Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1 Reviews

1.2: Where no man has gone before

So, here we are. The very first Star trek episode, except it's officially no.2 That's because the 1st Pilot, The Cage, is considered part of the Star Trek universe. But it's not on my DVD box set, but is on Season 3 mysteriously. So it'll get reviewed at the end of the TOS. Anyway, this is an excellent pilot and does a great job of introducing some of the crew. It's quite strange that Bones, Uhura and Chekov are missing. And Spock has some STRANGE eyebrows going on, as well as being quite emotional and shouting all the time, even when performing the simplest tasks. The plot is one that will crop up many times in the future. The Enterprise encounters a strange force that elevates one of the crew (Gary Mitchell) to Godhood Absolute power corrupts etc. and Kirk ends up having to fist fight him whilst potential god no.2 (Liz Dehner) fights the changes. Having Gary be one of Kirks best friends makes it a lot more problematic when it comes to finally having to stop him, but he maybe turns evil too fast. Liz takes a lot longer and is more tortured by the fact she is leaving her humanity behind. It's entertaining and only the rather straight forward A to B nature of the plot and familiarity of the Human with god like powers brings it down a notch. Spock arguing with Kirk is good stuff, but misses that McCoy dynamic. But considering it's the first proper Trek made it's amazing stuff and stands the test of time well. 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.3 - The Corbomite Maneuver

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. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.4 - Mudd's Women

This has not aged well. Harry Mudd is a con man who is bringing his cargo, 3 beautiful women, to potential buyers. Kirk wrecks his engines saving Mudd and is at his mercy when they reach the mining colony as the miner's want only one thing - women This is really bad. Mudd is clearly meant to be a fun, roguish character who's a bit cheeky. he's not. He's a Man who traffic's women and has them addicted to a drug called Venus which keeps them young and "beautiful". He's an Arsehole basically. Not only that, but kirk comes over looking weak and ineffective as he practically pleads with Mudd to let the Miners deliver the crystals or the Enterprise is doomed. Now, I know he can't go in all guns blazing and simply take them, but there comes's point when kirk would rip up the rule book and put a phaser to Mudds head to save his crew and ship. He's not exactly shy at bending the rules. But no, in this episode, he's running round like a headless chicken. The final nail is when Kirk gives Eve the placebo that gives her magically a new hairdo, make up and shiny glow, when moments ago she looked ancient and sexy as a chimney sweep. The only good moments are McCoy and Scotty's reactions to the women, but really awful episode. - 1/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.5 The Enemy Within

Now, as bad as the last one was, this is top notch. It maybe suffers from that final 4th act that tends to drag out the story beyond it's natural life span, but that's being picky. High concept time - what if Kirk was split in half, one good, one evil? We find out not as simple as we first thought. Some respect must go to Shatner here, who is easily mocked for his acting, but really delivers for the emotional, ego driven 'evil' self. He doesn't quite pull off the softer, logical side quite as well, looking a tad tired and anaemic really, but he makes this episode so watchable, you can't take your eye's off him. Every one has a good part in this story. Spock and McCoy are great, debating whether to risk rejoining Kirk with his alter ego. Bones is all about the health of his patient whist Spock is fascinated by the potential of examining kirk, and also of the safety of the away team. Ah yes, Sulu and extras, stuck on the surface, freezing to death. Why not just send a shuttle? 'Cos they hadn't been thought of yet. Best to assume there was radioactive clouds that would prevent reentry. Sulu does well here, making his claim to be a regular. Scotty is...Scotty, doing his transport chief part and making me believe that he knows this ship back to front with his diagnosis of the repairs and solution. He really should have done the reverse transport, but it gave Spock a nice scene as he looks...tense?! Nicely acted. Uhura has gone missing in this episode, so her role is given to Rand, which features evil Kirk attempting to rape her in the cabin. Dark stuff for early Trek, even if Spock makes a joke about it at the end of the episode. WTF?! Surely it should be more serious than that. The other annoying part is when Kirk releases his evil double, by himself, when he looks as weak as a kitten. Cue the fight and escape. It does set up a nice scene on the bridge though and reveals what Spock mentioned earlier - that Weak Kirk is not afraid, even if he has lost his drive and guts. Excellent episode, best i've seen so far. - 5/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.6 - The Man Trap

