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Star Trek (the Original Series): From a Mid-20th Century Earth Perspective

Updated on January 15, 2022
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Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley)Star Trek logoA drawing of the creature in "The Man Trap".Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitey).William Shatner, Sally Kellerman, and a laser rifle.Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley)A Disabled Captain Christopher PikeVasquez Rocks, the location for the fight between Captain Kirk and the Gorn Captain.Uniforms and other costumes at a special Star trek exhibit at the National Air & Space Museum.The USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016Front view of the USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley)
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) | Source
Star Trek logo
Star Trek logo | Source
A drawing of the creature in "The Man Trap".
A drawing of the creature in "The Man Trap". | Source
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitey).
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitey). | Source
William Shatner, Sally Kellerman, and a laser rifle.
William Shatner, Sally Kellerman, and a laser rifle. | Source
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley)
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley) | Source
A Disabled Captain Christopher Pike
A Disabled Captain Christopher Pike | Source
Vasquez Rocks, the location for the fight between Captain Kirk and the Gorn Captain.
Vasquez Rocks, the location for the fight between Captain Kirk and the Gorn Captain. | Source
Uniforms and other costumes at a special Star trek exhibit at the National Air & Space Museum.
Uniforms and other costumes at a special Star trek exhibit at the National Air & Space Museum. | Source
The USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016
The USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016 | Source
Front view of the USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016
Front view of the USS Enterprise model at the National Air & Space Museum, 2016 | Source


“Star Trek” first aired on September 8, 1966. Its last first run episode aired on June 3, 1969. I watched the original “Star Trek” episodes when they first aired.[i] Science fiction shows were a part of television from the beginning. In many ways “Star Trek” took viewers where they had not gone before. I’ll put in some of my thoughts and feelings at the time in this article. This article contains spoilers.

[i] A couple may have been preempted by the local station.

The Episodes

The episode aired on September 8, 1965 was “The Man Trap”. The space ship, the USS Enterprise, was different from previous science fiction TV shows and movies. Space ships were previously either bullet or saucer shaped. The Enterprise had four distinct sections connected together. The landing party materialized on a planet. This was something different. In previous science fiction shows a ship would land and crew members would exit. The ship was also large with a large crew. Aliens would teleport but not Earthlings. “Star Trek” used the term “beaming” for teleportation and the machine that performed the function was called a “transporter”.

The landing party was on a mission to an archeological dig. Professor Robert Crater (Alfred Ryder) and his spouse Nancy Crater (Jeanne Bal) were excavating an extinct civilization on a desert planet. Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley) was formerly Nancy’s boyfriend. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) saw a woman who looked about 40. Dr. McCoy saw Nancy as he last saw her. Crewman Darnell (Michael Zaslow) saw Nancy (Francine Pryne) as a woman he met on a “pleasure planet”. The concept of a pleasure planet was more mature than previous science fiction shows. A voiceover of Kirk explained how three different men saw three different women. This was an anomaly for the series. In the series voiceovers were done by the Captain, or another senior officer, making an audio log entry.

Darnell’s version of Nancy led Darnell off. Even though it was the first episode Darnell’s demise was no surprise. When the report came in there was a casualty among the landing party Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) accepted the news without emotion. Spock was a native of the planet Vulcan. He had pointy ears and a slight green complexion. The creature (Sandra Lee Gimpel), nicknamed by series fans a “salt vampire”, lived on salt. One method of obtaining salt was sucking it out of other organisms. Mr. Spock survived an attack from the creature because Vulcans were silicon-based organisms. Throughout the series Mr. Spock survived or escaped permanent injury because of some physiological difference from humans that wasn’t mentioned previously. Dr. McCoy was the first member of the crew to kill something. The Star Fleet uniforms were pants and long sleeve T-shirts for men and micro-mini dresses for women. As with other 1960s television shows the short skirts dated the show.

The second and third episode aired had similar plot lines. In each case it was a human who had godlike powers and felt it was okay to use them against humans. In these episodes they received an incomplete message from a doomed ship. Incomplete or garbled messages from doomed ships was used in many subsequent episodes. The third episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was the second Star Trek pilot. The crew’s uniform and some of the crew members were different than the regular series. In this episode they showed a phaser rifle. A phaser rifle wasn’t seen again until the series “Star Trek Deep Space 9”. In both “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and episode 2 “Charlie X” the premise was that a human with godlike powers couldn’t live among humans. “Charlie X” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before” involved a space ship that was lost years earlier. A lost ship plays into many subsequent episodes.

