Revist of UNfavorite Episodes

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ssosmcin, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I rarely watch Star Trek in sequence. After nearly 48 years (that I can remember - I was 4 or younger when I started watching), I usually just pop in episodes I’m in the mood for. This means I hit the same group of episodes more often than others. I am taking the opportunity to seek out those episodes I don’t visit that much because I don’t enjoy them as much as others. A chance to re-evaluate.

    Starting with The Deadly Years: never a go-to episode, but one I had a good time revisiting. It has a really great teaser, and the reveal of the dead old man and Chekov’s intense panic is a great “horror” moment. When Robert and Elaine Johnson come in, Elaine’s very matter of fact “I’m twenty seven” is a great place to hang the opening.

    Janet Wallace doesn’t do much for me and her “Oh Jim, I’m sorry. Truly I am” always made my sister and I laugh as kids. She doesn’t add much to the story, to be honest. This episode is a little too busy. The disease, Kirk’s hearing and relief of command, Stocker’s single-minded obsession with getting to his new job, Stocker shitting his pants on the bridge as he violates the Romulan Neutral Zone, and then finally Janet’s story. It’s too much. Stocker is one-note – neither likable nor unlikable, the guy exists to create the action ending.

    That aside, the actors are having a great time simulating advanced age. De Kelley is amazing, Shatner gets totally into it and it’s all very sad and fun at the same time. Zooming in on Shatner’s taint to illustrate his returning youth was another laugh getter for us. Yet when he appeared on the bridge, totally back to normal, it’s a great fist in the air moment. With nothing to use but stock footage, the battle scenes are a letdown (I always watch the original effects), but Shatner’s dramatic reading of “warp facto eight…now!” still appeals to this young Trekkie who told his guidance counselors that he wanted to be a Starship Captain when he grew up.

    Still not a favorite, but more fun than I remembered. Nice High Concept Trek.

    More to come. Feel free to chime in with yours!
     
  2. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Good review. It never occurred to me that anyone would actively dislike TDY. That's a solid middle-tier episode for me, probably just around the top half. The acting is amazing. I agree with you that there's a little too much going on in terms of the plot. But at the end, you feel like you watched more than 50 minutes.
     
  3. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When the cast was still fairly young, around the mid-1970s, I would wonder how accurate the aging makeup would turn out to be. What will these guys really look like when they're old? But it was unknowable, like when I'd wonder what the wreck of the Titanic looked like, and what condition it might be in. Nobody knew at the time. It was impossible to say.

    It would turn out that Nimoy's makeup was the most accurate, followed by Doohan. And everybody hugely overdid the mannerisms versus actual aging, but that can be attributed to the radiation sickness. Real life would also throw some curves with respect to life-long cartilage growth in the nose, and age-fighting measures like hormone replacement therapy, chemical peels, and cosmetic surgery.
     
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  4. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Before I continue, I want to go on record as saying there is no episode of the original series that I hate. I find value and entertainment in all of them. Even those I like the very least. These are, naturally, simply my opinions and I’m sure I am going to feel less fondly about a lot of folks’ favorite episodes. I am attempting to look at them differently and appreciate them more.

    Having said that….

    Charlie X

    This one is a fan favorite, but I find it difficult to get through. If I were watching this series in 1966, I’d have been really let down by the second episode out of the gate. I generally don’t tune into sci-fi adventure shows to watch a coming of age story or uncomfortable situations involving a kid in puberty making all the wrong choices. While Robert Walker is exceptionally good, I find it very hard to sit through his fumbling attempts to be liked and to win Janice. Also, the scene in the rec room is painful. Uhura’s impromptu songs go on for far too long and when Charlie has had enough and finally shuts her up…nobody reacts! I get that these early episodes were put together quickly to meet airdates and I easily forgive the very sloppy editing in this episode (the continuity gaffes are legion), but this part is just weird. Nobody seems to care that Uhura can’t utter a sound and Spock can’t play his lyre. The camera moves away from them are promptly forgotten. Before the 1984 film print change over, my local syndicated station removed the rec room scene entirely. The episode was all the better for it. At least, as far as I was concerned.

    Anyway, about a half hour in, this episode really turns a corner. As soon as Charlie starts sending people away, this goes from uncomfortable to terrifying. Sam, the phasers, turning Tina into an iguana, and – most chilling – that unfortunate woman who had her face wiped away. The cast shines in this early episode and as much as I don’t like the rec room stuff, seeing the lower ranks hanging out is a nice touch that we will lose far too quickly. “We were an ensemble cast…” Nah, but you guys did have more to do.

