Saturday, December 31, 2011


I'm not sure that I can say that I have a favorite Classic Star Trek episode. But, If I do this one could be it. Yeah, it seems typical and I'm sure a lot of people say that this is their favorite, but this episode is near perfect. City on the Edge has an interesting plot, meaningful subject matter, action, comedy, drama, suspense and amazing acting. I mean it has Joan Collins, and she doesn't dissapoint. But honestly Shatner and Kelly are right on par with her.

Sure there's holes; they can't find McCoy yet he's hiding right there behind a rock, The Guardian itself seems so unlikely, Spock builds a complex machine out of "stone tools and bear skins"... but who cares. The episode starts with McCoy accidently injecting himself with drugs and turning into a crazed junkie...winning. He escapes down to the planet and ends up jumping back in time to the depression by going through the Guardian. By doing this he changes history and the Enterprise ceases to exist. Kirk and Spock go back to the same time period in order to fix the future.

After assaulting a police officer, Kirk and Spock end up in a mission. Here they meet Edith, the head of the shelter. Kirk falls in love with her and Spock builds a device that can read the timeline. They find out that McCoy screwed up the future by saving Edith. Kirk must now let her die. He does this with great anguish. It's a great script and the writing is just awesome .... Harlan Ellison.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 29 down 51 to go

Friday, December 30, 2011


“While orbiting an apparently dead planet, the Enterprise seems to experience a strange moment of "nonexistence." Captain Kirk discovers a man named Lazarus on the planet below, who claims the effect was caused by his "enemy," later revealed to be an insane version of Lazarus from an alternate dimension.”

As a child this was one of my favorite episodes, now not so much. But it’s still pretty good. The idea is great and it’s rather spot on scientifically. The problem (as Donald pointed out in Devil in the Dark), the writing was too far beyond the production. This has to be one of the worst looking TOS episodes, the visual over lays and annoying strobe lights were just, well … annoying.

That being said, I like this episode for four reasons: time traveling, alternate reality, space/time rips and a guy that looks like the singer for the Spin Doctors. Lazarus is a good vocalist, “Two Princess” is a decent jam. I saw the Spin Doctors play live along with Soul Asylum and The Screaming Trees. The bass player was awesome. Anyway, Lazarus is in a battle with his alternate universe self. Every time they fight it makes the universe freak out. Starfleet orders Kirk to figure solve this issue. It ends up that the “villain” is the real world Lazarus. Kirk traps him in the alternate dimension and then destroys his time machine.

They are always drinking coffee on this show. In fact there was a scene that I forgot to mention from a few episodes back in which the entire crew on the bridge  had been drinking coffee while working ... it was so odd. I'm surprised that nobody ever smoked on Classic Star Trek. Anyway, Lazarus was supposed to be played by John Barrymore but he was nowhere to be found on the day of filming.So that got this dude. He was in an episode of Bewitched, he played the Gloucester Fisherman Statue come-to-life. Who outside of New England would even get that reference???

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 28 down 52 to go

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 26 - ERRAND OF MERCY

Don't get me wrong, this episode is decent, it's just not lights out. Kor (John Colicos) is a really good character, in fact he's actually likable. This actually may be a problem seeing how he's supposed to be a Klingon which should make him constantly pissed off and violent. He's actually very smart and well spoken yet still a bit bad ass. He's also so odd looking, I'm distracted by his strange mustache and pumpkin shaped head.

The basic premise is this: Shit between the Klingons and the Federation are going badly. The Enterprise is sent to Organia in order to prevent the Klingons from annexing it. They find that they are too late and Kor has taken control and is turning into a dictator of sorts. The dynamic is odd; Kor and Kirk fight back and forth but also have an obvious undercurrent of total respect for each other. Meanwhile the Organians play both sides and could pretty much care less about the outcome. Well, come to find out that they are powerful beings and view both the Klingons and Humans as mere children. The Organians organize a new Klingon-Federation treaty and Kirk returns to the Enterprise feeling a little bit embarressed by the entire situation.The plot wasn't the best, but you see why the Klingons became such an important character in the Star Trek universe. Kor was great. Also Shatner had a solid performance in this episode as well. It's cool because this is the first appearance of the Klingons as well as the Klingon ship.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 27 down 53 to go

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 25 - THE DEVIL IN THE DARK

"Dispatched to the mining colony on Janus VI, the Enterprise is tasked to investigate rumors of a strange, subterranean creature responsible for destruction of equipment and the deaths of fifty miners. Kirk and Spock discover a silicon-based life form, a Horta, which lives in the surrounding rock"

I’ll be honest, I barely remember this episode. But I was pleasantly surprised by it. It starts off on a super down note though. This mining planet has an issue in which the miners are being killed by a creature. And a good thing too because these guys are terrible actors. The Enterprise is called in and Kirk, McCoy and Spock beam down. Spock theorizes that the creature is a carbon based life form. They search for the creature through these vast networks of tunnels (So far this episode is very reminiscent of the X-Files).

