Film Freak: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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Twenty-five years ago, Star Trek wasn’t just in theaters, it was on TV too. The Next Generation was a hit, and a spin-off called Deep Space 9 was also produced, the first to be done without any involvement from Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek V was by almost all accounts a terrible movie, but this was the anniversary. Something special had to be done. Paramount was poised to start a new series of movies, this time focusing on The Next Generation. To begin, the torch had to be passed, and we needed a proper movie to make it work. Once more onto the breach, to quote Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare is appropriate, as the subtitle is also a Shakespeare play reference. Did I mention there’s a scene where the Klingons quote Shakespeare as well?

This movie brought everything full circle. As in Wrath of Khan, the crew is once again feeling their age. Sulu is now the captain of the Excelsior. Kirk is expected to give up his grudge against the Klingons, a grudge fueled by the death of his son in Search for Spock. Kirk has discovered that two Klingon dignitaries have been killed, and he is the prime suspect. With the murder of his son, Kirk has a proper motive.

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Top 10 Best Star Trek Episodes: Bread and Circuses

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Many of Star Trek’s episodes present an alien society on a particular time in Earth’s history. “Piece of the Action”, for instance, was set in a world resembling Chicago during the height of Prohibition, when mobsters ruled the streets. “Bread and Circuses” takes place in a world similar to the Roman Empire, but with some 20th Century technology. Basically, the episode imagines what the world would be like if the Roman Empire endured into the 20th Century. The infamous gladiatorial battles of the Coliseum are broadcast on TV, complete with commercials. The Enterprise intercepts one of these broadcasts and discovers that one of these gladiators is William B. Harrison, a crewmember of the Federation starship USS Beagle, whose wreckage they discover prior to sighting the planet. When they beam down to investigate, they learn of slaves who have joined a religion called the “children of the Sun”.

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Worst Star Trek Episodes: Assignment: Earth

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As part of my celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, I thought I’d count down my picks for the top 10 worst and top 10 best episodes of the original show. For those who are fans of The Next Generation and its spin-offs, I will be talking about those shows eventually. (In fact, I’ve actually started re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation) The main reason I’m only focusing on the original show is that if I were to do the entire Star Trek TV canon, it would take way too long. For worst episodes, let’s start with “Assignment: Earth”, the episode that closed the second season.

In this episode, the Enterprise travels back to the 1960’s for the second time (the first was in “Tomorrow is Yesterday”). They meet a human alien named Gary Seven, who is accompanied by a black cat named Isis (no relation to the terrorist organization). When he is taken into custody, he warns everyone that unless he is released, Earth will be destroyed. No one believes him, so he eventually escapes and goes to Earth, where he is working in secret. There, he is aided by a sentient computer and Roberta Lincoln, an Earth woman who he hires as his receptionist through a contrived coincidence. Kirk and Spock tail after him, but their interference does little to prevent his actions. In the end, Gary Seven, Isis, and Roberta not only succeed in preventing Earth’s destruction, but they remain on Earth in order to continue interfering with Earth’s history.

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