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STAR TREK The Original Series

Season 1

Available on DVD

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Season Overview

  1. The Cage
  2. The Man Trap
  3. Charlie X
  4. Where No Man Has Gone Before
  5. The Naked Time
  6. The Enemy Within
  7. Mudd's Women
  8. What Are Little Girls Made Of
  9. Miri
  10. Dagger of the Mind
  11. The Corbomite Manoeuver
  12. The Menagerie-Part 1
  13. The Menagerie-Part 2
  14. The Conscience of the King
  15. Balance of Terror
  16. Shore Leave
  17. Galileo Seven
  18. The Squire of Gothos
  19. Arena
  20. Tomorrow is Yesterday
  21. Court Martial
  22. Return of the Archons
  23. Space Seed
  24. A Taste of Armageddon
  25. This Side of Paradise
  26. Devil in the Dark
  27. Errand of Mercy
  28. The Alternative Factor
  29. City on the Edge of Forever
  30. Operation Annihilate






James T Kirk -
William Shatner

Spock -
Leonard Nimoy

Dr 'Bones' McCoy -
DeForest Kelley

Scotty -
James Doohan

Uhura -
Nichele Nicholls

Sulu -
George Takei





OTHER SEASONS
Season 2
Season 3


OTHER STAR TREK SHOWS
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
Enterprise


OTHER TREKS THROUGH SPACE
Babylon 5
The new Battlestar Galactica









Series Overview

It is absolutely impossible to underestimate the importance of the original STAR TREK in the development and popularisation of science fiction on television and in general. More words have been written about this show and its significance than any other in the history of science fiction TV and, quite possibly, any genre at all. There has never been a fanbase quite likeSTAR TREKís and there probably never will be again. LOST may have conquered the world right now, but will those fans be as faithful in thirty or forty years? I donít think so.

All of which makes it very hard to review the show. How do you judge it? It was made before many of us were born and we have only seen it on repeat showings. We have special effects that make those in the original show laughable and the whole style of acting has changed beyond recognition. How can those of us that werenít there possibly do justice to a show that broke barriers that we donít even consider as noticeable any more (eg interracial kissing)?

The reviews below try, where possible, to take all of this into account and ignore it. They will concentrate on the plots and characters and ideas and try to give a balanced view of this seminal show. If you donít agree, there are more than enough others out there to look at.

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The Cage

Captain Pike of the Starship Enterprise encounters a strange race on an alien planet that take him prisoner and want to observe his interactions with a human woman. When he refuses, they punish him and serve up inducements in equal measure. These are creatures of thought and reason and the only thing that seems to confuse them is human emotion. Pike uses that against them to gain freedom for himself and his companions, but not all of them wish to leave.

The original pilot wasnít shown until a good while after the start of the series, but now it precedes all the repeat showings on the BBC and appears at the start of any list of episodes. Most reviews will naturally concentrate on what was different from the final line-up such as a female number two (Majel Barrett, demoted to nurse), but whatís the point?

This pilot is a reasonably pacy affair, but has much more in the way of thought than might have been expected. Even the outbursts of emotion are integrated into a plot that is more about reason and logic than action and adventure. Perhaps that is why another pilot was required. Jeffrey Hunter makes a dashing captain and handles the thinking side of it as well as the hero side of things.

Would the show have been as successful had this been the final shape? Nobody can answer that, but everything that made the show what it was is present and correct and subsequent series have shown that the crew can be different whilst remaining quintessentially STAR TREK, so I believe that it would have been.

Written by Gene Roddenbery
Directed by Robert Butler

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The Man Trap

Two archeologists on a distant planet are visited by the Enterprise for their annual physical check up. One of them used to be the girlfriend of Dr McCoy. To him, she looks as though she hasnít aged a day, whilst to Kirk she looks like an older woman. To another crewman, she looks like an exotic dancer he once encountered. When that crewman dies of salt depletion, it becomes clear that something non-human is at work and is roaming freely around the Enterprise.

