The Man Trap

Star Trek classic. Season 1, episode 1. This was the first episode broadcast on TV, ‘though it is set after the two episodes that come next. A few thoughts:

  • No Scotty or Chekov. I didn’t find out until moments ago that Chekov doesn’t show up until season 2.
  • I was surprised at Spock’s eagerness to use truth serum on Dr. Crater once Crater is aboard Enterprise. I get that there’s a medical duty that McCoy has to perform, but by what authority can the crew of the starship administer truth serum? Kirk’s willingness to go along with the truth serum is what kills Crater. That’s too bad.
  • Memorable lines: “He’s dead, Jim.” “Your creature is killing my people!”
  • Also this.
    Uhura: Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full…
    Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura.
    Uhura: I’m not surprised, Mr. Spock.

  • I like the friendship between McCoy and Kirk. I think the flirty interaction between Uhura and Spock is cute and funny.

The episode is interesting but draggy. I don’t know why it takes so long to unfold but it’s annoying. I give this episode a 5 out of 10. Strengths: interesting, fun interactions between the principal characters. Weakness: a slow, draggy plot.

Trekking Through Classic

Here is where two things are likely to happen. First, I am likely to annoy (if not anger) my many Star Trek-loving friends. Second, someone is going to want to snip a corner off my geek card.

My confession: I have never cared much for Star Trek the original television series. Whenever it was on (my dad and sister sometimes watched it), I pretty much just tuned it out and read a book. I thought the stories were boring, the characters uninteresting, the color awful (which isn’t fair because the color of my favorite show, M*A*S*H, has always been pretty bad too), and the acting stilted. When the first Trek film came out, I watched it on HBO with my dad and we were both bored to death (spoiler coming up), especially when my dad figured out a few scenes before the reveal that V’Ger was Voyager. When the credits rolled, my dad said something I always think of when someone mentions the film: “That was a real ass-scratcher of a movie.” I don’t even think I know what that means, but it’s hilarious.

My Scoutmaster drove my troop into Waikiki to see the second motion picture, The Wrath of Khan, and that was (and is still) a good film. And so I have had a kind of dual relationship with Trekkers and with Trek itself. I have enjoyed the films (including Insurrection and Nemesis) while hating the TV show. Because of the circles I’ve usually run in, I have picked up enough of the lore to be conversant at the most basic level with Trekkers and to be able to interpret for the unwashed some of the allusions that have come up. It’s actually the lore that has softened my dislike of the series, and I can now proudly (or ashamedly) say that I have seen at least two episodes of the original series in their entirety: The Trouble with Tribbles and that one with the green woman. I’ve seen pieces of many others, but they are very small pieces.

I’ve actually seen more entire episodes (each) of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager than of Classic, ‘though I haven’t seen very many of them either. I’ve liked most of what I’ve seen, but they were on the air at times when I just didn’t have room for them in my viewing schedule. And forget about the DVDs: have you seen how much just one season of any of them costs? Ridiculous.

Don’t ask me about Enterprise. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen it.

I realize what this does for my geek cred in some people’s eyes. And you know what? If I ever cared about that, I’d have done something about it. There has had to be room in my life for certain geeky obsessions that exist outside the realm of conventional geekiness, such as baseball, female-fronted symphonic heavy metal, and the pursuit of the perfect pie crust.

But then I watched the first five seasons of The Big Bang Theory on DVD (about which, more later: what I’m drafting this week is actually what sparked this Trek treatise, a kind of digression to get it out of my system), and when the credits rolled on the final episode of that 2011-2012 season, I knew it was time for me to revisit Classic. What the heck. It’s only seventy-something one-hour episodes. I don’t plan to rush through it and it won’t be a first viewing priority, but I think getting through it will make me somehow a better person. This is also true of the Bible and the complete works of William Shakespeare, but have you seen how long those are?

Between now and who knows when, I will use this space to write occasional responses to my Trek viewing. Just a heads-up.