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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 15 December 2016 at 6:05pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply


50 years ago tonight (12/15/66), and the last regular episode before the Christmas break:

BALANCE OF TERROR

One of the all-time TREK classics!


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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 December 2016 at 6:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It's amazing the degree to which the basic metaphor of "Balance of Terror" has been lost over the years. As a not-too-bright 16 year old it was obvious to me that Romulus and Remus represented North and South Vietnam, with the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in this case being around the combatants instead of between them.

Now, time to pop in the DVD!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 December 2016 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Which I did.

So much to take away from this episode.

Still early days in setting up the standard tropes. I love how the lights dim when the "phasers" fire. Wish that hadn't been forgotten.

The "chain of command" to "phaser control" is not such a great idea, though. Three orders to fire? Hope we're not in, you know, a life or death situation!

This episode must have used up the whole season's quota for tight closeups!

The primitive nature of the space battles one century earlier underscores the original notion that TOS was two, not three hundred years hence.

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 15 December 2016 at 9:05pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Yep, that's my #1!

A popular "cold war" phrase  and with spy allegations to go with it.
Blu Ray warming up.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 December 2016 at 11:12pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"Balance of Terror" is easily in my Top Ten!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 December 2016 at 8:44am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Mine, too, despite it being little more than a WW2 style cruiser/submarine chase. Most of the problems of the episode, in fact, spring from this - the script is not able to escape its origins, and all the tropes of such stories are trotted out one after another. Dumping debris and a body to fool the enemy -- something that really works only if these objects are expected to float to the surface where the pursuing ship will see them. Matching the other ship's moves, so as to seem an "echo" -- with sonar, maybe. With the kinds of scanners the Enterprise has? Heck, Kirk even has a line about staying alert in case the Romulan ship tries to go UNDER them!!

The whole episode is taut, claustrophobic and exciting, with some great character interactions (tho, again, that casual racism that would become a go-to "bit") and, in the best TOS tradition, guest stars who are at least as well defined as the main characters.

Watching the episode last night, I found myself "adapting" it in my head, allowing myself to tweak the few shortcomings. Easy enough, with no major overhauls needed. Photon torpedoes instead of "phasers". Maybe a nebula instead of a "comet". (Did no one on the show know how comets work?) The nuclear bomb exploding "one hundred meters" (300 feet) away. I know the Enterprise is tough, but....*

The most insurmountable little glitch, of course, is Kirk officiating at the wedding. A popular misconception that ship's captains can universally perform such duties, while in fact they can only if specially qualified to do so.

___________________

* We see here something quite common for the time: the treatment of nukes as if they are just REALLY POWERFUL conventional weapons.

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 16 December 2016 at 11:26am | IP Logged | 7 post reply


My only real gripe with "Balance of Terror" are the performances from Angela & Tomlinson... they stick out a little too broadly, when compared to the leads, Mark Lenard as the Romulan commander, and Paul Comi as Stiles (who, sadly, passed away just this past August).


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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 December 2016 at 11:35am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

...passed away just this past August.

Fifty years will do that!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 December 2016 at 7:40am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Last night I watched THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER again. So very similar in so many way to "Balance of Terror". As noted, the latter really is little more than a sub chase in structure, and the movie underscored this, as do dozens of similar movies.

(Once again I was reminded of a particularly indolent fanboy who approached my table at a MidOhioCon, and took the opportunity to tell me he was so bored with the whole world and longed for the adventure of something like STAR TREK. He weighed about 400 pounds, so I couldn't actually see him slipping into a Star Fleet uniform, but I said "Join the Navy and volunteer for sub duty. Closest any of us will ever get.")

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 19 December 2016 at 8:44am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Last night I watched THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER again

**********

I actually started reading this last week.

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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 20 December 2016 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Brian M., you're in for a GREAT read! The movie isn't bad... but the book is absolutely dynamite. Bring something to drink when you sit down... you may not want to stop!

Mr. Byrne - I sympathize with you. Strange how some of those people who are bored don't see any alternatives - despite the world being full of opportunity to help others and be a hero, in any degree. Probably easier to just complain...
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 29 December 2016 at 12:09pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply


Tonight:

SHORE LEAVE

Is it a Top 10 Season One classic? Maybe not, but it's darned entertaining, and I have very fond memories of seeing this a couple times in syndication as a kid... the "death" of McCoy was pretty tough to watch, when you're only 7 or 8!

And as an adult: Yeoman Barrows... oh my.



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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 December 2016 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Why is it NOT a "top ten season one classic"?
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 29 December 2016 at 2:00pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply


Oh, it's enjoyable (maybe #11 for me?)... I just feel it's a little on the slight side, and those fisticuffs with Finnegan go on for too long.

(And as much as have no real problem with Yeoman Barrows, it's a shame Grace Lee Whitney wasn't able to put in another appearance as Janice Rand in this episode.)

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 30 December 2016 at 11:14pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I just read in These Are the Voyages that the actor who played Finnegan was also a nameless crew background guy in Corbomite Maneuver.  Does anyone know what scenes he shows up in when viewing Corbomite Maneuver?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 2:15am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Offhand, I'd say probably when Kirk is addressing the crew via intercom, and/or when the ship and crew are violently shaking at various points. I'd have to pop in the episode to check.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 6:17am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Bruce "Finnegan" Mars also appears as one of the cops accidentally beamed aboard in "Assignment: Earth".
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 6:28am | IP Logged | 18 post reply


 QUOTE:
And as an adult: Yeoman Barrows... oh my.

I googled her image to refresh my memory. There sure are some strange Star Trek "fans" out there. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 31 December 2016 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 19 post reply


(Moderate SafeSearch as default, Neil... if you want to keep any shred of respect for humanity!)


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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 10 January 2017 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Hello all,

I wanted to show you all the latest addition to my Star Trek collection, a Romulan 23th Century Bird-of-Prey by Diamond Select/Art Asylum.
However I did not know what thread would be the most appropriate for this and I did not want to open a new one just to show some pictures.

Well this thread has to do with Star Trek's fiftieth anniversary, and the release of this toy/model is apparently part of the celebration on the part of the toy manufacturer.









Sorry for the rather blurred and unsteady image. Despite my best attempts my hands probably still shake. I also could not reduce the exposure time on this camera. (it is a rather cheap model)
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