Treking through all Star Trek

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by thew40, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Bread and Circuses”
    Trek Installment # 137
    Grade: C-
    Viewing Date: February 2, 2010

    I’m really not sure how I feel about this one. It had a very neat concept – a 20th century Roman Empire, though it was just a little too human. Did Apollo and his crew pop by? Wouldn’t it be cool if that was mentioned? And let’s hold on one sec . . . what was all that about Christianity at the end? I’m fine with it, because I’m a Christian and it was (strangely) nice to see my beliefs considered in a positive light . . . but wasn’t Roddenberry a firm atheist? Or was this his olive branch? Just strange.

    The story about Merrick’s crew was just kinda dumb. As my wife pointed out, why would Merrick endanger his whole crew like that? Because he’s a Starfleet wash-out? Spock and Bones were okay with dying – not great, but okay with it. And since the Prime Directive was all ready messed with, I think Scotty should have beamed down some security teams to (be massacred) rescue the Captain during the power outage.

    I did really like the narrow escape at the end. It was very much a “let’s get the hell outta here” as opposed to the normal “let’s teach them why they’re wrong.” Merrick’s last act of throwing the communicator at Kirk and crew was nice, even though he was pretty much a big loser throughout the episode.

    I also loved the scene with Bones and Spock, when Bones was talking about how Spock was afraid of living because his emotions might slip. And their gladiator battle was cool.

    Just . . . an odd episode all in all.
     
  2. Luther Sloan

    Luther Sloan Captain Captain

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    Yeah, I suppose I got a bit overly excited when I first heard the theory.

    :(
     
  3. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Journey to Babel”
    Trek Installment # 138
    Grade: B+
    Viewing Date: February 4, 2010

    While Star Trek doesn’t exactly have the arcs that its off-spring were known for, it certainly does have episodes that serve Spock well enough to create one. Since we’ve first met Spock, he followed only logic, choosing it over his emotional human half. We’ve followed him since, challenging that logic in fine episodes like “Galileo Seven,” “Amok Time,” and “This Side of Paradise” – to name a few.

    Here’s another one. While the previous episodes dealt exclusively with his friends and loved ones challenging his restrained emotions, “Journey” punches Spock in heart – it brings in the conflicted and complex relationship with his parents. The family is clearly defined. Sarek the distant father, renowned in his career, but very cold towards his son. Amanda the caring mother, seeking only to find peace between the two of them. Spock, the lost son grasping onto whatever he can to maintain order in his world – whether it’s logic or the needs of, well, the many. And then there’s Sybok, who’s off bumming around with space hippies or something.

    Anyways, it’s that family relationship that makes this episode so damn intriguing. I really loved it for that reason alone. The weight and consequences of Spock’s decision about not helping his father were really intriguing and almost troubling to watch. Amanda’s reaction was solid. I really loved her character.

    Meanwhile, seeing all those aliens was great. It’s something Star Trek really lacks – we needed more aliens on board, damn it. It did manage to echo the Romulan arc from Enterprise, but it didn’t resonate as much as I would have liked.

    I loved seeing the Andorians and Tellarites again. Kirk had some fightin’, which was cool and kinda necessary. It’s Star Trek, of course.

    Overall, a strong episode. Probably one of the best of the season.
     
  4. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “A Private Little War”
    Trek Installment # 139
    Grade: C-
    Viewing Date: February 8, 2010

    I was really at a loss on this episode. On the one hand, it made a good statement about larger powers getting involved in smaller powers, meddling about, and making things worse. On the other hand, there’s something about it that drove me insane.

    Kirk’s perfectly okay with destroying false computer gods and destroying equipment that interferes with the development of a species. However, he’s also perfectly okay with the altering the very course of Neural’s history by arming the other side with weapons that the Klingons introduced in the first place. Doesn’t the sudden development of guns interfere with the development of a species? It’s troubling – Kirk knows better. Why not send down a team of redshirts, blow up the munitions supply of the opposing side, and let Tyree try and make peace? It’s foolish for Kirk just to assume that things can’t be saved – he can talk a robot to death!

    I understand it was intended to be a parallel to Vietnam and the Klingons had a great Cold War vibe going on, but at the same time, this was just a mess. I ended up really disliking at the end of this episode.

    On the other hand, Spock and Chapel were great. I liked Tyree a lot, though I hated his wife. Tyree was surprisingly well-developed for a one-shot character. M’Benga was pretty cool too. I wish he would have stuck around more – it’s nice to know that McCoy’s not the only doctor there.
     
