)
TNG Season 3 = 26.9% (7 episodes)
TNG Season 4 = 30.7% (8 episodes)
TNG Season 5 = 30.7% (8 episodes)
TNG Season 6 = 34.6% (9 episodes)
TNG Season 7 = 50% (13 episodes)
TOS Season 1 = 0% (0 episodes)
TOS Season 2 = 11.5% (3 episodes)
TOS Season 3 = 25% (6 episodes

Of course, one can argue that TNG ran longer than TOS and so the odds for more Fair-Poor-Bad episodes was likely greater. But even if you compare only the first three or four seasons of TNG with TOS then TOS still has a better batting average.


Series comparisons:
Good to Excellent - TNG produced more than twice as many episodes as TOS and yet the difference in the number of quality episodes is negligible.
TNG = 31.4% (56 episodes)
TOS = 65.8% (52 episodes)

Fair - With a longer production run it's understandable TNG would have greater odds for putting out more average episodes.
TNG = 31.4% (56 episodes)
TOS = 22.7% (18 episodes)

Poor to Bad - TNG had more than twice as many episodes and more than three times as many disappointments.
TNG = 37% (66 episodes)
TOS = 11.3% (9 episodes)


After all is said and done TOS was/is a dynamic and incredibly creative series. At times it faltered, but overall it accomplished pretty much everything it set out to do. And it did it with unapologetic style. It's easy to see how much of it became so iconic and how its better efforts can easily stand with the best SF ever put on television.


Next stop: TAS
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Old June 17 2011, 03:18 PM   #988
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
“All Our Yesterdays” ***

...It's also interesting that in TOS' time they can time when a star will go nova practically to the minute, and without any technobabble.

...I must say I rather like that shot of the Enterprise flyby as the star goes nova.
Another question gets raised here. I think part of it can be blamed by few people understanding what a star going nova means. As I understand it a nova is usually a white dwarf star that accretes hydrogen or solar matter from a larger companion star until it flashes and thus producing a nova. I think something like this was shown in TNG's "Evolution." The thing is, though, that such an event is often recurring because the small star blows off very little of its mass and so the process can repeat itself numerous times. As such there's no way an intelligent race and civilization could evolve or even inhabit a planet in such a star system.

A supernova is a one time event (and, yes, a white dwarf could eventually supernova), but it's usually relegated to large stars exceeding a certain mass I believe. Such stars are highly unlikely to have a habitable planet and one with an advanced civilization evolving upon it since the star's life is so short lived.

Our own sun will not supernova because it is too small (thankfully). But eventually it will swell into a red giant as it nears the end of its life about five billion years from now. At that time it could conceivably swell beyond Earth's orbit and consume the planet. Of course, long before that the Earth will have been scorched to a burnt, and lifeless cinder.


The other question raised is if Federation science can time a sun going "nova" almost to the minute then how long had they known that Sarpeidon's sun would flash? It's possible they had only recently discovered this because there is no mention of any potential plan to inform the planet's population or to help evacuate them. And that is certainly something the Enterprise couldn't do alone.

My impression of some of the unspoken backstory here is:
- the Federation knew of Sarpeidon's existence and the civilization there. Later long range scans indicate the star will go nova.
- Sarpeidon's people did not have any evidence of space travel and it was ignorant of life on other worlds beyond their own.
- the Enterprise perhaps was meant to observe the nova from a distance even while powerless to aid any of the population, by context of practicality and perhaps also because of the Prime Directive. If the Prime Directive is invoked here then it's an obvious case of letting an entire civilization die rather than allowing any intervention to try to save some portion of the population. Of course, it could also be a matter of practicality in that it's only recently learned the star will nova and there simply isn't time to enact any sort of evacuation plan.
- the Enterprise arrives in the area for its observation of the event and long range scans detect no remaining life on the planet or at least intelligent life.

And then that's where the episode picks up.
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Old June 17 2011, 04:16 PM   #989
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Methusela: One of my favorites, warts and all, and I really can't say why. I just really like it.

Apart from Kirk's whirlwind romance I also hate that they made Flint almost EVERY notable genius from human history! What, he was the only one ever born who could be smart and creative!? They could have made him just one or two notable men and still made the point.

I saw Louise Sorrel at Chiller a few years ago and she has aged quite gracefully, and was still quite lovely.
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Old June 17 2011, 04:35 PM   #990
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Re: Revisiting Star Trek TOS/TAS...

Eagerly awaiting TAS
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