Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Good Trek/Bad Trek #17 The Galileo Seven

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. 

Another Trek here. I watched The Galileo Seven this week. This was kind of a neat episode to watch because over the summer I got a chance to see the eponymous Galileo shuttlecraft. I didn’t go in, but I did get to see it. It was at the Star Trek Starfleet Academy experience. Even though I as a real person didn’t finish college it was nice. It was fun because now I finally have a college degree. It’s fake, but who gives a shit. Plus I was able to get it all done in an afternoon. I guess my other credits were transferable.


The gang is delivering medical supplies to Makus III. With them is the Galactic Commissioner. I don’t know if I should capitalize that title on account of how dumb it is, but whatever.  They stumble on a “quasar-like formation.” Evidently, everyone has a standing order to investigate those when they see them so they send a shuttle with McCoy, Spock, Scotty, and few sacks of shit. It goes wrong immediately and the shuttle is lost! Now they only have a couple days to search a huge area for the missing shuttle and to make matters worse the quasar-like formation has screwed their sensors. 
Looks pretty damn good

From there we get two conflicts. Spock and co. trying to get the shuttle off the planet they’ve crash landed on and the Enterprise trying to find them before they have to leave for Makus III. To make matters worse on the surface, it turns out that the planet isn’t uninhabited as it has a bunch of sasquatches there. Sasquatches with giant spears that they throw with considerable accuracy, at least when they’re not aiming at a main character. Also, they don’t have enough fuel to get off the surface with all the crew members. Then they do. Then some crew will die which saves on weight. 

The Enterprise plot is all pretty standard. The Galactic Commish wants to leave, and Kirk does not. But they eventually do. But they go back because Spock uses the last of the fuel to make the shuttle function like a big flare as it’s orbiting the planet. They get rescued and all get to head to Makes III

Good Trek?

I’ll say qualified yes. I loved the practical effects at the beginning of the episode. Both the “quasar-like phenomenon” and Galileo leaving the Enterprise look great. I’m sure using a bunch of models is much more of a hassle and more expensive than modern CG effects, but at the same time, this was made over fifty years ago and still looks pretty damned good. Practical effects work great in terms of ships and space, but good gravy do they not work in terms of aliens. 
This monster alien thing slowly ambles at this dude for a full 17 minutes

Speaking of aliens, what the fuck is this guy’s problem. Sees the alien coming for him and just sits there screaming. He has to take like three breaths in his scream because it takes so long. Dude, try something. 

McCoy seems a little too excited to probably die so long as it means Spock has to eat crow. He spends the whole episode just needling him for no reason. How’s about something constructive, Bones. Does he not realize that Spock failing also means his death?
Hats off to this lazy-ass closed captioner. Didn't feel like hitting rewind so he Xed out the word "Fulcrum"

I don’t get why they had to make the Galactic Commissioner such a douche. There was no reason for that. But there’s no reason to make him such an unlikable prick. He does make a valid point. There are people that need that medicine. He doesn’t have to relish the fact that people are going to fucking die. The whole time he seems happy to make Kirk abandon the search and let his friends die. In addition to all that title of “Galactic Commissioner” sucks balls. I mean come on, it sounds like something out of Barbarella, not Star Trek. 

I also had a nerd bone to pick with this episode. When they abandon the search and start heading to Makus III, it looks like they’re traveling at impulse. If it’s a two-day trip traveling at sub-light speed then you could probably make it there in like five minutes at warp 5. They could’ve waited another day and a half then hauled ass and had time to spare. 

One last thing, why is everyone so damned happy at the end of this episode. The last caption literally says everyone laughs. 

Fuck y'all
That’s not cool. People died on this mission. One guy got left to rot or be eaten by the sasquatch monsters. Or god knows what. He’s gone. He got a giant spear to the stomach and is now dead. These giant monsters don’t strike me as the kind who are definitely above eating whatever they hunted. They did hunt them down like animals after all. While they’re doing the Growing Pains laughing freeze frame at the end their comrade is being torn limb from limb by a pack of ravenous yeti-like creatures. 

What is Kirk supposed to say to this man’s family? “Well, I’m very sorry Mrs. Redshirt. Your husband/brother/father/son is dead and is now food, but Spock learned a very valuable lesson about what it means to be in command so everything worked out in the end. His body? Nah, we just left it there. I wouldn’t go and retrieve it though because I’ve heard it’s pretty dangerous.”

