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Exploring The Final Frontier

What Are Little Girls Made Of?

One of the clichés of early Star Trek appears to be Kirk getting duplicated. Whether it’s split in half by a transporter malfunction in “The Enemy Within” or being straight up cloned here in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”

We also see another Trek cliché begin here with Kirk taking on a computer. Continue reading “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”

Balance of Terror

Each time Star Trek celebrates a significant milestone, up crop the lists of everyone’s favorite episodes.  For years, it seemed like “City on the Edge of Forever” would inevitably make the top spot on just about any list.  But in the last decade or so, I’ve noticed a bit of a re-examination of all things Star Trek has begun and that a couple of “dark horse” candidates have been slowly rising in the estimation of fans while certain “accepted classics” have lost a bit of ground.

One of those episodes is “Balance of Terror,” which topped io9’s list of the best of all 700 plus episodes of Star Trek a few years ago. Continue reading “Balance of Terror”

Charlie X

When the early seasons of Next Generation struggled to find a way to make Wesley Crusher relatable to the audience, I often wondered why Gene Roddenberry didn’t look back to “Charlie X.”

While I wouldn’t exactly call Charles Evans the most rounded look at the teenage years, “Charlie X” still manages to capture some of the awkwardness and yearning to fit it in that many of us experience during our teenage years.  I can certainly recall it myself and it probably wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that I included this episode as part of a session on inclusion and exclusion on a youth group retreat while I was in high school. Continue reading “Charlie X”

The Naked Time

The first half-dozen episodes of Star Trek spent time establishing the regular characters only to see “The Naked Time” dig a bit deeper into what makes each of these characters tick by pulling back the veil.

The primary instrument for this involves everyone on the ship throwing the universe’s largest keg party while on a mission to observe the break-up of planet Psi 2000.   While we’re initially told that Psi 2000 could give the crew a preview of Earth’s future, it’s really there as a delivery system for the mysterious virus that makes everyone lose their minds and act a bit crazy. Continue reading “The Naked Time”

The Man Trap

It’s easy to say that NBC didn’t quite know what they had on their hands when it came to Star Trek.  Looking back on the first dozen or so episodes, I see at least two or three other episodes that I’d chose as the series premiere over “The Man Trap.”

It’s not that “The Man Trap” is a terrible episode, per se.  It’s just not a terribly good one. Continue reading “The Man Trap”

The Enemy Within

Most of the behind-the-scenes books about Star Trek emphasize that NBC wanted episodes featuring the crew beaming down to an alien world featured first and not just ones that all took place on board the starship Enterprise.  This always struck me as odd because it meant that stronger episodes like “The Corbomite Maneuver”  were delayed until long into the initial run of episodes while episodes like “Mudd’s Women” or “The Man Trap” would get an earlier air date.

But then you get to an episode like “The Enemy Within” and you think maybe NBC had some method to the madness by which they chose how the original episodes would run.  Continue reading “The Enemy Within”

Mudd’s Women

Gene Roddenberry pitched Star Trek to NBC as Wagon Train to the Stars.   So it’s not surprising that the premise for “Mudd’s Women” would be one of the half-dozen or so story ideas that Roddenberry brought back to the network when asked to generate more than just “The Cage” during their pitch meetings.

“Mudd’s Women” feels like the script for a Western show but instead of taking place on the old frontier, it takes place on the “final frontier.”   Cross out “mining town” and put in the phrase “mining colony” and you’re fairly close.  The script does make wonder about a few things – and no, I’m not just talking about the overall message that you can make yourself beautiful just by thinking about it. Continue reading “Mudd’s Women”

The Corbomite Maneuver

When I announced on Facebook earlier this year that my newborn daughter had watched her first episode of Star Trek with me, my best friend and co-host of the All Good Things Star Trek podcast inquired which episode I’d decided to show her first.

When I replied it was “The Corbomite Maneuver,” his response was, “Of course it was.”

There are a lot of reasons that I decided to show this one to my daughter first* (though she’s unlikely to remember it as her first Star Trek episode).   But most of them come down to the fact that of the first three produced episodes of Star Trek, this one feels the most like Star Trek to me. Continue reading “The Corbomite Maneuver”

Where No Man Has Gone Before

When Wrath of Khan hit theaters in the summer of ’82, the local station that ran syndicated episodes of Star Trek held a two-night “event” with four episodes of Star Trek airing in the prime time block.   Because the event tied into the release of Khan on the big-screen, I convinced myself that somehow the station involved was actually going to air parts of the just-release movie during that block.

Turns out I was horribly mistaken.

But what I was able to do was convince my dad to let me stay up later (it was summer) and to watch at least one night of the two with him. Continue reading “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

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