Thu
Feb 18 2010 10:36am
Star Trek Re-Watch: “I, Mudd”

“I, Mudd”
Written by Stephen Kandel
Directed by Marc Daniels

Season 2, Episode 9
Production episode: 2x12
Original air date: November 3, 1967
Star date: 4513.3

Mission Summary:
A new crewmember, Norman, has come aboard the Enterprise, and he stiffly greets Doctor McCoy and Spock in the hallway. Bones has a bad feeling about him—and since he’s the emotional core of the show, so do we.

MCCOY: There’s something wrong about a man who never smiles, whose conversation never varies from the routine of the job, and who won’t talk about his background.
SPOCK: I see.
MCCOY: Spock, I mean that it’s odd for a non-Vulcan. The ears make all the difference.

Norman makes his way to Auxiliary Control, where he silently karate-chops the crewman there and inputs a new course direction. Sulu can’t override it, and Security can’t seem to find Norman, which is shocking considering he’s taller than even Nimoy and looks like a giant among elves. Norman makes his way to Engineering next, knocking out poor Mr. Scott and reconfiguring the matter-antimatter pods into a trigger relay (yada yada SCIENCE!) that will destroy the ship if they try and override it. He then heads to the bridge, where an angry Kirk demands to know who he is and where they’re now inexorably headed.

Norman says in stilted pauses that “we” require the Enterprise, and reveals a circuit panel on his abdomen, complete with blinking lights: he’s an android! He then crosses his arms and turns himself off for the duration of the flight.

They arrive at a previously uncharted K-class (adaptable for humans) planet, and Captain Kirk, Uhura, Chekov, Spock and McCoy all beam down to the android’s leader. Seated atop a throne is none other than Harcourt Fenton Mudd, aka Harry Mudd, the memorable rascal from “Mudd’s Women.” He declares that he is Mudd I of the planet Mudd, and he is surrounded by many beautiful, and identical, android women.

Mudd is absolutely delighted by Kirk’s arrival, but Kirk is baffled—the last time we saw Mudd he was in custody on the mining planet Rigel. Mudd explains that he escaped from prison, and was able to illegally trade and sell intellectual property to a host of other civilizations, while not paying royalties to the actual owners of said technology. The people of Deneb V caught him and arrested him.

MUDD: Do know what the penalty for fraud is on Deneb V?
SPOCK: The guilty party has his choice. Death by electrocution, death by gas, death by phaser, death by hanging—
MUDD: The key word in your entire peroration, Mister Spock, was, death. Barbarians. Well, of course, I left.
KIRK: He broke jail.
MUDD: I borrowed transportation.
KIRK: He stole a spaceship.
MUDD: The patrol reacted in a hostile manner.
KIRK: They fired at him.
MUDD: They’ve no respect for private property. They damaged the bloody spaceship. Well, I got away, but I couldn’t navigate, so I wandered out through unmapped space, and here I found Mudd.

There are 200,000 androids on the planet, and delighted with humans, they’ve chosen to study him. But Mudd has become bored and restless and made a deal: they would let him leave if he replaced himself with more humans for study. Mudd plans to take over the Enterprise, and leave the ship’s crew on the planet Mudd for all eternity.

Before he retires to his own luxurious quarters, he shows Kirk and the others his favorite android. Behind a curtain in an alcove is a stern, severe-looking woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Bride of Frankenstein. Mudd reveals this to be his wife Stella. He activates her and she immediately harangues him in her best shrewish, ball-busting manner. (Stella Mudd in many ways prefigures Keiko O’Brien.) This Stella is an android, of course, so Mudd tells her to shut up and she does, presumably unlike the real Stella. “Marvellous, isn’t it?” he says to Kirk. “I finally have the last word with her, and with you.” Haha, get it, wives are ball-busting shrews! It’s funny! Groan.

