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

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Old July 9 2013, 07:14 PM   #61
Joel_Kirk
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Further Thoughts on 'What Are Little Girls....?'

Addendum

Shatner's performance is still low-key in this episode, but his character makes a questionable decision. Shatner portrays Kirk as well as an android, and both performances are believable. However, I do find it interesting that Kirk - in a universe that supposedly has everyone equal, racism abolished, first interracial kisses happening or only being acknowledged between black individuals and non-black (usually white) individuals - has to resort to racial remarks about Spock's heritage in order to distort the android's programming - Kirk's android double, that is. I think the writers could have concocted something else much more clever. One has to wonder if if Spock was portrayed by someone who was scripted as biracial and human - for example, a black and Asian male - would Kirk's remarks been as accepted?
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Old July 17 2013, 11:41 PM   #62
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Dagger of the Mind


Story: The Enterprise is transporting items to the mental facility known as the 'Tantalus Colony,' but one of the patients – Simon Van Gelder – has snuck abroad the ship. His escape heightens curiosity as he is held in sickbay and questioned by Spock and McCoy, while Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel beam down to the facility and gain interest in a device called the Neural Neutralizer that may or may not have had an affect on Van Gelder.

Plot Holes/Plot Issues: I couldn't find any plot holes, but it's not clear what Dr. Adams' overall plan was aside from using the Tantalus Devi – er, the Neural Neutralizer to get people to do his bidding.

Ideologies/Themes: Who watches those individuals in charge of institutions that help those who are elderly, disabled or homeless? Granted, some 'clients' in these institutions do need a stronger approach, but some of these people in charge have issues themselves, a sort of 'power trip' that may hinder rather than help those in their care.

Miscellaneous Thoughts: Dr. Tristan Adams is another mad scientist, like the previous Roger Korby, who sees his experiments as more important than anything else. The Tantalus Colony is his own domain where he uses his Neural Neutralizer to create commands to people he wants to control. It is established he took control from the previous director, Dr. Simon Van Gelder, who became a madman due to the Neural Neutralizer (which is sounding like a Men in Black machine the more I type it)and gets fits of pain whenever he tries to explain the situation that led to his madness. As aforementioned, it is not explained what Dr. Adams plans to do once he has converted all those who are in his way or oppose him. It seems that there are people on his side who have not been affected by the Neural Neutralizer – the guards – so there have must have been people who were on his side from the beginning. So, does he - Dr. Adams - plan on just ruling the Tantalus Colony? Or, does he plan on taking over a starship to expand his influence, or...? Of course, this goes against the Roddenberry utopia idea that has Starfleet personnel conducting 'neural' experiments on their own comrades or the mentally sick. Later we would see Admirals and renegad starships captains going against that 'Roddenberry ideal.' (A special nod to James Gregory who portrays Dr. Tristan Adams, and who tends to play good villains you love to hate – e.g. Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Manchurian Candidate).

The uniform insignia for the Tantalus Colony is a contrast to the overall situation. It is an enlarged hand raised to a sun, with a white bird in the sky; the bird seemingly in the grasp of the hand. A seemingly benign picture that can almost be read as the hand trapping the bird, or the benign human tricking the bird to come down so he or she can trap it....such as the seemingly benign Dr. Adams tricks the Enterprise crew, and makes a show that he is helping and carrying out progressive experiments.

On another note, we find in this episode that the Enterprise security guards not very perceptive. Dr. Van Gelder seems to take out each security guard he comes across. Now, looking at security guards in our own time, some are trained in simple hand-to-hand tactics, and some are more physical than others. So, we could probably chalk it up to Van Gelder getting over on those young or 'green' recruits...but that is pure speculation since these security officers are on a 'military' vessel and they are considered the first line of protection against any life form that may harm the crew.

Speaking of crew, the main 'starring' crew is minimal. Scotty and Sulu are absent, although Uhura makes an appearance. Extras are at the helm and navigation areas, but their presence is more for show rather than affecting the plot. This is more focused on the 'big three' of this original series timeline (e.g. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy). However, a fourth major character, Dr. Helen Noel, affects the plot in this particular episode. The very attractive, dimpled, scientist is assigned to go down to the Tantalus Colony with Kirk whom she just happened to have had a previous relationship with; that relationship is exaggerated after Kirk is affect by the Neural Neutralizer and he becomes more 'horny' while Noel wants to focus on the job. Interestingly, Noel's skirt seems to be as short as Uhura's (possibly shorter) but she is still able to handle herself in a conversation with Dr. Adams and Kirk, as well as handle herself in brawl with one of Adams' guards. She is physically sexy as well as professional and formidable.

