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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    Keep in mind that in both of those episodes Spock is making command decisions that put the crew in danger. On top of that, both occasions Spock is in command because Kirk is missing and/or presumed dead. McCoy is also under the stress of finding the solution to the Space Madness in The Tholian Web. McCoy’s filter doesn’t work well under those circumstances.
     
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  2. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I’m actually sitting down and trying to watch the entire series again in order (original broadcast, like back in the day). So I watched a bunch I always loved, now I’m hitting that stretch that were “good” but not favorites.

    The Squire of Gothos: this is one that for some reason never really considered the best of the series. Enjoyable but the usual “alien being turns out to be a child” sorta thing that became a cliché. However, it was still fairly fresh here and watching it in broadcast context, I appreciated the Twilight Zone-esque ending. I also found myself really into the performances and details this time around.

    I enjoyed seeing a larger cast with a bunch of new faces. As usual, the characters are presented in the story more for convenience than logic. Why a geologist we never saw before would be subbing for Sulu after the helmsman disappeared is probably unlikely but is expedient in terms of story. I liked the idea of DeSalle, a lower rank than McCoy, being in charge of the landing party because he was in the command area (going by uniform) and the other two were in the sciences. It was also nice to see new faces among the regulars.

    I – LOVE – Spock in this one. His reactions and interactions with Trelane are very well done. William Campbell is the perfect fop and is extremely well cast here (less so as Koloth the following year).

    SPOCK: I am Spock.
    TRELANE: Surely not an officer. He isn't quite human, is he?
    SPOCK: My father is from the planet Vulcan.
    TRELANE: And are its natives predatory?
    SPOCK: Not generally. But there have been exceptions.
    TRELANE: Really…


    The way Trelane says “really” is very subtle and threatening. I really got into the natural style of performances. Campbell is great.

    One thing that works really well, and it’s such a simple thing, are the vanishing sequences. A simple cut, but so often in the 60’s, they wouldn’t lock down the damned camera. How tough is it? But in show after show, there would be a tiny (or not so tiny) jump to ruin the illusion. Here, the camera is stock still and 99% of the vanishes are flawless. One is amazing: Kirk swings the sward at Trelane and he vanishes mid-swing with no jump in Shatner’s movement. I’m pretty sure split-screen was used here. When Trelane blips back, there’s a minor jump but it’s otherwise one of the best of the series. It’s the little things.

    As always, I watch the original effects and while the Gothos-chase is flawed (the planet is very see though), it’s still chilling. There are so many great moments in this episode. Shatner is uaually the one I gravitate towards (and he’s on fire in this), but Nimoy truly caught my attention. I love first season Spock.
     
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  3. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    This episode is so Season One and science-fictiony its great.
    Its not my favourite episode of all time but it has its moments. Its good having other people in it, trying out different things like the de Salle beacon doovalacky. Yes I found the geologist substitution strange and waited for an explanation that never came. Still not a big deal.

    McCoy shouldn't have served aboard a starship if he can't take the pressure.
    If he can't handle it when Kirk is in danger or presumed dead then he shouldn't be a CMO.
    I suppose thats why Kirk's made the tape.
    In Arena, Doomsday, Gideon, Wink McCoy didn't fall to pieces.
     
  4. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I still give him an out for The Tholian Web since interspace and all that. And Kirk was actually considered dead - no other episode has that situation. CMO or not, he's not strictly "Starfleet" in attitude and more of a humanist and Kirk was his closest friend. My patience with Spock might have been in short supply as well. McCoy did jump down Kirk's throat as far back as The Corbomite Maneuver. Bones is notoriously short tempered when faced with bullheadedness, rash decisions and crew welfare. Sometimes, though, he pushes it too far. He wasn't that bad in The Paradise Syndrome and most of his crankiness was expressed to Spock in private.

    He and Scotty were a little loose with their discipline in The Gamesters of Triskelion, which seemed a bit out of character.
     
  5. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original intent of this thread was to revisit episodes I didn’t normally jump to, but I wound up settling in and watching the series in order. And I’ve noticed a few that I always loved didn’t quite hold up as before. So let’s tackle Arena

    This was always one of my favorites, one of the quintessential episodes of Star Trek. A classic in every way. It starts off smashingly. Relaxed banter, a little bit of set up and then right to the hook: “Cestus 3 has been destroyed.” Short and to the point, it’s a great start. The first act is gripping. One of the few episodes to have ground warfare, there’s some real budget being seen here. Stunts! Explosions! Phasers and photons being fired! It’s really great stuff.

