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Monday, August 30, 2010
Vols vs UT Martin Haikus
Dooley takes over
Start new era with a win
Time to kick it off

Bowl game is the goal
Long off-season finally done
Kiffin gone (hoo-ray!)

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2010 02:02:00 PM | |

Titans vs Carolina Broadcast.
Saturday evening, I tuned in to watch the Titans take on the Carolina Panthers in one of the dullest pre-season games I've ever witnessed.

Sure, the Titans had a short week, playing Monday night at home and scrimmaging Wednesday against the Cardinals, but that still doesn't excuse how just dull as dishwater the game was at times. I will admit that our "no name" defense looked impressive at certain points in the first half, but that's really about all there was to really sustain my interest in the first half.

Of course, part of this wasn't helped by the fact that the game was shown locally on channel 2. Having access to the NFL Network and their rebroadcast of every other pre-season game taking place has given me a severe case of pre-season broadcast envy. It seems like every other pre-season broadcast in an NFL city borrows the graphics, look and feel of their network partner for broadcasting the game. If it's a FOX station, you get the Fox graphics, look, feel, etc.

And then there's Nashville, where the Titans game are shown on our ABC affiliate. As you may know, ABC doesn't have a broadcasting deal with the NFL and it looks like ESPN isn't willing to share the Monday Night Football graphics and/or look and feel with WKRN. Watching the game Saturday, it didn't feel too far removed from the broadcast of high school football up a few notches on the cable dial on CSS.

It wasn't helped by the broadcast duo we had in the booth. Eddie George did a lot of great things as a Titan, but his work in the broadcast booth Saturday night was sub-par.

I'm sure had the Titans been tearing it up on the field, I might have been more willing to overlook or forgive these perceived shortcomings. But since the game wasn't anything to write home about, these things just stood out even more like a sore thumb.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2010 01:01:00 PM | |

Sadly It's True
Presented without comment.



posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2010 12:01:00 PM | |
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Only Six Days Left.....
In just six days, football season kicks-off here in Big Orange Country. After an off-season that was a roller-coaster ride, I'm ready for the season to kick-off so we can focus on the important things--the University of Tennessee football team on the field.

I wonder if this season can compete with the drama that unfolded in the off-season. Maybe not, but at least it's football time.

A friend asked me last week how I honestly thought the Vols would do this year and after making my usual, orange-tinted glasses prediction of undefeated, playing for a national title, I said we'd be 6-6 or 7-5 in the regular season. And it seems that John Adams agrees with me. I still think the Vols will surprise someone they we "shouldn't" beat at some point in the season. And, I think we'll struggle against someone that we should beat. And I agree with Adams that the quarter of a century domination of the Wildcats won't come to end. Some traditions must be maintained.

Needless to say, I'm excited about football season. It may not be a great year, but it will be a good year, no matter what. The north end of a south bound horse of a coach is gone and we can get back to focusing on the things that matter--like how can we pull out a win over Florida, Georgia and Alabama?

One thing I love about UT football is the passion and camaraderie it inspires among fans. I know that other schools fans love their teams, but there's something special about UT fans. There's a web site that chronicles it and it could be the precursor to a book (which I would buy and read).

And speaking of the passion, I think this next story is a perfect example. Megan McGlothlin loves UT and her husband, who was a walk-on player a few years ago. She loves them both so much she took bridal photos in and around Neyland Stadium (otherwise known as "God's House.") Reading the article this morning and seeing the photos, I had several thoughts.

First: That is beyond cool!

Second: Man, this is true love. And it's kind of hot.

Third: I wonder how big a donation she had to make to the University for that to happen.

Fourth: I bet Kiffin would never have gone for that because, as I said before, he's the north end of a south bound horse.

Fifth: Thank heavens there are people out there who are as passionate fans as I am about the Vols. It always makes me feel better about myself as I gear up for the week of orange leading up to the first game.

It's here, at long last. The long wait is over and it's time to kick things off.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2010 06:40:00 AM | |
Friday, August 13, 2010
Retro TV Round-Up: Star Trek
"Turnabout Intruder"
And so, we arrive at the final episode of classic Star Trek ever produced or aired, "Turnabout Intruder."

The Enterprise answers a distress call from a research team on Camus II. Leading the team is a former girlfriend of Kirk's, Dr. Janice Lester. Seems Janice didn't take the break-up very well and has really been nursing a grudge against Kirk. And boy howdy, can she hold a grudge. After Spock and McCoy head off to look for survivors, Janice uses a strange device on the planet to switch bodie with Kirk. She then tries to kill Kirk in her old body, but can't before Spock and McCoy arrive back on the scene.

