Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Computer, a Space Hippy, and the Ubermensch Walk Into A Bar

Following on my previous analysis of Star Trek TOS as a whole, here, taken pretty much at random (based, that is, on my own personal likes, dislikes, and fascinations) are discussions of three individual episodes of Star Trek TOS.


Where No Man Has Gone Before

This episode has a very special place in Star Trek history; it was the episode that convinced CBS that Star Trek could work as a network television show.  The network had been naturally impressed by Star Trek's concept, which promised a relatively simple and potentially lucrative way to do science fiction on television; however, it was ultimately disappointed by the first pilot produced, the "Cage."  Led by Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike, and featuring large-headed alien zoo-keepers with the power of illusion, the network felt that the show was, in a quote that has since become legend, "too cerebral."  Really, they were basically right; the Cage, for all the bluster of its lead character, is a rather stiff hour of television, appreciably strange, but patently lacking in human interest.  By the time Pike has angrily and defiantly, for the fourth time or so, declared to his captors that human beings will never stop resisting cages, even pleasant ones, and will always prefer difficult reality to pleasant illusion, we appreciate the point, but do not really feel much affection for the man making it.  An entire twenty-six episode season of such breathless didacticism would be difficult to take; and CBS was right in saying so.

However, as it goes, the network was, in fact, so interested in the basic concept of Star Trek--Gene Roddenberry's "Wagon Train to the Stars," science-fiction-as-Western-and-military-drama brainwave-- that they took the unprecedented step of commissioning a second pilot for the proposed series.  Left to his own devices again, Gene Roddenberry booted the entire cast--with the exception of a certain pointed-eared alien--but kept the sets and format basically the same.  What he needed was not so much a better concept as better storytelling, by a better writer, with more human and sympathetic characters.  He found his writer in Samuel A Peeples, an old hand at television (and Western) writing; he found his leading man in William Shatner, as I discussed in my last post.  CBS was much more impressed by what they saw this time, and ordered a full season of Star Trek; and they were, frankly, right to be impressed.  Even with all the rough edges typical of a pilot episode, Where No Man Has Gone Before is a truly excellent piece of television, with both an intelligent and worthy moral AND effective human drama.



Things start off on a better note already with the very first scene, which features Kirk and Spock together for the first time.  Both men, though, are off-duty, casual and relaxed; they play chess, play off of each other in humorous fashion, and indirectly deliver some exposition about Spock's basic nature as a character.  We soon move to the transporter room and the bridge, where we are introduced to other characters, including Scotty, female scientist Elizabeth Dehner, "chief physicist" Sulu, and the helmsman Gary Mitchell, who, we quickly learn, is an old friend of the Captain's.  In introducing all these characters, though, Peeples takes time to give each of them at least a piece of personality; and with Kirk and Spock, he immediately sees the potential in their relationship and uses its basic contrast to shed light on both characters.  Kirk is emotional, easily irritated, but self-confident and humorous; Spock is reserved, all too eager to lecture others about logic, but not above a dry humor of his own.  This is not high craftsmanship; but it pays dividends in terms of the both the episode and the show as a whole.

Soon enough, the crisis of the show begins to unfold; and it is without a doubt one of Star Trek's best basic ideas.  After an incident involving an energy barrier (you know), two crewmembers begin transforming rapidly, acquiring telekinetic powers and increased intellectual abilities.  One of them is the quiet, kind scientist Dr. Dehner; the other is Kirk's best friend, Gary Mitchell.

The focus is largely on Mitchell; for as his abilities grow stronger and stronger, his personality quickly begins to change as well.  Mitchell's powers are increasing exponentially, showing no signs of slowing down--he is, in short, rapidly becoming far more powerful than any human has been before.  For his part, Mitchell takes obvious (and unsettling) delight in his increasing ability to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  In comparison, his relationships with his friends and shipmates quickly suffer; he is at first distant towards them, then cold and mocking, openly contemptuous, and prone to rages whenever crossed.  Whatever he is becoming, one thing is for certain; he is not the man he once was.