All the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the pilot is jettisoned in this episode in favour of a mystery that isnít a mystery and a threat that never materialises. The creature that the Doctorís ex-girlfriend becomes kills without compunction on the surface, but hesitates ridiculously on the Enterprise, following a cellar of salt around when she could just snatch it and appear nothing but rude.

The monster, when it finally appears, isnít really up to much.

This is boysí own nonsense and also manages to lose effect by showing us Dr McCoy in emotional moments that have no resonance because weíve only just met him. This would have been better placed later in the series.

Written by George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Marc Daniels

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Charlie X

Charlie Evans is a 17 year old boy who was castaway in a space freighter crash, but managed to survive and learned to talk using the databanks on the downed ship. Back with his own kind at last, he finds that he has a lot to learn about the world of humans, not to mention the world of girls. His crush on Yeoman Rand starts off innocently enough, but when it becomes clear that he has the power to make anything he wants happen, the fury of a 17 year old scorned becomes a deadly threat to the Enterprise.

Perhaps the scariest thing in the universe are our own kids. Every parent wants their children to become more than they themselves were, but that idea is loaded with the idea that 'more' does not necessarily mean better. In this case, the 'more' is the ability to do anything that you want, but that, in the hands of a 17 year old boy fumbling with the alien concepts of sexuality and manners and their own personality. True, these days most 17 year olds are far more advanced than Charlie, but I still wouldn't want to be giving them ultimate power.

An allegory for the pains and uncertainties of puberty, adolescence and the search for adult identity, it's also a slowburn tension builder as the clues as to Charlie's powers become clear, his anger grows and eventually starts wiping people's faces off (always a scary image). The resolution, though, is a little trite as the Enterprise is saved by higher beings, not by their own efforts.

Written by DC Fontana
Directed by Lawrence Dobkin

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Where No Man Has Gone Before

Trying to breach a great barrier in space, the Enterprise suffers major damage and a few of its crew are affected. One of them, Gary Mitchell, is afflicted with mirrored eyes and starts to exhibit signs of increased mental faculties. These continue to expand to the point where he is considered as a threat to the ship and humanity itself, so the plan is laid to maroon him on an uninhabited planet, but how do you maroon a being with nearly limitless powers.

Now this is much more like it, a successful melding of suspense, action and intelligence. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Itís a simple principle that informs a simple, but powerful story. The response of the crew to the crisis shows innovation and originality, whilst the predicament grows to the point where the audience is left wondering just what Kirk can do.

The characters of Kirk and Spock are developing already whilst Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman work to good effect as guest stars. Lockwoodís change from ordinary, if a little conceited, chap to amoral god is a bit abrupt, but hey theyíve only got so much time to get the story in.

This is the first time that the classic STAR TREK structure and ethos comes through. Not bad for a second full episode. Kirk even almost loses his shirt. You would have thought that they made more tear resistant fabrics in the future.

Written by Samuel A Peeples
Directed by James Goldstone

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The Naked Time

The Enterprise visits a world about to tear itself apart only to find that the research crew have all perished, apparently without caring and often by their own or each otherís hand. As the ship takes up a perilously close orbit to observe the planetís demise, members of the crew start to act strangely and then die.

If watching this for the first time, a lot of the resonance is lost because of the unfamiliarity of the characters. Seeing Spock manfully fighting against his loss of emotional control and Kirk railing against the demands that his beloved ship puts on his life have a depth and meaning that becomes apparent only to those who know the characters well, something that would have come later in the series. That said, this is a good story with a peril more original than the usual space monsters in most serials. Itís a good job that the crewmember who starts it all ends up dead otherwise Kirk would have chucked him out the airlock for such a blatant breach of contamination protocols.

Written by John DF Black
Directed by Marc Daniels

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The Enemy Within

The transporter is affected by an ore with strange properties and when Kirk beams up, he is split into two. One version has the intelligence, compassion and consideration, the other has the anger, will and strength. Whilst the 'negative' Kirk wanders around the ship attacking crewmen and attempting to rape yeomen, the 'positive' Kirk finds himself less able to make command decisions. And all the time, Sulu and fellow crewmembers are freezing to death on the planet below.

