147: Star Trek TOS Season 1, “The Naked Time”

https://youtu.be/dlwgyJxK3WM

Matt and Sean talk about Star Trek: The Original Series and Sulu getting his buckles swashed, Spock’s tears, and Kirk’s naked shoulder. This episode has a very different feel now that we have Star Trek: Strange New Worlds … but does it work?

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In this episode of Trek in Time, we’re going to talk about what Sulu looks like with his shirt off. That’s right, we’re talking about Star Trek Season 1, episode The Naked Time. This is episode number 4 in broadcast order, but 7th in shooting order and I think it shows. Welcome everybody to Trek in Time, where we’re watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological order.

We’re also taking a look at the place they held in history. So right now we’re talking about 1966 and when I say chronological order, I mean stardate order, which if you’re following along with us, check out our website trekintime. show, which has a link right at the top of the page for stardate order, which will allow you to avoid the pitfalls that I won’t say which one of us has fallen into it, but it’s not me.

Watched the wrong episode and then was surprised when that episode came up again later. So, and who are we? Well, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I wrote some sci fi. I wrote some stuff for kids. And I’m just generally curious about, nope, wrong show. Uh, I write some stuff for kids. I write some sci fi for adults.

And with me is my brother, Matt. He’s that Matt behind Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. Matt, how are you on this fine morning?

I don’t know what you’re referring to, Sean. Did somebody watch a wrong episode at some point? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I heard a rumor. I heard a rumor that somebody was just like, I, what, how, what, what’s going on? And a couple of weeks later, it was like, wait, what is this? This is the one I watched before. So that’s all behind us now, though, now that we have that nice list. Super clean and shiny and probably already out of date.

Um, before we get into our conversation about this current episode, which as I mentioned before, is the Naked Time, we always like to revisit comments on previous episodes. So Matt, what have you found in the comments for us this week?

The title of this episode is Naked Time. It’s hard to say without thinking.

Like,

what were they thinking? Like I know it’s the naked time. It’s the naked time. That’s right. It’s the, it’s Nudie trek. It’s just like why Trek after Dark . That’s right.

Alright, so we got some good comments. Generation, we got some com Good comments from the last episode, which was the, um, what was the title of the episode?

It was, uh. The Mantrap. The Mantrap, yes. Yeah. We had PaleGhost69 who wrote, So a species that needs salt to survive wasn’t able to create its own salt, but they were able to create structures that became ruins. I guess that was their great filter. Also, does the creature transform or create an illusion? The story says they transform, but it held three forms simultaneously when we met them.

And how would it have the knowledge to pull off its underwear to try to entice the first guy?

I’m sorry. PaleGhost just kind of broke me.

These are all good comments, I think. This is, uh, The rules in this episode don’t get broken enough to stand out as a problem in my thinking, but they do get broken. There are, there are these moments where it’s just like, wait a minute, how would it remove an article of clothing and leave it behind.

That is a good point. I have a less of a problem with the, how does it appear three different forms to different people? I take that as it has the ability to project.

Yes.

A selected type of person. And so when it is projecting the, okay, you’re all anticipating seeing the wife, the scientist partner of this archaeologist, everybody who’s expecting that person sees that person when the one security officer sees somebody completely different.

It is because it is projecting the, you will see somebody you were attracted to. You will see somebody that you’re expecting to see. And so I think that’s how I interpreted that. So that’s less of an issue than the fact that, yes, this thing can’t shed parts of its body in order to leave an enticing trail.

It really does become like, wait, what, what?

Uh, we have a comment, another comment from PaleGhost again, first time the original series viewer. hate the fakeness. Next Generation was able to trick my mind that they weren’t on a set and the fake Klingon martial arts helped to sell the fake action. To which Dan Sims replied, yeah, same here, first time viewer, and wow, that fakeness is so cringe and hard to watch.

But as a time capsule of early TV, whatever I can get past it, I just think it’s funny. And I’m bringing this up because it also plays into another comment from Richard Gould Blue Raven, who wrote, Notice the camera work, crane shots, shaky cam, handheld following single shot scenes, and strange zooming in pelvic area transitions.

With the exception of the last one, those are supposed to be modern trends. I put these together because it’s, it reminds me of being back in film school, Sean. It’s like having to watch these really old movies, which may not have aged well for how they were filmed and acted, but they still at the time were kind of groundbreaking.

And there were things they were doing at that time that you can still see the echoes of today and we use them today in a slightly new way, but it’s actually very old techniques. You can see that in action on this show. And yes, a lot of it’s cringe, but you can see how it relates to what we watch on TV today.

I think that a big part of, of Star Trek’s legacy. is that they were, in effect, inventing how a series like this would work. And I think that that is demonstrable. And I also say that, I say that about a program I love while also saying, like, I completely understand. If this is your first watch, you’re jumping into an archaic, looking program.

I once read a description of the show as looking like they were, everybody on the enterprise looks like they’re walking through the hallway of a Howard Johnson hotel. And I can’t shake that now. That really is just like, Oh yeah, that is, it does. I mean, it’s just totally nondescript flat boards with carpeting.

And it’s just like, they could be walking through a hotel and they even in this series have, you know, what looked like very standard laminated nameplates. On the doors, which like, what else were they going to do in 1966, but it looks strange now. It’s like, Oh, you literally just slide a name out and slide a new name in.