Episode 4 was “The Naked Time”. Like “The Man Trap” and many subsequent episodes the crew went to check on an outpost. Everyone at the outpost was dead. One of the corpses was frozen in a shower fully dressed. What contaminated those at the outpost also contaminated the crew. The crew started to display strange behavior. Lt. Sulu (George Takei) got a fencing sword and threatened fellow crew members. This was Mr. Spock’s first use of his iconic neck pinch. After he subdued Sulu he showed uncharacteristic humor by quipping “Take D’Artagnan here to sick bay.” When Spock was infected Kirk tried to knock Spock to his senses. Spock knocked Kirk across the room with a slap. In this episode Dr. McCoy saved the day by finding a cure. It was the first instance of going back in time in the series. They went back three days and it had no more apparent effect than reverting to standard time. Time travel would become a staple in Star Trek movies and spin-off series. A few times in the series something would get a passing mention in one episode then become an element or plot in a subsequent episode. A landing party getting an infection then contaminating the entire crew was used in many other episodes.

Episode 5, “The Enemy Within” involves a transporter mishap. Transporter trouble was used in plotlines of movies and spin-off series. A transport problem was used in “Mirror, Mirror”. Initially unknown to the crew the transporter beams up two Captain Kirks. Yes, one is good and one is bad. The bad Captain Kirk is aggressive and the good Captain Kirk is timid. They can’t use the transporter to beam up the landing party. The planet’s temperature is dropping quickly and they have to fix the transporter before the landing party freezes to death. In Episode 16, “The Galileo Seven”, the Enterprise suddenly had at least two shuttle craft. The crew has to fix the transporter so they can put the Captain back together again and rescue the landing party.

Episode 6, “Mudd’s Women” involves the con man Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Roger C. Carmel). The Enterprise rescues Mudd and his passengers, all gorgeous women. Captain Kirk is holding him on a bunch of violations. The Enterprise needs more dilithium crystals. The last crystal fails and the Enterprise travels on impulse power to a mining colony, all men, to buy more crystals. The miners’ price for the crystals is the release of Mudd and the women. This is the first of many episodes where dilithium crystals figure into the plot. Chief Engineer, Lt. Commander Scott “Scotty” (James Doohan), seems to be constantly complaining about the ship’s dilitium crystals throughout the series.

In “What are Little Girls Made Of?” the Enterprise is on a mission to a frigid planet where a scientific expedition went years earlier. Nurse Christine Chapel’s fiancé, Dr. Roger Korby (Michael Strong), was the expedition’s leader. Nurse Chapel (Majel Barrett) gave up a career in biological research to serve on the Enterprise in the hope of seeing Roger again. Dr. Korby sent a message that he and several members of his expedition were alive. Kirk and Chapel beam down to the planet. Captain Kirk has two security men beam down. Red shirt clad Rayburn (Budd Albright) and Mathews (Vince Deadrick Sr.) beam down. They don’t last long and so began the “red shirt” legend.

Soon after Captain Kirk meets Dr. Korby, Brown (Harry Basch), and Andrea (Sherry Jackson) he realizes something is wrong and tries to get away. He takes out Brown with a phaser then Ruk (Ted Cassidy) overpowers Kirk. Kirk looks at Brown’s body and sees he’s wires and circuity on the inside. Korby created Brown and Andrea. Ruk is an android[i] crated by the extinct civilization. The anatomic males were fully covered from the neck down. Andrea wore a pants suit that was risqué even by Star Trek standards. The censor would come in and check that Sherry Jackson’s outfit was taped up properly.[ii]

Nurse Chapel believes Roger made himself a mechanical geisha. Roger attempts to allay her jealousy by ordering Andrea to kiss then slap Kirk. Roger explains Andrea is an emotionless machine.

Korby creates an android duplicate of Kirk. This means an unarmed Kirk has to deal with four opponents. This episode showcases Kirk’s skill at outwitting computers. He used this skill in many other episodes. In the 1960s it didn’t matter if a character had a three chambered heart, switches and wiring, or anything else on the inside. If it looked like a woman on the outside it had stereotypical female emotions. It only needed the right man to trigger them. By speaking and kissing Kirk manipulates his opponents, all androids, into destroying each other.[iii] This is the first episode that has disintegration by phaser.[iv]

This episode brings up an interesting question that may end up as science fact. If a person’s thoughts and memories are downloaded to a computer will the computer act as the person would or would it lack a critical element that would make it moral?