This is conveyed by some effective acting on the part of Gary Lockwood (more famous for his role as the doomed astronaut in 2001: A Space Odyssey).  Lockwood, with his distant gaze and bland smile, is quite effective at being creepy, managing to be unsettling without ever moving very far into campy.  He is helped by some understated makeup work that gradually, and at first almost subliminally, tints his hair and eyes with more and more silver as the episode progresses; and he is helped also by some uncharacteristically well-written dialog.
Mitchell is portrayed, in fact, in terms more drawn from Nietzsche than from Star Trek's own later obsession with superbeings; he is quite literally the ubermensch, the evolutionary leap, who singlehandedly makes the entire human race obsolete, and is destined to rule over it or destroy it at his whim.  Mitchell claims to exist on a higher plane from his crewmembers, with his relationship to them comparable to that between a human being and animals.  He is thus, by his own estimation, a god, no longer subject to any moral restraints at all.  Whatever he wills is law.

The core of this episode, then, is an examination of the idea of such a being; and it's ultimate moral stance is quite clear: a human being with human desires and flaws but unlimited power is simply a monster.  In its basic stance, then, Where No Man Has Gone Before tracks almost exactly with G.K. Chesterton's famous discussion of giants, itself written originally as a critique of the Nietzschean idea of the ubermensch:

"Mere force or size [...] alone will never make men think a man their superior. Giants, as in the wise old fairy-tales, are vermin. Supermen, if not good men, are vermin.  [....] Nor can I imagine anything that would do humanity more good than the advent of a race of Supermen, for them to fight like dragons. If the Superman is [morally] better than we, of course we need not fight him; but in that case, why not call him the Saint? But if he is merely stronger (whether physically, mentally, or morally stronger, I do not care a farthing), then he ought to have to reckon with us at least for all the strength we have. If we are weaker than he, that is no reason why we should be weaker than ourselves. If we are not tall enough to touch the giant's knees, that is no reason why we should become shorter by falling on our own. But that is at bottom the meaning of all modern hero-worship and celebration of the Strong Man, the Caesar, the Superman. That he may be something more than man, we must be something less."  

The episode is practically a dramatic elaboration of this essay.  What makes it into a drama, though, is a related, if somewhat more unsettling, idea: the transformation of an ordinary man into a superman.  It is here that the episode becomes a story; and what makes it a successful story is the way this conflict is played out, not in direct, didactic form, like The Cage, but through the interactions and relationships of its characters.

First, there is the relationship between Kirk and Gary Mitchell.  Though the friendship between these two is sketched out fairly quickly, we do get a definite sense of the connection between the two, and the strain it places upon both.  Kirk delays doing something about Mitchell, even when evidence mounts about his increasing sociopathy and danger; and Mitchell, even as he changes, retains till the end the vestiges of respect for his former friend.  When, for only a moment, Mitchell is weakened by an attack, the silver clears from his eyes, and he says only one word: "Jim."  Then, he is back to his old, "new" self, ready and willing to murder his closest friend for self-aggrandizement.  It is this conflict that forms the emotional core of the episode; not, as in the Cage, an angry man against strange, god-like aliens, but two human beings and two friends pitted against each other.

The same drama plays out in the relationship between Kirk and Spock; for Spock quickly, almost too quickly, concludes that Mitchell is a threat to the ship, and must be killed--a conclusion Kirk resists as long as he can.  This is, to a degree, a battle between logic and emotion; but it is also a moral question, and a question of relationship.  For Spock, the safety of the ship is paramount; for Kirk, doing justice to the individual, to Mitchell himself, is equally important.  In the end, both men's conclusions are affirmed; Spock is right that Mitchell is unsaveable, but Kirk's compassion for Mitchell and Dehner does prove itself as well, when Kirk does manage to get through to Dehner.  In the end, Spock acknowledges that what happened to Mitchell was not something that he had asked for, and says he also "felt for" the man--and the bond between Kirk and Spock has taken shape before our eyes.

Finally, there is the relationship between Dr. Dehner, the female superman, and Mitchell.  She develops her powers more slowly than Mitchell, and embraces them far more reluctantly; but throughout the episode, she takes the opposite tack from Spock, insisting that these powers could be a gift for humanity, that Mitchell is not dangerous, that it would be wrong to treat him as a threat.  In the end, she is brought to briefly embrace Mitchell and her own purportedly superior status; but when she sees what the two of them have truly become--gods without morality or mercy-- it is her moral choice to oppose Mitchell that provides Kirk with the opportunity to defeat him.  Her last line is also one of the most heartbreaking in the episode: "I'm sorry. You can't know what it's like to be almost a god."  Where Mitchell shows the corrupting influence of power, Dehner is the embodiment of its temptations for the well-intentioned.  Mitchell embraces his new powers and status without reserve; but Dehner is transformed against her will, and in the end finds her self again.