And we’re accustomed to seeing, I mean, here in New York city. Now we have large digital screens on street corners throughout the city that project advertisements, tips about train travel and what’s coming up with the MTA. We have these things now just all around us to the point where it feels like, okay, in 2024, this is what the world looks like.

You’re telling me that in the far future, we’re not going to have like digital screens on doors, but it was a TV show being made in the sixties. So I appreciate all of our viewers and listeners who are jumping into this with us and watching along and trying to figure out how to enjoy the cringe. And if you enjoy the cringe by simply laughing at it.

Treating it like a mystery science theater. That’s a great way to enjoy this program too. And I’m just really happy you’re all joining us in the conversation because that to me is the most fun.

The last comments I want to bring up are in relation to how you always ask. We’re going to be watching the Naked Time.

What’s this episode about? Wrong answers only. A couple of good ones, Sean. So from Mark Loveless, he wrote, The next episode, Naked Time synopsis. Bow chicka bow wow! Originally a pornographic episode, after the censors finished with it, the episode was only four and a half minutes long. Surprisingly, it still did fantastic in the Nielsen’s.

Then we have one from OldTrekki23. Oh boy, the naked time. I love skeletonized time pieces. All the visible jewels and movements fascinate me. Yeah,

very good, yes. Thank you for those, those are all terrific. That noise you hear in the background, of course, is the read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia and or IMDB description.

And bonus, Matt, you’re going to be reading both this week, so take it away.

Okay. A strange intoxicating infection which lowers the crew’s emotional inhibitions Spreads throughout the Enterprise. As the madness spreads, the entire ship is endangered. When Lieutenant Junior Grade Tormolen brings aboard an infection that killed the science team on Psi 2000, the crew of the Enterprise soon find themselves unable to control their most predominant emotions.

Soon, the entire starship is in shambles and plummeting toward the self destructing planet.

There you go. That’s a combination of Wikipedia and the IMDb description, which was by the TV archaeologist. The reason I included both of them is because literally at the halfway point in that paragraph that Matt just read, the first half was the Wikipedia.

The second half was the IMDb and neither of them alone seemed to provide enough information to say like, Oh, this is a complete description. So I did a little cut and paste. And there we go. That’s the magic of podcasting. This is the seventh episode in production. This is the fourth in broadcast order. I find it interesting watching them in the order we’re watching them now.

I’m starting to feel like I am seeing how the cast was gelling and how the show was figuring out what it was about in a really interesting way. So seventh in production, we’re seeing them now explore more characters. They’ve branched out and we get a lot of Sulu in this one. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that this is George Takei’s favorite episode of the show.

Directed by Mark Daniels, written by John D. F. Black, originally broadcast on September 29th, 1966. We have our main cast, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney, and we have some extras in the mix. Bruce Hyde playing Lieutenant Kevin Thomas Riley, who sings, and sings, and sings.

Majel Barrett is, of course, Nurse Christine Chappell. This is her first appearance. And we have Stewart Moss, Lieutenant Joe Tormolen, William Knight as the amorous crewman, and a young John Belushi as the laughing crewman. No, I’m sorry, that was John Bellah as the laughing crewman. And what was the world like on September 29th, 1966?

Well, since we are watching these in production order, which is stardate order, as opposed to broadcast order, we are bouncing back and forth a bit in time in the 1966 year. So we are back to a song that has been the number one song before Cherish by the Association was the number one song of the week.

Matt, take it away.

And the number one movie, once again, Again, there was a block of weeks where every week that Star Trek was broadcast, Dr Zhivago was the number one film in the theaters. That was still true at this point. And in the Nielsen analysis, we know that Star Trek’s first season is scored on average about a 12 in its first season, which put it at the Above 50, I believe, but not much more than 44th in the rankings of television programs.

And that puts it toward the middle bottom. It’s up against competition like Bonanza, The Red Skelton Hour. We’ve talked about these before, which were earning 29th and 28th in Nielsen. And at number six in the Nielsen ratings, we find the comedy Green Acres. This is of course, the Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor sitcom about Well, she couldn’t stay in the city because she got married and her husband said, no, you can’t stay there.

Sounds like a very progressive message. Anyway, it involved a pig and a lot of, uh, poking fun at rural America and what could be wrong with that. So Greenacres was a solid 24 in the Nielsen’s. And in the news, the New York times on this day, September 29th, 1966, we have a number of news stories that have to do with France at this point.

And this is an interesting little tidbit of history that I don’t know that I knew. Um, and I don’t know why, but France had left NATO in 1966. It would rejoin in 2009. And I will admit just being like, huh, really? And I think that maybe that’s part of, like, we now live in a world where NATO has talked about a lot more.

Then in the past couple of decades, where NATO didn’t seem to be as key an aspect of like the U. S. invasion to Iraq was not a NATO operation, 9 11 response was not a NATO operation. This is like my experience with modern US military interactions. I don’t recall it being NATO focused. So the fact that in 1966, France left NATO

left the NATO alliance scrambling with how to redistribute intelligence networks and communications networks going around France. So there is an article about the U. S. promoting the idea that they had a already existent military communication system focused on Centered around the Pentagon and they were offering to build out a new one, which the world NATO powers could use.

