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

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Old December 15 2012, 07:05 AM   #31
JimZipCode
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
I was going back and forth with 3.3 and 3.4, since this is a clichéd story (even for its time, I think) but a good dramatic story that is usual for the 1st season. So, I give it a 3.35. The overall pacing is slower, more dramatic than later seasons
Corbomite is magnificent. I hate the last ~3 mins; but up until then it is absolutely magnificent. Crackles with energy. The sharp dialogue on the bridge is amazing.

Best are the moments of dialogue leading directly up to Kirk's idea for his gamble. Kirk flailing around for an idea; Spock's failure to produce a viable recommendation; the Chess metaphor; McCoy's heated rebuke; the way the argument produces the key word; the look on McCoy's face, like he just swallowed a lemon, when the alien intones "You now have three minutes" and McCoy realizes that Kirk has bigger things to worry about right at that moment. It might be the best dialogue writing in the show, in the specific sense of having the things characters say actually drive the plot. The words themselves key the next action in the story – and the next action itself, Kirk's bluff, is in fact words! Just words. Later Scotty & Spock engage in some byplay, that seems like they are self-consciously trying to relax the junior officers.

Of any scene in Star Trek, this is the scene that most evokes the early 60s (and late 50s) tradition of sharp dialogue writing for TV. They moved away from the need for that. This was the first bottle show – the next one, Balance of Terror, still had some inter-character tension on the bridge. But the series moved more toward visiting other planets and having guest stars drive the story conflict.

One of my favorites. I wish, I wish the ending were stronger. But the main body of the episode is so terrific, even a weak ending can't undermine it too badly.
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Old December 15 2012, 08:49 PM   #32
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
I wish the ending were stronger.
Well, at least it allowed Kirk to get Bailey off the ship, If Kirk had been looking for a new promising officer for the navigator's position (and maybe someone to mentor), Bailey wasn't it.

Transferred over to the role of "cultural observer," Bailey could continue to have a career in Starfleet, otherwise I could see Kirk recommending his discharge.

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Old March 16 2013, 07:16 AM   #33
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Slight update:

My review is ready, but I think I'll post it tomorrow.

I may actually watch the episode again - The Enemy Within - since there is something Spock did that may affect my score.

I do understand that my reviews are going a bit slow...and I wonder if I will get through the TOS episodes (and my tentative reviews of TAS, 1st season TNG (and some other episodes from other seasons), Trials and Tribble-lations and Badda-Boom Badda-Bing from DS9, 4th season ENT, and possibly Sarah Jane Adventures...in this century...hahaha

Between my own writing projects, life, grad applications -or 'application' to get my butt back to Singapore (crossing fingers) - it's a slight task. Still, these reviews actually help me since I'm looking at this particular show from the point of view as a black male in America...as well as a older individual who has had some life experience...and as a writer(soon to be filmmaker)...and as a person living in the 21st century.

With all that said: Stay tuned.
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Old March 16 2013, 09:10 AM   #34
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
Of any scene in Star Trek, this is the scene that most evokes the early 60s (and late 50s) tradition of sharp dialogue writing for TV.

Yes. There was a wonderful little golden age where serious dramas gave actors tremendously real, often harsh dialog. This era might have been inspired by the movie TWELVE ANGRY MEN.

Unfortunately for STAR TREK, Gene Roddenberry started enforcing a utopian fantasy in which the Enterprise crew must always be in harmony, because they have somehow evolved beyond the age-old facts of human nature.
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Old March 25 2013, 01:22 AM   #35
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Enemy Within

Story: While surveying planet Alpha 177, the Enterprise runs into transporter trouble, which results in a Kirk-double appearing after the “real” Kirk beams up. Unfortunately, this transporter trouble prevents a landing party - led by Sulu - to be beamed aboard, and planet Alpha’s temperature is dropping, and the Kirk-double is wreaking havoc aboard the Enterprise.

