Saturday, 31 May 2008
The One where the Enterprise goes back in time.
This episode was flirting with a top score for the 1st 2 thirds, but the slightly wacky time travel logic and some silly comedy moments mean it's not quite there. But that doesn't mean this is a bad episode. Far from it, this is one of the highlights of the season.
In probably the best teaser I've seen so far, we see earth in the 60's at an airforce base when what what pops up, but the Enterprise flying through the sky. No real believable explanation is given as to how they got here, but if you can swallow the simple fact that they're back in time, them the story works well.
Having to beam Christopher aboard, the crew accidentally change time and have to work out a way of getting him back and also protect the future. I had to laugh at Kirk giving him a guided tour of the bridge without it even occurring to him that he should really be hiding this technology from him. Also, and this is a running theme throughout the series, the lack of security for 'guests' aboard the Enterprise is ridiculous and comes across as daft a lot of times.
For me, the real highlight here was the beautifully crafted dialogue between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Genuine laugh out loud material and so watchable when they're on screen together. Sulu also has a lot of screen time as does Uhura, and Scotty is given some good lines in the engine room as he states the obvious question of where on earth do they go if they're trapped in the past. I also loved the sultry female computer and Kirks reactions to it. There's actually a feel of ST IV to this episode and not just the slingshot round the sun. The comedy and different tasks the crew have to do are great and all the regulars have a decent scene.
The episode dipped slightly in the final 3rd when a 2nd guard is beamed up and played solely for comedy and also a ridiculous fight with Kirk and 3 guards. It just suddenly seems to descend into a western fist fight. The worst part is the bizarre logic of beaming the the two 60's earthmen back into their bodies of their old selves one day prior with suddenly no memory of whats going on. It just makes no sense, even though I can just about buy the way the Enterprise get home.
This is an excellent episode, only let done by a weak final act , but well worth watching
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 59/105
Up next: The Return of the Archons - No idea. Doesn't ring any bells.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
The One with the Parallel Universe
Well, points for something different. I was worried at first when a life form appeared on the planet after the galaxy quakes. Sounded suspiciously like a God type being. But no, simply Lazarus, a mad man from another universe (depending on your P.O.V.)
The opening ten minutes is done well, with the feeling of a calm sea suddenly being whipped into a storm. The scenes of Lazarus fighting his double are very eerie and surprisingly effective. There's probably too much running around the planet and fighting in the corridor, but it's entertaining.
The big twist is that Lazarus is two people who keep flip flopping between universes and can never meet or it will be the END. This is a tad woolly and when Kirk goes to the antimatter universe it throws scientific logic out the window, but the final shot of the two Lazarus's is haunting and even if Shatner hams up the final scene it still gives you chills.
A couple of minor niggles. His beard keeps vanishing threw one scene to the point I thought he'd had a shave and no one noticed. Also , Scotty and Sulu are AWOL this episode, with new character Masters given the engineering role. I'm fairly sure she's never seen again, but it was quite a novelty too see so many new faces on board which gave it a fresh look. Also the fight at the end with Kirk and mad Lazarus is ridiculous, with Spock and 2 security guards watching Kirk wrestle with him. A vulcan nerve pinch would have ended it!
I'm pleased to see ideas for storys such as this, good ideas such as parallel universes and doubles. It doesn't quite work and there's too much fighting and running, but this is an episode that should be applauded for doing something different, even if it's reach outstretches it's grasp.
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 55/100
Up next: Tomorrow is Yesterday - I think this is the one they go back in time. Looking forward to it.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
The One where Kirk fights a Lizard
After a poor run of episodes, this is a nice entertaining hour, if not a masterpiece.
Lets get the bad out the way first shall we. The Gorn, obviously, looks incredibly fake and blatantly like a man n a rubber suit. It also moves at turtle speed and it's hard to see how Kirk couldn't have ran rings round it. Also, the metrons are an alien race with God like powers who create the battle. 3 episodes in a row we've had incredible things being created!