Renowned author Richard Matheson pens this effective episode in which we see the two sides of Kirk, the two sides of all humanity, the Id and Ego, battling it out for supremacy and the right to exist. William Shatner gets the job of playing the two characters with only a bit of makeup to delineate them and makes a good job of it. The fate of the men on the planet is less absorbing nowadays due to the fact that we know Starfleet has shuttlecraft, so why don't they use them? Thing is, up till now no mention of shuttlecraft has been made, so it would have been far more effective the first time it was shown.

Written by Richard Matheson
Directed by Leo Penn

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Mudd's Women

The Enterprise virtually destroys its engines in order to save a fleeing ship. From it, they beam one Harcourt Fenton Mudd and three attractive women, apparently en route to find husbands. The ship has to travel to a mining colony where three men have discovered dilithium. Whilst Mudd hopes to make a killing from the miner's the truth about the effect these women have on any man around them is finally explained.

This is a fun episode. The morals of it are a bit depressing though. It's a shame to think that in the far future a woman's main goal will still be finding a rich man to look after her and that drugs and cosmetics to keep you looking young will still be in such great demand. That aside, this sci-fi version of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (or in this case three miners) benefits from a light touch and some fine central performances to make Mudd more than a clown and Eve more of rounded woman than just a thing to be bartered.

Written by Stephen Kandel
Directed by Harvey Hart

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What Are Little Girls Made Of

The Enterprise locates Nurse Chapel's fiance who was missing. Kirk and Chapel beam down to find that the man has gone mad, but is in charge of an ancient technology capable of creating android doubles and is being protected by a beautiful female android and a hulking monster capable of imitating any voice it hears. It isn't long before the Captain has been copied.

Borrowing its set up from FORBIDDEN PLANET, this episode takes its premise and creates a very scary episode. From the first edgy exploration of the empty underground tunnels to Kirk being chased by a monster that sounds like Nurse Chapel there is tension and terror here. Then we get into the effect of human emotions on the android constructs and the tension evaporates into a welter of silliness. A shame really, but the image that will always remain is that of the hulking machine chasing Kirk and calling him in Christine Chapel's name. Now that really is spooky.

Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by James Goldstone

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Miri

A strange signal takes the Enterprise to an exact duplicate of Earth in the far reaches of space. There they find a civilisation fallen to decay, a city peopled only with children. As the children grow older, they contract a disease and die horribly. The landing party have all contracted the disease and have only seven days. Their only help is a young girl called Miri, a girl on the cusp of becoming a woman.

Miri is a fine episode, not quite up there with the last one, but opening with a creepy sequence as the landing party wander around the deserted streets and slowly become aware of their problem. Kim Darby plays Miri and her interplay with Kirk makes you really care about her fate. Michael J Pollard plays the leader of the rebellious children that set out to spoil the chances of the grownups, but is actually a bit of a distraction, playing the part with a few too many quirks.

Written by Adrian Spies
Directed by Vincent McEveety

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Dagger of the Mind

An inmate of the Tantalus penal colony escapes onto the Enterprise and claims to be a doctor mistreated by the colony's head Dr Adams. Whilst Kirk and a psychologist he met at the Christmas Party (I kid you not) beam down to the complex to investigate Dr Adams's methods, Spock tries an ancient method of mind melding with the deranged scientist to see if there are any clues there.

Personality realignment as a method of rehabilitation is a science fiction staple appearing in many forms, not least A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Here it is part of an adventure story that doesn't have a lot of actual action, but a lot happens. Kirk proves not to be the brightest captain as he steps right under the scientist's brain beam himself, but his mind proves to be strong enough to withstand longer than anyone else under its effects. The female psychologist looks like she's going to be nothing more than set dressing, but then proves to be a useful character herself.

Written by S Bar-David
Directed by Vincent McEveety

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The Corbomite Manoeuver

Whilst out star mapping, the Enterprise encounters a cube that defies all their sensors and will not allow them to pass. In order to escape, they have to destroy it. Shortly thereafter, they encounter the mothership and an alien who decides that their activities thus far mean that they shall have only then minutes to live. Kirk resorts to desperate measures and learns that the alien is both less and more than he seems.