Themes/Ideology: Everyone has a good and bad side, and both sides have to co-exist for a person to be whole. We all have an ‘enemy within,’ which our conscience keeps at bay, save those times when we need to let our rage out.

Plot Holes: Spock, without any investigation, automatically comes to the conclusion that there is an imposter on board the ship when members of the crew accuse Kirk of uncharacteristic actions. Granted, they may have some sort of camaraderie, but this crew is ‘exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations.’ Kirk might have gone - to coin a term from one of the episodes - ‘space happy’ or a myriad of other things, as well as be an imposter. For the sake of safety (and logic) I would think Spock would have ordered Kirk to remain in his quarters until a full investigation was completed (which would eventually flush out the Kirk-double).

Miscellaneous Thoughts: Spock jokes about the attempted rape on Janice Rand, as sexism rears its ugly head in the original series. He - Spock - doesn’t seem to be on his game in this episode; he acts....illogically.

The story (and additional stakes) don’t really pick until halfway, but it - the episode - still comes off as entertaining: The ‘real’ Kirk is slowing down because his risk-taking, more aggressive side is part of the fully ‘evil’ Kirk...who is, as aforementioned, wreaking havoc....and attempting to rape a certain female yeoman he has been lusting for; and, also aforementioned, there is a landing party that needs to be beamed aboard before they freeze to death.

Shatner, as his ‘evil’ self, is over-the-top, but it works for the character: The ‘evil’ Kirk is indeed less patient, and more aggressive....and with so much aggression, doesn’t seem to have a purpose than to cause trouble because he has no direction. On the other hand, Shatner’s ‘real’ Kirk (without his ‘bad side’) is more reserved, patient, and slow.

A couple of side-notes: We have Johnny Farrell as navigator returning from “Mudd’s Women.” Also, I don’t think Zoe Saldana’s Uhura would have put up with aggressive Kirk; she would have had a phaser ready on stun....and gave Spock an earful on handling his business.

My initial score for “The Enemy Within” was 3.33/5....but I’m dropping it to 3.25/5.

Next episode to be reviewed: “The Man Trap.”
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Old March 26 2013, 12:50 AM   #36
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
The Enemy Within

Story: While surveying planet Alpha 177, the Enterprise runs into transporter trouble, which results in a Kirk-double appearing after the “real” Kirk beams up. Unfortunately, this transporter trouble prevents a landing party - led by Sulu - to be beamed aboard, and planet Alpha’s temperature is dropping, and the Kirk-double is wreaking havoc aboard the Enterprise.

Themes/Ideology: Everyone has a good and bad side, and both sides have to co-exist for a person to be whole. We all have an ‘enemy within,’ which our conscience keeps at bay, save those times when we need to let our rage out.

Plot Holes: Spock, without any investigation, automatically comes to the conclusion that there is an imposter on board the ship when members of the crew accuse Kirk of uncharacteristic actions. Granted, they may have some sort of camaraderie, but this crew is ‘exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations.’ Kirk might have gone - to coin a term from one of the episodes - ‘space happy’ or a myriad of other things, as well as be an imposter. For the sake of safety (and logic) I would think Spock would have ordered Kirk to remain in his quarters until a full investigation was completed (which would eventually flush out the Kirk-double).

Miscellaneous Thoughts: Spock jokes about the attempted rape on Janice Rand, as sexism rears its ugly head in the original series. He - Spock - doesn’t seem to be on his game in this episode; he acts....illogically.

The story (and additional stakes) don’t really pick until halfway, but it - the episode - still comes off as entertaining: The ‘real’ Kirk is slowing down because his risk-taking, more aggressive side is part of the fully ‘evil’ Kirk...who is, as aforementioned, wreaking havoc....and attempting to rape a certain female yeoman he has been lusting for; and, also aforementioned, there is a landing party that needs to be beamed aboard before they freeze to death.