William Shatner continues to be low-key, until he is affected by the Neural Neutralizer. Arguably, Morgan Woodward plays his 'madness' better. Shatner, as he did in previous episodes, tend to get a bit campy – Woodward almost does himself, but is a bit more believable as his character balances trying to explain his dilemma through the physical pain that is felt.

Lastly, I initially thought the Neural Neutralizer was a MacGuffin, but it isn't. A MacGuffin is something the characters, not the audience, cares about; something that drives the plot. However, as part of the audience, I cared about this Neural Neutralizer as did the characters...and I wanted to find out how Kirk and Noel (and Spock and McCoy) were going to uncover this plot that involved this particular device. As aforementioned, I also wanted to know what was the overall plan involving this Neural Neutralizer aside from just 'turning' people. Alas, I or 'we' wouldn't find out.

Score: I have to give a 3.4 out of 5. Dr. Adams' plan is not entirely clear, but James Gregory is a pretty good villain, and Marianna Hill plays a sexy and independent woman, I think. Even though this is an improvement over the last episode, this doesn't come close to 'Balance of Terror' level.

Star Trek returns in
'Miri'
*shiver*
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Old July 25 2013, 02:53 PM   #63
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Uhura also gives a kiss to Christine before she leaves – Star Trek's first interracial kiss, before 'Mirror, Mirror,' before 'Space Seed,' before 'Elaan of Troyius' and before 'Plato's Stepchildren' - as she is also happy that Christine found her man.
That's so funny in so many ways

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Old September 3 2013, 05:16 PM   #64
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Uhura also gives a kiss to Christine before she leaves – Star Trek's first interracial kiss, before 'Mirror, Mirror,' before 'Space Seed,' before 'Elaan of Troyius' and before 'Plato's Stepchildren' - as she is also happy that Christine found her man.
That's so funny in so many ways

lol....
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Old September 3 2013, 05:37 PM   #65
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Is that a cigarette or a joint Spock's smoking?
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Old December 4 2013, 07:56 AM   #66
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Miri Review


Story:
The Enterprise comes across a planet that is the exact duplicate of Earth. They find the adults (or “grups” for grownups) have been killed by an unknown plague, leaving only children (or “onlies”) that are 17 years of age and under. The landing party, unable to beam back to the ship, must find a cure for the plague that is slowly affecting them.

Plot Holes/Plot Issues:
None I could find. This came off as a straightforward, detailed episode attributed to writer, Adrian Spies. For example, we find out that a week passes by in this episode, and we get some pseudo-science that is a bit more understandable such as the crew having to isolate the virus to extend the life of the crew, and to create a vaccine. Moreover, we come to understand the plague was a failed life-prolongation project leaving only children aka, the aforementioned “onlies.” Once the children hit puberty they contract the disease and age 100 years over a months time.

Ideologies/Themes:
Children can become ‘adults’ sooner in this future, whether it be through responsibility put upon them in life or death situations, or through romantic attractions. This is shown with the title character Miri, who physically looks and acts about 17 years of age and falls for Kirk who is several years her senior; Kirk seems to reciprocate her feelings even though, in reality, a few hundred years older. Miri is the ‘den mother’ of the kids whom have formed their own survival group after the adults they've know have died off…or those kids who have hit puberty have succumbed to the plague and died off. The idea of children being put in life or death situations has turned up previously (or, looking at the classic series as starting point, will turn up) in the franchise. For example, there is Tina Lawton from ‘Charlie X’ who is actually 17 Earth years of age, and serves on the Enterprise, a ship that has the potential to get into literal life-or-death battles depending on the ‘new life forms’ the crew encounters. There is also Cadet Peter Preston, Montgomery Scott’s nephew, who, even though it’s not ‘canon,’ is described as being 14 Earth years of age in the novelization for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Preston is killed following an initial attack on the Enterprise by Khan. Even though his age isn't mentioned in the live action film, we still get a sense that Preston is very possibly in his teens. There are also the members of Red Squad from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's 'Valiant,' young and naive characters who would meet a bloody end because they were immature. Lastly, there are the aliens from the Star Trek: Voyager episode, ‘Innocence’ where the aging is backwards; the ‘adults’ or ‘elderly’ look like preteens or prepubescent kids.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
There are some characters in this episode that have some interesting facial features. Michael J. Pollard as Jahn has a continuous weird, smirking, babyfaced look throughout the episode. It shows an obvious hint that he is up to no good, based on his limited (in Earth years) maturity. He grows to respect Miri’s authority after – due to Kirk’s support - she is able to take charge. I would see the actor, Pollard, in other television shows and movies such as in the 1988-1992 series Superboy (where he portrays Mister Mxyzptlk) and in 1990’s Dick Tracy where he portrays the character Bug Bailey, a police officer spying on Al Pacino’s ‘Big Boy Al Caprice.’**Another character is an individual who seems to instigate violence with his continuous ‘Bonk! Bonk!,’ which leads to the beating that Kirk gets towards the climax of the episode. I describe him as ‘the missing link’ because - hey - he does have strong simian features and he wasn’t one of my favorite characters in this episode. One can liken 'the missing link' to those 'other’ apes from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey that also were prone to violence. For instance, while the apes of 2001 had bones for their clubs, the 'the missing link' has his a wooden club - if memory serves correctly. Like those apes from Kubrick’s film, the child also needs ‘direction’ from those who come from the literal heavens, those who – or should be – more experienced in the potential of humanoid beings.

