Reflections on Star Trek: The Original Series

A few years ago the Sci-Fi Channel started showing complete, uncut episodes of ST:TOS with commentary by first Shatner and then Nimoy. I'm old enough to remember the original run, but I really fell in love with it in syndication, in the mid-70s. It must be more than 15 years since I saw some of these eps and, boy, is it different seeing them with a Treksmutter's eyes!

All of episodes are now being released on DVD. I though that, as a public service, I would call attention to particular moments that scream with subtext or are otherwise deserving of attention. The order of the eps is more or less as broadcast. Please note that I'm a big fan of Shatner's, so a lot of the notes have to do with him. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

And now, on with the show...

First season note:

For a K/S fan such as myself, this is indeed the Golden Era of TOS (till we get to Amok Time, anyway). One tends to forget, in light of later eps and the movies, just how great Shatner looked in the early days and how fully-realized the character of Kirk was from the very beginning. Spock, on the other hand, is still trying to figure out how to interact with his crewmates (with whom he seems to be pretty comfortable, cf. Charlie X) and his charismatic captain. It's also nice to see Sulu and Uhura getting some screen time too; it's too bad they weren't allowed to do more in the second and third seasons, when the plots tended to center on K/S/Mc to the exclusion of everyone else.

Man Trap

Notable for Kirk's breathtaking good looks, the scenes where he walks around on the planet's sandy surface (the soft footing causes him to sashay more than swagger), and, most importantly, Uhura making a huge pass at Spock right on the bridge! "Why don't you tell me that I'm an attractive young woman, or ask me if I've ever been in love, or tell me what it's like on Vulcan on a night when the moon is full?" He must have thought it over, because...


Charlie X

You have *got* to watch the scene in the Rec Room when Uhura sings - she and Spock are SO doing it! Wildcat's completely converted me to S/U and geez, it is all over the screen in this ep. She touches him and he likes it! Also noteworthy for the scenes in the gym in which Kirk shows us all what a man he is - despite his shaved chest and body makeup that obscures his nipples, his hairy armpits and great abs make him look pretty studly.


Where No Man Has Gone Before

I have to admit that it wasn't until I read Killa's Turning Point that I woke up to K/Mitchell. I immediately went out and rented that ep, and yikes, it was like a big gong going off in my head! Watching it again confirms this. Look at how Kirk cradles Mitchell's head in his hands on the bridge after Mitchell is struck by lightning (or whatever it is); also note the tension between the two of them in Sickbay (or the "dispensary" as it's called here). We also see that Mitchell is a dog among men, as he reaches back to fondle Kirk's yeoman during the lightning storm, and then immediately hits on Dehner when she visits him in Sickbay. I can read a whole lot into Mitchell's story about how he took a poison dart for Kirk on Dimorus. (In fact, I'm writing a story about it...). I must also point out that when Kirk's shirt is ripped fighting Mitchell, it's possible to see not only a lovely tanned shoulder but also some chest hair. I'm thinking that Mitchell preferred him furry, but Spock preferred him smooth.
This ep is also noteworthy for the scene in which Kelso is strangled - talk about basket! I can't believe they allowed this shot on TV in 1967. Does he have a roll of quarters in his pocket, or is he just glad to visit Delta-Vega?


The Naked Time

In the TV guide, they listed this as "The Naked Game" which I like a lot better (kind of like "Wicked Game"..."what a naked game you play, to make me feel this way...". Scenes worth watching again: Spock in Sickbay, sans blue shirt - ooh la la, does he look *fine* in that t-shirt and tight pants! Woof! Black is definitely the right color for that Vulcan; Sulu running around shirtless, looking buff and almost as shiny as John Derek in The Ten Commandments; and of course the whole sequence in the briefing room. Is it me, or does Kirk enjoy getting smacked around by Spock just a *little* too much, here and in This Side of Paradise?


The Enemy Within

First, a HUGELY slashy moment that I never noticed before - after (the good) Kirk beams back from the planet, he's lounging around shirtless in his quarters when Spock comes in to check on him. Spock: "Is there something I can do for you?" Kirk replies, "Like what?" in a tone that suggests he'd be open to suggestions.
I find it odd that Rand is hanging around in Kirk's quarters, waiting to give him reports. Doesn't this guy get any privacy? I bet the Ready Room was Kirk's invention.
I'm happy to say that the attempted rape scene is well-acted and not remotely erotic; even though we know Rand would probably do Kirk in a second under normal circumstances, here she's scared out of her wits and confused as hell. The bad Kirk's manner is nasty, sneering, and generally repulsive, just as it should be. It was actually hard to watch this. And that's a good thing.
(Rand scratches his face and he tried to cover it up with *makeup*. Why does Kirk have a jar of make-up in his quarters? Has he got mascara and lipstick in there too, for those Treksmut Illustrated Moments?)
Unfortunately there's a really ugly little moment right at the end, where Spock says to Rand, "The imposter had some...*interesting* qualities, don't you agree, yeoman?" and leers at her as she moves hastily away from him. Ick! If anyone can put a positive spin on this, I'd like to hear it.
Shatner, as the bad Kirk, gets to rave like a lunatic and chew scenery right and left; but pay attention to his performance as the good Kirk - he's quite subtle, playing Kirk as serious and sad, but never maudlin or whiny. You really get the feeling that he's lost something essential.

On to Part 2


Back to the Index