I've gone on at such length about this episode because I do really think it is one of Star Trek's finest hours; a great piece of philosophical filmmaking, a Western-style morality play, and an affecting human drama.  Far more than The Cage, Where No Man Has Gone Before shows Star Trek's potential for greatness.


Return of the Archons

Ah, this episode.  Nothing, at least for me, shows more clearly TOS, in all its manifold delights, than this episode.  When I think of TOS, its strengths and weaknesses, its ideas and fixations, its blind spots and its inimitatable greatness, I think of this episode.  What a bizarre, glorious hour of television.

Where to start?  Well, we can start with the cold opening, which features Sulu and another officer, dressed like outcasts from Colonial Village, running through the "small, Western town" backlot, in obvious fear for their lives.  In a moment, though, they are menaced by...well, guys wearing "Franciscan friar" costumes from Party City, and holding hollow pipes.  These guys are walking towards our heroes; and they are walking incredibly, painfully slowly, while threatening music plays.  Anyway, our heroes have somehow become surrounded by these horrible Friars Minor; and as we watch in horror, the menacing mendicant extends his metal pipe, and as a sound-effect plays, Sulu seems to change...just as he is beamed up, finally, to the Enterprise.

There, our heroes quickly discover that that pipe has given Sulu some truly amazing Kool-Aid, such that he now spends all his time gauzily saying things about "the Body" and "Paradise" with a smile so big and so utterly bizarre that it would probably be grounds for conviction on the charge of irredeemable creepiness in any law-abiding nation.  Anyway, something obviously went wrong, and Kirk's other crewman is still down on the planet, so our heroes also get to play dress up and head down to the planet.

There?  Well...let's just say that this planet is apparently inhabited by people who dress like Martha Washington from a community theater play, walk painfully slowly in straight lines, and are obviously trying to give George Takei a run for his money in the "creepy smile" department.  At one point, these people, in a moment that is obviously supposed to be horrifying, all stop suddenly in unison, pick up rocks and sticks, and then advance, painfully slowly, toward our heroes.

So did Star Trek anticipate the zombie craze here?  Sure, but your zombie mob is generally a little scarier when it doesn't look like this:


Run for your life, it's the Bank of America!

These charming inhabitants apparently spend most of their time in a dead state of joyless, Freudian repression, or at least that's the idea we're supposed to have.  However, once a year (or something like that) they get together for Festival, where they yell and scream and break windows and carry off women while shouting "Festival!  Festival!" at the top of their lungs.

It's possible to take this as some kind of whithering social critique; but if this is the case, it's a bit hard to interpret, because the people are all dressed like extras from Sherlock Holmes or 1776.  So perhaps a critique of...Victorian England?  Colonial America?  Invasion of the Body Snatchers at least had the decency to put its conformist aliens into the contemporary suburbs.

In the context of Star Trek as a whole, though, it would probably make more sense to see it as a coded critique of Communism and Collectivism; for from Kirk's (our American hero's) perspective, this mass suppression of individuality and human desire in favor of the good of the Collective is truly awful, and he's not having any of it.

You could also fairly easily turn it into a critique of religion as well, if you wanted to.  After all, the society is under the thumb of an omnipresent ruler called "Landru," who is represented by the Franciscan knock-offs we talked about earlier, forcibly incorporates people into his "Body," and is ultimately responsible for making everyone into a smiley-faced, repressed citizen living in what is frequently referred to as "Paradise."  Or, perhaps more simplistically, this could be read as an attack on the rise of cults in America, with their promises of otherworldly bliss and their dangerous conformism.  Even a condemnation of '60s drug culture (attacked more directly in This Side of Paradise) is not too implausible.

The point is, you can read a lot of things into this episode; but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that none of these things is really what the episode is about.  Star Trek is quite clear that conformism, mind-altering states, and collectivism are all Bad Things; and that's about all Kirk, and the audience, needs to know.  Everything is painted in such broad, and such bizarrely specific, tones that any particular reference is washed away in the general strangeness; and in the meantime, we get to see our colorful cast of heroes run from zombie mobs of bankers, get captured by guys with pipes, and finally dress up like faux Franciscans to infiltrate the lair of the beast--and really, isn't that obviously what both we, and the episode's writers, actually care about?

