Matt and Sean talk about the very first steps into the Star Trek universe. And it’s surprising connection to today’s Star Trek with Strange New Worlds.
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And we’re also taking a look at the world at the time of original broadcast, except for this one, where we’re going to be talking about the world at the time of completion date, because it would literally be decades before this episode would be viewed by the public. So we’re currently talking about the pilot for Star Trek, the cage, the original episode as written by Gene Roddenberry in which his wagon train to the stars.
Was first pitched to NBC and who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci fi, write some stuff for kids, including my most recently released the sinister secrets of singe. And with me is my brother, Matt. He’s the guru and inquisitor behind the YouTube channel undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives.
And Matt, how are you doing today?
I’m doing great. It’s been a good weekend. It was also fun rewatching this episode. I had not seen it
in decades. I haven’t watched this in a long time and. I loved rewatching it now in the context of what we’re doing with discovery, where we are in that story, what we know is to come.
And as was said by one of the producers of strange new worlds, the original pilot and what strange new worlds is. Means that this is the longest period between a pilot pitch and a pickup that has ever been experienced in television history because it’s 55 years. I love that of what this means. The original pilot being about the crew that is in strange new worlds is really, really.
Amazing who could have imagined that we would have been there when we, a few years ago, if we were starting this a few years earlier than we did, we probably would have blown right past this moment where discovery introduces this crew because who would have known that that would have happened, that we would end up with a TV series based upon the original pilot before we get our conversation about this episode, we’d like to revisit .
Previous comments on older episodes. So Matt, what do you have from the mailbag for us?
You’ve been asking at the end of episodes, next episode is titled. Whatever it is. What do you think that means? Wrong answers only. And there’s a good one from scooter six, eight, seven, seven from episode 103, he wrote, and it was about the episode.
You, the title was vaulting ambition. And he wrote. Vaulting ambition is clearly about one Horda’s struggle against all odds to be the first Horda pole vault champion at Starfleet Academy. It’s a solid
episode. I love that. That’s fantastic.
That was phenomenal. Thank you Scooter. That
is amazing. Thank you very much Scooter.
And the images in my head now are just, I can’t. Brilliant.
Brilliant. Somebody’s got to top that. Yeah. So then from episode 107, which was the episode, will you take my hand? Steven C photos wrote, I’m so glad you guys are covering the cage next week. Nothing better than having your ship’s surgeon treat the neurotic captain by, by plying him with alcohol.
Yeah. Pretty fantastic. Roddenberry should
have cast John Hoyt as the ship’s bartender when DeForest Kelly took over. The medical department,
I’d love that comment. Cause I didn’t read this comment until after I watched the episode and in my notes for the episode, I was like, okay, that opening scene with the alcohol coming out of the bag. It was like, where did this come from? I just love that that was a call out from Steve. So thanks so much for that, Steve.
Thank you so much for the comments, everybody. That noise in the background, of course, is the read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to read the Wikipedia description, except for this week. Matt’s not going to tackle the Wikipedia description. He’s going to tackle something else, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
The reason being this being what it is, the cage, the pilot episode of Star Trek, the Wikipedia page for this episode is as long as some Wikipedia pages for an entire series. There is a lot of information there. And we always make a joke week after week, Oh, tackle the Wikipedia description. Cause they’re strangely written overwritten.
They’re clunky. They don’t make a lot of sense. This one’s Wikipedia summary is rather detailed and very long. And if Matt were to read it, it would probably be conservative. He’d probably be reading for about four minutes. So Instead of him reading that, he’s going to read a summary that I had created via a AI text generator.
I asked for a quick 250 word summary of the episode and the AI went, you mean like this? And I said, yes. So Matt, please tackle the Ship’s computer summary for this episode. All right.
In the cage, the crew of the USS enterprise responds to a distress signal from the, from Talos four upon arrival, captain Pike and his landing party are captured by the Talosians, a race of telepathic aliens.
The Talosians goal is to use Pike and his crew to breed a new race of slaves. The Talosians attempt to control Pike’s mind by showing him visions of a peaceful life with a beautiful captive woman, Vina, who is, who is the sole survivor of the crashed starship or spaceship. Pike resists the Talosians attempt to manipulate him, leading to a battle of wills between the captain and his captors.
