James T. Kirk – Physics Thought Experimental Monkey

Since I started watching and reviewing Season Three of Star Trek (The Original Series) I’ve found myself becoming openly hostile and irritated at the thought of having to get through the remaining fifteen or so episodes.  But I feel that I need to do something to improve the situation.  After all I started the exercise because I remember enjoying the show when I was a kid and maybe somehow, I could regain that youthful exuberance toward this venerable enterprise.

So, I looked around to see something on the web that would provide a fun Star Trek experience and what I found was “Does Kirk die when he goes through the transporter?” by a German lady physicist named Sabine Hossenfelder.  She has a soothing voice and pleasant appearance and I thought this just the type of woman scientist that James T. Kirk would be putting the moves on minutes into his introduction to her.  How perfect that she would be theorizing on the death of Kirk in her video.  I’ve always thought that the concept of the transporter was the most absurd of the various technical absurdities in the Star Trek storyline.  If it also kills Kirk, all the better.

Anyway, take a look and tell me what you think.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 06 – Spectre of the Gun

In this one, an alien race with telepathic powers decides to kill Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Chekov by forcing them to re-enact the Gunfight at the OK Corral as the Clantons.  I can see why CBS would be glad to film this episode.  They could reuse some of the old sets from their Rawhide series.

They were kind enough to throw in a pretty girl as the love interest for Chekov and we did get some western style background music.  The whole thing had a kind of Twilight Zone feel to it.  The plot device that is used to save our friends is the realization that none of the western setup is actually real so that if Kirk and friends know that the bullets aren’t real then they won’t be harmed by them.

So, the majority of the episode is Kirk, Chekov and McCoy interacting with the Earps and other townspeople while Spock builds a gas bomb that when tested on a skeptical Scotty doesn’t work.  But its failure confirms for Spock that the world they are inhabiting is an illusion that can’t harm them if they can ignore it.  At some point one of the Earps that is in love with Chekov’s girlfriend shoots Chekov and apparently kills him.  But at the end of the show when Chekov ends up alive McCoy explains it by saying that to Chekov the only thing that was real was the girl.  Now that doesn’t make a lot of sense because he did act like he had been shot when it happened but that’s what they give us to hide the plot hole so I guess we’ll have to live with it.

The climax is the gunfight.  Spock has prepared his human friends with the Vulcan mind-meld so that they will thoroughly believe the bullets are fake and so they will not be harmed.  The Earps blast away at the four Enterprise crewman and we see the fence behind the crewmen splintered by sustained gunfire as the Earps empty all their guns.  Then Kirk beats up Wyatt Earp and draws his gun as if to shoot him but then changes his mind and throws the gun away.  Almost immediately Kirk and company find themselves back on the Enterprise and discover that Chekov is unharmed.  The alien changes his mind about earthmen and decides he wants to be friends.  The show ends with Kirk and Spock discussing the violent nature of humans and how they have overcome it.

This is not a highly creative script.  The plot is similar to several that preceded it.  The acting and the dialog are just average and there wasn’t even much humor to make it more interesting.  Scotty did get to comment approvingly on the bourbon that the town had to offer for his drinking pleasure.  And Chekov was a source of amusement as the crew tried to drag him away from the woman who was infatuated with him. Shatner didn’t have much chance to show off his overacting ability.

I’ll give this a 5 // 2.

He’s a Rocket Man – Shatner Rejected by Space and Hurled Back to Earth

Jeff Bezos and William Shatner travelled a few time higher than a jet plane goes and then parachuted down to Earth and pretended that made them astronauts.

Watching the video I was pretty depressed that the once vaunted space program has been reduced to this, billionaires and moribund tv actors popping champagne bottles after accomplishing a tiny fraction of what was done more than fifty years ago by real pioneers.

But for Shatner I’ll allow that he has made Captain Kirk just slightly less fake.

Khaaaaaaan!!!!!!!

 

 

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 05 – Is There in Truth No Beauty?

Ah, finally a third season episode that doesn’t make you run screaming.  It’s not great but it’s far from awful.

This one involves a blind telepathic human woman named Miranda Jones who is the attaché of a creature called a medusan.  He is described as an energy being but he is so visually hideous that a human that looks at him will be instantly rendered insane.  For this reason, the medusan, Kollos,  travels around in a low, wide, rectangular, metal garbage can with a hinged lid.  But once the lid starts to open, we get a glimpse of Fourth of July sparklers and then scary music starts to play.