Human reaction to the unknown is what this episode is all about and it's interesting, if a little underwhelming. Preconceptions based on culture and history are challenged when the alien is finally revealed to us. It's also nice to see that the main officers, in this case Dr McCoy, are willing to disagree with their captain and even challenge his decisions. Of course, it's all kissed and made up by the final credits.

Written by Jerry Sohl
Directed by Joseph Sargent

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The Menagerie- Part 1

Mr Spock puts the ship on a heading for the Talos system and locks out the rest of the crew from the computer. He is immediately court-martialled, but in his defence he shows film of an earlier mission under Captain Pike, a man who is now a scarred wreck in a wheelchair. The film shows how it was before when Pike and his crew visited a planet in the Talos system.

Waste not want not and the original pilot of the show, The Cage, is recycled in a two part adventure. The framing device sees Pike coming aboard and Spock on trial for his career. This gives the regular characters plenty of time for furrowed brows and concerned looks. If you haven't seen the original pilot then it's interesting enough, though a little distracting to see the main characters reduced to mere onlookers in their own show, but the original pilot's quality shows through.

Written by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Marc Daniels

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The Menagerie- Part 2

Mr Spock manages to get the rest of his testimony shown and the story of Captain Pike's adventure on Talos is concluded.

Mr Spock's fate is sorted out satisfactorily and Captain Pike's restoration by the aliens of Talos is actually quite effective and justifies the reuse of the pilot right at the end.

Written by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Robert Butler

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The Conscience of the King

An old friend of Kirk's brings the Enterprise to a remote planet to identify the lead actor as a war criminal. When he ends up dead, Kirk arranges for the actors to take the next part of their journey aboard his ship. Another survivor of the massacre is poisoned and Kirk's hand is forced. Will he unmask a mass murderer or merely upset an old man.

Are crimes as terrible as those carried out in war punishable forever or can they be forgiven? How wide is the gap between desperate action and hideous murder? Do the ends ever justify the means? This episode plays with several weighty issues, but manages to do none of them justice. The surprises along the way are forced and really not surprising, whilst Uhura's lullaby in the rec room is definite padding to a plot that is as slender as 'is he the killer or not', something that the facilities aboard a starship should have been able to sort out about the 10 minute mark.

At least there's an excuse for the overacting this time around.

Written by Barry Trivers
Directed by Gerd Oswald

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Balance of Terror

The Romulan Neutral Zone provides a buffer zone between the Federation and a race that has never been seen and which was at war with them over a hundred years earlier. Border posts along the zone are being destroyed by a vessel that can become invisible at will. With only unreliable sensor readings to guide him, Kirk must enter into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Romulan commander with the prize being galactic peace. Whether it is a prize for winning or losing remains to be seen.

This is a very effective and tense episode in which two captains of equal standing take each other on with ships of equal, but different advantages. Neither comes off unscathed. There is a bit more depth here as well as both captains grapple with the fact that their actions might also launch a war that could kill millions. The fact that the Romulans are revealed to look like the Vulcans adds to the tensions, but this angle is overplayed and creates more melodrama than is good for the show.

Mark Lenard makes a good showing as the Romulan equivalent of Captain Kirk.

Written by Paul Schneider
Directed by Vincent McEveety

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Shore Leave

An earth-like planet without animal life seems to provide the perfect opportunity for the crew to take some much needed time off the ship. When Dr McCoy encounters the white rabbit and Alice in Wonderland, however, all is not what it appears to be. The initially amusing manifestations turn dangerous when a tiger shows up and deadly when Dr McCoy encounters a knight in armour with a very real lance.

Shore Leave is a brilliant episode. STAR TREK has had a tendency towards the dramatic and even pompous, but this story is simply a romp. It's silly, entertaining fun and all the better for it. There is a mystery at the heart of it, but it's a mystery that doesn't even get solved, merely explained. Even so, it's amusing throughout and very welcome.

Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Directed by Robert Sparr

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Galileo Seven

Mr Spock gets a taste of command when a shuttlecraft with seven aboard crashes on a remote planet in an ion storm. What starts out as an exercise in getting the ship off the surface turns into a desperate fight for survival when the locals tun out to be implacably hostile, furry and ten foot tall. Mr Spock's decisions are based on logic, the creatures' reactions are not. Two men end up dead and the rest start to get hostile to the vulcan themselves. Time is running out.

STAR TREK is in a rich vein of form at the moment. Following Balance of Terror and Shore Leave, The Galileo Seven continues the quality of plot and character. This time it's Mr Spock in the spotlight, challenged as much by the reactions of his companions as those of the primitives that threaten them.

Those primitives aren't very convincing and it is clever to keep them off the screen as an unseen threat, rather than reveal the inadequacies of their creation. The spears and shields that are flung at the crew from time to time are also pretty unconvincing, but the acting by the cast manage to keep the tension ratcheted up right to the end.

Written by Oliver Crawford and S Bar David
Directed by Robert Gist

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The Squire of Gothos

Captain Kirk and Sulu disappear from the bridge whilst the ship orbits a strange planet. The party that beams down to find them discovers not a dangerously poisonous atmosphere, but a pleasant one with a castle lorded over by Trelane, the Squire of Gothos. Apparently omnipotent, Trelane can conjure up his every whim and his whim is to examine and test the crew of the enterprise, until the Captain annoys him and he sets out to kill them all.

This is another fun episode with shifting tones that keep on unbalancing the viewer until right at the end. The ending, where Trelane is revealed to be nothing but a naughty boy, may be particularly weak, but the switches from whimsy to deadly danger and back again are well-handled.

The whole thing, though, is held together by the performance of William Campbell as Trelane, a petulant, capricious being, but altogether a fun one. The enterprise hasn't encountered anything like him to date, but it was a fun diversion whilst it lasted.

Written by Paul Schneider
Directed by Don McDougall

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Arena

A Federation outpost is found utterly destroyed. An alien ships attacks the Enterprise and then runs, but suddenly stops dead in space. The same fate befalls the Enterprise. An alien race then takes the captains of the two ships and places them on a desert planet to sort out their differences through single mortal combat. There are weapons on the planet, Kirk is told, but can he locate them before he falls victim to the Gorn captain who seems indestructible.

This episode is quite fondly remembered, though it is quite difficult to see why. The opening sequences are by far the best as Kirk and his team are forced to fight for their lives in the destroyed outpost, but when the third race comes in and Kirk and the Gorn are forced to fight it out, the steam goes out of it somewhat.

For one thing, the Gorn is hardly a believable opponent. He moves with all the speed of a glacier and, despite coming from a spacefaring race, seems only able to fashion a crystal dagger whilst Kirk uses his knowledge of chemistry to create a howitzer. Having Kirk dictate his thoughts into a recording device as he works out how to build his weapon is also a very clumsy storytelling device that doesn't work at all. What is nice to see, however, is the understanding that, on this occasion at least, the Federation can be in the wrong.

Written by Gene L Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney

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Tomorrow is Yesterday

For reasons that are mentioned, but quickly forgotten, the Enterprise is blasted back through a time warp to 1960s Earth where it is spotted and mistaken for a UFO. Holding onto an officer who now knows the truth about the future and is therefore capable of changing it, the crew set about wiping out the evidence and finding some way to get back to their own time.

Time travel paradoxes are tricky things and usually not well done in screen science fiction and this is no exception. There's plenty of pointless running around on miltary bases trying to get hold of film reels and secret files, but it doesn't add up to much. What is disappointing is the fact that the time travel stuff doesn't make much sense either. After spending a whole episode keeping a man prisoner, they are able to return him to his craft because their slingshot will take them further into the past before it takes them back to the future? My head hurts.

Worst of all, at the critical moments, the clocks start running backwards. Clocks don't measure time directly, just create visual representations of it. They wouldn't be affected like that.

Not one of the best.

