Tag Archives: review

Star Trek S1E13 – The Conscience of the King

Shakespeare seems to be a common theme in Star Trek, especially The Original Series and The Next Generation. William Shatner did train as a classic Shakespearean actor after all. Well, here is an episode where Shakespeare is on stage, literally.

Season 1, Episode 13: The Conscience of the King

Original Air Date: December 8, 1966

Stardate 2817.6

Planet: Planet Q, Benecia

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Rand, McCoy

Main Guest Characters: Anton Karidian / Kodos (Arnold Moss), Lenore Karidian (Barbara Anderson), Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley (Bruce Hyde), Dr. Thomas Leighton (William Sargent), Martha Leighton (Natalie Norwick), Lt. Leslie (Eddie Paskey)

Things I Noticed

I find it difficult to believe that there is famine on an Earth/Federation colony at this time. It may be possible, but I’d think it’s highly unlikely.

Odd that Dr. Leighton has half of his face covered by a black fabric. I’m sure cosmetic surgery is so advanced at that time that his original appearance could be restored, including a prosthetic eye that would function normally. Again, I understand this is due to the fact that this episode was made more than 50 years ago.

When Kirk called up information about Kodos and Anton Karidian, the computer made a lot of mechanical clicks. Weird.

Kirk is unusually smooth with Lenore Karidian. But then, this was just an act, I think.

As Kirk was walking on the bridge, it sounded like he was walking on a wood floor. I’m pretty sure it was, being a cheap set.

When Spock said his father’s race (the Vulcans) didn’t drink alcohol, McCoy said now he knows why they were conquered. Since when were the Vulcans conquered? This just confused me.

McCoy refered to Lenore as a creature. A bit of sexism here?

First time we see the observation deck above the shuttle bay. There are windows, too!

I think this is the first time Kirk kisses a woman! In previous episodes, he’s resisted because as a Captain, he’s pretty much married to his ship.

This is the second and final time Riley appears in a Star Trek episode.

The return of the 20th century spray bottle! This time to poison Riley’s milk. And of course, the ugly gelatin food appears again.

They used tape film for recorded audio. That’s not even used today.

McCoy inadvertently let Riley know about Kodos. It seemed rather careless. He was right behind him!

The acting company’s set is made of wood. Maybe they wanted authenticity. Or it’s just the material the Star Trek set designers had to use.

Kirk and Spock compare paper printouts of the Kodos’ and Karidian’s voice prints side-by-side. They actually used their eyes to compare the voice prints! That is an incredibly inefficient way to do it. Use the computer!

Who in their right mind would continue to quote Shakespeare after they’ve killed their father? But then, she did seem crazy.

Leaving Benecia at warp 1. Warp 1 again. Slow!

My Impressions

Way back when I used to watch Star Trek as a teenager, I was never impressed by this episode. I wanted Klingons and Romulans. Not Shakespeare. But after watching this episode as a 40 year old, I have a completely different feeling about it. I like Shakespeare. But that’s not why I like this episode.

I felt that the acting was pretty good in general. Sure, there was overacting by Shatner a bit (the scene with Lenore in the observation deck was a bit over the top) and some extreme overacting by Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian, but it was otherwise well done.

One thing I don’t get is why Kirk didn’t just confide in Spock and McCoy that he suspected Karidian of being Kodos. But I guess it’s possible that he didn’t want them to be subjected to disciplinary action if the transport of the Karidian Company was completely against protocol, and that Kirk was just on a wild goose chase.

The story had a decent amount of suspense. Is Karidian actually Kodos? Would Riley be killed? I thought that was done pretty well. Overall, I enjoyed this episode.

Verdict

★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Was Anderson’s portrayal of Lenore over the top? Did you think Karidian regretted what he had done? Let me know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E12 – The Menagerie: Part 2

And now, the conclusion. This is the second part of the only two-part episode of the original series. You can read part 1 here. While I nitpicked a lot for part 1, there’s actually not much for part 2. Let’s find out what I thought!

Season 1, Episode 11: The Menagerie: Part 1

Original Air Date: November 24, 1966

Stardate 3013.1

Planet: Talos IV

Featured Alien: Talosians

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock

Main Guest Characters: Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Commodore Jose I. Mendez (Malachi Throne), Fleet Captain Pike (Sean Kenney), Lt. Piper (Julie Parrish), Lt. Hansen (Hagan Beggs), Number One (Majel Barrett), Dr. Philip Boyce (John Hoyt), Vina (Susan Oliver), The Keeper (Meg Wyllie), Yeoman J. M. Colt (Laurel Goodwin)

Things I Noticed

Pike said the Enterprise was from a stellar group from the other end of the galaxy. We now know that’s not going to be true according to later Star Trek series. For one thing, Talos IV isn’t that far from Starbase 11. And being only 100 years after the founding of the Federation, the explored part of the galaxy is quite small. Talos IV isn’t that far from Earth.