Spock and Miranda are in competition for the attentions of Kollos.  Miranda is jealous because if Spock wears a red filter over his eyes, he can look directly at Kollos without going mad, whereas Miranda, being blind, can’t see him at all.  If none of this makes any sense to you, welcome to the club.  Anyway, some other guy Lawrence Marvick, who both loves Miranda and designed the Enterprise is along on the trip.  He is trying to dissuade Miranda from going off to live with Kollos instead of shacking up with him.  When she rebuffs his pleas, this guy goes to kill Kollos with a phaser but, big surprise, before he can shoot Kollos he goes mad and runs away.

Marvick runs to the engine room and after beating up Scotty and three or four red shirts he hijacks the Enterprise and sends it out of the galaxy at Warp 9.5!  And as you well know that almost Warp 10!  He dies shortly after accomplishing this feat and the crew find themselves outside the galaxy in an area of intergalactic space where there are pretty lights and no highway signs.  We are told that they are in a space time continuum.  Of course, I thought we were all in the space time continuum, but whatever.  They are hopelessly lost!

So now the plan is for Spock to fuse his mind with Kollos because medusans have built in GPS in their sparkler.  This works but after getting them back into the galaxy and within satellite coverage, Spock forgets to put on his visor and sees Kollos which drives him mad.  Now he beats up Kirk and McCoy and Sulu and Chekov for a couple of minutes until Kirk stuns him with a phaser.  At this point Spock is dying and only Miranda might be able to save him by some kind of telepathic chiropractic manipulation.  But when time has passed and results have not been forthcoming Kirk runs into the sick bay and yells at Miranda and manhandles her a little bit.  This seems to have the desired effect and Miranda brings Spock back to his good old Vulcan self.  After that there are a few apologies and then Miranda takes her garbage pail and leaves.

As I mentioned, this is not an awful episode.  Some of the highlights are Scotty wearing his kilt to a fancy dinner for Miranda, Kirk showing off the Enterprise Florist Shop where he allows a blind woman to stick herself with a thorn on one of the lousy roses they have growing there. And let’s not forget the cool wavy lights in the extra-galactic dead zone.   But possibly the bright spot of the episode is Leonard Nimoy acting as Kollos during their fusion.  We see a very human and friendly character experiencing human senses and greeting all the people that he knows from being Spock as if seeing them for the first time.  It’s a naturalistic portrayal that I found enjoyable.

I’ll give this episode a 6 // 2.  There was very little hysterics from Shatner, thus the low number in the Shatner Mockery Index.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 04 – And the Children Shall Lead

There seems to be a footrace on between finishing this third season of reviews and terminal Star Trek overdose.  Seriously, we had better reach a decent episode soon.  And this one is no exception.  My dog could have written this thing.  And I’m not talking about the smart dog.

The Enterprise is desperately summoned to planet blah blah blah.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy find all the adults have suicided and the children are happily unconcerned by the carnage.  After Spock detects alien life readings coming from a cave, he and Kirk enter it and Kirk becomes panicky like a whiny infant and runs out.  Spock relates the history of the planet including a race of space marauders that was destroyed by its victims.

McCoy spouts some psycho-babble about the kids being in some kind of denial shock over the death of their parents and warns Kirk not to ask them any questions.  Back on the ship the children prove to be a pack of creepy pushy losers who quickly alienate everyone they meet.  But when they’re alone the children reveal their awful secret.  They form a circle and chant some moronic doggerel about a “friendly angel.”  And an apparition appears that looks like a fat gay guy in a moo-moo.  This is the Gorgan, one of the race of space marauders that was supposedly eliminated long ago.  His life force is kept going by controlling the minds of other beings.  This creature forced the adults on his planet to kill themselves and has seduced the children with promises of unrestricted Nintendo viewing and endless dessert to help him hijack the Enterprise and bring it to planet blah blah blah where they can kill millions of people and corrupt millions of gullible children with the same lies.  Coincidentally some people have suggested that the actor playing the Gorgan looks like Alan Hale Jr., the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island.  But it’s not.  It’s Melvin Belli, a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer who must have been forced to play this part under a contempt of court ruling.