There was also a article about the Viet Cong inviting a peace negotiation in South Vietnam and France was encouraging the UN and the US to use this opportunity to negotiate for peace in Vietnam. There was also racial violence in San Francisco as Black protesters and police clashed, and it included firearms and exchanging of fire between both sides.

So our, we’re seeing news stories about everything from international military alliances, fracturing, ongoing strife in Vietnam, and racial strife in the US. And stop me if that all sounds familiar. On now to our discussion about this week’s episode, The Naked Time. And this one is, I mean, if you have to list out quickly, um, Episodes with moments that stick with you.

For me, this is one of those episodes that has a number of moments that just always stand out in my, in my memory. They kind of live their rent free and when I think of Trek, I’m very often thinking of this episode, despite the fact that the title, like we talked about just a few minutes ago, like awful title.

And there’s certain aspects of the episode, which are so over the top as to be like, Oh, that’s a little weird. But, um, there are certain scenes that just, you can’t escape. And let’s start off right away with George Takei. This rapier is with his rapier. And I think that the, I think that the, I mentioned at the beginning, and I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about it, seeing these in production order.

I felt like in watching this one, I’m like, Oh, they now they felt confident about their core. The last episode being intensely focused on the Doctor. We’d had our episode around the Doctor. They felt confident about the relationship between Spock and Kirk. And at this point, we have to keep in mind that they went into this series.

With the very clear intention William Shatner, Captain Kirk, would be the attractive sex symbol of the show. They would be surprised by the fact that Leonard Nimoy, as Spock, would capture the national attention in that way. So what we’re going to see as the series moves forward is an emergence of a larger position for Spock.

At this point, we haven’t seen him gain a lot of the spotlight, but that’s because the producers literally didn’t know that he’d capture something about the zeitgeist and would be at times above Shatner as far as the allure of the show and the two of them really had to negotiate I think on a personal level and on a production level what would that turn into and it would become the Kirk Spock brotherhood that we know By the end of this series and moving forward into the movies.

So at this point, we’ve seen enough of Spock to feel like, from my perspective, I feel like the producers are like, we know who Kirk is. We’ve seen him in the spotlight in these episodes so far. We know who Spock is. He stands in allegiance to his captain and backs him up and is a confident leader in his own right.

We’ve seen the Doctor and now we’re starting to see it branch out a little bit more. We see a little bit of Scotty in this again showing him with his expertise. We get some nice Scotty moments of like, I can do this, I can do that, but I can’t perform magic. And we’re getting a sense of who he is as a character, but we get to see Sulu in a whole new light.

We’ve seen him as the kind of winking at his coworkers, making sure that everything is running as it should when people aren’t up to doing their job, he’s able to step in quickly and take command. They’ve demonstrated with Sulu that he’s He’s absolutely built for this job. And in this episode, we get to see an aspect of personality that hasn’t shown through yet, which is they literally just say he’s a swashbuckler at heart.

And we get this swashbuckler literally running through the ship with a rapier attacking crewman in a I think very nicely performed drunk revelry where it is just he is play acting and he and he plays it like a Sulu who knows I’m having fun. That’s what this is. I’m having fun. He’s goofing off. You can tell he’s very dangerous.

Yeah. So what did you think about the evolution of the program up to this point in watching as we’ve built out? Did you see something similar in, in the vein of they’re exploring more of the secondary characters and we’re seeing those characters grow? And how did you feel about the presentation of Sulu

here?

This is in my notes. Big time. I had Sulu, Uhura, Scotty. And Chappel. Like, I kind of lump all of them together of the evolution, watching this in the order, it did jump out at me. Of like, okay, we started with Kirk, branched into Spock, then the Bones, the core group, and now we’re kind of getting up to the ring beyond that of seeing all those characters kind of start to be established and spend some time with them.

Because I want to call it a Uhura, because in this we see action Uhura, where like, yeah. She’s holding together. She’s one of the only part of the crew that still hasn’t lost her mind by the end of the episode. And there’s parts where she’s, the captain’s like, you know, the navigator and Sulu are gone.

And he’s like, turns to Uhura and says, get in there. And she jumps up and she’s starting to navigate the ship. So it’s showing her as she can, you can plop her anywhere and she’s going to do her job and she’s going to do it well. It’s like, I thought that was kind of a fun little thing where we weren’t seeing her personality, but we were seeing her in kind of a command position of being a key member of the bridge crew and it’s like oh that’s why she’s here which i thought was pretty cool uh but the whole Sulu angle i thought was fantastic especially like the opening scene where he’s in the dining hall with that, we’ll have to talk about this later, Sean, but the jackass that took his glove off and like is doing the stuff on the surface, it’s like, what, how do you get the Starfleet when you’re acting like that?

It’s like, what the hell? Stupid. But, when he’s in the dining hall and he’s coming in with the, his, his friends, and And they’re just chatting and he’s talking about, yeah, yeah, fencing, it’s great, you know, rapiers. He’s giving all the rationale for why it’s such a great way to kind of work out and challenge how you form.

He seems like he’s a,

he seems like he’s a hobby addict. Yes. He’s like, have you thought about botany?

Have you thought about going into fencing? Yes. I love that. It was so, it was fun because they talked about the botany, they talked about his fencing and it was like such a quick little scene and they dropped all these little nuggets about Sulu and it was like, oh, this is really cool.

