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Star Trek - Poetic Tales and Metaphors

Blog Posted:10/16/2019 7:46:00 PM


Gene Roddenberry was a master storyteller and like his contemporary Rod Serling his stories were rich in imagery and metaphor.  Both wrote fascinating and relevant morality tales couched in a sci-fi/fantasy setting, primarily so they could tackle touchy subjects that TV executives were not ready to handle straight on at the time.  Even some of the Star Trek TOS story titles were beautifully poetic, for example this one - Is There In Truth No Beauty?  Or how about this one - For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky.  I've written several poems with Star Trek themes, most notably my TOS mini-script which I have yet to repost.

Below are my top ten episode choices for classic Star Trek.  Some of the choices may surprise you.  Why not add your comment on what you liked or didn't like about the show.  Feel free to add your opinion on a classic episode you think I missed that should have been included.  In the spirit of David Letterman's top ten lists, they are in order from last to first.


10. Day Of The Dove

A malevolent alien force feeds on violent emotions and invades Enterprise, causing conflict between the crew and the Klingons.  In the end they join forces to defeat their common enemy.  I like this one because I believe there are similar evil forces working behind the scenes today causing mayhem on earth.

9. Doomsday Machine

William Campbell, the guest star gives a riveting performance as a Federation captain gone rogue.  The destructive machine reeking havoc in space resembles a large horn of plenty, but if you can look past that this one has plenty of drama.

8. Devil In The Dark

The crew visits a mining facility on an alien world because men are being killed by a creature that can move through rock like we move through air.  What is initially viewed as a terrible murderous monster in reality is only a mother trying to protect her young.  Spock does a memorable mind-meld with the creature to try and understand it.

7. Where No Man Has Gone Before

Wonderful supporting actors in this early episode.  A crew mate who is also a close friend of Kirk develops godlike qualities and in the end Kirk must destroy his friend to save Enterprise.

6. Miri

You won't find this one on some top ten lists but to me it's classic Trek, with a nod to the movie Andromeda Strain.  The crew arrive on a planet where all the adults are dead, leaving only a handful of children to live as scavengers.  To make matters worse, the crew themselves catch the virus that killed the others.  It's a race against time to develop a cure before it's too late.

5. Amok Time

This is the first reference to the Vulcan pon farr, a life event in which a male Vulcan must find a mate (rather quickly it seems) or die.  We get more insight into Spock as well as his home world which looks really cool, though I've often pondered why the Vulcan's, who are advanced space travellers, chose to live like cave dwellers.  Anyway Spock almost kills Kirk in a hormonal rage only to find out the girl he was betrothed to from youth has already chosen someone else.  Bummer.

4. Space Seed

Two words - Ricardo Montalban.  His mere presence elevated this episode so much that, as you all know, he was brought back again in the second Star Trek movie, Wrath of Khan.  A group of supermen are brought out of stasis after several hundred years and eventually try to take over the Enterprise. 

3. All Our Yesterdays

Season three is fairly universally panned due to budget cuts and Roddenberry's legendary burnout, but there are still some outstanding episodes to be found.  This gem has some classic sci-fi story elements, an exploding star, a people on the verge of extinction, time travel, etc.  And Spock falls in love (though this is not the first time).  Mariette Hartley does a wonderful acting job as Spock's love interest.

2. City On The Edge Of Forever

This classic is number one on most lists and for good reason.  In this one Kirk falls in love (isn't he always?).  City on the Edge is just great storytelling, written by famous sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison.  Interestingly I have a copy of his original script.  There was much controversy between Ellison and Roddenberry due to the fact that much was changed  from the original script.  I can tell you that, imho, Ellison's dialogue is awful and not very Star Trekky.  But some of his vision would have been worthy of inclusion.  I'd love to see a faithful remake.

1. The Cage/Menagerie

Not many would choose this as number one.  It was the pilot episode that was infamously rejected by the brass as too heady and later incorporated into a two parter - The Menagerie.  Jeffery Hunter is awesome and would have made a great captain for the franchise.  Again it has some great sci-fi elements, cool looking big-headed aliens who can create illusions, a great story and a competent supporting cast including a smiling (yes, I said smiling) Mr. Spock.

Well, that's it for now folks.  Enjoy the rest of your week.