Written by DC Fontana
Directed by Michael O'Herlihy

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Court Martial

Following an encounter with an ion storm, the Enterprise stops at a Starbase for repairs. Kirk finds himself on trial for his career when the computer record of the circumstances of a crewman's death does not match his official report. And everyone knows that computers don't lie.

Courtrooms are always a location for some serious drama and this is no exception. What starts as an examination of court process and increasing reliance on technical evidence (still a relevant topic) turns into a personal challenge between Kirk and a man who wants to hurt him. It's a disappointing turn of events that dissipates what went before.

Written by Don Mankiewicz and Steven Carabatsos
Directed by Marc Daniels

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Return of the Archons

Looking for a lost vessel, the Enterprise comes to a planet where the people show a remarkable level of peace and calm, until 6pm, that is, when they go beserk and tear the place apart for twelve hours. The secret behind this strange society is the secret behind the fate of the lost vessel's crew, so Kirk and a landing party set out to unravel the mystery.

The theme of allowing machines to run our lives and our society is a simple, oft used (and overused) one that gains more currency with each passing computer evolution. This story, though, makes much more of that concept by keeping the theme secondary to the story, revealing it in stages and twisting the plot through a couple of twists along the way. It cleverly keeps you guessing as to just what the story and the point is, even today when we've seen it all before a dozen times.

What a pleasure it is to see an episode that still has the power to surprise.

Written by Boris Sobelman
Directed by Joseph Pevney

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Space Seed

The Enterprise encounters an ancient earth vessel with humans inside frozen in suspended animation. The first to thaw out is Khan Noonian Singh (not to be confused with Noonian Sung, Data's creator in STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION), a man whose genetically-enhanced state makes him strong, intelligent, cunning and irrestistible to women, or one at least-the ship's historian. With her help, he takes over the ship, planning to conquer a planet or two and start up another empire. Can Kirk outwit a man genetically engineered to be superior in every way?

This is the episode that grew up to be STAR TREK 2:THE WRATH OF KHAN at the cinema. As far as the plot goes, there's very little to it at all, but the theme of modern life making modern man less masculine than his ancient warrior forebears is one that still has potency today. The manner in which Khan twists the female historian to his side would have feminists clenching their fists with rage, but is compelling nonetheless.

Kirk's final decision to give Khan what he wants is completely beyond understanding, after all the man was a hijacker, and would-be murderer - those crimes being carried out within days of waking up!

Written by Carey Wilbur and Gene L Coon
Directed by Marc Daniels

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A Taste Of Armageddon

Ordered by a diplomat passenger to ignore a warning to stay away, the Enterprise visits a planet whose inhabitants claim to be at war. When an attack has no appreciable effect, the crew are amazed to learn that the war is being fought only in the circuits of two computer systems. The computes calculate the casualties and then those people have to report to killing stations to forfeit their lives. This way, people die, but the civilisation goes on. The crew of the Enterprise have, unfortunately, been deemed to be killed in the latest attack.

This is another episode where the concept is actually better than the plot it resides in. The idea that war is an ugly, nasty business that has become almost acceptable through our distance from it is one that has gained greater currency in these days where wars are fought on camera with remote control bombs. It is always going to be harder to fight a war in the trenches than in front of a computer screen.

Written by Robert Hamner and Gene L Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney

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This Side Of Paradise

A team from the Enterprise beams down to a planet wracked by radiation expecting to find the agricultural colonists sent there long dead. They are suprised to find a colony of living, healthy people that are just about the happiest that they have ever encountered. When members of the crew start acting with equal happiness and abandoning their posts, Kirk gets suspicious and then Mr Spock, of all people, gets the happiness bug. Soon Kirk is left alone aboard the Enterprise.

What price happiness? It has long been held that if we ever acheived Utopia we would probably never acheive anything else because what would be the point. That's the thrust of this episode, but it is seeing Mr Spock in full on happiness that is shocking (a measure of how the character has affected his audience) and there is good emotional mileage in seeing Kirk, alone and abandoned at his post.

