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

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Old January 3 2013, 12:36 AM   #16
Dale Sams
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

CoveSanta wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
yes it is. One of the worst episodes of TOS and in all of Trek, and a surprisingly conservative a commentary coming from the show at the time.
Its reputation notwithstanding, Trek was not nearly as liberal at times as people make it out to be.
It could have been worse. Yes, the message is kinda, "See? We warned you. Time to grow up now." And frankly that's realistic. You can't dance in torn sheets in the rain forever. Growing up doesn't mean selling out.

But at the same time, Kirk remains remarkably restrained...Spock is sympathetic and gives that bit at the end about finding Eden.
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Old January 3 2013, 01:15 AM   #17
Enterprise is Great
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

It's horrendous. It's amazing I can watch it without vomiting. It's just awful.
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Old January 3 2013, 01:22 AM   #18
TOSalltheway
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Is it that bad ? Yes
Redeeming values ? It did give us Pavel Andreyvich Checkov's full name.
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Old January 3 2013, 02:04 AM   #19
sbk1234
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

At its worst, bad Trek still had something of value there to be found.
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Old January 3 2013, 05:56 AM   #20
Timewalker
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

I'm wondering... are the people who don't like it and hate the costumes those who were born in the '80s or later?
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Old January 3 2013, 06:21 AM   #21
Enterprise is Great
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

sbk1234 wrote: View Post
At its worst, bad Trek still had something of value there to be found.
True. i've found that even in the worst of episodes there's a several scenes in it that I enjoy.
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Old January 3 2013, 06:46 AM   #22
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
I'm wondering: are the people who don't like it and hate the costumes those who were born in the '80s or later?
Doubt it, the episode had a bad rep in the 70s. I've always thought that the people who hate it the most are the people who have an accurate recollection of hippies.

I personally think that the wincing discomfort we feel at the space hippies, works in the episode because the senior officers feel it too! It may not have been intended as such, but it works as a storytelling device. Also, theoretically they're a couple hundred years removed: they could be expected to fail at getting the details exactly right, if they are imitating 1960s hippies. And if they're not, then there's even less grounds for complaint about them.
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Old January 3 2013, 02:42 PM   #23
LOKAI of CHERON
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
I'm wondering... are the people who don't like it and hate the costumes those who were born in the '80s or later?
Nope, I'm 44 - TOS was my first Trek. As others have stated, there's certainly some merit to be gleaned from the episode - but I was "down" on it from the off.
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Old January 3 2013, 02:53 PM   #24
TREK_GOD_1
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
It's pretty solid. It is nowhere near as bad as its reputation. The irritation of the senior officers with the kids is convincing (because we viewers are irritated too). It's important that the kids are misjudged in terms of their ability: they are able to take over the ship, which is something no one anticipates.

There is one awesome moment: after the sonics have incapacitated the crew, and Adam's "Yay-ayyy brother" echoes over the limp bodies as we break to commercial. That is terrific.

There are easily 10 worse episodes in s3. It's not bad at all. It only makes us squirm because of the costumes and singing.
Agreed. In fact, one of the most forward-thinking lines ever written for Star Trek comes from Spock in this episode--and is often swept aside in blanket criticism of the episode:

"There are many who are uncomfortable with what we have created. It is almost a biological rebellion. A profound revulsion against the planned communities, the programming, the sterilised, artfully balanced atmospheres. They hunger for an Eden where spring comes."


Decades before the corporate/cultural shifts which made the modern day "Green Movement" a political mallot/entertainment business' "safe" cause (and not the fringe idea of the 60s), the bolded dialogue accurately predicted the rejection of the kind of Stepford-like artifical, politically "middle road" neighborhoods built around new corporate developments (for employee families which popped up like weeds on steroids over the past 20 years).

Such corporate communites all have the right amount of "culture" to make the inhabitants feel relevant and individualistic, yet communites of this kind appear to be clone factories--painted with the right "psychologically comforting" colors, lighting and all of the right, over-processed structure to keep all in a sort of air-conditioned, Apple/Starbucks/Virgin/multiplex-driven dreamland.

It is this very kind of community the Spock dialogue predicts, which--in my opinion--lifts "The Way to Eden" out of the "bad" catagory, only because that line was one of TOS' most potent, accurate predictions.
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Old January 3 2013, 03:13 PM   #25
Timo
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Prophecies are flexible in their interpretation, that much is true - but "planned communities" and "artful balancing" are green things, while a lifestyle of free personal expression is the opposite of green. As far as Spock's analysis goes, these people seem to be revolting against a measurably ecologically sound lifestyle in favor of carefree spending and ravaging of the nature, i.e. ripping fruit from the trees.

