Tag Archives: star trek

Seven Things About: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (TOS)

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It has been a long time since I did a Trek review here so here we go – Episode 8 of Star Trek: The Original Series – seven things I have noticed

One

…two expeditions have failed to find (Dr Korby).

Captain Kirk (TOS: What are Little Girls Made of?)

Yes I am starting off with picking some nits. Dr Korby stopped sending messages, two expeditions failed to find him, and the Enterprise finds him in two minutes. Perhaps that should have been a sign of something being very much amiss. Still it makes for a nice short and effective teaser.

When it comes to TOS I am seeing it through the lenses of someone born twenty-one years after it was first seen. As such I often feel like I am not the target audience. As it turns out there is a good reason why Korby hasn’t been communicating but I would like to have seen a bit more suspicion.

Two

It isn’t my custom to send an away team of one.

Captain Janway (Voyager: Hunters)

Dr Korby requests that Kirk beam down alone. This too should have been a sign of there being something wrong. Starfleet has some pretty silly regulations but you would think even they wound’t let a Captain beam down to an unknown situation without escort. Then again you would think a typical landing party won’t consist of the two senior most officers and the CMO – incidentally Dr McCoy doesn’t appear in this episode.

Three

I’m the guy…who dies to prove the situation is serious.

Guy (Galaxy Quest)

In this episode we get two red shit deaths. This was where it all began. There were deaths before this but this was the first time red shirted security people had died. And did you know red was actually the safest colour? This video explains.

I still wouldn’t wear red!

Four

So that is how the solids experience intimacy.

The Female Changling (DS9: Favour the Bold)

When Kirk and Chapel arrive on the planet they are met by Andrea. Andrea is wearing a costume so skimpy that she is, putting it as delicately as I can, likely to fall out of it if she turns too quickly. Naturally Chapel is not too pleased to discover that her husband has been spending time with a young attractive woman. Korby decides to put her mind at ease but does it in a very strange way. He tells her that Andrea is just a machine and talks about the impossibility of loving her – she only responds to orders.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/wall-e-toy-on-beige-pad-2103864/

The implication being that sex cannot exist without love. As assurances go this is like claiming you couldn’t eat the ice cream because you didn’t have a spoon. It also seems to be stating that Andrea is not a sapient being which begs the question, this is where it gets a little blue, if Korby had slept with her would that be cheating or an advanced form of masturbation?

https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-wooden-chair-on-white-surface-963486/

The 1960s really must have been a different time. Meanwhile in the modern world a man is admitted to hospital with an injury involving a stuck kethup bottle. He claims he was up a ladder and landed on it butt first. A claim the doctor might have humoured him over – assuming the man could explain why he put a condom on a ketchup bottle. Given this information, for which I apologise, I think that a human and an anatomically correct android is not so far fetched. And by the way this episode has been reviewed by SFdebris – I happen to agree with him:
https://sfdebris.com/videos/startrek/s010.php

Five

I like the Yellow Ones

Thor (Stargate SG-1: Small Victories)

This one has nothing to do with anything but when Chapel and Kirk are served dinner on the planet it is coloured cubes in gravy. This is something I have seen in other franchises; SG-1 as mentioned above. For some reason there is this idea that food as we know it would fundamentally change and be reduced to coloured cubes.

I also find it odd that Kirk stays on the planet. With the transporter they are five minutes away and surely there would be some regulation about this. Over the course of TOS there are some rather silly regulations that are shown – such as bureaucrats and flag officers with no command experiences having the right to take charge and nearly getting everyone killed. A lot of episodes would be far shorter if characters had a bit more common sense. When Ruk, as Kirk, says they will be staying on the planet what if Spock had questioned that?

Six

Spinning is so much cooler than not spinning. I’m the General I want it to spin.

