Sunday, August 21, 2011

STAR TREK THROUGH FRESH EYES, PART SIX

It was Star Trek: The Motion Picture that really sparked my interest in all things Star Trek. But it was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that made me a die-hard, passionate fan.


As with The Motion Picture, my older sister took me to see Star Trek II. And I was quite simply blown away. Just like I was when I saw The Empire Strikes Back for the first time. (Both films still rank as my two all-time favorites.) I loved the movie, and went back to see it several more times that summer. It fired my imagination on a profound level, and from that point on, it became a goal of mine to somehow contribute creatively to the Star Trek mythos, whether in the form of novels or comic books or maybe, if I was really, really lucky, an actual movie. It took a long time, but I finally got my wish in 1998 with Star Trek: Untold Voyages, a limited series I conceived and wrote for Marvel Comics. Several years later, I wrote a pair of Star Trek novellas for Simon and Schuster’s e-book line. (Still hope to write a full-length novel someday. A movie seems less likely.) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was—and continues to be—a major influence on me, and an endless source of inspiration. Fortunately, I was able to tell its writer/director that in person. He seemed to appreciate it.

Needless to say, I was very excited about the prospect of watching this movie with my eight-year-old daughter Maddie. After watching Seasons One, Two, and Three of the original TV series, all 22 episodes of the animated series, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Maddie is now very well-versed in Star Trek lore. She knows and loves the characters—particularly Spock and Dr. McCoy—and is always eager to see their next adventure. It took a lot of effort, but I was able to keep Maddie from finding out anything crucial about Star Trek II before we sat down to watch it. I wanted her to go into it with absolutely no foreknowledge, so that she could experience it with absolutely fresh eyes and be shocked, startled, surprised, and emotionally moved at the appropriate moments. It was worth the effort…

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan


Admiral James T. Kirk, now stationed on Earth and an instructor at Starfleet Academy, is dissatisfied with his career and in the midst of a mid-life crisis when he goes aboard the Enterprise to oversee a training cruise under the command of Captain Spock. Meanwhile, the notorious genetically-engineered superhuman, Khan Noonien Singh, manages to seize control of the Federation starship U.S.S. Reliant and escape from the planet Ceti Alpha V, where Kirk had exiled him 15 years earlier. Now free to go anywhere he wants in the galaxy, the obsessed Khan chooses to track down Kirk and take revenge for his long and painful imprisonment—and to get his hands on a top-secret scientific project called Genesis, which has the power to create life from lifelessness… or to bring about vast cosmic destruction. During this crisis, Kirk finds himself challenged by Spock’s ambitious young female protégée, the half-Vulcan/half-Romulan Lieutenant Saavik—and wondering if he’s lost his edge as a starship commander. He must also confront some important unfinished business from his past, involving an old flame, Dr. Carol Marcus, and her son David, both of whom helped create Genesis. And with Khan’s relentless quest for vengeance comes a staggering loss for Kirk and the entire crew of the Enterprise.               

It’s my opinion that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie ever made. It’s certainly not without flaws, but those imperfections are completely overshadowed by the good stuff, of which there is an overwhelming amount. (And by the way—I don’t consider Khan and Chekov remembering each other to be one of the flaws. It’s true that Chekov wasn’t in “Space Seed,” a first-season episode, because Walter Koenig did not join the cast until Season Two. But just because Chekov was never seen before the second season doesn’t mean he wasn’t serving aboard the Enterprise during that time. So it was absolutely reasonable to establish retroactively that Chekov and Khan had crossed paths—albeit offscreen—during “Space Seed.” I even tackled this matter head-on in Star Trek: Untold Voyages #4, and I still get praise for my handling of it to this day.)

