Archive for April, 2010

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “A Piece of the Action”

“A Piece of the Action”
Written by David P. Harmon
Teleplay by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon
Directed by James Komack

Season 2, Episode 17
Production episode: 2×20
Original air date: January 12, 1968
Star date: Unknown

Mission summary

Enterprise is in orbit around Sigma Iotia II, a remote, pre-warp planet that was “contaminated” over a hundred years ago by a visit from the USS Horizon, a Federation ship. The Horizon was lost shortly after leaving the system and its conventional radio signal only recently reached Starfleet. Because the Horizon arrived before the Prime Directive, Starfleet is concerned about the progress of the local culture, which was just becoming an industrial society when Horizon visited. Kirk has been sent to investigate what, if anything, has gone wrong. (Spoilers: both what and anything have gone wrong.)

Uhura makes contact with the apparent leader Bela Okmyx, who calls himself “Boss,” and instructs Kirk to beam down for his “welcoming committee.” Sounds like fun! Kirk takes Dr. McCoy and Spock with him, and they beam in the middle of an intersection on an urban street. Okmyx’s men greet him—with tommy guns.

Sigma Iotia II is some kind of warped version of Chicago in the 1920s, controlled by “bosses” who demand a percentage from the locals and in turn “take care of them.” Everyone has a weapon—men, women, drivers—and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are quickly disarmed by Kalo, a lackey. Within moments a drive-by shooting kills some of the lackeys, and Kalo explains that it was Krako, Okmyx’s chief rival. He won’t say anything else and leads the crew to see Boss Okmyx. The Boss is in a gorgeous old-fashioned study, complete with wood desk, pool table, bathtub gin, and a blank-looking attractive young assistant. Propped on a music stand is a book titled Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, which Spock notes was published in 1992. The obvious source of the contamination! This highly imitative culture latched onto this book as a model upon which to build their society, a twisted blueprint.

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Gamesters of Triskelion”

“The Gamesters of Triskelion”
Written by Margaret Armen
Directed by Gene Nelson

Season 2, Episode 16
Production episode: 2×17
Original air date: January 5, 1968
Star date: 3211.7

Mission summary

Enterprise is assigned to check on the automatic communications and astrogation stations on an uninhabited planet, Gamma II. Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are all set to beam down when they abruptly disappear from the transporter pad without the usual shining and whining beam effect. Scotty’s a miracle worker, but even he isn’t good enough to work the transporter without touching the controls—he has no idea what happened, or where they are. Spock is dubious.

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Tribbles Week: Re-watching Futurama’s “The Problem With Popplers”

The Re-Watch has come upon “The Trouble with Tribbles,” easily the most celebrated episode of the entire original series (if not the whole franchise). It would be wrong—nay, criminal—if we did not properly do our own tribute. As such, we are taking the opportunity to devote this week to everyone’s favorite furry little breeding factory, the Tribble.


“The Problem With Popplers”
Written by Patric M. Verrone
Story by Darin Henry
Directed by Chris Sauve & Gregg Vanzo

Season 2, Episode 15
Production episode: 2×15
Original air date: May 7, 2000
Star date: 3001 (exact date unknown)
Opening subtitle: “For External Use Only”

Delivery Assignment:

The Planet Express crew has just left the homeworld of the Moochers, where Fry was swindled out of his cash and his pants (all in all not the worst day he’s had). The Moochers also pilfered the ship’s pantry, and the only food left is baking soda and capers. Starving, they see a planet on the horizon:

FRY: Maybe that planet over there has a drive-thru. A Burger Jerk or a Fishy Joe’s or a Chizzler or something.
BENDER: Ah, don’t get your hopes up. We’re a billion miles from nowhere.
LEELA: Yeah. It’s probably only got a Howard Johnson’s.

They land on a jungle-like “Type M” planet, which “should at least have Roddenberries.” They don’t see any of those but they do see a pit full of what looks like battered and fried shrimp! What luck! Leela uses her electronic armband to determine that they’re not poisonous, and tries one.

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Tribbles Week: Re-watching Deep Space Nine’s “Trials and Tribble-ations”

The Re-Watch has come upon “The Trouble with Tribbles,” easily the most celebrated episode of the entire original series (if not the whole franchise). It would be wrong—nay, criminal—if we did not properly do our own tribute. As such, we are taking the opportunity to devote this week to everyone’s favorite furry little breeding factory, the Tribble.


“Trials and Tribble-ations”
Story By Ira Steven Behr, Hans Beimler, & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Teleplay By Ronald D. Moore & René Echevarria
Directed by Jonathan West

Season 5, Episode 6
Production episode: 5×06
Original air date: November 4, 1996
Star date: 3614.9

Mission Summary:

Dulmur and Lucsly from Temporal Investigations have arrived (on time…) on Deep Space 9, wishing to see Captain Sisko. They are dour, humorless g-men, and not ones for chit-chat. They ask him point blank, “Why did you take the Defiant back in time?”

Sisko explains that it was an accident, and Dulmur and Lucsly are thankful, at least, that he doesn’t try and claim a predestination paradox. “We hate those,” Lucsly says.

LUCSLY: So, what happened?
SISKO: This may take some time.
DULMUR: Is that a joke?
SISKO: No.
LUCSLY: Good.
DULMUR: We hate those too.

