Monday, October 25, 2010

The 1966 Chronicles: STAR TREK “The Man Trap”.

Some time ago, before Blogging, I had great fun working on a series of my own writings called “The 1966 Chronicles”.

It was thusly named because 1966 was – and will likely always be – my favorite year for general pop culture.

Thanks to various DVD collections, I was able to recreate a large portion of what the Fall 1966 Prime Time TV schedule was for me.

Unlike in 1966, I was now able to write about it and share those thoughts with others. But with a twist…

I wrote this series of commentaries AS IF I WERE IN 1966, seeing these shows for the FIRST TIME, with the only the knowledge of prior seasons (if any) – and with ever so much the hint of an anomalous “glimpse of the future to come”.

Previously, we devoted such a post to LOST IN SPACE (Go there if you dare!), so it only seems fair that we do the same for “that new show on the space block” – STAR TREK!

That means… I’m seeing STAR TREK for the FIRST TIME, after a healthy exposure to the previously existing science fiction shows of the day. Sounds like fun!

Race you back to 1966 to watch…

STAR TREK: “The Man Trap” (September 08, 1966)

1966 looks like a great year for us Science Fiction (…Is the term “Sci-Fi” in any sort of popular use, as of yet?) fans, with the return of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and LOST IN SPACE, that new show TIME TUNNEL beginning tomorrow night, and the premiere of this new show… STAR TREK!

It’s a very funny looking ship they travel in, on this show.

Unlike the more classic “saucer-like” shape of the Jupiter II on LIS, this “Enterprise” really looks strange. A big disc with a “neck” leading to a body with two “wings” on diagonal poles, practically dragging behind it. I wonder how they could even LAND such a ship! Maybe they’ll always be “laser-beamed” down to different planets, as they did tonight.

Another strange thing is the ORANGE SKY of the planet they visited! (…Say, how do I know that, watching it in Black and White? No matter…) It really makes the place look strange and alien, as well as very sparse – with lots of sand, few plants, and some rocks – with a few ancient ruins thrown in for good measure.
For all I know, since it doesn’t premiere in color until next week, maybe the planet on LOST IN SPACE has a weird sky color too though, even in B&W, it seems more lush and hospitable than this one.

They’ve got a really good captain, named Kirk, and a pointy-eared member of the crew called Mr. Spock – I think he’ll be a standout, despite his measured tones and odd appearance. Like LOST IN SPACE, there’s also a doctor on board, but I don’t think he’ll become a regular trouble maker like Doctor Smith.

Doctor Mc Coy was central to this plot but, like the doctor on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, I wonder if we’ll only see him when a doctor is needed for the story…. maybe, we might never even see him again! That would be too bad, even though Kirk and Spock look as if they can carry the show almost by themselves, just like VOYAGE’s Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane.

There’s a pretty extensive crew, of all different types of people. Not something you often see on TV. Love the daringly short skirts… even at age 11!

Actor Alfred Ryder, the Phantom U-Boat Captain from VOYAGE last year, was the guest star, and was very creepy here as well… but in a different way. In VOYAGE’s "The Phantom Strikes" he gives you the creeps BECAUSE he is a supernatural phantom. In STAR TREK’s "Man Trap", however, he gives you a deliberate feeling of "uneasiness" ... that SOMETHING'S not right, even if you haven't figured out what it is.

As for what “IT” is, the “Man Trap” turns out to be a shape-shifting alien creature, of the type we’ve already seen on LIS and VOYAGE, but maybe a bit more predatory. Watching it go through multiple iterations of the ship’s crew was well done. Especially the final scene, where it attacks Kirk in human female form and is killed by Mc Coy.

This STAR TREK shows quite a bit of promise. But, then again, I’m predisposed to like this sort of thing to begin with… so we’ll have to see where it goes. I’ll be back next week, after stopping first to watch F-TROOP.
Still gotta wonder where they came up with the design for that ship, though! Looks too much like a duck – but ducks DO fly, and fly FAR, so I guess it’s all good!

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