Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Random thoughts of a Tennessee fan on life, sports and more TV shows than any one person should be allowed to watch.
About me
Name: Michael
Location: Nashville, TN
E-mail me!

View My Complete Profile
100 Things About Me
My Facebook Profile
My Wish List
Syndicate Big Orange Michael

The Latest News on the Vols


Also For Your Reading Pleasure
The Rocky Top Brigade
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

For Your Listening Pleasure (Podcasts)
Slice of SciFi
PodCulture
Two Insane Fans: The Statler and Waldorf of Doctor Who commentaries

Archives
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011
01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011
02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012
08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013
10/01/2017 - 11/01/2017
11/01/2017 - 12/01/2017


Monday, August 02, 2010
Retro TV Round-Up: Star Trek
"The Cloud Minders"
When I was about six or seven, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was hitting theaters. I remember this because it seemed like it was advertising a lot on the back cover of comic books my parents would buy for me and because there was a tie-in promotion with McDonald's Happy Meals. (When I lived in Hawaii, the happening place for the under-10 set to have a birthday party was the McDonald's with an outdoor playground). Those Happy Meals made the Motion Picture look a lot more action packed than it was and I recall begging my mom to take me to see the movie when it hit the base theater.

She agreed and I recall being...well, kind of bored. (I was six or seven at the time). But that didn't discourage me from wanting to figure out what all this fuss about Star Trek was about. I recall watching an episode of the animated series one Saturday morning and thinking it was pretty good. Then, during a visit to my grandparents, I saw that repeats of the live-action series were showing and I begged my mom to let me stay up to watch it. I made it about half-way through (I can't recall which episode it was) before an odd commercial came on and my mom announced that was enough Star Trek for one night.

I drifted away but came back to the series when Star Trek II was hitting theaters and a local independent station decided to show a couple of nights of Trek in primetime to celebrate. One of those was "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which I watched with my dad and loved. I was so encouraged by how great "Where No Man" was, I decided I'd forego my usual cartoons the next day and catch a repeat of Trek in its 5 p.m. repeat slot.

That episode was "The Cloud Minders" and to my 10 year old mind, it was pretty darn good. Oh sure, it wasn't as clever or entertaining as "Where No Man Has Gone Before," but it still had a pretty good fight scene in the beginning and the whole city floating in the clouds thing was pretty cool as well. And yet, I still wasn't quite hooked enough to jump in and watch every night.

And it seemed like for a couple of weeks, that every time I'd tune in, "The Cloud Minders" was repeating. I think my memory is cheating a bit here or it could be that I was seeing a lot of episodes where the crew beams down to a sound stage rock planet like we get here. But I have to admit it was pretty discouraging--especially since the commercials showed a cool clip where Kirk and Spock were reciting about being "Tweedle Dee" and "Tweedle Dum."

As I saw more Trek, I came to realize that my initial assessment of "The Cloud Minders" as being pretty good wasn't exactly spot-on. I think that, coupled with the notion that it was being re-run too much turned me against it early on and for a long time I listed it as my least favorite episode of the series. Then I saw "Way to Eden" and it came up second on the list.

So as I enter the home stretch for the final season of classic Trek, I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to the watching "The Cloud Minders" again. I'd watched it about a decade ago but haven't bothered with it on DVD. My reaction then was that it seemed a bit odd to have Spock beaming down and falling in love with the "lovely Droxine" but beyond that it didn't really make much of an impression. This time around, I decided I'd approach it with a more open mind.

And I still come away kind of shrugging my shoulders. I'd no longer say I hate the episode, but there's nothing here I especially love.

An agricultural colony is in desperate need of a mineral called zenite to cure a biological plague. The only source is the planet Merak II, a planet that we find out has a distinct social caste system. There are "haves" who live in Stratos, a city in the clouds and are the elite and then the "have nots" the Troglytes, who work in the mines and have none of the rights or amenities of the Stratos dwellers.

The Enterprise is sent to get a supply and ferry to to the colony before all plant life on the planet dies. Kirk and Spock beam down to find the consignment not in the designated place. A group of rebel Trogyltes try to take the landing party hostage as a bargaining chip for greater rights. Kirk and Spock escape and the leader of the ruling council Plasus tells them they are welcome to wait in Stratos while his guards look for the consignment. They beam up there where Spock meets the "lovely Droxine." Droxine is smitten when Spock and our usually stoic first officer is pulling out bad pick-up lines like "I've never met a work of art before."

Before you know it, Spock is flirting with Droxine in a way that's sure to make Nurse Chapel cry herself to sleep at night and, possibly, discussing the Vulcan mating cycle. You remember that don't you? The mating cycle that was so private Spock and Kirk were willing to risk their careers rather than talk about it?