    I really felt for Kirk in this. He wanted to have a nice little cruise to Colony 5, but McCoy kept badgering him into being a father image for Charlie and when he tried, he was out of his depth. He palms him off to Spock first, then tries himself but starts to give up quickly until Charlie zaps Sam. After that, Kirk is even more overwhelmed, but at least he knows how to fight a menace to his ship. I love how turning on all the lights and hitting Uhura’s switches makes the Warp Engines rev up. And Kirk ready to whale Charlie in the jaw is wonderful. But then, somehow, Charlie tugs at the heartstrings when the Thasians arrive. It’s truly a living hell that awaits him and even after all the crap he put everything though and the lives he took, you feel for him.

    Fred Steiner’s music is one of the series’ best and really sets the tone for the first season. This is the only episode in regular production to only use shots of the Enterprise from the pilots. With no planets to orbit, every space shot comes from The Cage (the very beginning) and Where No Man Has Gone Before. So, for the only time in the regular series, the shots of the Enterprise are consistent. Only the main titles have a shot of the series model. This bit of trivia is lost in the TOS-R prints.

    I wouldn’t have enjoyed this as the second episode of the series, but I appreciate what they were trying to do. I can’t seem me revisiting this one very often, but looking at it with fresher eyes makes me appreciate some of it more. I still like Where No Man Has Gone Before’s take on the same theme more. Actually, I like The Twilight Zone’s take better as well.

    “When I came aboard!!!”
     
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  5. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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    The crewmember turned into an old woman is also pretty scary.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    I avoided season three episodes like the plague for many years. I've been revisiting them of late, and while they have a different vibe than the first two seasons, I've really been enjoying them.
     
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  7. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Like others, I don't dislike any episode.

    One that falls to the bottom of my watch list - yet is a fan favourite - is The Devil in the Dark.

    Maybe it's because we spend half the episode wandering through caves trying to catch the unknown creature.

    The latter third, with Spock's mind meld and McCoy's "rainy day" are superb, and I love the non-conventional teaser.

    I guess I just find some of the episode a little 'predictable'.

    On the other hand, the mystery surrounding Spock's brain in 'Spock's Brain' is gripping until we actually beam down to the planet (!).

    So I see merit in all of them.
     
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  8. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    That's a great post. When you mention the acting, you're really just referring to Shatner and Dee Kelley, as Nimoy (in what is honestly one of the best-written Spock parts of any episode in the entire series) is naturally stoic without too much deviation from the norm, in keeping with being a Vulcan (such a great touch), and Doohan/Scotty disappears IIRC after the "can I return to my station" scene in sickbay with Spock touchingly assisting him out the door.

    As to Shatner and Nimoy, actually I feel like they were supposed to be about 100 or so by the conclusion of the ep before the adrenaline cure was discovered, so the mannerisms have never bothered me. And as to appearance, who knew that Shatner would age so fantastically??? Kelley really looked very good into his old age as well.

    This is so interesting. What a revealing thread! I would never have guessed that such an excellent poster would have DID ranked so low. Does the lack of the Enterprise (limited just to about a minute or less of Scotty at his station awesomely opining on the reactor mechanism's availability and the genuinely funny closing scene) affect it negatively at all for you? The Enterprise is one of my favorite "characters" - which I suspect is one reason I enjoy S3's extensive exhibition of it - but DID doesn't suffer for me as a result of minimal Enterprise scenes. Just wondering if that might be a factor for you, Methuselah Flint.
     
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  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As long as we're confessing our sins, I never loved "The Devil in the Dark" nearly as much as fans are universally "supposed" to, either. Too much walking around in caves, it's a total sausage fest, there is no interesting guest star or human-interaction driving the plot, and worst of all, barely any time on the Enterprise.

    As the Franz Joseph Blueprints said right on the cover, it's the Fabulous Starship Enterprise. It's a star of the show, and the only star who gets her picture in the main titles. Not featuring the ship on a show about that amazing ship is just dumb.
     
  10. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    :lol::guffaw:
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Same here.

    My most recent epiphany in third season episode appreciation came when I rewatched "Wink of an Eye" a few years ago. I found myself really enjoying the scene when Deela appears to Kirk on the bridge. The camera tilts, dark lighting, unusual sounds, the music, and other moods effectively evoke the transition into a weird netherworld. And there is Deela, smiling, laughing, taunting, casually dodging Kirk's phaser beam, and zapping his phaser away into hammerspace. It's campy and fun to revel in.
     