As Pike and his crew try to find a way to escape, they uncover the truth about the Talosians history and motivations. And in the end, Pike realizes that the illusions… He has been seeing are not real and that he must fight to regain control of his mind in order to save himself, his crew. And Vina.
is actually not a bad
It’s not a bad summary. It’s a little weird at the end. Yeah. Putting a plot point too late, but eh, it’s a computer, what are you going to do? So this episode number, which is sometimes referred to as episode zero, sometimes as episode one, directed by Robert Butler, written by Gene Roddenberry, featuring music by Alexander Courage.
This completion date is in January, January 22nd, 1965. The first screening of the episode would be February 1965, when it was screened by NBC executives, and it would ultimately be rejected. They rejected it because it was, one, too cerebral. Not enough action and it needed to be revamped. And the, one of the major notes from the executives was you got to cut the character named Spock, do not like him.
And instead Roddenberry went the opposite direction and Spock would be the only character from this crew who would be maintained into Kirk’s crew. The earliest release of this to the public would be in. October of 1986. So we’re talking about two full decades before this would be seen by the public.
Interesting to know that fans of the original series will of course, recognize this original pilot was cut up and turned into a two parter called the menagerie, which was Kirk and Spock incorporating Pike as a character and his attempts to get back to Talos the original film cut. of this episode was literally cut up to make the menagerie.
So there was no existing copy of this. Roddenberry had the black and white proof cut. He had the full episode in black and white. And when a producer found the remaining footage. The color footage, he sent it to Roddenberry. So Roddenberry had the full black and white, and he had some of the color footage that was not used in the menagerie.
It was using that, that they were able to take color samples and recolorize the black and white to make what we’ve just watched. So the colorized version is a recolorized version based on some of the original footage mixed with the full proof cut, which I think is. It’s kind of mind boggling that they were able to do that with something from 1965.
Yeah. When I started
watching this, Sean, it came up and it was full color and I was like, wait a minute. I’ve only seen this in black and white. What is going on here? And I had to look it up too. Cause I had no idea that even did this. I didn’t know they made a full color
version. They released it on VHS in 1986.
As a black and white version. I remember watching that in 1986 when I was in high school, they released a TV premiere in color, which was in 1988. And that would of course be during the run of next generation. And it was released following a documentary about Star Trek and the different generations of Star Trek, which was hosted by Patrick Stewart.
So that was originally an episode where they had the documentary and it was followed by the full color version of this episode. This version, of course, now, as I’ve watched, and I assume many of our viewers have watched it via the CBS Paramount app, that version is even more deeply adjusted because they’ve readjusted some of the special effects, including the shots of the ship using more current CGI.
So when I started this episode and saw a full. Contemporary CGI ship come onto the screen. I was really blown away, fit nicely for me. And I can understand people having differing opinions about what does it mean to revisit the original series? Some people are purists and they say, give it to me the way it was originally broadcast.
I tend to fall in the middle ground. If it works, I feel good about it. If it doesn’t work, I don’t feel good about it. So I can be a little inconsistent. My response to some of this stuff, like give me the original cut of a new hope. Every time, but some of, you know, these original episodes, the original series with the new CGI, I actually really like, so this is a case where this worked for me in a nice way.
So that’s a lot of words about release date. But ultimately the date we’re going to be talking about is the completion date. So we’re going to be talking about January 22nd, 1965. Our cast of course, includes Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, Majel Barrett as number one, John Hoyt as Dr.
Philip Boyce and Susan Oliver as Vina. And at the time of this. Completion. Who were these actors? Jeffrey Hunter began his acting career in the early 1950s, and it appeared in several notable films, including the searchers and King of Kings. Interesting note when NBC sent this back. And said, we’re not interested in the show as this portrays it, but they did what had never been done before, which was they asked for a second pilot.
Jeffrey Hunter was under a contract with Roddenberry to if the show was done within a certain amount of time. And it was picked up. He had to portray Pike. The date of that contract expired and Jeffrey Hunter backed out of the contract, letting Roddenberry know that he would not be continuing.
Roddenberry sent him a letter saying, I understand this is your decision. I hold you no ill will. I wish you the best. Strangely, Jeffrey Hunter would pass away just a few months before Star Trek would actually land on the air. All things being equal, strange amount of things coming together the way they should.
Jeffery Hunter wouldn’t have been alive in order to record as Captain Pike. If the real series starred him. A
weird turn of events that I didn’t know
that. That’s fascinating. It’s also Roddenberry lore. Roddenberry. I love the man for what he created, but he was also an egotist. When he would talk about why Hunter was not in the show, he, for years, claimed that he fired him.