General Hammond (Stargate SG-1: 200)

When a robot of Kirk is made he is placed on a spinning platform. This scene looks very silly but perhaps it is being used to disorientate the viewer. When watching TOS the effects are always going to look dated. It is quite amazing how much special effects have come on since that time. And the less said about the phallic shaped rock at the end of the episode the better. As I said in number four the 60s really were a different time. Maybe no one in the production team noticed. Maybe none of them had the chutzpah to point it out.

Seven

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

The Emperor (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)

Well there had to be a sinister plot around here somewhere! Yes Korby plans to create android duplicates to take over the galaxy. (Cue evil laugh)

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Why does everyone want power?

Any excuse to share this.

It is a common theme of TV shows and films isn’t it? The person who wants to take over the world. It sound like far too much paperwork if you ask me! Usually these people have vast resources, and thus they can do a great deal anyway, and it is very rare that the reason for wanted to take over is valid. That said Korby at least wants to take over for the betterment of mankind. Although couldn’t he do that with the points I made in back at number 4?

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No. I am not suggesting he take over the world with sex robots but Korby could sell them for a variety of purposes. Despite later information to the contrary money does exist in TOS. So Korby could start a business and he would be very rich very fast. It is more of a long game than just replacing key figures but surely more effective.

Aren’t you doing exactly what you hate most in Humans: killing with no more concern than when you turn off a light?

I am not a computer. Test me. Ask me to solve any… Equate… Transmit… Christine! Christine, let me prove myself!…

Don’t you see Roger? Everything you’ve done has proved it isn’t you.”

I AM Roger Korby!

Kirk, Korby, and Chapel (Star Trek: The Original Series: What are Little Girls Made of?)

Korby is revealed to be an android too and shortly afterwards he vaporises himself and Andrea. Doing this ends the threat and the galaxy is safe.

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This episode review has been in draft for a long time. The truth is that I don’t really have many thoughts on it. In fact while watching TOS it felt to me like there was a bit of a hump to get over before getting into a string of really good episodes.

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I struggle with TOS. When I think of where I would place it in a ranking of all the Trek series I don’t know where to put it. I think I now know the reason for my confusion…

Watching TOS is live visiting an elderly relative. That sounds weird but here me out because I have thought this through…

Visiting grandma is usually fun. You play games, have chocolate, watch television, perhaps help her with her housework, and have a nice conversation. However sometimes Grandma will say something wrong. Well not wrong exactly but something that indicates the generational gap. She might describe a black person as ‘coloured’ for instance. And it is not because she harbours any racism necessarily she is just using the language in the way she grew up with it. (Incidentally I wonder what words of mine my nephew will cringe at in thirty or forty years.) And so we cringe inwardly and move on.

Watching TOS is like that for me. It has some great episodes and ideas but some of the ideas and the lines haven’t aged well at all. Kirk can be a bit creepy at times, mind you so can Riker but we’ll get to that much later, and so I have to remind myself when it was made.

I feel that TOS hasn’t aged too well. When I first saw it it must have been at least twenty years old. TNG is now over thirty and it feels like it has aged far better. Although TNG still has its moments of cringe.

What are Little Girls Made Of? is an interesting episode but in my view it is also unremarkable. There are lots of better episodes which we will get too soon – next up is: Miri.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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What about our many Fans?

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We seem to live in a creative lull at the moment. That is not to say that we don’t have great TV and films to watch but consider this question: How many films and TV shows can you think of released in the last few years that have no connection to anything that has gone before? Maybe I am just out of touch but what I see is a saturation of reboots, remakes, prequels, sequels, adaptations, and based on real events.

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Star Trek: Discovery is technically a prequel and not a reboot. However so much has been changed and retconned it might as well be a new show. My question is why isn’t it a new show? Answer: Money.

Dollar signs! Money! I didn’t build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna go to the stars? I don’t even like to fly. I take trains. I built this ship so that I could retire to some tropical island filled with …naked women. That’s Zefram Cochrane. That’s his vision. 