The androids escort the Enterprise crew to a lounge area, where they tell us that they were created by The Makers, humanoids in the Andromeda galaxy who created machines which “freed [them] to evolve a more perfect social order.” But when the planet’s sun went nova (this seems to happen all the time in Trek—SCIENCE!), all the Makers eventually died, leaving the robots purposeless. They have become loyal to Mudd, for reasons that are unexplained and probably best left that way. In an attempt to please him they beamed aboard the Enterprise to take over the ship. All remaining crew have been beamed to the surface, doomed to the same fate as Kirk and his crew.

The androids are exceptionally advanced, and they will do anything at all to please Kirk and his friends, who are set to replace Mudd. One android explains that a brain can be placed within an android’s body, preserving the personality and character while bestowing immortality and eternal beauty—an appealing option to Lt. Uhura. McCoy discovers a scientific lab more sophisticated than anything he’s ever seen before, and excitedly ponders the breakthroughs he could have in a place like that. Mr. Scott, of course, gets a workshop to die for, and Chekov gets some hot android ladies (why Chekov gets all the tail in this show is utterly beyond my comprehension). It’s meant to be a paradise.

But like all paradises in the Star Trek universe, man cannot live in a world where he “can have everything [he wants] just by asking for it.”* Kirk continues to insist that he and his men are deeply unhappy because their wants are not fulfilled: they want the Enterprise.

ALICE 471: The Enterprise is not a want or a desire. It is a mechanical device.
KIRK: No, it’s a beautiful lady, and we love her.
ALICE 471: Illogical. Illogical. All units relate. All units. Norman, co-ordinate. Unhappiness does not relate. We must study this.

Kirk and the others take note: they depend on logic, and cannot operate coherently without it.

Meanwhile, Mudd has packed his bags and is waiting to be beamed aboard the Enterprise, ready to swindle another day. But not so fast: Alice 2 refuses to take his bags aboard the ship. Norman and the androids have made other plans:

NORMAN: We cannot allow any race as greedy and corruptible as yours to have free run of the galaxy.
SPOCK: I'm curious, Norman. Just how do you intend to stop them?
NORMAN: We shall serve them. Their kind will be eager to accept our service. Soon they will become completely dependent upon us.
ALICE 99: Their aggressive and acquisitive instincts will be under our control.
NORMAN: We shall take care of them.
SPOCK: Eminently practical.
KIRK: The whole galaxy controlled by your kind?
NORMAN: Yes, Captain. And we shall serve them and you will be happy, and controlled.

Why does everything always comes back to world universe domination? You’d think androids would have more sophisticated goals...

No worries, our intrepid heroes won’t let that happen without a fight. Mudd, now stuck on the planet he had so desperately hoped to escape from, is willing to help them. But they don’t quite forgive his initial stunt so McCoy hyposprays him and Mudd falls into Kirk’s arms, unconscious.

One of the Alice models arrives and Kirk insists that they all go to the Enterprise to get Harry the life-saving medical equipment he needs. The Alice is skeptical, and suddenly Uhura bursts out that it’s a trick.

KIRK: Uhura, why did you tell her?
UHURA: Because I want an android body. I want immortality. I’ll live forever, Captain. I’ll be young and beautiful.

Of course it was that that was the trick, and now that the androids believe the escape attempt has been made, they have free rein to carry out their real plan: a night of theater! Get the popcorn, this is worth it.

Back in the lounge area Kirk pages the Alice models again, requesting “your attention.” Mr. Scott and McCoy enter the area, and start playing the early equivalent of the air guitar—an imaginary flute and fiddle—as Chekov and Uhura waltz around the area.

ALICE 2: What are they doing?
KIRK: They’re celebrating.
ALICE 118: What are they celebrating?
KIRK: Their captivity. Do you enjoy the music?
ALICE 118: Music?
ALICE 2: Music?

Music? Chekov thanks Uhura for the dance, and then she slaps him, “because she likes him,” Kirk explains.** Kirk then tells Chekov to get up off the floor and stand absolutely still, as an officer. He bursts into dance! The androids seem to flatline from the illogical behavior and fall over, inactive. Not community theater fans, I guess.

Meanwhile, Spock is putting the moves on two more Alices. He attempts to neck pinch one, but of course that doesn’t work.