The 1st half of the episode is very similar to Balance of Terror as an outpost is attacked and Kirk chases after them. There's some excellent scenes of Spock trying to talk Kirk out of destroying the alien vessel and Kirk being so enraged with emotion that he simply refuses to hear it. He's dangerous in this episode is Kirk and it's a shame McCoy wasn't around on the bridge to say his piece. The action scenes on the planet are also very watchable and the set looks good.
The 2nd half is basically an overlong fight scene between Kirk and the Gorn, but it's quite enjoyable and even the rubber suit monster is quite likable. It actually reminds me of Predator and a slice of Macgyver as Kirk tries to fashion a weapon that will kill the Gorn and set traps for him.
At the end, when he realises that the Gorn probably see the federation as invaders and is behaving exactly the way Kirk is acting is a lovely little twist that gives Kirk his sanity back and good judgement. I'll let the Metron God like being go this week as I feel that's all I ever moan about these days, but hopefully the next episode will be free of this regular story idea.Good simple fun and Kirk running up that rock is iconic. Need I say more?
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 52/95
Up next: The Alternative factor - No idea what this is about. Finger's crossed no God like people.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
The One where the crew meet someone with (sigh) God like powers.
It's safe to say at this point that I despise stories such as this where the crew encounter a 'being', Trelane, who plays with them then fights them and finally a being of greater power comes along and saves the day.
I mean, what is the f*cking point of these episodes? They're so tiresome to sit through, as Kirk and co are made to participate in stupid set pieces and react to the ramblings of someone who we are meant to feel is fascinating, but is a cock.
The only real interesting aspect is that He is very similar to Q, but at least you have John de Lancie giving a bit of charisma and comedy. This is just woeful and too come right after Shore Leave which had similar strange objects and settings. Put simply, Star trek and fantasy don't mix and the pair should never be allowed to meet again.
Any good bits? The initial search for Kirk and Sulu was good as was seeing Spock in command. but that lasted for 7 minutes. It's not enough to save it and we had another crap 'let's laugh at strange stiff Mr Spock' ending, a cliche even at this early stage.
really hated this episode.
Overall Star Trek Rating so far: 49/90
Up next: Arena - I'm quite looking forward to this episode as I'm pretty sure it's the one Kirk fights the Gorn. No God like powers here!
Monday, 26 May 2008
The One where the thoughts of the crew come to life on a special planet.
Garbage. I'm summing this up very quickly as I can't bring myself to talk at great length about it. The crew beam down to planet where their every whim comes true.
What follows is a lot of running and random things such as tigers and knights of armour appearing. This becomes very tedious to watch and the whole episode seems like filler. A couple of things save it from a total disaster. The outside filming is quite refreshing and makes a change from the fake boulders and skyline. Also, some of the revelations, such as kirk being bullied in the academy and a bit of a square are interesting as are a couple of comedy moments. But my God, the running. The non stop running and the stupidity of Kirk at times as he encounters his visions means this is a very bad episode.
Friday, 23 May 2008
The One where Spock steals the Enterprise
I'm sure most people know the Story of this by now, but just to go over it one more time: The Cage was the 1st star trek pilot produced and the network didn't like it. So, new crew, new story and Where no man has gone before was created and the rest is history. Except you still have this expensive unaired pilot sitting collecting dust. What to do? Why not show it again, but create a framing story that would explain why we and Kirk are watching this footage. And lo, the Menagerie was created.
Now, I plan to review The cage at the end of Season 3 (don't get me started on why it's not in Season 1 Box set) so I'm not going to review the clips of it, suffice to say I was struck by how similar it was to TNG and also how it looked more modern than Kirks Star Trek. Onto the Framing device.
I like Spock stealing the enterprise and the way his plan was formulated and successfully pulled off. He gambled on Kirk not doing anything dangerous and it didn't pay off, so he immediately put himself under arrest, though whether this was his plan all along to have an exit strategy is unknown. This was a tour de force for Spock and it was very believable the way his plan was executed and ultimately failed.
