Albatross vs. The Slaver Weapon

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Botany Bay, Jun 5, 2011.


Which episode is better?

Poll closed Jun 12, 2011.
  1. Albatross

    8 vote(s)
  2. The Slaver Weapon

    7 vote(s)
  1. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 23, 2004
    shores of Australia
    This week in the TAS episode showdown...

    Albatross vs. The Slaver Weapon

    Which one deserves a spot in the final 8?

    Oh, and for our regular voters, here's all the results so far :

    Round 1 Results
    Bem (5%)
    Albatross (95%)

    The Slaver Weapon (65%)
    The Pirates of Orion (35%)

    The Ambergris Element (52%)
    More Tribbles, More Troubles (48%)

    The Eye of the Beholder (90%)
    Mudd's Passion (10%)

    The Terratin Incident (31.25%)
    The Magicks of Megas-Tu (68.75%)

    Yesteryear (100%)
    The Practical Joker (0%)

    Round 2 Results
    The Time Trap (75%)
    The Counter-Clock Incident (25%)

    The Jihad (87.5%)
    The Lorelei Signal (12.5%)

    Beyond the Farthest Star (100%)
    Once Upon A Planet (0%)

    The Survivor 46.15%
    One of Our Planets Is Missing 53.85%

    How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth 35.29%
    The Infinite Vulcan 64.71%

    Yesteryear 93.33%
    The Magicks of Megas-Tu 6.67%

    The Eye of the Beholder 87.50 %
    The Ambergris Element 12.50 %
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Both episodes give limelight time to heroes other than Kirk, even if McCoy spends most of his rotting in a jail. The exposure gives a bit of character development to the sidekicks involved, but IMHO McCoy gets the better half of the bargain even if all of his material is on his past rather than his present.

    Both episodes feature a spatial light show of some interest, as well as a starfaring alien culture that actually possesses quite a bit of history, structure and spatial scope. This is more or less the first time we see aliens having colonies of their own, or being at odds with the Federation yet not totally stamped on like Romulans or Klingons - or operating starships of their own that have rather specific functions rather than being generic threat vessels. Points for that bit of worldbuilding.

    Also, both shows feature a combination of action and brainwork in the solving of the problem of the week, with the brainwork carrying the day without detracting from the space action or the whine of the phasers. There's a degree of anticlimax to the resolutions in both, too: a bit of medicobabble in which McCoy admits to having originally fumbled exonerates him from the hatred of those whose loved ones the fumbling killed, while complete inaction on the part of Spock, Sulu and Uhura allows them to live through the climax where two aliens, one machine, the other feline, slug it out in a highly uneven battle of wits.

    Ultimately, I find this a surprisingly difficult choice. "Albatross" has the more touching concept and the more naturally flowing dialogue, while "Slaver Weapon" has more twists and turns and novel conceptlets. But the guest stars of "Slaver Weapon" appear an undistinguished mass of generic villains, while those of "Albatross" are sympathetic even when antagonist. The quality of the opposition tilts my balance towards "Albatross", with a bit of extra weight from the fact that most of the action in "Slaver Weapon", realistically but annoyingly, leads nowhere. It's a close call nevertheless.

    Timo Saloniemi
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Aug 3, 2003
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    Now this is a competition because these are two of the best TAS has to offer. It's really hard to choose between these two.

    I'm going to vote "The Slaver Weapon" because it feels a little more unusual as a TOS story featuring only Spock, Uhura and Sulu. But really it could go the other way. "Albatross" is also a very fine story.
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I think I voted against "Slaver" in the previous round because I was uneasy with introducing a revamped Known Space story into the Trek universe; it felt like a ringer, as though its merits belonged to another reality rather than Trek. Besides, the original novelette "The Soft Weapon" is better than the episode, a fuller exploration of the concepts.

    In this case, though, I think that despite that, I'd still give it the edge over "Albatross." I like "Albatross" a lot, but it has some things that score against it. The silliness of auroras in interplanetary space, which I mentioned in the first round, is one. Another is that the episode could've easily been done in live-action, just with more humanlike Draymians. It doesn't take advantage of the animated format all that well. "Slaver," on the other hand, makes full use of it, with nonhumanoid aliens, an exotic planetary environment, a transforming superweapon, and some big explosions -- things that could never have been done in live action on a TV budget.

    So "Slaver" wins on points.
  5. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 5, 2005
    I really like "Albatross". It feels most like a TOS eps and would have been a damn fine one. And a really good McCoy story, too. Nice.

    Of all ST eps where a crewmember is jailed or imprisoned for a crime, I like this one the best.

    And yet "Slaver" is really good, too. A unique adventure without Kirk or the Enterprise and very nice to see Uhura and Sulu play major roles. Very good eps.

    A tough call here. But I'll give it to "Albatross".
  6. Basill

    Basill Captain Captain

    Oct 30, 2004
    Albatross. Agreed that space auroras are silly, but it's still one of my 3 favorites I'd say.
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Aurora = ionization>excitation>spectacular relief. Probably what we saw was just the classic "ion storm" dancing with the classic "superdense nebula"...

    I mean, Mutara was also a great light show in the sky, right next to a solar system. Those things might be common enough in Trek, even if the real skies are a bit more subdued.

    Timo Saloniemi
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    My issue with Slaver Weapon is that it's just a puzzle-box, and our heroes do very little to solve the problem. Chuft Captain fucks with Powers He Does Not Understand and blows himself up. Had out heroes been more active in solving the problem (say, tricking the Kzinti into doing themselves in), I'd have given this the nod over Albatross, but the lack of meaningful action on the part of the heroes lowers my estimation of the story, cool as the concept is. So Albatross gets my vote.

    I always imagine Slaver Weapon would have made a great TOS episode with our guys vs. the Romulans fighting over the weapon that could change the balance of power.