Here’s where the magic happens. Kirk and Spock encounter the creature and it’s pretty dumb looking, picture a bloody puppet booger. Kirk figures out that it is intelligent and Spock mind melds with it. This scene is very emotional as we get to see the tremendous pain and sadness that plagues this creature. Leonard Nimoy is remarkable in this scene. We find out that she is a mother protecting her babies, of which thousands have been killed by the miners. This part of the episode is done so well that you actually start to feel sympathy for this ridiculous looking puppet booger. The creature is injured and dying, but McCoy cures it (I’m a doctor not a bricklayer). Kirk then negotiates an agreement between the miners and the creature. Spock has become close to the creature as well, at the end he sort of gloats about how the booger found his ears to be quite attractive. This was a surprisingly great episode. The moral is: never have sex with a miner.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 26 down 54 to go

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 24 - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE

It took me 15 minutes to figure out what episode this was. At first it didn't seem familiar at all ... then oh yea, the one were Spock gets shot with confetti.Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and Spock beam down to a planet, there are these plants that shoot spores at you and it makes you very stoned. Spock turn into a giddy school boy as he frolics with an old girlfriend (played by Jill Ireland). Suddenly Kirk is the only sober one. The spores spread around the ship and mutiny breaks out.

This episode is rather funny and entertaining. Spock is hilarious as an emotional Vulcan. Kirk also gets shot but fight it off by being angry. The best scene is when Kirk spews out a string of ant-Vulcan slurs at Spock in an attempt to piss him off, "you belong in a circus, right next to the dog-faced boy!". And it works. Spock sobers up and his girl is mad at him, she tried to get him to come back down to the planet and get high again. Typical woman, always trying to change you. Kirk and Spock turn the rest of the crew back to normal. Spock has a good closing line saying "For the first time in my life, I was happy". Good stuff, I enjoyed it ... but this has been like the third time that the crew was "high" and it's only half way through season one. Oh the 60's.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 25 down 55 to go

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 23 - A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON

"On Eminiar VII, the Enterprise finds a civilization at war with its planetary neighbor. Unable to discern any signs of battle from orbit, Captain Kirk leads a landing party to the surface where he discovers the entire war is fought by computer."

I really like the concept behind this episode. It's interesting and a bit spooky. It just doesn't seem to make sense. At first we hear that these planets fight wars virtually through computer so I'm thinking, "that's cool, it eliminates human death tolls" ... then we find out that the humans that are virtually killed, then go into an incineration booth and kill themselves. So what's the point???!?!?! I never really got it I guess.

Nontheless, I like the episode. Scotty gives a solid performance and Kirk is cool as always. In the end negotiations are in effect between the two rivals. This episode reminds me of a movie I saw when I was younger. All I remember is a scene in which the president is on Air Force One and his secretary says to him something like "we just lost Philadelphia" - meaning the Russians just nuked it. This scene was far scarier than if they actually showed the city being destroyed. Anyway, that's it.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 24 down 56 to go

Friday, December 23, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 22 - SPACE SEED

"The Enterprise discovers an ancient sleeper ship, the SS Botany Bay, which escaped from Earth's Eugenics Wars in the late 20th century. The genetically engineered passengers, led by war criminal Khan Noonien Singh, seize control of the Enterprise and attempt to destroy the ship."

 I like this episode don't get me wrong, but it just didn't have the same effect on me that some of the others have had so far. Maybe I was looking forward to it too much. I must say though this episode has an awful lot of female abuse. Uhura gets smacked around and then there is a disturbing scene between Khan and McGivers in which he plays the role of the abusive husband and she the submissive wife. Ricardo Montalban is very good in this episode, although I think he is missing the idea of meditation ... he does it so violently.

I found it tough to buy the Eugenics War thing happening in the 1990's because well ... it didn't. But, it helps to think of it as a secret history. Anyway, Khan and his frozen pals on the Botany Bay are Augment escapees from the 90's. I assumed he would be wearing a Pearl Jam shirt or something, but he wasn't. Anyway, Kirk and McCoy board the ship along with a fine looking historian named Howard Zinn ... oh wait no, it was Lt. McGivers. So basically she falls in love with Khan, who is very smooth may I add. Eventually Khan tries to take over the ship because he's crazy. Spock remarks that Khan is from the 1990's which was a strange and violent time. Let's see; Lump by The Presidents of The United States of America, Clinton gets a bj and Pacific Blue - yeah the 90's were pretty wild.