So, this is a man who couldn’t take anybody saying no to him, even though he wrote a very gracious letter. He would then do interviews for years where he would say, yeah, I let him go because I wanted to go a different direction with the captain. We can talk about casting decisions around these different roles and who they seem to be as we talk about the show, because I think there’s a lot of interesting discussion around who Pike is.
And in comparison to Kirk, I think that there’s some interesting juxtaposition there. And at the time of completion of this, Leonard Nimoy was viewed as a rising star in television circles. He was recognized as having something that would definitely take him to the top levels. He had been established as a television actor and as a director before his role in Star Trek.
And he’d appeared. If you look at his IMDb credits before Star Trek, you have Star Trek, 80 episodes prior to that is a long list of one episodes. So he had been in major programs like Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train, like just tons of programming. And it was just people waiting for that moment where he would step into a recurring role or a permanent role, which would make him a star as was the case here.
Madjel Barrett had appeared in various television shows and films before Star Trek, including a recurring role on the series, Leave it to Beaver. And John Hoyt is, uh, from this era, a quintessential that guy. He had a long career in film and television, and it appeared in several notable films such as Spartacus and Cleopatra.
And Susan Oliver as Vina had appeared in several films and television shows before Star Trek, including a recurring role on the series route 66. So at the time of completion, January 22nd, 1965, what was the world like? Well, the top song, Matt, you’ll remember this well. Because I know, yes, you weren’t even a dream in our parents minds when this song was number one, but I know that you care deeply about, you’ve lost that love and feeling by the Righteous Brothers.
This song is considered a classic song and has been covered by many, many different artists, including Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick and Hall & Oates. And at the box office. The top film on January 22nd, 1965 was The Greatest Story Ever Told. No, that is not me simply saying that the movie is The Greatest Story Ever Told.
The name of the movie is The Greatest Story Ever Told, a biblical epic directed by George Stevens. The film tells the story of Jesus Christ, from his birth to death and resurrection, and features an all star cast that includes Max von Sydow, Charles Heston, Charlton Heston. And John Wayne, yes, John Wayne in a biblical epic,
despite its impressive production values, the film received mixed reviews and was a box office disappointment and on television. Yes. What I just said shocker. Yes. Absolutely. And on television, the top show on January 22nd, 1965 was Bonanza the Western drama series, which aired on NBC from 1959 to 1973.
Follows the adventures of the Cartwright family as they run their ranch in Nevada. The show was a huge hit and is still popular in syndication to this day. And in the news, January 22nd, 1965, the New York times reported on three major news stories. The first was a continued, it was about a continued unrest in the Dominican Republic where a civil war had been raging since April of the previous year.
The article noted that the United States had sent in troops to help quell the violence, but that the situation remained unstable. The second major news story was the ongoing debate over the proposed Medicare program, which would provide government funded healthcare for the elderly, the article reported that the program had been subject of intense political wrangling with opponents arguing that it would be too expensive and that it would lead to government intrusion in the healthcare industry.
Thank goodness that all of these questions were solved in 1965. Yes. Never to be spoken of medicare doesn’s ever get talked about now Whoo. The third major news story was the continued escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. The article reports that the United States had begun a new bombing campaign in North Vietnam, which of course would end everything perfectly well.
And the U. S. military had suffered heavy casualties in recent fighting. The article notes. That the anti war protests were becoming increasingly common in the United States with demonstrations planned for the following week in several major series. It is wild to read these things. And this is when Matt and I envisioned this podcast, this is one of the things that I thought would be the most interesting is taking a look through the way back machine, Into what the world was like for some of these programs.
And as we talked about enterprise, we were talking about things that Matt and I remember, we were both adults by the time those events were taking place. So it was a little bit like, Oh yeah, I remember. I remember that was no problem. I remember that. And it’s a little wild to take a look back all the way back to 1965 at the time of the original envisioning of the series, which is of course, steeped in idealism.
The idea that there could be an inclusive group of people from not only different genders and, and, uh, ethnic backgrounds, but also alien. And all of this working toward a common goal, a common goal of good and exploration, as opposed to conquest at a time when the world. If you read these headlines, sounds as complex and upsetting as the world we live in today.
They, you know, these news articles sound like they could have been taken, just replace some of the details around. Not Medicare, make it universal healthcare, not Vietnam, make it the Middle East. These things are still going on today, which is in some ways upsetting, but in other ways, it’s a little reassuring.
It kind of makes now as historically important as then and puts us into a context of it’s always been. A bit of a struggle. And that’s part of what it’s about trying to get through today so we can build for a better tomorrow. So for this discussion, I was hoping that we could talk about some of the casting character setup before we get into the plot itself.
