Joel Revisits TOS....

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Joel_Kirk, May 16, 2012.

  1. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know Warped9 is "doing his thing" with TOS/TAS(and I'm enjoying his thoughts on both series) this post is just a marker for future plans; I probably won't add to this thread until next week...given my schedule.

    In addition to TOS (a series I haven't watched in a long while) I will be looking at:

    TAS
    TNG Season 1, including "Data's Day"
    ENT Season 4, including "E2"

    (Of course, those reviews not TOS or TAS won't be in this area).

    These reviews will possibly be sporadic.
     
  2. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Can't wait! I love "Revisiting" Threads.

    For TOS Are you planning on production order, airdate order, or the always experimental stardate order?
     
  3. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^

    Sorry for the late reply. :)

    I'll be doing airdate order....with the exception of the two pilots.

    The Cage Review

    -Story -
    The Enterprise answers a distress signal from Talos IV, but finds out it is a trap to get to Captain Pike; a plan by the inhabitants, the Talosians, to repopulate the dead planet.

    -Theme -
    The human need for freedom, to be an individual. A theme which crops up frequently in the franchise.

    -Plot Holes/Stuff Overlooked -
    Given the time period this pilot was produced - before there were shows that had season long arcs - it's unlikely things would have been answered over the course of the series if Jeffrey Hunter's Pike had remained commanding lead of the series. As I recall, Star Trek was supposed to be an anthology, each episode standing on its own. So, what stood out for me:

    • Christopher Pike questions his command, and this isn't given closure at the end of the episode.
    • The Talosians want “slaves” to repopulate, to "perpetuate the species." Once they explain these intentions after Pike fights his way out of the "cage" of the title, they seem to get sympathy from Pike. However, the Talosians still have their plans set, only Pike doesn't figure into those plans...since he was deemed "too violent."
    • Vina, who has experienced "discipline" by the Talosians, has a constant sympathy for them. She has been abused, yet becomes apologetic with her abusers.
    • Why didn’t the Talosians, with their power across long distances, sense that Pike wouldn’t be adequate for control? And, aside from the fact that he is the lead charcter, for what specific reason did the Talosians pick him?

    -Other Observations -
    • The Bruce Greenwood incarnation of Christopher Pike definitely seems to be a different version of the same person, sort of like an incarnation of one of the Doctors from Doctor Who.
    • Jose “Joe” Tyler seems to be a little reckless...or at least a little too active. He could use a chill pill from Dr. Boyce.
    • The crew would get a bit more diverse - racially - in the next pilot, obviously. However, The Cage, of course, wins points for having the strong female commanding officer, Number One.

    -My Score-
    3 out of 5
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Between the conversation with Boyce in his quarters and the fact he got to explore other roads his life could have taken, I'd say the episode does give closure to this specific point. Pike looks to be rejuvenated when he takes command of the Enterprise at the end.

    Stockholm Syndrome?

    I've always loved The Cage. 5/5. But then I love The Omega Glory too, so what do I know? :techman:
     
  5. trekkiebaggio

    trekkiebaggio Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With regards to Vina's sympathy, the Talosians did save her life and tried to make her happy. They did have a bit of a tragic history as well.

    As for why the Talosians picked Pike; I think it was as much that he was Vina's dream man as Vina was his dream girl. They seemed to want to make Vina happy, until Pike rejected her then they cast her aside and got Number One and the yeoman.

    I'm not sure how Pike leaving damned the Talosions to extinction though.
     
  6. NavisPacifica

    NavisPacifica Ensign Red Shirt

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    I've only seen The Cage through the lens of The Menagerie. I was grateful every time the episode took us back to the frame story of Spock's court martial because The Cage is some tedious stuff, man. Pike is unlikable (some of the more tedious episodes are bearable, I find, if only for Kirk's charm), it crawls at a snail's pace, and it has that same morality tale feel with the disfigured woman rendered beautiful by magic later echoed in Mudd's Women (which at least had Mudd and Kirk to get us through it, as well as some genuine pathos).