Kirk eventually fights him and wins, but in reality Khan would have beat the shit out him. I mean, a second ago he crushed a phaser with his bare hands. So I assume he could have crushed Kirks bones with ease. Anyway they have a trial and Kirk is presiding. Khan is accused of hijacking the ship as well as attempted murder on Kirk and other crew members. So of course the obvious judgment would be to give him his own planet and oh he can take Lt. McGivers as well. If I remember correctly Khan turns his new habitat into some kind of island of fantasies. McGivers dies giving birth to a midget. And then years later that midget hangs himself from a step stool.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 23 down 57 to go

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 21 - RETURN OF THE ARCHONS

Festival! Festival! You know, as a kid this was my favorite TOS episode. I had it taped on VHS and watched it all of the time. Now, I wouldn’t say that it is still my favorite but I still really like it. The basic plot is this: The Enterprise is in the area of where the USS Archon disappeared years earlier. Sulu and some dude beam down to the planet and are attacked by druid looking guys that shoot them with confetti from a tube. This turns them into stoned-out hippies (by the way, this is one of Takei’s best performances). Kirk, Spock, McCoy and some guy beam down and notice that the whole town is full of stoned-out weirdos. Suddenly it’s time for FESTIVAL! And everyone turns into murdering, raping, rioting crazies … picture the LA Riots but if it was referred to as the LA Festival.

Come to find out that the entire population is controlled by a computerized version of a spiritual teacher named Landru. Everybody on the planet is happy, peaceful and tranquil … except for this one hour festival in which they can go nuts. They try to assimilate Kirk and crew, but soon they wonder whether they are the Archons (a prophecy told by the Landru computer). McCoy ends up getting hit and turns into a weirdo. Kirk discovers the computer and tricks it into destroying itself by making it realize that it is indeed a computer and not Landru.

I love this episode for a few reasons. One of them is Festival! It’s just so crazy, I used have nightmares about the first stoned guy that Kirk meets (very Clockwork Orange-esque), so creepy. But, the most peculiar part that I love is the fact that Kirk just totally meddles in this planets culture and religion. And he’s a total dick about it! I mean this is a place that has absolute peace for 23 hours a day. How is this so bad? And even so, this is their way of life and so what if they worship a computer?! Why does Kirk care!! The ending is so great. After Kirk destroys the computer, the people are just completely stunned. They now have no direction, after all Kirk just killed their God!! One of the druid guys comments to Kirk “what do we do now?” and the Captain replays “I suggest you lose the robes and get new jobs”. What?? What an asshole!

This one also has some of the best production screw-ups. At one point a crewman is beaned in the head with a rather large rock, he just keeps running as if nothing happened. Or as if the rock had been made out of Styrofoam. Also, at some point McCoy shoots his phaser; it makes the sound but they failed to put the glowing laser effect on it.  It just looks so stupid. FESTIVAL!

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 22 down 58 to go

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 20 - COURT MARTIAL

"Captain Kirk is placed on trial for negligence after a crewman is killed during a severe ion storm. Kirk maintains that his actions were proper and should not have led to the officer's death, but the evidence is strongly against him. All seems lost until new evidence prompts Kirk's attorney to use an innovative defense strategy."

Ever wonder what it would look like if Star Trek met Perry Mason ... well here you go. I wouldn't say that this episode is top notch, but it's certainly serviceable. And I thought the acting was great, especially Shatner and Elisha Cook Jr.

The plot was interesting enough, Kirk is charged with killing a crew member named Finney (be it accidentally). He has had sort of a feud with this guy, so it doesn't really look good. An interesting note is that the Cmdr/Judge is black and the prosecutor is a woman (Kirk's ex-girlfriend). Star Trek TOS is weird like that, it can be totally sexist one minute and then very groundbreaking the next. To make matters worse the computers shows that Kirk is lying about the event. Kirk gets the best lawyer; he's this wacky but very smart lawyer and a tough old bastard.