Anyway, the kids are able to make the crew see things that aren’t there and think things that they normally wouldn’t believe.  With the result that Sulu won’t allow anyone to change the ship’s course when it’s headed in the wrong direction and Chekov attempts to arrest Captain Kirk without cause.  But the most egregious example is that Kirk becomes panicked at the idea that he has “lost command.”  Once again, he starts behaving like a three-year-old who has wet his pants.  Finally, Spock has to call him “Jim” and rally his flagging manhood by telling Kirk that he’s in command.  Now re-invigorated in his knowledge that his authority had not been neutered Kirk pinches a few yeoman butts and jumps into action.

He uses a recording of the friendly angel chant to summon the Gorgan and then show the children video of their happy days with their parents and then photos of their parents dead to convince them that the Gorgan is a complete jerk.  Once they stop believing in the Gorgan his apparition begins to decompose and his face melts like wax and he disappears.  With everything back to normal Kirk orders Sulu to change course for Star Base blah blah blah.

The End

This show was trash from beginning to end.  I disliked everyone.  The weird kids, the Gorgan, the parents, the crew and especially Bill Shatner.  His unmanly panic attack was degrading even for the viewers.  He is an awful actor and deserves all the opprobrium I can think up.  But by the same token this episode has the highest Shatner mockery value that can be.  So, the show gets a zero and the Shatner index is a ten.  That is phenomenal.

0  //  10

Jeff Bezos Plans to Kill Shatner in Space

Hat Tip to One of the ShatnerKhan founders for passing this along to me.  Apparently Jeff Bezos wants to turn Bill Shatner into an actual Rocket Man.  But I have to assume he also intends to turn the fat, bald, 90 year old Shatner into a corpse.  Could his corpse be ejected in low Earth orbit and allowed to crash back into Earth?  Imagine the surprise of some family if Shatner crashes through their roof and is deposited in their living room, maybe as they are actually watching an episode of Star Trek!  This truly is an age of miracles and wonder.

William Shatner – A Demigod of Bad Acting

ShatnerKhan 1 – Part 1

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 03 – The Paradise Syndrome

I’ve mentioned this before but I think it’s necessary to reiterate that the third season episodes are truly awful.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet that will be struck by an asteroid within a couple of months.  It is inhabited by American Indians.  Spock immediately chimes in that they are made up of a population that is a combination of Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware tribes.  Now, how in hell he’d know this looking at them walking around on the edge of a lake is a complete mystery to me.  And just to make the plot more absurd they have less than thirty minutes to get back to the Enterprise and travel at Warp 9 toward the asteroid before it’s too late to deflect the asteroid from its collision course.  So of course, while Spock and McCoy are doing whatever, Kirk manages to get lost.  He’s standing in front of an alien obelisk and when he communicates with the Enterprise it somehow activates a hidden trapdoor on the spot Kirk is standing and he falls into the hidden chamber where he manages to get electrocuted by the alien mechanism and loses his memory.  As an aside, for the “Shatner Mockery” rating of this episode it must be noted that Shatner performs one of his most spastic instances of the pain face.  This is the one he does when he’s really suffering badly.   It’s hard to compare these things but I’d say it’s one of his all-time worst occurrences.  This will earn him high marks for this episode.

Because Kirk is hidden inside of the obelisk Spock and McCoy waste precious time looking for him.  When they finally return to the Enterprise without him, they are already too late.  They reach the asteroid but neither their deflector beam nor the phasers are able to neutralize the threat of the asteroid.  In addition, the overloading of the Enterprise’s engines by the phaser bombardment destroys the warp drive and now the Enterprise, on impulse power, is barely able to stay ahead of the asteroid as they both head back to the planet on a trajectory that will take about two months.  Apparently, the crew will be barely a few hours ahead of the asteroid and will need to locate Kirk and attempt to find a way to save the planet.  As an aside while the Enterprise engines are being destroyed Scotty is lamenting their fate, moaning, “Oh my poor bearings!”  Apparently, the warp drive has ball bearings.  Who knew?