It's a bit daft this episode, but a strong central performance by Bones grounds this and gives the viewer a chance to connect to the characters beyond the silly story. Basically, Nancy is a shape shifter who hypnotises you and sucks your salt out of your body. She goes on to trick various crew members before Bones finally breaks the spell once Kirk is about to be sucked dry. It's hard to take seriously , but it kind of works. There's too many "crewman see's their fantasy" moments, but the moments with McCoy are worthwhile and generally it's a fun watch. Bit slight though. Of course, famously, this was the actual first ever episode of Trek shown on TV. Why? Half the crew disappear in the next episode as they're shown out of order, not to mention uniforms etc. The mind boggles, but it spawned 700 plus episodes no real harm done i guess. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.7 - The Naked Time

Another fun episode this. A virus gets onboard the Enterprise and drives everyone slightly crazy. I'll get the one scene out the way that really annoyed me and me laugh involuntarily. The way the virus gets on board. Crewman Joe has a really itchy nose, even though he's in a hot zone. So why not take of your glove and have a good rub. Then, for no reason at all, start feeling bits if the virus infested table until you catch something nasty. Good thinking Joe. Joe dies, which is probably for the best. Made me laugh though. Anyway, the main cast get some great scenes here. Sulu probably has the most fun, dashing down the corridors with his sword. Kirk has a great funny line when Riley takes control of the ship, but goes into full shatner mode once he contracts it. It probably doesn't help that it comes just after Spock has delivered a tour de force in his tortured soul after being infected by Chapel (factoid - only time the 3 TOS women, uhura, Rand and Chapel appear on TV) and she tells him she loves him. He then goes into the conference room and cry's and rants as he trys to keep his logical side in control. Could have been a disaster, but Spock has a quiet dignity whilst he breaks down and tries to get control back. Uhura has a nice scene with Kirk and Scotty does...Scotty. I'd miss him if he wasn't there, fixing the engines. It drags slightly in the 2nd half as we continue to plummet to the plant below and the ending made me laugh - they invent time travel matter of factly in the last 3 minutes. Spock at least mentions it opens a can of worms, but it's not really featured heavily again beyond a couple of ep's and Star trek 4. Good episode, but they really would be tighter if they ran 30 mins. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.8 - Charlie X

Stop me if you've heard this one before. A semi regular staple in TOS (much as Holodecks going bad would be in TNG's,etc), this has Charlie trying to fit in with the Enterprise crew as a teenager, but he has these powers that can do...anything. This one isn't really for me. It's been a long time since I was a teenager and whilst everyone can appreciate being the new guy and all the awkwardness and misunderstandings (though i don't blame him for having a crush on Rand - who doesn't), it makes for a rather predictable story. I don't like Charlie, so you're onto a loser from the start with me. And the God powers...again!! And i know there's more coming up with the same idea. Unintentionally funny moment of the series so far - The shat doing his gymnastic wrestling. Homoerotic comedy gold. But i still don't like this episode i'm afraid, even if I appreciate what it's trying to do. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.9 - Balance of Terror

Apologies in advance for the next 2 reviews - it's late and I'm tired but want to keep on top of these reviews. This is a cracker of an episode. What strikes me most is how much of a dry run this seems for Wrath of Khan. Forget Space Seed, this truly is the inspiration. You have 2 ships, playing cat and mouse. At times there is no visuals on screen (albeit because the romulan ship is cloaked) but the fight in the Comet could be the Nebula. The 2 captains only see each other at the end through the viewscreen, never in person and someone dies trying to activate the phasers on the enterprise, not to mention the deaths when the nuke goes off. The parallels are there and I honestly think i'm not stretching. The wedding at the start and obviously the loss at the end is a nice reminder of life continuing onboard the starship. Spock is good in this ep as well, offering the logical yet aggressive suggestion of fighting. Bones as always wants to save lives, but it's amazing how the trio work off each other this early in the series. Styles (relation to cap styles in StIII?) is aggressive to Spock after we discover that the Romulans are very Vulcan like (in a very funny scene where the camera pans in handily on the romulan commander (played by Spocks future dad, natch)), but comes across as an idiot and imbecile. The only real bad part is the crew tiptoeing round the ship and talking in hushed voices? eh? What the hell is going on there. Too close to the submarine story. I'm also beginning to see why Rand was written out (other rumours aside) as Kirk needs to be single frankly and having her come up for a cuddle every time the ships in danger makes for rather poor viewing. Finally, the creation of the Romulan empire starts here and it's quite impressive to see how many seeds were planted here, form the neutral zone to the cloaking device. Must see episode. - 5/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.10 - What Are Little Girls Made Of?