Using Star Trek: The Motion Picture as an example of what not to do, director Nicholas Meyer (who also wrote the screenplay, though he didn’t receive a screen credit for it) and executive producer/co-writer Harve Bennett set out to, among other things, restore humanity and warmth to the crew of the Enterprise. As much as I like The Motion Picture, I acknowledge that the characters are, for the most part, presented as very stiff, formal, and reserved. They lack a lot of the charm and likeability that was so prominent in the original TV series. But with Star Trek II, Meyer and Bennett more or less restore the characters while accounting for the fact that they’ve gotten older and gone through some changes in their lives. Nowhere is this more evident than with Admiral Kirk. He’s the Kirk we remember from the old days, but now with a lot of mileage on him. He’s grown lonely and wistful. And without his starship to command, he’s unhappy, even a little embittered. Sadly, he seems resigned to his fate, unsure of how to change his situation. McCoy and Spock separately chide him for giving up the Enterprise again and both advise him to get back to doing what he does best. This kind of character stuff could have easily been a big part of The Motion Picture—Kirk started out in that movie too as an Admiral stuck on Earth and unhappy in his job. But The Motion Picture was more about ideas and special effects than it was about people. Nicholas Meyer has stated on numerous occasions that he wasn’t interested in making a movie about spaceships—but he was interested in making a movie about the people who live and work aboard them.          

As much as I hate to say it, it turned out that one of the best things Paramount Pictures did for Star Trek II—and for the Star Trek movie series in general—was remove creator Gene Roddenberry from the driver’s seat, make him a relatively toothless “Executive Consultant,” and put Harve Bennett in charge. Roddenberry’s overall vision for Star Trek had so changed by the late 1970s/early 1980s that it didn’t much resemble the show that millions of people had fallen in love with in the first place. 1979’s The Motion Picture, which is not remembered fondly by most people, is the only one that Roddenberry worked on directly and influenced in a big a way. He later applied his revised vision to the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, which he developed and oversaw directly in its early years. Apparently, the ideal Star Trek for the older Roddenberry entailed flawless, bland, stuffy, bloviating protagonists and their talk-filled—often action-free—quest to spread political correctness across the galaxy.

(Incidentally, Roddenberry’s big story idea for Star Trek II was that the crew would go back in time and get involved in the JFK assassination. As Harve Bennett pointed out, we already know the outcome, so where’s the suspense? It’s not like Kirk and crew are going to save JFK and allow history to be altered. Also, this story—at least the main thrust of it—was more or less done already, in a little ditty called “The City on the Edge of Forever.”) 

Bennett, who took over Star Trek as a total newcomer with little background knowledge of it, wisely sat down and watched all 79 episodes of the original TV series over several months to gain a full understanding of the characters and the universe they inhabit. He ended up embracing the canon, the continuity, and the history, instead of trying to distance himself from it. And he came away from the experience recognizing “Space Seed”—and Ricardo Montalban’s Khan—as the perfect sources for a new story. 

Meyer, who came into the job with even less knowledge about Star Trek than Bennett had at first, is, without a doubt, the person most responsible for the creative success of Star Trek II. His script is wonderful and, as director, he managed to get pitch-perfect performances out of everyone in the cast—particularly and most significantly, William Shatner and Ricardo Montalban.

In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that this is Shatner’s very best performance as James Kirk. Hell, it may be his very best performance PERIOD. 


As for Montalban, it’s important to note that at that point in his career, he was best known as Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island. A lot of people went into Star Trek II snickering and planning to make jokes about Tattoo and “de plane.” After 
Montalban’s first couple of seconds on screen, any snickering and joking ceased. There’s no denying that Khan remains the best, most memorable villain in ANY Star Trek movie, and Montalban’s performance is one for the ages. 


Leonard Nimoy portrays Spock, now captain of the Enterprise, as very much at peace with himself and comfortable with his place in the universe. Presumably, Nimoy used Spock’s character arc in The Motion Picture as the foundation for this revised approach. It was in The Motion Picture that Spock finally recognized the value of his human half and embraced it. Nimoy’s performance in Star Trek II is a natural extension of that character development, and it’s wonderful. Spock’s role in this film is not quite as prominent as it was in The Motion Picture—there’s no real character arc for him, but he does introduce one of the main themes of the story and brings that theme to its ultimate culmination in the closing minutes.


