Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm someone who thinks "That Which Survives" deserves its bad rep. I would rate it bottom 5 TOS for many reasons. Mostly because Kirk and Spock act like jerks. It has good moments but after seeing it I just want to punch Spock in the nose and give Kirk the finger (if I did that sort of thing).

    I also find the composition of that landing party difficult to understand. Apparently this planet was an amazing unihabited scientific marvel, so who do you beam down? Chief science officer and a bunch of scientists? No Captain, Helmsman and one scientist.
    However surprise surprise it all worked out. Best landing party ever except for the scientist but hey he wasn't a regular. Kirk and Sulu were probably in retrospect excellent choices but how did Kirk know?
     
  2. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wasn't Sulu supposed to have some extensive knowledge of Geology? I know at the beginning (and perhaps in the writer's bible) he had almost an interest of the week, but whatever interested him he dove into with both feet. I think Botany was also features in the first season...

    The logic of beaming down into the thick of things, getting into trouble and figuring a creative way out is just how the show was constructed. I agreed with David Gerrold in his book but when I watched TNG with the 'Away Teams' while more practical they were just not that interesting in the stories. The times when Picard did beam down and deal with things personally were far better IMO
     
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure about bottom 5, but That Which Survives does deserve its bad reputation.

    However, the scene with Scotty in the crawlway is cool in a nerdgasmy kind of way. And, That Which Survives is a good source of "canon fodder" and other trivia, such as for how fast the Enterprise can go, and in showing that you can move a little and see things while beaming. Also, it's the second time Catwoman was in Star Trek.*

    * - Although, it's at least the third Catwoman/Star Trek connection, with different "Catwomen" too, because Eartha Kitt's Kitty Car was in Bread and Circuses, which miraculously gets us back to the OP episode [linky]!
     
  4. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have, indeed. She used to be kinda hot, when they first got together. Now, she's gotten long in the tooth and big in the rear. It took far less than that for The Shat to dump Marcie (aka Chief DeFalco of TMP fame) after 20 committed years, for a younger model! Marcie, quite rightly, I thought, felt that she was the Total Package. Even all those years ago, right after TMP, Shat put on the pounds again, started wearing a girdle and sported that rediculously curly hair-hat, and Marcie tolerated it ... all in the name of love! Oh, she was so bitter, afterwards ... so very bitter ...
     
  5. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah, remember Catspaw? With the Trinity, Scotty and Sulu down on the planet, you had the benchwarmers running the ship; DeSalle in command, with greenhorn Chekov trying to do Spock's job.
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I half-heartedly agree with the O.P. TOS had a nasty habit of sending the Enterprise's top officers into dangerous territory; but then, this was a built-in flaw with the show's format, since it was originally just focused on Kirk with the other characters being supporting roles. As the show progressed, it slowly (and probably accidentally) evolved into Kirk-Spock-McCoy and then a larger ensemble format.

    "The Return of the Archons" did give us a tiny taste of seeing Sulu and O'Neil as junior officers sent to reconnoiter, and Kelowitz was seen as another junior officer doing reconnaissance work in "Arena", "The Galileo Seven" and "This Side of Paradise". But the "Bread and Circuses" story really demands Kirk take center-stage. So Roddenberry and Coon created a perceived problem right from the get-go.

    "Bread and Circuses" is a tailored Kirk/Shat story, period. Unless you already had a character like Sulu or Kelowitz fully developed from prior stories, with plenty of lines / plots given to them, it would have been strange to just see Kirk sitting in his command chair telling Scotty to turn out Planet 892-IV / New Rome's lights, and Spock and McCoy having nothing to do for the entire story. So the show wasn't set-up for this during the actual TOS run.

    Yes, it would be neat to see a character like Sulu or Kelowitz commanding the landing party, "The Return of the Archons"-style. I'm surprised none of the TOS-derived fan films have tried this to date.

    As for the notion of Kirk taking redshirts down to New Rome with him, I disagree. No matter who would be sent down, the landing party in that situation should be small. No large, heavily armed contingent.

    I'm not totally surprised by the criticisms raised here, but I really think there are more disturbing issues in "Bread and Circuses". "Patterns of Force" brought up the notion of McCoy injecting landing party members with subcutaneous transponders to keep track of them in case they lost their communicators; this interesting and innovative technique was never used in similar situations in TOS again. That was a shame. "Bread and Circuses", "A Piece of the Action" and "Patterns of Force" failed to shed light on what happens with lost/stolen Starfleet-issue technology on a Prime-Directive-protected planet. What does a starship expedition do about those missing phasers, communicators, tricorders, or even medikits? This disturbing scenario occurred to me as far back as the 1970s. Thus far, no TREK series (or movie) ever explored this.
     
  7. cgervasi

    cgervasi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It also put Scotty in the role of being the balance between passion (McCoy) and reason (Spock). Unlike Kirk, though, Scotty isn't in charge. This is how engineers often see the world. The crew is carrying on irrationally about Spock not understanding their feelings. Spock seems dogmatic about his logical view of life and oddly unable to deal with irrational people. Spock just focuses on fixing the shuttle.
     
  8. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    That second-year episode is the only live-action one where Uhura should clearly have been in command. I'll agree that DeSalle was promoted THEN for real-life societal reasons, but I don't believe for a moment he was fifth-in-command in THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS. Has Nichelle Nichols ever commented about this?
     
  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Uhura was a "lieutenant," but this was a ship full of lieutenants, and they were seldom seen to have any subordinates. I think there was some title inflation going on.

    In TWOK, Saavik was addressed as Lieutenant despite still being an Academy trainee. It's not like our current Navy at all. The rank of lieutenant just doesn't mean much in Starfleet. It's like having a yellow belt in judo.

    There is scant little in-universe edvidence that Uhura and Sulu had any power; they never even gave Chekov an order. The animated series would later portray (retcon?) Uhura as a ranking officer, but not TOS.
     
  10. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In Season 1 when Kirk sent down other guys on planet surveys they just seemed to do it wrong and always needed to be rescued. By Season 3 Kirk maybe decided he just wasn't going to waste time and go down himself in the first place.
     
  11. Bixby

    Bixby Captain Captain

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    ...A FRENCHMAN quoting Shakespeare in an authentic British accent with a penchant for Earl Grey tea...

    Yep, I'll bet there are a LOT of french men like that :rolleyes:
     
  12. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ... Glad you see things my way! ;) :p :) :rofl: :cool: :lol:
     
  13. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On the other hand, which is better: the Captain and First Officer beaming down to the Planet of the Weekians knowing nothing about what they're going to find, or waiting until the first landing party has gone and got itself captured and brainwashed and then sending the Captain and First Officer into the mess?