When the Talosians communicate telepathically, the veins on their heads pulsate. Weird.

The creatures on Rigel VII are humanoid, wear clothes, and seem to live in a medieval-like society, so why do they roar like animals rather than speak?

Number One has blue nail polish. She can wear it. It’s just that it was interesting to notice.

The pilot episode was the first time we saw Orion slave girls.

The image shown on the screen during the trial is washed out. You’d think they’d have better video equipment.

They have lasers, not phasers. Even in the time of Captain Archer, they had phase pistols (phasers).

At the end of “The Cage,” they said hyperdrive, not warp drive. Of course, at this time, they hadn’t established the technology of Star Trek.

My Impressions

There’s not really much I can add about this episode that I haven’t already said about Part 1. The episode continues in much the same way, though this tends to be far more about “The Cage” than original footage. Even the main cast members have been reduced to only Kirk and Spock.

The acting by Shatner and Nimoy is still quite good. I really enjoyed the high quality of acting in this episode. No overacting, no awkwardness, no silliness. Just plain good acting.

The final scenes with the Talosians appear to also be from original footage of the pilot, though I don’t recall seeing them in the pilot.

Overall, I thought this pair of episodes was very well done, even though they were essentially clips episodes.

Verdict

★★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of the conclusion? And do you know if the final scenes with the Talosians are actually original footage from the pilot? I haven’t seen the original “The Cage” in quite some time. Should I review it? Let me know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E11 – The Menagerie: Part 1

This is the most unusual episode I’ve done. There was an issue in the production schedule, and they had to figure out a way to fill out a couple weeks. So, they brought back the episode “The Cage” and did it as a couple clips episodes! Of course, there’s new footage, but much of it is from the original pilot. Not only am I reviewing this episode, but also the pilot. Well, at least half of it. This is a two-parter!

Season 1, Episode 11: The Menagerie: Part 1

Original Air Date: November 17, 1966

Stardate 3012.4

Planet: Starbase 11 and Talos IV

Featured Alien: Talosians

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scott

Main Guest Characters: Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Commodore Jose I. Mendez (Malachi Throne), Fleet Captain Pike (Sean Kenney), Lt. Piper (Julie Parrish), Lt. Hansen (Hagan Beggs), Number One (Majel Barrett), Dr. Philip Boyce (John Hoyt), Vina (Susan Oliver), The Keeper (Meg Wyllie)

Things I Noticed

First of all, this may be a minor thing, but I always imagined Starbases being in space. They go to Starbase 11, but it’s on a planet? Actually, I shouldn’t say a planet, because it appears it’s more likely a large moon orbiting a ringed planet. An M-class moon. This is also the first time that a Starbase is mentioned in Star Trek.

Captain Pike’s wheelchair is something I wouldn’t expect in the 22nd century. With the advances they’d have, there would be a more efficient way for him to communicate other than having the chair’s light flash once for yes and twice for no. Even early 21st century neural interface technology is more advanced.

Spock committing mutiny? Not expected from someone like him.

This is Malachi Throne’s first on-screen appearance in a Star Trek episode. He also appeared in The Next Generation. However, in the original pilot episode, he was the voice of The Keeper, though that had been replaced for this episode.

Spock creates a fake transmission from Starbase Operations. How he does it is by opening a front panel and manipulate something inside. I’d think there’d be an easier way to create a voice file. Later, he used colourful tapes with recorded messages.

McCoy says they can’t tap into the brain, but with current science, we can. We’ve advanced farther today than they imagined we could by the 22nd century back in the 1960s. But then, I said that about Pike’s chair.

Death penalty for approaching Talos IV? I find that hard to believe. Kind of odd that this is the only case for a death penalty, and I’d be more inclined to believe that the death penalty had been abolished at this time.

The top secret file has a few interesting things (thank you pause button!): They refer to Spock as Half-Vulcan Science Officer Spock (why so specific about his species?), the location of Talos IV is the third quadrant of vernal galaxy (there are 4 quadrants in the galaxy, and it’s later established that they are quadrants Alpha to Delta), and what’s the the all caps? Also, the top secret file is a hard copy.

Starbase 11 only has one shuttlecraft? You’d think they’d have a warp-capable ship available. The ship’s library says it has ion engine power (a later episode said ion engines are beyond Starfleet capabilities), but shuttlecraft should have impulse engines, if I remember my Star Trek Technical Manual correctly. And I’m surprised that the shuttlecraft has such a small supply of oxygen. It should have the ability to extract O2 from CO2.

