That’s right! I finally got to the tribbles!
I don’t believe I have properly articulated that “The Trouble with Tribbles” is the episode I’ve been looking forward to since I began watching Star Trek: The Original Series. Hanna and Clarice told me about tribbles. There was a tribble in Star Trek Into Darkness (which isn’t the best example…but still). Basically: I’ve heard A LOT about tribbles. And, you know? They absolutely live up to the hype. Tribbles are amazing and “The Trouble with Tribbles” is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favorite episodes of TOS so far, up there with “Space Seed” and “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Unlike the other two, it’s not serious or dramatic. No, it’s ridiculous and slapstick and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
Last month, I set a goal for myself in regards to my Trekification. I said I would finish season one of TOS and season four of Star Trek: The Next Generation and make as much progress into the fifth season as I could. And I mostly succeeded! Obviously, if I reached the tribbles I not only finished TOS season one, but blasted to over halfway through the second season as well. And while I did not make significant inroads into TNG season five, I did finish season four and watched the first episode of season five, completing the two parter “Redemption”.
Beyond “The Trouble with Tribbles”, TOS continues to be wonderful and campy while still managing to hit surprisingly serious notes. I’m continually amused by the frequency of rips in Captain Kirk’s shirt during fights and the utter ridiculousness of the fight choreography itself. And yet. The show still manages to hit such dark and morally complex endings like the one seen in “The City on the Edge of Forever” (prominently featuring the character of Edith Keeler as played by Joan Collins). TOS manages to combine these seemingly incompatible elements and balance them both within episodes and within the larger structure of seasons. It’s a remarkable achievement, especially considering some the episodes revolve around things like Vulcans being super horny (Pon farr) or little balls of fluff that destroy by having lots and lots and lots of babies. Does TOS still have its issues? Absolutely. So much of this show has to be viewed with an eye towards the context of the time in which it was made. But damn, it makes good watching.
But what about TNG, you ask?
Well, TNG just keeps getting better and better. Season four was fantastic from start to finish. From Lore’s return in “Brothers” to the introduction of the Cardassians to Denise Crosby’s returning to the show as Sela in the season finale it’s firing on every single cylinder. Highlights of the season include the introduction of the Trill in “The Host” (helped significantly by a generous role for Dr. Crusher), “Qpid” (because who the hell doesn’t want Q plus the Enterprise crew in Sherwood Forest as Robin Hood and his merry men I ask you?!) and “The Drumhead” (which features Jean Simmons as the terrifying Norah Satie). While these are certainly the episodes that have stuck with me I don’t believe there was a single one in season four I actively disliked as a whole. For instance, I was cross with “Galaxy’s Child” for Geordi’s out of character pushy, presumptive and creepy demeanor but the conflict around that plot line, with the Enterprise crew working to save the unborn child of an immense spacefaring alien, was fascinating.
With season four being so good overall I am ridiculously excited for what season five has in store!
And now! The tally!
Original Pilot: “The Cage” COMPLETE!
Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1. Season 2 (episodes 1-15)
Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 1. Season 2. COMPLETE!
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1. Season 2. Season 3. Season 4. Season 5 (Episode 1)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Pilot
Star Trek: Voyager: Pilot
Movies (TOS): Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Star Trek IV: Voyage Home. Star Trek V: Final Frontier. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. COMPLETE!
Movies (TNG): Star Trek Generations. Star Trek: First Contact. Star Trek: Insurrection.
Movies (Reboot): Star Trek. Star Trek Into Darkness. Star Trek Beyond. COMPLETE (for now…)!
I will be back at the end of September for another update on the progress of my Trekification! As I did for this month, I’m setting myself some goals. Firstly, I want to finish the second season on TOS. Secondly, I want to finish season five of TNG. There’s no thirdly because one and two constitute thirty-six episodes between them and that is PLENTY of Star Trek for one month! If you want to keep track of my progress I tweet throughout the month @colehcampbell with #Trekification. Follow along!