Shatner, as his ‘evil’ self, is over-the-top, but it works for the character: The ‘evil’ Kirk is indeed less patient, and more aggressive....and with so much aggression, doesn’t seem to have a purpose than to cause trouble because he has no direction. On the other hand, Shatner’s ‘real’ Kirk (without his ‘bad side’) is more reserved, patient, and slow.

A couple of side-notes: We have Johnny Farrell as navigator returning from “Mudd’s Women.” Also, I don’t think Zoe Saldana’s Uhura would have put up with aggressive Kirk; she would have had a phaser ready on stun....and gave Spock an earful on handling his business.

My initial score for “The Enemy Within” was 3.33/5....but I’m dropping it to 3.25/5.

Next episode to be reviewed: “The Man Trap.”
Yes there are strains of sexism running through TOS, it's a mixed bag, but there is at least an attempt to get it right. There is an inordinate amount of women "professionals" and experts in the series. I think Gene Roddenberry actually apologized later on the 70s and 80s (in at least one interview and biography I saw) for many of those lines however.

This is one of TV's better Jekyll and Hide stories, though to be a contrarian here...it seems as if a lot of the instincts, emotional reactions, and primitive nature of some of our baser individual and cultural reactions are based on the older parts of the brain, some if not all were adapted at a time when man was more primitive and needed quick, efficient responses to danger and stimuli in the natural world, the body simply built over these parts...is it really necessary that we need these to survive? In fact today many of the ancient drives hinder rather than help us. This might be an argument for tinkering with the brain, which we are more capable of doing every year, at some point we may decide to expunge such limiting thought processes. TOS and ST in general is probably much too critical of genetic manipulation and what we know of now as transhumanism.
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Old March 26 2013, 01:03 AM   #37
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Re: Mudd's Women Review

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Mudd's Women Review

Story
Harry Mudd and three female companions who are also his cargo - Eve, Ruth, and Magda - are picked up by the Enterprise; at the same time, the Enterprise is on the way to Rigel 12 to pick up dilithium - er - “lithium.” When the Enterprise reaches Rigel 12, the lonely miners refuse to give up the lithium when they become aware of Mudd’s cargo, the women, who are looking for romantic partners.

Themes/Ideologies
Like the previous TOS episode, a theme in this episode is: “never judge a book by its cover.” Harry Mudd and the women are all hiding something. Eve, in particular, is hiding more due to lack of confidence; a feeling that she isn’t complete without a male partner.

Now, even though there is sexism in the Star Trek universe, as evidenced in previous episodes, women - in Enterprise crew - are allowed to retain their feminism, be sexy, be professional; unfortunately, that ideology is overshadowed by the sexism of the episode.

Plot Holes/WTF stuff
Early in the episode, the writers make Harry out to be the villain of the piece. While being held with the three companions in the briefing room, he mentions how he will control the Enterprise in the ear range of a security guard standing watch; and this take-over isn’t addressed later on in the episode. (Did Harry have a change of heart or plan?) Moreover, his goal seems to be profit not necessarily the well-being of the women, but later on he seems to care for Eve when she goes missing. Hence, Harry Mudd is written and depicted as an inconsistent character, as well as a character who really poses no threat since the security guard stood listening without notifying someone in authority, unless he was so mesmerized by the women he couldn’t do anything....but, even that would be a stretch.

The drug that changes the three women from “melting humanoids” to beauties, is inconsistent like Harry Mudd. First, Kirk and Harry beam down with the pseudo-gelatin version of the Venus drug and give it to Eve as if they knew she would be changing at that moment (which, given everything that was happening, Harry Mudd couldn’t know...and he hasn’t shown himself to be that intelligent to even gather Eve was changing, even if he was calculating it in his head). Harry, nor Kirk would have known she would be taking the pseudo-drug to show (for the episode’s lesson) that beauty is not only skin deep. For example, what if it was Ruth or Magda that was present? What if Eve decided that she wasn’t going to take the drug anymore?