ALICE 210: Is there some significance to this action?
SPOCK: I love you. (To the other Alice) However, I hate you.
ALICE 210: But I’m identical in every way with Alice 27.
SPOCK: Yes, of course. That is exactly why I hate you. Because you are identical.

The androids flatline, baffled (and possibly heartbroken).

The crew reconvenes and sets its sights on the real threat here: Norman. If they can out-logic him (and they can—this is Kirk, after all) they can take down the entire robot network. They confront Norman and in a series of hilarious and brilliant moves, utterly baffle the poor robot. First Mr. Scott and Mr. McCoy lament in monotones that happiness is suffering, and that pleasure is pain:

MCCOY: Suffering, in torment and pain. Labouring without end.
SCOTT: Dying and crying and lamenting over our burdens.
BOTH: Only this way can we be happy.

I guess Livejournal doesn’t survive until the 23rd century because Norman has never heard anything like this before! He asks Mr. Spock to explain, and Mr. Spock says “Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad. Are you sure your circuits are registering correctly? Your ears are green.”

Then the entire crew turns on Mr. Scott, who dramatically says a farewell before they all pretend to shoot him with their phasers. “Scotty’s dead. He had too much happiness,” Kirk says, and they all burst out laughing. They then pretend to unwrap an explosive device (“Invisible Bomb!”).

And finally, Mudd unleashes the Liar’s Paradox at him:

NORMAN: But there was no explosion.
MUDD: I lied.
NORMAN: What?
KIRK: He lied. Everything Harry tells you is a lie. Remember that. Everything Harry tells you is a lie.
MUDD: Listen to this carefully, Norman. I am lying.
NORMAN: You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie. You lie. You tell the truth. But you cannot for. Illogical! Illogical! Please explain.

Then his head smokes and he deactivates.

In the end, Mr. Mudd gets a reprieve from jail—sort of. Since the planet (presumably no longer called Mudd) still needs to be developed into a livable habitat, Mudd will remain there to “assist,” by providing a negative example of humanity to the androids. Angry at first, Mudd decides that a planet full of gorgeous, obedient women probably isn’t the worst thing that could happen to him.

But Kirk is smirking. They’ve created a special android to take care of Mudd. Stella emerges from her alcove to harass Harry, and this time when he tells her to shut up she just carries on. Another Stella enters, and another—and we see around her neck is 500, indicating that 500 models of his loathsome wife will be his company on the planet in the years to come.

MUDD: Kirk! It's inhuman! Mercy!
KIRK: Goodbye, Harry. Have fun.

* I think I could live with it.
**This is a lie, no matter what your parents told you about that kid teasing you in grade school!

 

Analysis:
Easily the best comic episode so far, “I, Mudd” was a total joy to watch. Harry Mudd redeemed himself in my eyes—I like him much better as a dirty-minded scoundrel than I did as a peddler of women. Roger C. Carmel has impeccable comic timing, and Mudd’s verbal sparring with Captain Kirk is priceless. Kirk “translating” Mudd’s lies literally made me laugh out loud. The plot, unfortunately, gave me déjà vu. We’ve seen Kirk outthink a computer (or something like it) three times already: “What are Little Girls Made Of?”, “The Return of the Archons,” and “The Changeling.” And we’ve barely begun season 2!

“I, Mudd” is most likely a reference to two books: Asimov’s iconic series of short stories, I, Robot, and Robert Graves’ epic series of novels, I, Claudius. The first reference should be obvious: I mean, come on, androids—but I think there’s more than a touch of I, Claudius in here. The I, Claudius books deal significantly with the promise and problems of liberty, an idea that is shown as at odds with order, stability, and peace. The androids of the planet Mudd eventually come to the same conclusion, and feel that mankind must be controlled for the sake of order.

