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

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Old June 1 2013, 10:44 AM   #76
Gary7
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Delta Vega wrote: View Post
Confusion

Confusion, I was confused when I first saw TAF at the age of 10

Every time I have viewed it since, I am now 52, most recently a few weeks ago, I am still confused

Two Lazarii, both barking mad, both at large on the ship, inane fight scenes, drunken man stumblings from not very high cliffs for no apparent reason, not once but twice.

Then a silly wee ship that supposedly travels through time and alternative versions of space.

An actor who was plainly shit, Brown, a regular cast who were not too enamoured with a shit script.

"And what of Lazarus ?"

And what...............

Not in the same league of casual badness as "A Piece of the Action" for example, but bad enough.
You pretty much echo my sentiment. When I saw other TOS episodes as a kid, I got them with rarely any confusion. But this one left me confused and disappointed. The imagery with that "place where the two universes meet" was stupid, not to mention how Lazarus mysteriously just teleports there without warning. How does he get dragged in there anyway? And if he's a time traveler, why doesn't he travel back to the point before the accident happened and the two Lazaruses meet? Then there's that ship. While somewhat cool, it's a half-baked pod that doesn't look at all capable of space travel. And why would two dilithium crystals be set opposite each other that would then send whoever crosses it into the alternate universe? It made no design sense whatsoever. It looked jury-rigged due to insufficient time to think it through. And the other thing... there didn't look to be any kind of sensible door possible for that thing, given the arc in the bubble and the gap in the body.


The only thing I liked about it were the two new engineering extras, who Lazarus duped in order to get the crystals. They seemed like decent actors who could've been recurring extras like Eddie Paskey or William Blackburn.
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Old June 1 2013, 01:42 PM   #77
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

marsomthing wrote: View Post
I watched it again after reading through the reasons it is horrible... Yes all those reasons are very valid... But I still have fun watching it, I can't help but enjoy it. It's the cheese factor I enjoy sometimes. The idea behind the episode is great... With more work and planning could have been amazing!
I'm curious... what do you consider to be the idea behind the episode? To me it's a jumble of ideas that don't really add up to anything. Which of them is the one you think could've been the core of a worthwhile episode?
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Old June 1 2013, 02:51 PM   #78
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Christopher wrote: View Post
marsomthing wrote: View Post
I watched it again after reading through the reasons it is horrible... Yes all those reasons are very valid... But I still have fun watching it, I can't help but enjoy it. It's the cheese factor I enjoy sometimes. The idea behind the episode is great... With more work and planning could have been amazing!
I'm curious... what do you consider to be the idea behind the episode? To me it's a jumble of ideas that don't really add up to anything. Which of them is the one you think could've been the core of a worthwhile episode?
It is very jumbled and that's the problem I believe(too many different ideas)... The part i like is the 2 characters bouncing in and out on each others dimensions. That I think could be explored MUCH better than what they originally did, BUT who am I to Monday morning quarterback someone else's work!
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Old June 1 2013, 03:04 PM   #79
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Hmm... The classic Evil Twin concept probably deserves another novel method of introducing both the Twin, and the manner in which the Twin can be mistaken for his less evil counterpart. This episode didn't really provide any - but if it had pulled its act together and explained to the audience (via pretty VFX) how one Lazarus suddenly becomes the other in the middle of the action, switching from noble motivations to evil ones, this story would have earned its place in any scifi context.

In such a case, the conclusion of our main hero Kirk figuring it out and freeing the two of this devilish curse of alternation and instead allowing them to confront each other directly would have been satisfactory enough. The meat of the episode would have come from a more careful exploration of the good and evil ways the Lazari use in their own attempts, while the "if they meet in uncontrolled circumstances, horrible things will happen" thing could have been kept as is, forcing Kirk to be clever somehow.

(It's not as if the technobabble would really need changing, though. Our heroes speak of these two universes by comparing them to matter and antimatter, but the comparison need not be exact; "antimatter universe" could be a practical if inaccurate expression for something vastly more alien.)

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Old June 1 2013, 03:22 PM   #80
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

marsomthing wrote: View Post
It is very jumbled and that's the problem I believe(too many different ideas)... The part i like is the 2 characters bouncing in and out on each others dimensions.
Hmm, the "bouncing in and out" part wasn't all that effective... but I suppose there could be the seed of a story in the idea of someone so enraged by the discovery that a parallel self or selves existed that he would be obsessed with destroying them. There you've got a story that's fundamentally driven by character rather than a pseudoscience gimmick, and that touches on philosophical questions of identity and uniqueness. Although later Trek did something similar in Nemesis, where Shinzon despised being a clone of Picard and wanted to destroy Picard (and wipe out his legacy by destroying Earth) so that he would no longer be in another man's shadow. Then there's the Jet Li movie The One, about a guy trying to kill all his alternate-universe doubles, but that was for a more pragmatic reason (he gained their power when they died) rather than being driven mad by the very knowledge of their existence.
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Old June 1 2013, 09:12 PM   #81
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