Lastly, Kirk has all the power in the episode. Granted he may be going the diplomatic route, but the miners on Rigel 12 are basically saying they need to get laid before they can hand over the dilithiu...er, “lithium” to the Enterprise crew. If the situation is as desperate as it seemed, Kirk could have beamed down teams of scientists and security to look for the lithium to save the 400+ crewpeople on board, and prevent the engineering disaster.

Miscellaneous
Harry Mudd lives up to his name: He is literally hairy, and he is metaphorically hairy. The last name “Mudd” could also add to much hinted sleaziness of the character...but, as aforementioned, this sleaziness comes into questions when he seems to actually care of the well-being of Eve and possibly the other women. This goes along with the theme of ‘never judge a book by its cover;’ however, it still makes the Harry Mudd character inconsistent, since he also comes off overall as a non-threatening buffoon.

The three women follow the theme of never judging a book by their cover as being very beautiful; my favorite is Susan Denberg’s Magda, who reminds me a bit of another Swedish actress, May Britt. The women aren’t that lovely in reality (and no explanation is given as to why they look “different” without the drug) but they seemed to be tagging along to find men they can latch onto as lovers, and they will stop at anything to do so...even seduce male Enterprise crewmen (although, that seems to be dropped when the Enterprise comes into contact with Rigel 12). Eve seems more content to be waiting hands and feet for the miner, Ben Childress, or at least lending a women’s touch to the mining environment. Now, Eve wanting to find “Mr. Right” isn’t “wrong” but she feels she isn’t complete unless she finds aforementioned “Mr. Right”...and even throws herself to Kirk in order to gain his attentions.

Sexism and female objectification are apparent in the episode, of course, but there is a clash of ideologies. The women with Harry Mudd only want to find men to please and throw themselves at any willing male who smiles their way, however, with the Enterprise women, Uhura, in particular, in her tight-fitting yellow miniskirt and black go-go boots seems to be cool, composed, respected even though she is somewhat objectified and could easily match “Mudd’s women,” in looks; even though she doesn’t really do much in this episode; I’m basing this on the years I’ve known the character as well as the character’s tough incarnation in the 2009 film. Too, I believe we see a female crewmember wearing trousers; so, with Uhura and “Mudd’s women” there is a clash of statements or ideologies that have women as objects in this episode, but says that women can be still professional and sexy in the Star Trek universe. Interestingly, the Star Trek franchise later on (save for the 2009 film) says that women have to be fully covered in order to be respected, that they can’t wear skirts, because that will automatically objectify them. Interestingly, TNG -Star Trek: The Next Generation - introduced a “skirt” for men that many fans hated(for various reasons which could include masculinity issues, gender role issues, etc...) Later Star Trek - including fans - robs women of their femininity, or says women are closer to be respected if their femininity is suppressed; ironically it also tells men to “keep their pants on” and even tells men how they should dress and act because they are men. Therefore, as mentioned in previous reviews, Star Trek as a franchise isn’t as progressive as it wants to believe.

In the episode, there is a sense of urgency, there are stakes (things will “get real” if the lithium isn’t attained) but this urgency (and stakes) aren’t enough to sustain the episode. Kirk had the upper hand throughout the episode, and the miner’s sexual issues (arguably, “immature” sexual issues) could have been something to handle after the lithium was attained.

The overall lesson of the episode that “beauty is not only skin deep” is not a strong or novel lesson, it clashes with the images and ideologies seen in this episode, one of which is that women aren’t complete without men. So, I give this episode 2.5 out of 5. The weakest episode so far in Season One TOS, I think, an episode which definitely could have been more focused. However, William Shatner is again reserved in this episode, and his character works better this way; he knows when to joke and when to be serious. I like when he chuckles thinking one of the miners is actually joking when it is stated that the lithium won’t be turned over unless they get to be with the women.
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Another theme you missed was that drugs were not an answer to problems...the instant fix was not really a fix at all. Somehow this got past the censors of the time, unless they understood this lesson from the story, though they didn't have a really good track record of that.