Again I see hints of the influence that the original series had on the later incarnations. When Norman is on the bridge and tries, inelegantly, to say “please,” it felt like a line right from Data in Next Generation. The female androids trying desperately to make sense of what Kirk and his crew are doing reminded me strongly of all the moments in which Data struggles to understand the illogical and absurd side of the human race. On the darker side of the coin, Norman’s repeated use of the word “we” and the obvious connectivity among all the androids in one great chain felt like glimmers of the Borg. These androids, too, lack any independent thought or identity. Very creepy.

Like in “The Menagerie,” the humans are able to escape by distinguishing themselves as creative souls who survive on the “nourishments of liberty.” If that isn’t poetry enough, Mr. Scott and Dr. McCoy are attracted to the place because the pleasure it offers is an intellectual one: the promise that they may be curious and resourceful and innovative. Creative. The androids explain that after their Makers died they lost a sense of purpose. Scotty and Bones have that sense of purpose, and that’s what drives them, and that’s the humanity the androids will never understand or possess.

A fun, smart, and very funny episode. Alas, it’s too derivative of several previous episodes to merit a better rating.

Torie’s Rating: Warp Factor 4 (on a scale of 1-6)

Eugene Myers: Given the title and premise, “I, Mudd” is apparently a play on Isaac Asimov’s robot stories, which explore humanity’s uneasy relationship with their mechanical servants. I had some apprehension over Harry Mudd’s second appearance in Star Trek, since “Mudd’s Women” was such a disaster, but I shouldn’t have worried because here he is the humorous character I remember fondly. Watching Kirk deal with the incorrigible conman is a delight, even more so since Mudd receives an appropriate punishment for his crimes.

Though the episode touches on some serious subjects, this is definitely a comedy, allowing the characters to have fun with their roles. The light treatment saves this from being just another story in which Kirk outwits a computer intelligence, in this case, by bombarding it with illogical behavior. The idea of paradise is also invoked again, but in a different way, by offering each member of the crew what they most desire.

Because there’s only the barest suggestion of a plot, there isn’t much more to say about the episode; as meaningful as Star Trek stories can be, sometimes it’s enough just to be entertained. I also appreciated the acknowledgment that Chekov wasn’t on the ship when they first encountered Mudd, since the young ensign asks the captain if they know him. And I also got a big kick out of the zany architecture on the planet.

Eugene’s Rating: Warp Factor 4

Best Line:  KIRK: So far this thing has had its amusing aspects, but that threat the androids made about taking over all the humans in the galaxy is not very funny.

Syndication Edits:  In the opening scene, Spock’s jibe that Norman probably hasn’t shown up for his physical because of McCoy’s “beads and rattles”; Spock’s arrival on the bridge and Sulu’s attempt to stop Norman; Norman making adjustments in Engineering; Mudd’s quip to Kirk that he should address him as “Mudd the First”; Mudd waxing on about ruling the planet before his androids enter; Mudd waving to call the androids on his other side; Scotty looking delighted in the Engineering lab; McCoy’s report to Kirk on the physiological and psychological perfection of the androids; two fun lines by Mudd and McCoy: after Kirk says the androids are sharing their plot because they’re sure they can’t be stopped, Mudd says “You're so smart, Kirk, you and this pointy-eared thinking machine of yours. Well, you'd better do something because I'm as anxious to get off this ruddy rock as you are,” and McCoy replies, “You wanted to leave us on this ruddy rock and leave by yourself.” “Oh, yes” Mudd sulks, remembering.

Trivia: The two Alices weren’t quite reading the same script: when they invite Kirk to check out the planet’s facilities, one says, “You are free to visit them,” while the other says, “You are free to use them.” Oops.

You won’t be seeing Sulu again for the next fourteen production episodes. He had taken the time off to film The Green Berets.

Other Notes: The androids are very real women, and are actually sets of twins. Hiring twins saved them their special effects budget. Simple but effective.

Another cute bit: in the credits one woman is Alice #1-250, while the other woman is Alice #251-500.


Next episode: Season 2, Episode 10 - “Metamorphosis.” US residents can watch it for free at the CBS website.

Check the Star Trek Re-Watch Index for a complete list of posts in this series.


Torie Atkinson entirely forgives Harcourt Fenton Mudd for his turn in the insulting “Mudd’s Women.” She is also thrilled to be back!