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. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.11 - Dagger of the Mind

There are 2 plot lines in this episode and one lets the side down. Lets deal with the best one first. A prisoner, van Gelder, escapes from the penal colony of Tantalus onto the Enterprise. However he turns out to be a doctor and Kirk beams down with Helen Noel to investigate. The plot on board the Enterprise, with Spock and McCoy trying to get to the bottom of the Van Gelder mystery is deep stuff. All 3 actors are excellent, though V Gelder can be OTT at times, but very believable. We also get to see the vulcan mind meld for the first time, very different from future episodes and It comes across as dangerous and risky for patient and Spock. Whilst it was nice to see Spock and McCoy doing their normal debating, the rest of the usual crew were missed. Even semi regulars like Rand were AWOL. Which brings us to Kirk and Noel on the planet. This role was obviously primed for Rand, but the writers have replaced her. I think this is for best, as I've said before, Kirk shouldn't be a 1 woman guy and this would have been too much to come back from. As it is, Noel is very easy on the eye, but her acting is ropey to say the least. Where there should have been drama and tension, she came across as rather unflustered and amused by the whole situation of kirk being mindwiped. I liked her, but perhaps in a lighter episode with a different tone. I also have an issue with Kirk going into the neutralizer chair to "test" it out. C'mon, you don't test out torture devices to see how they work. Also Shatners acting was decidedly Shatnertastic this episode. I quite like when Kirk shouts and fights, but after the weighty mind meld on the ship, this writhing about was a bit much. It was also interesting to note that There are criminals in the 23rd century which tends to go against Gene's vision, but as he produced this I guess he either had it forced on him or decided it would make more rewarding fare. I like the idea of prison colony's and it gives the Star trek universe a richer feel to it. It was an enjoyable episode, but the tone of the acting didn't always match the story it was trying to tell. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.12 - Miri

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. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.13 - The Conscience of the King

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. - 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.14 - The Galileo Seven

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. - 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.15 - Court Martial

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. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.16 - The Menagerie (Parts I and II)

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. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.17 - Shore Leave

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. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.18 - The Squire of Gothos

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. - 1/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.19 - Arena

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? - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.20 - The Alternative Factor

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. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.21 - Tomorrow Is Yesterday

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 - 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.22 - The Return of the Archons

Interesting idea this - a very reserved civilisation that are brainwashed and there is no crime or hatred, but go absolutely crazy and rape and pillage during festival time. It's a hell of a concept and only really works because everyone is mentally drugged. A supercomputer is controlling everybody (the planet?), but there are a lot of holes. The opening with Sulu is quite unusual and refreshing for Trek as we are dropped right in it. This is also the first of many episodes where Kirk violates the prime directive when he destroys the computer. It's a good episode, with an interesting concept, but there isn't really a lot to say about it. The festival concept isn't explained further from why they do it to how often it happens. I get the feeling there is a lot more backstory to this somewhere. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.23 - A Taste of Armageddon

Yet another high concept episode. Two planets are fighting a war, but they do it through simulation on computer, where the "casualties" have to report to disintegration chambers. There were a lot of things I liked about this episode. Scotty and McCoy on the bridge were excellent as you don't really see these two together. I also liked that Scotty was clever enough to realise that the call wouldn't be the Captain. One thing I've noticed really is that McCoy is rather superfluous in the past few episodes. Apart from the man trap he hasn't had a big story. It's extremely hard to believe that people would actually do this and report for death calmly just because authorities tell them too, but it's enjoyable watching Kirk discussing how insane yet in a sense, logical system this is. It was amusing to see the shore party trying to make sense of the war that was happening around them, when clearly nothing was actually occurring. There was also a fairly huge violation of the prime directive again, this time more serious I think. The planet did tell them to stay away and now Kirk may have started an interplanetary war, but that's why he's the daddy really for all the risks he takes. A difficult high concept to swallow, but entertaining and thought provoking. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.24 - Space Seed

