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Scott Atwell Star Trek Discussion thread (Series and Films) (1 Viewer)

KPmusmag

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As I’ve been re-visiting TNG epsiodes the last few months, amd the last two weekends I revisited Star Trek 2, 3 and 4, I decided this week, I’d return to the original.

I wanted to re-see the early first season episodes when the series is really new and young. I’ve watched Charlie X, Mudd's Women and Corbomite Maneuver. I’ve recently come to like Mudd's Women more then I used to. Charlie X is great and I have fun thinking about this being partially inspired by from The Twilight Zone. Though I have no idea if DC Fontona was thinking of that TZ episode. I doubt it. I think Corbomite Maneuver is great, it's showing us the crew for the first time and not everyone is quite right yet. After Bailey is left with Balok, we get Mr. Ferrell at navigation. And Uhura was in a gold uniform and soon to go to the Red uniform.

Not sure which episode to go with next. But one thing that’s partly influencing it was listening to disc 3 of the Star Trek Original Series soundtrack set this week. That disc has the score from Fred Steiner for Charlie X, Mudd’s Woman, What Are Little Girls Made of and Balance of Terror.

I humbly offer Balance of Terror as your next watch. The characters are still "not quite right" and, like Bailey, you have Stiles who kind of freaks out about things somewhat similarly to Bailey. And then there is Mark Lenard, of course, giving a flawless performance as the Romulan captain. I remember back in the late 1980s I had a roommate and this episode was on and he said, "Oh, that's Daddy" and I was so disgusted that he didn't realize that this episode was before Journey to Babel. OMG it was so serious back then! LOL I guess it is still serious but now I'm old and don't care so much. LOL
 

Nelson Au

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I humbly offer Balance of Terror as your next watch. The characters are still "not quite right" and, like Bailey, you have Stiles who kind of freaks out about things somewhat similarly to Bailey. And then there is Mark Lenard, of course, giving a flawless performance as the Romulan captain. I remember back in the late 1980s I had a roommate and this episode was on and he said, "Oh, that's Daddy" and I was so disgusted that he didn't realize that this episode was before Journey to Babel. OMG it was so serious back then! LOL I guess it is still serious but now I'm old and don't care so much. LOL
Kevin, Balance of Terror is a top episode for me. I have watched it several times recently, especially after the Strange New Worlds episode that examines what happens if Pike was still in command of the Enterprise. I’ll watch it, but I’m thinking of another episode earlier then that. :)
 

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I watched The Enemy Within tonight. It still amazes me that this episode was made so early in the first season. I find it surprising because while Spock still isn’t fully developed, he’s developed more about his duality of being half Vulcan. And he’s becoming more and more the Spock he eventually portrays. William Shatner is of course the focus and he’s really doing an amazing job playing two versions of Kirk. But my guess is that he just has to play an indecisive person, verses an evil Kirk. I think Shatner really nails Kirk in Balance of Terror. Not that he wasn’t doing a good Kirk prior. And McCoy I thought was great in the scene when he has to confront Spock. “It's the Captain’s guts you’re analyzing! “ The first of many arguments.

It’s cool that this episode had so many great camera set-ups. For example, The low angle on the evil Kirk after he materializes. There’s the jump cut to the evil Kirk’s bloody hand after he tried to assault Rand and scurries off like a wounded animal. Lots of great stuff, being very creative, and theatrical.

And of course we know that the shuttlecraft models were not ready yet, so they couldn’t just fly the shuttle done to bring Sulu and his men up.

I like to avoid watching this episode too much, even though I saw it hundreds of times in syndication and after. It’s nice to revisit after a period away as its strengths are still working.
 

KPmusmag

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I watched The Enemy Within tonight. It still amazes me that this episode was made so early in the first season. I find it surprising because while Spock still isn’t fully developed, he’s developed more about his duality of being half Vulcan. And he’s becoming more and more the Spock he eventually portrays. William Shatner is of course the focus and he’s really doing an amazing job playing two versions of Kirk. But my guess is that he just has to play an indecisive person, verses an evil Kirk. I think Shatner really nails Kirk in Balance of Terror. Not that he wasn’t doing a good Kirk prior. And McCoy I thought was great in the scene when he has to confront Spock. “It's the Captain’s guts you’re analyzing! “ The first of many arguments.