Eugene Myers is happy to continue the Star Trek Re-Watch. Everyone needs a sense of purpose.

33 comments
john mullen
1. johntheirishmongol
One of my fave eps, except for the wife, which I thought was cruel and unusual punishment. And wasn't there something said about Vulcans not being able to lie? Spock seems to manage it every other episode.
Mike Conley
2. NomadUK
Hot damn! Star Trek again! Life is good once more...
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
Glad to have you guys back.

I love this episode far more than it has any right to be loved. It's something of a guilty pleasure (I have a guiltier one coming up later in this season), but Torie actually managed to bring some depth out of it. I'm impressed.

Stella and the "humor" centered around her are a product of the time, though perhaps even a bit outdated even then. This was, after all, a time when a wife could be referred to humorously as "the old ball and chain" without repercussions. And I think Torie is being unduly hard on Keiko. I see nothing of Stella in her.
Mrs. Micah
4. MrsMicah
@johntheirishmongol maybe they can't, but since he's only half-Vulcan he's got plenty of human in him to lie with. I didn't watch any ENT and not enough VOY so I can't recall if the full-Vulcans ever lied. I suppose they could blame the humans--"bad company corrupts good morals" and all that.

I was just thinking about this episode earlier in the week. It was one of my faves when I was younger. Must rewatch! :)
Mike Conley
5. NomadUK
A fun episode, yes, thanks especially to the brilliant Roger C Carmel, departed lo these many years. Shatner, as noted, does a fine job sparring with this reprobate he thought he'd taken care of. The rest of the cast are in fine form, too.

I seem to remember thinking, even when I was a kid watching this episode, that it seemed pretty low-budget. The laboratories were a bit spartan, I thought, and the place hardly seemed luxurious. I did have a good time paying close attention to the female androids, of course, and I think I prefer the Alice series (the one featured most often) to the rest.

I also think they went to an awful lot of trouble to out-logic the androids. I mean, Kirk's had plenty of practice at this sort of thing, and has wiped out planet-controlling computers before. Why didn't he just go straight for Norman? Never quite understood that.

Next, let's be fair:

reconfiguring the matter-antimatter pods into a trigger relay (yada yada SCIENCE!)

I'm not sure that's exactly what he said; I seem to remember him saying something about having configured or installed a trigger relay in the antimatter pods, which seems perfectly reasonable, and doesn't come close to the moronic heights of NextGen technobabble. In any case, it would be 'yada yada ENGINEERING!', not science.

And

But when the planet’s sun went nova (this seems to happen all the time in Trek—SCIENCE!)

There are estimated to be about 40 novae a year in the Milky Way (now that's SCIENCE), so it's not an especially uncommon event, though certainly affecting a small portion of the 400 billion or so stars in our galaxy.

Regarding Stella: All in all, I think now, as then, there are good husbands and bad husbands, good wives and bad wives, and I don't see any reason that calling the bad ones something appropriate should be somehow considered dated. I also don't doubt for one second that there are men out there who view their wives just as Harry views Stella, and vice-versa. That having been said, I'm sure Harry and Stella were made for each other....
Torie Atkinson
6. Torie
@3 DemetriosX

I liked Keiko in TNG, but I've been watching DS9 and they turned her into this horrible nagging shrew whose entire purpose seems to be to harass Miles O'Brien into a state of constant misery. Not sure *why* they decided that, but it drives me up the wall.

@ 5 NomadUK

I think the low budget is half the joke. This is supposed to be a lush paradise where androids wait on you hand and foot and yet every room looks like a doctor's waiting room (with ridiculous colored lighting on the walls, of course).

What Norman said: "I have connected the matter-antimatter pods to the main navigational bank. A trigger relay is now in operation." It's not the kind of gobbledy-gook you hear in the later STs but every time I hear it I kind of hum along something or another to myself.

Re: novas, my astronomy is rusty, but I thought only white dwarfs went nova--and white dwarfs are too dense, dim, and cold to support a system full of humanoid life. Therefore the amusing frequency of life-supporting stars going nova makes me roll my eyes. Someone please correct me here, I'm definitely no scientist.

