Saturday, February 11, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #13 The Menagerie 1&2

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

It was fun being in Michigan telling jokes. Now I’m back in New York telling jokes. It was less fun watching this episode of Star Trek. This week’s episode was The Menagerie AKA the episode of Star Trek where everyone sits around and watches another episode of Star Trek. It's a two-parter, but it seemed silly to break it up, and it’s a doozy. 

Recap:

The gang is at a space station and they get to see Captain Pike. I'm not sure if you remember Pike, but he was the captain in the pilot. He’s a garbage actor and it was a shit episode. Luckily he was involved in an accident and can only stare straight ahead and communicate via blinking lights on a wheelchair. One blink for yes and two for no. The both makes him more sympathetic as a character, and greatly improves his range as an actor. Spock sees him and goes a little squirrelly, so we’re led to assume he’s got something up his sleeve and he does.
This week on Two and a Half Men!

Spock kidnaps Pike and takes him and the Enterprise to Talos 4. He arrests himself and goes on trial because I guess going to Talos 4 is the only thing that still carries the death penalty. During the trial, they all just sit and watch the pilot of Star Trek. I shit you not. Spock introduces an episode of Star Trek into evidence and they all just sit and watch The Cage. 
They should at least be watching Enterprise. Though, I understand why they wouldn't want to

So, I guess, just go back and read that recap. Because that's all they do for rest of the episode. They watch The Cage in its entirety. At the end of the episode, they let Pike go live on Talos 4 where he finds the lady with whom the Talosians wanted him to rebuilt humanity. That’s it. End of episode(s). 

Bad Trek?

This episode is a mixed bag. I do like the idea of Spock breaking against orders in order to help his old commanding officer. All the parts where they’re just sitting around watching The Cage, though, are garbage because that’s a garbage episode. So, the majority of this episode is garbage because it's all just The Cage again.

I know TV was more expensive relative back then. They had all that footage from The Cage and they wanted to reuse it, but good lord. There was a reason that they had to remake the pilot. It sucked. Nobody wanted to buy it because it was garbage. 

I get they wanted to make it sound like going to Talos 4 was a big deal, but I refuse to believe that it or anything carried the death penalty. Plus, they refused to tell anyone why it was so bad. They just said don't go there or you'll be murdered by the peaceful Federation. These are scientists. You're telling me that nobody ever tried to make contact with the Talosians again? Not buying it. 

Worse Trek?
TNG’s Shades Of Grey

If you want to watch an even shittier episode that is mostly made up of other episodes check out TNG’s Shades Of Grey. In which Riker contracts a space disease and then sits in a hospital bed and watches Star Trek clips for an hour. I'm not blaming Riker for this. That's how I spend most my time when I'm sick, but it makes for shitty TV. 

Doing a clip show in Star Trek is weird enough. It’s hard to do seamlessly. There might be a way to do it well, but neither of these episodes figured out how. They're both garbage episodes, but The Menagerie is a lot better. So don’t watch Shades of Grey. It’s bad. Probably don't watch The Menagerie either, but I'm not the boss of you so do whatever you want. 

Good Trek


This isn’t really good Trek, so much as best Trek. But if you want some Trek that features a commander who is trapped in a mechanical prison and a second in command defying orders and odds in order to help him out, then you can’t get any better than The Best Of Both Worlds. It’s also a two-parter, though really the first episode is where it’s made. The second episode is great, but you get the impression it was supposed to end a certain way when nobody was sure whether or not Patrick Stewart planned on returning to TNG. I got a chance to see it in theaters a few years back to commemorate the remastering of it, and it was one of my favorite movie-going experiences of all time. While you’re already watching TNG just keep it going and watch Family as well. So watch The Best Of Both Worlds because it’s jus the best. 

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