They beam back to the ship and Lester/Kirk orders that only Doctor Coleman, who's in on the plan, can take care of Kirk/Janice. Lester/Kirk orders the ship to head to the Venicia colony where they can leave Kirk/Janice and Dr. Coleman behind or possibly have Kirk/Janice killed. Seems that in order to maintain the transference, Kirk/Janice has to die.

Well it's not long before Lester/Kirk is making quite a few blunders and the crew begins to think something is up. Spock quickly figures out that something ain't right and mind melds with Kirk/Janice to discover the truth. But Lester/Kirk catches wind of it, has Spock arrested and court martialed . During the trial, Lester/Kirk acts oddly, even leaving the briefing room where there is no door! (It's an error by the director, but it's still funny. One of those gaffs that stayed in the show along the lines of Nimoy breaking character in "Amok Time" wide shots or the phaser hitting the ground in "Space Seed.) McCoy and Scotty are taken aback by this and plot to remove Lester/Kirk from command. Unfortunately, Lester/Kirk catches this on audio and has them arrested as well and summarily decides on the death penalty for all of Spock, McCoy and Scotty.

Sulu and Chekov protest by not following orders and Lester/Kirk convinces Coleman to head down to security and kill Kirk/Janice. At this point, the transference reverses for no good reason other than the hour is almost up. Janice breaks down and is upset that she's been one upped by Kirk yet again (apparently he left the relationship when it got "too real"). Coleman says he sure would like to take care of her and Kirk agrees.

The idea of Kirk losing control of the Enterprise and the crew mutinying against what is perceived as the captain all sounds like an interesting story, doesn't it? Too bad "Turnabout Intruder" doesn't really deliver on that promise. In some ways, it feels like it's trying to mine the comic absurdity of body switching, but when you have episodes like "A Piece of the Action," "I, Mudd" and "The Trouble With Tribbles" as a standard of how you can do a humorous episode of Star Trek, "Intruder" is a pale imitation. (It's better than "Spock's Brain" which I'm still not was intended as a comedy).

The script comes from Gene Roddenberry, who apparently wrote in the margins that this was going to be a tour-de-force acting opportunity for William Shatner. One site I read indicates the Roddenberry was extremely convinced that this was one of the best Trek scripts ever written, further proving my theory that he was far better at creating the universe and characters for Trek than he was at working in them on a day to day basis (see all of season one of TNG for more proof).

And it possibly could have been a tour-de-force for Shatner, if he hadn't gone so over the top so quickly. We've seen in the past that Shatner can deliver solid performances that have nuance and subtlety ("The Enemy Within" for example) but this isn't one of them. Early on, the story makes some nice small differences so that we know it's not really Kirk but Lester trying to pretend to be Kirk. The most obvious is that she will answer any hail as "Captain Kirk here," which goes against the grain of the previous 78 episodes.

Unfortunately, as the episode progresses, the histrionics ramp into overdrive and the performance goes out the window. I find it amusing that the week this aired in 1969, TV Guide highlighted the story in a "Close Up" box and talked about this being a showcase for William Shatner's talents and that "only subtle changes" show the differences. I keep looking at the description and thinking, "Did they see the same episode I did?!?"

The episode also seems a bit short sighted in some other areas. For example, Dr. Coleman and Lester seem to be romantically involved. He's killed a whole lot of people for her (he helps her wipe out the scientific team to lure the Enterprise to the planet and is prepared to kill Kirk/Janice), but have they considered the implications of the body switch on their relationship? It appears that Janice wants this to be a permanent switch, but I'm not sure Coleman is on board with that. The story could have been a fascinating exploration of the nature of love along the lines of TNG's "The Host." But the question isn't even raised.

Nor is the reaction to everything in the end. OK, so Lester and Coleman have killed a whole bunch of people to carry out this plan. Yes, Lester is bat-dookie crazy but that doesn't excuse Coleman's actions. Maybe there's a scene or two that take place later where they're both hauled to the brig on murder charges. But in the end, Kirk lets Coleman take Lester back to sickbay and seems to shrug it off as just another odd day at the office.

It's not a great end to the series. One good thing it always signaled when watching these stories in syndication was that the next episode would likely be "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and that we were cycling back to season one, when the episodes were a bit more solid. Sure we could see the growing pains, but at least you knew it was all going somewhere.