As far as Stella goes, she's a type that annoys me (see above re: Keiko), even if it was quite amusing in this episode. I enjoyed his comeuppance in the end regardless.
David Goldfarb
7. David_Goldfarb
Vulcans lie and bluff when it is logical to do so. A reputation for perfect honesty is useful to have, so cultivating one (whether true or not) is also logical.
David Levinson
8. DemetriosX
Torie @6: Keiko and O'Brien did have some problems during the run of DS9, but those tended to be part of longer story arcs. But it is true that he did become something of the series punching bag somewhere around season 4. In all fairness to Keiko, she did give up a rather prestigious position (ranking botanist on the premier ship in the fleet) to follow him to this rinky-dink station for his career.
jon meltzer
9. jmeltzer
Remember, this isn't the _real_ Stella. This is Harry's image of Stella, and he's far from being a reliable source.
Mike Conley
10. NomadUK
Torie@6: Indeed, white dwarfs do go nova, but they do so generally (maybe exclusively, I forget, and I'm too lazy to look it up) because they are part of a binary system, and they're sucking hydrogen off of the surface of their companion star. Said hydrogen accumulates on the surface of the white dwarf until it ignites, causing a nova explosion. At least, that's what I remember.

So, if there are a lot of inhabited planets around close binary systems (that's a big question, of course), one of which is a white dwarf, then, sure, novae can be bad news.

And I agree with you totally that Harry got what he deserved (though one can't help but feel just a wee bit sorry for him; after all, that's a pretty grim punishment).

This is such fun. Shame we're not all sitting around a table in a pub with good pints to hand.
Eugene Myers
11. ecmyers
@ 3 DemetriosX

Agreed! Great analysis, Torie. I was having too much fun with this episode to think about it too closely.

@ 9 jmeltzer

Excellent point on Stella being an exaggeration of Mudd's perception of her. It would be fun to see the real Stella in comparison. I mean, she's probably sweet and encouraging, but who would marry a guy like that? In O'Brien's case, I think he has a much more positive view of Keiko than the harsh reality.
Mitch Wagner
12. MitchWagner
I saw this episode when I was about 10 years old, which would have been 1971. I loved it. But even then, Stella seemed dated. Certainly, there are good marriages and bad ones, good husbands and wives and bad husbands and wives, but Stella seemed -- even then, even when I was 10 years old -- to be cartoony, dated, and not resembling any of the wives, *I* actually knew: My mother, and grandmothers, and aunts and friends' mothers' and friends of my parents.

I wasn't offended by the representation. I was only 10 years old. But I thought it was old-fashioned and dumb.

But now it occurs to me that's not really Stella. That's Mudd's picture of Stella, and it says more about him than her

@Torie 6: Welcome back! Loving this installment. I don't recall that transition in DS9, but I remember "Mad About You" did the same thing. The relationship between Paul and Jamie got mean, and the show was no fun. Can we all agree that if you call your show, "Mad About You?" it shouldn't be a show about people trapped in a loveless marriage?
Torie Atkinson
13. Torie
@ 7 David_Golfarb

Spoken like a true Vulcan.

@ 8 Demetrios_X

This is true. Every terrible thing possible in the universe happens to poor Miles, probably because he was one of the better actors on that series. But the worst of those terrible things is always Keiko.

There's an episode where she gets possessed by a wraith who threatens to kill Keiko, and the entire group I was watching it with went "YEAH WOOOOOOO!!!"

But that's for another Re-watch. :D

@9 jmeltzer

Ha!! That would be fabulous. I would love it if she showed up and turned out to be the sweetest thing you ever met.

@ 10 NomadUK

I wish! The internet's the next best thing, though.

@ 12 Mitch

That's pretty much how I feel. A stupid, cheap, and easy potshot joke.

I didn't watch enough of Mad About You to notice that, but ouch!
Mike Conley
14. NomadUK
Meltzer@9 & MitchWagner@12: I think you're be absolutely right about Stella; I never thought of it that way, but, clearly, that's the way it must be.