Other random observations I've had: This particular episode shares a bit that carries over into the 24th century, which is the captain on the bridge relating departing orders to his XO, and the XO relating those same orders to the helm. Also, John Farrell (portrayed by Jim Goodwin) from ‘Mudd’s Women’ returns to the navigation chair, but absent are Uhura, Scotty, and Sulu.

Now, some of these classic episodes are hurt by ‘cheese’ that turns up every now and then. One scene in particular is when Kirk is trying to appeal to the children, or the ‘onlies.’ He pleads, ‘No blahblahblah’ - slang for someone who is saying nothing of importance. This cheese is followed by the aforementioned beating of Kirk by the ‘onlies’ who have little patience, and find their interactions with Kirk and crew as a minor game. Interestingly, this ‘cheese’ comes after a minor epic bit where Kirk initially walks into the classroom to get a tied up Janice, the Star Trek fanfare plays. Speaking of Janice…

Janice Rand is not a strong character here. Arguably, she is not necessarily a strong character overall in the series, just a character who pines (no pun intended) for Captain Kirk. As aforementioned, she gets tied up at one point in this episode, and during another scene laments that Kirk hasn’t previously noticed her legs.

Lastly, Kirk goes against the ‘Star Trek’ idea of diplomacy in this episode, which is to extend the hand of friendship rather than use violence when initiating first contact. He immediately hits one of the plagued inhabitants before he even knows why the being actually attacked. I can side with Kirk using force here, because there possibly could have been a causality on his side if he hesitated or decided to talk rather than act. Hence, his actions were very…human.

Score:
This was a serviceable, straightforward episode. Not too deep, but not as bad as I remember it. I give it 3.4 out of 5.


**Michael J. Pollard was also in the late 1960s film Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway!


Next Up:
The Conscience of the King
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Old December 4 2013, 12:22 PM   #67
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Michael J. Pollard was on Lost in Space the year before "Miri." Good episode, too: "The Magic Mirror."

Another place I remember seeing him was in Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), a motorcycle racing movie co-starring Robert Redford. It's not widely available now. I read somewhere that Redford himself is keeping the movie off the video market because he hates it. Can't say if that's true.
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Old December 6 2013, 10:18 AM   #68
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

I thought Janice was OK in Miri. For some reason her crush on Kirk doesn't annoy me like Chapels on Spock. I'm thinking she's more realistic about it and maybe shes being more ironic than pathetic when she asks Kirk to look at her legs.
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Old December 6 2013, 11:21 AM   #69
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Grace Lee Whitney was a very cool chick, back in the day! She made a nothing part like Janice Rand interesting to watch. Majel Barrett just didn't have the chops for that. Nurse Chapel was lame in almost every way, except that she served Bones adequately. I loved it when Spock tried to wing her with the bowl of soup she made for him ... like he'd truly had his fill of her needy shit. It happened early enough, too, in that episode, where it seemed very much like that was the case.
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Old December 6 2013, 05:29 PM   #70
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Elf Spock wrote: View Post
I thought Janice was OK in Miri. For some reason her crush on Kirk doesn't annoy me like Chapels on Spock. I'm thinking she's more realistic about it and maybe shes being more ironic than pathetic when she asks Kirk to look at her legs.
2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
Grace Lee Whitney was a very cool chick, back in the day! She made a nothing part like Janice Rand interesting to watch. Majel Barrett just didn't have the chops for that. Nurse Chapel was lame in almost every way, except that she served Bones adequately. I loved it when Spock tried to wing her with the bowl of soup she made for him ... like he'd truly had his fill of her needy shit. It happened early enough, too, in that episode, where it seemed very much like that was the case.
I can definitely agree that Rand came off 'less desperate' as Chapel. According to one scene in 'Balance of Terror,' and some dialogue in 'The Naked Time,' there was some interest Kirk had towards Rand. Spock never really seem to have any interest in Chapel.
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Old December 7 2013, 01:55 AM   #71
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

