TV Show Review: Star Trek The Original Series Season 2 #VintageSciFiMonth

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I am still very new to Star Trek. I’m in my twenties so I was too young to watch any of the Star Trek shows when they aired (even Enterprise). I also never had much of an interest in the franchise. I grew up watching Star Wars and, probably because both franchises had similar names, I had the impression that Star Trek was a copy of sorts of Star Wars. I would have probably avoided Star Trek entirely if my best friend had not forced me to watch the movies with her (she’s a huge fan).

However, after watching Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek: Beyond I realized that they weren’t a rip-off of Star Wars and that both works were completely different. I enjoyed the movies so much that I decided that I needed to watch everything Star Trek, starting with the Original Series.

Star Trek the Original Series, season 2, Mirror Mirror

I have to admit that my experience with TOS was rocky at first. It took me 4 years to watch the first season and I struggled with how dated it felt. Everything from the sound effects to the special effects (or lack thereof), the costumes, the acting and the music felt well, very 60’s and low budget. However, last summer I was in a weird slump after coming back from South Korea. I had difficulties concentrating on books and TV shows that I usually enjoy so, I started watching TOS again and flew through the rest of the first season.

The episodes that I first found formulaic and not that interesting became funny, (for the most part) intriguing and (always) very comforting to watch. Watching the first season took me 4 years but it took me a month to watch the second season.

The show isn’t perfect, some episodes haven’t aged well at all (and to be fair, I’m not sure some of them even were considered good when they were aired). That’s the case of Patterns of Force – the infamous Space Nazis episode (who thought this was a good idea) – or Metamorphosis where Kirk says that “the idea of male and female are natural constants” with a straight face. However, some episodes are quite captivating, I had a great time with Trouble with Tribbles, Mirror, Mirror and The Immunity Syndrome, the latter being my favorite of the season. I loved the way it showed how the crew of the Enterprise is dedicated to their mission, even when the members are exhausted and under pressure. It shows Kirk making some tough decisions that could lead to the death of his crew in order to protect innocent lives. It’s also probably the best directed episodes with some very good shots.

Star Trek the Original Series, season 2, The Immunity Syndrome

There is something inherently comforting about Star Trek. It is a story about people exploring “new worlds and civilizations” and trying to do so without impacting other cultures. Kirk and his crew are good guys dedicated to their mission (well except in A Private Little War aka the Vietnam War episode where Kirk decides that giving weapons to a group of people is a good idea?).

Some references hint that before the Federation, humanity was almost wiped off the universe because of nuclear wars, yet it still shows that they made it out alive. It’s a hopeful message now and I guess it probably was even more so when it was aired in the 60’s in the midst the Cold War.

Star Trek Rewatch: The Trouble With Tribbles

Speaking of the historical context of the show, I’m still amazed that they managed to cast a black woman as Uhura, an Asian man as Sulu and that Chekov, a Russian is not a bad guy. The fact that the cast of a show in the 60’s is more diverse that some shows that are produced now is kinda crazy to me.

So yeah, TOS isn’t perfect but it still worth a watch. The character dynamic between the Kirk-Spock-McCoy trio is amazing (I’m especially a fan of the Tom & Jerry dynamic between Spock and McCoy, those two had me laughing quite a bit) and the show hasn’t lost its sense of wonder and hopefulness.

Star Trek, season 2, A Piece of the Action

I will definitely give the last season a try, just not immediately. I need a little break from Kirk the Womanizer and his crew. After that, I don’t know if I will watch the old movies or if I will go straight into TNG. All you Trekkies out there will have to let me know if they are worth a watch or not! 😉


Vintage Science Fiction Month is a month-long event celebrating science fiction works published or produced before 1979. The event is hosted by the wonderful Andrea from the blog The Little Red Reviewer.

21 thoughts on “TV Show Review: Star Trek The Original Series Season 2 #VintageSciFiMonth

    1. Oh, the controversy surrounding City on the Edge of Forever and who wrote or rewrote which parts. Honestly, the version that aired on TV is better than the original version Harlan wrote. (Please don’t tell him I said that or he’ll berate me)

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      1. Carabatsos, Coon, Fontana, and Roddenberry himself participated. But the initial outline, final drafts, etc came from Harlan, so I’d say it’s fair to give him the credits. I don’t know, how much the script change after Harlan’s last edit, though.
        But Michael, I understand that this is one flick that’s worth watching, right?

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      2. Ellison published the original script with a forward a few decades ago and you can read it that way. HIs intro in which he spends about fifty pages getting mad at Roddenberry is pure Ellison. But the best part is an essay by D.C. Fontana where she says that most of what Ellison hated about the changes came from her and Coon (this is after he spends his intro talking about how great they are). Cue the :wah, wah: sound.

        It was also adapted as a comic book, which I’ve read in the last decade. The biggest takeaway from that is how little of the classic Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic is on display. It’s worth reading if you can find it just to see how Ellison envisioned his story unfolding.