It's certainly preferable to the alternative, at any rate.
David Levinson
15. DemetriosX
That's a good point about the Stella-bot actually being a reflection of Mudd's memory and perception of her. Of course, she could still have been a terrible harridan. Try this: Looking to make a score, Harry Mudd woos heiress Stella. Unfortunately for both of them, things go too far and they wind up hitched. Harry blows her fortune on something stupid and, even worse, she comes from a culture where divorce is frowned upon or even illegal (a concept that was really already on the way out in 1967). She turns nasty, because she's stuck with this conman; he eventually beats a hasty retreat to the stars.

Torie @13, Colm Meany was one of the better actors (second, maybe third, but way behind Avery Brooks), but I'm not sure that's the reason. Garret Wang is nothing special as an actor, but Harry Kim had it even worse than Miles. And, really, the worse thing that happened to O'Brien was probably being trapped alone in his own head for the equivalent of 20 years or whatever it was. But, as you say, that's a different rewatch.
Torie Atkinson
16. Torie
@ 15 DemetriosX

I bet he conned her into marrying him, promised her a fortune on this little business partnership he had in mind...
Eugene Myers
17. ecmyers
@ 15 DemetriosX

I don't know... Avery Brooks is a fine actor, and I think he does an excellent job as Sisko--most of the time. But it took me a while to get used to him, and sometimes I think he goes overboard in angry mode. I cringe whenever he flares his nostrils and speaks in his halting...dramatic...voice! (Totally different from Shatner's, of course.)

And you're right--Harry Kim had a really rough time, didn't he? I've forgotten so much of Voyager, a re-watch is probably inevitable one day.

I think the worst thing that happened to O'Brien probably was dying a couple of times.
Eugene Myers
18. ecmyers
@ 16 Torie

As long as he didn't offer her magical beauty pills...
Torie Atkinson
19. Torie
@ 18 ecmyers

Offer? You mean spiked her coffee.
David Levinson
21. DemetriosX
Eugene @17, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on Avery Brooks. He's a damn fine actor. The only thing that comes close to his performance in "Far Beyond the Stars" is Patrick Stewart's in the torture episode. His scenes where he argues with ummm... the officer who is actually a Maquis traitor are also awesome. But maybe I'm overly impressed, because I was expecting Hawk in space when he was announced (Spensah! Got me a nickle-plated phaser!)

I did a little reading last night and apparently O'Brien always got in the neck, because the producers thought he was the character people empathized with the most. Harry Kim always got it, because Garret Wang was on the outs with the producers.

How the heck did we get this far off topic anyway? About the only thing I really have to say about Harry Mudd is that I wish they'd saved him for a different episode that's coming up. I'll wait till we get there, though.
Mike Conley
22. NomadUK
DemetriosX@21: I wish they'd saved him for a different episode that's coming up. I'll wait till we get there, though.

And I know which episode you mean, too, and you're right. Wouldn't that have been brilliant?
Mitch Wagner
23. MitchWagner
Which episode? Tribbles? Is that yet to come?

Cyrano Jones was pretty much the same character as Harry Mudd. I've always assumed that the actor who played Mudd was unavailable so they had to create a new character.

Odd that an actor being on the outs with the producers would result in the actor's character suffering. How does that hurt the actor? Doesn't that actually *help* the actor, in that he gets to be more actory?
Torie Atkinson
24. Torie
@ 21 DemetriosX

The only thing that comes close to his performance in "Far Beyond the Stars" is Patrick Stewart's in the torture episode.

WHAT!! OH IT'S ON-- Er. Ahem. Well. We can be civil I guess. :) I politely disagree.

@ 22 NomadUK

And I know which episode you mean, too, and you're right. Wouldn't that have been brilliant?

Ahhh which one?! No wait, don't tell me. I feel like the kid at the dinner table who doesn't understand what the grown-ups are talking about.