Meanwhile back on the planet, Kirk awakens inside the obelisk but he can no longer remember who he is or why he is there.  He wanders out of the obelisk and is immediately declared the first wizard deluxe (or at least a god) and assigned the task of stopping the darkening of the sky which is clearly the approach of the asteroid.  We find out that the Indians were placed on this planet by an advanced species that liked moving humanoids around the galaxy.  The obelisk is actually a very powerful deflector beam that is supposed to be controlled by the medicine man of the tribe.  But the present medicine man’s father died before passing the training down to his son.  Now seeing that Kirk (or Kirock as he painfully named himself while trying to remember his own name) is a god they make him the medicine man and give him the priestess, Miramanee to be his wife.  This supremely ticks off the medicine man because he’s not only lost his job but also his main squeeze.  The medicine man attacks Kirock with a knife and finds out that Kirk can bleed.  He taunts him with the phrase, “Behold the god that bleeds!”  This is one of two plot devices that this episode stole from classic movies.  This same device of the bleeding god occurs in the book and movie “The Man Who Would be King” by Rudyard Kipling.  The other theft occurs when Kirock is being considered for godhood.  A boy is brought into the wigwam by the women and they tell the chief that he was trapped under water and drowned.  The medicine man declares him dead but Kirock performs artificial respiration and saves the boy.  This clinches his inclusion in the pantheon of useful deities.  This scene is lifted from the movie, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre where the old prospector, Howard performs a similar resuscitation on a Mexican Indian boy.

So Kirock and Miramanee are shacked up and she is pregnant with James Tiberius Jr.  But the asteroid arrives and Kirock is dragged to the obelisk and is told to take care of the asteroid.  He stands there with his arms in the air telling the asteroid to go away.  When that doesn’t work the medicine man goads the tribe to start pelting Kirock with foam rocks about the size of cabbages.  It’s funny to watch them bouncing off of him.  Miramanee runs to protect him and is stoned too.  Just then Spock and McCoy beam down and the natives scatter and run for the hills.  Spock uses the Vulcan mind meld on Kirock to remind him that he’s Kirk.  Also, Spock has figured out that the entrance to the obelisk is sound activated so Kirk recreates his call to the Enterprise at the beginning of the story and the trapdoor opens.  Spock pushes a button and the deflector beams takes care of the asteroid.  Easy peasy.

But the highly advanced medicine of Dr. McCoy, the vaunted surgical techniques that could reattach Spock’s brain in the last episode, somehow are unable to repair or replace the damage that Miramanee sustained by being pelted with cabbage sized foam rocks.  So, she dies the beautiful death in Kirock’s manly arms.  A last note, the actress who played Miramanee is indeed a beautiful young woman.

The End.

This was even worse than it sounds.  Shatner turns his powers of bad acting up to eleven.  It’s all there.  Shoulder rolls and some kind of a stripper pole swing kick during his fight with the medicine man.  There are frequent expressions that are supposed to be painful struggles against amnesia but more resemble a case of constipation.  And when Kirock is semiconscious on the obelisk steps after being stoned he keeps calling out Miramanee’s name and it is truly maudlin.

So once again we have an episode that rates a very low number as a dramatic story but as an example of Shatner’s ham acting is a stellar sample.

Let’s say 2 // 10.

Season Three does it again!

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 02 – The Enterprise Incident

So, the good news is that this second episode of Season 3 is a thousand times better than its predecessor, Spock’s Brain.  The bad news is that’s still pretty close to nothing.

The show opens up with Kirk walking around the bridge petulantly berating Chekov and Spock for being Chekov and Spock.  He seems irritated, as if his underwear had been sprinkled with crushed fiberglass or something.  Suddenly he orders Sulu to change course and enter the Romulan neutral zone.  Soon they pass through the neutral zone and enter Romulan space where they are quickly surrounded by three Romulan war ships that apparently were cloaked and monitoring the Enterprise before it entered Romulan space.  For some reason we are told that the ships are of Klingon design.  We are left to assume that Desilu didn’t have any Romulan plastic models laying around for Season 3.  Personally, I think they should have used potatoes.  I think potatoes would make great alien spaceships.  But I digress.

Soon the Romulan commander demands that Kirk and Spock beam aboard her ship and answer for their illegal incursion.  We find out the Romulan commander is a woman and she has the hots for Spock.  It seems that Vulcans and Romulans are related and Spock’s pointy ears do it for her.  During interrogation Spock volunteers that Kirk entered Romulan space without Federation permission and has been acting erratically.  Kirk reacts to this betrayal by foaming at the mouth and shrieking at Spock that he will kill him.