It’s cool that this episode had so many great camera set-ups. For example, The low angle on the evil Kirk after he materializes. There’s the jump cut to the evil Kirk’s bloody hand after he tried to assault Rand and scurries off like a wounded animal. Lots of great stuff, being very creative, and theatrical.

And of course we know that the shuttlecraft models were not ready yet, so they couldn’t just fly the shuttle done to bring Sulu and his men up.

I like to avoid watching this episode too much, even though I saw it hundreds of times in syndication and after. It’s nice to revisit after a period away as its strengths are still working.

Great episode on all counts. The lighting is so atmospheric and striking, as it was in early episodes before it got all evened out. Was that because TV sets of the day could not handle the contrast? I honestly did not know about the shuttle craft models and I have wondered why they didn't utilize them for a rescue, thank you for that. Also a currently resonate episode in these days of inappropriate behavior being reported and perpetrators held accountable.
 

Nelson Au

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Great episode on all counts. The lighting is so atmospheric and striking, as it was in early episodes before it got all evened out. Was that because TV sets of the day could not handle the contrast? I honestly did not know about the shuttle craft models and I have wondered why they didn't utilize them for a rescue, thank you for that. Also a currently resonate episode in these days of inappropriate behavior being reported and perpetrators held accountable.
Yes, the lighting was very atmospheric. I think Finnerman maintained that through out the first season and beyond, but maybe as you said, he toned it down a bit as they were able to view footage. From what I recall, Finnerman lit Star Trek like a black and white Nior film, except in color.

I double checked about the shuttlecraft. The life size mock-up and shuttle bay models were not ready yet. Without a shuttle, this had the added element of the time clock to resolve the problem.

I carried on with my early episode viewing with the next production order episode, The Man Trap. I don’t think I gained any new insights with this viewing. I’ve seen it a lot. My attitude for while was it was low on my list of episodes. I think I bought in too much into the things being said about it. How the producers and actors were unhappy this was the first episode to air and it has a monster that pleased what the network wanted. I recall at a Star Trek convention how Nimoy read a review of the premiere and how the reviewer said it would appeal to the kiddies and that about it. And Roddenberry was unhappy with the musical score for the episode. I think it works. That kind of stuff doesn’t bother me anymore.

I think it’s cool to see more life on the ship and other crew members, Sulu and his biology interest and how he and Rand appeared to be friends. It was nice to see Uhura have her moment. And I’m still impressed how the director or someone had each actor who played Nancy in another form uses the same body movements and mannerisms. Well crafted episode. The only downside to this episode for me has always been McCoy having to kill the creature. It wasn’t a thing Star Trek will do. They could have immobilized it and beamed it back to the planet or take it to a sanctuary for study.
 

Nelson Au

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By the way, I’ve been avoiding the Discovery thread to avoid spoilers. I’ve been two episodes behind due too other life events. I did catch up to the second to last episode last night. One more to go.
 

Nelson Au

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After watching the Discovery finale (yeesh, some things never change, like over-emoting during critical action scenes—I actually like the show, but it drives me crazy narratively speaking 😂), I needed to cleanse myself with some classic Trek, so I pulled out the TMP Complete Adventure 4K set. I prefer the Director’s Edition above all other cuts, but I was nostalgic for the Special Longer Version (even though it also drives me crazy from an editing perspective—let’s throw in every piece of footage we have! 😂).

