04 March 2016

Because I Got High (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.24, "This Side of Paradise")

I have wondered on more than one occasion during this watch if drugs were involved in the writing. In this case, you can wonder if drugs were involved in the acting...


The Enterprise crew beams down to a human colony on an agricultural world where by rights the entire population should have been killed by radiation - yet they are all alive and seemingly very happy.

Yep, it's another supposedly idyllic world that turns out to have something a great deal darker about it...

This review contains spoilers.

The reason why everyone is so happy is due to alien spores that give him perfect health and place them in a state of contented bliss. It's a message saying that the 'drugs don't work' which is possibly what might have been needed in the LSD decade, although Kirk's final comment that humanity needs to struggle to achieve things in order to be human is rather downbeat - especially in the show that is itself set in a sort of utopia where poverty is a thing of the past in the Federation.

The spores end up infecting the entire crew of the UFP spaceship, making Spock fall in love with an airy woman called Leila (she's got him on his knees!) and hang from a branch like a primate, McCoy gets very Southern indeed and Uhura demonstrates a hitherto not demonstrated technical ability when she sabotages the communications console. These first two are all pretty funny, but timing prohibits us from seeing Sulu or Scotty fully on the space whaccy-baccy, which is a pity, because Leila is pretty annoying.

Even Kirk gets infected, but his love for his ship manages to stop him from beaming down and destroys the spores. He realises that strong emotions are the way to deal with it and so ends up racially insulting Spock... repeatedly until he attacks him in a fight sequence with some obvious stunt doubles.

The guest stars are pretty forgettable - I couldn't even remember the name of the other guy, played by Frank Overton in his final TV role before dying a month after transmission of a heart attack aged only 49. I do note that the colony is somewhat ethnically diverse, which Trek has been at the forefront of to some extent.

Much of this is filmed on location; in a wood this time, as well as some farm buildings (at the oft used Golden Oak Ranch owned by Disney) that these blissed out characters somehow managed to erect. There are barns, but no-one even fires at the broad sides sadly...


A chance to see the crew of NCC-1701 acting out of character; this is an enjoyable tale even if possibly a bit too negative in its overall message.


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