This was one I had been looking forward to for a long time. I'm sure everyone knows the story behind this episode, but just in case you don't - after The motion picture, producers wanted to go back to the star trek roots. So they watched through old episodes and came across this. And Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan was born. So this has a lot to live up to, as ST2 is one of my favourite ever films, let alone trek storys. And at first, I wasn't sure. The Enterprise finds the Botany Bay floating in space, and rescues the crew, who are all genetically augmented superman. Khan's not as charming when he wakes up as I was expecting and the speed at which McGivers falls in love with him and helps him overthrow the ship is ridiculous. But McCoy has a lovely scene with him in sickbay when he has a knife to his throat and Bones coolly offers him advice on the best place to cut. The dinner partys also good, with Kirk getting one over him by angering him. But it's really the 2nd half, when Khan cuts of the air to the bridge and takes control of the ship (impressive that Kirk is willing to die for his ship, silly that he makes a log entry when everyone is trying to conserve air). The scene where Khan shows Kirk in the pressure chamber and threatens the crew with his fate one by one if they don't help him sealed this as a classic episode. And of course we have to have the mano et mano fight and Kirk (just) wins, but if he's hadn't been let out the chamber by McGivers it could have been different. Lucky. His final decision for Khan, leaving him on a desert planet is a refreshing ending to what people were expecting but it will come back to haunt him years in the future, Really, without Ricardo's performance as Kahn this would be an average episode with a few nice scenes. But he makes it and really gives Kirk his sternest test so far. It's just a shame the 1st half is so wobbly. Still very good though. - 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.25 - This Side of Paradise

A surprisingly good episode this, as I was expecting shore leave version 2. The crew visit a planet where plants emit spores that make you, well, trippy and happy, if seriously unproductive. Once the crew start getting infected it's up to Kirk to save his ship. This is primarily a Spock episode and once again, Nimoy gives a tour de force of the tortured Vulcan (or Vulcanian depending how early you're watch these!). He meets a girl he once dated (we think, more than a friend certainly) and once infected is able to express his love for her. Kirks reactions to these early scenes with Hippy Spock are priceless as is his dialogue with McCoy. I'm guessing here, but the credit must go to D.C. Fontana, an old school writer as everytime her name pops up, you get great dialogue scenes. Kirk is mysteriously unaffected, and it's because he's so angry. This doesn't quite add up to be honest as he doesn't have violent rage towards Spock so should still be drugged, but no one doubts his first love is the Enterprise. In a classic scene he beams up Spock and makes him angry, even though Spock could well kill him, and we see just how strong and dangerous an angry Vulcan can be. Spocks scene's with Leila after he is "normal" again are heart breaking and she raises the main theme of the episode. They were happy, if slightly Brain washed and their health never better. But is that a worthy trade off for not ever achieving or evolving? Its stoner's vs The Man (kindof.) Spock gets the final line that thankfully isn't a light hearted joke at his expense when he says he was happy on the plant and yet his sense of duty to his ship and captain will always come first. - 4/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.26 - The Devil in the Dark

This won't be a long one, but there are a couple of things worth talking about. The crew are called to a mining planet where 50 people have been killed by a strange blob monster. Turns out the Blobs eggs are being destroyed and she's protecting her young. I appreciate the attempt to create a different type of alien, something so different we can barely comprehend. But visually, it doesn't work. Spocks mind meld, normally a safe pair of hands, is unfortunately comical and OTT and doesn't work for me. There's a good idea in here, about Kirks willingness to destroy and Spock's instinctive nature to investigate and there are a couple of nice scenes where Spock is worried for Kirks safety and tells him to kill it and starts shouting "Jim!" All in all, don't judge a book by it's cover. Or blanket. - 2/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.27 - Errand of Mercy

Quite a historical episode this as the Klingons are introduced, led by Kor. Kor is an excellent character, in the Khan mould, but funnier and with more cheek. He's holds his own against Kirk in their debates which is no mean feat. The Klingons and the Federation are at war and the planet Organia is an important foothold for both. However the Organians will not lift a finger to protect themselves, frustrating Kirk and disgusting Kor. Unfortunately for me, they turn out to be, one more time, "God like beings" who effectively end the war and save Kirk and Spocks bacon with their deus ex ending. *sigh* I can't even raise emotion to be angry at the story (my God, too much star trek I think - I'm becoming Spock!), but it was a disappointing end to the story. I did like the fact that it was predicted they would become allies in the future though. Kirk comes across badly in the last act, being written to sound more alike to the Klingons than he really is and so he can have a shameful reflection when it's all finished. There was actually far to much of Kirk and Spock in this episode as the rest of the crew were largely awol. And while I'm moaning, i'm sick of every planet either having a castle like dungeon with torches on the wall or small town 60's America. I know it's just a product of it's time, but it doesn't age well. Rant over. I guess I'm disappointed with this because I was expecting Balance of terror 2, but it's quite enjoyable and the seeds of (many) future storylines involving Klingons are planted here. - 3/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.28 - The City on the Edge of Forever

