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Monday, September 04, 2006
Star Trek's Top Ten #5 : Space Seed
Over three seasons, a lot of people tried to wrestle control of the Enteprise away from Captain Kirk. Only one nemesis succeeded in doing so--Khan Noonian Singh, who would later go on to greater fame in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

The strength of this episode is the performance of Ricardo Montalban as Khan. Khan is a glorious villian--a genetically enhanced superman with delusions of grandeur. He and his followers fled Earth following the Eugenics Wars in the late 90s (did you miss them too?) and sent themselves out into space on a sleeper ship. The Enterprise discovers it and sets Khan and his followers free.

And we learn one of the valuable lessons in all of Star Trek--if you come across a group of cryogenically frozen people, they were probably cyrogenically frozen for a reason. Nothing good can come of thawing them out and allowing them to wander the ship. (We learn this again in Next Gen when we encounter a sleeper ship full of yuppies...I'm not sure which is more horrifying.)

Khan slowly takes over the ship by corrupting one Marla McGivers, an historian who is fascinating by the past. Khan uses her attraction to him to get her to betray her ship and Kirk, though she is redeemed later when she sets Kirk free from certain death in a decompression chamber down in Sickbay (but wait, you say...why do they have one. Silly, so Kirk can be put in it and the crew watch him die for this episode.)

The battle of wills between Kirk and Khan drives this epiosde and sets up things for the best of the Star Trek films, The Wrath of Khan. In fact, over the years I've viewed "Space Seed" and then jumped right into Wrath of Khan many times. The two pieces fit well together (apart from the huge continuity error in Wrath) and it makes for an enjoyable evening of great Star Trek.

"Space Seed" also features one of Trek's more famous "left in" bloopers. If you watch the scene where Khan is being revived, you'll notice that William Shatner knocks his phaser off the velcro patch on his belt. The scene continues onward but watch DeForest Kelly. His eyes and attention dart from Khan's revival to the phaser on the floor as he waits for the director to yell "Cut" and re-do the scene. It never happens and Kelly is forced to incorporate trying to bend over for the phaser into his performance later in the scene. The show was on a such a shoe-string budget they didn't have time to re-film and instead kept the blooper scene, hoping no one would notice. Little did they know we'd re-watch these episodes 17 billion times over the next 40 years...

There's another such blooper that crops up in "Amok Time" but we'll cover that when we get to that episode.

Oh yeah and you can also play the wacky "spot the stunt doubles" game in the fight scenes in engineering. It's pretty obvious but it's still a ton of fun.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/04/2006 09:27:00 AM | |
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