They’re really kind of building up Sulu early in the series, and for me, my memories of these episodes, Sean, are pretty fuzzy, and I’m way more familiar with the movies of the original crew than the original series. And so I, I, I thought that the Sulu ness and the, you know, Scottiness, all that kind of stuff probably really came more in the movies than the TV show.

And I was so wrong. It’s like, I was surprised. We’re only a handful of episodes in and yeah, they’re building up the character Sulu a lot. So I, I was pretty, I’m pretty happy with see how they’re kind of branching out into new characters.

Yeah. I think that, I think I completely understand what you’re saying that the comfort level in the performance by the time you get to the motion pictures.

Especially post the first two. By the time you get into Search for Spock, Voyage Home, at that point, these actors are playing themselves. They’re just showing up and they’re just being themselves. But I think that that doesn’t work if it isn’t, if that isn’t rooted in having established and understanding the characters as well as they have at this point.

And I think, yeah, even as small a part, given the context of how a show works in 1966, the characters of Sulu, of Uhura, of Scotty were the second tier. They were not intended to be the main focus of the show and they would occasionally get episodes like the doctor has last week of being more of the focus.

This is, this is Sulu’s turn in the sun and we see him. I, I really kind of marvel at the writing because they managed to give us an episode about Sulu that now will reverberate through our understanding of the character moving forward, which is largely a workplace drama. But now we have such insight into who he is as a person, because of a couple of episodes that are like, he’s into botany, and the next episode, people are like, he was trying to get me into botany last time, and now he’s doing all this fencing stuff, and like, the continuity there.

The ability to build out his background in that way and then show us him running through the hallways with the rapier leaves us now with the, anytime I see Sulu behind that desk, controlling that ship. There’s a reason why he’s doing this. And on top of that, we also saw him in a previous episode where he’s basically keeping a landing party from losing their minds and panicking around the fact that they’re freezing to death on this planet.

And so he’s a good commander and I can’t help but watch these and tie them, and I’ve mentioned this before in this podcast, I can’t help but watch these and immediately jump forward to the episode of Voyager where we get to see him in the captain’s seat of the Excelsior on, in the backstory of what was going on in Star Trek six.

So we end up with this full arc of this character. It’s like, yeah, they could have made an entire series focused on Sulu as the captain of a starship. He has that rich a background and it’s really kind of stunning for a secondary character this early in the series to, to, and I feel surprised by it. And I think it’s because now we’re watching it in production order.

I think that’s what’s underscoring it for me. And I find that fascinating. A little bit of a fun fact about this episode, when the script required Sulu to see himself as a swashbuckler, George Takei had to learn how to handle a fencing rapier in a hurry. When he wasn’t needed on the set, he was practicing his fencing, frequently lunging at passing members of the film crew, and sometimes pricking them.

Uh, a delegation eventually called on Gene Roddenberry and threatened that the entire crew would quit if Sulu was ever given a sword again. I love that detail. Um, also a couple of other things about this one that stood out. The Naked Time is the only episode of the original series in which the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade was shown or referred to.

The sleeve insignia of that rank is a single broken stripe, and Joseph Tormolen is the only member of the Enterprise crew ever to be shown wearing it. And The Naked Time, and this, we talk about this as a progressive show. What I’m about to share doesn’t make it not a progressive show, but it gives you a little bit of a standard of what did progressive look like in 1966.

The Naked Time is the only episode of the original series in which all three principal female characters, Uhura, Rand, and Nurse Chapel, all appear in the same episode. It’s a little bit of an interesting, yeah, interesting little tidbit, because we’ve been talking now for several weeks, we haven’t seen Nurse Chapel yet, up to this point.

Which, I again admit, watching them in this order, I found surprising. I was like, wait a minute, where is she? And Rand’s appearances in the early episodes, she eventually drifts away, despite the fact that she was clearly intended to be a main component of the show. And in this episode in particular, and in the episode where we have the duplication of Kirk and the enemy within, they’re clearly setting up a will they won’t they between Kirk

and Rand. And I think eventually they’re just like having Rand around and having that tension kind of stands in the way of Kirk gallivanting around the galaxy. We haven’t seen it yet, but we know what’s coming. Kirk starts romancing women across the galaxy and Rand kind of just drifts away as he turns into the womanizer that we know.

So can we talk about, can we talk about Chapel? I really want to talk about Chapel. Yeah, jump into Chapel. Because, because I don’t know if this hit you in the Chapell scene, people, they’re losing their minds, Spock starts to lose his composure and he starts really struggling and he goes into the medbay and Nurse Chapel is there and she’s also losing her mind and she basically confessing her love for him. Yeah. And he is desperately struggling against this. This scene for me, Sean, was a revelation because of Strange New Worlds. Like, Strange New Worlds has completely forever altered how I will look at the original series.

And it’s in a good way. Like if in my mind as I’m watching the scene, I just kept going, holy crap. Holy crap. The entire scene. What? What if didn’t know Strange Worlds then after. Yeah. Yes. And then afterwards I watched the scene again and tried to divorce in my mind. Okay, Strange New Worlds doesn’t exist, just watch it as it is.

And in both cases, I thought it was a really good scene. Mm-Hmm. But because of Stranger Worlds, it amped up to 11 because we know what Chappel, how Chapell walked away from Spock and Spock was completely like gutted. And so now he’s gone back to the very Vulcan like, I got to distance myself from this. And now here’s Nurse Chapel coming back again of basically saying, I still love you.