What follows is rather disappointing as we have another court martial, this time of Spock. This is probably my fault for watching these in production order and not televised, but like the duplicate Kirk episode, it seems to be an idea they get, then use it again (and again in the case of humans with God powers). McCoy, who I thought would play a large part in this episode as he was on the ship, is missing for most of the 2nd half, tending to Pike it seems. Ah, poor Pike. It's ridiculous that his only communication is a flashing light, but the make up does well and it's very iconic seeing him in his black wheel chair.
The ending feels rushed to me and the fact star fleet overturns its death penalty and allows Spock to get away with it scot free seems unlikely to say the least. Even Kirk isn't bothered by Spocks actions. The actual video being streamed by the Talosians is so complicated to imagine how it works and how they could video the past that it could make your mind hurt. I did like the fact that the camera work was queried by the characters and they weren't going to pass it off as security video.
Ultimately, it's a hodge podge framing devise to reuse old stock, and whilst the 1st half does excellent work in building the tension and making us wonder whats on the planet, the 2nd half is essentially The Cage edited version and it also forces a strange ending rather than a satisfying one.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
The One with Captain Kirk on trial
Entertaining if slightly daft story this. Kirk is accused of perjury after one of his crew, Finney, is seemingly killed in an Ion storm. It's up to Sam Cogley to defend him.
The most interesting thing about this episode is seeing the seeds of Starfleet being sown. There is a real feel of there being a bigger universe outside the enterprise and of lot's of other story's going on. Having Kirks ex Shaw prosecuting him is a nice touch and probably one of the few times they weren't used as eye candy or screaming queens. The trial itself was enjoyable to watch, even though I suspect a lot of legal holes were created. Spock and McCoy testifying was good as was McCoys reaction to Spock calmly playing chess, yet discovering the computer had been tampered with.
The heartbeat search at the end is dubious, although certainly make for a dramatic scene, but I could have done with out the Kirk/Finney face off, especially with 2 of the worst lookalike stunt men I've ever seen. I understand a scene was cut with Jamie confronting her dad and he explains how he sabotaged the ship, hence the strange V.O. narration which makes Kirk sound like a private eye. It's a shame Scotty, Sulu and Uhura are awol again, especially Scotty as he could easily have give testimony, and I presume the personnel officer is never seen again.
It's nice to have a change of setting for Trek, and a good court story is hard to beat. That final payoff line is also good comedy gold, subtle and far better than the normal bridge crew laughing at nothing.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
The One with the shuttle crash
Straight forward story here. Spock and 6 others crash on a hostile planet and try to get off, while Kirk has 2 days to find them before being forced to leave on an emergency medical supplies delivery.
The main plot, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and others crash on the planet and Spock takes command. His logic works well at first, if slightly grating on the others. However when the creatures are antagonised by his plan, the troops round on his machine like instructions. The creatures are quite goofy looking, and the Spears are obviously plastic, but the fact you barely see them means they appear threatening when the crew are hiding in the shuttle. One problem I have is that most of the time, Spocks right. When Boma wants to bury the dead, Spock rightly says that fixing the ship is more important and even McCoy starts on at Spock. Poor writing and trying to go for the easy emotional pot shot. Spock is cold discussing who will be left behind when they leave though, effectively sending them to their death.
McCoy redeems himself later on when they break orbit with a wonderfully dry one liner and Scotty is good here at...fixing things, but clearly haa a respect for Spock as Spock seems to have for him. You don't really see them together much, but there's great chemistry between the two. Spocks final, desperate gamble is also a lovely human touch and a clever idea.
Kirk's plot, searching for them blindly, is nicely played by Kirk, who can sense that his friends may be dying or dead. His spats with Ferris are good as well, both men are correct and have a worthy goal, but neither giving ground. Kirk being in a smaller role also lets the other crew breath and have more room to grow, especially the Spock/McCoy relationship.
The only real bad part is the final Tag of the crew all rolling about laughing at Spock - it's a stock silly ending for Trek, but seems a bit distasteful and OTT after so many crew have died.
A very good Spock episode this and very rewatchable.
The One with the Mass murderer turned Shakespearean actor
It sounds a ridiculous idea, a mas murderer who has gone into hiding by becoming a stage actor and slowly killing off the few remaining people who seen him alive. But the execution of this episode is superb, with plenty of scenes that are standouts and making the story very watchable.
