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.

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

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.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 01 – Spock’s Brain

I had completely forgotten how truly awful this episode is.

An alien spacecraft using ion drive approaches the Enterprise.  A go-go dancer complete with big hair, go-go boots, micro-dress and vinyl bustier beams aboard the Enterprise bridge knocks out the crew and micro-surgically removes Spock’s brain and takes it away.  You would think that would be enough, but there’s more.

McCoy somehow manages to put Spock’s brainless body on life support but warns Kirk that he can only survive for 24 hours without his brain.  The Enterprise follows the ion trail to a planet that is covered by Ice Age glaciation but has some kind of energy source below the surface.  On the surface are largish humanoid Neolithic men who attack the Enterprise landing party.  A captured man of the tribe who call themselves the Morg warns the crew of the Eymorg, the “givers of pain and delight.”  We find out that the Eymorg are the women who live below the surface and have energy weapons that they use to torture the surface-dwelling men if they don’t take out the garbage and perform their more delightful husbandly duties on schedule.

Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Spock’s body proceed to the Underground Kingdom of the Go-Go Dancers.  Spock’s body is controlled by McCoy using some kind of Nintendo joystick device.  Once there, Kirk and company battle it out with the go-go dancers and eventually get the upper hand.  It seems Spock’s Brain is being used as a sort of thermostat to control the climate control in the underground lair.  The head go-go dancer refuses to put Spock’s brain back in his body so McCoy has to use the “educator” helmet to learn how to perform the surgery.  But halfway through the operation McCoy begins to forget how to do it so they reattach Spock’s vocal cords and he coaches McCoy through the rest of the surgery.  Kirk tells the head go-go dancer that without Spock’s brain they will have to return to the surface and learn to control their men through the more conventional method of nagging them.

Watching this episode has really depressed me.  I have to watch the rest of season three before I can end this task and this episode has hammered home just how bad it will be.  There is nothing good about this episode.  The script is beyond poor.  They even forgot some of the conventions of their “technology.”  They referred to the ion drive of the aliens as highly advanced whereas ion drive is the much less sophisticated and slower impulse power that the Enterprise uses when its warp engines are unavailable.  The dialog between Kirk and the bridge crew when they are debating which planet is likely to be the one they are looking for sounds like a family trying to decide which restaurant to stop at during a long trip, “Wendy’s or Dairy Queen?”

The tribesmen on the planet have the worst wigs and beards I’ve ever seen on this or any show.  The go-go dancers don’t have any meaningful dialog beyond saying, “I don’t understand.”  And McCoy tries so hard to project horror at the removal of Spock’s brain that his facial expression looks more like someone suffering a stroke.  In general, all the actors look confused and dispirited.  Even Shatner looks sullen.  I don’t think he really wanted the brain back.  He just wanted his paycheck and maybe the head go-go dancer’s phone number.

This episode is awful on all levels so I will award it a 1 // 2.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 26 – Assignment: Earth

This the last episode of season 2.  We are told at the beginning of the episode that the Enterprise has been sent back in time to 1968 by means of blah, blah, blah.  They are there to do research.  By a remarkable coincidence they intercept an enormously powerful transporter beam coming from 1,000 light years away.  The beam deposits a seemingly human man holding a black cat.

The man identifies himself as Gary Seven (played by Robert Lansing), a human agent of a far off highly advanced race that he claims maintains a population of humans to visit Earth and influence human history in a way that limits the possibility of self-destruction.  Gary tries to convince Kirk to let him continue on to Earth to fulfill his mission which is to harmlessly but frighteningly destroy a nuclear weapon during a launch into orbit.  Kirk is unsure of Seven’s story and refuses to release him without proof of the truth of his story.  He fears that Seven is an alien enemy trying to destroy Earth by triggering WW III.

Seven manages to escape from detention on the Enterprise and proceeds to his base in New York City.  There he finds out that the agents meant to sabotage the orbital rocket have died in a car crash.  He must go himself to the Florida rocket launch and program the rocket to explode 100 miles above Russia thus convincing the Americans and their enemies that keeping H-bombs orbiting the Earth is a very bad idea.

