I have never seen Star Trek. The Original Series, I mean. Well – I have almost certainly watched a few minutes of an episode every now and again, but I have never seen, I do not think, a full episode. Which is wrong. This is an important pop culture reference point, and I’m missing an important resource by not being able to quote from it.
I have decided to rectify this, as usual, by watching ALL of them. Because it is my way. So I am starting with the very first season. I will not be blogging it in the same way as Lost. I haven’t enough time. But I should really take notes. Because that is how we learn. Starting with Season One, Episode One. Which is called The Cage, and DOES NOT HAVE WILLIAM SHATNER IN IT.
Episode one: The Cage
The Captain Who Isn’t William Shatner (Captain Pinefresh?) is piloting the Starship Enterprise toward some kind of intergalactic service station to get an engine fixed, when the ship receives a distress signal from a nearby, Class M Oxygenated planet.
The distress signal (or something else in the Bridge at this point) makes a high-pitched whining sound, like this: NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!! endlessly for the first five or so minutes of the show, while intense people in velour shirts stare intensely at a screen NNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII, it goes. NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!. I was prepared by these early episodes to be surprised it went on so many years; right now, I’m surprised it lasted more than six minutes.
Upset by the weight of being a chisel-jawed intergalactic space captain, in charge of who lives and who dies, and smarting from some terrible battle before the series even began, Captain Pinecone at first resists the idea of going to look for survivors. But, after another distress message, and being given a martini by the Hammiest Doctor in the Universe, he decides to go look. Phew. Otherwise this was going to be an episode set entirely in a service station. With an intergalactic WH Smith, and possibly a Wimpy.
Captain Pinenut and some similarly velour-jumpered boys (including Spock, who DOES exist at this point. Seems to be the only one who made it past the pilot, mind…) beam down to the planet’s surface. As a protection against what the planet’s surface might be like, they have all put on light jackets. You know, in case it’s a bit nippy.
The survivors (who include a comely young lass with an immediate mutual attraction to Captain Pinepot) turn out to be projections, set up as a lure by little people with long shiny dresses and GINORMOUS THROBBING HEADS.
They put The Captain in a zoo, and attempt to tempt him into breeding with the comely young lass by various means. They set up an imaginary battle where he is forced to protect her, another world where he is meant to lust after her, and another still where they present an ideal world where he gets to picnic with her, as his wife, and she says things like: “And I’ve made your mother’s recipe for Chicken-Tuna.”
He resists them. Because he HATES them. And they cannot read minds through hatred. I assume because he looks particularly manly and least vacuous when he is hating on things. We do, however, discover his name is Pike. PIKE! His name’s Pike. Brilliant.
He fights with Head GiantThrobbingHead, and ends up in some kind of set-to where they want him to live on the surface of the planet and copulate with either the young comely lass, his second in command (female) or another of his crew (also female), and produce a tightly inter-bred race of humans, and he wants to leave, and NOT copulate with these three women.
But wait: the throbbing heads have discovered the human race to be ill-suited to captivity. Blah blah blah strong-willed blah-blah too violent, blah-blah lesson about humanity in general.
And the comely young lass was a hideous old woman all along. And the throbbing head people live. And then all the good people of the Starship Enterprise? They fly away.