    Side note: I am watching the original effects, as usual, and normally I’d be watching the laserdiscs for the sound mix. But that disc has really bad rot and the picture quality is distractingly bad (and for me to say that means nobody here would be able to sit through it for more than a minute). So I switched over to the DVDs (not the blu rays because I have the Lasers and the DVDs on digital files over my media player). I actually LIKE this mix. The original mono mix uses the same whistles and explosion sounds over and over in a loop. It’s actually annoying. The DVD mix has some new stuff overlaid and in surround, so it has more variety. For the sake of enjoyment, it works really well.

    Anyway, the second act – showing the pursuit and the discussions about the regard for sentience - are great. The immobilization of the Enterprise is very well done. Kirk is snatched away and half the episode is over just like that.

    Then things get really shaky. I totally forgive the slo-mo Kirk-Fu and the Gorn outfit. Actually the Gorn still looks great. Where things get weird are:

    1. Kirk pushing a boulder up the embankment. Have you ever tried to push a boulder? Shatner gives it a good effort to sell it, but it never worked for me. Sure, maybe the rocks here have a low density, but then it wouldn’t be much of a weapon if it were as light as it looks. And really, the Gorn could have just stepped to the side. His cartoonish reaction is comical.

    2. I get that giving the Enterprise access to the conflict got them involved, but Spock’s narration is a little much. And having Kirk spot all this stuff just as Spock is mentioning it is lazy. I get the Metron’s probably placed that stuff there, but I would rather have KIRK describe it in his little recorder.

    This episode is legendary for being written and filmed in a hurry and I’m sure that accounts for some of this. And it’s still a great template for the series - the “combat for the lives of the crew that is watched in the bridge” was used every season. Shows like Space:1999 and Blakes 7 used this plot and resolution as well. Arguably, the Outer Limits episode “Fun and Games” could also have been an inspiration, but the Frederic Brown short story was truly what Coon was remembering (which is also known Trek lore). It’s entertaining and classic, but I feel that, after such a strong first half, the last half hour doesn’t quite live up to it. This episode has dropped ever so slightly for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  6. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've always felt like S3 TOS gets a ridiculously unfair bad rap. While there are some stinkers in there (which is true of any season), I also believe there are some very good sci-fi concepts that are far beyond the standard "beam down to parallel Earth and get captured" fare that was so heavy in the second season. I also love the different vibe. It's like the inverse of S1 and S2 of TNG...where those seasons felt a little more isolated and like the ship was really out on the frontier encountering very strange things. S3 TOS feels like that.
     
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  7. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 3 tried to shake it up a bit, but I really feel the loss of budget and smaller writing staff worked against the final products. I love much of the thrid year and really appreciated the imagination involved, but it really came down to two guys being the primary rewriters and they were too new to the series. There was a feeling of "this one is good enough and we have a bunch more episodes to get to so let's move on" to many of the later episodes.
     
  8. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is where I lose my Trekkie membership card as I revisit This Side of Paradise.

    I know this is a favorite of so many people, from the staff on down. Me…it’s really kind of a middle of the road with a nice story but with aspect that grate.

    I can accept they used the farm location to save money, as weird as it is that they went to the trouble to add so many early 1900’s details to the doorways and trim, yet still dressed in “Star Trek Worker Coveralls” rather than beat up farmers clothing. That’s fine. But I can sum up what drags this one down for me quickly:

    1) The spores seem to avoid infecting Kirk until it’s dramatically necessary. He’s right next to Sulu and Kelowitz when they sprayed them and he’s unaffected. The one he tosses on the bridge somehow them skootches along and stands up(!) in order to spray him.

    2) Jill Ireland. Star Trek is well know for casting beauties and she was indeed gorgeous with a traffic stopping figure – which Bill Theiss keeps totally covered for the entire episode. Since Leila was originally supposed to be of Eurasian descent when Sulu was meant to be the romantic lead, they named her Kalomi. When they changed it to Spock, they casted an English actress which made her name an oddity. Why not just change it to MacDougall? And, frankly, she’s annoying. Ireland is really very annoying in this and I see NO reason for Spock to have loved her in any situation. She shows zero personality for him to attach to. She’s no better than Chapel.

    3) The constant reuse of “2nd Ruth” whenever we see Leila. Every. Damned. Time. A beautiful piece but used to the point of comedy. Even when Spock gives her a quick peck just before he beams up, they have to give us a few notes. Couple that with the usual Finnerman “gauze” lighting and this episode is insufferable when we get to the Spock/ Leila scenes.

