Top 5 fast forward moments in Good Star Trek Episodes
The other day a video posted from another site regarding scenes the author hates in movies he otherwise loves. This got me thinking about those times when a TV show or movie is fine, but there is still something in it which I find dull. Like in Back to the Future III when I always fast forward the scenes between Doc and Clara.
Star Trek had lots of these, especially the original series. I really don’t think they knew how to plot a story very well then; a lot of episodes would have Kirk having a ten minute discussion with a woman which goes nowhere. Or have Kirk and Spock debating something forever. Here are my choices for five boring moments in otherwise strong Star Trek episodes (limited to the original series but including the movies, as you will see in a second).
#5 Star Trek IV
I have said before I love this movie. I have seen it a hundred times and it is one of my all-time favorite movies. However, there is one part I always fast forward when I watch this. That’s the part at the end, when the probe and the whales have their discussion. Yes, I am nitpicking and I do realize there wasn’t much they could do about this scene. This is what the whole movie was leading up to; of course it’s going to be played out. But it’s just boring. I have heard the studio wanted Leonard Nimoy to use sub titles for that scene, and am glad that that idea was nixed. The reason the probe works in the movie is because it is so mysterious, if we knew too much about it than we would lose all suspension of disbelief. Boring scene but an important one. By the way, if you want real boredom read the sequel novel “The Probe”. That is a sure cure for insomnia
One of my very first articles was on backdoor pilots, and this was one for a series about Gary Seven. Gene Roddenberry has the Enterprise in the 1960’s for no reason (historical research my foot) and they run into Gary Seven. The first act feels like a regular Star Trek episode, but then we follow Mr.Seven as flees down to Earth and we see the backdoor pilot begin. At first it’s still a good episode as Kirk and Spock give chase. However toward the middle of the show Kirk and Spock follow him to a rocket base and are quickly captured. They then spend the better half of the end of the episode standing in a room under guard! They just stand there while Gary Seven shows off which just gets dull. Finally, and I mean finally, Spock is able to get his communicator and get Scotty to beam them out. This episode is pretty good, but as an episode of Star Trek it suffers because Kirk and Spock get pushed away for the bulk of it and I just can’t get invested in the situation. Heck, Scotty and the crew on the Enterprise almost have more to do at one point! However Unlike other backdoor pilots this is watchable, but man does it go from interesting to just plan boring quickly. It is kind of funny to see Teri Garr so young in this; she was cute in her day.
#3. Shore Leave
This is a fun little episode, one of Trek’s first light hearted fair. Ok it gets a little dark when McCoy is killed, but he’s fine in the end. Basically the crew beams down to a planet where there fondest wishes and desires come true, problem is they don’t know that until the end. Nice of that care keeper guy to wait so long to reveal himself. “We only know just realized you did not fully understand what was going on”. Really? It took them that long? I’m betting they were watching the crew and laughing at them the whole time. Anyway, I am getting off track. There is a fight scene between Kirk and an old academy nemesis named Finnegan. The scene starts at the end of act three…and goes into act 4. This is the longest fight scene in any Trek episode, and it’s also really pointless. We know that Finnegan isn’t the real enemy here. There is no suspense, nothing at stakeâ€”and when itâ€™s over the first thing Spock asks is if Kirk enjoyed himself. Even Spock knows that the whole fight was for nothing! This is just more padding. This time rather than have William Shatner make out with someone we see him with his shirt off fighting a character we just met and don’t care about. To be fair, the actor did a great job playing Finnegan but that doesn’t keep this scene from being one long, pointless filler.
#4 Mirror, Mirror
This is one of my all-time favorite episodes. It is a brilliant idea executed almost flawlessly. This is one of the few episodes that I still can’t believe was made in the 60’s, you could do this show today and people would say it was very strong. It was written by Jerome Bixby and the fact a great writer did this is clear (well, he also did Requiem for Methuselah which is the most god awful boring episode ever, so guess he wasn’t perfect). That being said, what the heck was up with that extended sequence with Marlena Moreau? I don’t object to the character entirely, but that scene in the captain’s quarters grinds the show to a halt and goes on forever! I used to always fast forward through that. I realize it is important because we learn of the Tantalus Field, but that whole scene could have been cut down. Of course in the old days networks dictated a romantic liaison in every episode, so maybe that’s why this is here. Thank goodness Gene Roddenberry did away with that nonsense when Next Gen came along. A little romance is fine from time to time if it helps the story in some way (take City on the Edge of Forever for example, you need that romance stuff in there to appreciate the ending) but when you start forcing it into every episode it gets boring. Why am I picking on this episode if it happens all the time? Because here it just stops a great story full force and that irritates me every time I see this episode.
This episode has one of the dullest moments in any good episode, but before I explain why let me tell what this show is about if you never saw it. The Enterprise crew beams down to a planet they think is paradise, only to discover a humanoid population that serves one function, to feed and maintain the computer which controls the planet (yes, I left stuff out). The episode isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. You watch it and you realize it’s 50% filler. In fact the first fifteen minutes have no effect on the main story. A red shirt gets killed, we think Spock is killed but he gets right up after the commercial break, they have a pointless crisis for the Enterprise which just pads the episode. But the real boring comes toward the end of the third act, we see Chekov flirting with a yeoman we don’t know, care about, or will see again. Sorry but Walter Koenig is no William Shatner and he just canâ€™t carry this scene. After this pointlessness two natives who spied the two pawing each other decide to figure out what the heck they were doing by also touching each other. Finally the head native interrupts, and informs them the computer is unhappy. This whole scene is so boring, I don’t think I have seen this part of the episode and not hit the old fast forward button. It just stops the story, such as it is, for no reason. It’s also unnecessary, we already saw the computer (named Vaal) informing the head native that there was a problem with the newcomers. This whole scene could be cut and you lose nothing! I might accept it if romance with Chekov and the yeoman led anywhere, we never see the yeoman again, thankfully because she whined like a twelve year old during the whole episode. She was a plot device. Well, Kirk ends up killing the computer and forcing the natives to fend for themselves. The best part of this episode is the way it kills of no less than five red shirts. That’s pretty good for one episode. Those poor guys were doomed right from the start.
Of course these are good episodes; some whole episodes can be kind of dull. I hate Return of the Archons, it is slow and a little disturbing. But if you really want an entire episode of boredom and pointlessness I suggest “The Way To Eden”, bad doesn’t even begin to describe that one. At least Spock’s Brain is fun in a campy, B movie kind of way,