Written by DC Fontana
Directed by Ralph Senesky

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Devil in the Dark

Miners on a remote facility are being murdered by something that seems able to burn through solid rock and leave men simply smouldering cinders on the floor. The only clue appears to be silvery nodules found nearby. Clearly the work of some indigenous horror, but Kirk is reluctant to simply destroy it.

An ecological fable long before such things were even thought of by most people and thus a fine example of the show's prescience here. The creature attacking the miners isn't the villain here, but rather man, man who swoops in and starts raping the ecosystem without understanding it first and then, when things go wrong, just gets violent. It's little wonder that this is one of the fans' favourite episodes and it's certainly one of ours.

The only flaw lies in the creature itself, which looks like someone crouched under an old tarpaulin with bits sewn on and is just as scary. When it is barely seen at the start, it is a dangerous and unknown peril. When it appears it loses most of that effect. This is also the episode in which Bones McCoy shows his own arrogance when he declares that he almost thinks he could cure a rainy day. Definitely not one of mankind's finest hours.

Written by Gene L Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney

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Errand of Mercy

The Klingon Empire declares war on the Federation. The Enterprise's mission is to a backward planet that is in a strategically important position to prevent the Klingons gaining a foothold. The inhabitants refuse to get involved, allow the Kligons to take over and refuse to allow any violent action to be taken even when their people are being slaughtered by the hundreds.

A curious episode that seems to be talking about peace and pacifism and then throws in some deus ex machina super aliens who are our evolutionary superiors by several orders of magnitude. The action and plot zip along quite nicely, the Klingon commander is a lot of fun and there's even a few explosions along the way, but when it's over it's somehow unsatisfying, the sum of the parts never quite making up a whole.

Written by Gene L Coon
Directed by John Newland

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The Alternative Factor

The entire universe comes close to winking out of existence. The effect is strongest on a planet close to the Enterprise. There, they discover Lazarus, a being who has chased a monster responsible for the destruction of his race across time and space and who tries to enlist the aid of the Enterprise in finally ridding the galaxy of this terror. All is not, of course, as it seems.

Some big ideas are being thrown around here inside a story that never quite matches up to them. Parallel universes, matter and anti-matter in collision, an eternal fight between sanity and insanity. All big themes. The plot, however, isn't big enough to fill the time and some repetitive and psychedelic effects are overused to fill up the rest. The ending, also, is a real downer.

Written by Don Ingalls
Directed by Gerd Oswald

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City On The Edge of Forever

An ancient civilisation reveals a artefact through which someone can pass to any place at any time. Dr McCoy, pumped full of a drug sending him mad, jumps through the artefact. Kirk and Spock attempt to follow, but end up ahead of McCoy. Kirk falls for a woman helping the city's poor and then learns that she is shortly to die. How can he stand by and watch the woman he love get killed, even if the cost is the whole of future history.

Time travel - it just causes problems. In this case the knowledge that your loved one will die and there is nothing that you can do about it. Apart from those implications and the fact that this is the episode with Joan Collins, CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER really doesn't have that much going for it. Little actually happens and it is the love story that dominates, a love story that is never going anywhere.

Written by Harlan Ellison
Directed by Joseph Pevney

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Operation Annihilate

A wave of mass insanity is sweeping across the galaxy, not very fast, but implacably and now on the edge of Federation space. In fact, the latest planet to come under the effect is the one where James T Kirk's brother lives. The cause turns out to be a creature that controls the beings it infects. It infects Spock, but he fights back and has to risk everything in the hope of finding a cure.

Body snatchers come in all shapes and sizes, but STAR TREK manages to come up with a very creepy one here. The plasticky alien doesn't look like much and it flies like a very poor special effect, but it sounds really, really creepy and the effect that it has on Mr Spock is the heart of the show. Acting honours to Leonard Nimoy, then, as the vulcan fighting against the control in his head and manfully (vulcanfully?) stepping up to risk blindness and more.

As a result, the first season manages to go out on a high.

Written by Steven Carabatsos
Directed by Herschel Daugherty

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SEASON 2

SEASON 3

THE NEXT GENERATION

DEEP SPACE 9

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ENTERPRISE

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A-Z INDEX

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