Anyway, before you know it Kirk is drawn into the planet's conflict thanks to an attractive female rebel leader, Vanna. Vanna was trained in Stratos and knows their ways. She is captured and Kirk objects when she is tortured to get information about the rebels and the zenite. Kirk and Spock are ordered off the planet and Plasus threatens to call Starfleet and accuse Kirk of interference.

McCoy works out that raw zenite emits a gas that actually impairs the mental faculties of people. The Trogyltes can be cured if they wear filter masks. Kirk offers them to Plasus who vehemently denies the gas and thinks Kirk is trying to interfere. At this point, time is running out and Kirk takes matters into his own hands, beaming into Vanna's cell, letting her know of the development and helping her escape. She promises to cooperate but is only going along to have a better hostage in Kirk.

Kirk eventually seals himself and Vanna in a mine and has Plasus beamed over to them. Kirk forces Plasus to mine to show him the effects of the gas are real. The two duke it out and Vanna realizes Kirk is telling the truth. She calls up to the ship and has Spock beam them on-board. She then agrees to give the Federation the zenite and it appears thing may be headed toward some type of new social order of the planet.

Reading the original David Gerrold outline for this story, I wish that story had been made. It offered a less cheerful ending and one that didn't allow for a magical cure for the miner's problems. Also, for a society this ingrained with such class inequity, it seems strange that the few representatives we see go from accepting the first status quo to accepting that change must occur. This is especially true of Droxine, who goes from an elitist snob to saying she's headed down to the mines to dig some zenite herself. Of course, this could be to impress Spock and she'll change her tune the minute he leaves.

At least the message behind the story isn't as simplistic as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" and the script tries to delve into the history and development of the prejudice on display here. It's also interesting to see Plasus threaten to call up Starfleet and "tell on" Kirk here. But it also brings up an interesting question of just how this social situation slipped past the Starfleet evaluation team. Was this overlooked because the planet is the only source of zenite? If this were a modern Trek, it's easy to imagine Picard looking into the Federation's motivations as well and to see what this might reveal.

And while Kirk does offer to come back and mediate between the two sides, I get the impression that this doesn't happen. Hopefully he called Starfleet up to send out a skilled negotiator for when both sides do sit down to talk. Just accepting the facts behind the prejudice doesn't suddenly mean both sides will see eye to eye around the negotiating table. It's one of those cases where the budget cuts only allow us to see one representative from each side of the conflict and I have to wonder how many other Stratos dwellers and miners are going to be so quick to go along with the changes that Plasus and Vanna have undertaken at episode's end.

It almost calls for a follow-up novel in the Pocket Books line of novels. Notice how I say almost here.

Again, it's not terrible Trek, but it's not great Trek either. There are some ideas in here, but they're not as developed as they could be.

Labels: ,



posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/02/2010 01:13:00 PM | |
Comments: Post a Comment
Widget_logo


Follow me on Twitter!




    Follow me on Twitter!

    www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from bigorangemichael. Make your own badge here.

    Recent Comments
    Awards


    Best Middle Tennessee Blogs



    Web Sites I Visit
    CrossWalk.com
    Daily News Journal
    Doctor Who News
    Go Vols
    Go Titans
    The Tennessean
    The Tennessean's Titans Coverage
    Trek Today
    TV Guide On-Line
    Washington Post Redskins Coverage
    USA Today

    2007 Team Schedules
    Tennessee Vols
    Tennessee Titans
    Washington Redskins

    Favorite Authors on the Web
    Orson Scott Card
    Peter David's Blog
    Keith R.A. DeCandido's Blog
    Neil Gaiman
    Elizabeth George
    Philip Gulley
    Stephen King
    Donald Miller
    Lisa Samson's Blog
    Robert Whitlow

    Musical Links
    Carolyn Arends
    Sherrie Austin
    Cherryholmes
    Lee Domann
    Dust And Ashes
    Fleming & John
    Sara Groves
    Jennifer Knapp
    Jars of Clay
    Carolyn Dawn Johnson
    Cindy Morgan
    The Monkees
    Nickel Creek
    Nothin' Fancy
    Rebecca St. JamesRay Stevens
    Steep Canyon Rangers
    Williams and Clark Expedition
    Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
    Jaci Velasquez

    Blogging Links

    Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on Blogwise
    << ? Blogaholics Anonymous # >>

    My Blog Chalk

    Michael/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Tennessee/Smyrna, speaks English. Eye color is brown. I am in shape. I am also creative. My interests are Reading/Swimming laps.
    This is my blogchalk:
    United States, Tennessee, Smyrna, English, Michael, Male, 31-35, Reading, Swimming laps.



    You Are Visitor

    Free Web Counter


    Looking For Something Specific?
    Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

    Site search Web search


    Blogskins
    Powered by Blogger