05 August 2017

Next sally in the Trek survey

“Return of the Archons”:  I’m not sure I understand why O’Neil and McCoy had to be taken to a special location in order to be “absorbed,” while Sulu appeared to have been “absorbed” right out there on the street, and just before he was transported back to the Enterprise.  Nor am I certain how, when one of the first bits of exposition about the society is a “Festival” which involves looting and lasciviousness, Landru can later claim that he has created a society with no evil and none of “the ancient vices.”   Those cavils notwithstanding, great fun to watch.  An early anti-A.I. pamphlet, we might say.

“Space Seed”:  I probably watched The Wrath of Khan the season that it was released, yet it is only now that I’ve watched the “prequel.”  Overall, sets up the great feature film well.  My general caveat (which seems so far to apply to the series as a whole) is:  while it is almost always at least good, even when at its best, it tends to suffer from being a creature of its era.  Of course, it were unfair to consider this a “fatal flaw.”  But I suppose that one naturally considers this a disappointment in the genre of science-fiction, wherein the audience is invited to reflect on how much better things are in the future.  All that to say that, it is philosophically disappointing to find Khan praising the (arguably mutinous) Enterprise crewman as “a superior female,” when (begging your pardon) all she seems to have been is, devoted to him.  Not the evaluation of a “superior intellect.”

“A Taste of Armageddon”: I was certain that I had seen the actor who played Anan 7 before, and lo! I had, indeed: it was David Opatoshu, who played Mr Jacobi in Torn Curtain. And now I see that he has played in The Twilight Zone, so I will consider feeling embarrassed that I do not remember his face therefrom.  Of the population on the wargames planet, there is only one woman who has lines, she is mostly decorative, and she ceases to be a player entirely once Kirk places her under house arrest.

“This Side of Paradise”: Particularly good, I thought, though one could only wish that there were addictive/parasitic conditions which could be fixed simply by a snit of violent emotion. The Girl Who Always Loved Mr Spock was a fun element. One could argue that the storyline is a bit of a re-tread of “The Naked Time”; or, even, Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a happy resolution.

“The Devil in the Dark”: This is one of the shows I had actually seen before, but only in b&w, and never (as I learnt yesterday) from the very beginning. So some of the most interesting aspects of the screenplay were new to me last night, such as Kirk going 180°, from shutting down Spock’s reservations about killing the last of the species, to talking Spock down from firing upon the Horta as Kirk and the alien were in confrontation.  This show’s quarrel:  The first 2-3 victims are overcome by something that looms as tall as they.  But then when we see “the monster,” it’s the love-child of Pizza the Hutt with a roomba.  Jests aside, great episode.

All in all, even as I have an occasional cavil, I consider the series a success (“I believe it has given general satisfaction,” says Jeeves) and I enjoy it entirely.

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