Better Trek

The Ascent - DS9

The Galileo Seven was pretty good, but I can think of two episodes that dealt with similar themes that I liked better, one being The Ascent. Odo and Quark are in a sabotaged runabout and have to crash on a planet. There’s too much interference so use their communicator so they have to hike up a mountain. They’re two characters who are great. They ostensibly hate each other, but both seem to love the conflict they share. 

Lessons - TNG

Captain Picard starts seeing a fetching young lieutenant played by Wendy Hughes. She gets trapped on a planet during some pretty dangerous storms and he has to decide whether or not to commit resources to save her.  Hughes and Stewart have great chemistry and their relationship seems genuine. Also, Stewart really sells the inner turmoil about having her down in danger. He doesn’t say much, but he’s a good enough actor where he doesn’t have to. It’s pretty brutal. 

Well that’s it for this week. Hopefully you don’t get left on any planets. M-Class or otherwise. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #16 Shore Leave

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. 

Haven’t done one of these in a while. Been busy. Did some shows in Michigan which were fun. I got to stay at my sister’s house. A lot off people talk about how great living in New York is, and I do think it’s pretty neat for the most part. But for all the great things about living here, it should be pointed out that my sister has a machine that washes her dishes. It’s amazing. She might as well live in the future with that shit. I emptied the dishwasher while she was gone and she said: “hey, thanks for doing the dishes.” I didn’t. Your robot maid did the dishes, I just was there with the assist. 

None of this is a reason to not recap Star Treks. My sister also has the internet, and I had a computer with me so I could’ve easily pounded out a quick Good Trek/Bad Trek. I did not though. I even watched Star Trek while I was gone. I watched a bunch of DS9 episodes, all of which were a shit load better than this piece of shit. So here we go. Even though this is actually pretty similar to a DS9 episode. 

It’s particularly shitty because Balance of Terror is really one of the all-time great Treks. This episode is not. It was Shore Leave, and it was garbage. Kind of fun, but largely garbage. 


Doctor McCoy is on a planet investigating its suitability for shore leave. Hence the name I think, which is Shore Leave. It seems fine, but then shit gets a little bananas. McCoy sees a giant white rabbit and a little girl who looks like Alice from the Lewis Carol stories. He can’t believe what he’s seeing, and nor should he. Especially since it’s all pretty nuts. It was supposed to be an uninhabited planet and now there’s a bunch of storybook characters running around. That’ doesn’t jive. 

This sci-fi is pretty lite on the sci

Kirk and Spock go down to investigate and turns out that the planet is reading their thoughts and conjuring up visions to match them. It’s all pretty nuts. Kirk fights his old college buddy who's a walking Irish stereotype, a yeoman nearly gets raped by Don Juan, and McCoy gets killed in a jousting match. Come and find out that it’s vacation planet. So both the attempted rape and the murder of McCoy don't count. They meet the dude who is in charge and he apologizes and lets the crew have at it. The crew decides to hang out and vacation there. Except for Spock who wants to be a fuddy-duddy instead. The end. 

Good Trek?

Not particularly. It got the job done but just seemed a little too silly. It has to be said that Gene Roddenberry didn’t seem to think that highly of the Irish. Don’t get me wrong I also don’t think highly of the Irish. I’ve said it before on this very blog, but people who are proud of being Irish are the absolute worst. Don’t get me wrong if you’re from Ireland that’s fine. Be proud, I'm sure the place is great, I’d love to go sometime. Hell, if either of your parents is from Ireland. Have at it. Be proud. But Roddenberry seems to be of the belief that anyone of any Irish ancestry is just one shot of whiskey from immediately becoming a drunken leprechaun. This is the second time that he’s snuck in an Irish acting like a bunch of drunken monsters scene into the show. There’s also an early TNG episode where we do the same thing. Don't know if Roddenberry was behind that one, but there are two instances right off the top of my head where I can think of Trek making the Irish look like monsters. I’m sure there’s more. It almost makes me think that Miles O’Brien was invented to make up for the fact that they were so shitty to the Irish before that. It’s particularly funny considering the general progressiveness of the show. In the future, we’re all one and will explore the universe in a spirit of togetherness, unless the dumb Irish come out and fuck shit up. We’ve really advanced as a society expect for you know who. They even break out like a shitty Irish are drunken sacks of shit theme music. Just seems a little squirrelly is all, but what are you gonna do. 
Nothing helps an attempted rape like a nice stroll in your tattered dress
Two other pretty big problems in terms of race and gender. Sulu is just walking along and gets attacked by a samurai. Of course. The planet can read people's thoughts so Sulu was thinking about samurais. I'm sure he's always thinking of them. On account of he's Japanese. Also, Yeoman Barrows almost gets raped. That's what her mind conjures up. She's on a beautiful planet and her mind just wanders to hopefully getting raped. Pretty yikes. 
Dragon: The Hikaru Sulu Story