A lot of the women in TOS were far too passive. We're told Chapel is a scientist and yet she fulfills the role of jealous fiancee in her only major episode and she always assists McCoy rather than conducting her own research in later appearances.

Rand was often a bit part and in Miri, although it's one of her larger roles, she does very little to move the plot along. The average Dr Who assistant would have put more effort in to reason with or escape from a bunch of children. I think they laboured a bit too much about their attraction in those early episodes - when Kirk is drunk he pines for her, when she's losing her marbles she tries to show him her scabby legs. Less would have been more! In a modern show they'd have kept the will-they-won't-they thing going for years.

However, there are other episodes where Rand sparkles. I love her interplay with Sulu in the Man Trap, the way she tries to stand up to the drunken Kirk in the Enemy Within, and the interplay in Charlie x. There was a lot of lost potential in her character.

Uhura on the other hand had quite a lot of sass, often portrayed with an imperious look, or arch comment. There were some of her larger episodes where she was bit passive but more often she got stuck in.

Other decent heroines were the impish Helen Noel and the acerbic Ann Mulhall either one of which I would have liked to see again.
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Old December 7 2013, 03:29 AM   #72
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
A lot of the women in TOS were far too passive. We're told Chapel is a scientist and yet she fulfills the role of jealous fiancee in her only major episode and she always assists McCoy rather than conducting her own research in later appearances.

Rand was often a bit part and in Miri, although it's one of her larger roles, she does very little to move the plot along. The average Dr Who assistant would have put more effort in to reason with or escape from a bunch of children. I think they laboured a bit too much about their attraction in those early episodes - when Kirk is drunk he pines for her, when she's losing her marbles she tries to show him her scabby legs. Less would have been more! In a modern show they'd have kept the will-they-won't-they thing going for years.

However, there are other episodes where Rand sparkles. I love her interplay with Sulu in the Man Trap, the way she tries to stand up to the drunken Kirk in the Enemy Within, and the interplay in Charlie x. There was a lot of lost potential in her character.

Uhura on the other hand had quite a lot of sass, often portrayed with an imperious look, or arch comment. There were some of her larger episodes where she was bit passive but more often she got stuck in.

Other decent heroines were the impish Helen Noel and the acerbic Ann Mulhall either one of which I would have liked to see again.
I hate to agree with 2takes but I'm thinking maybe he's right about Whitney elevating the writing of Rand. Her role seemed to be to have a crush on the handsome captain and to be saved by him or Spock in various episodes. I liked the way she handled Creman Green in Man Trap and even imploring Spock (in vain) to save her from amorous crewmen in Naked Time showed she wasn't just some some damsel in distress. And even giving Spock the evil eye at the end of Naked Time.

All the good work with the women characters seemed to be spoilt by their embarressing crushes or by saying I'm frightened or holding onto Kirk in stressful situations, or having to be saved by 'men'.

In nuTrek, Uhura and Carol actually contributed to the solution of the problems as much as they could. Not relying on the men to save them.
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Old December 7 2013, 11:41 PM   #73
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Elf Spock wrote: View Post
I hate to agree with 2takes but I'm thinking maybe he's right about Whitney elevating the writing of Rand. Her role seemed to be to have a crush on the handsome captain and to be saved by him or Spock in various episodes. I liked the way she handled Creman Green in Man Trap and even imploring Spock (in vain) to save her from amorous crewmen in Naked Time showed she wasn't just some some damsel in distress. And even giving Spock the evil eye at the end of Naked Time.

All the good work with the women characters seemed to be spoiled by their embarrassing crushes or by saying I'm frightened or holding onto Kirk in stressful situations, or having to be saved by 'men'.

In nuTrek, Uhura and Carol actually contributed to the solution of the problems as much as they could. Not relying on the men to save them.
I think NuTrek tries to treat all the principal supporting characters equally, whether male or female, which is a good thing, although there are a few missteps in there, largely unrelated to gender. Outside of the principal characters though, their approach to women in general is pretty lamentable.