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Date: 10/21/2019 3:41:00 PM
Tommy, interesting blog, thanks for sharing !
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/21/2019 4:48:00 PM
Date: 10/17/2019 9:50:00 PM
I was not into Star Trek that much, but I did like The Borg and my #1 favorite was Q.
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/19/2019 6:20:00 PM
Yeah, possible I suppose but I did just look up and see a flock of pigs heading south for the winter. There's only one person who can confirm or deny if T is annoying or not and she's too busy preparing kimchi and attending to all Tommy's whims and needs.
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/19/2019 11:39:00 AM
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rob carmack
Date: 10/19/2019 8:28:00 AM
Tommy could be very different at home, saves the annoying stuff for us.
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/18/2019 10:02:00 PM
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/18/2019 8:27:00 PM
Tommy, you're right, you're not ugly!!
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/18/2019 7:59:00 PM
Go on...
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/18/2019 7:22:00 PM
Anything ugly or annoying and yet...
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/18/2019 7:11:00 PM
Ha! My wife likes Trek but hates the Borg, Q, Klingons etc. Anything ugly or annoying basically.
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rob carmack
Date: 10/18/2019 7:07:00 PM
Ok Keith, now that you let the cat out of the bag; I also pretend my phone is both a phaser and a communicator. Proceed with caution, I have it set on stun for now.
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/18/2019 8:09:00 AM
Oh, c'mon Rob. You're not kidding anyone. I bet you still make the whoosh sound when you walk through doors. Lol
Date: 10/17/2019 8:30:00 PM
No Romulan or Klingon ever scared me as much as my wife's death stare!
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/18/2019 7:11:00 PM
She'll spit kimchi in yer eye. Arrggghhh
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/18/2019 8:23:00 AM
Wouldn't want to cross a Korean one either. They know stuff!
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 8:32:00 PM
I've heard that Aussie women are not to be trifled with. Qapla!
Date: 10/17/2019 4:21:00 PM
Now I feel inadequate as a Star Trek fan because I don't know the titles and I am not sure I could pick a favorite if I did, but I watched them all multiple times. All of the series. Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, etc. I did though write a script for the ST:TNG that I actually submitted. It was turned down but I was proud that I had written one. It was titled "Captain Troi". It had all of the male crew of the Enterprise incapacitated which left Deanna Troi as the ranking officer on board. I took a copy of it with me to a ST convention that Marina Sirtis was going to be at and managed to hand her a copy of it. That's my big moment.
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 10/17/2019 8:21:00 PM
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 4:43:00 PM
Bummer dude
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Chris Green
Date: 10/17/2019 4:38:00 PM
Sad thing, I wrote it a very long time ago on a word processor which has since been tossed and I lost my only copy. I'm sure it is around somewhere and someday it will turn up, but it was the one they sent back from the studio that had rejected stamped on it and their initials. My only proof. : )
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 4:23:00 PM
You gotta post a snippet in the short story section. I'll be reposting my mini script as well
Date: 10/17/2019 12:02:00 AM
for me, the one where Schatner is on a plane seeing a gremlin on the wing of the plane and nobody believes him. oh wait, that was Twilight zone!!
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 4:24:00 PM
Date: 10/16/2019 10:38:00 PM
One that would make my top ten is "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" with Lou Antonio and Frank Gorshin, two survivors of a war-torn planet, each of them half black and half white, who are still committed to destroying each other. Why? Racism of course. They are mirror images of each other. One is black on the left side and the other black on the right side. Great satire on how destructive racism is. Another episode is "Assignment: Earth" with Robert Lansing and Teri Garr. The Enterprise travels back through time to 1968 Earth, where they encounter an interstellar agent planning to intervene in 20th-century events. Nice blog, Tommy.
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 4:26:00 PM
Regarding your first offering I know it's an "important" episode because of the message (not so subtle) on racism, but for me the show dragged. Not to mention the supporting actors had to run around in skin tight (and ultimately, unflattering onesies lol). Your second choice has an interesting history as Roddenberry intended it to be a spin-off that never came to fruition
Date: 10/16/2019 9:34:00 PM
I snuck in to a Star Trek convention once dressed as Bones but they soon realised I wasn't the real McCoy!
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Son of Spock
Date: 10/17/2019 7:49:00 AM
The sunglasses gave you away.

My Past Blog Posts

Star Trek - Poetic Tales and Metaphors
Date Posted: 10/16/2019 7:46:00 PM
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