One could write a complete essay on all of the flaws and contradictions of this episode. In fact, I began to start it and was just overwhelmed with all of the problems in this episode that I abandoned doing this.... why waste my time?
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Old June 1 2013, 11:18 PM   #82
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Sorry to go off topic, but that's a marvellous avatar, Gary7!
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Old June 1 2013, 11:41 PM   #83
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

RandyS wrote: View Post
For example, if there were two Lazarus', where was the anti-matter Enterprise and her crew? In orbit around the anti-matter planet? That we didn't get to see THAT is the thing to be annoyed by, if anything is.
My theory is that we do see the anti-matter Enterprise in this episode; in fact, we spend the entire story on it. That's the only explanation I can think of for Engineering being completely different and for the Chief Engineer suddenly being someone who is very much not Scotty, as well as all the other little moments that feel a bit 'off'.

Doesn't make the episode any better, but it is a theory.
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Old June 2 2013, 12:25 AM   #84
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

It's a shame Kegg/Kegek hasn't posted in this thread yet. As I recall, he loved "The Alternative Factor" and considered it one of his favorites. I would love to hear from him and what it is about this episode that he likes so much.

As for me personally, I'm no fan of this episode. As others have noted, this sadly isn't even one of those episodes that are so bad they're good.
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Old June 2 2013, 06:12 PM   #85
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Timo wrote: View Post
Our heroes speak of these two universes by comparing them to matter and antimatter, but the comparison need not be exact; "antimatter universe" could be a practical if inaccurate expression for something vastly more alien.
Something like "counter-part universe" would perhaps be more accurate to the relationship between the two universes' as they are described.

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Old June 2 2013, 06:54 PM   #86
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

The best thing to come out of "The Alternative Factor", many years later, was the audio birthday card, which I've seen two versions of:

[Picture of Kirk and Spock on front of card with text that reads:]
"Mr. Spock, what would happen if we were to light all the candles on that birthday cake at once?"
[Open card to hear sound bite of Spock saying:]
"Annihilation, Jim...total, complete, absolute annihilation."

[Quoted from memory.]
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Old June 3 2013, 02:39 AM   #87
Marsden
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

marsomthing wrote: View Post

It is very jumbled and that's the problem I believe(too many different ideas)... The part i like is the 2 characters bouncing in and out on each others dimensions. That I think could be explored MUCH better than what they originally did, BUT who am I to Monday morning quarterback someone else's work!
Another thing, why did it cause such an incredible fluctuation in readings the first time and put the whole Federation on alert and then subsequent switches weren't even noticed by people in the hall of the ship?

I just want to add I don't hate this episode, it just has a lot of problems. I think this is about number 8 on my "ten episodes I try not to think about".
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Old June 3 2013, 03:11 PM   #88
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Kinggodzillak wrote: View Post
RandyS wrote: View Post
For example, if there were two Lazarus', where was the anti-matter Enterprise and her crew? In orbit around the anti-matter planet? That we didn't get to see THAT is the thing to be annoyed by, if anything is.
My theory is that we do see the anti-matter Enterprise in this episode; in fact, we spend the entire story on it. That's the only explanation I can think of for Engineering being completely different and for the Chief Engineer suddenly being someone who is very much not Scotty, as well as all the other little moments that feel a bit 'off'.

Doesn't make the episode any better, but it is a theory.
Works for me. But I still think it's a better episode than watching William Shatner piss away an hour mooning over Joan Collins.

And as far as the engineer for that episode goes. It was never stated that that lady was the chief engineer. She could have been a "chief" in the same way that O'Brien was. Remember that was his title on TNG, and he wasn't the chief engineer. The woman could have been in charge simply because Scotty was off-duty.
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Old June 3 2013, 03:42 PM   #89
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

This is one I hadn't seen too many times when I got the dvd set, didn't recognize the title.

I find it boring, and by the third time we got the negative cinematography, it feels like padding.
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Old June 3 2013, 03:46 PM   #90
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Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

RandyS wrote: View Post
And as far as the engineer for that episode goes. It was never stated that that lady was the chief engineer. She could have been a "chief" in the same way that O'Brien was. Remember that was his title on TNG, and he wasn't the chief engineer. The woman could have been in charge simply because Scotty was off-duty.
Charlene Masters was never addressed as "chief" at any point in the episode -- only as "Lieutenant." Not to mention that she wore a blue science-department uniform rather than a red engineering uniform. And she had no rank stripes, which would've been more consistent with an ensign or enlisted crewperson.

Nor was there ever any indication that she was in charge of engineering as a whole. She seemed to be the senior officer in the particular subsection of the engineering complex that was responsible for the dilithium circuits, but that's all.

O'Brien was called "chief" because it's short for his enlisted rating, chief petty officer.
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