Spock’s rank is revealed to be Lt. Commander. I’d always thought he was a full Commander.

In the recording from the pilot, the computer printed a message on paper. Paper!

After beaming down to the surface, you can notice Spock limping. Leonard Nimoy must have injured his ankle or leg. Shortly after, Spock smiled when they found a singing plant. This was long before his emotionless persona was established.

Vina is wearing makeup. They have makeup on Talos IV? There are no other women on the planet, so how does she know how to put it on?

My Impressions

This is the reason I didn’t review the pilot. Should I go back and review it? For the longest time, this was the only way to see the pilot episode, although that is available to watch now.

Overall, this was a very strong episode. The courtroom drama, seriousness, and acting were very well done. The performance by Leonard Nimoy is excellent. William Shatner and DeForest Kelley do a great job, as well. Jeffrey Hunter did well as the original Captain Pike, but I found him to be dry and too serious. He didn’t have enough personality. I prefer the crew with Kirk far more than Pike’s crew. William Shatner may have some acting shortcomings, but I actually enjoy watching Kirk. It wouldn’t be Star Trek without him.

What I found interesting is how Number One (Majel Barrett) was never given a name. She’s supposed to be the second in command, but we don’t have a name. It was a remarkable thing for a show in the mid 60s to have a woman as second in command. It’s too bad the final episode of the series says a woman cannot be a Captain of a starship. Of course, that’s a load of bull. But it reflects the time it was made, not the actual future.

As I said, this was a strong episode. I thought it was one of the best in The Original Series. It was full of drama and extremely series. Great stuff! Part 2 will be coming soon.

Verdict

★★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? How would you compare the two Enterprise crews? Did you find Pike as dull as I did? And what did you think of the acting in this episode? Let me know in the comments section!

Star Trek S1E10 – The Corbomite Maneuver

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgThis was the first regular episode recorded after the pilot episodes, but it was the tenth aired. However, it turned out to be one of the strongest episodes.

Season 1, Episode 10: The Corbomite Maneuver

Original Air Date: November 10, 1966

Stardate 1512.2

Planet: None

Featured Alien: First Federation (Balok)

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Scott, Rand

Main Guest Characters: Lt. Bailey (Anthony Call), Balok (Clint Howard)

Things I Noticed

As I mentioned before, this was the first episode filmed after the pilot episodes, though it was aired as episode 10. So, there are a few things that don’t match up with the later episodes.

Right off the start, the camera work when panning out from Spock and zooming in on navigation was terrible.

Uhura is wearing a yellow uniform. This indicates that it was a very early episode, as she later wears a red uniform.

McCoy ignored the red alert to finish Kirk’s physical. That seems slightly irresponsible. But some of McCoy’s behaviour is a bit too focused on Kirk rather than the situation at hand. Thankfully, he doesn’t act like this in later episodes.

Lt. Bailey seems to resent Spock a bit at the beginning. But more on his behaviour later on.

The women’s uniforms seem so loose and baggy compared to what they are in most episodes.

Unlike other episodes, they’re using metric in this episode. They did use miles at one point, mixed in with metres, but it was mostly metric.

Bailey jumps to conclusions too quickly. A bit of insubordination from time to time.

Kirk is annoyed that he was assigned a female Yeoman, Rand. Rand seems rather bitchy with him. If this were made these days, these attitudes wouldn’t be there.

The giant ship Fesarius looks better in the remastered edition.

Kirk referred to the ship as the United Earth Ship Enterprise. The Federation’s name hasn’t been established at this time.

For someone who was standoffish, Bailey has turned into someone who is rather timid in dangerous situations. And then he snapped. What kind of military has someone like this in such an important position as ship’s navigator?

Interesting how so many people are in the corridors during this high alert situation, clinging to the walls as they’re tossed around.

McCoy didn’t pronounce Balok correctly. Everyone else, including Balok, said “bay-lock.” McCoy said “Bah-lock.”

It seemed very strange seeing a 7 year old Clint Howard with the movements and mannerisms of a child and an adult voice.

My Impressions

Honestly, my nitpicks above aren’t that important, other than some behaviours and Kirk’s attitude toward a female Yeoman. Extremely outdated, and wouldn’t reflect the 22nd century at all. Otherwise, this was a pretty solid episode, despite being the third taped episode.

