On Giant Space Amoebas and TV Science Fiction

I’m more than halfway through my episode by episode review of the complete Star Trek, the original series (TOS), and it has been eye opening to see how terrible some of the episodes were.  Of course, that’s probably more a reflection of how long it’s been since I’ve seen these shows.  Nonetheless I think there are some observations I’d like to make.

Over the course of the show we’ll see planets with humanoid inhabitants almost exclusively.  Oh, sure once in a while they’ll have pointy ears or green skin but nine times out of ten, they look like they come from California.  And just to make the situation even more ridiculous we’ll even find planets that have Space Nazis, Space Romans, Space Bootleggers and even Space Americans and Russians who have survived a Space WWIII and are living like nomads but still wielding an American flag and a copy of the Constitution.  And I say, sure, why not?  After all they could get the costumes at the Desilu props department and we could chalk it all up to some multiverse probabilistic hand waving stuff.

But where I draw the line is the planet sized amoeba made of protoplasm.  This doesn’t make any sense at all.  In fact, it’s insulting to anyone of even modest intelligence to think such a thing is anything but laughable.  I mean come on!  What’s next?  If you ran out of awful plots what would they find next inside of an opaque interstellar cloud?  A giant negative energy absorbing aardvark or lemur?  Maybe there could be a planet-sized ranch or Cape Cod building along with an equally cosmic sized old guy sitting on his porch yelling at the Enterprise for travelling across his lawn at warp factor 3 and threatening Kirk with a light years spanning garden hose?

I guess I’m getting a little cantankerous but is it so much to ask that a show that forces us to suspend disbelief about faster than light travel and inexplicable teleportation devices at least meet us half way and make believe that they’ve provided us with a fig leaf to cover the colossal absurdity of whatever gold-plated impossibility they are foisting off on us at the moment.  At least get Spock to say that the amoeba is composed of some unknown form of condensed negative energy that behaves like a cosmic equivalent of protoplasm.  Would it be that hard to say some gobbledygook like that just so we didn’t feel that we were watching a show that couldn’t rise to the level of realism exhibited by the Teletubbies?

So, I’m not asking how Apollo got his temple to a planet, light years from Earth.  Maybe it has a warp engine in one of the columns.  I’m not complaining that the Gorn’s head looks like it was put together out of craft supplies bought at Walmart.  All I’m asking is that a science fiction show give me at least some plausible fake science to placate my sense of scientific decency.

Oh, and would it have killed them to have a few more of those Vegas show girls show up once in a while?  Nurse Chapel truly should have been retired on a pension and replaced with Terri Garr or Barbara Eden.  Just saying.

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War Pig
War Pig
20 days ago

Gently, gently. Remember when those shows aired. It was the late 60s. We were shooting for the moon (and made it). Nothing seemed impossible to us. Back then a transistor radio the size of the palm of my hand was the latest and greatest portable music. 8 track tapes were all the rage for your car. Technology by today’s standards was neolithic. Cars were not fuel efficient, their cubic inches were only surpassed by their horsepower ratings. Personal/corporate jets were becoming more popular. Most television programming was still in B&W, although prime time went all color in 1966. Color TVs… Read more »

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