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Old January 3 2013, 04:05 PM   #26
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Timo wrote: View Post
Prophecies are flexible in their interpretation, that much is true - but "planned communities" and "artful balancing" are green things
Planning as in corporate communities have little concern for the green-centric, free lifestyle, and emphasize materialism of thought and lifestyle.

while a lifestyle of free personal expression is the opposite of green.
Those professing a green lifestyle reject the pre-fab, materialism/clone mentality seen in such communities, which favor the fed message--the opposite of those expressing a free lifestlye, where SUVs, sports cars, plastic, obsession with gadgets (iPhones, etc.) are the opposite of the natural lifestyle.

As far as Spock's analysis goes, these people seem to be revolting against a measurably ecologically sound lifestyle in favor of carefree spending and ravaging of the nature, i.e. ripping fruit from the trees.
Sevrin's group were green--rejecting the artificial (ex. today's corporate communities) the manufactured "perfection" of societies which ended up creating deadly disease--something else predicted in the episode. As McCoy put it:

"There's a nasty little bug evolved in the last few years, Jim. Our aseptic, sterilised civilisations produced it. Synthococcus novae. It's deadly. We can immunise against it, but haven't learned to lick all the problems yet.
Think about it: present day overuse (or abuse) of anti-bacterial chemicals (domoestinc and industrial) hasin part--led to the creation of so-called "superbugs" resistant to the lab-created remedies for said "bugs"--some life threatening. Those of the green lifestlyle wholly reject this sterile, plastic, out-of-the-box control of life for obvious reasons--a philosophy shared by Sevrin:

"Because this is poison to me. This stuff you breathe, this stuff you live in, the shields of artificial atmosphere that we have layered about every planet. The programs in those computers that run your ship and your lives for you, they bred what my body carries. That's what your science have done to me. You've infected me. Only the primitives can cleanse me. I cannot purge myself until I am among them. Only their way of living is right. I must go to them."
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Old January 3 2013, 05:29 PM   #27
Gary7
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

When I saw it as a kid, I couldn't stand it. I remember eagerly checking out the next re-run of Star Trek and being really dejected seeing "The Way To Eden" come on.

I couldn't stand the clothing styles of the 60's and 70's. "Right on, man", "Far out", "That's so now"... all of those sayings--just couldn't stand it. The goofy plastic drivel songs that were written and orchestrated. Those big fat ugly American cars made me cringe anytime I had to ride in one. I was a 90's kid born a couple of decades too soon. 1990 couldn't come fast enough.

But TWTE has great nostalgic appeal to me now. Yeah, it's not my favorite episode, but there are plenty of qualities about the show that are entertaining. TOS is becoming a museum piece. The very fact that it laid down the foundation for the most successful science fiction franchise to date gives it added appeal. There was a time in the void between TOS and TNG that I'd started to lose appreciation for TOS. It was "the same old thing"... but not anymore. Still, there remains a handful of TOS episodes I hate to watch. If I could scratch off "And The Children Shall Lead" and "Wolf In the Fold" from my DVD collection without damaging everything else, I'd probably do it.
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Old January 3 2013, 05:55 PM   #28
Dale Sams
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Gary7 wrote: View Post
When I saw it as a kid, I couldn't stand it. I remember eagerly checking out the next re-run of Star Trek and being really dejected seeing "The Way To Eden" come on.

I couldn't stand the clothing styles of the 60's and 70's. "Right on, man", "Far out", "That's so now"... all of those sayings--just couldn't stand it. The goofy plastic drivel songs that were written and orchestrated. Those big fat ugly American cars made me cringe anytime I had to ride in one. I was a 90's kid born a couple of decades too soon. 1990 couldn't come fast enough.

But TWTE has great nostalgic appeal to me now. Yeah, it's not my favorite episode, but there are plenty of qualities about the show that are entertaining. TOS is becoming a museum piece. The very fact that it laid down the foundation for the most successful science fiction franchise to date gives it added appeal. There was a time in the void between TOS and TNG that I'd started to lose appreciation for TOS. It was "the same old thing"... but not anymore. Still, there remains a handful of TOS episodes I hate to watch. If I could scratch off "And The Children Shall Lead" and "Wolf In the Fold" from my DVD collection without damaging everything else, I'd probably do it.
Why is it Scotty can't fall for a woman without turning into big stupid doofus and that "Gamesters of Triskelion end music" playing? Kirk even makes a log entry about it. How embarassing.

