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Star Trek Re-Watch: “A Private Little War”

“A Private Little War”
Teleplay by Gene Roddenberry
Story by Jud Crucis
Directed by Marc Daniels

Season 2, Episode 19
Production episode: 2×16
Original air date: February 2, 1968
Star date: 4211.4

Mission Summary

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are conducting a scientific survey on the planet Neural, home to peaceful, pre-industrial natives. Kirk lived with them thirteen years ago on his first planetary survey, and describes the planet and its people as a veritable Garden of Eden (aside from the “ape-like carnivores” that are mentioned off-hand). As McCoy and the others collect interesting plant life, they see a group of dark-haired natives approaching on a nearby outcrop—but these men have flintlock rifles, not bows and arrows. That’s not right! They’re setting up an ambush for a group of white-haired natives (with bows and arrows), one of whom Kirk recognizes as his friend Tyree. Kirk draws his phaser but Spock reminds him that the Prime Directive forbids them from displaying such technology, so he throws a rock at the aggressors, successfully revealing his own position. Whoopsie.

They chase the three men, and Spock is shot by one of them, bleeding green blood. McCoy is able to signal to the Enterprise and Kirk orders Scotty to beam them out of there. Just as they arrive, Uhura tells the captain that a Klingon vessel has entered orbit around the planet. They can remain out of sight, but it might mean eventually breaking orbit around Neural. Spock is led away to Sickbay, and McCoy doesn’t know if he’ll make it.

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Torie’s (thoroughly spoiled!) Review of Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

There’s a lot to love in the new Star Trek film. For me, it wasn’t enough.

Star Trek is a rollicking space opera: you’ve got spaceships, lots of things blowing up, and a plot that moves so quickly it often leaves even itself behind. This is the future imagined by Mac fanboys everywhere: sleek glass displays, touchscreen interfaces, and a flood of information. It’s stunning and beautiful that way. The special effects are spectacular, and the action sequences are truly top-notch. The rapport among the characters was strong and funny, and there’s an excitement and energy that’s hard to describe. It’s a thrilling action-adventure.

I loved it as an action film.

Alas, it’s little more than that. The new film is, in a word, stupid. The plot is absolutely ridiculous; the story’s so full of holes it unravels at the merest hint of scrutiny. Worse, many of the characters are shallow representations of themselves, reduced to the kinds of cheesy space opera types that don’t do justice to the folks they’re supposed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal action film: fast-paced, fun, and without a doubt great entertainment. I loved it for that, and I’ll see it again for that alone. But it’s terrible Star Trek.

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Eugene’s (unspoiled!) Review of Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

I have a long history with Star Trek. Not as long as some people can claim, and certainly not as long as the franchise’s own history, but I’ve spent roughly half of my relatively brief life on Earth as a con-going, trivia-quoting fan. I’ve seen the good and the bad, and while the series at its best can be mind-blowingly amazing, one can argue that after five television series and ten movies, there are more bad hours of Trek than good.

J.J. Abrams’ new movie definitively tips the balance back to the good side.

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Immunity Syndrome”

“The Immunity Syndrome”
Written by Robert Sabaroff
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Season 2, Episode 18
Production episode: 2×19
Original air date: January 19, 1968
Star date: 4307.1
Mission summary

The Enterprise crew is looking forward to some overdue R&R at Starbase Sex Six, but there’s no rest for the weary: they receive garbled orders from the starbase concerning another Starfleet vessel, Intrepid. They aren’t sure what’s up, but Spock suddenly looks stricken with pain. When he recovers, he informs them that Intrepid was destroyed and its all-Vulcan crew of over 400 is dead. Dr. McCoy ushers him off to Sickbay, but it turns out the Vulcan science officer might be on to something; Starbase Six confirms that they’ve lost contact with system Gamma 7A and Intrepid, which was sent to investigate. Starfleet orders Enterprise in to mount a rescue. Kirk protests because he was supposed to be on vacation, but they change course for Gamma 7A. Chekov tells them that long-range sensors indicate that the entire system is dead, along with billions of inhabitants.

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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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