Sisko begins his story…

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Tribbles Week: Re-Watching Star Trek: The Animated Series “More Tribbles, More Troubles”

The Re-Watch has come upon “The Trouble with Tribbles,” easily the most celebrated episode of the entire original series (if not the whole franchise). It would be wrong—nay, criminal—if we did not properly do our own tribute. As such, we are taking the opportunity to devote this week to everyone’s favorite furry little breeding factory, the Tribble.


“More Tribbles, More Troubles”
Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Hal Sutherland

Season 1, Episode 5
Production episode: 22001
Original air date: October 6, 1972
Star date: 5392.4
Mission summary

Enterprise is escorting two robot ships loaded with quintotriticale to Sherman’s Planet when they happen across a Klingon battle cruiser attacking a one-man scout ship, in Federation space. While Kirk orders the Klingons to stand down, Scotty attempts to beam the pilot aboard before his ship is destroyed; fortunately the Klingons are terrible shots, which buys him some time. The scout ship is finally destroyed, but the explosion makes it difficult to integrate the transporter signal.

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Trouble with Tribbles”

“The Trouble with Tribbles”
Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Season 2, Episode 15
Production episode: 2×13
Original air date: December 29, 1967
Star date: 4523.3

Mission summary

As Enterprise arrives at Deep Space Station K-7, Chekov and Spock brief Kirk on the history of the area. This could be a tricky mission; they’re only one parsec away from the Klingon border, and control of nearby Sherman’s Planet is disputed by the Federation and the Klingons. The Organians have stipulated that whichever side can best develop the planet will win the prize, as if this were some reality show for their amusement. A call from Uhura interrupts Chekov’s Russian nationalism to tell them that K-7 is transmitting a Code One Emergency distress call, used only in situations of “near or total disaster.” Assuming a Klingon attack, Enterprise goes to warp six, prepared for battle.

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “Wolf in the Fold”

“Wolf in the Fold”
Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Season 2, Episode 14
Production episode: 2×07
Original air date: December 22, 1967
Star date: 3614.9

Mission Summary

We begin, as many fine things do, in a den of iniquity. No, it’s not Risa—that was last week—it’s Argelius II, a “completely hedonistic society,” as McCoy puts it. (He takes us to all the best places.) Mr. Scott apparently suffered a head injury due to a female crewman, and the men are there to make sure he “recovers” from his “resentment towards women.” Let’s assume this is just a flimsy excuse to go to the hedonism planet and not actually an indication of baffling shallowness on Mr. Scott’s part. There, assumed.

In a Middle Eastern-style club that more closely resembles a low-end porn palace, Kirk, McCoy, and Mr. Scott are seated on cushions watching a belly dancer gyrate and shimmy as musicians play in the background.

KIRK: Do you like her, Scotty?
SCOTT: Aye. Why shouldn’t I?
KIRK: Good. I’ve invited her to join us at the table. I thought you might like to meet her.
SCOTT: Now that’s what I call a real Captain. Always thinking of his men.

His “men.” Yeah.

Mr. Scott uses a stereotypical Scottish pick-up line about the Aberdeen fog, and the dancer, Kara, claims she’s “dying to learn.” Dun dun dun. At this point a young man at a neighboring table swishes his cape (his cape!) angrily and leaves. Not suspicious at all.

They exit for their walk through the fogs that are mysteriously native to this planet, and Kirk invites McCoy to a place downtown “where the women—” McCoy cuts him off with a knowing “Yes!” but as they exit the club into the aforementioned fog, they hear a woman’s scream.

They discover Kara, dead, with multiple stab wounds, and Scotty clutching a bloodied knife. Worst date ever!

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “What Men Dare Do”

“What Men Dare Do”
Written by K.C. Hunter and Benny Russell
Directed by Allen Smith

Season 2, Episode 13.5
Production episode: 2×19
Original air date: April 1, 1968
Star date: 3253.6

Mission Summary:

In full dress uniform, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock await a special guest in the transporter room: Commodore Robert April, the first captain of the Enterprise. We learn that he just celebrated his thirtieth anniversary in Starfleet. To reward his exemplary service, they’ve promoted him to Federation Ambassador and assigned him to a diplomatic desk job on a planet. Kirk warmly welcomes the ambassador, praising his handling of an early encounter with the Andorians, while Spock greets him as an old acquaintance. They apparently met when Captain Pike assumed command of the ship, and April comments, “Heard about that nasty business on Talos IV. Thanks for taking care of Chris.”

The captain and first officer take him on a tour of the much-altered ship. Spock helpfully lists each aspect of the ship that has changed since his command, from the wall panel circuitry to the turbolift hydraulics couplings. April notes that he Spock is “as Vulcan as ever,” and gives Kirk a knowing look. When they reach Engineering, Mr. Scott runs through some of the overhauls he has completed, and April compliments him on “keeping the old bird flying.” They eventually make their way to the Bridge, where April nostalgically fondles the console buttons on the captain’s chair as Kirk sits in it. It’s been a long time. April offers the captain some advice:

APRIL: Don’t let them promote you, Jim. Don’t let them transfer you. Don’t let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of this ship, because while you’re in that chair, you can make a difference.

Soon a large blue planet fills the viewscreen. They have arrived at their destination, the Federation planet Risa. As they prepare to head to the transporter room, Uhura anxiously warns the captain that a Klingon vessel is in orbit around the planet, too.

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