There  is, though, one more big, big thing that both Star Trek and Kirk know, with absolute clarity, is bad news; and that is Machines Controlling People.  For it turns out, rather predictably, that Landru, the supposedly benevolent ruler of this society, is in fact an ancient computer built by the original Landru to keep the peace after his society was almost destroyed by war way back when.  So, ultimately, the evils of this society are focalized not through religion, or politics, or even drugs.  The problem with this society, most clearly and fundamentally, is that it is run, not by human beings, but by machines!

Here, again, we can read this as an attack on technology and modern technocratic society; though this is a lot more plausible now than it was in the '60s, when computers were room-sized number-crunchers at best.  One of Star Trek's most frequent themes, in fact, is the very old-style humanist, very anti-machine gospel presented in this episode.  As a show, Star Trek is completely adamant that human beings can never be replaced by machines without disastrous consequences (The Ultimate Computer), that human beings contain some unique spark that cannot be replicated by a computer (What Are Little Girls Made Of?), and, most of all, that human beings always need to be in control of computers, and not vice versa.  TNG will take this theme and both reverse it and run with it, in its own way, in the more obviously technological '80s; but looking back on the '60s from our current standpoint, Star Trek's fixation on computers, in both their potential and their dangers, does come off as remarkably prescient.  How much of the modern economy, in fact, is run by computers, making thousands of bets and investments, based on algorithims, in the blink of an eye?  How close are we to a society where everyone is constantly linked up to a computer, which defines their lives?  Does Star Trek's faux-Victorian crowd of zombies seem as silly as it did a moment ago?  I am only asking.


Of course, to the detriment of this episode's standing as a Serious Piece of Social Criticism, but very much to the benefit of its status as a damn entertaining hour of television, Kirk quickly proceeds to talk the machine to death, utilizing a little-known loophole in the C++ programming language that forces a computer, when confronted by a logical challenge to its basic social utility, to emit clouds of steam and then explode.  Does this work on smart phones?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Still, Shatner very much gets to shine here, giving a transcendentally over-the-top performance, as he passionately and breathlessly delivers an argument on social philosophy to the evil machine overlord of the Land of Victorian Repression.  When he angrily asks Landru "What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual of the body?", it may be a little silly, but you know, he has a point, right?  In the process of convincing the evil computer overlord of its own evilness, then, Shatner does get to deliver some Star-Trek-ian social philosophy as well:

"Without freedom of choice,
there is no creativity.
Without creativity,
there is no life.
The body dies.
Creativity is necessary for the health of the body."


This is not exactly Augustine's De Civitate Dei, but it's also not bad for its level.  Okay, it's ridiculously broad and sketchy and also reads like a vague Kennedy-era manifesto on the glories of Capitalism and the American Way; but its emphasis on creativity (as opposed to "quality of life" or "self-fulfillment" or other more inhuman contemporaneous values) is still commendable.

Could I turn this into an argument for Distributism if I wanted to?  Sure, but the strength (and weakness) here is, again, in how vague it is.  Collectivism is bad; creativity is good.  This is, again, all we really need to know, all the episode really cares about us knowing, in regards to social philosophy; with this established, we can all sit back and enjoy Captain Kirk's heroic battle with the evil machine zombies.

I mean, is there anyone who wants to disagree about the goodness of creativity?  Anyone?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

And does anyone really want their lives controlled by an omnipresent networking machine that gets you high out of your mind all the time and forces you to dress like a stockbroker?

Er...on second thought, just forget I asked that.




The Way to Eden

If the first episode I talked about is Star Trek at one of its transcendent highs, full of fervor and potential; and the second is Star Trek at its typical level, bizarre and campy, but passionate and full of life; the episode I want to talk about now is Star Trek at its absolute worst.  Arguments could be made, quite well, for picking another episode to talk about instead.  There are certainly many other Star Trek episodes, good and bad, that are well worth discussing; many other kinds of Star Trek episodes as well, from the obvious Western (Mudd's Women) to the monster movie with a twist (Devil in the Dark) to, perhaps most indicative of the future of Star Trek in the '80s and '90s, the diplomacy and family drama of Journey to Babel and elsewhere.  But you know what?  I don't care.  Dadgummit, I want to write about Space Hippies.