And him basically being like, I can’t deal with this. And then he goes out in the hallway. And as he’s walking the hallway, Nimoy starts to cry. I was gutted, Sean. I was just like, this scene was good on its own. It was fine on its own, but of course it’s a new show. So it kind of comes out of nowhere. It’s like, here’s this new nurse.

Who is she? And then she’s confessing her love for him. So it kind of feels a little out of nowhere, but it’s still well acted. And now with the Strange New Worlds, it’s like, no, this is like got some deep, deep roots. And it’s like pulling up emotions I didn’t know were there. And it was, it was really, I thought, fantastic.

Um, I’m hoping you feel the same way.

I, I tie this into, I was going to ask you more generally, like, what does Strange New Worlds do to our understanding of this episode, because of also Uhura and you touched upon it briefly, although you didn’t bring up Strange New Worlds. I thought of myself in watching this without Strange New Worlds, you would watch as Spock says to Uhura, like, get in that chair, you got to navigate the ship, and you would see a competent and confident woman move forward and sit down and start doing that work.

And you’d be like, oh, she’s on the communications panel, but she’s not back there because she’s been relegated. She’s a competent officer across the board and has an understanding of this work. And this is also early in our understanding of Star Trek. We now know like all these years in the evolution of the series, the way it works when you are an ensign, the way it works when you’re leaving the academy, you test the waters of every station within the ship.

And then eventually you find your calling and you channel yourself into that specifically. We know from Strange New Worlds that Uhura is painted as kind of a wunderkind and she had her pick of the litter. She was so good at everything that she was basically in a position to like, you can pick your station because you’re that good.

So here we have somebody who chooses to work communications and lean into her natural proclivity for languages, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a commander. It doesn’t mean she couldn’t have worked engineering. It doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been a pilot or a navigator. So seeing that in Strange New Worlds and then seeing this moment, for me, that was a very clear connect, connective line where I felt like Strange New Worlds producers watched the show carefully and made notes about how do we.

How do we show a young Uhura? And they clearly spotted the moments of She’s able to do a lot of different things. We need to show her as a character with a wide foundation of expertise so that it’s not just, she’s only answering the phone. That is, it’s easy to watch this show and think of her in terms of, Oh, she’s the secretary of the ship.

She’s there hearing the communications and relaying information. That’s not what’s going on here. She’s an officer and they depict her as capable in 1966. Good for them. And then it’s picked up on and broadened by the newer series. Good for them. I, I appreciated that. And that for me ties into everything you’ve said about how they tie the, tie the thread to Chapel and Spock.

And even their depiction of Scotty that we get in Strange New Worlds toward the end of the last season that we talked about where he shows up and he’s like, I’m not even quite sure like where that part went. I know I incorporated it. I think like he’s kind of like so instinctive and here we see a Scotty who is cutting through the wall and Spock says, you don’t have time for a safety factor.

And he’s like, all right. So he’s just like, I gotta get through here and he’s able to get through, he’s able to get through that locking mechanism without a safety factor. And he’s getting into the main engine room and throwing out like, we need a certain amount of time to do these things. We just simply can’t, we can’t break the laws of physics.

He is given his moment of expertise and the Nurse Chapel and Spock scene, I think. I watched it almost in exactly the same way you did, where I found myself consciously thinking like, interpret this in both ways. Like, look at this for what it’s doing. I agree, in the moment, it would have been a little jarring to see a brand new character introduced just to say, I love you, Spock.

And then followed it up with some tremendous acting from Leonard Nimoy, walking into the hallways, breaking down in tears, going in and monologuing, Shakespearean style, in a room by himself, where he, I mean, you think about the screen time they give him to count, like, programs don’t waste minutes. They tend not to give people who can’t perform to a certain level the time to chew the scenery around them in this way.

And we have this long sequence. It’s at least three minutes of him sitting alone in a room, counting, trying to use math to break himself out of, he’s recognizing like I’m spiraling, I’m not in control. And this is terrifying to me and working so hard to do it. And then we get the counter spiral with Kirk a few minutes later in what I think is equally very good acting from William Shatner when we get into that sequence.

So this episode is almost written Like, this writer really seemed to come at it from an actor’s perspective. What do they want to do? They want to talk. They want to do these things and have these moments. And they give it to everybody. Everybody is given so much to work with. So many great opportunities to work with.

And let’s move now to the Kirk sequence of we’re watching inhibitions break down. And I find it fascinating that they, when Kirk’s inhibitions break down, his passion for his captaincy is the thing that takes the forefront. I thought that that was a remarkable turn for how to frame his character. What did you think about the sequence where he has his inhibition break down and has to end the scene in one of my favorite moments of the show where he’s barely holding it together and saying, I can get to the bridge, but you got to clear the, you got to clear the deck.

I

thought, I gotta pay, okay, for Kirk, I gotta pay a compliment to William Shatner. He’s got that, the notoriety of being a bad actor, of hamming it up, and the weird way he delivers lines. And I think there is an element of that that is earned. He does, he’s very stage acting, which is a style that kind of went away and he never evolved out of, but he is a far better actor than we give him credit for.