As Dr. McCoy, DeForest Kelley has more to do here than he did the first time around—and once again, he’s one of the best things in the movie. He’s cranky, sarcastic, brutally honest, irreverent, and someone you can absolutely count on in a crisis. He’s also responsible for some of the film’s funniest moments—one of which Kelley supposedly ad-libbed on the spot. (Kirk is about to beam down into a hazardous area with McCoy and Saavik. Spock says, “Jim… be careful.” McCoy fires back at him, “We will!”)   


Speaking of Saavik, casting Kirstie Alley to play her was a great move on Meyer’s part. She’s totally believable as a Vulcan/Romulan hybrid who’s not quite in control of her emotions, and she’s incredibly sexy. This was Alley’s movie debut, and she made quite an impression. Hell, if Nimoy decided never to come back as Spock after this, I think I could have lived with Alley’s Saavik as his permanent replacement.


Bibi Besch’s Dr. Carol Marcus and Merritt Butrick as her son David are welcome new additions to the Star Trek universe. You can totally understand why Kirk would have once fallen for Carol, and David looks and acts exactly like what you’d expect from their offspring. (Sadly, both Besch and Butrick are no longer with us. I particularly would have liked to see Besch again as Carol, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards.)



Paul Winfield is quite memorable as Captain Clark Terrell of the U.S.S. Reliant—a relatively small role, but an important one. In his small amount of screen time, Winfield gives us a character who manages to come off as likable, slightly mischievous, noble, and, ultimately, tragic. You can’t help but feel sorry for this guy. (Alas, Winfield too is no longer with us.)


In terms of the regular supporting cast, the only one who really gets to shine this time out is Walter Koenig as Chekov. This is Koenig’s meatiest, most important role in a Star Trek movie (though he does have some great stuff in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), and he carries himself well. He’s got very good chemistry with Winfield and Montalban. (NOTE: The special edition Director’s Cut, only available on DVD and the version that I watched with Maddie, features some additional footage with Scotty that gives James Doohan a chance to stretch his acting muscles more than usual and establishes that Cadet Peter Preston, Scotty’s young assistant in the engineering section, is also his nephew.)


I also have to mention the score by James Horner. As disappointed as I was initially that composer Jerry Goldsmith did not return, Horner’s music for Star Trek II is nothing short of triumphant. It won me over immediately and I still adore it to this day. Particularly impressive is how Horner brings back Alexander Courage’s iconic “Star Trek Fanfare” from the original TV series and weaves it throughout the movie, marrying it organically to his own compositions.

And in addition to a new musical score, the film also introduced new Starfleet uniforms–another change I accepted wholeheartedly. They were quite a departure from anything that had come before, but they looked fantastic and I felt they fit in well with the Star Trek universe. With some minor modifications here and there, these uniforms were used for the remainder of the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. (I do have to admit, though, that I liked the outfits from the first movie a lot and was bummed out when I first learned they were being dropped!)


And how about that ending, huh? In all seriousness, I believe that the death of Spock is one of the best death scenes ever filmed. It hits all the right emotional and dramatic beats. This was a death that was heroic, noble, powerful, and deeply moving. (Which puts it in sharp contrast with Kirk’s death in 1994’s Star Trek Generations, written and produced by key members of the Next Generation team.) In fact, Spock’s death was so well done that director Bryan Singer lifted it almost verbatim for the climax of X-Men 2.


There were rumors leading up to the June 4, 1982 release of the film that Spock was going to die, so I knew it was at least a possibility. (I didn’t think they’d actually go through with it, though!) In that regard, I had a distinct advantage over Maddie, who totally didn’t see it coming. Like I said, I did everything I could to keep her from finding out about it ahead of time, so that her reaction would be natural, genuine, and influenced by nothing but the film itself.

