01 July 2015

More Bard Than Good (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.13, "The Conscience of the King")

As it's over twenty quid cheaper than Amazon Prime, I've forked out for the DVD... so we can now resume our trip where no man has gone before...

Captain Kirk and the Enterprise is diverted off course when an old friend of his, one Dr. Thomas Leighton, believes that he has identified the lead actor in a Shakespearean acting troupe, one Anton Karidian, as Kodos the Executioner; who was responsible for the murder of 4,000 people on a colony twenty years ago in a massively misguided famine relief effort. Leighton is one of the surviving eyewitnesses, as is Captain Kirk and one Lieutenant Riley. Yep, the Irish-American dude is back and more on him later.

Leighton duly gets murdered and Kirk, acting in a rather secretive manner, decides to offer said troupe, which includes an attractive lady who the Captain does get to snog, a lift to Benecia (oddly enough, where Phoenix's Star Trek sim is currently at). His aim to make sure that it is indeed Kodos...

The three regulars are good as usual; there's a wonderful scene with an off-duty Bones and Spock as the former tries to persuade the latter to have a drink. We also get some extensive vocal stuff from Majel Barrett, who would provide computer voices for all six TV shows in the franchise as well as most of the movies. She does computer very well, that's for sure.

Then there's Riley. The man gets moved down to Engineering, then someone literally walks up to his coffee and sprays poison into it (with a sprayer of the sort you use to clean windows!) while his back is turned because he's listening to Uhura singing. Now I know that many actors do get a decent singing training, but her performance just felt like padding. Riley does not exactly cover himself in glory, but does end up covered by a rather tacky blanket later.

Things get worse with the guest cast... Arnold Moss as Karidian, who spent a lot of time on Broadway in his career, and Barbara Anderson as his daughter Lenore. Unfortunately, both decide to play it as if they were actually in a Shakespeare play, resulting in some very non-naturalistic delivery style and the latter, who clearly could do much better as she won an Emmy for Ironside, providing a cringe-worthy performance, especially at the end. Also, Karidian's actual acting... sorry, but Sir Patrick Stewart knocks his Macbeth into a cocked hat.


Sadly, a bit of a clunker. Poor guest actors do not a good episode make.


The DVD box set contains the original "Next Time" trailers for the relevant episodes, which I intend to watch once I've concluded each ep in the run.

The next episode, however, is going to be a more complex one to review. With "Balance of Terror" I've at last bumped into one that I've actually watched before.

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