Zefram Cochrane (Star Trek: First Contact)

I look at any work of fiction from a writing and creative standpoint. I am however aware that they are also a business. If a series is being created, and millions spent on it, then it will need to have views. In order to have viewers they need to make it as accessible as possible. And a connection to something that has gone before is as easy a way as any. However I think that that attitude is in danger of alienating the established fans. That is certainly how I feel when looking at Star Trek: Discovery.

…it… it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.

Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Prophecy Girl)

The problem with science-fiction is the speed at which technology marches on. Discovery needs to look superior to today’s technology while looking interior to a 1960’s version of the future. This is, of course, impossible.

…well mostly.

I still think Enterprise had many issues but the look of the show, particularly the internal sets, was well done. It really gave the feel of a ship that was more advanced than today but still less advanced than the 1701. There are, naturally, a few compromises but it is never going to be completely cohesive.

Discovery doesn’t seem to have the same care and attention. Having touch screen controls makes sense but the series didn’t need holograms to work. I like continuity and a cohesive universe. In my view if a writer doesn’t want to be concerned with continuity why not begin again… well I have the answer to that above… Discovery has given me an appreciation of Enterprise as now I see the good and can ignore the facepalmingly bad.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/city-man-person-people-34802/

Well ignore might be too strong a word.

Many people are enjoying Star Trek: Discovery and that is wonderful. I truly mean that but it is not for me. One of my friends who likes it said you have to forget about the other shows. Again why not make something new?

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In other news the BBC is adapting His Dark Materials.

Doesn’t it look good?

And I can’t wait! I know that this contradicts all I have been saying above. I am not against books and TV shows based on other things. I would just like to see lots of new things coming out along side them. Said the man who hasn’t been to the cinema in ages and will probably next see Star Wars: Episode IX.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.  

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Enemy Within

adult anger angry angry face

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The Enemy Within is the first Star Trek episode to include a transporter malfunction. This would become a staple of the Trek universe. In this story Captain Kirk is split into two halves his good and bad sides. This story requires a hefty suspension of disbelief.  It also requires Shatner to over act so he is right at home.

That might be a bit of a cheep shot but Shatner does have a well earned reputation for over acting. In this episode as evil Kirk he has to yell ‘I’m Captain Kirk.’

As well as the dilemma of Kirk being split in two there is also the problem of the landing party being stranded on the planet. Watching this now the obvious question is why not use the shuttle? There is only the out of universe explanation that they didn’t yet have a shuttle to use. Even so they could have rescued them off screen and done so without need of a new set.

man person people emotions

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I have seen this episode before but not for a long time. This time I found myself identifying with Kirk’s predicament as he sees the other him – the savage him.

I feel that way sometimes of having a part of my being that I can’t, or don’t want to, face a lot of the time. For me it is not about evil and good – rather it is happiness and sadness.

I have days when all the weight of life feels too much. I feel a sense of hopelessness. In those moments all my life goals feel far away and there seem to be no possibilities for change. Then, sometimes, I feel happy without specific stimulus. In those moments everything does seem possible – although still far far away.

oval brown framed mirror

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So when Kirk sees this mirror of himself – this violent man. I believe I can almost understand. When I am in a state of being alright the great sadness is alien to me and I cannot imagine how it feels. It makes it hard to seek help because it is like describing a sunny day in the park to an eyeless fish in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Star Trek is well known for these types of stories. It often uses science fiction to try and explore an aspect of humanity. That aspect could be internal and emotional or external and dealing with important issues.

We have another incident of violence against woman. Evil Kirk assaults Yeoman Rand.  This is made even worse considering what happened to Grace Lee Whitney in her real life. That scene made for uncomfortable viewing and Spock’s last line of the episode, where he suggests, obliquely,  that Rand might have liked it is disgusting. It is stuff like this that makes me unsure of TOS as a whole. The 1960s seem so alien to me a lot of the time. We have a long way to go in treating all people with proper respect but I think we have come a long way too.

fitness power man person

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I am going to come up against heavy topics a lot in this show it seems. The past really is another world.