What did you think about Hunter as Pike? What did you think about some of the Establishment of the character backgrounds. We see Spock, we know nothing about it. They don’t even bother mentioning that he’s a different species. We see the ears, but other than that, he’s just there and it’s really kind of fascinating that that was presented in that way.
There’s not even often, there’s no offhand reference. We don’t get any of the McCoy ism of like, Oh, of course you’d say that as a half Vulcan. We don’t get any of that exposition. We just get a. Alien looking figure on the bridge who, when everything is happening around him barks all of his lines. It is interesting choices from a director standpoint.
I feel like they really came to this with a kind of Naval approach. It felt like it was being shot as if they were on a Naval vessel and are yelling to each other to make sure they are heard so that orders are clear and there is no confusion on the bridge. I appreciated that and thought it was really quite.
An interesting depiction of this kind of, of crew. I can also understand why they moved away from that because it might have seemed awkward and, uh, destabilizing to an audience that might not have understood why if they’re all in the spaceship, why are they yelling at each other in that way? So there’s that aspect to it as well.
But as far as casting, what did you think as of Hunter? If this had continued, if this had been the show. Is he your captain?
It’s short answer is no. One of the big notes I had from his introduction from the first scenes all the way to the end was my God, Pike is so angry. He is just seething in anger.
He’s an angry man. He’s barking at everybody. He’s chewing people out for no reason. He’s just seething. And it was like. This is weird for Star Trek. It felt so out of place to me to rewatch this. And I had forgotten how angry, they portrayed him. And it was a choice. that I’m glad they moved the hell away from that when they brought in Kirk as the captain.
I’m glad they got rid of that. It made sense. When you watch the episode, why that was important for this episode, because we’ll get into that later, but the whole anger and the aliens not being able to read that primal emotion, it’s like it made sense for this episode, but for that to be a core character trait of pike.
For a series. It was like, am I watching the shields? Like, what why is this man so angry? And the fact that the first real scene that we have with him is the doctor liquoring him up. He’s like pouring drinks trying to get him to calm down. It was like, wow, this is the 1960s. This is very mad men, you know, kind of a thing.
Like it’s, this is, it was, it was kind of jarring to me. with a modern sensibility, looking back at that of just like eye rolling the misogyny, the comments that were made about the women on the bridge and especially number one, woman yeoman. Oh my God. It was just like for a show that’s supposed to be so progressive and it’s supposed to be about this utopian ideal for the future where you
just brought up, it was still made by middle aged men in the 1960s.
So yeah, it does. Yes. It reflects.
Right. It’s just so funny to me. It’s like, this is like different races and creeds together, but women are still women. Am I right? It was like, that’s kind of what came across this entire episode. I think that in the casting of him and the portrayal of this seething anger underneath was just worked for an episode, but would be completely irritating if it carried throughout a whole series.
So I did not like. The portrayal, I did not like what they were setting up, uh, for that
character specifically. I found myself less, I guess I’ll frame it as I was less reactive to that than, than you were. I actually really like the liquor scene and I’m interested. Don’t
take me. Don’t read into what I was saying.
I enjoyed the scene. I liked the banter between the doctor and him. It’s like there was, I enjoyed it. I fully enjoyed it, but I was like enjoying it as. an oddity as a, as a standalone episode. And if I’m projecting out, like, okay, if this was the character that was going to be for the next five years of the show, if this is the dude, that’s just so angry that the doctor has to keep liquoring him up to get him to take a chill pill and relax and try to find happiness in life.
It was like, that would have been gotten old really fast. So for me, that was like, I didn’t dislike it. It was just a kind of a jarring, Whoa, that’s kind of a odd choice to make.
I also think there’s an interesting aspect to this, which is it feels very much like at the time of filming this, he would have been 40.
So I found myself thinking it’s interesting that where strange new worlds were discovery when we, you know, return to that show next week and we meet this character first on discovery and where it will go with strange new worlds. The reason we’re watching this episode right now is because these events.
Are in that character’s past. So if we take it as the captain, we’re going to meet in discovery pike, as we will meet him on discovery is this guy, he is a guy who, and I remember from the introduction in strange new worlds, he is. Fairly burnt out. He has done a lot. He is kind of tired and this is that captain, and he is talking in those terms of what if I just stepped away from it all?
What if I went and lived on that homestead that I wish I could return to? What if I just rode horses? And when we first see Pike in strange new worlds, I know that we have those scenes where we see him in that environment. And so this is that character who is saying, I, I’m not sure I can keep doing this.