The whole thing with the vacation planet seems a little weird. Yeah, I know that space is the final frontier and a lot of the places that they’re going haven’t been all that well explored. But people have been out. Are they not talking to each other at all?  Space is big. There’s a lot of places, but I feel some of this should be charted by now. They at least might've heard some rumors about this place. 

Irish and proud and fucking awful

I don’t have anything wrong with fun and silly episodes. Especially after what was a pretty serious affair in Balance of Terror, but this one just did not do it for me. I think it also fell victim to just how late I’d seen it. This is the first time Star Trek has done this kind of episode, but this is a theme they go back to a bunch of times. I also just listened to a podcast about the DS9 episode that’s very similar (Random Trek, if you’re not listening to it, then you’re really missing out). Even though this episode is the first one to do it, I just feel like I’d seen this done so many other times. Almost every time I think it’d been done better anyhow.

Good Trek?

I changed my mind. I rewatched this episode and I was wrong. It’s fun. It’s not the greatest ever, but it’s not all bad. I haven’t spent as much time with this crew as I have the others, but Deforest Kelley does silly well. And his silliness really carries the episode. Shatner doesn’t, but that’s not too much of a surprise because he doesn’t do much of anything all that well. McCoy hitting on the Yeoman merely seconds after she was almost raped seemed a bit much in retrospect, but this isn’t the only TOS episode that gets a little Mad Men. It's fun. The fight between Kirk and Finnegan takes forever. It's a pretty shitty fist fight, even by Kirk's unathletic standards, but all the McCoy scenes make it worthwhile.  
But I had a lot more fun with it the second time. 

Push Trek
Not a Ferengi. Just a bad idea.

If Wishes Were Horses DS9. This is an early DS9 episode that deals with a similar plot device. It’s played a little more seriously. As seriously as any episode that features Rumpelstiltskin in it at least. A subspace anomaly causes manifestations of people’s imaginations. One of them being Rumpelstiltskin. It’s not great. Shore Leave might be better. McCoy really carries that episode, and there's no McCoy in this one to carry it. Just 
Rumpelstiltskin. There's some shittiness in it, but it has its moments. You do get to see Sisko talk to one of his favorite baseball players which is nice because baseball rules and so does Sisko. 

Better Trek

QPid TNG: Generally am not a huge fan of Star Trek characters in settings where they don’t belong. Works sometimes in time travel episodes, which there a bunch. They are literally going back all the time. Temporal prime directive be damned. It’s a wonder they’re able to get any consistency with the timeline at all. Most holodeck episodes suck because who wants to see a bunch of badass starship travelers in the old west? I don’t like the old west. If I was into the old west, I’d be watching some stupid old west show. I’m not, I’m watching a show that’s supposed to be about people trekking through the stars. Anyhow, this is an exception to that rule. Q tries doing Picard a favor and it all goes straight to hell. He makes the crew live out the Robin Hood story, and it’s a fun one. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Q as a character, but John Delance is awesome and he and Patrick Stewart are great together. Vash is a great love interest for Picard, even if she’s underutilized. Plus you get a bonus of one of Worf’s all time great lines. If you looking for a Trek that features Trek crews dealing with storybook characters, then that’s the one I’d go 

Well, that's it for this one. I guess if there's a lesson to be learned it's that if you don't like an episode of Trek the first time, maybe give it another go. Maybe you'll realize just how awesome Deforest Kelley is.