Rewatching Miri

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by cgervasi, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I first saw Miri when I was a little kid. I re-watched it the other day, and I wondered if there’s more to it than I thought.

    Are they going for it being a horror episode? The kids chanting and demeanor seemed creepy. Could that be why they said this planet is an exact duplicate of Earth in the 1960s? Maybe it’s to make audiences of that time imagine this is something that could happen to their world right now.

    Is there any meaning to the changed vocabulary: onlies, grups, foolie. Is that supposed to signal that over the 300 years the kids have been without adults their morals have decayed along with their language? At one point Miri says They have such little time to do this dumb thing of theirs, this baninski thing. Is baninski supposed to be a real word or one of those words the kids made up?

    Was there any point to their food being on the verge of running out? Mentioning the food raised the question of how they have any food if they’re not producing it. When I first saw it I imagined they had loads of TV dinners, but that would be the stores would have to have hundreds of years of supply. It also raises the question of energy for refrigerating and cooking. I suppose they wanted to have a ticking clock so that all the kids would be in peril if the Enterprise crew couldn’t save them. Otherwise you could think if the Enterprise fails to find a cure, the Federation could send teams to spend decades figuring it out, which wouldn’t be so bad for the kinds not reaching puberty since they had survived for centuries already. @alchemist posted some cut dialog at this link that explains they ate canned food.

    Did Miri give them the idea of stealing the communicators out of jealousy? Did she know they were working on a cure that would let her development return to its normal rate, and part of her didn’t feel ready to be an adult? I got the idea the other kids thought it was just a prank, but Miri knew she was sabotaging their efforts to find a cure. Plotting to stop them from saving their lives seems so dark. I wonder what her motivations are supposed to be.
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    Metryq and cgervasi like this.
  3. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    In SUMMMMMMER!
    Yes. "Onlies": they were the only ones left. "Grups" is a shortening of "grownup " and foolie is fairly obviously
    Not decayed but changed, forming their own slang. Pretty standard.
    Yes.
     
    Qonundrum and Captain Tracy like this.
  4. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    OMEGA IV
    This episodes makes many indirect asides and intimations through the laying of additional background information and subtextual dialog with which to comment critically on today's society; and, to postulate the potential future of mankind - based on our values and the decisions we make today.

    Yes, very creepy, indeed; but not in the genre of classic Horror per se; but, more akin to Horror's sub-genres of Weird Fiction, and, Suspense.

    Many of the 1st season's earlier episodes have a mysterious, weird, slightly off-key, Twilight Zone-esque veil cast over the general atmosphere of the story.

    Sadly, this off-key creepiness of the unknown is a tonal quality imbued in the scripts which slowly dissipated through osmosis as the series progressed through it's three seasons.

    I think if you go back and re-watch the episode you may find that in the opening Teaser on the Bridge, the statements: "an exact duplicate of Earth.", and, "another Earth." are made while the crew observes the veiwscreen on the Enterprise from space; whereas, the Old Earth estimate time-equivalent of: "c1960s", is not made until the Landing Party is planet-side, and gets a look at the architecture and automobiles.

    The fine distinction here is that The Planet is an exact duplicate of Earth; but, The Technology and Cultural Scale is roughly equivalent to that of Old Earth 1960 - which is not the same idea as "an exact duplicate of Earth 1960", where Kirk and McCoy could go see duplicates of their great-great-great Grandfathers houses standing - in albeit dilapidated condition - being two different story premises.

    The mentioning of the food is three-fold writer's device:

    a. It is how the writer justifies how these 300 year-old children remain alive on their own; and thereby, supports and encourages the willing suspense of disbelief in his story;

    and, pointedly mentioning that the food is running-out in a specific amount of time;

    b. Is to increase to tension of the conflict, as the Enterprise crew races against the clock to find a serviceable serum with which to escape the danger of story; and, increases the level of tension of their peril by time-constriction - by the writer imposing limitations on both Time and Resources.

    and,

    c. Eliminates any option of not solving the crisis facing the children on the planet, by continuing on as they did before the Enterprise arrived; for with this limitation placed on the children's food supply, serves to impose an additional 2nd delayed death-sentence for the children - the infectious disease itself being the other death-sentence - again, heightening the jeopardy of the story by the writer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  5. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    Its been awhile.... do they actually state that the kids are 300 years old, thus putting the planets 1960s styles contemporaneous to our 1960s, or is it possible that their disaster was only 80, 150, 200 years ago?
     
    Neopeius likes this.
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Not sure what you're getting at. Seems pretty obvious the idea is it was an exact duplicate of Earth up until failed medical experiment 300 years ago, so progress stopped there but not on our Earth.
     
  7. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    OMEGA IV
    Stating the premise the way the OP did, versus, the actual premise the writer selected and the premise we were actually shown in the episode, are "two different premises."

    If the actual premise were changed to what the OP stated, then the character agency changes in terms of what they know, where things are, and what options are readily available to the characters, etc., which would serve them and lessen their struggle in overcoming the primary conflict the story presents.