And while I’m on the subject of Spock’s death, another mark of this film’s greatness is that despite the profound sadness of its conclusion, it nevertheless manages to sign off on a hopeful, thoroughly tantalizing note—one that quite literally ensured the future of Star Trek.

I could go on and on about this movie, as you can probably imagine by now, but it’s time for Maddie to weigh in…

MADDIE: “This was better than the first one! There was more action.

“The battle scenes were exciting. I liked the special effects—they made everything look real.

“The music in this one sounded a lot like the music from the TV show.

“I think the new uniforms are better than the ones from The Motion Picture.

“I wish Kirk’s hair looked like it did on the TV show.

“I think Kirk is better as a captain than as an admiral. Spock was right to tell him that.

“It was a big surprise when I found out that Kirk had a son. They barely knew each other. At the end, they don’t even really know how to hug each other! Their hug was very loose and awkward.

“I liked learning that Kirk cheated to beat the Kobayashi Maru test and got a commendation for original thinking. And I really liked when Kirk said, ‘I don’t like to lose’ and bit into the apple!

“Khan got old! And he got meaner! He was more violent. He was really thinking about himself and he wanted to get Kirk so bad that he would do anything. He was really insane in this one. It made me wonder why Kirk never checked up on Khan and his people after leaving them on that planet.

“I thought we were going to see Marla McGivers (Khan’s love interest from “Space Seed”) again. I was surprised to find out that she died.

“I was surprised that Chekov was on a different ship. I liked how he started saying, ‘We’ve got to get out of here!’ once he saw the belt buckle that said, ‘S.S. Botany Bay.’ He knew what that meant!

“Those little eels that Khan had—very gross! My ears hurt because Chekov and Captain Terrell were screaming at the top of their lungs when the eels crawled into their ears!

“McCoy hasn’t changed one bit. He’s still his old funny, frustrated self. He had so many funny lines! ‘Who’s been holding up the damned elevator?’ ‘Well, I’ve got Sickbay ready—now will someone please tell me what’s going on?’ ‘Are you out of your Vulcan mind?’ ‘You green-blooded, inhuman…!’

“Saavik was very close to Spock. I hope to see her in the next movie. It seemed like she had a lot more to learn and that she would be a good part of the crew. When she was doing the Kobayashi Maru test, I thought she did a very good job for a first-timer. And I liked her reaction when she found out that Kirk had cheated on the test.

“I think Carol Marcus is the blond girl that Gary Mitchell set Kirk up with when they were at the Academy together. Kirk almost married her! (NOTE: This was all mentioned in the TV episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”) It was nice to finally see her. I’d like to know more about her and her son David.

“I liked seeing Scotty’s nephew, but I’m sorry I won’t get to see him in the next movie because he died in the battle. But I thought it was very weird that he didn’t have a Scottish accent!”

“I liked how Spock got promoted to captain of the Enterprise. He was more human in this one. He told Kirk that he would always be Kirk’s friend.

“What happened to Spock at the end was very, very sad. I felt, if he dies, the whole show goes with him! It was very sad when Spock said, ‘Live long and prosper’ to Kirk and put his hand on the glass. What Kirk said at the funeral was very touching—but I didn’t hear all of it because I was crying so hard.

“If it was Dr. McCoy who died, I’d be crying for days!

“If Genesis makes dead things alive, maybe Spock has a chance of coming back. I’d like the next movie to show them finding Spock alive and everything’s normal again. But I think that having Spock do the ‘Space, the final frontier’ thing instead of Kirk at the end of the movie is like a final farewell from Spock.

“The only bad thing about this movie—I wanted to see them in battle with the Klingons!

The Wrath of Khan had nothing to do with The Motion Picture—Decker, Ilia, and V’Ger weren’t mentioned once. But I hope that the next movie has a lot to do with The Wrath of Khan.”

