content by

Keith DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Written by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer (uncredited)
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Release date: June 4, 1982
Stardate: 8130.3

Captain’s log. Lieutenant Saavik gives a captain’s log, saying the Enterprise is on a training mission to the Gamma Hydra sector near the Neutral Zone between Federation and Klingon space. They receive a distress call from the Kobayashi Maru, which is dead in space after hitting a gravitic mine. They’re in the Neutral Zone, and if the Enterprise moves to rescue them, they’ll be in violation of treaty.

Saavik orders Commander Sulu to go in anyhow. As soon as they are in the Zone, three Klingon attack cruisers show up and surround them. They’re jamming all communications, and the signal from the Maru has gone dead. Sulu tries to evade them, but the Klingons fire on them. Sulu, Commander Uhura, Dr. McCoy, and Captain Spock are all killed, and the ship is damaged beyond repair. Saavik orders all hands to abandon ship.

[Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young, Doctor…]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Written by Alan Dean Foster and Harold Livingston
Directed by Robert Wise
Release date: December 7, 1979
Stardate: 7410.2

Captain’s log. Three Klingon ships approach a weird blue swirly thing. The Klingon captain orders torpedoes to be fired into the swirly thing, but they are ineffective, and the captain then orders evasive maneuvers. The swirly thing responds by vaporizing each Klingon ship, one by one.

Federation Station Epsilon 9 monitors the destruction of the Klingon ships, and also plots the swirly thing’s course: it’s en route directly to Earth.

[Wrong, Mr. Chekov! There are casualties: my wits! As in, frightened out of, Captain, sir!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Animated Series Overview

Star Trek Animated Series
Original air dates: September 1973 – October 1974
Executive Producers: Lou Scheimer & Norm Prescott

Captain’s log. With Star Trek continuing to be popular in reruns, and with James Blish‘s adaptations of the live-action episodes proving very popular in prose (with Blish also commissioned to write an original novel Spock Must Die! which would be the first of several published by Bantam throughout the 1970s), Filmation picked up the rights to do new Trek in animation.

Unlike most of Filmation’s other efforts, the show was deliberately produced as being more adult—still watchable by kids, of course, like the stuff airing around it on Saturday morning, but also something to be enjoyed by the same adults who watched the live-action series several years previous. To that end, both D.C. Fontana and creator Gene Roddenberry were heavily involved in the development of the show. Most of the show’s writers were either veterans of the live-action series (Samuel A. Peeples, Margaret Armen, David Gerrold, Stephen Kandel, Paul Schneider, David P. Harmon, and Fontana herself) or new writers who still had strong knowledge of the franchise (Marc Daniels, Walter Koenig, Howard Weinstein, and “John Culver,” a.k.a. Fred Bronson), plus maintaining the live-action series’ tradition of bringing in science fiction writers (Larry Niven). The show also did many sequels and continuations of live-action episodes.

[That is an outstandingly stupid idea!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! Aftermath and Overview

The Bat-signal: The first season of Batman was the hottest thing since sliced bread, and prompted both a feature film and half of Hollywood wanting to get in on the fun. However, as the second season plodded onward, the novelty had worn off and the audience had moved on to other things. Folks like Vincent Price and Otto Preminger and the like all came in to jump on the bandwagon, but by the time they arrived, the wagon had left town.

By the third season, the producers at once took steps to try to shore up what audience remained, yet also made it clear that they had stopped giving a horse’s patoot. The former was addressed by adding Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl to the main cast; the latter, sadly, sabotaged Craig’s presence, as the budget was razed, presenting a show that was very obviously being done on the cheap and by producers who had stopped caring.

[To the batpoles!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Counter-Clock Incident”

“The Counter-Clock Incident”
Written by John Culver
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 6
Production episode 22023
Original air date: October 12, 1974
Stardate: 6770.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is ferrying her first captain, Commodore Robert April, and his wife, Dr. Sarah Poole April, a pioneer in space medicine, to Babel for their retirement ceremony. As they pass by the Beta Niobe supernova, Spock detects a ship travelling at warp 36. It’s on a collision course with the supernova, but they don’t respond to hails. After Sulu puts a tractor beam on them, they make contact with the ship’s sole occupant, but only long enough to say she must continue on course or she’s doomed. (She’s also speaking backwards.)

[No matter where I’ve traveled in the galaxy, Jim, this bridge is more like home than anywhere else.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth”

“How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth”
Written by Russell Bates & David Wise
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 5
Production episode 22022
Original air date: October 5, 1974
Stardate: 6063.4

Captain’s log. A probe scanned Earth and then self-destructed. It left a disruption trail that the Enterprise can track, and they do so, eventually finding a ship on the same course as the probe. The ship is twice the size of the Enterprise, it’s surrounded by a huge energy field, and it’s made of crystalline ceramic. The alien ship surrounds the Enterprise with a force globe that traps them, even though they were travelling at warp when they were surrounded by it.

The ship then hits the Enterprise with some kind of beam. Kirk orders phasers to be fired, which stops the beam from hitting them, but they’re still trapped and still being probed.

[This city is one gigantic riddle….]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Albatross”

Written by Dario Finelli
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 4
Production episode 22019
Original air date: September 28, 1974
Stardate: 5275.6

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has just delivered medical supplies to the planet Dramia. Just as the landing party is about to beam up, though, the Supreme Prefect’s aide Demos issues a warrant for McCoy’s arrest. He is accused of being responsible for a plague that ravaged Dramia II nineteen years ago. McCoy was part of an inoculation program, and shortly after the program concluded, a plague wiped out hundreds.