The evidence looks bad for Kirk and he's about to be sentenced when Spock shows up saying that the ship computer has been tampered with. Then Kirk's lawyer drops a bomb shell - Finney is alive and hidding on the ship.He's correct. They find him and he admits he tried to frame Kirk. Then Kirk and Finney fight. And well, that's basically the end. PS: I love Kirk's two fighting moves; 1. the axe handle chop to the back. 2. fall to the ground on your back and flip the guy using your legs

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 21 down 59 to go

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


“After accidentally traveling back in time to 1969, the Enterprise rescues USAF Captain John Christopher from his crippled fighter jet. The crew struggles to return to their own time, while simultaneously returning Christopher to the Air Force, removing his knowledge of the future, and all record of contact with the Enterprise.”

I’m bored so I just decided to watch another Trek episode, glad I did. I have heard negative things about this episode throughout the years; I guess some people don’t like it. It’s actually one of my top 10. The beginning scene in which Cpt. Christopher is about to take off in his jet and the camera pans up to the blue sky and we see the Enterprise flying through the clouds … I simply love it. Tomorrow is Yesterday is full of great comic relief, while at the same time being very interesting and exciting. 

Although this episode is from 1966, it takes place during mans journey to the moon in 1969. I think this is pretty cool. Anyway, upon seeing the Enterprise, Cpt. Christopher takes off after it and Kirk is forced to grab the jet in the tractor beam. Before the jet is pulled apart, Kirk transports Christopher to the Enterprise. Of course he is completely in awe. At first they plan on just kidnapping Christopher because he knows too much, but his son will be an important person in the future so they must return him. A funny thing takes place in which the ship computer has a glitch and it keeps hitting on Captain Kirk.

Kirk and Sulu go down to the Air Force base in order to ruin the evidence of the Enterprise’ existence. McCoy accidently beams up a soldier instead of Sulu, so now they also have to deal with this guy as well. Kirk is captured and interrogated. Kirk is so sarcastic throughout the interrogation, it’s great. But before this, the funniest fight scene between Kirk and three soldiers takes place … It’s just so ridiculous looking …  trust me. I laughed and replayed it, and laughed again.

Spock and posse save Kirk and they plan on returning everyone to the normal time by swinging around the sun and causing a slingshot effect. The sun’s force will pull the Enterprise, making it go faster than normal. The faster they go, the more time slows and eventually goes backwards. At least that’s what I got from it. At any rate, it works. Just to note: John Christopher is played by Roger Perry who was actually in the USAF.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 20 down 60 to go

Star Trek TOS: Episode 18 - ARENA

“The Enterprise comes under attack by unknown aliens while investigating the near-destruction of the Cestus III colony. While chasing the aliens into unexplored space, both ships are captured by the powerful Metrons, who force Kirk and the alien captain (later identified as a member of the Gorn race – and voice by Ted Cassidy) to trial by combat: the winner's vessel will be set free, while the loser's ship will be destroyed.”

So what if the plot is weak and there’s barely any dialogue, this episode is pure action. Never before has this Enterprise crew been engaged is such battle. Could be the most made fun of episode of Star Trek, but I really dig it. Right away in the beginning they land on Cestus III and are bombarded by missles. It’s a rather fierce fight and lasts some time. They beam up and eventually chase the Gorn ship through space. Suddenly both ships stop dead and are visited by the voice of a Metron. They offer to settle this little tiff by transporting Kirk and the Gorn Captain to a place where they can fight it out. There is also all of the materials to make a weapon available here … HINT, HINT! But really why? It seems rather forced.

The Gorn looks like a guy in a crappy rubber lizard custom, well because that’s what it is. But never mind, overlook it, pretend it doesn’t suck, because this will be an entertaining ride. The Gorn is slow and very strong. Kirk is quick and very smart. Good matchup. At one point the Gorn and Kirk embraced in a wrestling hold … wouldn’t the Gorn have just ripped Kirk apart? I mean he can lift gigantic boulders. Also, yet again we see a sword fight involving tree branches. Finally, I love watching the Gorn with his microphone, always funny. (For more Gorn material please reference my very first  Mugato's blog post from November 18th 2004).

Kirk comments that they have been taken to the surface of an asteroid. Would an asteroid have a landscape with trees, shrubs … a sky? Maybe in the right conditions I guess, just seems unlikely. This was filmed at Vazquez Rocks in California, also used in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

This has always been my favorite part: Kirk uses materials that he found around the landscape to construct a cannon. He then shoots the Gorn and traps him. But, he refuses to kill him. This is where the Metron finally appears … and boy what a site. It’s a man in a dress. A nice dress too, like something that a girl would wear to an awards show. Sadly this is the first episode that doesn’t have a piece of eye candy in it … so I guess this thing will have to do. This could take some time.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 19 down 61 to go

Monday, December 19, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 17 - THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS

"The Enterprise discovers a rogue planet drifting through space, inhabited by an eccentric being named Trelane who uses his apparently unlimited power over matter and form to manipulate the crew."

