Captain’s Log: Stardate 1312.4
The famed second pilot for the proposed series, Where No Man Has Gone Before was written by Samuel Peeples from Gene Roddenberry’s creation and found its way to the television sets everywhere on 22 September, 1966.
This was an episode that I loved, and continue to love. It fostered the sense of exploration and wonder in me that has now been interwoven into my very DNA, though, admittedly, when I was a kid, I was confused by the different uniforms, and Sulu (George Takei) is in science blue, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) gold, and Scott (James Doohan) in a kind of beige-tan, and those collars are ridiculous. I like to think Sulu started in sciences, perhaps botany, and transferred to command as the ship’s helmsman while still continuing to foster his plant hobby.
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the stalwart crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have come across a data recorder from the long lost S.S. Valiant. They tried to breach the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, but something terrible happened, and the crew began to demonstrate strange abilities.
When the Enterprise encounters the same barrier, Kirk’s friend, and ship’s helmsman, Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood), along with psychologist Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman) discover they have been gifted with enhanced psionic ability.
Gary’s powers manifest first and stronger than Dehner’s and he begins to see the crew as nothing more than ants under his feet.
Kirk is faced with having to stop his friend, as advised by Spock, and saving his ship.
This one, as far as I was concerned as a young viewer, had it all (except for maybe space battles), there was mystery, exploration, fisticuffs as Kirk and Gary fight (around a gravestone marked with the wrong name, James R. Kirk, so how well did Gary know Kirk?).
The bridge is a little different, perhaps there was a refit along with a uniform change, and new communicators, before the five year mission really got under way, they also have a different ship’s surgeon, Dr. Piper (Paul Fix)… And Spock calms down A LOT after this episode.
Of course, this is the series pilot, and things changed when the show was picked up, but it’s fun trying to work it into the continuity of the universe.
But the heart of the show is still there, and I get so giddy watching this episode. I love the conflict Kirk finds himself facing, his ship and crew, or his friend?
Star Trek has influenced so much of my life, I mean, embarrassingly, I can’t even step onto an elevator without saying, “Bridge.” When I use to keep a journal, I would use a form of stardates to mark the entries. Yeah, I was that geeky as a kid, heck I’m still that geeky now.
Heck, I remember my friend Dennis when he would tell you something, and you weren’t sure to believe him, would say, “I’m not joking, Lee!” Makes me laugh, thinking about it.
Kirk gets to be very Horatio Hornblower, and was everything I wanted to grow up to be, in this episode, and that phaser rifle!
Captain’s Log: Stardate 1704.2
The Naked Time, the episode that reveals the inner fears and dreams of characters we’re barely getting to know. A show like this would be used now, perhaps half a season or two in to shake up the characters and viewers with secrets revealed, and troubling pasts, or loves shown. Still, it proves to be an enjoyable episode.
Written by John D.F. Black, this one originally aired on 29 September, 1966, and allowed for some fun, drama, and afforded the supporting cast a moment or two in the spotlight. Sulu gets to wield a fencing foil, Riley (Kevin Hyde) regales a captive audience with song, Chapel (Majel Barrett) reveals her true feelings for Spock, and both Kirk and Spock struggle with the effects of the virus on their being.
McCoy (DeForest Kelley) works to find a cure, while he and the ship descend into an almost drunken behaviour, which, if unchecked, could cause the Enterprise to crash into Psi 2000, the planet they’re orbiting.
There was something about the creeping virus, that looked like blood crawling across the ice to the crewman’s hand that freaked me out as a kid. This liquid, seemingly moving against gravity towards its target, really troubled me. It was one of the only things in the original series that unnerved me.
Spock gets a wry remark in about Sulu as D’Artagnan, showing that he does, in fact, have a sense of humour, no matter what he says. In fact, despite, or because of, the humour in the episode, we actually get to see who these characters really are. It’s a nice device to allow us a different look at Kirk and company. Though, as mentioned, this is a little early in the series to be making this type of episode, hopefully they learn from their mistake *wink.*
Riley is one of my favourite supporting characters, despite the fact that he only appeared twice, in this episode, and Conscience of the King, which lets Hyde be a little more serious in the role.
Already we can see the trio of Kirk, McCoy and Spock forming, seeing Kirk take advice and find support from both, and relying on them completely to do their jobs, and trusting their instincts as his own.
And I have to say, these classic Trek uniforms have never gone out of style, and I loved seeing the diversity of the crew. It’s one of the things I’ve always treasured about this show, and has directly influenced my life.
Even now, as I sit through this episode, enjoying the performances, the vibrant colours, and the fantastic storytelling, I get caught up in the adventure, and will continue to boldly go with these wonderful tales.
The Human Adventure is just beginning…