COMING SOON: The next movie!

© All content copyright Glenn Greenberg, 2011.

11 comments:

  1. As always, I'm blown away by how articulately Maddie expresses herself, and how much of Star Trek history she recalls from watching the original series. I really enjoy reading these blogs,and my feelings about Star Trek II echo yours in most respects, Glenn. The only thing I'll add is that I appreciate the first reference to vision care in the Star Trek universe (actually, the only one apart from Geordi's VISOR), when McCoy gives Kirk a pair of reading glasses, since Kirk is allergic to the drug Retnax V.

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  2. Loved this! Both your own and Maddie's recollections and observations.

    I was eight or nine when I first saw Star Trek 2 (my Mom being a big Trekkie) and it definitely played a formative role in my own Trekdom.

    I'll have to track down this Star Trek: Untold Voyages you mention... good ol' eBay!

    Did you read DC Fontana's Year Four for IDW? Of many of the Star Trek comics I've read, that felt so much like old Trek. (Unsurprisingly, I guess, considering the author.)

    Thanks for that

    - Bryan / bmcmolo

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  3. Welcome, Bryan!

    Yes, I did read D.C. Fontana's YEAR FOUR. I thought, for the most part, that it was very good, although I think it could have been simplified/streamlined a bit, and some key story points should have been made a little more clear and conveyed in a less subtle manner, as I found myself having to go back and carefully reread earlier sections to get a better sense of what was going on. But the character stuff was spot-on.

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  4. Okay, a few points:

    1. As usual, Maddie's first-timer perspective was a joy to read. I'm very pleased to see her getting started with STAR TREK because when it's at its best, it's all about the story with the effects serving as a mere accent. She's learning that of you don't have a solid story, you have nothing, and all the pretty gewgaws in the universe cannot mask a narrative that's a soulless husk (e.g. the Star Wars prequel trilogy). Therefore I cannot wait to read her bitch about STAR TREK V: THE SHATNERING.

    2. My favorite moment in the film was when Kirk or whoever made the observation noted that Khan was not thinking three-dimensionally when engaging in ship-to-ship combat in deep space.

    3. Kirstie Alley was indeed great as Saavik and would have made for a great new resident logician. Too bad we ended up with Robin Curtis instead.

    4. As you know, I went into this movie with a solid knowledge of TREK lore since I was but a wee Bunche, so when seeing it at a few weeks short of my seventeenth birthday, I had no problem with Chekov's awareness of the Botany Bay and who Khan was simply by virtue of it never being stated that Chekov had transferred to the Enterprise after the events seen in "Space Seed." We'd just never seen him, which was easily to believe when one takes into account a crew complement of 400+. Also, Khan had considerable historical prominence at that time and it is likely that damned near everyone in Starfleet would have been aware of the Enterprise's first run-in with Khan, so I bet Chekov would have at least heard about it at some point.

    (TO BE CONTINUED because this comment is apparently too long. There's a surprise...NOT!)

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  5. CONTINUED

    5. Sure, Khan was a dangerous and megalomaniacal superman, but I totally understood his vendetta against Kirk. Who wouldn't be majorly cheesed if he and his people were stranded on some backwater world and promised the occasional looking-in-on, only to find themselves neglected and eventually totally forgotten and have said world pretty much rendered bereft of the ability to sustain all but the hardiest of lifeforms thanks to a local supernova (there had to be oxygen-generating plants somewhere, and they must have been very tough)? If that shit had happened to me and killed my wife who was — important point here — NOT superhuman, I would have spent my every waking moment obsessing on the seemingly impossible and utterly horrifying revenge I would wreak upon one James T. Kirk (the "T" being for "toupee"). To me, that was the masterstroke of the films script, namely making the bad guy's rage fully relatable, and that is why Khan stands at the top of the heap of TREK antagonists. (I am loath to call him an outright villain because in his head he was always only doing what he thought was right and best for all concerned, and to hell with anything standing in his way. Then again, when you really go over it, TOS never really specialized in outright mustache-twirling blackguards. Even the Mexican-looking Klingons just came off as a pack of assholes on the side opposing our heroes. Well, maybe some of the guys depicted in "The Savage Beef Curtains," but that was about it.)