And as an introduction for a character on a brand new show, I can see the terrain that that gives you from a writer’s perspective, but I wonder how much of the tone of the show, which the NBC response of it’s too cerebral, I think is born of that. It is too much rumination. It is too much. I’m chewing on everything that’s happening to me because I’m trying to evaluate whether I can keep going on.
And that is a cerebral context. So in watching this episode, I could really see how Pike was the, the roots of that entire tree that NBC was like, Hmm, we don’t really, this isn’t for us. And when you think about who Kirk is. As the root of what would be on the air, Kirk is very famously within Star Trek lore, he’s the youngest captain ever made captain of a vessel.
It’s because of heroic swagger actions that he took where he’s literally not thinking swings out on the rope saves the day and then back pedals back into why did I break the prime directive? Well, let me explain to you why it was okay. Like he’s he that’s his motif. That’s what he does. So for that, that is the fertile ground for heavier action as opposed to less cerebral.
And that is not to say the original series as it was broadcast was not also cerebral. It was marvelously balanced, but this one does lean. Very noticeably into a cerebral context. I found myself thinking about how much this seems to represent predecessors, which in my mind, it clearly represents movies like the day the earth stood still movies like forbidden planet.
And anybody who’s seen Forbidden Planet, I think will recognize what I’m referring to here. And if you haven’t seen Forbidden Planet, it’s one of my favorite films, and it really does feel like pre Trek Trek. It is Leslie Nielsen, of all people, as the captain of a space vessel, and it is the retelling of The Tempest.
It is, they go to a planet. To find out what happened to a colony there, they discover that everybody is gone and that there’s some kind of monster that has been doing things to these people for years. But there is strangely one scientist and his daughter who are fine and the dialogue between the crew members, the way the captain carries himself, his relationship with the doctor, it always seems like the doctor is always the one who is the, the empath character on these programs and these films.
The, can all of these tones reflect in my mind, a Star Trek ethos that is evident here. Can I add to that? Yeah,
absolutely. In my notes, I had some shows that pre like the predated this, that felt like influences on Roddenberry and other shows of the time that may have not come out by the time they filmed this, but we’re in that era that just like, to me, just like.
There’s reeked of that. And the first one was the forbidden planet. The next one for me was twilight zone. This specific episode felt like. It could have been a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode, the way he’s captured and trying to figure out what’s going on. It was like the whole mystery box, very cerebral,
story element kind of to it.
Felt very Twilight Zone y to me, which predated this. Around the same time as this came out, The Prisoner, which was, you know, I’m not a number who’s number one. Um, that episode, that show you want to talk about cerebral,
that show is super cerebral
and very bizarre. And there was elements of that in this specific episode.
And the other thing that jumped to mind, which is not of this era, it’s a modern thing talking about cerebral, the matrix. This was very much a take the red pill or the blue pill. There was a lot of discussion in this of
like, what is reality? Yeah. What is reality? Does it
matter that it’s an illusion? You can live a happy life.
It was this, the whole matrix discussion is this entire episode. And as I’m watching that, I was like, whoa, this feels like this was probably an inspiration for the matrix. I was just like the whole discussion that was going on. But I found it fascinating because. In the mid 60s in this time period was a very different, there was like a shift starting where it was like there was that very cerebral, introspective.
Kind of element going on, but there was a beginning shift towards, let’s get a little more action. Let’s get a little more, you know, plot heavy, uh, towards things. Cause in the mid seventies, by the time several years goes away and goes by, you end up with star Wars, which starts the whole blockbuster summer adventure kind of thing that went on for our entire lives.
So it’s like, this is like the beginning of that transition. So it doesn’t surprise me. that NBC came at them and said, Um, it’s a little too cerebral because they were, the waters were starting to change and it was like they were trying to adjust for that. But the inspirations for the way that this show was crafted and told and cast to me just, it felt so of its era.
It was just like, I’m a huge fan of a bunch of shows from that time period. And it was just, I’d never had seen, cause like I said, it’s been decades since I’ve watched this.
Yeah. I forgot how much of its time it was. It also is. Indicative of a lot of things going on in the world around it. It, we talked about expansion in the Vietnam war.
We talked about what was going on in the Dominican Republic, which is of course, very close to the United States. So that was a constant concern that there was a civil war raging right there. We’re just. A handful of years away from Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, we’re in the midst of the space race, which everybody knew was a mask for the cold war with the Soviet Union.