I must be getting old, but I scoured all the Blu-ray discs and couldn’t find it—I had to look up Bill Hunt’s review from the Digital Bits to confirm it was on the 4K disc with the theatrical edition! (Is 50 the beginning of the end?!? 😂)

Anyway, it was a lot of fun! It felt like I was 12 again with my gold-and-black VHS tape. (I can’t remember why it was released that way—maybe Paramount’s 75th anniversary?) The only thing I miss from the DE is the red alert klaxon and it was there in all its glory. TMP is still my favourite big-screen Trek!
I missed this post! Thats cool, I think I have that black and gold covered VHS tape. I also prefer the Directors Edition. I have not tried to watch the TV cut in the Complete Adventures set yet.
 

KPmusmag

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By the way, I’ve been avoiding the Discovery thread to avoid spoilers. I’ve been two episodes behind due too other life events. I did catch up to the second to last episode last night. One more to go.

What a coincidence - I am in the middle of a move and am also two episodes behind and am avoiding the discussions.
 

Nelson Au

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Last night I carried on with my Star Trek TOS film re-visit with Star Trek 5, The Final Frontier.

Like Star Trek 2 to 4, I have held off watching this film in several years. It was an interesting watch and even though I know the story and what happens, it’s interesting to re-visit with fresh eyes and mind.

I was thinking that as I watched the campfire scene early in the film, I felt like with Star Trek 4, the crew is acting like a family, which is the theme of the film, and it felt more like an episode from the third season. Or maybe a potential 4th season episode. The characters in the film are back in their same jobs on the bridge. It’s as if the first 4 films almost never happened. It just felt wrong that Sulu and Chekov and Uhura have not moved to other positions. It reminded me of the photos of older Takei, Keonig and Shatner on the bridge set recreation at Ticonderoga.

As this film was made in 1989, it was interesting to see the TNG sets being used as Enterprise A corridors and sickbay. I wasn't a fan of the new bridge set, but on this viewing, I appreciated that Shatner got the view screen to actually have a real image, it added a new sense of reality. I thought the forward observation lounge set an odd one with the ancient steering wheel. But I get it again as the film quotes: A Tall Ship and a Star to Steer By. And as an homage to The Ultimate Computer quote.

But aside from that stuff, I quite enjoyed the movie. I had the mindset that this felt like a third or potential forth season episode, and it made it work for me better then before when these films came out and you had that momentum back then. The character Sybok came off as a self proclaimed prophet who was misguided in his quest. I never quite understood this thing he does to get people to face their pain. Though it was interesting that they show how it works on McCoy and Spock. It’s also interesting that Sybok is not evil or maniacal. The whole business of God turning out to be an evil character felt like a TNG episode. Did that God like character on Sha Kaa Ree reach out to Sybok telepathically to come and release him? It felt that God character was either imprisoned on that planet or it just wanted to get off the planet to spread its evil outward. In that regard, it felt like a TOS episode. That was just unclear and the weakest part of the story.

After it was clear that God was instead a malevolent being, I liked how Spock took charge and got General Korrd to man up and help Kirk.

Stuff I did not like about the movie, I still don’t like. It’s a shame the visual effects were not done by ILM. Ferren’s effects work is bad. TV level I thought. Some of the effects are OK and bring a new look to the series. Some felt very old school. I did not like how Scotty banged his head in the Jeffries Tube, that was a disservice to the character. I did like how Scotty is able to avoid capture and work in the Jeffries Tube to help Kirk and Spock and McCoy. but he seemed almost a caricature. The relationship between Uhura and Scotty seemed to come out of no where. Spock’s rocket boots were a funny bit and came back later to good use.

There‘s many more things I can post about what I liked and disliked about the film, but I think I’ve said enough. And I’ve not mentioned the aborted Rockmen.

I know a lot has been written about many factors that were obstacles for this film that prevented it from being better. It’s still not the best. It’s not that horrible and I enjoyed it more than I expected because my mindset was right. I thought of it as a TV episode.

Edit, forgot to mention, it was cool that David Warner and Charles Cooper come back to TNG episodes with great characters there.
 

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My re-visit to very early TOS included The Naked Time over the weekend and What Are Little Girls Made Of last night.

I think The Naked Time, like The Enemy Within is a great episode that help to establish thees characters. Spock is well defined here.

