Legitimizing our obsessions.
Original Airdate: January 5, 1967
The crew encounters a rogue planet, and surveys it via ships’ instruments. Its temperature is too hot to sustain human life, and it has no breathable atmosphere. Captain Kirk and Sulu suddenly disappear, and the planet's surface is the only likely place they could be. The ship then receives a message on a viewscreen that says, in old-fashioned script, “greetings and felicitations!” It then seems obvious that there is some form of intelligence on the planet, and a landing party is sent down with oxygen supplies.
Original Airdate: January 5, 1967
The shuttlecraft Galileo has been sent to study the Murasaki 312 quasar as a side trip while the Enterprise is on en route to Makus III under the watchful and bitchy eye of Galactic High Commissioner Ferris, who is a dick from the word go. Okay, the part is written that way, but the actor nails it.
Original Airdate: September 29, 1966
Sulu and Bones are planetside, talking about how gorgeous it is, when a white rabbit in a vest hops by, exclaiming that he’s late, and a second later, a little blond girl in a pinafore runs up and asks if he’s seen the rabbit. She runs off. Bones yells for Sulu, who wandered off to take samples for research.
He says he didn’t see anything.
Original Airdate: November 24, 1966
Back to footage of the pilot! I’m going to do a little light reading over at Final Girl; I’ll meet you back here after.
Original Airdate: November 17, 1966
Jim, Spock, and Bones are beaming down to Starbase 11 because of a subspace message they received calling them there; upon arrival, they find that there was no such message sent. Spock is the one who received it, and it involves Captain Christopher Pike. Spock served under Pike for some years, (for 11 years, 4 months, and 5 days, you trivia buffs) and loyally at that. Pike was involved in an incident aboard his ship involving a warped baffle plate and the subsequent radiation that disfigured and disabled him for life; he will live the rest of his life in a wheelchair controlled by the power of his mind; he can only communicate via blinking lights, one for yes, two for no.
Commodore Mendez, commander of the base, agrees to investigate the source of the message; all signs point to Spock himself. Jim vehemently disagrees that he could be responsible for any dishonesty. God bless him, he really goes to bat for his first officer & friend.
Original Airdate: December 8, 1966
We open with Kirk and his friend, Dr. Thomas Leighton, watching a live production of Macbeth. (Fashion Police APB: Lady Macbeth is wearing a particularly god-awful dress with big arrows springing up off the shoulder area.) As the scene immediately after the murder of Duncan plays out onstage, Leighton hisses to Kirk that he knows that voice, and he is convinced it’s the voice of Kodos.
The Enterprise is visiting this planet at the request of Leighton, who told Jim he had an agricultural breakthrough he wanted to show him; in reality, he just wanted Jim to confirm his suspicions. He believes that a famous actor also visiting the planet is not what he seems and suspects the actor, Anton Karidian, is actually a former despot in disguise: Kodos, “The Executioner.” Kirk, having seen Kodos up close and personal in his youth, is one of few still living who can provide a positive ID. Kodos governed a colony that Jim spent time on growing up, and cold-bloodedly killed 4000 people during his reign. The official story says that Kodos died, his remains burned beyond recognition. Jim believes that version of events, and thinks his friend’s overreaction and lie will get them both in trouble.
Original Airdate: October 27, 1966
Bones opines that this is the most horrible conglomeration of antique architecture he's ever seen. You can stuff it, McCoy.
Original Airdate: November, 1966
Before he leaves the room, he hassles the lead transporter room guy a little. (Including the look shown that says, "this guy's an idiot.") Lead guy puts up with it graciously and goes to take care of the inbound shipment.
The other transporter room crewman turns his back to the box and takes some readings. As he does so, a sweaty man with wild hair & an oxygen mask slowly gets out of the box, walks over, and karate chops him, knocking him out.
Original Airdate: October 20, 1966
Spock is not so upbeat; Exo III, the planet Korby and his party were on, may be Class M, but the temperatures drop to a hundred degrees below zero at night, and two other search parties failed to find them. Maybe they should send Sulu down to look; he has some experience with planets like that. Just send his good luck tent and some coffee down with him.
Jim asks Spock quietly if he thinks there's any chance of finding Korby alive, and in answer, Spock fades the screen with Korby's photo on it to black. Guess not.
Uhura's second attempt at hailing the party on all frequencies actually gets a response; Korby himself hails them back.