Incidentally Eve is actually a really strong female character at the end, she tells Childress she wants to be a real wife for someone, a companion, but within the gender roles of the 60s of course. The miners walk the line of having these wives being glorified prostitutes but I think Childress finally accepts what Eve is saying in the end.
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Old April 12 2013, 01:09 AM   #38
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Man Trap

Story: The Enterprise is on a routine medical check at planet M113, where an 'old flame' of McCoy's Nancy Crater lives with her scientist husband, Bob Crater. The plot thickens when Bob Crater specifically asks to replenish a salt supply, while also urging to have the crew leave his planet as soon as possible; not too mention a murder of a crewman - Darnell - who saw Nancy Crater differently than the other members of the landing party: McCoy and Kirk.

Themes/Ideology: Women do have a equal place in the Star Trek universe, and their feminity doesn't have to be suppressed to be on said equal level. Furthermore, Star Trek works best when unconsciously showing equality - gender, racial - rather than consciously.

Plot Holes: I seriously couldn't find any.

Miscellaneous Thoughts: After the sexism in previous episodes, this episode seems to depict the females in an interesting, alternative light; and, I think this is a more unconscious gesture rather than conscious (in my experience, Star Trek seems to always work better when it does "progressive" gestures unconsciously). We not only have the vampire, which doesn't have a specific sex, but it does seem to be comfortable in the female form, taking on attractive human female forms in order to ensnare male victims. Now, with that said, Uhura is a potential victim until she runs to Sulu and Janice Rand on the elevator...but, even Janice Rand isn't necessarily a victim (possibly since the 'salt vampire' is still getting used to its surroundings since it took the form of Crewman Green to gain access to the Enterprise, also Janice Rand has a holder of salt on a tray she is taking to Sulu, which caught the attention of the alien and not her).

Another interesting depiction is Uhura. In previous episodes, she was a primarily an attractive 'phone operator;' albeit a black woman who was allowed to be physically sexy and be prominently featured even though her dialogue was minimal, but her she breaks away from her station at one point in the episode and flirts with Spock who is in command at the time Kirk is on M113. (This may have inspired the Spock/Uhura romance in the J.J. Abrams films). She also gets a chance to show attraction to another Enterprise crewman, which the 'salt vampire' takes the form of; this crewman is also black, presumably from the same area as Uhura, since he - or the 'salt vampire,' taking information from Uhura's mind - is able to speak Swahili. Now, what always bothered me about Star Trek is that it tends to keep black people only paired with black people even if they are aliens, unless the performer is under heavy make-up like Michael Dorn who portrayed Worf, but here it is interesting...especially since Uhura did show some interest in Spock earlier.

A third depiction happens quickly: We see a female crewperson hurry to her station, and she is wearing pants with a tunic. From this shot, we gather that women are allowed variations of the uniform, either the skirt/boots combo or the tunic/pants. I was always upset the way that later Trek tried to supress any 'feminity' by saying that women couldn't be respected unless they were constantly covered up. I believe the J.J. Abrams 2009 film followed this same idea of showing Starfleet women wearing either regulation pants or skirt, similar to the way women - in 'real life' - have choices in what they wear.

The relationship between Bob Crater and the salt vampire is interesting. Bob Crater is described by Kirk as 'noble' when, during a briefing, where the salt vampire has taken the form of McCoy, Crater pleads to have the alien be left alone since it is trying to survive. (The McCoy alien obviously agrees). However, it's interesting that Kirk brings up the idea that the salt vampire - as we've seen earlier - able to make itself look like Nancy...and very possibly a beautiful form of Nancy, who died prior to the Enterprise arriving at M113. Kirk also observes that Crater has his own little paradise since he and the alien are the only two individuals on the planet, a reason Crater wants to be left alone...to have his 'fantasies' continue (to paraphrase a line in the episode, so he could 'think with his glands'). Of course, once things get desparate, the salt vampire kills Crater too, showing that even he - Crater - wasn't safe.