He did some great work in this episode. Yeah. And he’s very funny too. There were some delivered line deliveries. Yeah. Uh, like when O’Reilly, it takes over the engineering room and keeps singing in, across the ship. And he’s like, I’m going to do the ba ba ba again. And it cuts to Kurt in deadpan. He says, please, not again.

It was just like, the way he delivered it was so subtle and so perfect and so funny. It’s like, I got to tip my hat to William Shatner. He really is better than we give him credit for. But his whole evolution in this episode, especially the sequence where he gets back to the his his whole storyline of, um, he’s in love with the ship.

He can never have a relate. He basically is talking about how he can never have a relationship. Like it’s what’s the phrase he says, like walking on the beach. Is that what he says? No walks on the beach. Yeah. Yeah. Walks on the beach. It’s like, there’s a sadness to it, especially on the bridge at the end when he looks at the yeoman and says, no walks on the beach.

And it’s just like, again, just like that the line delivery of please not again, it was the same thing. It was almost a throwaway line, very subtly delivered. But yet there’s this, all this emotional baggage that comes with it that I thought was great. I thought it was fantastic. It’s a, it was a really great way to kind of build out the captain of basically saying the captain is all about the crew and the ship and his personal life is out the window.

Like he cannot have a personal life because he’s so obsessed with, being the captain of this ship, making sure the ship is his life. There’s a loneliness to it. A sadness to it. Yeah. That just like really kind of like is fantastic. And they’ve, on the new shows, they’ve done stuff like that too. But it was fantastic to see it on this show from the sixties.

Yeah. Of how well it was rendered in this one little sequence with just Kirk. And it was not like he was on screen for 40 minutes. He was only on screen for a handful of minutes and they did a great job of rendering that aspect of it. I thought it was great.

Yeah. And they have the, it’s, it’s a nice way of, of demonstrating how they really recrafted the captaincy

from what their original intention with Pike was. Pike, we were introduced to a Pike who was saying, like, I am burnt out. I am tired. And I’m like, I don’t know if I want to keep doing this. And they retool that to the younger actor whose captaincy is built around. I am so passionate about this, I can’t imagine

anything but this, but I also have the pain and sorrow around what I know it’s taken from me. And we have in the original first, uh, in the original first episode of Pike, who, who doesn’t reveal any kind of backstory as far as like relationships, but in the second pilot, we know that Kirk refers to, I almost married that woman.

And they did a great job in strange new worlds, again, to show the connective threads between the two programs of revealing that that is the doctor from

Star Trek 2. So they’ve got this through line and here you have this episode hanging on that line of him basically saying like, there’s a woman out there that I left behind and it will tie in also, I think moving forward, we talked about Janice Rand is going to drift to the background as we see the womanizer Kirk step forward.

That is within the character that we’re seeing here. Yep. As the guy who is looking for intimate connection in ways that he knows he can walk away from again and again and again because he doesn’t have the ability to put down roots. He knows that. So I think it’s a, that is a fascinating aspect of the writing of this one and how it ties all those things together.

It really, I’m finding myself appreciating the production and writing of the series in a whole new way. And seeing the bigger picture that they had in mind that I didn’t think they ever had in mind. Because I think the only way I’ve ever consumed this was completely on random broadcast order or maybe original broadcast order, which the chopped up aspect of it wipes this all away and provides what I always thought of as Star Trek was fairly inconsistent

in its production, you’d have this kind of experience of, Oh, this one’s good. This one’s not so great. This one’s good. But when you line them up in production order, I’m seeing a whole different arc. I’m seeing them build and I really just kind of,

I’ve,

I went into this podcast thinking this would be fun, but I didn’t realize it would actually change my experience of the original Trek.

Is that something you’re getting? I’ve never watched it.

I’ve never watched original Trek in this way before. And so I’ve seen every episode, but it’s been random, completely random. Like, Oh, it’s on TV. I’ll watch it. Oh, it’s on TV. I’ll watch it in reruns. So I’ve never watched it in air date order. I’ve never watched it in production.

I’ve never watched it in this order ever. So it’s like, for me, I’m seeing things of how they established the show that I find absolutely fascinating that I didn’t think were ever there. So it’s, it’s, it’s pretty cool kind of redoing this. Can we, can we talk about the, briefly, the the plot just a little bit.

Oh, absolutely. There are two things about the plot

that I was gonna throw out there. So if you just want to launch into what you wanted to talk about, I was going to say, let’s talk about the Thomas Riley and the uh, it’s Tormolen of it all.

Okay. So you and I, I don’t know if we’ll get an argument here.

I thought the plot of this was pretty dumb. Um, not the getting infected and then taking it to the mall, losing an inhibition. That was fine. For me, what I thought was dumb was the Tormolen on the surface, they’re doing their scanning they’re wearing hazmat suits. And he’s like, Oh, this would be a good time to take my glove off and just touch stuff and then put it back on.

And like, nothing happened here. What the hell? It’s like that made zero sense. And then the whole, then the way it comes back to the ship, it’s like they just built on a really shaky, stupid foundation that I thought could have avoided. And it didn’t ruin the episode for me, but it was just one of those just facepalm.

Really? You couldn’t have come up with something better than that? Like maybe the hazmat suits don’t work? How about that? You know what I mean? It could have just been something like it didn’t matter what they did. They were going to get infected no matter what. Um, cause it made him look really dumb and it made you wonder, how is he a lieutenant junior grade?