The thing that stood out for me when I was younger was the creepy Balok puppet. I thought this was the creepiest scene in all of Star Trek. It was a face that could’ve given me nightmares. However, I still enjoyed watching this episode when I was a kid. And now that I’ve watched it again, it really is one of the stronger episodes.

The acting is quite decent in this episode. Everyone is extremely serious, except when we get to the final scene. William Shatner was fairly decent and Leonard Nimoy was very good as usual. DeForest Kelley was a bit too overbearing, more than usual. But this was the first episode he did. Grace Lee Whitney was too strong for her position, but that’s not a problem with her acting. More a problem with how she was written in this episode. George Takei was very good. But I had a problem with Clint Howard. Of course, he was only 7 years old at the time, but he was obviously a child. How he acted and his movements were those of a child. It was just weird seeing him speak in a child-like manner with an adult voice.

With that said, the story was a very solid one. I really enjoyed the bluffing and Kirk’s resolve throughout the episode. He was a leader. I couldn’t fault the writing of this episode. It was extremely well done. I have pretty fond memories of this episode.

Verdict

★★★★ 1/2

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? How did you feel about the puppet Balok, and then Clint Howard’s performance? Let me know in the comments below.

Movie Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

My sister and I went to a VIP theatre to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was in 3D. We had our food and drinks delivered to us at our seats. Very nice. But how was the movie? Here’s one of the official trailers to start us off.

Visuals

Since this is a science fiction/science fantasy movie, you’d expect good special effects and visuals. I wasn’t disappointed. It looked great! Even in 3D, it was well done. I was very satisfied with the 3D aspect of it, no visual problems at all. The ships looked very good. Much like the original movies. All the X-Wings, Tie Fighters, and Imperial Destroyers were very nicely done.

The planets were very good. I especially liked the tropical world filmed in the Maldives. It was the first time I’ve seen a world looking like that in Star Wars.

The CG for non-human characters were good, and a step up from the original movies’ puppets, which were a bit jerky-looking at times. But these were done well. The CG for the human characters (Tarkin and Leia) were quite good, but almost too perfect. So perfect that they didn’t look entirely real.

Overall, I’d give visuals a 5/5.

Characters and Acting

I found that the acting was fairly good. Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso was good. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor came across as arrogant, which I think is what they were looking for. I really liked Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe. He was my favourite human character. I also really liked Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus. He really grew on me as the movie went on. Riz Ahmed as the pilot was fairly good, though not my favourite character. Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera was okay. He wasn’t in the movie as much as I thought he would, but I wasn’t blown away by him. But I think the one that really stole the show as Alan Tudyk as K-2SO. The droid was the best. Very funny and a great character. Of course, Peter Cushing couldn’t reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin, as he passed away more than twenty years ago. However, he was as I expected in his CGness (that’s not a word). And James Earl Jones is back again as the voice of Darth Vader. Great job, as always.

Overall, 4/5.

Story

I came into this with an expectation of being treated to a movie which would bring me back to the original Star Wars trilogy. It was set just before A New Hope, and what we get is a story where a group of rebels try to steal the plans of the Death Star. That’s the entire premise of the movie, and it’s an incredibly important event that leads to Episode IV. I found that the story was a series of life or death situations that they had to get through to finally reach their goal. It’s difficult to talk about the story without giving anything away, but you have to expect some deaths. It’s not a story where you expect everyone to come out alive. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? However, it’s a story that provides hope. Everyone has a positive attitude about what they’re doing, and they charge ahead regardless of their possible deaths.

One thing I was hoping to feel was a goosebumps feeling or two. I didn’t get any feelings like that at all. Nostalgia? A little. It was nice seeing brief cameos of beloved Star Wars characters. But it wasn’t amazing. It was very good. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t amazing.

Overall, I’d give the story a 4/5.

Overall

Excellent visuals, good acting, good story. It wasn’t entirely what I expected, but I did gain a couple favourite characters (Chirrut Imwe and K-2SO). I do highly recommend this movie, though. It’s certainly better than the prequel trilogy. It was fresh, though a bit grittier.

In the end, I give it 4/5.

Watch my review on my YouTube channel:

How about you?

What did you think of Rogue One? Let me know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E09 – Dagger of the Mind

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgThis is more like it. After several episodes of creepy behaviour by characters, we get one where creepy behaviour is expected. But it was surprisingly lacking in that creepiness. But this episode has some fond memories for me.

Season 1, Episode 9: Dagger of the Mind

Original Air Date: November 3, 1966

Stardate 2715.1

Planet: Tantalus V

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura

Main Guest Characters: Dr. Tristan Adams (James Gregory), Dr. Simon van Gelder (Morgan Woodward), Lt. Helen Noel (Marianna Hill), Lethe (Susanne Wasson)

Things I Noticed

Right off the start, the cargo beamed up from the planet is destined for Stockholm, Eurasia. Interesting.