The crewmen who beam down with the 'regulars' and those who are murdered by the creature are given some depth. These crewmen, who are either wearing yellow or blue, like Darnell or Green, actually move the plot along. It's not like the later episodes (or in Trek lore overall) where it's sort of a laughing matter when a nameless 'red-shirt' comes onscreen only to get killed by an unknown force and is never heard from again. I should mention too, the actor who portrays Green has some interesting mannerisms, especially when it is the salt vampire who takes his form; 'Green' is filmed in a close-up in one scene, slightly grinning as McCoy and Kirk try to make sense of a situation that is getting curiouser and curiouser.

Speaking of crewmen, Sulu has an interesting bit here as a botanist, or at least showing that he has an interest as a botonist. In the next episode I will be reviewing, 'The Naked Time,' we see that he will also have a knack for fencing (also referenced in the 2009 Star Trek film) and even later on in 'Shore Leave' we will find out that he also has an interest in firearms. So, he has a little bit of depth and dialogue in this episode. On another note, I found it interesting how he brought out that ships are usually referred to as 'she,' which is true. However, while watching the anime Superdimensional Cavalry Southern Cross, I recalled the lead character Jeanne referring to her tank as 'he.' (So, it may depend on the gender).

Spock is more logical in this episode. Where he was sexist, and a bit 'daft' in the previous episode, he pushes to kill the creature for the survival of the Enterprise crew...and eventually the creature is killed as a matter of self-defense. The time to talk or reason with the creature was past since people have already died. Hence, on both sides - the Enterprise crew, and the salt vampire - it is 'kill or be killed.' With that said, the creature seems to be 'logical' at first only attacking the lower deck crewmen, until things get desparate and 'it' decides to attack the captain.

Lastly, this episode always had a funny bit that was never edited: When Kirk and Spock come after Crater on M113, Crater is cornered and gets a stun shot. The film is sped up as Crater fall back on a rock, making it look very comical.

Score: I was going to give this episode a 3.33, but I think I will bump it up to about 3.43 based on the female depictions and how Sulu was depicted; again, I think this was done unconsciously by the writers and producers. The episode overall is still 'routine,' but an improvement over the last couple of episodes.

Next Up:
The Naked Time
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Old April 12 2013, 06:26 AM   #39
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Lastly, this episode always had a funny bit that was never edited: When Kirk and Spock come after Crater on M113, Crater is cornered and gets a stun shot. The film is sped up as Crater fall back on a rock, making it look very comical.
Huh? Why would it be edited?
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Old April 12 2013, 11:32 PM   #40
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

I love these early episodes where the supporting cast get a fairer share of development. Uhura and Sulu are especially fun in the first half dozen episodes and Rand really sparkles in the Man Trap.

I think the Enemy Within was re-edited so that they could go into an Ad break on a cliff-hanger and the original episode order makes more sense in terms of Spock's conclusions.

I also believe that Roddenberry's original concept for Rand was that she would have a fairly close friendship with Spock, which might have made his teasing of Janice slightly less creepy in the Enemy Within.

If you don't give the Balance of Terror 5/5, I will hurt you.

And as for Vina, she's up there with Ripley, Leia, and Sarah Connor as one of my all-time favourite sci-fi heroines. For a sixties heroine I thought she was especially exceptional.
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Old April 13 2013, 10:32 PM   #41
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Maurice wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Lastly, this episode always had a funny bit that was never edited: When Kirk and Spock come after Crater on M113, Crater is cornered and gets a stun shot. The film is sped up as Crater fall back on a rock, making it look very comical.
Huh? Why would it be edited?
So it doesn't look so silly on high speed.
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Old April 14 2013, 11:46 AM   #42
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Spock jokes about the attempted rape on Janice Rand, as sexism rears its ugly head in the original series.
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
II also believe that Roddenberry's original concept for Rand was that she would have a fairly close friendship with Spock, which might have made his teasing of Janice slightly less creepy in the Enemy Within.
If Spock and Rand were close personal friends, then Spock could have made the comment he did about the second Kirk having some interesting qualities, and in response receive a "oh really" look from Rand. People will accept biting humor from a close friend, that they never would from anyone else.