At this point a woman hired by his two late associates to be their receptionist, Roberta Lincoln (played by a very young Teri Garr in a miniskirt) shows up and further confuses Gary Seven’s mission.  Meanwhile the Enterprise has identified the destination Seven transported to and sends Kirk and Spock dressed in mid-century American clothes.  They get into an altercation with Roberta and she manages to send for the police.  Gary Seven transports to the rocket launch location before Kirk and Spock reach him.  Meanwhile the NYPD shows up and Kirk has Scotty beam the two policemen and himself and Spock to the Enterprise.  The two policemen are stunned by their transportation.  Kirk and Spock exit the transporter and Scotty returns the officers to Earth before they can recover their wits.

Kirk now knows that Gary Seven has reached the rocket base and he and Spock decide to go there to stop Seven’s plan.  They are immediately arrested by the base’s armed guards and hauled off to, of all places, the mission control location.  Gary Seven is now on the gantry next to the rocket and has begun reprogramming the rocket.  At this point back on the Enterprise Scotty locates Gary Seven on the side of the rocket and attempts to beam him aboard the Enterprise.  But as Seven begins to materialize in the Enterprise transporter Roberta Lincoln fiddles aimlessly with the controls of the transporter in New York and the machine finds Gary Seven and brings him to New York.  How’s that for ridiculous!

After that we have Roberta Lincoln realizing that Seven can’t be from the CIA and knocking him out with a metal box.  Then Kirk and Spock, who in the interim have been rescued from detention by Scotty, show up and use up all but a few seconds of time needed to detonate the bomb in the upper atmosphere.  Shatner uses his confused face to let us know he isn’t sure whether he should do the only reasonable thing and let Seven prevent the nuke from reaching Earth.  Spock has to bless his decision by saying there is no information to make a logical decision so Kirk’s human intuition is the only choice.  Kirk says, “Do it!”  And the show comes to a blessed ending in the glare of a thermonuclear explosion at exactly 104 miles above the ground.

In the epilogue we learn that history had recorded that the bomb did go off at that altitude and was the impetus for nuclear negotiations between the United States and Russia.  And Spock informs Seven and Lincoln that they will have interesting adventures together in the near future.  We then see that Seven’s cat Isis can also transform herself into a scantily clad and buxom woman and when Roberta questions Gary about this female rival, “Who’s that?”  She transforms back into a cat in time for Gary to tell Roberta, “That’s my cat.”

Okay, let’s go over this a little bit.  This episode was a sort of pilot for a spin-off starring Lansing and Garr that never happened.  And I will say that these two were definitely a notch above the caliber of most of the guest stars.  They both had good presence, some comedic timing and decent acting skills.  The script although filled with improbabilities piled on ridiculous coincidences moved along quickly and reached a satisfying climax without Shatner breaking out too much of his classic emoting.  In fact, having Lansing and Garr dominate the air time was extremely refreshing.  And this is one of the few episodes I can think of where Dr. McCoy has almost no time on screen.  So, it’s a real win/win.

I would say this in one of the good episodes.  As mentioned above Shatner doesn’t get to use much of his bag of painful tricks so the Shatner mockery value will be sort of low.  Let’s call this an 8 // 3.

Larry Correia Teases a TV Deal

Larry posted about a convention he was Guest of Honor for (FantaSci in Raleigh-Durham).  And then he teased a TV deal he has.

“Also during that I asked Toni if I could talk about something else really cool, she gave me permission and I mentioned a new TV deal (contracts are in the mail!). Except I just realized before I blab about that on the internet, I should probably wait for her official announcement before posting more. But stay tuned, it’s really awesome news.”

Can I imagine a Monster Hunters International tv show?  Well yeah!  And of course I already have Adam Baldwin as Agent Franks.

Be still my defibrillating heart!

Well, to be continued when Larry lets the other shoe drop.  But this sounds like fun.