On the bridge, the log recording device looks like a big black tape recorder, and it even has leather straps. How old fashioned.

The first time Kirk sees Dr. Noel, it’s a moment of “Oh my god, not her.” But she’s portrayed as being very beautiful, and Kirk seems quite uncomfortable. But they know each other. It’s actually a fairly humourous moment.

As this is the remastered version, the surface of the planet is quite interesting, including a view of the rings of the planet. Nice touch.

Kirk and Noel embrace in the penal colony’s elevator when it suddenly goes down. I’m not sure if that would be the first response of military officers in a situation like that. It also furthered my wondering about their relationship.

The emblem on Dr. Adams’ uniform is amateurish looking. That hand looks awful!

Lethe is oddly emotionless. Kind of weird.

The inmates’ uniforms look strangely out of place, although not for the 1960s. Tie dyed patterns? Brightly coloured plaid?

First time the Vulcan Mind Meld is seen in the series. Spock is reluctant to use it, as it’s never been used on humans (although it’ll be used in Enterprise), and it’s a deeply personal thing. Doesn’t stop him from using it in later episodes! And McCoy was insistent that he use it. He doesn’t trust transporters, but he trusts the Mind Meld.

Dr. Noel is far too argumentative. She argues against Kirk’s orders so many times, I can see Kirk getting irritated.

Got to love Kirk’s cry/laugh while in pain in the neural neutralizer.

Again, they left the planet at Warp 1. When do they expect to reach their destination?

My Impressions

As you’ve seen with my nitpicks above, there weren’t that many nitpicks. I thought this was one of the best episodes so far in that aspect. I had a more difficult time finding things that were out of place or any continuity problems. The episodes are improving!

The acting was fairly decent in this one. The interaction between Kirk and Noel was good, though Noel seemed far too defiant. She’s extremely stubborn and very sure of herself, that’s quite evident. But I think the friction between the two was shown very well, though they ended up working together in the end far better, once she saw that Spock, McCoy, and Kirk were correct. Dr. Adams was portrayed well, as well. And then we have Morgan Woodward’s portrayal of the tormented Dr. van Gelder. You could see the pain, although it was slightly over the top.

I thought this was a good episode! But, there is one glaring problem. I just couldn’t understand why Dr. Adams was doing this. There didn’t seem to be any apparent motivation for it. It wasn’t explained! Why that approach to rehabilitating former criminals? It made them look like lifeless drones. I felt that he was a weak villain. Despite that, I did enjoy the episode.

Verdict

★★★ 1/2

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? What did you think Dr. Adams’ motive was? Let me know in the comments section below.

TV Review – The Walking Dead Season 1

The Walking Dead is a TV series that has received a lot of praise in the past, especially its first season. I was living in Japan when it became popular, and I had access to it through Hulu. I was able to watch up until about the middle of the third season, then stopped watching for some reason. I’ve now decided to start watching it again, starting with season 1. As I have watched this before, there were no surprises.

When I watched it the first time, I enjoyed it a lot. The second time around, some of the jump scares still worked. I hadn’t remembered some of them. But I found that it’s more than just a zombie show. It’s a show about people. It’s about humanity. It’s about how humans cope with extreme situations which seem impossible to survive. People do things they would never do in normal circumstances.

Although Rick is a police officer, he shows fear and breaks down emotionally. Shane shows how much a person can change in situations like this. Glenn shows how resourceful a person can be, even if he was a pizza delivery driver. There are a lot of characters with unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Daryl is a popular character, and I like him more in later seasons. However, he comes across as a hotheaded man who wouldn’t hesitate to kill. I also like Dale. He seems very compassionate and cares deeply for Andrea and Amy.

I felt that episode 4 was emotionally powerful. Without giving any spoilers, something happens that I don’t know if I’d be able to get through it emotionally. Incredibly difficult. It has a strong impact, even when watching it for a second time.

Throughout the season, you feel both hope and despair. You wonder who will die and who will live. Below, you will see spoilers!

Most emotional deaths

I’d have to say that Amy’s and Jim’s deaths were the most emotional. Especially Amy’s. I can’t imagine what went through Andrea’s mind when she shot Amy as she became a walker.

Death I was happy about

Ed’s death with satisfying. The abusive asshole deserved it. And his death was particularly gruesome.

Overall Impression

I think it was a solid start to the series. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to season 2. I still am. I’d give this a very solid 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

How about you?

What did you think of The Walking Dead season 1? Let me know in the comments below.