And. You are literally just a couple of decades away. A huge portion of your audience are going to be World War II veterans and the families of people who went and served in World War II. So seeing people of Asian descent, Japanese descent on television and the way that this, when you’re watching this pilot, it is as diverse as the final show.
The lack of a Uhura on the bridge. is the most glaring difference between the two and her presence on the bridge. We’ll talk about that when we finally get to the original series or when we get to strange new worlds. We’ll talk about it there as well. Her presence on the bridge would of course be. A huge indication of what Roddenberry was trying to do, but it’s visible here in other ways in the depiction of a very diverse crew.
And also, I thought 1 of the things that said I was an interesting thing was there’s a little bit more of a business and a casual look on the ship when at 1 point the captain is walking through a hallway and passes 2 people who look like they’re dressed to go play tennis. And that’s an element that you do not see in the original series as broadcast when people are off duty, they’re still wearing their uniforms.
But here you have a couple of people just like, well, I’m off duty. So I’m going to put on this tennis skirt and you put on your polo shirt and we’re going to go. Grab a bite to eat. And that kind of stood out. I was like, where is he? Did he just go a mall? Uh, but I completely agree with everything you’re saying about like the era in television and movies, the shift that’s taking place.
One of the main sources of inspiration for a lot of what Roddenberry did and is evident in this episode in particular was the outer limits, which is of course a classic sci fi Twilight zone. If Twilight zone was magical realism. Effectively, sometimes it would be more strictly sci fi, but if you take a contemporary approach to breaking down what was Twilight Zone doing, it was very often more horror and sci fi in a magical realism vein of strangeness happens.
Strangeness is here and. Outer limits, which far more focused in the sci fi ness of it, it had a different tone than the Twilight zone. So several costumes from the outer limits, several producers from the outer limits ended up working on Star Trek with Roddenberry because Roddenberry would go visit the set and watch what they were doing.
And he pulled several things, including the alien, the, the prison keeper’s heads. That was a outer limits prop. One of the suits of one of the aliens in the cages was a full blown alien costume from an outer limits episode. So these things were literally plucked. From another CBS program in order to make the next step toward what this show would become, which I think is interesting.
It is part of what we’re talking about is the overall pacing of this episode. Did you have the experience I did as you were watching this with the idea of it being too cerebral? To me, that means a lot more dialogue. Did you find yourself watching this and thinking, wow, this really feels like people’s.
Kind of like ruminating because we have the scene with the captain and the doctor really feels like a long scene for two people who are effectively just having drinks. And later on lots of repeated dialogue and repeated conversations between the captain and Vina as they talk about what it means to be captive.
And I envisioned what would this have been like in the original series as it appeared. I think all of those conversations with Vina would have been collapsed into one scene where you would have had a bigger conversation around, okay, we’re captives and what can they do and how can they do it and what are we going to do about it as opposed to this, which.
Keeps recreating moments of you and I could choose to live in a fantasy and be happy. And they keep reinventing that what it looks like again and again and again, which makes for a pacing, which is much, much slower. I didn’t think it was too slow, but what did you think about
it? Oh, no, to me, it wasn’t too slow at all.
It was very talky and it, there was an element of one of the final, it was like when they were. It was the scene where they’re on the, the, what looks like the planet. That’s all green and lush. And they’re staying there having like a picnic. And she mentions about your wife and he gets this look on his face.
Like, you’re my what? Yeah. That scene, it was kind of like, okay, we’ve, we’ve had this conversation before was what I was kind of going through my head of like. They’re trying to like really hammer this home and they’re trying to hammer it home in more illustrative ways Where the first conversation is just them in the prison.
Yeah, and then it’s them in this field so it’s like I understood why it was being repeated because it was there were amping up the Argument of like you could have a happy life here in a prison cell. It’s like well, well, no You could have a happy life here in this fantasy and it was like I could understand why they were amping it up So it was repetitive, but there was a purpose to it But a hundred percent, Sean, if this was the Kirk version of this.
It would have been one scene, one scene where they made that dialogue and then it would have been a scene of action and fighting and rolling and tumbling with each other on the floor and fighting their way out. So it would have been more of a balance between action and cerebral discussion where this is just 100% just people talking at you.
Yeah. And I don’t want to ignore the actual action that does take place. We get a couple of different moments of action. Some of it full blown Trek style stuff, the sequence, which is as Matt just pointed out, you get, what does it mean to have fantasy and reality in the prison? What does it mean to have fantasy reality?
in the idyllic home future. There’s also the middle ground where the prison keepers give them a fantasy, which is based around pike’s most recent adventure, which is the rescue of the damsel in distress. It is literally, it looks like a castle, a princess barbarians. It is supposed to be a direct representation of what just happened.