    4) McCoy’s hair. I was staring at it. Is that a toupee? His SUPER THICK Georgia accent is way over the top.

    However, there are many things I do enjoy, which keep this from being a real dud.

    1) The air of mystery in the first act is really well done and kind of sinister.

    2) The emptiness of the Enterprise is really great.

    3) Shatner is ON FIRE in this episode. His dogged determination to keep his crew in place and his refusal to leave is very well done. Finally, his insults toward Spock are amazing, They start off kind of cheesy but then he really gets rolling. “You belong in a circus, Spock, not a starship…RIGHT NEXT TO THE DOG FACED BOY!” The fight is a little disappointing with the obvious stunt guys and the really bad cardboard food selector hatch, but everything leading up to it was great.

    Spock’s final line, the reason this episode exists at all, is beautiful and would make me tear up if not for that damned music again. Oy vey.

    Spock is full of weird firsts that only make sense if you don’t think about it too hard. The Galileo Seven was Spock’s first command – on Strar Trek, but in his entire career so far? Hard to believe. “For the first time in my life, I was happy.” Really? He’s half human. Never one time as a kid? I guess I’m being cynical, but this episode is really one of my least favorite episodes of the first season. I had hoped a revisit would get me to like it more, but this portion of the season really doesn’t ring my chimes like the earlier episodes.
     
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am actually with you on "THIS SIDE OF PARADISE". It's not a bad one, nor a great one. It just is. Has good moments, nice ideas, and some execution works. But overall, It's just middling for me.

    Great analysis, Ssomcin.
     
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  10. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    I'm not a big fan of the episode, in spite of Jill Ireland.

    It's meh.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As with "The Immunity Syndrome," I like "This Side of Paradise" in part for its tracked music score. TSP brings in a lot of great cues, which was especially important before all the music was released on CD. Hearing "Ruth" several times never bothered me.
     
  12. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I don't mind This Side of Paradise. It probably would have been better cast with Sulu but it was sort of defining for Spock.
    I thought Spock was terrible to Leila at first. Very rude. I kept think just what had she done to warrant this treatment. Spock was more annoying than Leila. She was under the influence but there's nothing to explain Spock's behaviour. And at the end he was quite sympathetic to her. It just made Spock look bad at the beginning of the episode. I know he's also a bit abrupt with Chapel but she's generally annoying him.

    Then Spock practically fell over himself for Droxine. Maybe Spock's more into vacuous princesses than scientists?
    Hmm the music, the soft focus is always a bit OOT compared to today's series. My kids complain to me - Star Trek is so loud, why is there music all over the place, whys that girl standing like that, etc.

    I cringe at Spock's tree hanging behaviour. Perhaps thats just me.

    Yeh the spores missing Kirk - just another fortunate thing that happens in the world of Star Trek.

    You know the first time Spock was happy? Spock looked like he has a miserable rich kids childhood.Constantly bullied. No support from his parents.
    Told not to be happy?
    Saying that he looked like he was enjoying himself at the beginning of "The Cage" when he touched the plant. Maybe he meant truly accepted and loved without reservations. You know his mother had to say she loved him without Sarek around.
    But yes Spock's first command was ridiculous. Wasn't he in charge in "The Cage" once Number 1 had disappeared?
     
  13. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree. I do think Ruth's cue - though overdone - is better suited to TSOP. It embodies the loneliness and longing of Spock's inner emotions. Likewise, TDM music is used well in TIS and OBS, but I think it's best use outside TDM is actually TDY. Kirk losing command of ship and self, and the tense, sad cues also embody the affliction our heroes are facing.
     
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  14. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd agree with you about the Ruth cue if they used it a little more sparingly. As it is, it's just too much. In Shore Leave it was used to better effect but since there was no real Kirk/Ruth backstory - and they didn't really talk about the lonliness of command in that one - it was just a nice theme.
     
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  15. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Seems so. We've speculated on this site that Pike's senior command staff must have been hit hard during the fight on Rigel Seven, where Pike's own yeoman and two others dead, and seven others injured including Spock (leg) and Tyler (hand). Lt. Number One is the ship's most experienced officer left, and Lt. Spock is now number two, only though he is only 2-3 years out of Starfleet Academy. Tyler looks even younger. This attrition on his command staff could also explain his strong reluctance to detour and investigate the old distress call. Or maybe Pike is really running a cadet ship. ;)
     
  16. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    As it turns out for me, I saw TSOP for the first time before Shore Leave so in my mind I will always associate the Ruth cue with 'Paradise" and Spock's loniness. The Ruth cue is one of my favorite cues in TOS, I enjoy playing it on my digital pipe organ.
    I've always liked 'Paradise' because of the themes of loneliness, Spock'e and the scene when Kirk is all alone on the bridge. Aside from 'Menagerie',I liked how in the scene with leila in the transporter room, we see Spock genuinely smile for the tirst time when he's not under any alien influence. And one of my all time favorite line in TOS is when Dr. McCoy says to Sandovall, "You want to see how fast I can put you in the hospital?"