  5. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “The Gamesters of Triskelion”
    Trek Installment # 140
    Grade: C
    Viewing Date: February 8, 2010

    A pretty average episode, but with some nice highlights. Uhura and Chekov taking the place of Spock and Bones as part of the away team was refreshingly different. Bones and Scotty’s arguing with Spock was pretty cool, even though it didn’t amount to much. Spock’s conversation about them mutinying was funny. This was all nice because it gave each character something to do – even if Chekov ended up being a bit of the comic relief.

    I also liked seeing the aliens. It was a nice variety. That big guy (in my mind) reminded me of a Nausicaan. The other aliens were pretty cool – except for the Gamesters themselves. They were really over-the-top. What exactly was going to happen to them? Were they really going to teach the aliens how to be innovative?

    This episode, above many others, deserved a follow-up in the 24th century. It would have been interesting to see how the Gamesters would interact with species like the Ferengi or the Orions. Or to revisit those aliens to see if they were actually able to build a real civilization.

    I also wonder about the kind of technology they had to just grab hold of the Enterprise like that. How hard would it have been for some enemy of the Federation to track down that world and find the Gamesters and steal their tech? Maybe not easy, but it could have been done.

    How many quadloos would you bet that it would have been a decent episode?
     
  6. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Obsession”
    Trek Installment # 141
    Grade: D+
    Viewing Date: February 8, 2010

    It’s another REDSHIRT MASSACRE!

    The Enterprise fight a Space Cloud that once killed Kirk’s old captain, whose son just happens to be serving on Kirk’s ship. This son – Garrovick, no first name given – suffers from the same guilt Kirk does about the Space Cloud.

    Ultimately, they use an ounce of anti-matter to blow up the creature, but only after making it difficult for themselves and getting out just as the Space Cloud is coming upon them, instead of when it first shows up. Also, it’s there to breed.

    This is episode is extremely contrived. While yes, it gave Kirk a backstory and it had a Redshirt with a purpose, it was pretty messy. Kirk just happened to be on the same planet as the Space Cloud that he still had emotional damage about. Garrovick just happened to serve on the same ship at Kirk and his father was killed by the Space Cloud – he also just happened to make the same non-mistake Kirk did back in the day. The Space Cloud just happened to need to breed.

    And then the “trap” . . . what a piece of work. Why didn’t they just beam out when the Space Cloud showed up to eat the blood and then remote detonate the anti-matter like they did anyways? That would have made more sense.

    Bleh.
     
  7. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “The Immunity Syndrome”
    Trek Installment # 142
    Grade: C+
    Viewing Date: February 8, 2010

    This one was more on the ball. It really took Star Trek back to its scientific roots. While, yes, a giant amoeba in space is pretty far-fetched and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense in the long run, it brought about some shining moments for the crew.

    In particular, Spock and Bones competitive attitude in regards to studying it. Granted Spock’s got some personal beef involved, there’s a nice surge of sheer curiousity and interest that drives both men into wanting to go on that mission. It worked out well.

    Spock’s Obi-Wan impression (or is it the other way around?) was a little overdone, but it worked well. He had a good “oh snap” with Bones when he talked about death of the Intrepid and how it affected him. It also recalled the “you are the ones to be envied” line from Enterprise (“The Forgotten”).

    Overall, a much-appreciated better than average Trek.
     
  8. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “A Piece of the Action”
    Trek Installment # 143
    Grade: C-
    Viewing Date: February 8, 2010

    I’ll be completely honest – I’m not a big fan of finding, basically, “other Earths” out in space. I think it’s lazy writing and gets really redundant. I’ll have a little more to say about this when I get to the end of this season – because it’s a big deal for me.

    Now that being said, I actually kinda like this episode. It wasn’t completely logical, but it was at least fun and was pretty tongue in cheek. The explanation didn’t make a lot of sense, of course, but I’ve come to learn that sometimes, Star Trek just doesn’t make a lot sense.

    I did like that Kirk was willing to take responsibility for the actions of the Horizon. It made me wonder if some other starship will sometime clean up the mess Kirk made in “A Private Little War,” “The Apple,” and “The Return of the Archons.” And his realization that he needs to adapt to culture and his smart use of the transporter and all of his manipulations really says something about Kirk’s determination. Any other captain would have been just fine to leave them tear themselves apart.
     
  9. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “By Any Other Name”
    Trek Installment # 144
    Grade: B-
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    I think this episode had a lot of potential to be a much larger, much more exciting story. Invaders from another galaxy that are stuck in human form succumbing to human faults. It’s kinda neat. We have the Galactic Barrier, we have some nice references to other episodes, and we have the ship taken over quite quickly. It’s a big one, to be sure.

    But it lacks focus and drive. There’s only so much danger the Enterprise can be in. The Kelvans as a culture all their own are only scratched – there’s nothing to go on about them. We don’t see their actual bodies, we only get the basics of these people.