“Miri” was the first episode where the Enterprise finds a planet that mimicked mid-20th century Earth. In this case a biological experiment wiped out almost all of the population. The only survivors are a small group of children. The children will die when they reach puberty. The landing party is infected with the disease and can’t return to the ship. The landing party will either find a cure or die. Finding a planet that was similar to mid-20th century Earth was arguably an overused episode plot.

“Dagger of the Mind” is set in a planet that has an institution for the criminally insane. An escaped inmate (Morgan Woodward) beams aboard the enterprise. The inmate turns out to be Dr. Simon van Gelder, one of the institution’s staff. The head of the institution, Dr. Tristan Adams (James Gregory), says Dr. van Gelder went insane. Kirk is suspicious so he and crewman Helen Noel (Marianna Hill) go down to investigate. This is the first episode where a crew member, who wasn’t a series regular, killed one of the bad guys. It was the first time Mr. Spock used the famous mind meld. The mind meld was a convenient way to fill in plot information.

The “The Corbomite Maneuver” was the first appearance of an alien ship in the series. This episode showed Captain Kirk’s ability to talk his way out of situations. A spherical space ship, 1 mile in diameter, confronted the Enterprise. The alien commander announced they would destroy the Enterprise in 10 minutes. Captain Kirk told the alien commander every Earth ship has corbomite on board. Combomite would strike an attacking ship with a force equal to the force that struck the Earth ship. Carbomite is a great substance to have on a star ship, except it doesn’t really exist.[v] Kirk’s bluff was probably superfluous since the alien, Balok (Clint Howard), who was the ship’s only occupant never intended to destroy the Enterprise. The first Star Trek movie used plot elements of this episode and “The Changeling”.

“The Menagerie” was the series only two-part episode. It was not the only episode involving a crew member on trial. Mr. Spock, in Captain Kirk’s absence, orders to Enterprise to travel to Talos IV. Going to Talos IV is, for reasons unrecorded, is the only capital offense. While on trial, which takes place on the Enterprise, Spock shows videos of a voyage the Enterprise took to Talos IV years earlier under the command of Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter). The episode used much of the film footage made for the initial pilot “The Cage”. A tragic coincidence is the initial voyage to Talos IV was a distress call from a lost survey ship “Columbia”. The Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia burned up on reentry in 2003.

“Balance of Terror” was the first episode with a ship vs ship battle. The back story is a century earlier there was a war between The Federation and The Romulan Empire. The peace treaty established a neutral zone between Federation and Romulan space. The technology during the war was such that neither side had ever seen a member of the opposing side. The treaty was negotiated without face to face or video meetings. A junior officer, Stiles (Paul Comi), had ancestors who were killed during that war. He held ill feelings toward the Romulans.

The episode begins with preparations for a wedding ceremony. Kirk, being the captain of the ship, was going to perform the ceremony. Being married by a ship captain was archaic in the 20th century. The United States never recognized such marriages. It seems odd they would resurrect the practice for space.

An alert interrupts the ceremony. Colonies are under attack near the neutral zone. Stiles tells Captain Kirk Romulan ships have a bird of prey painted on them. It seems a flimsy assumption since tastes and designs could change over a century. The Enterprise contacts one colony. It is severely damages and its defenses were destroyed. The attacking ship was invisible. The ship appears on a viewing screen. The Enterprise is too far out to assist the colony. The Romulan ship fires and destroys the colony. The battle takes the form of destroyer vs U-boat.

The Enterprise gets video of the inside of the Romulan ship. The Romulans look like Vulcans. At a meeting Dr. McCoy argues for not attacking. Stiles views attacking the ship as a necessity. Spock agrees with Stiles. Spock explains Vulcans had a martial period where they were brutal even by Earth standards. Stiles still doesn’t trust Spock because he looks like a Romulan. Plots based on contemporary social issues was another Star Trek staple. Prejudice was a popular Star Trek theme. Ironically, in making a social commentary about prejudice the episode was also promoting prejudice. Spock was stating because Romulans looked like Vulcans and had a military they must think and act as Vulcans from a more primitive age.[vi] Spock rescues Stiles and fires the photon torpedoes that disables Romulan ship.

Mark Leonard played the Romulan Commander. He also played Spock’s father in the franchise. He also played a Klingon Commander in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. He was the first actor to play all three of these alien races.

The Romulans appeared in two other episodes during the series, “The Deadly Years” and “The Enterprise Incident”. In both episodes the Enterprise crossed into the Neutral Zone without provocation. In “The Deadly Years” the Romulan ships but not the Romulans were seen. “The Enterprise Incident” involved a covert operation.