During a later encounter Kirk attempts to assault Spock but is killed when Spock uses the Vulcan “death grip.”  When Kirk’s body is returned to the Enterprise for composting, we discover that Spock only temporarily deactivated Kirk to make him appear dead.  McCoy operates on Kirk’s ears to make him look like a Romulan and then Kirk is transported back to the Romulan ship to assist Spock in stealing the cloaking device.

Meanwhile Spock and the Romulan commander are engaging in some kind of erotic hand touching.  Spock is holding his hand in the Vulcan salute configuration and I think she was too.  And they kind of move their hands together like it’s sex or something.  It’s really difficult to say if this is more ridiculous or annoying to watch.  Maybe embarrassing is the right description.  Anyway, the whole thing gets interrupted when word of Kirk’s theft of the cloaking device reaches the commander.

Spock is sentenced to death by a slow painful method which is not described but probably resembled the thing with the finger touching that we had to watch.  While Scotty displays his usual lack of engineering ability in taking way too long to hook up the cloaking device to the Enterprise’s deflector shield, Kirk attempts to provide him with enough time by running away at Warp 9.  You know I always thought they couldn’t go faster than Warp 8.  Maybe they got a new fuel injector.  Anyway, Spock is stalling his execution by providing a statement about his guilt.  He recites the Declaration of Independence and was just starting on the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” when Scotty got the cloaking device hooked up and Kirk then lets the transporter crew beam Spock aboard.  The lady commander sees Spock starting to sparkle so she grabs hold of him and gets dragged onto the Enterprise with him.  Spock apologizes to her for playing with her fingers under false pretenses.  There is some joking about Kirk’s ear surgery.  Then it mercifully ends.

With respect to my rating, I give very high marks on the Shatner mockery scale.  When Kirk was flipping out about Spock’s treachery Shatner gave of his best.  His eyes were bulging out of his head and his mouth was twisted into a grimace of agony.  I think he was channeling his feelings about the show’s imminent cancellation.  As for the show as legitimate entertainment, it wasn’t that bad.  It was somewhere in the five or six range.

Let’s call it a 5 // 9.

Gutfeld Breaks Through the Late Night Comic Ratings Game

I started watching Greg Gutfeld back in 2010 when he had his 3 am comedy Red Eye on Fox News.  With his small ensemble of regulars and a bunch of Fox News and right-wing and libertarian guests the show was an incredibly refreshing change from the lefty late night hosts that had already become too unbearable to listen to.

It was obviously a show that was produced on a shoestring budget and existed without any of the heavyweight advantages that the networks can provide to an entertainment show.  We weren’t going to see any movie stars or top echelon politicians on this show.  Instead you had a folded newspaper with paper eyes taped on used as a ventriloquist dummy while one of the cast represented the views of the New York Times in a silly voice.  Or there would be a video of robots in their parents’ basement, reciting the talking points of George Soros’ Media Matters in a cadence that sounded like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This was not a show that could compete with The Tonight Show or even Conan O’Brien.  I even remember a clip of David Letterman making fun of Greg’s name and calling him a nobody.  But it was often very funny.  Gutfeld was a social liberal by all appearances.  I’d say he was a libertarian.  But he wasn’t attacking the Right.  After a few years when the show ran out of steam and several of the regulars left so did I.  But my impression was that Gutfeld was not against us and was doing the best he could to speak to more than the left side of America.  And for that I give him credit.

In the last few years Gutfeld has been ubiquitous on Fox News.  He’s a regular on their talk show “The Five.”  And he now has his own late night comedy show that is much better supported by the network than Red Eye was.  And after viewing a few episodes I see that Gutfeld knows where his audience is.  I don’t doubt he’s still the same guy but he’s towing the line and giving Donald Trump his due.  And that’s good.  Gutfeld is far enough to the right of the rest of Hollywood and the Media to be considered one of us.  I wouldn’t want him deciding policy but I’m more than happy to see him telling jokes on a late night show.  After all Johnny Carson was probably a liberal.  But he tried to be an equal opportunity mocker of the left and the right.  I can live with that.

Now that Gutfeld is making real headway I hope Fox News supports him and provides whatever leverage they can to get him good guests.  Who knows maybe one day he can have Donald Trump on the show.  That show I’d watch.

So good luck to Greg.  He’s the only one of those comics worth spit.  Hopefully he can showcase a lot of the little comics on our side.  That would be a worthwhile endeavor.  Build our own platforms.