Star Trek's third season was a rather troubled one; for one thing, both Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon had left the show, the latter based on conflicts with Roddenberry over the show's direction, and the former in protest after the network gave the show a time slot that effectively doomed it to die a slow death.  Replacing both these remarkable men was Fred Freiberger, a very competent producer, and a man who was raked over the coals for decades as responsible for Star Trek's decline and death.  Freiberger, who was a POW in WWII, famously commented on his experience with Star Trek in the immortal words: "My ordeal in a German prison camp only lasted two years. My travail with Star Trek has spanned twenty-five years and still counting."  Ouch.

In all candor, the general condemnation of Star Trek's third season is not really completely fair.  While the overall quality may be more up and down, Star Trek managed to produce some truly excellent shows in its third year, as well as many very competent hours of television.  If there is a negative vibe to the third season, it is probably more to do with a general air of disappointment than an actual true dip in quality.  Before the network brought down the boom, drastically lowering the budget and tossing the show into a graveyard time-slot, many behind-the-scenes people had had very ambitious plans for where Star Trek would go in its next year.  Instead, thanks to Freiberger's thankless efforts, and despite enormous obstacles, they got simply another season of Star Trek.  This, more than anything else, is probably responsible for the third season's poor reception.

Still, The Way to Eden is definitely bad.  Doing a "hippy episode" was something that shows in the '60s did; even Lost in Space did it, to appreciably poor effect.  Still, Star Trek's foray into '60s counterculture is so wonderfully, transcendentally awful that it probably ranks as one of my favorite hours of Star Trek ever produced.

The plot, such as it is, involves our heroes taking aboard a group of young malcontents, led by the (theoretically) charismatic Dr. Sevrin, who is bald and has cauliflower ears.  These young 'uns reject technological society, dye their hair, defy authority, play radical music, and are on a quest to find the "mythical planet Eden."

What myth does the "planet Eden" come from?  Apparently a well-known one in the 23rd century, as all our heroes accept the claim without question--which makes me wonder about the 23rd century education system.  Later on, William Shatner will basically remake the plot of this episode as Star Trek V, using the same conceit of a mythical "planet Eden."  Well, okay.

Eventually, in a conciliatory gesture, Kirk will order Spock and Chekov to search through the "memory banks" to try to discover the planet Eden...and somehow, they find it?  Even though the planet is both supposedly mythical and also something people have supposedly been trying to find for a really long time?  Somehow?  And they know it is Eden because...?

Anyway, we're getting ahead of ourselves.  More important by far than these plot details, about which the episode barely cares, is the fact that these malcontents include Chekov's former flame, who long rejected the orderly, disciplined life of Starfleet in favor of a life of dressing like this:

This character features one of the worst Russian accents ever attempted by a mortal human being, and is given lines like "Why do you wear all those clothes? How do you breathe?"; "I could never obey a computer"; and "There is nothing wrong in doing what you want."  Is it any wonder Chekov is sorely tested in his devotion to Starfleet by such a woman?

The heart of the episode, though, is not in this extremely clumsy attempt to flesh out Chekov's character, but in the other relationships formed by the crew with the "hippies."  Unfortunately, these are also pretty bad.

Most bizarre of all is Spock's supposed affinity with the hippies, which the episode insists on repeatedly foregrounding as though it made any damn sense at all.  Yes, Spock, our purported hero of reason and logic, spends much of this episode repeatedly proclaiming his deep sympathy with the hippies' desire to wear flowers in their hair and go to Eden.  Spock begins his relationship with the group by by steepling his fingers and solemnly telling them, in what is obviously supposed to be a moment of profound connection, that "One is the beginning." This quickly leads to him forging a very unlikely bond with Adam, the mostly-shirtless, bizarrely enthusiastic band-leader of the group.  This in turn leads, most improbably of all, to Spock playing his Vulcan lyre and joining in a "jam session" with the whole hippy crew--one of the most transcendentally hilarious and nonsensical scenes in all of Star Trek history.  I won't even bother trying to describe it; here it is, in all its glory:

