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Star Trek – The Devil in the Dark (Review)

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

There are any number of ways to “get into” Star Trek, to jump on board the cult phenomenon. Despite decades of continuity, a lot of the franchise is accessible on its own terms, and it’s easy enough to come across a list of recommended classic episodes for a neophyte to sample. There are over seven hundred hours of Star Trek, so there’s something for everybody. And it’s perfectly possible to tailor a recommendation to the new viewer’s preferences.

Want proof that Star Trek can do credible drama? Stick on The City on the Edge of Forever. Fascinated by Spock? Try Amok Time. Want to watch William Shatner take on another leading character with a similar amount of gravitas? Give Space Seed a go. Want some high-concept sci-fi android stuff? Maybe What Are Little Girls Made Of? is right up your street. Want a contemporary commentary on the Vietnam War? Watch A Private Little War.

However, if you asked me to recommend an example of the franchise’s philosophy and its humanist values, executed with a superb level of craftsmanship, The Devil in the Dark is really the only choice. There’s a reason that Arthur C. Clarke considers it to be the most memorable episode of Star Trek ever produced.

Spock would have to have a heart of stone not be affected by this...

Spock would have to have a heart of stone not be affected by this…

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Star Trek – Errand of Vengeance: The Edge of the Sword by Kevin Ryan (Review)

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

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

When you think about it, Star Trek finished its first season with its mythology reasonably well established. There were the Romulans, the Klingons and the Federation. (Oh, my!) We knew that Kirk had a brother on the colonies, who died in the season finalé. Vulcan was a hot desert planet. The Prime Directive existed, and we even got a taste of how Starfleet operated. However, these things all developed gradually over the course of the year, and early episodes couldn’t even seem to agree who exactly Kirk was working for.

The Federation was first mentioned in Arena and only fully named in A Taste of Armageddon. The Klingons were introduced in Errand of Mercy, with a cold war between the two galactic powers finally turning hot. Of course, it’s hard to write “finally” when they had only been introduced in this particular episode. So where were the Klingons during the show’s first year? How come we didn’t pick up any of the tension that must have been simmering?

Kevin Ryan’s Errand of Vengeance trilogy attempts to offer some context, suggesting that the Klingon threat had been brewing during the entire first season. It follows Jon Anderson, a new recruit to the ship’s security department, arriving just before the events of What Are Little Girls Made Of? Oh, and he’s a Klingon infiltrator.

tos-errandofvengeance1

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