What are Little Girls Made of was a good watch to remind me of how Roger Korby will fit in Chapel’s life on Strange New Worlds. This is not a favorite episode, it’s not seen as often. So it’s always interesting to see the teaser as it’s not as familiar.

I think the next episode will be Dagger of the Mind, the second of the “mad scientist” epsiodes as one member called Korby and Tristan Adams. :)

I wanted to skip over Balance of Terror as I want to watch this episode a little later.
 
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Nelson Au

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I did watch Dagger of the Mind last night. This episode of course was instrumental in showing the first Vulcan Mind Meld. But done differently then what it became In how Nimoy played it. And what lines are spoken as he does it.

I’ve notice something before but hadn’t thought of it in a while. In some of these early epsiodes, the director has set up some low camera angles in the Enterprise sets, like the Transporter Room and Sickbay such that the ceiling is seen. So they had to construct a partial ceiling for those shots.

I remember as a little kid, the suggestion that Helen puts in Kirk’s mind about the Christmas party, I thought it was a real occurrence!

The next episode I watched tonight was Miri. Not sure I gleamed anything new from the viewing. I’ve seen it many many times! (But I did think, the Shatner daughters and Shatner himself are forever linked to Star Trek. His daughters appear in Miri and one appears in Star Trek 5.) I did wonder about the 40 Acres town the episode is filmed in. It’s been used in so many other shows, mostly Andy Griffith. The set dresser and craftsmen did a nice job of making the streets and buildings look like it has been unkept for 400 years. The building walls are even dirty. I know Star Trek struggled with small budgets, I guess it was cheaper to hire a crew to paint the buildings to look dirty and worn then to try to build a totally alien city. I only mention this because they must of had to quickly clean it up for an Andy Griffith episode.

And it wasn’t till recently that I noticed while watching a first season episode of Adventures of Superman, Clark Kent is shown running into an alley and out as Superman. The same Alley where Kirk and Spock steal the clothes, and where Kirk and crew are cornered in Return of the Archons, and the same alley where Spock and the two guards hear the children in Miri.
 

KPmusmag

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I used to avoid Miri. Even as a kid I found the kids annoying. But I have warmed to it over the years. There are some powerful elements to the story.

I recognized the 40 Acres site in so many shows, especially Batman. I was blown away years later when I found out that it was Atlanta (and more) in Gone with the Wind. There is a promotional film for Desilu in which Desi Arnaz flies over the site and you can see the crumbling facade of Tara. The one time time I think it really fails for Star Trek is City on the Edge of Forever. It is not a good stand-in for New York City. After Kirk and Edith's Goodnight Sweetheart stroll the stock shot of the city really shows that up. Too bad they could not have used Paramount's New York street, but they barely had any budget anyway.
 

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I think Miri is a strong episode, though some find the identical Earth idea problematic and I can understand that. But it made it easy to use 40 acres. Several years ago I finally realized the reason Miri turns on Kirk is she becomes jealous when she sees Kirk comforting Janice.

Tonight I watched The Conscience of the King. This was an episode I didn’t care for in my youth, but as I got older, I appreciated. The first of the episodes Kirk puts everything on the line to determine if hes really got Kodos.

There’s one thing I never realized before. If Kirk saw Kodos 20 years prior, that would make him about 13 years old. Hopefully his parents survived. Then if Riley was on Tarsus as well, that would make him maybe 5 years old, that assumes he is 25 or 26 on the Enterprise. I guess that makes it possible he’d remember Kodos.
 

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I used to avoid Miri. Even as a kid I found the kids annoying. But I have warmed to it over the years. There are some powerful elements to the story.

I always liked "Miri". Part of it was because I liked Michael J. Pollard, who'd earlier that year guest-starred in the Penny-centric Lost in Space episode "The Magic Mirror".

And every now and then, something pops up out of nowhere that prompts my wife or I to say, "Bonk, bonk on the head."
 