Rand obviously took it as a joking tease from a good friend, and maybe one she needed at that point.

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Old April 15 2013, 08:22 AM   #43
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Spock jokes about the attempted rape on Janice Rand, as sexism rears its ugly head in the original series.
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
II also believe that Roddenberry's original concept for Rand was that she would have a fairly close friendship with Spock, which might have made his teasing of Janice slightly less creepy in the Enemy Within.
If Spock and Rand were close personal friends, then Spock could have made the comment he did about the second Kirk having some interesting qualities, and in response receive a "oh really" look from Rand. People will accept biting humor from a close friend, that they never would from anyone else.

Rand obviously took it as a joking tease from a good friend, and maybe one she needed at that point.

Spock is fully away that she's attracted to Kirk and that Kirk is attracted to her. She knows that Spock knows. Evil Kirk was willing to act on that attraction. So her withering stare and disapproving pout are her way of saying, "You're my superior officer and we're on the bridge so I can't say what I really think and you know I can't." I think if we'd seen more of her character develop, we would have seen a closer relationship with Spock like the scene where she and Uhura tease him in Charlie X (preferably not more scenes exactly like that one though!). I would have preferred to see more scenes with Spock in the episodes we have rather than concentrating on her and Kirk, which is another reason why losing her before the Galileo 7 was a shame. In some respects, too much Rand and Kirk was the character's downfall.
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Old April 25 2013, 03:01 AM   #44
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
If you don't give the Balance of Terror 5/5, I will hurt you.
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Old April 25 2013, 04:38 AM   #45
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Naked Time

Story: The Enterprise arrives at planet PSI2000 to pick up a scientific party, but finds the party dead. Frozen. When idiot science officer, Joe Tormolen, takes off his glove in an infected area to take readings, he contracts a virus, taking it aboard the ship where it spreads by touch...causing many on the Enterprise to act strangely. Soon, the infected navigator, Kevin Riley, shuts himself in Engineering, and cuts off all power to the engines. Now, Enterprise crew must find a cure for the virus, and get to the engines, since the ship is now decaying in the planet’s atmosphere.

Ideology: Inhibitions, no matter how powerful, have to kept under control; and, just because one may be ‘under the influence’ doesn’t give said individual the right to hurt others. At the same time, some inhibitions are innocent, and may give the individual choices on how he or she should act on those inhibitions (e.g. relationships, be it romantic or familial).

Plot holes: The Enterprise goes back three days once the engines have been powered up and the ship escapes the planet’s atmosphere. Kirk mentions that they have three days to live again, and makes the order to go to their next destination. No mention is made to return back to PSI2000, to see if the virus could have been prevented.

Another plot hole: Even though this was early in the series when Vulcan’s were still a mystery, Spock’s enhanced Vulcan hearing is ignored. For example, when an infected Sulu is trying to get a soon-to-be infected Kevin Riley to leave his post, Spock is at his science station engrossed in his monitor. Either he is so engrossed, or he doesn’t hear Sulu.