  12. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dare anyone to say they enjoy watching Plato's Stepchildren, or that they have rewatched it and liked it this time!!! :eek:
    I wonder if I'll ever think that myself? :wtf:
    JB
     
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  13. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I love all the episodes mentioned here especially Plato's Stepchildren. Its actually in my top 10.

    So is Devil in the Dark. Although it is ridiculous that they lost 50 people before they bought the Feds in.
    Yeh lots of guys in this episode. Whats wrong with that - on occasion? Would have been good if there were a few women security officers in the sacrificial lambs group I suppose.
     
  14. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The men were the drivers of the plots, as was the norm for 60’s adventure series. So an episode like Devil in the Dark didn’t faze me for being a “sausage fest” since they’d have used a Yeoman for screaming purposes, which honestly wouldn’t have benefitted the story. Now if Vanderberg would have been cast with a woman and been just as tough, that would have been great. Instead, we got these guys from New Jersey who would have put an inflatable rat in the tunnels before calling Starfleet for help. These guys were hilarious.

    Like you, I have NO problem with Plato’s Stepchildren. It’s never boring and actually pretty compelling. And what a great score by Sandy Courage. Michael Dunn is brilliant as the tortured Alexander. Actually, the whole cast is great. Shatner’s alien horse act is embarrassing – it’s SUPPOSED to be. The whole sequence is an exercise in humiliation. In fact, I may just watch this one tonight. I don’t go back to it often because the torture/humiliation episodes are hard to sit through for me, but it has great character moments. Spock’s rage is very well portrayed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When the subject of "bad" TOS episodes comes up, I think back to a long interval that occurred somewhere around 1975 to '77, when the show was on only once a week in my (greater, greater) area. I had to wait for Saturday morning and pull in a Canadian station to watch Star Trek. As Mister Miyagi would say in his wise-sounding broken English, "No such thing bad episode. Bad viewer!"
     
  16. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I certainly noticed that there were no women in Devil. An astrobiologist like Ann Mulhall could have been used instead of giving Spock, who is essentially a physicist, that whole plot thread. They did have a tendency only to use women when they were going to romance someone. I suppose Vanderberg could have been tweaked as Rand's father or an old flame of Uhura but there was already a fair bit of that in season one.

    I find the episodes I like least are the ones where it is largely just Kirk, Spock, and McCoy off on a jolly. The Empath, Requiem for Methuselah, are two that spring to mind. Omega Glory, Bread & Circuses, and Patterns of Force I find a bit of a drag because they recycle very similar plots in neatly bundled unoriginal ways.

    Daft ones like And the Children Shall Lead and Turnabout Intruder, I lament the wasted story potential and character development possibilities rather than actively disliking them.
     
  17. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If done well, the trio-centric stories work nicely. The balance of characterisation works perfectly in RFM and AOY, for example. Each of the 'trinity' has a purpose in these episodes. But I guess in stories like TOG and BAC, it wasn't necessarily crucial we needed the specific trio we have. We could have had any competent officer in these episodes, I suppose. (This is despite the fact that one of my very favourite Spock/McCoy moments is in the cell in BAC).

    And as an aside, I've just thought that De Kelley has very little to do in APOTA. Here he could have had the opportunity to show of some off his more 'gangster' - style of acting. Instead, it's all given to Shatner and Nimoy, with De Kelley playing it largely straight.
     
  18. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes maybe that's it. I do rather enjoy All our Yesterdays., although tbh it would have worked just as well if the whole focus had been on Spock, McCoy, and Zarabeth.
     
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  19. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can understand that not everyone likes or dislikes the same episodes as myself but where as a few on here agree with me on Plato, no one will say anything nice about And The Children which I've never found to be that bad to be honest! :techman:
    JB
     
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  20. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh I actually like ATCSL! (I prefer season three as a whole.)
    I think the opening to the episode is gripping. Suicide is a raw subject. We get that stunning ariel view of the dead bodies.
    The music is gripping throughout. Even the eerie 'Ring a ring a roses' rendition.
    The circling and singing around Kirk with the dead bodies in the background is especially chilling.
    Shatner does go OTT with his anxiety, but then I think that's meant to be the point.
    Uhura's fear of old age and sickness is actually quite subtle.
    Sulu's swords are a bit far fetched I admit.
    And this is one of the few times Scotty actually gets afflicted with the space madness of the week.
    The beaming down of the security officers is chilling and shows the extent of the children's behaviour.
    The let down, as we all know, is Gorgon. I think that's where the stigma arises, because yes he is very unconvincing and a just plain awful actor.
    So yeah, you have another ATCSL fan on your side sir! :)
     
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