That said, I do like what the remastered edition did for the final shot of the Enterprise in the original series. We see the ship sailing off into a cluster of stars and it feels like we're saying farewell as the crew sails into the sunset.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/13/2010 12:01:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Retro TV Round-Up: Star Trek
"All Our Yesterdays"
As many of you know, I'm a big Captain James T. Kirk fan. Always has been and always will be my favorite captain when it comes to Star Trek. So, you know that when an episode comes along in which I find myself bored by large chunks of the story surrounding Kirk, there must be something terribly, terribly wrong.

"All Our Yesterdays" find the Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down to the planet Sarpedion, which has about three hours to live before its sun goes nova. The planet was once fairly well populated but is now apparently deserted. Of course, the whole decision to warp in and beam down three hours before their sun goes nova brings up the question of why? The captain's log and the dialogue indicate that the planet hasn't made a call for help. So, why put the ship and crew in peril?

Because it'd be a really short episode if we didn't.

Anyway, the trio beams down into a library and finds the mysterious Mr. Atoz as its attendant. Actually, there are several copies of Atoz running around, saying that Kirk, Spock and McCoy need to get ready and leave immediately or else face destruction. Atoz shows them discs that contain the history of the world, though there's no information on the recent history or where everyone went. Kirk is viewing one of an age in the planet's history that looks like colonial times while McCoy looks at one of an ice age. Kirk hears a woman cry out and runs through a doorway only to be transported back in time to the age he was viewing. McCoy and Spock go after him but find themselves in an icy wilderness.

Turns out the door was a time machine and that people from Sarpedion went back into the past to escape the nova. Kirk is in a colonial looking era where he is suspected of being a thief and a witch. He eventually finds a fellow time traveler and works his way back to where he originally time traveled. Since a computer in the future didn't prepare him, he can jump back to the library and hopefully try to find Spock and McCoy. It's this part of the Kirk plotline that does nothing of interest, beyond having the captain locked up for a good chunk of it and then escaping.

Meanwhile, McCoy and Spock are trapped in the ice age of Sarpedion and meet Zarabeth, a political exile from the future. Seems that she and her family opposed someone in power and got shuttled off to the past as punishment. She's got a nice warm cave where McCoy recovers from frostbite and Spock goes all ancient Vulcan on her, putting the moves on Zarabeth and eating meat (and enjoying it). There's a bit of a rivalry developing between McCoy and Spock for the affections of Zarabeth, though Spock quickly puts the kibosh on that, emotionally confronting McCoy and threatening to kill him. Because he's in the past, Spock is regressing to how Vulcans acted five thousand years before. Yeah, the explanation doesn't make much sense to me either, though the story does sort of try to come up with a reason for Spock to act this way.

McCoy eventually convinces Spock to go back and find the way home. Zarabeth can't go, which leads to some conflicted feelings for Spock. They find the portal and hear Kirk calling to them. Spock is tempted to stay, but he can't. If he doesn't go through, neither can McCoy. He has a fond farewell with Zarabeth and they both step through, back into the current time frame.

They beam up to the ship just in time as the sun goes nova and we all warp away.

"All Our Yesterdays" is by the same writer who gave us "Is There in Truth No Beauty" and you can kind of tell she's a fan of Spock. Both episodes are showcases for Spock and Leonard Nimoy to really strut his stuff. And there are some isolated moments that showcase Spock and Nimoy. The ever growing regression by Spock is well played as is the coda in which Spock laments that the events did occur, he did love Zarabeth and she's long since dead. In a season that's not been as kind to Spock as the first two, these scenes work fairly well and at least try to come up with a reason for Spock to act the way he does.

That said, there are still large chunks that just don't add up. I've said before how the Kirk portions of the back in time plot aren't much to write home about. There's also the issue of Zarabeth and her clothing choice. I get that this is classic Trek where the costume designers used showing female skin as part of the costume design. But for Zarabeth to wear what is essentially a fur bikini under her coat of skins makes no sense. For one thing, it's too well styled and form-fitting for her to have made it herself and for another, it's not exactly going to keep her warm in the ice age. Considering that she's trapped there and has been, it doesn't make much sense that she'd have only this. Maybe she knew Spock was coming by and wanted to look hot for him.