Original Airdate: December 15, 1966
Behind the Scenes
This is one of the good ones, so it's going to be hard to wring a lot of humor from it. This is a story of two flagships, the Federation's and the Romulan Star Empire's, and their two captains, both possessed of excellent strategic minds. It's the first time we meet the Romulans, and while I'm sure they were initially meant to be nothing more than a one-off villain of the week, the story, transplanted well from old World War II submarine movies, and the guest star's compelling acting, made the Romulans a memorable enemy and one of the most important and deadly Federation adversaries throughout the entire Trek universe. This will be even lengthier (!! I know) than usual because there is so much to cover in this one that ends up getting used later on. This episode is very heavy on the mythos-making. Also, it's just plain good.
In the future I shall endeavor to make them briefer. And funnier.
Original Airdate: September 15, 1966
The Antares crewmembers seem to be about to say something unpleasant when Charlie, behind Kirk's back, crosses his eyes and makes a strange expression. Suddenly, the crewmembers chatter effusively about the boy. Jim asks if they need anything while they're there - medical care, entertainment tapes, even Saurian brandy...? No, no, they hastily respond. Gotta be on their way, gotta get moving! They fairly hop back on the transporter pad and beam back over, leaving Jim mildly surprised.
During the conversation, Charlie has periodically interrupted with questions and exclamations, which you'd expect of a kid raised on his own. Jim kindly tells him that interrupting is considered wrong, and Charlie apologizes. We find that the Enterprise has 428 human crewmembers, and presumably Spock isn't counted in that, so I assume full ship's complement is 429 (assuming that there aren't other aliens aboard).
Charlie gets close to the door and it opens, making him jump backward. Then it opens again and Yeoman Rand walks in. Jim introduces them and has Janice show him to sickbay. Charlie looks her up and down, and asks, "are you a girl?" Jim confirms that yes, that's a girl. Poor, long-suffering Janice rolls her eyes and leads him onward.
Original Airdate: September 29, 1966
There's a man in a space suit, also frozen, draped over a desk in the foreground. Spock runs the big orange hair dryer scanner over him and takes readings. They split up and do some exploring, finding a man in the shower fully clothed (and frozen) among other bizarre things. In the background is a woman's body (it's obviously a mannequin, but let's play pretend, shall we?) and she has been strangled.
Original Airdate: September 8, 1966
The wife in question is an old flame of McCoy's; one he could never really forget. As they walk over to the residence, Jim teasingly picks some tall grass and asks McCoy if he'd like to take her some flowers. The doctor asks Jim if that's how he gets the girls to like them, by bribing them. Jim smiles, and they knock on the door. No one answers, so they walk right in. (Doesn't anybody ever knock in the future?)
Original Airdate: October 6, 1966
Did Timothy Leary write this?
Original Airdate: October 13, 1966
The Enterprise comes across a small ship, acting like it's fleeing the law. Jim's suspicions are raised and he pursues. The chase is on, and it burns up the little ship and burns out most of the Enterprise's "lithium" crystals. (Perhaps those crystals regulate the brain chemistry of the "dilithium" crystals the ship will run on in the near future.)
The Corbomite Maneuver
Original Airdate: November 10, 1966
The Enterprise crew is out mapping a specific area of space – they're the first ship in the Federation to make it out this far, so they're taking notes and pictures for everyone else. Jim's getting a physical, so Spock's got the conn (in the big chair, in other words) when out of nowhere, a glowing cube appears in front of the ship and moves with them in any direction when they try to elude it.
Original Airdate: September 22, 1966
We meet Jim Kirk while he's playing three-dimensional chess with his first officer (ooh, somebody got a promotion when that chilly old female got canned!)
We also meet the new helm guy, Gary Mitchell (played by Gary Lockwood.) He and Jim were best buddies at the academy, and while Jim is as kind and respectful as can be to his half-Vulcan first officer (unlike so many others), Gary's his BFF.
They find a little thingy floating around in space when it sends out a distress signal. They beam it (it's a ship's recorder from the S.S. Valiant) aboard and then they head out toward the galaxy's edge in an attempt to see what happened to the Valiant. They finally locate recordings that give them more information, and they tell the story of chaos aboard ship, repeated requests for information on ESP from the ship's library files, damage, six crewmen dead, and finally the captain giving self destruct orders.
Never aired as is during original series run; first air date October 4, 1988
Behind the Scenes:
This is the very first pilot that series creator Gene Roddenberry made in 1965; this is nothing more than a filmed rough draft. In fact, so little of it initially survived intact that a color print of the full episode wasn't found until the late '80s, when it was aired as a special in primetime.
There's no Kirk or McCoy, and God, does the show suffer for it. There is a Spock, but an embryonic one; this one's bangs are too short, and he's very yelly. I think Nimoy once said that he was shooting for that Naval First Officer thing. For the purposes of the show, he overshot. But the moments of emotion are awfully endearing, if strange.