Miscellaneous Notes: Let me start out by saying I do enjoy the TNG sequel, “The Naked Now.” That TNG episode was also was a 1st season episode and will eventually be reviewed when I get to the TNG episodes. This particular TOS episode, however, “The Naked Time,” is just as fun, but is also disconcerting since we gather the PSI2000 scientists went through the same experience as the Enterprise crew, eventually killing themselves. A lot of inhibitions and feelings seem to come out among the infected crew:
  • Sulu seems to come onto Uhura, or at least give her attention, for the first time. This takes place when he arrives on the bridge swinging his fencing foil and attempts to protect her as his ‘fair’ maiden.
  • Christine Chapel, after infected, acts “sexy” and reveals her feelings to Spock. (Chapel doesn't know it at this point, but former love interest Roger Korby turns up later, alive, putting these feelings for Spock on hold).
  • The infected Kirk reveals (to himself) his attraction to Janice Rand. (This little attraction will be hinted further in “Balance of Terror”). However, Kirk wills himself back to a competent state of mind by reminding his love is the Enterprise, telling himself, “I’ll never lose you.” (The writers unknowingly add foreshadowing to the character, whom, in the film series will always want to maintain his command position, even though circumstances or 'life' is saying otherwise, e.g. age, or the politics of Starfleet). Post-infected Kirk later laments - to himself - that there will be no ‘walks’ with Janice Rand, since his Enterprise duty seems to prevent any relationship he can could have with the yeoman.
  • Spock greaves his childhood when he is infected. The briefing room scene with Kirk and Spock getting one another into the 'right state of mind' to take back their ship reminded me of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto’s interpretations.
  • Kevin Riley is a standout “minor” character who plays a big part in this episode, and will turn up later in the series. His character is 'comical' when infected, even though he is dooming the ship at the same time. I do recall a slight sexist remark (from an infected Riley) who states, “Let the women work too!” I forget what context that remark was made, but I believe it was when Kirk gives an order to Uhura on the bridge, and Riley overhears from Engineering.
  • Joe Tormolen is a tragic character, but he has brought his death on himself (i.e. being a trained scientist, taking protective equipment off in an infected area, then rubbing his nose top it off before he puts said equipment back on!). Once the virus takes him over, the audience gets a sense that Tormolen was a troubled character to begin with even before the virus had any effect. Remember, the virus seems to bring out inhibitions, and bring out any suppressed thoughts. Tormolen's idea that humans weren’t meant to journey the stars is a trope which turns up in sci-fi films, among astronauts who usually go crazy; and he decides to 'off' himself since he feels so guilty. (Tormolen joins 'Olsen' - the red suit from the 2009 film - as crewmen who made a very bad, very stupid decision that cost them their lives).
There are some interesting, additional observations:
  • Pre-infected Spock has a certain wit. After nerve pinching a foil-wielding-virus-infected Sulu, Spock orders to some crewman: “Take D’artagnan to the sickbay.” He even uses the word, “bizarre” at one point in the episode.
  • Uhura is not necessarily infected in the episode, but if she was....she is still shown to be competent, and able to do her job. One scene I found interesting is where she snaps back at Kirk who initially snaps at her; he apologizes, but later snaps at her while in the briefing room (while he is psychologically getting himself and Spock back in the right state of mind). Uhura doesn’t react the second time Kirk snaps at her. I assumed that given everything that is going on....she maintains her cool. Also, she takes navigation for the first (?) time in the show, showing that she can do more than be a phone operator, and look sexy in a red Starfleet skirt and black boots.
  • Janice Rand is also not necessarily infected, but is just dealing with an 'amorous crewmen,' one in particular who turns Kevin Riley’s “I’ll take you home Kathleen” into “I’ll take you home Janice.” I don't think Uhura would have put up with the behavior from the 'amorous crewman;' and I find it a bit hard to believe that no crewman would have 'touched' Rand given the way the virus was making some individuals act.
  • We get to see that Sulu is into fencing. This goes with it other interests, which include: ancient firearms, botany, as well as knowledge of helm control. (Even Kevin Riley, the navigator, has engineering knowledge!)
Score: 3.5/5. An interesting episode, a fun episode. A good ensemble performance. Shatner slightly overacts, but it can be argued that it fits in with what his character was going through. In this episode, we again get a sense that the Enterprise is a big ship that is maintained(and lived in) by various people.


Next up:

Balance of Terror
(Daaaa. Da. Da. Da. Da.
DA! DAAAAAAA!)
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