This is no longer Star Trek. It is the Trelane aka Squire of Gothos aka William Campell show. This guy is brash, childish, annoying and a total prick .... I absolutely love him. This character is so well written and well acted that Kirk seemed forgettable in comparison.

Upon discovering a rogue planet, Kirk and Sulu suddenly disappear from the Enterprise. An away crew is sent down to this planet to search for them and they discover a medieval castle. Here upon, everyone meets the Squire of Gothos. A wacky English aristocrat with a love for Earth Military history ... and also an alien. He is so childish and annoying, he also seemingly has unlimited powers. At some point Kirk challenges him to a duel with old timey guns, Kirk purposely shoots at a mirror in the room. This pisses off Trelane.

Kirk with the ever present lovely lady
Kirk and crew escape to the ship but are chased down by the entire planet. Kirk disappears again and re-materializes in a court ... Trelane orders Kirk to be hung, or hanged or whatever the correct word is. But, the captain isn't one to be out maneuvered so he wisely plays to the Squire's weakness ... a love for mischievous fun. Kirk suggests that Trelane try and kill him with a sword. Trelane swings and misses, in the process he cuts the limb off of a tree. Then Kirk picks up a branch and sword fights with him. Sword versus tree branch ... does this at all  make sense? Ha ha, of course not! Then Kirk grabs the sword out of the Squire's hand and breaks it over his knee. Really? I mean, I guess Bo Jackson used to break baseball bats.

Then out of nowhere, we see two green masses in the sky. They start chiding Trelane as if he were their child ... oh wait he is! They gave him his own planet as a gift, but now he is being a bad boy. He whines like a typical little brat and the parents apologize to Kirk. And that's about it. I like this one. An interesting side note: I've read only a few Star Trek novels, but one was "Q-Squared". In this book they say that this meeting with Trelane was Earth's first encounter with the "Q" Continuum. This would make sense, as his powers did seem to be very Q like.

ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 18 down 62 to go

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Star Trek TOS: Episode 16 - GALILEO SEVEN

“Spock and a scientific party are sent to study the Murasaki 312 quasar aboard the shuttle Galileo. During the survey, the Galileo is forced to make an emergency landing on the planet Taurus II, where the crew fight the planet's dangerous inhabitants.” This is one of my favorite episodes. I just love the shuttlecrafts from TOS and I had a Galileo Seven model hanging from my bedroom ceiling as a kid. Seeing the craft in the bay and watching it fly through space is just too cool, I don’t know maybe I’m just weird.

This is a “classic” Spock episode. His logical side really shines as it consistently annoys the rest of the crew. This dynamic never fails to make me happy. You got to love how everyone hates Spock. While the crew (which consists of Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Latimer, Gaetano, Boma and a sexy girl) are trapped on this unknown planet, Kirk is fighting against time in his efforts to find them. He must take medical supplies to a colony and only has one day to locate the lost shuttlecraft. 

One member of the crew is killed by a gigantic spear to the back. The funny thing is that all of the shots of the dead crewman are from mid-spear up … meaning they never show the body.  I’m guessing that they didn’t have the “effects” to make a dead guy with a large spear in the back. Spock goes back to the craft and Scotty is working on fixing the shuttle. Spock tells him that most likely they will have to leave someone behind in order to lift off. Then in a curious move he orders one of the crew to wait in the middle of nowhere … alone … seemingly for no reason. Well of course he is killed, by a caveman-giant. Spock then orders everyone to fire at the cavemen but don’t kill them, this will scare them. But, this just manages to make the cavemen even more violent. They flee to the ship as these assailants toss boulders and Spock wonders why his logic is failing.  The best thing about Spock is that the more he fails, the more intrigued he becomes … and this annoys the shit out of the crew members.

Spock does have a human moment when he goes back to retrieve the body of the 2nd dead crewman. This is when one of the best fuck ups in Trek history occurs. Spock is carrying his body back to the craft when he suddenly bombarded by the giant spears. One spear hits the crewman right in the head.  In reality this should have made a horrible and disgusting mess. But no, it just explodes in a shower of Styrofoam. Ha ha awesome.

They finally lift off. Spock jettisons the last of the fuel in order to make a flare that will be picked up by the Enterprise. Meanwhile Kirks time is up (they have located craft and even sent an away team to the planet but they had been attacked as well). In the final moment, the Enterprise sees the flare and transports them back to the Enterprise. Whew, a close-call.
ST TOS COUNTDOWN: 17 down 63 to go