Edit: I suppose I should explain the non-sequitor...I was sitting here thinking "Hey..'Wolf in the Fold' kind of does suck doesn't it?" Then one thing led to another.

Last edited by Dale Sams; January 3 2013 at 07:13 PM.
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Old January 3 2013, 06:07 PM   #29
Mister Atoz
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Eden was a slap in the face to counterculture, consciousness, and even environmental movements. Raw, polarizing, embarrassing -- an attack of sorts on "hippie-guru leaders".

The airdate was Feb 21, 1969. Less than one month later, Charles Manson had his first encounter with Sharon Tate. They could have named the episode "Mirror, Mirror".

A brief timeline of 1969 ~
Jan 30 1969: The Beatles' last live performance.
Feb 5: due to massive student protests, Gov Reagan declares a state of "extreme emergency" on UC Campuses and sends in the national guard
Feb 11: Montreal: 200 students smash computers with axes & set computer center on fire during sit-in
Feb 21: airdate Way to Eden
Mar 2: Jim Morrison arrested
March: Chicago eight indicted
June: Brown University: two-thirds of graduating class turn their backs on Henry Kissinger's address
August 9: Sharon Tate and LaBiancas found murdered (by the Manson "family")
Aug 17 1969: Woodstock Festival

source: http://www.well.com/~mareev/TIMELINE/1968-1969.html

Oh, and also, the first men landed on the moon July 20, 1969.

So as you've stated, Way To Eden was trying to work out or at least acknowledge a huge schism in American culture at that time. The synthococcusnovae is the fascinating premise at the core of the episode. Sevrin: "Only the primitives can cleanse me. Only their way of living is right." I love it when the word "cleanse" is used in the context of a utopian vision. ~ Such as "The memory of the body will be cleansed."

But the musical numbers were so blunderous, and the costumes and dialogue so heavy-handed, that it definitely was detrimental to the episode's message, which by the way was -- "Don't drop out. Join the Navy or Air Force instead."

When the episode first aired, I was 12 yrs old.

~ Atoz
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Old January 3 2013, 06:46 PM   #30
TREK_GOD_1
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Re: Is The Way to Eden *really* that bad?

Mister Atoz wrote: View Post

A brief timeline of 1969 ~
Jan 30 1969: The Beatles' last live performance.
Feb 5: due to massive student protests, Gov Reagan declares a state of "extreme emergency" on UC Campuses and sends in the national guard
Feb 11: Montreal: 200 students smash computers with axes & set computer center on fire during sit-in
Feb 21: airdate Way to Eden
Mar 2: Jim Morrison arrested
March: Chicago eight indicted
June: Brown University: two-thirds of graduating class turn their backs on Henry Kissinger's address
August 9: Sharon Tate and LaBiancas found murdered (by the Manson "family")
Aug 17 1969: Woodstock Festival

source: http://www.well.com/~mareev/TIMELINE/1968-1969.html
.

~ Atoz
Good list, Atoz.

Other events of '69 used to make judgements about the negative effects of the counterculture:

July 2, 1969: Brian Jones, The Rolling Stones' founding member drowns in hs own swimming pool under still-debated circumstances and conflicting testimony. At the time, Jones was seen as the poster child of not only the decadence of and ultimate "self-destruction" of 60s rock musicians, but the entire youth/drug culture (ironic, in that he was getting off of hard drugs in the months before).

December, 1969: The Rolling Stones free concert at Altamont, California was "policed" by the criminal Hells' Angels gang. Before the muddy nightmare was over, many audiences were beaten, and one of the Angels stabbed a black man to death (caught on film in the documentary Gimmie Shelter). The victim was alleged to have rushed the stage with a gun by some, while others claim he was attacked for being with a white woman (the Angels were largely a racist gang, and even assualted Jefferson Airplane's lead singer Marty Balin).

In the aftermath of the Tate/LaBianca murders, many cited Altamont (the complete opposite of the vibes felt at Woodstock) as the oft-described "death of the sixties." Simple assessment to be sure, but much of your list, and the events I posted did not do a thing to shine a positive light on youth culture as the world moved toward the 1970s.

On that note, "The Way to Eden" walks a fine line of both condemning the extremes of the counterculture, while supporting Sevrin's desires for a technology/materialism-free society, as noted in the Spock dialogue. With Spock's understanding, audiences would at least need to wait a moment to consider the goals before damning Sevrin's group.
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