Monday, August 30, 2010

From Beyond Television: Star Trek--Space Seed


For this edition, it's a classic episode of the original STAR TREK...

STAR TREK the original series Season 1 episode #22


Guest starring Ricardo Montalban

Directed by Marc Daniels

The Enterprise locate a derelict Earth vessel. Investigating, they discover a large number of human passengers in suspended animation. Awaking one of them, Kirk and company discover the imposing figure to be Khan Noonian Singh, a genetic superman who was a tyrannical ruler in Earth's history of the 1990's(!) Now revived in all new environment to conquer, Khan revives his superhuman followers in a bid to take over the Enterprise and establish a new reign of the future.

"Well either choke me, or cut my throat. Make up your mind!"

"I caution you...such men dare take what they want..."

This is one of the best episodes of the incredibly prosperous STAR TREK mythology; so much so that it formed the basis of the extremely entertaining first sequel to STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE from 1979, THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982). The character of Khan is one of the most formidably villainous, yet obstinately honorable antagonists to ever be featured on the show. He uses a good amount of guile in his plan to take over the ship especially in the way he manipulates Marla McGivers (Earth historian) into helping him by forcing his will on her. The way he plays emotional games with her is overly misogynistic literally having her begging and groveling at his feet.

"Each of you in turn will go in there! DIE while the others watch!!"

Once taking over the ship, Khan threatens to execute the entire crew lest they join him. After all, a maniacal dictator needs people to rule over. Upon realizing suffocating the entire bridge proves useless, Khan decides to kill Kirk and make the others watch thinking that slow, singular deaths will force the crew to join him.

Of course, Kirk manages to narrowly escape death, Spock gets in one Vulcan Nerve Pinch and Kirk and Khan duel in the engineering room. Khan demonstrates his superior strength by literally crushing a phaser with his bare hands. Another cliffhanger moment occurs when Khan reveals he's overloaded the ships engines. We're then treated to a good brawl wherein ingenuity and cunning wins over brute strength.

In an unprecedented act of compassion and reverence, Kirk drops all charges against Khan giving him a chance to rule an untamed world (the savage, inhospitable world of Setti Alpha 5) as opposed to a criminal charge. McGivers is given a choice of court martial, or joining Khan and company. For those of you familiar with THE WRATH OF KHAN, you know full well the outcome of Khan's planetary rule. Interestingly, there's a great final bit of dialog from Spock that alludes to the sequel 15 years later.

"It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years...and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today."

"I have five times your strength! You are no match for me!"

Ricardo Montalban during the time was a huge man and appeared on many television programs as bad guys before hitting it big as Mr. O'Roarke on the hit show, FANTASY ISLAND. Contrary to what a lot of people thought, his ripped physique seen in STAR TREK 2 was his own and not a prosthetic appliance.

"Captain, although your abilities intrigue me, you are quite honestly inferior...mental, physically. In fact, I am surprised how little improvement there has been in human evolution. Oh, there has been technical advancement, but, little man, himself has changed. Yes, it appears WE will do well in your century, Captain."

Both he and Kirk have some memorable exchanges here that extend into the movie over a decade later. What's most curious about the later film is that neither Kirk, nor Khan share a scene together. They only see each other via screens on the bridge.

'Space Seed' is one of the most exciting episodes benefiting from a choice script that has a villain comparable with some of Earth's most historically ruthless dictators. This was something STAR TREK would accomplish on a regular basis and something this episode does extremely well.


From Beyond Television: The Twilight Zone


...Going my way?

This is a new column that highlights various episodes from television shows of the science fiction, fantasy and horror variety. Some of the shows that will creep, or beam up on here are STAR TREK (original series) THE TWILIGHT ZONE (original series), BUCK ROGERS, PLANET OF THE APES, THE WILD, WILD WEST, NIGHT GALLERY, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (original series) and ULTRAMAN (the first series).

First up is a double dose of TWILIGHT ZONE tales from the frightful first season!

THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season 1 episode 15 ***1/2


The first manned space flight crashes into an unknown asteroid. Four men survive, but one soon passes away. With nothing but rocks and hot desert around them, the remaining three make the trek to find food and water. One of the men is later found near death. Before expiring, he draws a symbol in the dirt. Realizing one of his men isn't above murder, the last two seek out the symbol their comrade had marked in the sand.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE was amazing at poetic justice, or smacking the audience in the face with a shock ending. This episode contains both. Serling's groundbreaking fantasy horror programmer one of the few vintage television shows that still contains the power to unnerve its viewers. Those familiar with this show will note the similarities to the Serling scripted PLANET OF THE APES (1968). From the barren wasteland to the barely alive crew members to the totally shocking ending, 'I Shot An Arrow Into the Air' is notable for a variety of reasons.

The director, Stuart Rosenberg, also helmed movies such as COOL HAND LUKE (1967), VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (1976), the Charles Bronson crime thriller LOVE & BULLETS (1979) and the horror hit THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979).

THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season 1 episode 16 ***


Nan Adams is on a cross country road trip headed back home to California. A flat tire having slowed her down, she gets back on the road and notices a shabby old man on the highway thumbing a ride. Passing him, she notices the same man miles down the road and seemingly everywhere else she goes. Frightened beyond belief, Nan is convinced this mysterious figure is out to kill her.

This is one of the most simplistic of all the TZ shows, yet it's very suspenseful especially if you don't know the ending ahead of time. Over the years there's been a number of movies that have borrowed this shows denouement. Serling's program was also good at making an episode interesting with just a single character (WHERE IS EVERYBODY?) or with very little dialog (TWO).

Actress, Inger Stevens successfully conveys fear as Nan. Those she comes into contact with believe her to be crazy after her paranoia escalates with each occurrence of seeing the strange hitch-hiker on the highway. Stevens had previously co-starred with Harry Belafonte and Mel Ferrer in the provocative and classic end of the world movie THE WORLD, THE FLESH & THE DEVIL (1959).


Related Posts with Thumbnails


copyright 2013. All text is the property of and should not be reproduced in whole, or in part, without permission from the author. All images, unless otherwise noted, are the property of their respective copyright owners.