Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Star Trek - The Original Series
After having seen the new Star Trek movie, of which I was highly sceptical but positively suprised, I got the urge to see the basis for the movie -the original series. I've been somewhat of a Star Trek fan a long time, and have seen nearly every episode of Next Generation and seen Voyager several times. But I had never thought the Original Series would be any good. Come on, it's from the 60's, how good could it be? The effects must clearly be bad and everything else probably too. Well that is about how my arguments were running through my head. But then I saw Star Trek, I got this emotional connection to the characters, I talked to my mom who said the original series was great and I thought; "I've gotta see it". And here we are, 3 seasons later, 80 times 50 minutes worth of episodes and awesome fun. I can conclude The Original Series in one word and that is "great".
The effects and settings are bad actually, after all we are talking about a series with a relatively low budget, shot in a time when people imagined the computer as only a flashing screen with a mechanic voice. Every planet they land on looks nearly the same (and the skies always have a red/orange/pink glow for some reason) and you can of course tell they're in a studio from miles away. What makes the series so great are the actors. Everyone of the major characters (except maybe Chekov, I never understood what he was supposed to add to the series, and he isn't added until season 2) do their roles great, nay superb. The characters - Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott etc are also all very good and uniquely interesting, it feels like they all add something special to an episode. Kirk is the key figure who sort of represents a part of all the other. Spock is calmly logical. McCoy emotionally eh... emotional. He often argues with Spock. And Scott is comically scottish. So you've got the calmly serious, the emotionally serious and the not so serious and the one who binds them all together. As a quartet they fit perfectly.
Some episodes are less good than others, and some episodes are just awesome. I thought I'd share my favorites. I actually have 5 episodes that I have voted to be 10/10, that is what I would call a perfect episode after my tastes. Actually none of the episodes of season 1 have gotten a 10 as I think the series picks off in a really good way first in season 2 (season 1 is still great though). What makes them so great are some really funny scenes and great acting, which is the case with all the episodes I have given a 10. The plot usually isn't anything special and they're always quite similar. Kirk and crew face omnipotent being who toys with them for his own pleasure" is probably the plot for 30% or more of the series.
This is actually the second episode where the character Mudd appears, the first one being in season 1. That episode isn't any fun though and I thought this one wouldn't be either. In this episode however he kidnaps the captain and some of his crew (the interesting ones) to keep them on a planet full of androids that need humans to tend to, to have a purpose in life. Now Kirk and crew must outwit the robots to be allowed to leave!
McCoy: [talking about the android Norman] There's something wrong about a man who never smiles, whose conversation never varies from the routine of the job, and who won't talk about his background.
Spock: I see.
McCoy: Spock... I mean, that it's, uh... it's odd for a non-Vulcan. Um... the ears make all the difference.
The Trouble With Tribbles
Tribbles is a small very furry creature who emits some sort of "love me"-aura (which even affects Spock!). They actually look like a colorful hairball and they reproduce like bunnies on speed. The Tribbles were such a loved element that they reused them for some later episodes in other Star Trek series, which I haven't seen though. This episode too is full of some really funny scenes.
Spock: [while holding a tribble] Most curious creature, Captain. It's trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system.
[he begins to pet it gently]
Spock: Fortunately, of course, I am immune to it's effect
[realizing what he is doing, he quickly puts the tribble down and excuses himself]
The Pattern of Force
Some of the best TOS episodes are when Kirk and crew travel back in time to "old" earth. In this episode they don't travel to earth, but to a planet that in a freak accident (due to an earthling) has developed a Nazi system exactly like the old germans did. Kirk and Spock roam around, disguising as Nazis and collaborating with the underground resistance to find out what went wrong and how they can fix this mistake.
Spock: Your uniform, Captain.
Capt. Kirk: Yes, it's a shame yours isn't as attractive as mine. Gestapo, I believe.
Spock: Quite correct. You should make a very convincing Nazi.
A Piece Of The Action
Another one of the "old earth" episodes which is actually very much like Pattern of Force come to think of it. Just like in that episode a planet has been affected by an earthling to develop a governmental system alike one that has existed on earth (past time in the series that is). In this episodes it is the Maffia system that by a freak accident (again) has turned into the planets entire way of doing things. Yet again Kirk and Spock must disguise to find out how they can turn this mistake into something good.
Spock: Captain, you are an excellent starship commander, but as a taxi driver, you leave something to be desired!
The Tholian Web
The Enterprise enter an area in space that not only is claimed propert by an alien race, but also twists the SpaceTimeContinuum (trademark) in a way that makes stuff vanish into nothingness and get caught in some sort of limbo between this world and... some other place. This happens to Kirk and Spock and crew have to find a way to get him back before the aliens destroy the ship with their ellaborate tholian web (a construction that takes hours to build in space and can only be used against a space ship that is standing completely still for said hours). This episode is interesting as it sets Spock in the center of the action and there is a very good duality between Spock and McCoy here, shown in many episodes but that fully blooms here. If you accept the premise that this Tholian Web is something one would actually use to capture and destroy an enemy vessel, which is higly illogical, this is a great episode.
Bones: That's right, and in this derivative, mixed with alcohol it merely deadens certain nerve inputs to the brain.
Scott: Oh, well, any decent blend of Scotch'll do that.
Bones: Oh? Well, one good slug of this, and you could hit a man with phaser stun, and he'd never feel it, or even know it.
Scott: Does it make a good mix with Scotch?
Quotes from imdb.com