    Creating tension and jeopardy in a story is all about heightening the primary conflict, not by reducing tension and jeopardy by giving the character more tools and personal agency to work with - but by taking tools and agency away from the characters.

    In terms of writing, that is why the fine difference between the two different premises - the OP's misstating of the premise, and, Star Trek writer, Adrian Spies' actual premise - is critical to quality story-telling.

    The OP premise would provide and enhance agency and options to the characters; whereas, Spies' actual premise deprives and limits agency and options to the characters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    :wtf:
     
  9. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    OMEGA IV
    Is that a "caught looking dumbfounded on 'Jeopardy' before a live studio-audience expression" emoji? :lol:
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    To paraphrase a fellow Trekkie, I'm not even sure that is English.

    In the greater context, the mid-20th century setting indeed is 300 years in the past of "current" Starfleet reality, and in full synchronization with the history of the "real", Starfleet Earth, even if certain other TOS episodes might throw different and differing datapoints at us there. There's nothing to distance us from the model where two Earths ran in exact parallel, and then one did a stupid thing.

    The exactness of the parallel is super-evident to the heroes from the onset: the planet is an exact copy, its radio message is an exact copy, and the landing party with its profound inexpertise in this field then haggles over the exact decade - getting it wrong, as the backlot/set was in its fake-1940s guise and displayed no real signs of having reached the 1960s.

    Spock then further dates a semi-grand piano, by unknown means (he doesn't use his tricorder), and apparently assumes it to be brand new for the era rather than, say, a century old - but here Spock at least knows his pianos, and his Brahms, and him supporting the exact-parallel timing can be taken fairly seriously.

    Nothing suggests there would be even the slightest deviation from this place once having been Mayberry, North Carolina, ca. 1941. For all we know, their Andy and ours both met these exact kids there once.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Neopeius likes this.
  11. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    As mentioned above, the word Miri used was "Buttininski," not Baninski," which isn't a word. :) It means someone who butts in; sticks his nose where it doesn't belong; interferes with someone else's business.
    Though now I'm thinking "Baninski" would be a great name for a 70s TV detective series.
     
    Search4, Neopeius, scotpens and 2 others like this.
  12. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It's very interesting that both S1 and S3 have touches of horror - occasionally light, but often quite heavy. S2, apart from Catspaw and Wolf in the Fold (and possibly a handful of other eps like Obsession), really does not.
     
  13. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    They never really explained the duplicate Earth. I know the novels did but not in the main canon.
     
  14. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    In all the drafts of "Miri," except for the revised final draft (the shooting version), there's dialogue that makes it clear that the Enterprise folks know that the planet really isn't Earth. Here's an example of such dialogue from the teaser of the final draft:
     
    Captain Tracy likes this.
  15. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    OMEGA IV
    You can find more information in the main canon on: Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development, contained in the episode: Bread and Circuses, for an explanation; and, in the episode: A Piece of the Action, for a second illustrative example of where an alien society develops culturally and historically in a parallel fashion to that of Earth culture; yet, ultimately exists as a cultural and historical divergency to that of Earth's culture and history

    The planet in Miri is a duplicate in terms of the form of the celestial body only. The culture is the Earth culture, but there is a huge divergence in their history; a parallel.

    So there is nothing to 'explain' in narrative terms of what 'a duplicate Earth' is; as a duplicate Earth, as a celestial body, is shown on the Enterprise bridge veiwscreen; that's your visual explanation of duplication - that's why they show it as a celestial body with the Earth-shaped continents present and duplicated exactly.

    The rest, is Parallelism - due to the divergency in the Miri planet's history - a Parallel Planet; not a duplicate.

    If the Miri planet was a true 'duplicate' Earth they could not have had that nasty virus; because they would have to 'duplicate' the same exact history as Earth, and no such thing occurred in Earth history; instead, they had a developmental divergency, and thus, a parallel planet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
    Methuselah Flint likes this.
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Confederation of Earth
    I rather like @Christopher's explanation (in his "Department of Temporal Investigations" novels):

    Miri's world isn't a copy of Earth, it IS Earth. From an alternate timeline, which briefly crossed over with the main one.
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    As I see it, S1 horror reflected The Twilight Zone's influence on early Star Trek. And S3 horror came in because Fred Freiberger hated comedy episodes like "The Trouble with Tribbles," but was perfectly willing to let the show lean in the opposite direction and go very dark.

    I emailed the Chakoteya transcripts site, and she has now corrected baninski to read buttinsky. :bolian:
     
  18. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Amazon Prime's captions have it as "baninski", and I clearly hear two N sounds and no T sound.
    [​IMG]

    It seems to me like she was trying to sell the children on this plan, and she pulled on a word from the slang of this planet to underscore she was one of them and to avoid saying what exactly the landing party was working on.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    No, it's a WTF at the non-sequitur word salad about "agency" and "critical to quality story-telling".

    :D
     
    CorporalCaptain, BK613 and Phoenix219 like this.
  20. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    Down by the Bay
    Yes. Six times, actually; Spock’s “think about it” line was the only one I remembered, though.
     
    Captain Tracy likes this.