    I can't complain about the effects or costumes, though, because the entire series is limited in that respect. But the pacing, acting, and writing, IMHO, are brutal.
     
  7. NavisPacifica

    NavisPacifica Ensign Red Shirt

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    Now that I think of it, does anyone else get that MST3K feeling every time the court martial in The Menagerie assembles to watch the events of The Cage unfold?
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    You should actually watch the episode before passing judgement on it. :techman:
     
  9. NavisPacifica

    NavisPacifica Ensign Red Shirt

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    Perhaps so, but I'm not sure I can make it through without a couple of witty robots and a few intermissions.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    If NBC had bought Star Trek as a series based on "The Cage" it's still possible Roddenberry could have made further changes before going into series production. We just have no idea what those changes might have entailed. "The Cage" is in many ways a rough draft, a first effort. NBC liking "The Cage" but wanting changes and then asking for a second pilot forced Roddenberry to make changes. Jeffrey Hunter choosing not to return also forced Roddenberry to make changes with his lead character. As a result he not only changed the actor he also changed the character's name and consequently that changed the character's personality. And in extent in changed the overall feel of the show.

    Jeffrey Hunter was more the classical type of Hollywood leading man. He was very clean cut with defined features and somewhat of a more reserved bearing in his portrayal of Pike. William Shatner was somewhat more everyman (albeit still handsome) in appearance and more expressive in his portrayal of Kirk. Eliminating Number One and making Spock the "emotionless" one played off well with Kirk's more outgoing nature. It wouldn't have played the same with Pike who was also somewhat reserved. And having Spock reserved made Number One redundant, so goodbye.

    We''ll never know how well TOS might have done if they had gone forward into production based on "The Cage." We can only speculate.
     
  11. smalltalk66

    smalltalk66 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    OT but, anyone else think that Hunter would have been the model for Stan Lee's Fantastic Four? He always looked and sounded like Reed Richards to me.
     
  12. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    More like the other way around. FF #1 was published in 1961, "The Cage" produced in 1964 (unless you mean Hunter's persona in pre-1961 productions).
     
  13. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You think this is a plot hole? You know any abuse survivors? I'd call it a reasonably observant bit of characterization.

    No.

    Pike is traumatized by the consequences of decisions he's made and is considering fleeing to a less stressful existence. The entire episode is then devoted to examining this fantasy and Pike addresses it and his conclusions about it directly and at length in his closing speech to Boyce.
     
  14. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was the human race's "unsuitability" for captivity that they said condemned them to extinction. Humans had been their last hope because no other species had shown such "adaptability."
     
  15. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sounded? Not sure I follow.

    Actually, if you've ever seen some of the early-ish drawings inked by Kirby himself (rather than by Dick Ayers or Joe Sinnott or Chic Stone) you can see that Reed Richards looks a bit like…Jack Kirby.

    Still, I always thought Guy Williams would have made a "Fantastic" Reed Richards.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    On this point, you might be interested in the series pitch, which justifies Tyler's behavior with this chestnut...

     
  17. trekkiebaggio

    trekkiebaggio Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but I don't know how humans would save Talosians?

    I got the impression that Vina and Pike would be an Adam and Eve, but they'd only breed humans so that wouldn't help the Talosian race. Perhaps they wanted to harvest human DNA?

    Or did they just mean that humans would be able to survive on the barren planet and find a way to help the Talosians?
     
  18. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Where No Man Has Gone Before....

    Story
    The Enterprise comes across a buoy from the SS Valiant, discovering an incident involving crewmembers attaining high ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception) levels after venturing through an alien cloud. After the Enterprise comes across that same cloud, two members of Kirk’s crew who have high ESP levels, including friend Gary Mitchell, change for the worse.

    Theme(s)
    Power Corrupts, friendship; the good of the many outweigh the need of the one; the awesomeness of Gary Lockwood.

    Questionable Plot Points/Plot Holes
    Somewhat minor, but it was interesting how the two people affected by the cloud were coincidentally both on the bridge, and the other 9(?) unseen people not on said bridge, died.