Spock investigates, but records from the era are spotty. However, Vulcans are immune to the plague in question. Kirk takes the Enterprise to Dramia II. Demos follows, and Kirk permits him to sneak on board. Kirk then impounds Demos’s ship, since he stowed away. They’re too far from Federation space for instant subspace communication and Demos is now trapped on the Enterprise, so he can’t travel to a starbase to report Kirk’s investigating out of his jurisdiction.

[“Plague? Why didn’t you tell me?” “You wouldn’t give me a chance.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Practical Joker”

“The Practical Joker”
Written by Chuck Menville
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 3
Production episode 22021
Original air date: September 21, 1974
Stardate: 3183.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is finishing its asteroid mapping expedition 72 hours ahead of schedule. As they approach the last asteroid, they’re ambushed by three Romulan ships. The Romulan commander insists that the Enterprise violated the Romulan border, which Kirk denies.

Sulu detects an energy field—one not on Spock’s charts—and Kirk has him fly through it in the hopes of losing the Romulans, at which it succeeds.

[When I get my hands on the clown who’s behind all this, I’ll put him in sickbay for a week!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”

“The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 25
Production code 1722
Original air date: March 7, 1968

The Bat-signal: It’s midday at the Gotham City Alchemical Bank & Trust Company which, according to the sign on the door, is “A financial institution so conservative it pays no interest at all.” Okay then.

Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and her husband Cabala swallow their invisibility pills and proceed to invisibly rob the bank, so it appears only that a bag of money is floating out of the bank. Gordon is informed of the robbery, but before he can call Batman, Cassandra and Cabala enter the office, still invisible and, after subduing Gordon and O’Hara, call Batman. Cassandra taunts him and assures him that he won’t be able to stop her from entrancing the city.

[This is the kickiest weapon you’ve ever dug, Batman.]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Bem”

Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 2
Production episode 22018
Original air date: September 14, 1974
Stardate: 7403.6

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has taken on Ari bn Bem, a representative from a recently contacted species, as a passenger. He will be observing Starfleet’s exploration and first-contact protocols in action.

Delta Theta III is a planet with some aboriginal life forms. Kirk’s mission is to plant monitoring devices without the locals seeing them. Bem—who has spent the last six missions in his quarters, not noticeably observing much of anything—volunteers to go on this landing party. Kirk is reluctant, but Bem insists, and he beams down along with Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Sulu.

[Sir, this one does not demean oneself by the use of casual violence to accomplish goals. But you may demean yourself if you wish..]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Joker’s Flying Saucer”

“The Joker’s Flying Saucer”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 24
Production code 1720
Original air date: February 29, 1968

The Bat-signal: The citizenry of Gotham City is convinced that there will be an alien invasion, despite assurances by Gordon to the contrary. Professor Greenleaf is trying to convince Barbara (who’s actually working in the library!) that humanity should submit to their new alien overlords. While Barbara doesn’t buy Greenleaf’s story, she does see a green-skinned and -haired man vandalizing the library.

Faced by near-harassment from the people of Gotham, Gordon does the same thing he always does when required to do his job: he calls Batman. The Dynamic Duo slide down the poles and drive to GCPD HQ.

[I’ve thrilled many a woman, Batgirl, but I’ve never sent one into orbit before!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

An Action Hero without Action or Heroism: Iron Fist Season One

After watching the first three episodes of Iron Fist, my initial impressions were that Finn Jones was engaging and mostly harmless in the title role, that Colleen Wing as played by Jessica Henwick was a breakout character with whom you do not mess, and that the show started out as an unfocused mess.

Well, ten episodes later, and the first two impressions are soured, and the third has held true, sadly.

This is not to say that season one of Iron Fist is a complete disaster, but it is the least of Marvel’s Netflix offerings so far, and there are three primary culprits—the treatment of the lead character is a scattershot mess, the show can’t make up its mind who the villain is, and there’s very little fun to be had.

[THERE BE SPOILERS HERE for season one of Iron Fist!]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Pirates of Orion”

“The Pirates of Orion”
Written by Howard Weinstein
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 22020
Original air date: September 7, 1974
Stardate: 6334.1

Captain’s log. There’s been an outbreak of choriocytosis on the Enterprise, but McCoy has it under control, so the ship can still fulfill its mission to attend the dedication ceremony for a new Academy of Sciences on Deneb V. However, Spock collapses on the bridge and is taken to sickbay. He’s contracted choriocytosis, and it’s fatal to beings with copper-based blood.

The nearest supply of the only drug that can cure him is four days away, but Spock will only live for three. (Why the Enterprise didn’t stock up on the drug when the outbreak first occurred is left as an exercise for the viewer.) However, Kirk is able to arrange a delivery—the Potemkin is able to obtain the drug, they’ll transfer it to the Freighter Huron, which will deliver it to the Enterprise. Spock is put on restricted duty.

[We get what we want, plus our neutrality remains intact?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle”

“I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 23
Production code 1725
Original air date: February 22, 1968

The Bat-signal: King Tut is being treated at the Mount Ararat Psychiartric Hospital. Tut has gone on and on and on and on about his problems for so long that his shrink falls asleep, giving Tut the opportunity to make his escape. He immediately hits the Rosetta Stone Company (according to their sign, they are manufacturers of cornerstones, curbstones, cobblestones, and milestones) and steals $47,000.

[“Why me?” “Why not you?” “That’s logical.” “I’m nothing if not logical.”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!