  To say that all of this is out of character for Spock is a profound understatement.  There is some attempt to justify Spock's actions by suggesting that, on an emotional level, Spock's sympathizes with the hippies' sense of alienation, since he too, as a Vulcan-human hybrid, never truly "fit in" in his society; but this is barely developed.  If Dr. Sevrin was more logical and charismatic in his arguments, then, too, Spock's affinity for the hippies could perhaps be given some cover; but while the episode gestures in this direction, giving Sevrin a disease created (in some unspecified way) by technology, it never allows, even for a second, the possibility that the hippies are acting rationally.  Indeed, Spock quickly and logically concludes that Dr. Sevrin is simply insane--and his judgment is never challenged.  All weight, then, is put on Spock's apparently profound emotional sympathies with the social alienation experienced by an energetic, smiley guy with blond hair and his equally smiley and energetic blond- and purple-haired associates.  To say that this does not make sense is really too kind.

What does work a lot better is Kirk's relationship with the hippies.  For from beginning to end, Kirk has no sympathy whatsoever with the hippies.  He is annoyed and rankled by their disobedience and irresponsibility and obvious silliness; in turn, they ignore him, taunt him, and call him "Herbert"; they don't like him, and he doesn't like them; and there is the end of it.  It is, like most things in the episode, rather clumsily handled, but it is also the only thing in the episode that rings completely true.  Kirk, and the Star Trek he embodies, has nothing to do with the '60s counterculture, on any level.  He is Horatio Hornblower; he is John F. Kennedy.  If he were in the '60s, Kirk would not be at Woodstock; he would be running the Vietnam War.  For at the most basic level, Kirk is simply a military commander, an authoritarian used to being obeyed without question.  He not only is not a hippy; he can barely stand to be in the same room with them.

In 2009, JJ Abrams reinvented Kirk as a loose, cool young guy with a chip on his shoulder, who drives cars off cliffs and entertains lady friends with the Beastie Boys; Shatner's Kirk, though, is not remotely "cool"--not, at least, unless that moniker is also applicable to naval officers and Hamlet.  He does eventually, in this episode, admit to being a troublemaker as a young man; but this comes off a bit like someone's dad talking about his college days.

Star Trek, in fact, never remotely understood the '60s counterculture (this episode is proof enough of that); and to the degree it ever understood it, it passionately disliked it.  This Side of Paradise, for instance, is a pretty straightforward condemnation of drug culture; and it is also responsible for one of Star Trek's most oft-quoted dictums on human nature: "We're not meant to stroll to the sound of lutes; we have to march to the sound of drums."  Which is, when you think about it, quite a remarkable thing to say--and one that Star Trek never remotely disavowed.  Star Trek never liked endless peace too much; it was always far too fond of Western fist-fights.  As far as TOS was concerned, all utopias are wicked, and all paradises faked; and Starfleet is the true force for good in the universe.

So when the hippies rise up against our heroes, hijack the ship, and take it to Eden, if we've been paying attention to the last two seasons, we really aren't too surprised; and when it turns out that Eden is a beautiful place where everything is also poisonous and covered in flesh-eating acid, we're...well, we may be mildly weirded out, but it makes sense on some level all the same.  In the end, the Way to Eden goes not for logical plot-sense, but for over-the-top allegory-- culminating in the sight of our smiley blond-haired friend lying dead on the grass, a poisonous fruit next to his hand--upon which Spock dolefully comments that "his name was Adam."


Ha ha!  Turns out paradise isn't all it's cracked up to be after all!  Take that, dead hippies!

Of course, Star Trek is a kinder and gentler show than that; some of the hippies do survive their brush with death, including Chekov's beloved of the fake accent, and at the end Spock wishes them well in their continuing attempts to find (or create) Eden.  But both we and the writers know what the real point is here.

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One some level, this survey is a little unfair; it neglects almost all of the most famous episodes of the series, including the general entry for Best Star Trek Episode: The City on the Edge of Forever.  All the same, if you've read this, you hopefully have a pretty good sense of Star Trek's basic nature, its potentials, and its pitfalls; and you still have all the best, and many more worse, episodes to experience on your own.

Next time, I will tackle the '70s, when Star Trek, having died, slowly, painfully, and with many false starts clawed its way, zombie-like, out of the grave again.  Godspeed!

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