If we *are* talking about Cyrano Jones, Eugene and I have some surprises in store about that one. Our lips are sealed, though.
Marcus W
25. toryx
Torie @ 24:

If we *are* talking about Cyrano Jones, Eugene and I have some surprises in store about that one. Our lips are sealed, though.

Oooh. That sounds interesting. I can't wait.
David Levinson
26. DemetriosX
Torie @24, perhaps I expressed myself poorly. Stewart's performance in that episode is awesome and frankly ought to have earned an Emmy. But the same is true of Brooks' Benny Russell. Maybe it's the fact that I'm somewhat older than you are and, while the 50s are before my time, the themes of the episode are closer to things I can remember, although they might not be applicable to me. The themes underlying Stewart's performance are more universal, while those for Brook's are more tied to a time and place.

And I'm also looking forward to those hinted at surprises. I looked and it's 7 episodes from this. Now, if you guys can get back to posting twice a week, that's only three and a half weeks (with 1 good episode, a couple that are OK, and some real stinkers in there). I think I can wait that long. (And yeah, obviously that's what I'm talking about. Harry would have been awesome in that.)
Torie Atkinson
27. Torie
@ 26 DemetriosX

We're doing a once-a-week schedule from here on out. Twice a week was just too grueling a pace for me considering how much work and time goes into the posts. The previous burnout was entirely my fault, not Eugene's, and I hope to avoid it again by sticking to a more reasonable schedule. Sorry to disappoint!

And, not to make excuses, but I always hated that the Tuesday episode only had two days of discussion for it. I like having longer, more engaged conversations (if you can't tell by my extreme verbosity in these things!).
Mitch Wagner
28. MitchWagner
Torie, the Star Trek re-watches are among my favorite things on the Internet, and I'm happy to get them at whatever pace you're comfortable producing them.
Eugene Myers
29. ecmyers
@ 21 DemetriosX
I just re-watched "Trials and Tribble-ations" recently and wished again that Cyrano had just been Harry Mudd. At least he turns up again in the Animated Series...

I can't wait to see "Far Beyond the Stars" again, too.

@ 27 Torie
I was having a hard time keeping up with the schedule too, so I think once a week will be much more manageable, and hopefully lead to deeper conversations.
Church Tucker
30. Church
Well, it's about time...

"Haha, get it, wives are ball-busting shrews! It’s funny! Groan."

Well, yeah. Shrew wives are funny. So are the Honeymooners. Marital conflicts are rife for humor. Sheesh.

This is the balls-to-the-wall (sorry for the sexist imagery, Torie) example of Kirk flumoxing a machine. Warp five for that reason alone (and that's not even taking into account Mudd's comeuppance.)
David Levinson
31. DemetriosX
Once a week is probably for the best. As Torie pointed out, the Tuesday episode usually got short shrift and, oddly, it often seemed like that was the better episode of the two. But now we have to wait 7 weeks to find out what you two are hinting at! Ah well, better once a week than not at all.
OtterB
32. OtterB
This is one of my very favorite original episodes. Re Stella and the ballbusting personality, my husband and I have long used "Harcourt Fenton Mudd! Have you been drinking again?" as a catchphrase for either of us leaning toward being too spousally overbearing.
OtterB
33. formerly DaveT
A couple of very late comments:

1. The title may echo I, Robot, but the plot and themes are more like Jack Williamson's stories of the The Humanoids, and particularly "With Folded Hands". Those date from the '40s (if not earlier), and would have been familiar to any '60s SF fan.

2. "Logic is a bunch of pretty flowers that smell bad has been a tag line in my family for 40 years now.

3. General comment on all episodes thus far: Torie, your reactions to the portrayal of women (and ethnicities) make me happy in an odd way, because they suggest that we have come far enough in my lifetime that The Way Things Recently Were (as I remember personally) is now not only gone, but unthinkable. I'm not even 50 yet, but I remember segregation, and nuclear attack drills, ... and the days before anyone had ever heard of Women's Lib. You have no idea how insanely progressive Trek was for its day, despite all the goopy stereotypes that it didn't quite manage to shake.

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