So, this has always been considered one of Trek's absolute classics, referenced in various other media and set the bar high for time travel stories involving the butterfly effect. But is it any good? Well, yes, especially the 2nd half, but let me get a couple of issues out the way. Unfortunately, due to the time it was made, there was no follow up episodes to events like these, so we're left to surmise that there is a dirty big gateway in time that can let you alter history and change the future. This should surely be the most protected planet in the Galaxy. Also, the time travel rules for this episode, comparing it to a river where they will naturally flow together is a bit woolly, as is spock able to access future newspaper reports on his tricorder. The Guardian comes across as a giant micro fiche resource. But frankly, none of the above matters, because at it's heart, this is about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one. In this case, Edith Keeler. Who Kirk has fallen in love with, but has to die, as if she lives she will cause the Nazis to take over the world through her pacifism. Right idea, wrong time as Spock notes. Right I'm getting ahead of my self. Lets start at the start. McCoy accidentally injects himself with Cordrazine and goes crazy paranoid just at the same time the crew find a gateway through time. De Forest is excellent in this episode as he's really given a Chance to let rip and eat up the scenery, and he does it so well. His makeup is also very impressive for it's day, gradually looking like a zombie. Kirk and Spock chase after him and through various mishaps end up working for Keeler and Spock tries build a computer out of 30's technology that will let him see what changed time. These scenes are all good and entertaining, especially as at the start of the episode their dialogue seemed slightly stilted, calling Scotty "engineer" and so on. Keeler, played by Joan Collins, is good, though Kirk falling in love with her is slightly weakened by the fact that every girl he meets is "the one". McCoy ends up at Keelers, his paranoia wearing off and has some wry dialogue about his state of mind, but Kirk and Spock are unaware of his presence, though they ARE now aware that Keeler must die, as Spock keeps repeating. Kirk actually pushes this knowledge to one side and keeps dating her (fast mover to be honest) and saves her from falling down the stairs, which is commented on by Spock, who doesn't actually come across as cold as he did in Galileo 7, just stating the facts to Kirk and it's noticeable Kirk never lashes out at him. Nicely underplayed by the pair of them. The final scene, as Kirk see's McCoy, embraces hims, then has to stop him saving Keeler, the woman who saved him and loved Kirk is heartbreaking and McCoys quiet rage is incredible to watch. Of course, if Kirk hadn't taken her across the road to see the film, then she would have never run back to see Kirk and McCoy, so perhaps this was all destined to happen. The final line by Kirk in the future "let's get the hell out of here" as the eerie wind blows, is chilling and one of the best endings to any Trek. One minor downside is that Scotty, Uhura (who appears to be on the planet simply to give them screen time) and Sulu don't really have much to do, but I'm willing to let that slide. Also the Guardian, the mysterious device that can send people trough time, is rightly left as an enigma amongst the ruins, as any attempt to explain it would only ruin it's power. Right, I've wittered on enough. Watch it, nuff said. - 5/5

Star Trek: TOS 1.29 - Operation: Annihilate!

Silly monster this episode, but there are a few things that make this worth watching. The crew visit a planet that had been infested with flying parasites that attach themselves to a host and infect them, spreading madness. Actually, this is slightly garbled, as they mention that they want to build ships and infest the galaxy, but at the same time they seem randomly violent amd kill their hosts, so slightly confusing. The monsters look awful, like rubber vomit that is being thrown like a Frisbee. There's no getting round the fact they are so comical that it ruins any suspense or danger. So what is good about it? Well, important from Kirks point of view as his brother, Sam and his wife are killed (again, by the monsters? What is their M.O.) and have left a child, Peter, Kirks nephew. To be honest this is quite a traumatic day for Kirk, but it doesn't really come across that he's upset much. The other key scenes are Spock, who's now infected, and McCoy debating, squabbling and ultimately McCoy feeling guilty when he thinks he's blinded Spock for no reason. Spock and McCoy onscreen together are always good value. It's enjoyable enough, but forgettable all the same and impossible to take seriously. Even the title is camp. 2/5


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