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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old September 11 2009, 03:46 AM   #1
Mendon
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Charlie X

Given that it sometimes seems there's an all-powerful entity lurking in every sector, Charlie X faces some pretty stiff competition in Trek's stable of omnipotence fables. Despite that, Charlie's story has a lot to offer by setting his efforts to deal with his advanced abilities parallel to his attempts to acclimate socially. The combination is a mutually beneficial one, each conflict made more interesting by the introduction of the other.

With Charlie's unique circumstances, one might have expected the crew to be a little more sympathetic to him from the outset, but naturally things spiraled quickly beyond their control. Portraying believable standoffs between Kirk and the all-powerful Charlie could only be accomplished by some superior scripting, and that is executed successfully. It's too bad that Kirk ultimately wasn't able to find Charlie a place among the humans, but this isn't necessarily the end of his story. One hopes that with a little more maturity, he'd be able to try his luck again, but the Thasians don't seem to have much to offer for coaching in the ways of humanity. At any rate, he winds up marginally better off than the creature from last week's adventure.

Although not a grand slam, I think this episode overall is a fairly strong one. How about you?
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Old September 11 2009, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: Charlie X

I think it's a strong episode (I have a soft spot for the earliest episodes, when the creators were m ore excited about the show and more willing to go out on a limb with storytelling and production). Despite this episode having been "done before" (The Twilight Zone), I think Robert Walker was a good guest star and you really did feel bad for him.
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Old September 11 2009, 03:35 PM   #3
Mendon
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Re: Charlie X

I agree; he was a pretty terrific guest star. Which episode of The Twilight Zone does it resemble? I'd like to check it out.
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Old September 11 2009, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: Charlie X

Mendon wrote: View Post
I agree; he was a pretty terrific guest star. Which episode of The Twilight Zone does it resemble? I'd like to check it out.
It was the one where Bill Mumy (of Lost In Space) plays a kid with Charlie X style powers, has his family and community all fear him, and do whatever he wants them to do. It was later re-done in the Twilight Zone movie, along with Shatner's classic "something is on the wing of this plane" episode with John Lithgow replaying Shatner's role... (strange how the Trek connections abound) and later spoofed by the Simpsons on one of their early Halloween episodes.

But also: Is there any relation, connection, or maybe even homage to Charlie X in the TNG episode about the seemingly simple old man living alone (kind of) on a small and fertile tract of land on an otherwise desolate planet who turns out to be all powerful and destroys the entire race of aliens responsible for the death of his wife and destruction of his home planet with one thought? Eh?...is there? Huh?

Last edited by Yug; September 11 2009 at 03:50 PM. Reason: (or something like that)
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Old September 11 2009, 04:02 PM   #5
Mendon
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Re: Charlie X

Thanks for the info! As far as TNG goes, though, this episode more reminds me of True Q, wherein crewman Amanda Rogers has difficulty living among humans while having the powers of a Q.

As for The Survivors, it shares the obvious connection of featuring yet another all-powerful guest star, but its questions are more about the ethics of the omnipotent than the challenges for such a one to integrate itself into human society. After all, he wanted nothing more than to be left alone when the Enterprise found him. All that said, Kevin Uxbridge could easily have been Charlie Evans as an old man, eh?
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Old September 11 2009, 05:23 PM   #6
Yug
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Re: Charlie X

Mendon wrote: View Post
All that said, Kevin Uxbridge could easily have been Charlie Evans as an old man, eh?
I agree, maybe that's why there's an X in the characters name... perhaps a small wink to the audience.
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Old September 11 2009, 05:33 PM   #7
Mendon
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Re: Charlie X

On that reading, it's comforting to know that Charlie was eventually successful at integrating himself in human society. A pity, then, that the Husnock wouldn't have it! I guess they learned their lesson.
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Old September 12 2009, 12:56 AM   #8
Orcus
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Re: Charlie X

I've always had a soft spot for this one - mainly nostagia as it was about the second one I saw way back when...
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Old September 12 2009, 05:44 AM   #9
Mendon
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Re: Charlie X

I remember watching most of these for the first time when the Sci-Fi Channel first got the rights to broadcast them in the mid-90s. I must have been 11 or 12, but they did a great job of making it feel like a real event, showing the episodes uncut in primetime and inserting new interviews with the cast during the commercial breaks. I don't think I've seen Charlie X since then, so it was nice to see how well it holds up. It doesn't seem like it's a particularly beloved episode by many, so I had never gone out of my way to watch it again as I grew older.
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Old September 12 2009, 09:55 PM   #10
FlapJoy
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Re: Charlie X

I remember it as kid in the 70's. I swear when that girl got her face erased... I couldn't sleep for days.
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Old September 12 2009, 11:13 PM   #11
T'Girl
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Re: Charlie X

Only two bitches I have for this episode are; the arrival of the thelloians ( spelling ?) remove from Kirk and crew the necessity to come up with their own solution to the problem of Charlie.

Second smaller bitch; I think the story might of been better with an actor who was obviously in his mid-late teens. Robert Walker , who was great, look like to be in his mid twenties.
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Old September 13 2009, 03:23 AM   #12
Mendon
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Re: Charlie X

T'Girl, the first issue you mention would also be my most major complaint. Don't get me wrong, having the Thasians pop up was cool - but in the end, I believe that in as far as Charlie wished to reenter human society, then humans ought to have helped bring him closer to that goal, rather than turning him back over with a shrug.

I also agree that Charlie could ideally have looked a little younger, but really he was played so well that this doesn't bother me as much as it might otherwise do.
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Old September 13 2009, 05:26 AM   #13
Nerys Myk
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Re: Charlie X

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Only two bitches I have for this episode are; the arrival of the thelloians ( spelling ?) remove from Kirk and crew the necessity to come up with their own solution to the problem of Charlie.

Second smaller bitch; I think the story might of been better with an actor who was obviously in his mid-late teens. Robert Walker , who was great, look like to be in his mid twenties.
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Old September 13 2009, 07:25 AM   #14
nx1701g
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Re: Charlie X

Hambone wrote: View Post
I think it's a strong episode (I have a soft spot for the earliest episodes, when the creators were m ore excited about the show and more willing to go out on a limb with storytelling and production). Despite this episode having been "done before" (The Twilight Zone), I think Robert Walker was a good guest star and you really did feel bad for him.
I recall from the Sci-Fi Channel specials a few years ago that he tried to remain in the character of Charlie even inbetween takes.
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Old December 5 2009, 08:42 PM   #15
MikeS
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Re: Charlie X

I enjoyed rewatching this.

I love that these early episodes show the ship as a huge community. I'm thinking of the gym scene here, and the mention of a bowling alley a few episodes back. There are always lots of background actors adding to the sense of "business".

Shame they got rid of Rand. Really like her.
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