    There’s also a few substantial plotholes. How did they know what the humans looked like? How did they get back across the barrier? Why keep Kirk around if Spock, Bones, and Scotty were all you really needed?

    Out of all the TOS episodes (thus far), this was one that could have been a two parter. Hell, I’d even take a three parter. It could have been epic. Instead, it’s just another above average episode. Everyone defeated the Kelvins in the way you’d expect them to. Spock pointed out what was wrong with them, Kirk taught them how to love, Bones filled them up with meds, and Scotty got them drunk.
     
  10. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Return to Tomorrow”
    Trek Installment # 145
    Grade: B
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    Like the previous episode, I thought this one had a lot of potential – except this one actually achieved it. While not exactly keen on the whole “we are the true parents of mankind” (even though I used them in a fanfic), I actually really enjoyed Sargon and his gang. Unlike the usual TOS aliens, he was understanding, sympathetic, intriguing, and NOT EVIL.

    All three characters were well-rounded and intriguing. It was such a great change of pace and made for a fine alien species to deal with.

    The telepathic battle and trickery was also well done and came across very well. It was a little on the confusing side, but at the same time, really managed to pull it off. Kirk’s shocking sacrifice of Spock was a little upsetting, but his speech about risk was very rousing.

    Good Trek!
     
  11. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    Season two had more 'duplicate Earth' stories than usual in TOS. In the one season, we had 'Nazi planet', 'gangster planet', and 'Roman empire planet'. I found these eps very fun as a kid, but if you think about it, it really doesn't make a lot of sense. I know, I know, it was a way for them to save costs and use costumes from the Paramount stock archives.
     
  12. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    I've always wondered: who was lying, and who was telling the truth? Sargon's people; the ancient humanoids from TNGs The Chase; and The Preservers can't all take the credit for seeding human life.
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    This is one of my favorite episodes!! Its almost like a movie to me...enjoyed it immensely. Its a nice piece to the puzzle, has some good action, great FX, and some moral issues...A from me all the way!
     
  14. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, maybe, but surely they could have been a little more creative.

    ------------

    Here's a two-fer since I've been so lazy lately:

    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Patterns of Force”
    Trek Installment # 146
    Grade: D
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    So, the Enterprise is looking for famous historian John Gill and –

    Oh shit.

    Space Nazis.

    Again, I can’t help but complain about finding these Earth cultures on alien worlds. Rome Planet, Mobster Planet and now Nazi Planet. This could have easily been about those two worlds being at war with each other instead of forced Nazi Fun. There’s very little redeeming in this episode. John Gill was clearly off his rocker and should have known better than to create a new Nazi Empire. Why not, instead, try a new America or a new Russia or what-have-you?

    Space Nazi’s . . . they suck.

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “The Ultimate Computer”
    Trek Installment # 147
    Grade: B –
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    Even though it was very predictable, this episode was quite entertaining. Daystrom was a nice strong character who developed well through the installment. Kirk’s chagrin at the prospect of becoming obsolete was a necessary move, even though it was a little forced. I really can’t believe that Starfleet would truly start dropping captains and crewmen, which beggars the question: what was the point of the M-5?

    In fact, if memory serves, there was a cargo ship in this episode that had no crew. What was the big difference between that and the M-5?

    That being said, I did like a lot of the smalls moments with Kirk in this episode. His scenes with Bones were especially strong and illustrated his anxiety over losing his job. It’s a (for now) rare glimpse as to how desperate he is to get back in the saddle, to make a difference. It was also pretty cool seeing the fleet of starships – something I wish we had seen more of.

    Other than that, though, it was fairly predictable. Kirk did his usual fine job of convincing a computer it’s stupid and it should die. Don’t let him near my laptop!
     
  15. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought William Marshall was great as Daystrom, one of the best guest stars in TOS.
     
  16. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree! His Daystrom was fantastic.
     
  17. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “The Omega Glory”
    Trek Installment # 148
    Grade: F
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    Let’s cram the following together:

    - a post-apocalyptic Earth Cold War on a far-off planet
    - a fountain of youth
    - a crazy captain
    - a deadly disease
    - a fight to the death
    - a message about patriotism
    - a message about the Prime Directive

    And call it an episode of Star Trek that doesn’t make sense. How did America and Russia end on up on Omega Four? What business does Kirk have to get on Captain Douchebag about the Prime Directive when Kirk himself has willfully violated it at least three times?

    And it JUST WOULDN’T FREAKING END.

    This was – without a doubt – the worst episode of TOS I’ve seen.
     