    Miscellaneous
    Some other nitpicks I have not necessarily plot holes, but may be related to plot points. It was a bit confusing, for me, how the Valiant, ESP, and the energy/alien cloud thingy tied together, but I got the gist for the overall story. Also, everyone thought that they had Mitchell under watch on Delta Vega, but Lee Kelso (who comes off as a cooler, competent, non-accented version of “Trip” Tucker) should have kept on his toes while corresponding with the Enterprise while on his communicator. Furthermore, it was a nice touch to have Kirk still recovering, with gauze over his right hand at the episode’s finale. Overall this was a straightforward story, more action-oriented than the previous episode, The Cage, with the Kirk-led crew a bit more “alive” in their interactions than Pike’s crew.

    The crew, at this point, is slowly but surely getting mixed racially, at least for a 1960s program, but still needing strong females. As we will see in upcoming episodes, the crew (and background extras) would become racially mixed; of course, it will continually be debated on how much screen time and depth those (non-traditionally white) characters would get, but for now, we have Alden, who is the “black” character in charge of communications and is shown taking part in repairs; Sulu is present, but doesn’t really have any lines as I recall, just on hand as a department head. There is also an Asian male (who has no speaking lines), in scenes in the transporter room. As for the females, Liz Dehner, arguably, is a strong female character, noting a smart remark from Gary Mitchell...but eventually killed off; Yeoman Smith’s role is just to stand next on the bridge and look pretty. Lt. Uhura would later, occasionally, take on the reigns of a sexy, strong female (primarily in Mirror, Mirror)...but also utter “I’m scared” at some points in the series.

    Spock is going through changes physically, as he is worked in as a lead character. He still "yells" his orders and actions, and has prominent upswept eyebrows; both his yelling and eyebrows, would be toned down in later episodes....

    The awesomeness of Gary Lockwood is awesome. His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenever he is in space. For example, affected by an alien cloud that gives him delusions of grandeur (as Gary Mitchell), and attacked by a monotone computer on the way to Jupiter (as Frank Poole). Aside from the unfortunate occurrences, Gary Lockwood as Gary Mitchell gives us a brief, likable character (somewhat like Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike). Mitchell uses slang we’re familiar with, like “man,” and introduces a new word term like “nova,” a word that comes off to be synonymous with “awesome” or “cool” or “out of sight” (i.e. damn, she was so “nova). Indeed, Gary Lockwood, is a cool actor I would like to meet and possibly work with someday.

    This particular episode is part of the first season, which I feel is the strongest of the classic Trek series. The only nitpicky, light, moment is Gary Mitchell having Kirk “pray that he will die quickly” and Shatner giving his possessed, dramatic performance which will be seen in different forms later on over the course of the series. Here, I think it is passable, since majority of the episode, Shatner is pretty serious and you do get the weight of the problem that hangs over him for this episode. You had some individuals – still do probably - who tend to base the classic series on the 3rd season and bypass the gems of the first season. As aforementioned, the Enterprise feels alive, as crewmembers fill the corridors, something seen less later on in the series. In sum, this is still an early episode with a hint of things to come: The friendship between Kirk and Spock, Spock and his battles with logic, Uhura, and her Starfleet skirt and boots uniform, McCoy, Chekov, and Sulu at the helm.

    This episode was an improvement over The Cage, but there were stronger episodes to come. Therefore, my score is: 3.25 out of 5.

    Next up
    The Carbonite Maneuver*
    (“Put Captain Kirk in the cargo hold…”)​



    *(Yes, of course, it's The "Corbomite" Maneuver!)
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

    Interestingly, Lloyd Haynes was hired to be a series regular as Alden, but was dropped by Roddenberry after the second pilot. He doesn't make much of an impression in the episode, unfortunately, but it's interesting to speculate what the series might have been like with him on board.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Where No Man Has Gone Before....

    How could he make any kind of impression since he basically has nothing to do? :)