    Robert
     
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  17. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Moving onto A Taste of Armageddon, this is an episode I didn’t like much as a kid but really appreciate as an adult. Ever see one of those episodes that you thoroughly enjoy watching but nothing about it is special? Where it’s really 51 minutes well spent with a great message and performances, good pacing and solid character bits, but in the end it’s just “a really good episode?” For me, that sums up this one. I like this episode a lot. It holds my attention, eats up an hour quickly, and doesn’t have any glaringly bad performances. It’s confident, self-assured Star Trek. It’s an episode made by a team which gelled and is firing on all cylinders. There are a few nits to pick: Fox being down through the “screens,” Kirk conveniently turning his back on Anan so the councilman can summon his guards and that one guard who feels the need to rush to comfort Anan so Kirk can get the upper hand, but otherwise, it’s very well done.

    Yet, it fades from the mind quickly. It’s not in my top tier even though there’s nothing particularly wrong with it.

    Notable bits: Scotty standing up to Fox. Spock’s telepathy (and a late season use of “Vulcanian”) and his “multi-legged creature” one-liner. Kirk’s amazing speeches and Shatner doing all his own fighting. And, of course, General Order 24. Man, you want that to be a bluff, but Kirk is that ballsy. The entire last 20 minutes of this one crackles with tension.

    The council is hilarious. Anan is the only one with a speaking part, the rest are a bunch of 50 year old schleps who are revealed with a proud underscore. However, David Opatoshu and Barbara Babcock bring a lot of class to it.

    Very good episode.
     
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  18. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I assumed Order 24 to be deadly real. The Federation has determined that planet Eminiar Seven of the star cluster NGC 321 is the most probable culprit for the loss of space vessels in that region of space including the Starfleet Starship USS Valiant, and the Federation means to put an end of it even if it escalates to war with them. "Diplomatically" they will force an end of it by putting a treaty port on their planet by force if needed. When diplomatic negotiations failed, Kirk decided that he can either force their capitulation or end the Eminiar problem through the threat of real war through Order 24. If Kirk fails, then the Enterprise will destroy their civilization. With luck, Kirk comes up with an alternate solution: destroy their computers so their enemy planet Vendikar would launch real attacks on Eminiar Seven; or again force Eminiar Seven to negotiate but with Vendikar to stop their hostilities and solve the NGC 321 problem to the Federation. With Federation mediation, Eminiar Seven and Vendikar stop their war. I predict that the Federation will still need to establish the treaty port to enforce their peace treaty. Very complicated, but Kirk wins again. :techman:
     
  19. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :devil:

    :techman:

    Yeah, that's a biggie...

    Maybe the spores were sentient and had telepathic ability to determine if the hosts being eyed were safe and the spores' collective gestalt mind had to think about adding Kirk into their cultish joint for a while.

    Or not. There's just not way to make it work...

    Didn't know the origins of her character. A shame they changed it. Spock could still get knocked up by the intoxicating plants, but react to the magical LSD spores differently instead of some generic repression-now-repressed-and-wants-to-boink routine.

    At least it wasn't Kirk getting borked and with Spock pulling the macho scene when on the bridge and finally getting infected by the skootchy and upstanding plant... :devil: Actually, that might have worked better...

    ^^this. Items 1 and 2 are far stronger, and the fuzzy lens look is almost as iconic for TOS.

    ^^this

    Even the worst episodes have good moments...

    Agreed!

    Big-time.

    ^^this

    Which begs the question of how many Ponn Farr episodes Spock didn't have before "Amok Time"... and what he didn't tell T'Pring, oh my...


    Too late. :devil:

    It has some good ideas in the script, but not all of them work to their full potential.
     
  20. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I can't see that genocide is justified ever.
    Especially when the ships were warned (not that that justifies anyone's actions)
    I mean I think its OK for the Enterprise crew not to commit suicide but actually blasting the surface of a planet is the sort of thing we think of Klingons doing in that era not the Federation