I liked Kirk secretly setting up his ship as the only transport for Karidian and his crew, especially Spocks face when he wondered how the captain knew a woman would be coming on board. Kirk was quite cold with Lenore, but it always seems "she's the one" every episode. How many girls has Kirk loved and lost? Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Spock investigating his Captains odd behaviour was also good, and I loved the scene where he discusses it with McCoy over a drink (and Spock refusing said drink of course)
The build up in the first half was excellent, slowly investigating this actor who may be a mass murderer. The 2nd half, when Kirk confronts him, is disappointing. If he suspects it is him and he has killed witnesses, why the hell not lock him up. Karidian is so vague with his answers and Kirk seemingly accepts them, that it kind of deflates the finale showdown. There is a good point in there, about why the death penalty is wrong if you're not 100% sure you have the right man, but it's garbled in these scenes, as if the story isn't quite sure where it wants to end up and creates these strange postponements for the final act.
Also of note is that this Is Yeoman Rands last appearance in TOS, a walk on part where she glowers at Lenore. I liked her as a character and admittedly she was very attractive, but the Kirk/Rand relationship would have been a disaster and created a weird domestic situation on the bridge. Jim Kirk shouldn't be saddled with a hen pecking Wife in the Enterprise which is the route it looked as if it was going to go down with her jealousy. Fair well Janice Rand, you'll be back one day.
So, overall, a very different sort of story for Trek and all the more refreshing for it.
The One with the kids who never grow up.
Not great this episode, but a couple of things save it from a total disaster. Kirk answers a distress beacon that leads them to a replica earth circa 1960, where only children survive.
The basic concept here, that a race of people tried to find a virus that would extend their life, but actually mutates you and kills you as soon as you reach puberty is interesting. Add in the fact that it preserves your childhood up to roughly 300 years and you have another angle. Unfortunately, none are really seen through. It works as a metaphor for eternal child hood, for becoming an adult, for discovering sexuality. These themes are barely touched upon The one that is, Miri becoming a very young adult and fancying Kirk, comes across as creepy and wrong when Kirk tries to use her to flush out the other kids. It was a more innocent time back then, but still feels wrong.
The replica earth is never mentioned again and was obviously used as a budget cut, but the fact it exists in this episode just comes across as bizarre. It's enough of a revelation to warrant it's own story, but is simply dismissed.
The Kids are awful here, looking particularly inbred and evil. Kirk and kids don't go together, especially when he preaches to them to help him. The kirk/spock/McCoy dynamic is as strong as ever and makes this more watchable than it deserves and it's nice to see Rand get a run out in her last remaing episodes.
But overall, this is not good and cannot be recommended.
Friday, 16 May 2008
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
The One with the Android kirk
Bit boring this one. The trouble is that Chapel is an Idiot when it comes to Korby - even though he's clearly nuts and killed 2 red shirts, she still can't see past him.
Other bad points are the fact that we've got a duplicate Kirk again and Shatners ridiculous body roll when he's tring to escape in the 1st act. Once Andrea comes on in the tiniest costume you can imagine, I abandoned all hope of taking this seriously.
Half the crew are missing as well, which means Kirk has to ground the story and unfortunately fails.
Watchable enough, if only for the eye candy, but forgettable.
Monday, 12 May 2008
Friday, 9 May 2008
The first half of this episode is far superior to the 2nd half. There is real tension and a military type feel to the orders that kirk barks out and the radio chatter. His chat with Bones, making his debut, is also good. It feels real, as if these two have a respect and history for each other.
The 2nd half is quite tedious, with the tractor beam plot not really matching the build up earlier in the episode. The unintentionally funny moment for me was when we finally see Balok and he's this creepy wee kid who wandered off Gentle Ben. And Kirk suggests to Bailey, the crew man who cracked under the pressure of mind games, that he stay and get to know this species! Aye right, why don't you stay with this weirdo and i'll be back on the Enterprise, chasing skirt and starting fights.
Kirks poker game tactics are quite watchable but the tension goes on for too long and the pay off with freaky kid is no good. Disappointing.