Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Botany Bay, Feb 28, 2014.
HA HA HA!!! It's funny, because it's true.
I like the episode. I think it's got a lot of merits. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't admit I have got some reservations about it. Perhaps its a little too close 'tonally' to Where No Man Has Gone Before in places for my liking, and while Man As God is not to become an unfamiliar trope in Star Trek, the episode's proximity to the pilot broadcast-wise does hurt it in that regard. But in many other ways I adore Charlie X, and have genuine praise for it. I like the ways it differentiates itself from WNMHGB. Kirk as a "father figure" to an errant boy Tarzan (basically), brining him back up to speed on his own people, is a pretty neat idea. And some of the images in the episode (particularly when Charlie goes on the rampage) are so stark as to be genuinely chilling, even today.
But yeah. Charle X is very much an ice cream of two flavors, to coin a phrase.
9 our of 10. Solid, dramatic ST, and continuing to build on Kirk's fine line between a caring man, and to the point leader, which are often incompatible.
Agreed--very necessary, so the audience would feel for the characters' struggles not only with Charlie, but in episodes to come. For all of his unemotional platform, Spock is revealed to get along quite well with Uhura and Rand, which gives us another side to his humanity (not triggered by external influence as in The Naked Time).
I love McCoy's manuver to pass the "father" responsibility to Kirk--almost as if he's trying to force his friend to admit he has such feelings.
To me just an average episode. This one creeped me out and gave me nightmares for YEARS after I first saw it when it originally aired. That woman without a face had an impact on my early life, lol.
I would rate it a solid 7. An interesting episode with a twist at the end but not a great episode IMO.
I think that's right about "Charlie X" being a derivative story, but it's very hard to come up with this stuff.
I read somewhere the young Robert Walker, Jr. was a "serious" actor like Leonard Nimoy, in that he kept the character in his head all day, to the point of not being sociable with the other actors because Charlie had to feel alienated from them.
The lack of new Enterprise footage (and no Antares model) is related to why "Charlie X" was Fred Steiner's first ST score. He scored "Mudd's Women" and "The Corbomite Maneuver" after CX, despite their having been filmed prior to it, apparently because CX was assembled so much faster than the other two.
Steiner did a great job, obviously. I especially like "Kirk's "Command" and "Goodbye Charlie," but I could live without the synth whine in the the latter cue. It's still a landmark in the history of ST music, though.
Gene Roddenberry has a voice cameo as the chef who called the captain. I wonder if the Thasians turned the real turkeys back into meatloaf as part of their effort to make things right.
Just to clarify, I don't dislike the rec room scene; I just feel it goes on too long. Cut a song and it's fine (or make the songs less horrible).
It's a shame that scheduling and availability made it necessary to air this and the similar WNMHGB back to back the first time out. Also, originally Gene Roddenberry's "created by" credit was in the opening credits in this episode and The Man Trap (like the second and third seasons). This was removed for syndication, but restored for the DVD release. it was again lost for the Blu-Rays. One day I'm gonna get my wish and have a really perfect Star Trek video release. "A salesman's got to dream, boy."
I view this episode as one of the bona fide classics among the early episodes. A great deal of the reason for this is Robert Walker's performance. Walker appeared in several memorable tv guest roles of this era, but this might be the best performance he ever did. Walker's Charlie is vulnerable and menacing at the same time. And he really does give the impression of someone who has been alone all his life and suddenly finds himself thrust among fellow humans for the first time. Of course, I may remember this episode more fondly than most, because it happened to be the first Star Trek I ever saw, while still a wee lad.
Trivia note: How mn of you know that Walker starred in the 1972 Blob sequel?
Robert Walker Jr. also had a substantial role in The Happening -- not the 2008 horror thriller, but the 1967 kidnapping-with-a-twist flick starring Anthony Quinn. Walker often seemed to get typecast as a nervous, troubled youth.
He also appeared in Easy Rider as a bearded hippie commune leader - completely and totally unrecognizable as Charlie.
I heard the CHARLIE X guy was the first Spider-Man on TV, is that true, does anybody know? He doesn't look big enough to fill out those spidey-tights, to me. But, I guess you'd just get a stuntman for that, anyway.
No. The 1977-79 TV Spider-Man was portrayed by Nicholas Hammond (who also guest-starred on an episode of the short-lived Logan's Run TV series of the same period).
Factually, the first TV Spider-Man was a segment on the PBS series, The Electric Company, as played by Danny Seagren.
Yes...Beware! The Blob was a far cry from the Steve McQueen original, as it was very much am early 1970s exploitation feel about it, along with more humor than the original.
If anyone is curious, they should take a look at the names involved, as its filled with then-fading stars, and a couple of people who would make it big later in that decade....
Directed by Larry Hagman, the whole thing was a goof. Probably a way to get his out of work pals together.
He had some good roles. In the John Wayne flick "War Wagon" he played a drunken explosives expert. He also had what should have been a great role as the title character in "Ensign Pulver", the sequel to "Mister Roberts". The movie was a flop, but his performance was very good.
The episode was decent except for the ending. Why couldn't those beings just take his power away and give him back to Kirk as a regular human being? It's clear Charlie X didn't want to leave. All he needed was someone to remove his capacity to hurt people, and that way Kirk could start dealing with him on equal footing.
I'd give it a 7, but the ending reduces that to a 2.
Lol. But it's the ending that makes it so tragic. Admittedly it is convenient but if god like beings had to step in, I'm glad it didn't end nicely.
Because they couldn't.
Of course, it's an arbitrary device to give the story a downbeat ending. But I'm reminded of Roger Ebert's comment on the harrowing speeder-bike chase through the dense forest in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He wondered why the bikes couldn't just fly above the treetops. Answer: Because That's Not How They Work!
(Come to think of it, maybe it was Gene Siskel who said that. I'm not sure.)
I give this one a solid 8. We see Uhura and Rand fleshed-out some and we even get to see another side of McCoy and Kirk to varying degrees. I also liked the ship's gymnasium.
The story isn't all that complex but Robert Walker JR does a magnificent job bring dimension and color to Charlie. We also get to here Roddenberry as the ship's cook. To top it all off we find out that the turbo lifts have a quality similar to that of the "Bat poles" given their apparent ability to change Kirk's tunic between scenes.
A confident 8.
I wouldn't read too much into it. Even though the only time such an incident occurred, it was also the sole time Kirk shared a turbolift with an under-20 male while nobody else was present.
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