“Arena” is the first example of Captain Kirk in arena type combat. An unknown alien ship devastated a Federation colony. After a brief firefight the alien ship ran away with Enterprise in hot pursuit. An advanced race, Metrons, immobilized both ships. The Metrons put the two captains on a planet to fight to the death. The survivor leaves with its ship. The Metrons would destroy the other ship and crew. Kirk has to face a Gorn, a reptilian creature. The Metron spokes being (Vic Perrin) told the combatants they would be given the ability to communicate with each other and there were the means on the battleground planet for them to kill each other.

Kirk was faster and more agile. The Gorn was much stronger. The Gorn could shrug off attacks that would kill a human. Kirk and the Gorn have a Metron supplied device. Kirk assumes it’s a voice recording device. He tells his thoughts and feelings to the device. The Gorn correctly figured out it was a communication device. The Gorn quietly listens as Kirk supplies valuable information. Kirk’s ingenuity comes through and he disables the Gorn. Kirk refuses to kill the wounded Gorn. The Metrons send both captains and ships away unharmed.

Many of the fights to the death don’t end in death. One of the arena type fights was between Kirk and Spock. This was “Amok Time” the first episode of the second season. In “Amok Time” Spock is experiencing “pon farr”. Pon farr is a phase in a Vulcan male’s life when the sex drive overrides all else. T’Pring (Arlene Martel) was to be his mate. T’Pring demands a physical challenge. T’Pring chooses Captain Kirk. McCoy gives Kirk some medicine that simulates death. Spock releases T’Pring from her obligation. Spock asks her to explain and in true Vulcan fashion she asks “specify”. Spock wants to know why she chose Kirk instead of the mate she wanted. T’Pring explains had Kirk won he would want no part of her. She correctly surmised if Spock won, he wouldn’t want any part of her either. Had Spock still wanted her she would be no worse off than she was. Spock’s reaction, “Logical, Flawlessly logical.” T’Pring answers, “I am honored.” T’Pring’s thinking illustrates logic, as with anything else, can be used for good or evil.

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” is the first episode that revolves around time travel. The Enterprise pulls away from a large star and ends up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere in 1969. The Air Defense Command see the Enterprise on radar and launch an F-104 Starfighter. The Starfighter gets into visual range. The Enterprise uses its tractor beam to repel the F-104 but destroy the aircraft. They beam aboard the pilot, Captain John Christopher (Roger Perry). Mr. Spock recommends, since Captain Christopher made no significant contribution, they should take him back to the 23rd century with them. Mr. Spock later reverses his recommendation since Captain Christopher will have a son who will be on the first Saturn mission. The Enterprise crew has to get back to the 23rd century, return Captain Christopher to Earth, and cover their tracks. They are not a weather phenomenon or a balloon and they destroyed an American fighter plane.[vii]

The setting for “The Return of the Archons” is a planet where a computer has complete control over the population. The people live a serine existence except for a period called “Festival”. During “Festival” the people run riot. This is similar to “The Purge” franchise.

In “Space Seed” the Enterprise came across a space ship from the 1990s. There were over 100 people in suspended animation aboard the ship “SS Botany Bay”. Over 80 are still alive, including their leader Khan Noonien Sing (Ricardo Montalbán). Khan was one of those responsible for starting World War III. Khan seduces a crew member, Marla (Madlyn Rhue). With her help Khan attempts to get control of the Enterprise. Captain Kirk and the loyal members of his crew prevail over Khan. Khan agrees for him and his crew to be taken to an uninhabited planet where they can create a colony. Marla also elects to go with her beloved Khan. Her other option was a court martial. Captain Kirk seems very tolerant of mass slaughter and mutiny. Khan Noonien Singh was the antagonist in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness”.

The Klingons made their first appearance in Episode 26, “Errand of Mercy”. Klingons could easily pass for Earthlings.[viii] The plot of “Errand of Mercy” is the negotiations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire were breaking down and war is imminent. Organia, a planet with an undeveloped populace is strategically positioned. The Enterprise goes to Organia and destroys a Klingon ship. Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet. They materialize among the Organians who take no notices of Kirk and Spock’s sudden appearance. More Klingon ships come to the planet so the Enterprise has to leave the area. Kirk and Spock stay on the planet. Kirk appeals to the ruling council to let him help the population form a resistance to the imminent Klingon occupation. The Organians insist they are in no danger but are concerned about Kirk and Spock’s safety. They dress them in Organian clothes and give Spock the cover story that he is a Vulcan merchant. The Organians are pleasant to the Klingon occupiers. Kor (John Colicos), the Klingon commander and presumably other Klingons, finds the Organian willing compliance annoying. Kirk is also annoyed by the Organian willingness to passively accept occupation.