Anyway, it all adds up to a bit of mixed bag of an episode. It also feels a bit like classic Trek is starting to coast and is on fumes.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/11/2010 02:56:00 PM | |
Monday, August 09, 2010
Retro TV Round-Up: Star Trek
"The Savage Curtain"
One of the interesting things about being as much of a Star Trek fan (particularly the original series) as I am has been reading all the "kiss and tell" books about what went on behind the scenes back in the day. For those of you who may have missed it, going in to season three NBC and Gene Roddenberry engaged in a high stakes game of chicken. After a huge fan write-in campaign to get the show a third season, NBC originally promised Star Trek a choice prime time slot in Monday evenings. In return, Roddenberry would be back in the big seat as executive producer and show runner (part of this was due to exhaustion of Gene Coon and his departure mid-way through season two).

Then Laugh-In wanted the time slot given to Star Trek and NBC looked at the numbers and moved Star Trek. To Friday nights. At 10 p.m. EST. In the days before DVRs or even VCRs. In many ways the time slot was the kiss of death for Star Trek. Roddenberry decided to fight back, saying he wanted the time slot originally promised or else he'd not be the series runner for season three. NBC didn't back down, calling the bluff and Roddenberry stepped away. This led to Fred Freiberger coming in as the producer and an even bigger budget cut for the original series, something that shows up time and again as the third season winds down.

I bring all of this up because in watching the final three episodes the series produced, it's interesting that two of three come from Roddenberry. Whether this was a case of Roddenberry coming back to the fold in a last ditch attempt to save the series or whether the ideas for both episodes had been kicking around for years and they finally needed to use them, I'm not exactly sure. In the case of "The Savage Curtain," the script feels like one that Roddenberry might have written as an attempt to show fans and the network what areas there were left to explore should a fourth season be made.

And yet, the story still feels like it's a greatest hits from a lot of earlier episodes.

"Curtain" starts out with a sequence that I used to see in my local station's promos for Trek back in the day--Abraham Lincoln appearing on the view screen. Whether he's the real former president of the United States or an image appearing because the aliens on the new world realize that Kirk has a fondness and respect for the sixteenth president isn't made clear right away.

What is clear is the Enterprise is scanning the planet for lifeforms where none should exist. But because of the environmental conditions on the planet, the crew can't beam down to check it out. Kirk is ready to chalk it up to an unsolved mystery and head on to the next assignment when the memory banks are probed and Lincoln appears.

Lincoln beams aboard the ship from a newly formed area that is hospitable to humanoid life. After a tour of the ship and some debate between Kirk and the senior staff, Kirk and Spock decide to beam down. It's interesting to see the debate between Kirk, McCoy and Scotty about whether or not Kirk should accept the invitation to visit the surface of the planet. McCoy and Scotty argue that it could be an illusion and that Kirk and Spock could beam down into a pool of molten lava and be instant crispy critters. Kirk reminds them that seeking out new life if their charge and he's beaming down. It's not quite the "risk is our business" speech from season two, but it's still effective.

Once down on the surface, Kirk and Spock encounter a rock creature. The creature says that his planet doesn't quite grasp the concept of good and evil as encountered in the Enterprise data banks and wants to set up a scenario to see which would win. Kirk, Spock and Lincoln are joined by Surak, one of the most influential figures in the history of Vulcan. They're pitted against Ghengis Khan, Colonel Green, Kahless and some other lady with badly done make-up who doesn't contribute anything. It's almost like she's thrown in to round out the sides. The rock creature says that the entire planet will be watching and when Kirk refuses to fight, the creature ups the ante. If Kirk and Spock win, the Enterprise is free to go. If not, it will be destroyed.

So, the reality show begins. Kirk and Spock begin fashioning weapons out of the available resources as the bad guys do the same. Kirk is the de facto leader, scouting out a base in the rocks and leading the good guys. Surak wants to negotiate for peace and does so, eventually getting killed and becoming the bait in a trap for Kirk and Spock. (It's explained that Spock holds Surak in the same esteem that Kirk does Lincoln). While Kirk and Spock attack from the front, Lincoln slips in to free Surak and is killed. Kirk and Spock beat out the forces of evil, who all flee. The rock creature says they're free to go, after Kirk makes an impassioned plea about the game and the nature of it.

"Curtain" was an episode that one of my friends with a VCR had recorded off the air and for about a year, he constantly referred to it as one of the greatest episodes he'd ever seen. I'm not sure if this was because he actually believed it or because he had it on video-tape. Looking back on it now I think it's more the former.

