TV From The Crypts: Lilith’s Star Trek Mission Continues
That’s right, I have successfully completed my mission in watching season 2 of Star Trek: The Original Series. I have learned a lot as I have entered the world of 1960’s science fiction, and in particular I appreciate now that we have come a long way. Still, it’s nice to nod my head in recognition of what was the then ground-breaking television series. Today I want to bring you my favorite moment’s, buzzfeed listastic style again. But first I have to point out a couple frustrations I have with the show and see if you Trekkies agree.
What I have noticed and find frustrating with this classic show is the repeating of storylines and plots. There seem to be four or five specific scenarios that occur to those on the Star Ship Enterprise again and again.
There is the “Utopia scenario”, where they stumble upon a planet or civilization of an alien race that is essentially living in a perfect world free of violence and crime. Everyone shares resources equally and is fulfilled and happy to the highest level. Seems ideal, right? Naturally not considering they have used this story line at least half a dozen times and the crew members are not living in that Utopian society as you would expect. Instead, those episodes result in Kirk and the others expressing their beliefs that these Utopian societies are oppressive to their free will, and it is more admirable to fight so that one can make mistakes, experience struggle, and ultimately perseverance because of it. Sorry, I don’t buy it. If I had the opportunity to live in a Utopian society I would have to take it.
Another common scenario they face? An ultra-smart computer or other superior artificial intelligence. It’s the all too familiar “humans were too smart for their own good and created something smarter than themselves” scenario. Another half dozen episodes center around these situations where the crew encounters a super-intelligent computer or machine, sometimes by their own creation and sometimes from alien worlds. These computers enforce strict rules and dominate the puny humans, that is until Spock or Kirk use some corny twist of logic to confuse the computer until it self-destructs because of an incompatible situation in its machine head. If these computers really were super smart something tells me that would not happen.
There are not quite as many episodes that exhibit the “past culture scenario”, though more than one would already be implausible. Despite the fact that these humans on the Enterprise are exploring all of space they seem to find multiple planets with alien species, (that naturally look like humans), that are “stuck” in a past era from Earth. There was a planet that was forever stuck in the behavior of ancient Rome, and even a planet that had adopted a Nazi-Germany government right down to the swastikas. We already have to utilize our suspension of disbelief powers to believe that all alien species look identical to humans, and that each planet they stumble upon conveniently has the same atmosphere and surface conditions of Earth, but adding that they adopt the same cultures and societies of past eras on Earth? Yeah, that is more unbelievable then the Tardis being bigger on the inside.
Ok, well, sorry for the rant. I am still glad that I am watching the previous Star Trek series and plan to continue on to season 3 soon, but I had to just put my frustrations with the series out in the open. I do still fall on the Star Wars side of the Star Wars vs, Star Trek debate afterall. But now on to the fun part. Lilith’s favorite moments from season 2 of Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Ah phasers. What do you do when you are a poor science fiction show that can’t afford to actually destroy or blow up your props? You create a weapon known as the phaser that causes your props to glow and then disappear.
- The use of stunt doubles is pretty continuous from season 1, but still amazing. So hilarious when they get doubles that obviously look nothing like the actual actor.
- Have to give a shout out to the Catspaw episode where the main villain was a woman that alternated between human and cat form. She also turned in to a giant house cat when she wanted to attack our crew. An adorable giant pussy cat.
- There were some pretty famous episodes in this season. In particular, Mirror Mirror was an episode where some of our crew members were exchanged with their duplicates in an alternative, cruel reality. In that episode Spock from the other universe has a goatee, and hence set the precedent that all evil alter egos have goatees. (I have to admit, I kind of like evil Spock, he was still quite logical).
- Another shout out to props department: one episode hung a skeleton on the wall in a fake dungeon, only they forgot to take the skeleton off its display post that it probably came on when they borrowed it from one of the local universities.
- Another infamous episode is the first one of this season: Amok Time. In this episode Spock is forced to return to his home planet of Vulcan to participate in the brutal mating rituals. Luckily this is a once in a life time thing that Vulcans get over as soon as a victor is declared.
- Journey to Babel was one of my favorite episodes because it involved the ship being host to a summit of dozens of alien species. We got to see aliens with little blue horns, pig-faced aliens (possibly stolen or copied from Doctor Who) and even Spock’s dad!
- Speaking of Spock’s parents, it seems that it is Vulcan tradition to walk around with your wife holding each other by two fingers…
- Bones never failed to stop amusing us with his one liners. My favorite rebuttal from him to Kirk was a simple one: “Because I’m a doctor, that’s how I know!” I need to use that one…
- I could have included the fact that Kirk runs in to old girlfriends who still love him in multiple episodes as a recurring theme…
- In The Deadly Years all the crew is infected with an illness that causes rapid aging, and seeing an old Bones and Spock still going at it tit for tat was priceless.
- In one episode a energy life form that was responsible for being Jack The Ripper comes on to the ship and possesses many people, trying to get them to go on murderous rampages. The solution: drugging everyone aboard the ship with a “happy shot” so that the energy form that is drawn to angry emotions couldn’t possess anyone. Where did they come up with that one? Of course seeing a tripping Sulu was worth it.
- The Trouble With Tribbles happened this season. Enough said.
- In The Gamesters of Triskelion Kirk and several of the crew are captured and forced to perform in an arena similar to that from Hunger Games against their will. Kirk devises a plan in his holding cell there to escape: he seduces, kisses, and then punches his female captor very skillfully. Oh Kirk you ladies’ man.
- The mugato alien species is one of the best ever: part gorilla, dinosaur, albino, and rhino. Doesn’t get better than this!
- Just another shout out to Doctor Who which I will point out was already running for a couple years before this show…in the last episode of the season, Assignment: Earth, the man that our crew is trying to apprehend uses a device very like a sonic screwdriver. I think he might be a timelord. Just saying.
That’s my conclusion from season 2 of Star Trek: The Original Series. Hope you enjoyed it, season 3 coming your way in the future!
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