    6. I liked Carol but always found David to be a big nothing of a character. I did not care about him one whit, not even knowing he was Kirk's son. And considering the biological compatibility of the TREK universe's alien females with human reproductive anatomy, I always felt it was a cop-out that the only one of Kirk's bastard offspring that we saw (surely the galaxy was peppered with the captain's sprogs) was so boringly NOT a hybrid. I would have loved to see his kid be the result of a previously unmentioned tryst with a Vulcan woman. Imagine the shit Spock could have dryly given him for that, also giving Spock someone he could serve as an uncle and be able to understand the mixed kid's predicament 100% and offer the sympathetic pointed ear he never had, to say nothing of the field day that the writers could have had coming up with dialogue for McCoy on the subject. (I also feel the same way about Captain Sisko eventually hooking up with Cassidy Yates, who was not only human but conveniently black. LAME.)

    7. Though nearly thirty years old, the animated effects sequence demonstrating the Genesis Device still kicks my ass. I distinctly remember the entire audience drawing in an awed breath that registered their sense of sheer wonderment, a sound I'd last heard on the opening night of STAR WARS back in 1997 when the Millennium Falcon first jumped to light speed.

    8. I will always appreciate this film for including one of the few Paul Winfield performances that wasn't some sort of "uplifting" or "inspirational" Negro during the Civil Rights era or stuck in the deep rural South during the depression, the kind of nauseating shit that makes white people feel good about themselves and that played on THE HALLMARK HALL OF FAME. (However, of that type of role, I hold zero malice toward his work in the superb SOUNDER, but then again he's really only in it to get the plot and the main character's journey going.)

    So sit the wee one through THE SEARCH FOR COCK, er, SPOCK as soon as possible. I always found that one to be mediocre at best, so I'm waiting to see what Maddie has to say about it. Robin Curtis? Nigger, please...

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  6. Thanks for the great feedback, Bunche!

    1. Yeah, I'm curious to see how she reacts to "Shatner's Folly" myself.

    2. It was Spock who noted that Khan was demonstrating two-dimensional thinking. A very nice moment, punctuated by Shatner's reaction.

    3. I suspect I'll have plenty to say about Robin Curtis next time.

    4. Yup!

    5. I never got the impression that Kirk had any intention of ever checking up on Khan and his people, nor did he feel any obligation to. Far as he knew, he was leaving them on a stable world and they had all they needed to fend for themselves. At the end of "Space Seed," Spock says, "It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years and see what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today." And Kirk replies, "Yes, Mr. Spock. It would indeed." I took that to mean that there weren't really going to be any follow-ups, that Khan, Marla McGivers, and the Botany Bay Gang were pretty much on their own.

    But it was TOTALLY reasonable for Khan to assume that Kirk or Starfleet in general would eventually check up on them and, discovering that the planet had become a wasteland, evacuate them. As you say, Khan's obsession with Kirk and lust for revenge are totally understandable and relatable.

    6. Ever read the Chris Claremont/Adam Hughes Star Trek graphic novel DEBT OF HONOR? Strong implication of what you mention, in terms of Kirk planting his "space seed" in an alien female who is very, shall we say, close to being a Vulcan. (Not official canon, of course, but still...)

    I didn't mind David Marcus, I would have liked to see him developed further. There was potential there. He was certainly more interesting than Will Decker!

    By the way, in case you didn't know, Carol Marcus was actually in the early drafts of the script for STAR TREK VI, but her scene got cut out due to budgetary restrictions. I met Bibi Besch once, when I was a teenager, and she was a very nice, pretty lady.