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  1. I do love Tribbles 😉 You can always watch the animated version of the series, too! 😀
    I grew up on TNG, so I’ll always look at it through rose-tinted glasses – but I think it’s worth a watch even if you had never ever seen Picard and co in action! 😀 We’ve got a post on ST if you’re interested, and there are plenty of suggestions in the discussion below: https://reenchantmentoftheworld.blog/2019/11/06/nostalgia-post-6-ad-astra-per-aspera/

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  2. I “met” Star Trek first in book form in the late ’70s, when I literally stumbled on the TOS episodic novelizations by James Blish, and only much later had the opportunity to watch the show, so when I started watching I was already familiar with the characters and the situations, and had an easier time of it. Granted, the show is *dated*, both in visual concept but above all where social mores and gender issues are concerned – seeing Uhura tremble like a leaf uttering the usual “Captain, I’m frightened” does bad things to my blood pressure… 😀 😀
    Still, the message of hope and more than that of the possibility of peaceful coexistence between different cultures, is what makes the show extraordinary for its times. As for the other Trek incarnations, TNG suffers from a somewhat sketchy first season, but then finds its legs and works very well (although even this one does not stand the test of time in some episodes). My favorite is Deep Space 9 because it portrays many moral quandaries the other series often skip over, while Voyager is… touch and go for me, and I found Enterprise slightly boring. The jury is still out on Discovery 😉
    Have fun!!!!

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    1. Women in TOS have a tendency to be hysterical or to fall in love very easily with hot aliens or Kirk and, yes the “Captain, I’m frightened” hasn’t aged well *at all*. I wish Uhura had a more important role in the series, Nichelle Nichols acts quite well and it wasn’t used to its full potential sadly. In the recent movies, Uhura has a much bigger role and she’s one of my favorite characters!
      Yes, the message of hope is at the heart of the series and it’s very comforting! I especially like the fact that the Federation doesn’t interfere with other cultures and that it is Starfleet mission to make sure that no one has the right to mess up the history of other cultures and civilizations! 😀
      I have heard great things about Deep Space 9, it’s one of the reasons I’m excited to continue on with my Star Trek marathon. 😉

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  3. First of all, let me tell you to temper those expectations for season three. It’s a rocky ride due to a lot of behind the scenes turmoil and while there are some gems in there, there are also some big misfires.

    But, season two. It’s probably the most consistent of the three TOS seasons, though you can see it starting to fray a bit toward the end. Part of this is most of season two had producer Gene L. Coon running things day to day and taking Star Trek to a different level. All the family stuff is probably because of his influence. I feel like the absolute highlight of classic Trek is mid-season one to mid-season two when Coon was at the helm. It was once he was asked to leave (Roddenberry famously didn’t like Tribbles and I, Mudd) that things declined a bit. (Coon’s fingerprints are still there and he’s not perfect — he did the teleplay for Spock’s Brain — but his influence and polishing of scripts are sorely missed)

    That said, I am interested to see nary a mention of two my favorites — Amok Time, and the Doomsday Machine.

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up! That’s good to know, I will temper my expectations! 😉
      A few of my least favorite episodes were indeed from the second half of the season (including Patterns of Force, this episode really was a bunch of nonsense).
      (And what’s not to like about Tribbles!)
      The Doomsday Machine left me a bit underwhelmed, probably because I had seen it mentioned over and over before watching it and it didn’t meet my expectations. However, I enjoyed Amok Time quite a bit!! I didn’t mention it because I watched the first three episodes of the second season last summer and I forgot to add them to my notes. But yes, Amok Time is great, it was fascinating to learn more about Spock and the Vulcans!

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      1. I’m curious if you watched the episodes with the remastered effects or the original effects. As a person who grew up on the classic effects, I appreciate what the remaster has done for the look and sound of most of TOS, but honesty the new effects aren’t my cup of tea. Except for the Doomsday Machine where it elevates the story a bit more (but it was already a favorite, mind you).

        And I could go on for hours about the behind the scenes stuff. It fascinates me no end — esp. since we have a litany of “pull back the curtain” books in the 90’s, most of which I consumed. I”m fascinated by that stuff – even more so for classic Doctor Who.

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  4. Yeah, TOS is super dated but it can still be fun at times. I’ll admit I like the films with TOS crew better than the show haha. TNG was out when I was in school so I really loved that one and it was ‘my Trek’ for lack of a better term. I was rewatching them not too long ago though and even *those* felt dated LOL!

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  5. I’ve just finished watching all of TOS recently and like you I was struck by how incredibly progressive it was for its time. It’s definitely not perfect (some of the stuff about women isn’t great) but yeah, the multi-racial crew in a time when segregation had barely been ended in America and having a Russian on the crew in the midst of the Cold War to show that humanity had moved beyond the rivalry of nations – that was pretty great. The production and acting and costumes are all very dated, but I enjoyed it even more because of that I think 🙂

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