Fencing Sulu

Story: The Naked Time
Written By: John D.F. Black
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

"The Naked Time" is one of those classic episodes that people love due to its extreme campiness. I mean if your looking for camp, a Boy Scout troop could pitch tents all over this episode. It's goofy, it's hokey, it's over the top. The memorable image of a shirtless Sulu fencing down hallways is one of the most resonating of the original series. Even the new film makes a slight reference to it, when Sulu is asked what combat training he has, he answers "fencing".
It is not by any stretch of the imagination a smart episode, a good one...but when it comes down it, it is totally and utterly entertaining, just for the sheer silliness of it all.

NEXT TIME: Charlie Evans


Story: The Man Trap
Written By: George Clayton Johnson
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

"The Man Trap" is a fairly decent episode. Probably one of the first episodes in which the majority of the kinks were worked out. The cast is beginning to gel, and while Chekov won't be in til the second season, and Scotty doesn't appear, the cast and their respective roles are beginning to take shape.
We get some character development for McCoy, as we meet, in a way, his long lost love. Nancy Crater. Unfortunately, Nancy is long since dead, and his been replaced by a shape changing salt craving monster of doom. Its played out fairly well and the execution is pretty solid. It sort of feels more like the Twilight Zone, or even Forbidden Planet, at times and less like Star Trek, but that is probably because that Star Trek feel is still being worked on.

All in all, while probably rarely considered a classic, "The Man Trap" is a solid outing.

NEXT TIME: Inhibitions

A Tale of Two Kirks

Story: The Enemy Within
Written By: Richard Matheson
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

A transporter accident splits Captain Kirk in two, the good half, and the evil half. Its a silly concept, but it is fun. You get a lot of classic over-acting from Shatner. This episode isn't anything special but it is definitely fun, and has some classic cheesy elements to it.
Watch it for the fun, but if you want depth, look elsewhere...a few episodes or so.

NEXT TIME: Salt Monster

Harry Mudd

Story: Mudd's Women
Written By: Stephen Kandel
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

This is a crappy episode. It kind of feels like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. The whole plot is sexist. Its part of my case against the theory that Gene Roddenberry had this grand vision of the future where everyone is equal...yet this episode treats women like objects and have all the men craving them. Harry Mudd is a character I don't particularly like. He is creepy and weird.
The moral of the story is lame...one of those "the power was in you all the time!" Add on to that that it basically says a man will only love a woman who is pretty enough, and only for real, not fake beauty. Naturally beautiful or nothing in the 23rd Century!

That is pretty much it really...a bad episode.

NEXT TIME: Transporter Accident


Story: The Corbomite Maneuver
Written By: Jerry Sohl
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

After the pilots, I'm going mostly in production order when reviewing the Original Series. "The Corbomite Maneuver" was the first story shot after the series was officially commissioned. And while "The Man Trap" was eventually the first story aired, this seems to me to be the best introductory episode produced out of the first three.
It continues to use the "seeking out new life" theme throughout the episode, hitting home the point of the show, while introducing the jobs of each of our main characters. Dr. McCoy, Uhuru, and Yeoman Rand all introduced in this episode. Sulu is moved from the physicist job he held in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to his more familiar position of helmsman.

The uniforms are also fine tuned, adding the black trim to the collar, things are just getting closer to the look of the whole series. This episode may not be the best, but it is the best intro to the series, more so than both of the pilots.

Oh...and Clint Howard was ugly since BIRTH.

NEXT TIME: Ladies for Sale

Enter Kirk

Story: Where No Man Has Gone Before
Written By: Samuel A. Peeples
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Year: 1966

In the Star Trek community, people like to make a big deal about how the Star Trek idea was so good, that even though they didn’t like the pilot, NBC commissioned a second pilot. In reality I think it went down more like this. “That’s it? That’s the pilot? You said it be like a western in space! This isn’t like a western at all! Look we spent A LOT OF MONEY on these sets and costumes, so you have to do it RIGHT this time.”
It all comes down to money, Roddenberry didn’t really have this grand vision of the future, he just knew, and rightly so, that Star Trek would make good TV, and NBC knew that spending so much money on sets that are only used once wasn’t in their favor. So they let Roddenberry have another go, and this episode is pretty good.

It isn’t mind blowing, but it has its moments. Its more action oriented, and really had Roddenberry any brains when he was writing his first pilot, he would have made it more action oriented, then the show would have been picked up and then he could experiment with more character and cerebral stories. But then history would have been quite different.

NEXT TIME: More Fine Tuning