4 December 2008 - 21:09
I’ll just get right to it. Here is the best episode of Star Trek. Ever.
1. The City on the Edge of Forever
S1E28, Originally aired April 6th, 1967
Written by Harlan Ellison; Directed by Joseph Pevney
Captain’s log, supplemental entry. Two drops of cordrazine can save a man’s life, a hundred times that amount has just accidentally been pumped into Dr. McCoy’s body. In a strange, wild frenzy, he has fled the ship’s bridge. All connecting decks have been placed on alert. We have no way of knowing if the madness is permanent or temporary, or in what direction it will drive McCoy.
Star Trek, "The City on the Edge of Forever"
Who didn’t see this coming? This is an absolutely incredible episode, and it deserves all of the praise it has received over the years since it’s first airing. The script is incredible, the acting is terrific (particularly Shatner, this is quite possibly his best acting ever), and the story has a great mix of comedy and tragedy.
I immediately knew I loved this episode when Kirk and Spock have their encounter with a 1930s police officer. It’s absolutely hilarious. When you watch a show like Star Trek it’s so easy to feel comfortable with the characters and their surroundings. Seeming them as powerless, as fishes out of water, makes them that much easier to relate to and somehow seem more “real.” Once you see them here, and see that they are infallible in a way yet to be explored by TOS, you really just love Kirk and Spock.
Edith Keeler and Jim Kirk
Time travel is always a tricky issue. I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who (as you’ll note if you know me and/or my research) so I deal with time travel and canon in tv quite regularly. What happens when you travel into the past? What changes? The implications and ramifications of time travel are mind boggling and so so cool to think about. The fact that this one person, Edith Keeler, is so instrumental seems totally far-fetched. But the ramifications of her life, or death, makes the story so compelling. Throw in Kirk, a lonely and love-starved star ship captain (a character trait little explored in TOS during the first season, but something famously exploited in the remainder of the show), and you know you’re in for a ride. A tragic, angsty, ride.
Please, please go watch this episode. Right now.
3 December 2008 - 23:52
Not gonna lie; I had to decide on my #1 episode before I could commit to which one would be #2. It really is hard. I legitimately love so many episodes of this show. So here it is, the second best Star Trek episode.
2. Journey to Babel
S2E15, Originally aired November 17th, 1967
Written by D.C. Fontana; Directed by Joseph Pevney
Captain’s log, stardate 3842.3. We have departed Vulcan for the neutral planetoid code-named Babel. Since it is in our sector, the Enterprise has been assigned to transport ambassadors of Federation planets to this vitally important council. The issues of the council are politically complex, the passengers… explosive.
Star Trek, "Journey to Babel"
This is an entirely ship-based story, where the Enterprise is transporting a group of agitated diplomats to a conference regarding the inclusion of a planet into the Federation. Here we get our first glimpse of Spock’s family and a taste of the conflict between his human and Vulcan halves. This episode is also a predessor to the narratives of TNG, with all of the Federation politics, dignitaries, etc. that Picard often dealt with. This is their first go-around, though, and we get a taste of intergalactic peace-keeping Kirk-style.
Spock's Mother, Amanda
I admit a certain fascination with Spock’s parents, particularly his father, Sarek. How does a Vulcan decide that a human is the most logical mate? Perhaps that line towards the end was one of those “married couple jokes,” but I really do wonder how a Vulcan would come to that conclusion. Or how Vulcans decide on mates in general. But there really are more important things I should spend my time pondering.
I also really enjoy how Kirk has to trick Spock into giving up command. Spock’s loyalty to his duty as 1st Officer were so strong that he was going to let his dad die. Not cool, Spock, not cool. He’s an ambassador! Although they were in a tricky situation. Such a toss up. Good thing Kirk is so strong willed and able to pretend he’s not in excruciating pain while suffering from a punctured lung. Way to go, captain! Also, did I mention that Spock essentially blamed his father for killing Gav? Sometimes the logical, Vulcan way isn’t the right way. Oh well!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the best Star Trek episode of all time!
2 December 2008 - 22:15
If you remember from my previous entry, I have decided to dedicate my final three days of Ten Days of Trek to my three favorite, and arguably the three best, Star Trek episodes. I am talking strictly TOS, not any of the spinoffs. This has proven quite difficult, as I love so many episodes from TOS. So after hours of toil and internal debate, here is the third best episode of Star Trek.
