This is the long awaited Part II of my look back at highlights of the Season 1 of Star Trek the Original Series. I posted Part I back in September. However, thanks to AWESOME-tober-fest, I couldn’t get this one posted until now.
To refresh everyone’s memory, after the awesome JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek back in May, I wanted to watch the original TV show episodes again. I’d seen a few episodes in reruns, but never really sat down to watch the episodes back to back. I wanted to see if they are as good as I remember. And since the first two seasons were recently released on Blu-Ray, I thought it was no time like the present (Season 3 will be released on Blu-Ray December 15).
Last time I looked at three of the best episodes from the first half of Season 1 of the Original Series (Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Enemy Within and The Corbomite Maneuver). Here are three more episodes from the middle of that season.
The Menagerie (Part I and II) — The first and only 2 part episode in the original series’ 3 year run. This episode makes extensive use of the unaired pilot, The Cage, to tell its story. I imagine Roddenberry walked into the writer’s room and announced, “Dudes, I went on a bender of coke and whores this weekend and totally forgot to write this week’s episode. Any ideas?” So the writer’s cobbled together this episode using a minimum of new footage and letting the old pilot pad out the run time. This episode is okay, but it reminds me of the ’80s sitcom device of the “flashback episode”. The events of the pilot, within the context of this episode, are said to have happened 13 years prior when Christopher Pike was the Enterprise captain and Spock the science officer. In the new footage, Spock hijacks Kirk’s Enterprise to bring Capt Pike (now blonde and a paraplegic due to an accident) back to Talos IV, the planet visited in the pilot. Spock gets court martialed while the Enterprise makes the journey and clips from almost the entire episode of The Cage are screened during the court proceedings. In the older footage, Pike gets trapped on the planet Talos IV and the aliens residing there put him in a type of zoo for observation. The aliens use holograms to make Pike feel more comfortable by making him believe he’s living a different life, even going so far as to give him a hot chick to mate with. Pike, not being Kirk, is outraged that the aliens would try to make him comfortable with a cool, imaginary life and then also have the temerity to give him hot women in which to have copious amounts of sex so he sets out to destroy the entire observatory/zoo. Many, many years later, in the new footage, after having become a quadriplegic, Pike is totally fine with living a fantasy life with lots of hot chicks so works with Spock to break every Federation rule and bring him there, even risking Spock’s career for his own comfort. After seeing this episode I have no desire to watch the full pilot. I’ve probably seen 90% of the footage anyway. And the actor who played Pike in the pilot, Jeffery Hunter, didn’t return for The Menagerie, hence Pike being an invalid, blonde mute (it’s like they didn’t even try to make him look the same) in the new footage.