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Star Trek – Journey to Babel (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

Journey to Babel is pretty influential, as episodes of Star Trek go. It is an episode that really cements idea of the Federation that came to be at the heart of the franchise, suggesting that the organisation really is a diverse intergalactic alliance of diverse alien species, rather than a union between Earth and Vulcan. More than that, the episode suggests that the individual members of the Federation might not exist in perfect harmony with one another, but may each operate with their own agenda and motivations.

However, what is really remarkable about Journey to Babel is how much of this unfolds in the background. All this world-building and -embellishing is very much a secondary concern for writer D.C. Fontana. Despite its scale and its scope, Journey to Babel is a decidedly personal story about a family in crisis. It works remarkably well, offering viewers a bit more insight into Spock as a character and where he came from.

Party on, Gav...

Party on, Gav…

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Star Trek – Sarek by A.C. Crispin (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

One of the more interesting things about the expanded Star Trek universe is the diversity. It is possible for supporting characters and guest stars to carry their own narratives and stories within the grand sweeping tapestry of the Star Trek universe. Despite his importance to the mythos, Mark Lenard’s Sarek only made a handful of appearances across the history of the franchise. He only appeared once in the entire classic Star Trek television show, in Journey to Babel.

It is a testament to Mark Lenard’s dramatic abilities and D.C. Fontana’s writing that Sarek would recur across Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and even the original Star Trek movies. The character – despite only appearing in a supporting role across four televised episodes and four feature films – remains one of the most intriguing supporting characters across the franchise.

A.C. Crispin’s Sarek offers a fascinating glimpse at one of the show’s most compelling guest stars, even if the novel does suffer a bit trying to “fix” some of the problems that the author seems to see in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

tos-sarek

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Star Trek Special #1 (1994) – The Needs of the One (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

In many ways, the Star Trek movies feature more character development and exploration for the cast than the entire three seasons of the television show. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home are true ensemble pieces, but there’s also more of a sense that this is a family rather than a bunch of people who just hang out together. I’d argue that the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation remain the tightest ensemble that the franchise has ever produced, but the first six movies portray the crew of the original Enterprise as a bunch of people who have been to hell and back together.

Michael Collins’ The Needs of the One represents a bit of an interlude between The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home, taking place during the crew’s three month “Vulcan exile.” While Collins’ script suffers from its inability to decide whether it’s a Spock-centric character drama or a day-in-the-life of the renegade crew, it’s a fascinating story situated in a lacuna of the movies’ chronology. It cements the idea that Spock has been radically altered over the course of the film series, and that his character arc spans the first four films.

Indeed, Collins’ opening sequence tying together his failure to achieve Kolinahr in Star Trek: The Motion Picture with his decision to once again rejoin the crew in The Voyage Home.

When all Kirk asked for was a tall ship, he probably should have been more specific...

When all Kirk asked for was a tall ship, he probably should have been more specific…

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