Cause like, if this guy was half assing it all the way through Starfleet, how’d he get to where he is right now? Failing upwards. So that was all kind of like discordant notes on a keyboard kind of a thing. Um, I also don’t know if you noticed, but the dead woman that they show in the beginning was a mannequin and was obviously a mannequin.

And I can’t believe nobody on the production crew was like, uh, you can totally tell it’s a mannequin. I don’t know why they did that. It was just one of those, okay, your show looks cheap anyway, and why would you decide, let’s use a mannequin. Because it just makes you look even more like a low budget Doctor Who

rip off? Just questionable things, Sean. Uh, yeah. And then the other part of the plot that didn’t make sense to me was, you know, Why they had to stay so close to the planet as the planet was collapsing. I didn’t quite understand the whole collapsing planet thing in the first place. Mm-Hmm. . But then the, we have to stay in a close orbit of this collapsing planet.

It was just like, it might’ve been rational logic and understanding how space stuff kind of works that just made me go, this does, does, no, this, this is stupid this doesn’t make any sense. Or I just completely glossed over something that was said in passing that might have explained it. But for me, the plot was the weakest part of this episode.

The chunk of it, which is all about people just losing their minds, I thought was fantastic. And I thought it was really great character explorations. And so I’m very forgiving of the bad plot for what they actually delivered. But man, those two things to me, were two things that could have easily been avoided and they could have come up with different plot devices because they’re like MacGuffins.

It doesn’t matter. It really does not matter at all. So they could have come up with something that was a little more believable that would have worked versus what they did.

I agree on the whole with what you’ve just said. It is a pretty clunky getting to the part that they actually cared about. Yeah, they clearly were like it was written, probably backwards.

Let’s have the crew breaking down inhibitions. Let’s have effectively the enemy within crew wide so we can reveal a lot of characters across the board doing a lot of things that we’re not gonna have them be able to do under any other circumstance. So Spock crying Chapel in love, sulu gallivanting, swashbuckling through the hallways, crew members clearly putting the ship in danger, doing all of those, all those little things.

And they’re like, but how did they get there? And then it feels very much like, okay, let’s just, okay. They get exposed to a thing and then it happens because of an accident. And I’m okay in the same way that you are, because I love the performances and what comes next. I also about the plot, there are aspects of it that I genuinely really like, either for images or just for moments.

Yeah.

I love this first exposure to the hazmat suits. It is a look that has maintained through all of Star Trek. This kind of like, it looks just like fabric, but it’s got some kind of weird fabric with gold circles on it. So it looks futuristic and special. And they’ve kind of recreated again and again and again in Trek, hazmat suits that have that similar shape.

And when it’s iconic to me, when you see Spock and Tormolen appear on the planet and they’re wearing those things. To me, that was just like, that’s, that’s a classic Trek, Trek image. Uh, the planet where the people have died, everything covered in ice, the description of what the people did, all of that is unearthly and eerie and has a kind of, uh, it goes back to what we talked about last week.

It has a horror movie vibe at the beginning where it’s like something. Drove these people mad. One of my favorite moments, and it is kind of a favorite moment because of the almost pop culture jokiness of it. Um, when Spock says, maybe this is a version of space madness that we’re not accustomed to yet. I just love the phrase space madness because of a Ren and Stimpy joke.

It’s like, yes, it connects to that. Like you got space madness and like all of those things together are part of the, uh, popcorn fun of this for me. I watch all of it. I’m just like, yeah, give me more give me more and gobble, gobble, gobble. And I have, I have, my critical brain is like, but what about, and then the other part of my brain is just like, give me more.

So I’m perfectly fine with it. Um, the visuals of them spinning, spiraling into the planet. Like, the description of why they have to remain in tight orbit, I think, is nothing more than, for our sensors to get the readings we need, we need to be a certain distance from the planet. And as the planet breaks up, it will shrink, and because it’s shrinking, our orbit is going to have to get tighter and tighter and tighter.

I think it’s implied that as it gets tighter and tighter and tighter, it will not get slower. It will maintain a high velocity. So it has that kind of out of control aspect. Like if you watch a record player spin the record, the outer edge is moving slower effectively than the inner part. So I think that’s all the implication, but as you point out, that’s not how space works.

And like we get, uh, other stories within Trek where they can be on a planet and they can accurately read information on the far side of the planet or on other planets in the solar system without having to be within 1500 miles of it or anything like that. So the reasons behind all of this are a little wonky and, but I, I feel like it’s all very hand wavy because you need, you need the characters in danger.

It always goes back to, and this is kind of a script writing tool, uh, the idea of, okay, you have the characters experiencing a thing. If you don’t have a ticking clock, where’s your tension? So if everybody’s losing their inhibitions, it’s got to put the ship in danger. And they’ve figured a way to put the ship in danger is to have it spiraling into the

planet. They could have easily done it as like somebody goes and turns off the engines and the ship is just losing power and it’s going to die cold in space. That could have been another way to do it, but that maybe visually doesn’t have quite the same panache as showing us a screen where it looks like the planet is whirring by.

So I think they just picked something that would be visually enticing. And again, I I’m fine with the hand wave of it because I feel like what they’re trying to get to is so much popcorn fun. Just like you said, of like, I’m okay to be forgiving in this case because what they wanted was enough of a meal to hold me over.

