08 September 2016

Funky Mucus (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.29, "Operation -- Annihilate!")

 Remember folks - catch it, bin it, kill it!
I am posting this on 8 September 2016, the 50th anniversary of the transmission of the first episode of Star Trek, "The Man Trap". It is a testament to the creativity of the late Gene Roddenberry and all else involved that this anniversary is being marked with a cinematic movie currently in theatres and a new TV series in pre-production.

This show has indeed lived long and prospered. Happy Anniversary, Star Trek.


The remote colony world of Deneva has gone out of contact (this sort of thing seems to happen a lot) and the Enterprise finds it is in the path of a group of outbreaks of civilisation-destroying insanity, evidenced by a guy flying his ship into the sun... To make things harder for Kirk, the world is home to his brother and his family.


I'll start with the first thought that came to my head when the away party beamed down onto the planet - "That looks like a university campus". In fact, while there was an establishing shot done at UCLA, the outside filming was done at the TRW Space and Defense Park in Redondo Beach, home to major aerospace research work, including development of US ICBMs. The company was bought by Northrop Grumman in 2002. So, it is a campus, but of a different variety.

Kirk is arguably the weak link in this episode; possibly as some of his material was cut. He could have been hit harder by what was going on in the story (it's not a great day for him), but he goes back to rather high joviality by the end. Spock and McCoy get better material, with a big role (not to mention big hair) for Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel.

There seems to have been done on the relative cheap; there's only a few non-regulars in the episode and many don't get lines. In particular, we get some rather bad over-acting from Joan Swift as Kirk's sister-in-law.

We had the huge space pizza a few weeks back and now we get flying giant lumps of snot. Unlike "Devil in the Dark", there is no attempt to communicate with this thing, the crew just decide it has to be wiped out, whatever the cost.

The solution to their problem, after some genuine peril involving Spock - attack with a giant hoop thing aside - is one of those things where the science has matched on; doing what they do is likely to cause a lot of cancer later on. Also the units of measurement have changed - McCoy uses 'candles' as a light unit, whereas we now use lumens as standard. That's lumens, not lupins, thank you.

Finally, we have a final scene on the bridge that is actually funny for a change.


A highly enjoyable episode, if it does seem to be done somewhat on the cheaper side and contains some fairly large flaws.


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