05 September 2016

They Picked The Wrong Alternative (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.27, "The Alternative Factor")

Star Trek can be an uneven affair at times; any show with over 80 episodes is bound to have a few clunkers and sadly, this is definitely one of them.

As such, I am not going to dignify this misbegotten tale with a picture.


While mapping a strange new world, the Enterprise is shaken by a mysterious phenomenon... then a human is spotted on the other wise empty planet. Beaming down, Kirk encounters a gentlemen called Lazarus with a crazy beard and an equally crazy tale to tell...


I got bored during this one, badly bored. There are parts of this story that are, as Spock would put it, illogical. Like not believing McCoy when you've encountered a plethora of strange stuff previously and failing to adequately secure key parts of the ship when dealing with an escaped crazy person.

There's a decent potential plot out there, but it's so badly done that the story completely collapses and you lose all empathy or interest in the character of Lazarus, who sports a completely unconvincing fake beard. Producing a negative emotional reaction in an audience can be a sign of a good character if they're meant to be annoying... but producing next to none at all is a sign of a bad one.

Much of the blame has to fall on Robert Brown, who was a last minute replacement for John Drew Barrymore, father of that Drew Barrymore, who failed to show up to filming, got a six month suspension from the Screen Actor's Guild as a result and whose career never recovered; he also had major substance abuse problems, like his father and two of his children, including Drew. Brown is, if we're being honest, really poor in this. He badly overacts throughout much of the episode.

Before Brown was brought in, this episode was on the verge of being canned. It should have been.


Can't say I like this one at all. It's clear why this isn't particularly well-remembered; it's not very good. Indeed, many consider it among the worst of Star Trek. I'll let you know if any worse come up.


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