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Thursday, November 11, 2010

From Beyond Television: Star Trek--The Naked Time


STAR TREK the original series Season 1 episode 4


Directed by Marc Daniels

The Enterprise respond to a distress call from Psi 2000 and upon landing, discover the research stations life support has been shut off. With no survivors, they find the frozen dead in a most peculiar state. One of them was found taking a shower fully clothed! A member of the landing party inspects further and unwittingly brings back a deadly space bacteria with him aboard the ship. Having an adverse effect on those exposed through a simple touch, the bacteria causes the crew to literally go insane. With the ships engines having been shut down, Kirk must save both his crew and the Enterprise before the ship plummets back into the frozen planets atmosphere.

This is one of the most fondly remembered episodes of the original series. It's also the first of several shows where we get to see some curious toying around with the roles of some of the main cast, most particularly Spock. Both he and Kirk get into a slight scuffle at the end. One of several brief fights over the course of the three season run. There's also a hint that Kirk desires Yeoman Janice Rand, something that comes to the fore in the next episode, 'The Enemy Within'.

"Attention cooks, this is your Captain speaking. I would like double portions of ice cream for the entire crew. And now, your Captain will render an ancient Irish favorite...'I'll take you home again, Kathleeeeennnn....!"

Easily the most hilariously memorable role on this episode is Bruce Hyde as Kevin Thomas Riley. The character appeared in one other episode, but this one is the best. Upon exposure to the disease, Riley turns into this playfully dangerous, devil-may-care irritant who single-handedly puts the entire ship in mortal danger after locking himself in the engineering room and forcing everyone aboard to listen to his rendition of 'Kathleen' over and over, suggesting the women wear their hair "loosely about their shoulders", and announces a dance in the "bowling alley".

"Lieutenant Uhura, you've interrupted my song. Uh, I'm sorry, but there'll be no ice cream for you tonight...And now, crew...I shall render "Kathleen" more TIME!"

It's a totally bonkers performance and one that warrants numerous viewings in addition to the other craziness going on. Stewart Moss as Joey, the one who unknowingly brings the space bacteria aboard the Enterprise, also played Hanar in the overly violent ST episode, 'By Any Other Name'. He also appeared in 70's horror movies like the groovy DOCTOR DEATH: SEEKER OF SOULS (1973) and the goofy THE BAT PEOPLE (1974).

George Takei gets to run around brandishing a rapier reliving something out of an old Errol Flynn movie. He gets a bit excited on the bridge which prompts Spock to incur one of those always welcome Vulcan Nerve Pinches. Meanwhile, fights break out all over the ship, others act totally pleased with themselves while others such as Nurse Chapel reveals her intimate feelings for Spock. The Vulcan himself, fights against letting his human side ascend to the surface. Even when the disease is contained, the Enterprise is far from out of trouble. It turns out Riley had shut down the engines and their 30 minute restart is impossible in the amount of time before the ship crashes back into the atmosphere of Psi 2000. Kirk and Scotty are forced to test a scientific theory in order to save the ship and its crew.

What this episode does most brilliantly is showing the Enterprise in peril, yet making it hilarious at the same time. The script, like so many of the original series, allows for so much character development allowing the viewer a look into the thoughts of some of the secondary roles on the show and also those of the main cast. We get a glimpse of Christine Chapel's love for Spock as well as Kirk's love for his ship. All in all, it's a great episode, one of many and one of the most fun out of its 79 episode run.



Fang Shih-yu said...

Riley: he should've been the "Kramer" of the 23rd century! How I wished he got a chance to beat up Charlie X!

Fine choice of episode, venoms5!

I see you have links to the ST Blu-ray sets; I've the first season! Great stuff!

What do you think of the "enhanced" versions of the episodes? I think they work well because the effects are not overdone!

After one look at these reworked shows, with few exceptions, I pass on watching the episodes with old effects shots!

Skeme Richards said...

One of my favorite episodes is Mirror Mirror can watch that episode almost any time. Tomorrow is Yesterday is another fav but I can pretty much watch all of them. Haven't seen a marathon on tv in quite some time.

venoms5 said...

@ Fang: Yeah, Riley was great. He was in one other episode, but had little to do. Actually, I hate those refurbished versions. I watched an episode or two on television recently and thought it was just a waste of money for Paramount to do so. I'll always take the original shots over the redone ones; just like with the STAR WARS movies. I refuse to watch those jazzed up versions. That's not the STAR WARS I remember. I get why they're doing it, I just don't agree with it.

@ Skeme: Yeah, MIRROR, MIRROR is an ace episode, too. Uhura looked about as hot as she ever did in that one. TOMORROW IS YESTERDAY, that's the one with Roger Perry as the air force pilot, right? I liked the first two seasons the best. The third season had sporadic episodes that were really good, imo. Every once in a while, I get out the box set and watch a handful of them back to back, or slowly go through them all over a period of time.

Ikkin-bot said...

I've always thought that making life threatening situations funny was one of the things Star Trek was best at (both intentionally and sometimes unintentionally)

venoms5 said...

I agree, Ikkin-bot. I also like the way they portrayed so many different aspects of the characters allowing us to see these alternate sides via the predicaments of the episodes. I'm a huge fan of the Original series, but don't care much for the later ones. Thanks for stopping by!

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