Sunday, August 09, 2015

Star Trek Memories

When I was a kid long, long ago...age favorite TV show was "Star Trek." Yes, I saw the original show as it aired. My grumpy dad never watched TV aside from an occasional baseball or football game, but he did watch "Star Trek" with us kids. We're talking 1967-68 here, folks.

The show resonates in my memory and yes, I'm a big fan. Of the original series, that is. The later ones seemed too politically correct to me aside from a few episodes (Borg, etc). I got bored with all the spinoffs and didn't watch many of them.

Here are, in my opinion, the top 10 episodes of the original Trek episodes ranked in order. I like a great deal more, but if I had to boil them down to the top ten, well, here they are.

My favorite one has always been "The Doomsday Machine." It was also one of James Doohan's favorites. He showed up for a talk on my college campus during the late 1970s (the ballroom was packed) and he showed it as the sample film.

1. "Doomsday Machine." Episode 35
This one had it all. Superlative action. Scotty saving the day. Last minute dramatics. Masterful acting (especially from William Windom as Commodore Decker). This is the quintessential episode.

2. "Mirror Mirror" Episode 33
A fascinating look at an alternate universe. If some physicists have it correct, there may be endless variations of realty and part of the Enterprise crew encounters one of them. I like how Captain Kirk handles his unexpected girlfriend, but mostly, he cares about doing the right thing in ALL universes. Hence he takes the time to point out to the bearded Spock that he is illogical for participating with an unviable Empire. Some of William Shatner's best acting. There's another episode that I like, "The Spector of the Gun" that foreshadowed "The Matrix." Star Trek was definitely ahead of its time.

3. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" Episode 70
Tremendous acting by Frank Gorshin (I have an autographed photo) and Lou Antonio. Gorshin should have won an Emmy for his performance. In the end, both the half white and half black residents of Cheron reveal their bigotry and contempt for humans. ("You useless pieces of bland flesh; Monocolored trash! You monotone humans are all alike," etc.). Shatner's last line is spoken with complete and abject, sad resignation. Great episode.

4. "This Side of Paradise" Episode 24
Jill Ireland (lovely) and Nimoy are wonderful in this episode. Their acting is terrific. It's a typical 'Star Trek' episode in that it shows that paradise and/or utopia is always untenable. Humans just aren't suited for it. Spock doesn't have much to say about the experience except that, for the first time in his life, he was 'happy.'

5. "The City on the Edge of Forever" Episode 28
This is Shatner's all-time favorite episode and it's commonly considered to be THE best episode in 'Star Trek.' Joan Collins played her role perfectly. It's filled with great acting and the plot is pure genius. At the end Kirk used the word 'hell' for the first time on network TV as in, "Let's get the hell out of here."

6. "Space Seed" Episode 22
Ricardo Montabahan stole the show. He was 47 at the time, but looked like he was in his 30s. He would, of course, revise his role in one of the best 'Star Trek' movies. This is always considered one of the best episodes and it is.

7. "The Way to Eden" Episode 75
This is rarely considered to be one of the top episodes, but it's one of mine. Dr. Sevrin looks and sounds exactly like my older brother (without the large ears). "This stuff you breathe. This stuff you live in...the shields of artificial atmosphere that we have layered about every planet. The programs in those computers that run your ship and your lives for've bred what my body carries. That's what your science have done to me. You've INFECTED me!" Charles Napier as "Adam" is great in this. He was actually a good singer and performed all the songs himself and, in fact, he co-wrote the music.

8. "Errand of Mercy" Episode 26 
I like this episode not only because of the surprise ending, but mostly because of the man who played the Klingon commander, Kor. (John Colicos). "I hope you continue to savor the sweetness of your life. You disGUST me!"--Commander Kor

9 "Who Morns for Adonais?" Episode 31
The Enterprise encounters a being who calls himself "Apollo." Michael Forrest plays the needy Greek god and it has a very sad ending. Forrest has recently revised his role and appears as a much older Apollo in an extremely good remake that I recently discovered:

10. "All Our Yesterdays" Episode 78
Spock goes back in time thousands of years and gets it on with Mariette Hartley ("Zarabeth"). Ian Wolfe is marvelous as the librarian, Mr. Atoz (A-to-Z) as is Kermit Murdoch (great, great actor). This is a very memorable episode and the remade special effects aren't really needed until the ending. For some reason, I especially like seeing the planet Sarpeidon being obliterated by its star's nova at the very end.

--Ben Garrison

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