Back to TOS, Carolyn Palamis was up in today's episode on CBS and boy was she a stinker, following in the footsteps of Marla McGivers, although at least Marla was clearly intended to be a very flawed individual. Even the sharp-tongued Mulhall spent most of her episode possessed by a much more feminine character, obsessed about her good looks.

But Joel has all this fun to come!

I still miss Rand though. If I had the digital skill, I'd clone Grace's head onto every blonde red-skirt that pops onto the bridge in seasons 2 and 3. Her line was edited out of Conscience of the King but she still manages to make a very noticeable entrance.
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Old December 8 2013, 11:23 PM   #74
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

One interesting note before we move on:

Regarding Michael J. Pollard playing Mr. Mxyzptlk on Superboy; When the character of Mr. Mxyztplk was changed to Mr. Mxyzptlk (note spelling), the redesign of his appearance was based, at least in part, on the appearance of a young actor quickly making his presence felt in supporting roles across TV and the movies. None other than Michael J. Pollard!
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Old February 11 2014, 08:27 PM   #75
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
A lot of the women in TOS were far too passive. We're told Chapel is a scientist and yet she fulfills the role of jealous fiancee in her only major episode and she always assists McCoy rather than conducting her own research in later appearances.

Rand was often a bit part and in Miri, although it's one of her larger roles, she does very little to move the plot along. The average Dr Who assistant would have put more effort in to reason with or escape from a bunch of children. I think they laboured a bit too much about their attraction in those early episodes - when Kirk is drunk he pines for her, when she's losing her marbles she tries to show him her scabby legs. Less would have been more! In a modern show they'd have kept the will-they-won't-they thing going for years.

However, there are other episodes where Rand sparkles. I love her interplay with Sulu in the Man Trap, the way she tries to stand up to the drunken Kirk in the Enemy Within, and the interplay in Charlie x. There was a lot of lost potential in her character.

Uhura on the other hand had quite a lot of sass, often portrayed with an imperious look, or arch comment. There were some of her larger episodes where she was bit passive but more often she got stuck in.

Other decent heroines were the impish Helen Noel and the acerbic Ann Mulhall either one of which I would have liked to see again.
Helen Noel was mysterious, gorgeous, and could handle herself pretty well in a fight. It seemed she was the one being chased, rather than the other way around. Ann Muhall is another good example. On the other hand, another good example of a strong female character in TOS, even though she wasn't a heroine, is the Romulan Commander. She was tough, extremely sexy, very commanding, and very intimidating as someone not to be trifled with.

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Elf Spock wrote: View Post
I hate to agree with 2takes but I'm thinking maybe he's right about Whitney elevating the writing of Rand. Her role seemed to be to have a crush on the handsome captain and to be saved by him or Spock in various episodes. I liked the way she handled Creman Green in Man Trap and even imploring Spock (in vain) to save her from amorous crewmen in Naked Time showed she wasn't just some some damsel in distress. And even giving Spock the evil eye at the end of Naked Time.

All the good work with the women characters seemed to be spoiled by their embarrassing crushes or by saying I'm frightened or holding onto Kirk in stressful situations, or having to be saved by 'men'.

In nuTrek, Uhura and Carol actually contributed to the solution of the problems as much as they could. Not relying on the men to save them.
I think NuTrek tries to treat all the principal supporting characters equally, whether male or female, which is a good thing, although there are a few missteps in there, largely unrelated to gender. Outside of the principal characters though, their approach to women in general is pretty lamentable.

Back to TOS, Carolyn Palamis was up in today's episode on CBS and boy was she a stinker, following in the footsteps of Marla McGivers, although at least Marla was clearly intended to be a very flawed individual. Even the sharp-tongued Mulhall spent most of her episode possessed by a much more feminine character, obsessed about her good looks.

But Joel has all this fun to come!

I still miss Rand though. If I had the digital skill, I'd clone Grace's head onto every blonde red-skirt that pops onto the bridge in seasons 2 and 3. Her line was edited out of Conscience of the King but she still manages to make a very noticeable entrance.
While I do like Carol and Uhura in NuTrek, I still think that Uhura can still be written even better since she seems to primarily have relevance only when it has to do with Spock. Carol, in part 3, can also take more a role in the plot being more than just the tentative love interest for Kirk. We get that they're sexy and beautiful, but we need to have these characters stand on their own without just having them be present due to some relationship/romantic issue.

And yes, I have my notes for 'The Conscience of the King' and 'Galileo 7' in the works. (Working on so many things right now).
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