TOS Re-Watch Archive

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Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Man Trap”

The Man Trap
Written by George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Marc Daniels

Season 1, Episode 1
Production Episode: 1×05
Original air date: September 8, 1966
Star date: 1531.1

Mission summary
The Enterprise is in orbit around M-113, a planet so boring they didn’t bother naming it. Dr. McCoy is making a house call on his old flame Nancy Crater and her husband, who have been studying ruins on the surface for five years. Captain Kirk joins McCoy, seemingly for no reason, along with “Crewman Darnell.” Three beam down, two will beam up—you know the drill.

It turns out that Nancy is not what she seems, and she seems to be a lot of things: McCoy sees the woman he loved, exactly the way she appeared twelve years before; Kirk sees a woman of advancing years (which is why he doesn’t immediately call dibs); and the crewman sees a blond and busty woman from Rigley’s Pleasure Planet (truthfully, she seems more to Kirk’s taste). The blond lures the crewman away, and the next thing we know, the guy is dead with some mysterious splotches on his face, almost like…suction cups. The sucker has been sucked—of salt!

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The Star Trek Re-Watch: Introductory Post

3 seasons. 79 episodes. 1,771,561 tribbles.

Torie Atkinson and I will be covering one episode per post, in air date order, from “The Man Trap” to “Turnabout Intruder.” (No use arguing about the “proper” episode order, but if you must, fire away in the comments.) As fascinating as those new HD CGI effects are, we’re watching this series in its original format, cheesy special effects and all, the way the Great Bird of the Galaxy intended. We won’t even skip the bad episodes, because those are the most fun to talk about.

Each post will have a brief summary of the episode, followed by commentary and often interesting bits of trivia. And since Star Trek fans are nothing if not vocal and opinionated, we’ll ask some questions and raise points of debate for everyone to discuss. We also hope you’ll watch along with us, since all the episodes are freely available online at CBS.com, and let’s face it, you probably still have all those VHS tapes, laserdiscs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, and soon Blu-Ray discs that Paramount has issued and re-issued at exorbitant prices.

Torie and I will be alternating episodes and commenting on each other’s posts. Since I’m a card-carrying Trekkie (really, my credit card is sanctioned by the United Federation of Planets), and Torie’s watching many of these episodes for the first time, we think this will provide an interesting look at the series from a Star Trek veteran and someone with a fresh perspective—making our reviews suitable for existing fans and people new to this whole phenomenon.

In case you’re wondering what makes me qualified to talk about Star Trek (as if my credit card weren’t proof enough): I’ve been a huge fan of the show for 18 years (I’m 30 now, but not living in my mother’s basement). I came to the franchise late, beginning with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on HBO. I had previously not only ignored the show but went out of my way to avoid it, until that film showed me just how smart and complex it could be. (Thank goodness I sampled one of the even numbered movies first.) That set me off and I soon went after everything I could get my hands on: Collector’s Edition VHS tapes from my Latin teacher, media tie-in novels, The Next Generation reruns (still my favorite series) and pretty soon thereafter, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

I gave up on Enterprise. Didn’t you?

Perhaps my strongest qualification is the fact that my name is Eugene, just like Gene Roddenberry! That’s like, fate.

Basically, I love Star Trek, but it’s been a long time since I’ve re-watched it; my tapes were in storage, one of the compromises of living in NYC. I recently panicked when the non-Lucased (can that be a word?) DVDs went out of print, so I bought them all and have just been waiting for an excuse to watch the show again. So far I’m really enjoying this project, and I hope all of you do, too. It should be an interesting voyage.

Torie Atkinson: I’m not even going to try to compete with the Federation credit card, but I assure our readers that I’m well-qualified for such a mission. I’m a long-time Star Trek fan—my first movie was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which I caught on TV as a kid (in my whale biologist phase, no less). I’m pretty sure my parents only watched because it took place near our home town. (Extra credit! Where was ST:IV actually filmed? No Googling, people!) It was kind of history from there: the first series I caught on-air was Voyager, and I worked my way backward. My re-watch of choice tends to be TNG, so I’m a little ashamed to admit that while I’m familiar with a good many of these episodes, this will be my first real sit-down watch-through of the whole shebang.

We’ll start next week with our first episode: “The Man Trap.” Play along at home by watching it free at CBS.com.

I hope I won’t be the only one new to this series, and that you will have fun watching these with us!


A version of this post originally appeared on Tor.com.