In conclusion though this was a good story. It explore the concepts of the two sides of humanity quite well. I do wonder if they would have been better off removing the landing party plot to focus more on the main plot. We do get a nice moment with Spock where he talks about the two sides of his being and how he has to balance them.

We are only a few episodes into TOS but I will be back with the next episode which is: Mudd’s Women – which is also fairly anti-women. I am sensing a theme here. I am so looking forward to reviewing my favourite TOS episodes. We have a little way to go yet.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I now have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Cage

muffin sweet bakery treat

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I am never going to be super fit. I know this because of two pieces of evidence. Who am I kidding it is more than two. The two I was going to go with are that I am currently eating a chocolate chip muffin and drinking a chai latte – and that I have to practically drag my ass to the gym when I go.

I did go to the gym yesterday – really yesterday this time. I am writing this only a few hours before you will see it.

animal animal photography animal portrait black and white

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I did about 55 minutes on the treadmill. I wasn’t doing an intense work out but I was exercising so I’m glad about that. While I exercised I was watching The Cage. Yep the first, and rejected, pilot episode of Star Trek.

It is difficult to put myself in to the mind of the executives that rejected it but over all I think this episode stands up pretty well.

The character of Number One is a wonderfully strong character. It is such a shame that we didn’t get her later on. I have nothing against Spock, of course, but Number One staying would have been groundbreaking.

One of the strangest parts of the episode was at the very beginning. Captain Pike considers retiring and thinks about a new career. This is strange for two reasons. Firstly since this is a pilot it seems obvious they will not be writing the lead out so why is this here? And secondly one of the jobs he considers is being a slave trader. You think I’m making that up don’t you? Go watch the episode it is all there.

On the subject of Orion slave girls there is something a bit strange about that scene. And I don’t just mean the green woman. One of the men who sits next to Pike is wearing a Starfleet uniform. Which is weird as it was implied that this fantasy was drawn from the idea that it was something Pike could never do. That has just always struck me as strange that’s all. I know Starfleet wasn’t said in the episode but we all know what it was.

Spock smiles. This is because they hadn’t completely figured out the character yet. Those plants must have a weird effect on Vulcans and Pike was nice enough not to say anything.

Spock uses the term Class M. I mention this as the geek in me loves that that was present from the very beginning.

The story itself was a little on the simple side. I feel though that it did its job well in showing what the show would be like. Each week traveling to a new planet and having an adventure.

The characters are not that well defined. Spock would be the only one to continue. Pike does appear again but the less said about that the better. The beeping thing has always struck me as stupid.

As to the other characters, with the exception of Doctor Boyce, they are not even named. Boyce comes across as a proto-McCoy. He has a friends with the captain and seems to believe in the medicinal qualities of alcohol.

The Cage is a good solid pilot. The problem is it is effectively for a show that never happened. Although this was rejected the second pilot was accept and, to end on a cliche, the rest is history.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

 

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First Contact

antenna-contact-dawn-33153 In the Star Trek universe the 5th of April 2063 is the day humans make first contact – only 45 years to go.

Of course if that were true then it would mean we would have to have a third world war and have to have had a Eugenics war back in the 1990s.

It is possible that there were too many hads in that paragraph.

I am a life long science fiction fan. I really want to know the answer to the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. Personally I believe there are other lifeforms out in space. Given then vastness of space it seems impossible that we could be alone.

pexels-photo-25316 This brings is to the Fermi Paradox – or to put it more simply ‘Where is everybody.’

I rather like the idea that aliens are giving us a wide berth. Humans have a hard enough time understanding each other’s behaviour sometimes so how would an alien understand?

earth-blue-planet-globe-planet-41953Star Trek’s optimism of the future is a wonderful thing. I do wonder though what the real effect of an alien’s arrival on Earth would be.