Kirk and Spock carry out an attack to inspire the Organians. The Klingons retaliate by killing 200 Organians. The Organians show no reaction to the Klingon brutality. The Organians are concerned with Kirk and Spock’s safety. The Enterprise returns with a fleet of Federation ships. A Klingon armada is also in the area. A massive space battle is imminent when the crews find their instruments are too hot to touch. The Organians tell Kirk and Kor they are responsible for making a space battle impossible. The Klingons didn’t kill any Organians. The Organians are a race roughly 2 billion years ahead of humanoids, by Spock’s estimate. The fleets have no choice but to disengage.

The Klingons were a recurring nemesis in the series. Star Trek movies and spin off series had plot holes related to the original series. In “Friday’s Child” the Klingon, Kras (Tige Andrews), was afraid to fight one on one with Captain Kirk. In “The Trouble with Tribbles”[ix] Klingons didn’t have women on their warships. Women were considered “non-essentials”. The “Trouble with Tribbles” bar fight scene showed Klingons weren’t inherently stronger than humans. In “Day of the Dove” there is a woman crew member, Mara (Susan Howard) among the survivors. She was also Captain Kang’s (Michael Ansara) wife so rank may have had its privileges.

In Season 2 Walter Koenig joined the cast as Ensign Pavel Chekov. Having a Russian as part of the crew was a bit of social commentary. Star Trek wasn’t the first American TV series that had a Russian character as a good guy. “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (1964-1968) had a Russian, Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), as co-star.[x] A plot hole in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is the events in “Space Seed” happened before the Chekov joined the crew. In “The Wrath of Khan” Khan couldn’t remember Chekov. A “Star Trek” apologist could point out while Chekov joined the bridge crew in the second season, he may have had other Enterprise duties in the first season, and Khan may have seen him “off camera”. Chekov would always claim a Russian developed something. In the 1960s The Soviet Union was crediting Russians with achievements the United States claimed an American achieved.[xi]

The last Episode of Season 2 “Assignment Earth”, was originally supposed to be the last “Star Trek” episode, was an attempt to launch a spin-off series, “Assignment Earth”. This backdoor pilot came to nothing. A letter writing campaign convinced NBC to give “Star Trek” a third season. NBC put it on Friday nights at 10 o’clock. That time was considered a “death slot”. NBC also cut the series budget.

The third season began with “Spock’s Brain”. The premise was an alien race needed Spock’s brain to do the work of a supercomputer. The concept of using a brain in place of a computer from an advanced civilization was the premise of the “Lost in Space” episode “Invaders from the Fifth Dimension”, that first aired in 1965. The “Star Trek Voyager” episode “Phage” used the concept of stealing organs, lungs, without killing the being, Neelix (Ethan Phillips) during the procedure.

Season 3 episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren”, filmed the first interracial kiss on television.[xii] The kiss was between Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nicols) and Captain Kirk. Lt. Uhura was a beautiful woman and by the third season Captain Kirk was a famed “ladies man”. The kiss happened because the aliens, through their telepathic abilities, forced them to kiss.

Episode “Requiem for Methuselah” had a man, Flint (James Daly) with an adult woman, Rayna (Louise Sorel), who appeared young enough to be his daughter as the sole inhabitants of a planet. The Enterprise landing party were unwelcome visitors. Rayna and Captain Kirk fall in love with each other. The storyline has parallels to the classic Science Fiction movie “Forbidden Planet” and the Shakespearean play “The Tempest”. At the climax it’s revealed Rayna is an android and Flint is ageless and immortal. Typical of television shows at the time, since Kirk really loved Rayna, she “died”[xiii].

“Turnabout Intruder” was the last aired episode during Star Trek’s initial run. The plot line involved a woman, Dr. Janice Lester (Sandra Smith), who couldn’t be a star ship captain because she was a woman. She uses an unknown alien device to switch bodies with Kirk.[xiv] Dr. Lester, in Kirk’s body, attempts to have Kirk, in Dr. Lester’s body, committed to a mental institution. Dr. Lester, with Kirk’s body strength, smacks down Kirk.