The, the event that is making Pike think maybe I’m too old, maybe I’m too tired to keep doing this. How can I continue to be responsible for the lives of all the people on this crew? And it is in that sequence that it looks the most Kirk like where it is. From the painted background to running onto a set that looks like it’s got a lot of foam rocks to the use of swords and shields that look like they’re from the CBS prop department.
And like, I’m in on all of that. I think all of it is fantastic. The barbarian shows up with very awkward fitting fake teeth. And it’s very just clearly just a guy who’s wearing barbarian fur. And it’s like, Well, you know, give us Kirk with the Gorn any day, it looks a little bit like a step up from this, but the action there is all very Kirk like, but it’s interesting that they, as you, as you mentioned, what they’re trying to do is show the recurring ramping up of pressure of you’re in a cage, be happy.
Oh, you won’t be happy there. What about a fantasy filled with action? Oh, you’re not happy there either. What if it’s a fantasy that fills your dreams of a home life? What if like they keep pressuring it up and he’s learning in during all of this that it’s his own anger that can become a shield for him, which again, as Matt and I talked about setting up his human anger as a defense for his individuality would set the show off in a really.
Strange direction compared to the idealism and swagger of a Kirk, the swagger and idealism allows the original series to end almost every episode with and onto the next one, as opposed to,
it’s a very different tone. And I really like it in it, in, as Matt mentioned. Individually in this moment, and I can see how they retooled it and crafted it for strange new worlds and what we’ll see if pike to come in discovery and the next episode when we return to that show. But also interesting to me, and this is an element of this pilot that I think is true to Trek in varying degrees, and I wish it was more evident more often they present this episode.
I want to know, I want to find out, Matt, if you picked up on this too, there are some elements in this that are evident. And do not get heavily explained, but if you pick up on some subtle clues, you understand what is going on. Did you pick up on some elements in this that you were like, wait a minute. Why is that like that?
And they’re not even
talking about it. I don’t know what you’re getting at. Like what, what, what, what was jumping out at
you, various members of the crew. Are injured. Did you see that?
I did notice it. No, no. There was a period where they’re on the surface of the planet. They’re trying to get the captain out and they’re shooting the ray guns and they’re like, yeah.
And this one guy, he has a patch on his neck. I’m like, what the
hell is that about? One character has a patch in his neck. One of the crewmen who’s the navigator when he goes to the science station is doing work on the science station. When they cut to his hands, he has a bandage. Covering his entire hand and covering his wrist.
And most noticeably, and this is something that fans picked up on first and questioned was Leonard Nimoy injured when they filmed this, because when they first go to the planet and they walk and the captain and Spock investigate the leaves that are making the vibration sound as he’s walking on the planet, Spock is walking with a limp.
It is a very noticeable limp. And the question was, was Leonard Nimoy injured?. Turns out he was not, he confirmed years later. No, no, no. I was never injured on that. It was by direction the crewman. And it’s again, I love the subtlety here. I wish it had more of this more consistently throughout the original series, the doctor and Pike, when they are talking about what has just recently happened, Pike’s main thing is we’ve lost some crewmen and we got to get back to a star base.
So that the crew who’s injured can be hospitalized, they barely made it out of the experiences on the planet where things went south. So Spock and the other people wearing bandages were the away team who barely made it out alive and need to get back to a star base because they’re injured. And it’s a subtle.
Thing that remains in the program. Crazy subtle, which is very subtly done. And I think like I, in watching that, I’m like somebody somewhere made a note saying too subtle, not like not enough explanation as to why you have bandaged crewman. Another aspect of this that feels very. Star Trek is the use of the major cannon on the planet to try to break into the underground caverns.
I love that sequence, powering it from the ship in space, somehow sending the energy to that device, which is then using the laser cannon to try and break through. I also like the original envisioning of the phasers, which everything here is referred to as lasers. So they wouldn’t call them phasers until the original series.
I loved. The incorporation of fantasy and reality, the ability of these, these Talosians to convince people to see something different. The fact that they’re like, we should have blown the top of that mountain completely off. They did. You did. Yeah. The subtlety, the subtlety of the, the use of the alien powers in that regard, I think is very well done.