"Curtain" borrows a lot from other Trek episodes. But at least it does it fairly well. Yes, we've got the same set-up as "Arena" in some respects, but whereas that was a shades of gray (once we understand the Gorn's motivation), this one is more clear cut. It's good vs evil with evil assembled merely to be the token bad guys. All that is missing is the black hats and you've got your cliched Western bad guys.

However, one thing that interested me most is that when supposedly superior races put humans into some conflict to determine which side is superior, they rarely provide weapons beyond the most primitive kind. In "Arena" the tools were there for a cannon and here the weapons are spears and rocks. Given time, I suppose one side or the other could have fashioned bows and arrows, but since the ship is in peril, there's no time for that. Over the course of TOS and TNG, Roddenberry made a lot of statements about war, but it's interesting to see how time and again the superior races don't give the participants phasers, etc. but instead require them to rely on their wits and their minds to win the battle. I'm not sure how far this commentary extends here with both sides having virtually the same pointed spears (I wonder if a modern Trek might have Kahless fashion a bat'leth), but it's an interesting thought.

Another interesting aspect is Surak's portrayal. Surak is vehemently opposed to fighting and refuses to take part. Instead he heads to the other side to negotiate a peace deal which ultimately costs his life. It's fascinating to see a character who is willing to die for his beliefs and his devotion to the cause of peace. But it's also fascinating that while he's approaching the bad guys, Kirk, Spock and Lincoln still fashion weapons and prepare for war. They're hopeful of a peaceful solution, but still don't want to get caught with their pants down.

It makes me wish that we'd have a bit more of the shades of gray we got with "Arena" instead of the bad guys vs good guys mentality we get here. The episode makes me miss Gene Coon's leadership that much more because I believe he'd have given the story another pass or two to make it something more than what we get. It's not that this one is bad, per se, (it's certainly far more tolerable than "Way to Eden" or "The Paradise Syndrome") but it feels a bit like a missed opportunity when all is said and done.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/09/2010 01:45:00 PM | |
Monday, August 02, 2010
Retro TV Round-Up: Star Trek
"The Cloud Minders"
When I was about six or seven, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was hitting theaters. I remember this because it seemed like it was advertising a lot on the back cover of comic books my parents would buy for me and because there was a tie-in promotion with McDonald's Happy Meals. (When I lived in Hawaii, the happening place for the under-10 set to have a birthday party was the McDonald's with an outdoor playground). Those Happy Meals made the Motion Picture look a lot more action packed than it was and I recall begging my mom to take me to see the movie when it hit the base theater.

She agreed and I recall being...well, kind of bored. (I was six or seven at the time). But that didn't discourage me from wanting to figure out what all this fuss about Star Trek was about. I recall watching an episode of the animated series one Saturday morning and thinking it was pretty good. Then, during a visit to my grandparents, I saw that repeats of the live-action series were showing and I begged my mom to let me stay up to watch it. I made it about half-way through (I can't recall which episode it was) before an odd commercial came on and my mom announced that was enough Star Trek for one night.

I drifted away but came back to the series when Star Trek II was hitting theaters and a local independent station decided to show a couple of nights of Trek in primetime to celebrate. One of those was "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which I watched with my dad and loved. I was so encouraged by how great "Where No Man" was, I decided I'd forego my usual cartoons the next day and catch a repeat of Trek in its 5 p.m. repeat slot.

That episode was "The Cloud Minders" and to my 10 year old mind, it was pretty darn good. Oh sure, it wasn't as clever or entertaining as "Where No Man Has Gone Before," but it still had a pretty good fight scene in the beginning and the whole city floating in the clouds thing was pretty cool as well. And yet, I still wasn't quite hooked enough to jump in and watch every night.

And it seemed like for a couple of weeks, that every time I'd tune in, "The Cloud Minders" was repeating. I think my memory is cheating a bit here or it could be that I was seeing a lot of episodes where the crew beams down to a sound stage rock planet like we get here. But I have to admit it was pretty discouraging--especially since the commercials showed a cool clip where Kirk and Spock were reciting about being "Tweedle Dee" and "Tweedle Dum."

As I saw more Trek, I came to realize that my initial assessment of "The Cloud Minders" as being pretty good wasn't exactly spot-on. I think that, coupled with the notion that it was being re-run too much turned me against it early on and for a long time I listed it as my least favorite episode of the series. Then I saw "Way to Eden" and it came up second on the list.