Last Man Standing – Thoughts on the Last Episode of the Series – A Television Review

Back in January 2021 I wrote a review of the last season of “Last Man Standing” that was beginning at that time and I said the show was unwatchable.  And it was, but being the stubborn fool that I am, I decided to watch the final season as a lesson to myself.  And as predicted it was unbearable.  Sure, every once in a while, Tim Allen would inject a funny moment.  But the overall unfunny, bland, bad writing, the trivial plot elements and emasculated male characters was beyond awful.

But I stuck it out until the bitter end and I’m glad I did.  Because in the last half of the final “double episode” Tim Allen injected a plot element that was an open metaphor for the hijacking of his series by the network.  The story element was that Mike’s classic pick-up truck that he restored from the ground up was stolen.  Now just in case the metaphor escaped anyone he even slips and says “show” instead of “truck” in one place.  He stresses several times that he’s had the “truck” for ten years and of course “Last Man Standing” premiered in 2011.

At one point the characters are talking about the fact that they can’t find the truck because the tracking GPS is off the “network.”  One of them asks if it could be found on another network and someone else says he’s heard of something like that and then Tim Allen says he doesn’t think it will work.  So, he’s hitting out at both ABC and Fox with this statement.  Later on, he asks “Who steals somebody else’s work like that?”  And there is a mock wake where the various actors talk about their feelings for the “truck.”  And finally in the Mike character’s final VLOG episode Tim Allen says just like Ronald Reagan after his 1976 defeat in the Republican primary that he is bloodied but he’ll get back up again.

So maybe Tim Allen thinks he has another show in him.  But what network will play it without neutering all the normal masculinity that Allen is known for?  I don’t see it happening.  But at least it was something that he at least acknowledged that his brain child had been butchered by the powers that be.  For that at least I salute him.

If he ever does start a new series, I’ll give it a look.  Who knows?  Miracles can happen.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 25 – Bread and Circuses

Holy absurdity Batman, here we go again with “Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development.”  It wasn’t enough to have Yangs and Kohms in the episode The Omega Glory.  Now we get a planet that has the Roman Empire.  But wait there’s more.  Rome survives into the twentieth century and their version of General Motors advertises for their latest car model, the Jupiter 8, by sponsoring televised gladiatorial games on their version of Wide World of Sports.  Oh the pain, the pain.

Six years earlier a merchant ship the “The Beagle” went missing.  Captain R.M. Merik commanded the ship and is known to Kirk because he washed out at the academy because he was a doofus.  The Enterprise finds the wrecked ship and Kirk, Spock and McCoy head down to the planet to find the crew.  There they are immediately captured, of course, and we find out that Merik is now emperor and called Merikus (nice latinizing).  And he’s persecuting the Sun worshippers.

Blah, blah, blah, Spock and McCoy are forced into the gladiatorial arena.  Blah, blah, blah, Kirk is enticed by the pretty blonde slave.  Blah, blah, blah, Scotty uses some engineering rigamarole to save the landing party when they’re about to be skewered.  Merik dies nobly after being a cowardly worm for the last six years.  Landing party escapes and leaves the planet alone because of the prime directive.  Spock jibber jabbers about the illogic of sun worship and Uhura corrects them that it isn’t “the sun up in the sky, it’s the Son of God.”

Great googly moogly.  They must have had nothing.  Okay, as parody there is some value here.  When the gladiator Flavius fails to convincingly attack McCoy in the arena one of the roman legionnaires whips him and threatens to have a special episode on television devoted to his death in the arena.  The tv announcer at the gladiatorial show is obviously done for laughs and is actually quite funny as satire of live tv production.  He has dials to allow him to add in cheering, boos, catcalls and laughter.  So as comedy the show has some value.  But what are the science fiction fans to make of this.  I guess that Star Trek had devolved into Gilligan’s Island.

The scenes with Kirk and the blonde slave girl allows at least a modicum of Shatner mockery value so I’ll give the episode a 4 // 5.