Nelson Au

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I have a vague memory of seeing that Lost In Space episode years ago in syndication, The Magic Mirror. I have yet to try to see it again. I have the blu ray set, but have not managed to get past Mr. Nobody.
 

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I have a vague memory of seeing that Lost In Space episode years ago in syndication, The Magic Mirror. I have yet to try to see it again. I have the blu ray set, but have not managed to get past Mr. Nobody.

Is that because you didn't like it? It's one of my favorite LIS episodes. I had a mad crush on Angela Cartwright back in the 60s, and so the Penny-centric episodes were typically among my favorites. And still are.

(Sorry for the tangent.)
 

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Just rewatched Star Trek VI for the first time since the 90’s . Man, this one has held up much better than when I originally saw it . i’ll have to rewatch V again to see if it’s as really as bad as I thought when I originally saw it. As much as I love Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek III , it would’ve been real interesting to see what Nicholas Meyer would have done for The Search For Spock
 

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Is that because you didn't like it? It's one of my favorite LIS episodes. I had a mad crush on Angela Cartwright back in the 60s, and so the Penny-centric episodes were typically among my favorites. And still are.

(Sorry for the tangent.)
I had not seen Lost In Space for many , many years and it wasn’t until the Blu ray set was released, I decided it would be a good addition to my library. Lost in Space was fun as a child, but as I grew up, I could see it was at a different level, that it appealed to children. It may not have been Irwin Allen’s original intention, but as the series went on, it felt that way. This is not meant to denigrate the series as I know it has many fans. I wanted to re-see the black and white episodes as I thought the first half is the first year might be more serious. And I think it had some good serious aspects in the early shows. But there was always an undercurrent of, for lack of a better word, pulp to it. The science fiction aspects are what bothered me, it just wasn’t serious, at least tried to be. And the science just wasn’t right, they could have had a technical advisor to help them, butI think this series was meant to be action adventure and the science wasn’t super important. :)

I remember liking Mr. Nobody when I saw it in my youth. I like the concept and I wanted to re-visit it. And I did enjoy re-visiting it on the Blu ray. But as I recall on my viewing, there was something lacking about it. I may have to do another view so I can really articulate what I found lacking. I think it was again, the science.

edit, I read the Lost in Space wiki entry on this episode to remind me of the events. I had forgotten that Dr. Smith was plotting something and wanted to use explosives over the cave where Mr. Nobody lived. i had forgotten that the explosion knocked out Penny and Mr. Nobody was angered thinking that he lost his friend and decided to wreck havoc on the planet. Then when Penny is awoken and finds Mr. Nobody is angered, she calms him down and he goes off into space. I think for the most part, this was a good story. It was just hampered by Dr. Smith’s antics and no explanation for why Mr. Nobody metamorphosed. I think it was a good fantasy story.
 
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Nelson Au

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On Friday, I carried on with my Star Trek TOS early episode re-watch and after The Conscience of the King, the next broadcast order episode is Balance of Terror and I chose that finally. This is one of my top favorite first season episodes. It was derived from the submarine battles of course. I’ve posted many times why I like this episode, it’s the first time the Romulans are introduced. We learn they are likely an off-shoot of Vulcans. I like how Shatner played Kirk in this episode. He has to keep Styles in line while trying to be sure he’s doing the right things with the Romulan Bird of Prey that’s threatening the peace. Spock is good as he’s more developed. And there is that great scene with McCoy in Kirk’s cabin trying to help Kirk with the stress of his next decisions. And the scene on the Romulan ship between Mark Lenard and Decius and the Centurian are all great stuff that shows the difference between someone bound by duty and weary to that of the young hotshot Decius whose out for the glory.

I think next up tomorrow will be Shore Leave. This is another top flight episode that has an imaginative premise. In the wrong hands it could have gone into fantasy. The white rabbit certainly is a bit of a limitation of the capabilities of the era. But the stronger aspects of the episode make up for it. And when you realize this whole planet is like a story book, the large rabbit doesn’t seem so out of place. (Angela Martine got over he lost fiancée and is hanging around with Rodriguez. )
 

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