Dr. Lester attempts to have Mr. Spock, Commander Scott and Dr. McCoy executed for mutiny. This is a canon plot hole since in “The Menagerie” mutiny wasn’t a capital offense. Summary execution, that the crew would presumably carry out, seemed inconsistent with the way Star Fleet Command operates. Kirk was extremely lenient with Dr. Lester and her partner in mass murder, Dr. Coleman (Harry Landers). Sandra Smith did an excellent job of mimicking Kirk’s mannerisms. William Shatner’s mannerisms portrayed Dr. Lester as a stereotypical irate woman.

[i] An android is a robot that looks like a human.

[ii] Sci Fi Channel Special Edition – “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, 1999.

[iii] Sherry Jackson also stared in the 1978 movie “Stingray” where all the antagonists killed each other.

[iv] The disappearing effect was first used in “Charlie X” but “What are little Girls Made of?” is the first time the effect was related to a phaser.

[v] In the 1980s “reactive armor” was used on some armored vehicles. The reactive armor was shaped charges that would explode when struck and lessen the impact force of a shell striking the vehicle.

[vi] After the Germans knocked down the Berlin Wall most people cheered the event and the imminent prospect of a unified Germany. There were some editorial writers that feared a return to German militarism.

[vii] On January 7, 1948 Captain Thomas Mantell had a fatal air crash in a P-51 Mustang while investigation a UFO sighting.

[viii] Their distinguishing feature was the shape of some of their eyebrows. The appearance of Klingons was drastically changed for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. The change in the Klingon appearance is one of the few elements retained from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” for the rest of the Star Trek franchise.

[ix] “Trouble with Tribbles” was a comedic episode. The guest stars were a bunch of fur balls that did nothing but purr, eat, and reproduce. It was a perfect fad item. This was a decade before the pet rock fad.

[x] One of the parallels of the two series was, Illya Kuryakin and Mr. Spock were more popular than the stars of the shows, Napoleon Solo and Captain Kirk.

[xi] In the case of heavier than air flight the United States claimed the Wright Brothers made the first heavier than air flights. The basis of the claim is the definition of heavier than air flight, that the Wright Brothers wrote.

[xii] By interracial they meant an ethnic European kissing an ethnic African.

[xiii] Technically, since Rayna was a machine, Rayna was not a living being.

[xiv] Episode “Mirror, Mirror” had a character, Captain Kirk in a parallel universe, use an unknown alien device to further his ends.

20th Century Earth Episodes

Tomorrow is Yesterday
Time travel
Paterns of Force
Planet Immitates Earth
Space Seed
Suspended Animation
Bread and Circuses
Similar Earth Development
The City on the Edge of Forever
Time Travel
Assignment Earth
Time Travel
A Piece of the Action
Planet Immitates Earth
Similar Earth Development
The Omega Glory
Similar Earth Development

The Times

In the 1960s there were three networks that showed first run television shows.[i] A successful television show needed broad popular appeal. Normally even the worst shows would get a season. Science fiction shows tended to be expensive to produce. Science fiction wasn’t popular with women and girls. This put science fiction shows at a disadvantage when the networks were deciding which shows to cancel. Of the 32 top Nielsen Rating shows in 1966-67, 11 were situation comedies. No science fiction series was in the top 32.

NBC aired “The Man Trap” when the competing networks were showing reruns. This decision paid off for the NBC. The Nielsen rating was 25.2 for the first half hour and 24.2 for the second half hour. Number 2 for the time slot, The Tammy Grimes Show, received a 14.1 rating. The preview for the next episode, “Charlie X”, may have convinced some parents their boys shouldn’t be watching this show.[ii]

“Charlie X”, the second episode received a 19.1 rating for the first half hour and 12.1 for the second half hour. This meant Star Trek ended the night in last place.

[i] ABC, CBS, & NBC

[ii] The preview showed Robert Walker Jr. making “a pass” at Grace Lee Whitney by slapping her bottom.

Familiar Plot Lines

Star Trek Episode(s)
The Enemy Within, What Are Little Girls Made of?, 'Mirror, Mirror'
A Doppleganger
Shore Leave
Arena, The Gameters of Trikelion, Bread And Circuses, Amok Time
The Menagerie, Court Martial, Turnabout Inruder
On Trial
Catspaw, Wolf in the Fold
The Deadly Years
Old Age
Patterns of Force
Fight the Nazis
Spectre of the Gun
The Western
The Way to Eden

Social Commentary

The Doomsday Machine
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
A Private Little War
Balance of Power
The Omega Glory
Mutually Assured Destrucction (MAD)
Assignment Earth
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
THe Mark of Gideon
The Cloud Minders

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Robert Sacchi


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