So for me, this isn’t the original series. But it is Star Trek. How do you feel about
the Star Trek? I don’t know. It’s absolutely. It’s very different, but it’s also very much. You can see the um, the tendrils and connections between this and what we ended up getting later. So it feels very much cut from the same cloth.
And I don’t want to jump ahead on you. But on that note, I, what was hitting me like between the eyes, I did not realize how tightly
connected Star Trek new worlds is.
To this because like you were talking about how like Spock had a limp in the here and then we’ve also comment how Spock was like barking orders and he’s like very human smiles at one point.
He’s acting and everything. Yeah, he smiles at one point. You have almost the Vulcan officer on the ship. Who’s the first officer? She is like emotionless. She is very logic based. And so it’s like you can clearly see that Midjels character is what turned into what Spock became replaced her on the bridge, but her performance.
Is Rebecca Romaine Stamos’s performance in straight like it’s like clearly Rebecca Romaine Stamos studied this episode and her portrayal of that character and I was shocked how much she’s nailed it. It’s like,
I thought it was just they had the look, but they were just doing their own
thing with it.
It’s like, it’s the look and it’s also the performance. She’s very rigid. She’s very, you know, logic based. And I was, I just blew me away how much that connected. And then also I’ve been watching the most recent season of Star Trek New worlds where Spock is being very human this season. And oh my God, it’s like direct to the Spock we’re seeing in this, it’s like the, the showrunners of the new show are clearly fans and they love Star Trek and they’ve done a wonderful job taking this crew and making a full series of it.
And I got, I got to applaud because for me, this was like. I got super geeky and excited because you were talking about it still feel Star Trek. And for me, it’s like, it doesn’t just feel a little Star Trek. It feels super Star Trek because
it feels like watching this contemporary Star Trek.
Correct. And it’s like, it kind of blew me away.
And like in the current Pike. He has some of that anger in him and that you were talking about how, like he was burned out when we were first introduced down and come back
ready for a change and his whole,
yeah, yes, his whole storyline that he goes through in the first season and the things that he knows are potentially coming for him in the end where we know Pike is in that little wheelchair thing from the original series.
Yeah, it’s a. He knows that’s his future. And so there’s this underlying current in that character of just like, he’s got the swagger. He’s got the Kirkness. He’s like the cool guy everybody wants to be friends with. And then underneath there’s this seething fear and anger underneath his performance. And it’s like, holy crap.
If they had kept this season going, like the series going from this pilot, they would have never done that. It would, it would have been completely different, but the way they’ve kind of retconned the new Star Trek into this pilot, it’s just like, wow, it’s amazing. I love it. I love the connection. Sorry. I got to stop gushing.
No, no, that’s fine. And like I said, like I said at the beginning, one of the producers saying it’s the longest from pilot to airing in television history, 55 years to get this show on the air. That’s a perfect jumping off point for us to say that next week we’re going to be talking about brother and Discovery .
We’re returning to discovery because in brother, we now meet this crew of the enterprise as they get in contact with the crew of discovery. And we do know that brother refers to Mr. Spock. Looking forward to talking about that one very much before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you’d like to remind our viewers and listeners about what do you have coming up on your other channels?
Well, my other channel is kind of in a weird place right now. Just to talk about that for a second. I’m currently in the process of getting ready to move into my new house. And so I’ve slowed down the roll of how often I’m producing videos on undecided. So there’s going to be like little breaks here and there.
But, uh, there’s episodes that we’re working on around. It’s, I, I actually, the last episode of Trek In Time. I said, by the time this episode is out, I have an episode coming up on wave power. And that was actually a lie because that episode is probably out around the time of this episode, because I’ve completely lost track of time of when episodes are coming out because we’re pre filming them and pre editing them.
So I would say just, uh, if you, if you tune in, there’s going to be stuff about wave power. There’s going to be stuff about. Solar’s meteoric rise, how fast it has become the cheapest form of electricity on the planet. There’s going to be videos about my new home, about the I just wrote it yesterday about how I kind of made a mistake in some of the decisions I made around my new house.
And I kind of go into what those mistakes are. And if I could do it over again, why they do differently. Um, so keep an eye out for all those kinds of things. I can’t say when they’re coming out because at this point to me, the calendar is meaningless and time is just time. I have. Yes, I have no idea what’s going on.
As for me. You can check out my newest book, the sinister secrets of singe. It’s available at any bookstore or your public library. I encourage you to look for it anywhere you should be able to find it. And don’t forget if you’d like to support the show, please consider reviewing us on Apple, Spotify, Google, wherever it was.
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