So as I enter the home stretch for the final season of classic Trek, I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to the watching "The Cloud Minders" again. I'd watched it about a decade ago but haven't bothered with it on DVD. My reaction then was that it seemed a bit odd to have Spock beaming down and falling in love with the "lovely Droxine" but beyond that it didn't really make much of an impression. This time around, I decided I'd approach it with a more open mind.

And I still come away kind of shrugging my shoulders. I'd no longer say I hate the episode, but there's nothing here I especially love.

An agricultural colony is in desperate need of a mineral called zenite to cure a biological plague. The only source is the planet Merak II, a planet that we find out has a distinct social caste system. There are "haves" who live in Stratos, a city in the clouds and are the elite and then the "have nots" the Troglytes, who work in the mines and have none of the rights or amenities of the Stratos dwellers.

The Enterprise is sent to get a supply and ferry to to the colony before all plant life on the planet dies. Kirk and Spock beam down to find the consignment not in the designated place. A group of rebel Trogyltes try to take the landing party hostage as a bargaining chip for greater rights. Kirk and Spock escape and the leader of the ruling council Plasus tells them they are welcome to wait in Stratos while his guards look for the consignment. They beam up there where Spock meets the "lovely Droxine." Droxine is smitten when Spock and our usually stoic first officer is pulling out bad pick-up lines like "I've never met a work of art before."

Before you know it, Spock is flirting with Droxine in a way that's sure to make Nurse Chapel cry herself to sleep at night and, possibly, discussing the Vulcan mating cycle. You remember that don't you? The mating cycle that was so private Spock and Kirk were willing to risk their careers rather than talk about it?

Anyway, before you know it Kirk is drawn into the planet's conflict thanks to an attractive female rebel leader, Vanna. Vanna was trained in Stratos and knows their ways. She is captured and Kirk objects when she is tortured to get information about the rebels and the zenite. Kirk and Spock are ordered off the planet and Plasus threatens to call Starfleet and accuse Kirk of interference.

McCoy works out that raw zenite emits a gas that actually impairs the mental faculties of people. The Trogyltes can be cured if they wear filter masks. Kirk offers them to Plasus who vehemently denies the gas and thinks Kirk is trying to interfere. At this point, time is running out and Kirk takes matters into his own hands, beaming into Vanna's cell, letting her know of the development and helping her escape. She promises to cooperate but is only going along to have a better hostage in Kirk.

Kirk eventually seals himself and Vanna in a mine and has Plasus beamed over to them. Kirk forces Plasus to mine to show him the effects of the gas are real. The two duke it out and Vanna realizes Kirk is telling the truth. She calls up to the ship and has Spock beam them on-board. She then agrees to give the Federation the zenite and it appears thing may be headed toward some type of new social order of the planet.

Reading the original David Gerrold outline for this story, I wish that story had been made. It offered a less cheerful ending and one that didn't allow for a magical cure for the miner's problems. Also, for a society this ingrained with such class inequity, it seems strange that the few representatives we see go from accepting the first status quo to accepting that change must occur. This is especially true of Droxine, who goes from an elitist snob to saying she's headed down to the mines to dig some zenite herself. Of course, this could be to impress Spock and she'll change her tune the minute he leaves.

At least the message behind the story isn't as simplistic as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" and the script tries to delve into the history and development of the prejudice on display here. It's also interesting to see Plasus threaten to call up Starfleet and "tell on" Kirk here. But it also brings up an interesting question of just how this social situation slipped past the Starfleet evaluation team. Was this overlooked because the planet is the only source of zenite? If this were a modern Trek, it's easy to imagine Picard looking into the Federation's motivations as well and to see what this might reveal.

And while Kirk does offer to come back and mediate between the two sides, I get the impression that this doesn't happen. Hopefully he called Starfleet up to send out a skilled negotiator for when both sides do sit down to talk. Just accepting the facts behind the prejudice doesn't suddenly mean both sides will see eye to eye around the negotiating table. It's one of those cases where the budget cuts only allow us to see one representative from each side of the conflict and I have to wonder how many other Stratos dwellers and miners are going to be so quick to go along with the changes that Plasus and Vanna have undertaken at episode's end.

It almost calls for a follow-up novel in the Pocket Books line of novels. Notice how I say almost here.

Again, it's not terrible Trek, but it's not great Trek either. There are some ideas in here, but they're not as developed as they could be.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/02/2010 01:13:00 PM | |
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