In the movie First Contact the Earth had been ravaged by war. As such there may not have been any military capable of engaging an ‘invading’ ship. And Cochrane was just an independent scientist – at least from what we see in the film.

If aliens came to us in the real world they would face a strong planet and would certainly be met with fear. Therefore any aliens wanting to contact us would be very careful – maybe the prime directive is real – maybe they are in another galaxy – maybe in all the universe we are first – after all someone has to be.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The picture here is from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Orinoco

Sorry Enya fans this post has nothing to do with her. In case that is why you are here I’ll just post this:

No I am talking about a different Orinoco: 20170826_214306 This is from the Eaglemoss the Official Star Trek starships collection. I have been cherry picking these for a while and have finally got this beautiful runabout.

The runabouts were a wonderful idea. Like a shuttle but they certainly pack a bigger punch and actually seem to have an airlock – unlike the silly shuttles used in TNG.

Having this model allows me to tell you a little story. A poorly timed story but who’s counting?

I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing in Father Christmas. But this little ship might have been something to do with it. I have the vague recollection of asking for one for Christmas once – not a model an actual ship!

I have no idea what five or six year old me was planning to do with such a well armed vessel but there it is.

I do remember often asking for impossible presents from Father Christmas. It was my thinking that he was magical. He didn’t need to go down to Toys’R’Us did he?

It was all rather wonderful to be a child and believe in magic. I look forward to those days with my nephew.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

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Nitpicking and Reviewing

I like to watch television shows analytically. pexels-photo-143714 I enjoy the process of seeing more than what is there. Some people, citation needed, have the attitude of: ‘It’s a TV show you’re thinking too much.’ – or words to that effect.

I know fiction is fiction. Yes here at Unstable Orbit – we state the obvious! I don’t know who we is!

What I mean is I know that fiction isn’t something that matters in the grand scheme of things but analysing it is fun to me. Again some people say that picking it apart ruins the fun. I disagree.

For a few years I have been watching SFdebris. He does reviews of various TV shows, with Star Trek being his flagship show, and I find these reviews fascinating. He has wonderful insights into what works and, more interestingly, what doesn’t work.

When something doesn’t work in fiction it is interesting to discuss it – and also what could have been done differently. What is most infuriating is when an episode has a flaw but also an easy fix.

I have been thinking for a while of doing reviews on this site. If I did I would probably start with Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager is an interesting series to discuss because, while it isn’t actually bad, it could have been so much more.

I have also been watching ruminations by a You Tuber called Lorerunner. I have been watching his reviews of Voyager too and Babylon 5. Since he is a big fan of Babylon 5 it is very easy to gush over the series. There is still a lot to say about a, for lack of a better word, good series but it is more fun to talk about a flawed series.

Speaking of Babylon 5 reviewing like this is what Captain Sheridan would probably call ‘Armchair quarterbacking’. Although, unlike the strict interpretation of that phrase, I actually have some writing experience.

Experience is a curse sometimes because you can see the gap in fiction and reality. Does that make sense? Let’s say you’re a cellist. If a character is playing the cello you would immediately know that it wasn’t real.
Similarly with writing I can’t turn off my brain so I will  Woman Playing the Violoncello notice when things go wrong in fiction. These can be big nitpicks or small nitpicks.

Small nitpicks are not an issue to me. If the Enterprise fires a phaser from the torpedo tube it is just a goof doesn’t effect the story. However if the Enterprise is suddenly able to beam through shields that is a problem because of how often that has been relevant to the stories.

Since procrastination is my middle name I don’t know when I will get to reviews. I already have a lot of projects I am interested in doing. However if I don’t ultimately end up doing this I want to leave you with this final thought.

Picking apart a TV series doesn’t mean I don’t also like it. Some series have gaping holes in them and many a head scratchier moment. However if the story is well told we can ignore these flaws.

Amongst Star Trek fans Threshold is often seen as one of the worse episodes. While it is bad it can still be enjoyed – just not, necessarily, in the way it was intended.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

 

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