  18. Admiral Shran

    Admiral Shran Admiral Admiral

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    No kidding! I can buy the idea of "parallel planetary development" for some things. However, this is so ridiculous that it enters the realm of face-palm what-the-fuckery.

    Glad to see you're calling Kirk out on this. His total disregard for the Prime Directive has always been one of my primary compliants about TOS.
     
  19. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Series: The Original Series – Season Two
    Episode: “Assignment: Earth”
    Trek Installment # 149
    Grade: C
    Viewing Date: February 13, 2010

    Well, season two. It began with a cat and ends with a cat.

    “Assignment: Earth” is about 40% Star Trek and 60% Gary Seven. And I liked Gary Seven. He and Phoebe’s Mom and that cat had some fun adventures and it would have been pretty cool to see this as an actual series.

    However, as a Star Trek episode, it lacked clarity and cohesion. The Enterprise is just allowed to go back in time? Who gave those orders? No wonder Vosk got so fed up with time travel only be permitted by the Federation.

    This season very much featured Earth’s history being just strewn out in the cosmos, so I guess it’s kinda ironic that it ends with an alien-trained human working to save Earth’s past. Gary Seven reminded me a lot of Doctor Who, though bare in mind I’m just starting to understand that particular franchise.

    I wish there had been continuity – this episode could have been used to explain the mess that was Omega Four. Or something.

    Anyways, the Enterprise headed back to the future at the end of this episode and that’s where I’m headed! Off to Season Three!

    It’s the best one, right?




    Season two review will be up tomorrow . . . hopefully.
     
  20. thew40

    thew40 Commander Red Shirt

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    Season Two Overview

    Overall Season Rating: A-
    Best Episode: The Trouble With Tribbles
    Best Episode Runner-Up: Amok Time
    Worst Episode: The Omega Glory

    I’d place season two on par with season one. The stories are just as compelling and even though some of them do lack, we finally get a firm canon set up to play in. The Star Trek universe continues to expand and grow, allowing its core ideas (Starfleet, the Federation, etc) to remain solid fact. That being said, I’ll offer up my first critism:

    Star Trek Season Two spent most of its time wading through Earth’s trash pile. I mean, we have: witches, Zephram Cochrane, Apollo, Jack the Ripper, the Nomad space probe, Space Rome, Space Mobsters, Space Nazis, and post-apocalyptic Space USSR/USA. All in one season – and that’s not even mentioning “Assignment: Earth.” There are new worlds and new civilizations? No. They’re not. Some are forgivable, others aren’t. I understand that Paramount was trying to save money by reusing these props and whatnot and I’m fine with that – then take down the symbols or change them subtly so they aren’t so blatantly Earth-y. I would have even settled for some silly make-up or wigs to show us that these people are actually aliens.

    But on the other hand, we have some great episodes like “The Trouble with Tribbles,” “Amok Time,” “Journey to Babel,” “Mirror Mirror,” “The Immunity Syndrome,” and “Return to Tomorrow.” Actually, I very much like the ‘challenge the impossible’ episodes like “The Immunity Syndrome” and “Return to Tomorrow,” because they emphasized the heart of Trek – bracing the unknown, charting the uncharitable, and the perpetual yearning for exploration.

    We had some better character episodes, such Scotty in “Wolf in the Fold,” but honestly, not a lot of them did the characters proper justice. The best one is “Mirror Mirror” where we see the twisted versions of Our Heroes (except for Spock), which then reminds us of how the crew is supposed to be.

    Notably, the one that remains the most develop is Mr. Spock. Amid episodes such “Journey to Babel” and “Amok Time,” we see Spock’s character develop and flourish. He has to deal with both his family and his heritage, finding himself outweighed by his Vulcan side. But I liked the smaller moments of development, like “The Immunity Syndrome” and “Bread and Circuses.”

    In a larger, overall sense, TOS season two simply continued the explorations of the Enterprise into deep space. It’s not all good, but don’t get me wrong. I loved season two almost as much as season one, despite its pitfalls. The problems such as continuity aren’t as bad this season. Character development could still use a shot in the arm, but it wasn’t that kind of show back then. Spock got a great spotlight and a lot of the others characters had little moments here and there (I’ll be talk about them more next season).

    So yeah, Season Two of TOS was great.

    ***

    Klingons:
    The Klingons and the Federation continued vying for planets to expand their respective governments, resulting in arms races and supplying goods and weaponry with other races and worlds. Among these were Sherman’s Planet, Capella IV, and Neural.

    Romulans:
    Only one encounter – when Commodore Stocker cuts through the Neutral Zone to get to Starbase Ten. The Romulans attack, but Kirk enlists the Corbomite Maneuver, tricking the Romulans into retreating and allowing Kirk and the Enterprise to pull out.