Yeah. I came up with a half a dozen ideas that would have been better. But at the same time, it was like, at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter too much because I still had fun with. You know, if the episode’s 45 minutes, I still had fun with 44 minutes of the show. So it’s like, yeah, that little setup.

Okay, whatever.

I also, uh, it is, it, even as a kid, it was mind boggling to see Tormolen take off his glove so he could scratch his nose. As a kid, I was just like, you’re wearing fabric. You could use the glove on the outside of your mask and rub your nose. Like why, what? And as a kid, I was like, wait a minute, if that is all there to protect them, how come it’s open around the neck?

How can he get in to the mask at all? And as a kid, I was just like, that doesn’t make any sense. Yeah. But as a kid, I absolutely loved the creepiness of Hand on the desk and the blood moves horizontally to get to him. And that was an aspect of this, that that’s the horror ish element to it that I always wished had been incorporated better in the entire episode.

It’s never in any way revealed that there’s any kind of ability in this infection to do that kind of thing. It almost is like they reference something from John Carpenter’s The Thing, and then they solve the Andromeda strain. And it’s like, That blood was moving by itself. What about that? Oh, nobody, nobody even knows.

Nobody knows. Yeah. So like that. Yeah. Um, interesting side note before I get into my last comment, uh, this has a direct tie to an episode of the next generation where basically the same kind of space madness kicks in and it’s an early episode of next generation. So it still has the Roddenberry fingerprints all over it.

But this to me is the most interesting and now as a fan, frustrating aspect to this episode, Naked Time was originally intended to be a two parter episode, with one part being the cliffhanger that sends the Enterprise back in time. The ending was revised so it could become a standalone episode what would have been part two eventually became another standalone episode, Tomorrow is Yesterday, which is the episode where the Enterprise appears over the 1960s Earth and is photographed by a pilot in a US air Force plane, and they have to go through a process of stealing the documentation so that the Enterprise’s existence does not appear in the history records. I cannot tell you how frustrated I am at the fact that they didn’t make that two parter because it makes that episode, the later episode, Tomorrow’s Yesterday, is an episode that does not make sense because in that episode they present it as time travel is just something we can do to study history and then they never do it again And they never talk about it again.

And in fact, they talk about time travel as if it’s really, really difficult and every other episode, but to have a two parter in which if this one had ended with them getting slung shot back in time, and they’re like, it’s the 1960s and we’re around earth, and then you have the second episode be, And here’s the events of how they get back.

Yes. What a great two parter that would have been.

Yeah. On the note of the, the going back slingshot back in time because of that crazy engine maneuver they did. First thought was that’s the voyage home. It’s like, did they, did they, when they did the voyage home, did they link back to this episode to explain how they were going to do this?

Uh, I thought that was kind of fascinating, but at the same time, I thought it was really funny how blasé everybody was. Yeah. We just figured out how to go back in time. Well, okay. Let’s just go to our next mission. It was just like,

everybody was. Because the, Sulu says the chronometer is moving backwards.

Yeah. We just discovered time travel.

Yeah. And nobody, nobody’s like beside themselves about what they discovered. It’s kind of like, oh, well. I thought that was really funny.

It is, yeah, it is, uh, for everything we said about being forgiving of the show, finding out that information is one thing that strangely I find it very difficult to forgive them for.

Like you freaking used the second part anyway, but you didn’t want to actually make it here. And there are elements of that episode. The, what would have been the second parter that like this one, I really like, but I have the inverse relationship with that episode that I do to this one. I always struggled with the, this doesn’t feel like it fits in because there’s no logical reason for why any of this is happening.

And this one I’m like, I’m okay with the lack of setup because I like what happens within the show so much. It would have been, I think it would have been classic. It really like stands out as like, wow, they could have made a classic two parter in the original series and they just missed their moment. So, so stupid.

Anyway. Listeners, viewers, what did you think about this episode? Jump into the comments. Don’t forget to share your thoughts about what the next episode is about wrong answers only. We’ll be watching the episode Charlie X, so let us know in the comments what that will be about. Before we sign off, Matt, do you have anything about your main channel that you wanted to share with the listeners or viewers?

Yeah, something that sounds super sci fi. Quantum dots. Oh boy. An episode about what the hell a quantum dot is and how it applies to things like solar panels and how it could change energy generation. And yes, it’s also a television set, but we’re going to talk about quantum dots, what they are, how they work and cool stuff like that.

If they’re anything like Dippin Dots, I imagine they’re the ice cream of the alternate future. Very tasty. As for me, if you’re interested in finding out any more about my books, you can check out my website, seanferrell. com. You can also go directly to wherever it is you buy your books. That’s everything from Amazon down to your local bookstore.

A place like bookshop. org is a great place to look because it will link you to local bookstores, or you can even try your local public library. My books are available everywhere. If you’d like to support the show, please do consider leaving a review, leave a comment and share it with your friends. Those are three easy ways for you to support the program.

Don’t forget to subscribe. And if you’d like to more directly support us, you can go to trekintime. show, click the become a supporter button. It allows you to throw some coins at our heads. We appreciate the welts. And then we get down to the heavy, heavy business of talking about blood that moves horizontally.

Thank you so much, for taking the time to watch or listen, and we’ll talk to you next time

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