    7. Yeah, Maddie thought that the Genesis demonstration sequence was really cool, and I was impressed by how well it holds up after all these years. Spectacular pioneering work by ILM!

    8. I believe it was Winfield's work in SOUNDER that made Nicholas Meyer want to cast him in STAR TREK II. His performance as Terrell really made an impression on me, and I remember that I was very pleased to see him show up in THE TERMINATOR a couple of years later. And of course, he guest-starred in the highly acclaimed STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode "Darmok"--though I've never quite understood why it's so beloved. That one always left me cold. Diff'rent strokes and all.

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  7. I did read that graphic novel and I loved the idea of T'Kir.

    And "Darmok" remains my favorite episode of TNG because it's totally about conquering the language barrier between to races, although I fail to see how there could be a communication form totally based on metaphor without there being a common language from which to extrapolate said metaphors, but there you go...

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  8. I've been meaning to comment for a while now, Glenn -- I'm finding this series of blog entries utterly charming. I love reading your daughter's thoughts, and the fact that the two of you are bonding over Star Trek is absolutely heartwarming to this aging geek. Are you going to just stick to original Trek, or will you be going through the other series as well?

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  9. Thanks for writing, John. Glad you're enjoying this run.

    For the most part, the plan is to stick to the original, and end with the 2009 movie.

    I'd prefer to avoid everything else, but it may not be possible to avoid watching certain episodes of the later series. For example, I think Maddie might want to see what became of Scotty, so I guess we'd watch "Relics" from TNG. And for her to understand Nimoy-Spock's status in Star Trek (2009), I figure she'll have to see "Unification," which established him as an ambassador working for peace with the Romulans. And if I'm going to expose her to TNG, I guess I might as well start with "Encounter at Farpoint," which introduces everyone (and features a cameo by McCoy).

    But one thing's for sure: I won't be going through all of TNG. For one thing, I don't have most of it in my collection. Just a few scattered episodes from each season that I bought on VHS, which I've since transferred to DVD. The other reason: I thought a lot of TNG was lame, disappointing, frustrating, or just plain awful--not worth my time and energy to write about.

    We WON'T be covering any of the TNG movies. You couldn't pay me to sit through GENERATIONS or NEMESIS again. The last we'll see of Shatner-Kirk will be in STAR TREK VI.

    In terms of DS9, I might show Maddie the Tribbles episode and maybe "The Visitor," which is fantastic--one of the best hours of Star Trek ever.

    As for Voyager and Enterprise--no fricking way.

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  10. Not going to subject her to Captain Kirk dying by falling off a bridge/scaffold? Can't imagine why... Although there are the occasional fun episodes from the fourth season of Enterprise -- the Mirror Universe episodes are kind of neat, particularly since both a Tholian and a Gorn are seen, and they tie into "The Tholian Web" and the fate of the Defiant.

    The problem I have with episodes like "The Visitor", or, for that matter, "The Inner Light" from TNG or "Twilight" from ENT, is that they are episodes that are pure emotional manipulation with ultimately no consequence since they hit the reset button (or, in the case of "Inner Light", nothing *really* happened. Picard had a dream of living the life of one of the last survivors of a long-since-extinct species. The end.)

    Sure, "The Visitor" tugs at the heart strings, but once the episode is over, nothing is remembered, and effectively none of it ever happened since it was swept away by time travel woojoo. It's a well-scripted and well-acted episode of something that ultimately never happened.

    But, you know, that's just me being curmudgeonly. :)

    And I totally get and appreciate why people love that episode (and the others -- the first couple of times I saw "Inner Light" I was weeping like a little girl by the end of it).

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  11. I agree with you on one thing (and probably more). Star Trek II made me a die-hard fan. In my case, not of Trek in general, though. Of Star Trek II, because it is a good film even when you do not associate it with Trek at all. Men like Asimov or Heinlein would be proud of having made it.

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