3. Mirror, Mirror
S2E10, originally aired October 6th, 1967
Written by Jerome Bixby; Directed by Marc Daniels
“Captain’s log, stardate… unknown. We are trapped in a savage parallel universe from which we must escape within four hours, or I will face a death sentence at Mr. Spock’s hands.”
Uhura, Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty in the Mirror Universe
Evil Spock & Kirk in the Mirror Universe
Perfect story, and well executed. A landing party consisting of Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura is zapped into a parallel “Mirror” universe when being transported back to the ship during an ion storm. The USS Enterprise is now the ISS Enterprise, the entire ship is filled with henchmen and mercenaries, and Spock is evil because of his stylish beard. Spock’s logic prevails across both universes, however, as he’s the one that figures out that the returned landing party are fishes out of water.
The SF community can thank this episode for the establishment of bearded doubles being evil, and that baddies in general have beards. Two obvious examples are The Master from Doctor Who and Flexo, Bender’s identical brobot, in Futurama S2E11, “The Lesser of Two Evils.” Check out the commentary on that Futurama episode to hear the writers and producers support this claim.
Sulu & Uhura in the Mirror Universe
It’s really fun to see the actors play bastardized versions of themselves, especially Sulu and Chekov. As you may know, besides his role as Chekov in Star Trek, Walter Koenig is most well known for playing baddies. This may have been the logical starting point.
“Jim, I think I liked him with a beard better. Gave him character. Of course, almost any change would be a distinct improvement.”
“What worries me is the easy way his counterpart fitted into that other universe. I always thought Spock was a bit of a pirate at heart.”
“Indeed, gentlemen? May I point out that I had an opportunity to observe your counterparts here quite closely. They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous — in every way, splendid examples of homosapiens. The very flower of humanity. I found them quite refreshing.”
“I’m not sure, but I think we’ve been insulted.”
- McCoy, Kirk and Spock
Stay tuned for #2.
1 December 2008 - 21:31
Today is the last day that a feature film will be part of my Ten Days of Trek. I’ll get to why in a moment.
Star Trek Generations
I’ll forgo bullet points so that I can just rant for a minute. The movie started out like the rest of the Star Trek films up until this point, which was awesome, because I like the Star Trek films. But then it turned into a prolonged episode of TNG, which was really boring. And then Kirk ended his Trek tenure in the worst way EVER. I know everyone and their grandmother has complained about it, but that’s not stopping me. I mean, really. The only thing I’ll give them is that they stuck with what he said in Undiscovered Country. That he’d die alone. And he did, considering that McCoy and Spock weren’t there. Also, neither of them were in the film at all, and were only briefly mentioned.
A brief point about my reaction to this film. Did I cry for Kirk? No. Did I cry for the Enterprise? No. Did I cry when Data found Spot? Yes. Like a little baby. So there you have it.
I also decided that I was going to stop re-watching the Trek films at this point. It really was the final send-off for the original cast, even if it was a disappointing send-off. So for the next three days I will highlight my favorite episodes. Tomorrow will be #3, the next day #2, and I’ll end with #1, my favorite and arguably the best episode of the original Star Trek series. Because I know how much you all want to know.
As a heads-up, there is a strong possibility that my judgment will be swayed by episodes parodied by Futurama. Just saying.
30 November 2008 - 23:02
The last film to feature the entire original cast. Sad.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Spock was so interestingly out of character in this movie. Interestingly because Nimoy helped write the story and produce to the film.
- Kim Cattrall? Hilarious!
- For such a mighty race, I find it quite entertaining that Klingons have bright pink blood.
- I got really confused by Colonel Worf. They only call him Worf, so naturally I thought of the Worf we all know and love from TNG and Voyager. This Worf is even played by Michael Dorn, although the ridges in his forehead are different. Apparently he is supposed to be Worf’s grandfather. I kept thinking during the film, “this was released in 2001, after TNG had been on tv for four years. Wouldn’t this be confusing?” I guess it’s okay to have this film overlap TNG, even though it’s supposed to have happened well before Picard took over the Enterprise-D. I’d look into that further if … I cared that much. Which I kind of don’t. Maybe that makes me a bad Trekkie?
- I’m glad they dropped the whole Uhura/Scotty thing. I was not a fan.