Review: Amok Time Remastered |
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Review: Amok Time Remastered February 20, 2007

by Dennis Russell Bailey , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

Angry Red Planet
Warned by McCoy that Spock is acting a little "off," Kirk is forced to agree after the Vulcan assaults Nurse Chapel with a soup bowl. Spock awkwardly explains that he’s in the grip of an irresistible sexual urge and that he’ll die if he doesn’t mate Real Soon. Kirk can easily relate to this, so he defies Starfleet orders to return Spock to his home planet. Vulcan is the most PC planet in the cosmos: a world of unemotional, rational, pacifist vegans. It’s logical, therefore, that we are introduced in short order to:

  1. A masked executioner
  2. T’Pring, a betrothed woman who desires another man and enters into a murder conspiracy rather than be seen to defy conventional social mores
  3. Stonn, a co-conspirator so full of lustful rage that he can’t help blurting out unhelpful clues to his complicity ("No, I was to be the one!")
  4. T’Pau, a planetary ruler so smug and bigoted that she indulges in playing lethal "gotcha!" with naive strangers ("Des combad ees to de deat")

One is left to wonder why these Vulcans can’t behave with the emotional restraint, integrity and open-mindedness of that cute T’Pol and her countrymen on “Star Trek: Enterprise.” Spock winds up fighting Kirk. Unlikely as this seems, it’s a lot more gripping than watching Spock in a death struggle with the third walk-on Vulcan from the left. McCoy saves the day by doping Kirk in contravention of the International Olympics Committee rules for Koon-ut-kal-if-fee.

In the end Kirk gets to live, Spock gets better, T’Pring gets Stonn and T’Pau gets punk’d. There’s no way that T’Pau would hold McCoy’s little bit of chicanery against Starfleet or the human race, of course. That’s like suggesting that Tony Soprano would whack a guy for talking to the Feds. So, she covers Kirk’s hinder with Starfleet.

Like they were really gonna discipline him just for disobeying direct orders. Again.

"Why do they call it love when they mean sex?"
The thousands of popular stories written by the cohort of American science fiction authors who came up through the pulp magazines and early paperback markets of the 1940s and 1950s are the very foundation of the original "Star Trek." Theodore Sturgeon was among the most talented and influential of that group. A brilliantly original short story writer and novelist, he assayed a number of television assignments over the decades but only "Amok Time" stands out as more than an average work-for-hire product (my apologies to admirers of giant white rabbits and strafing biplanes everywhere).

His decision to portray the Vulcans in a way opposed to what audiences might reasonably have expected based upon what they’d been told in previous episodes was inspired. It’s certainly reflective of one of his own noteworthy observations: "Nothing is always absolutely so." Today, of course, he’d be pilloried from some quarters for violating a season’s worth of "canon" about Vulcan behavior and culture ("It’s twenty-odd episodes worth of research, how lazy can he be?").

If anything, he might well have taken his charge here from Nurse Chapel’s single remark in "The Naked Time" to the effect that "the men from Vulcan treat their women strangely." Evidently, the women from Vulcan return the favor.

Sturgeon’s vision of life on Vulcan strengthens and deepens the internal conflicts which had already made Spock the most fascinating of the Trek characters by placing them in the context of the world from which he springs. Not only is Spock torn between his Vulcan and human heritage but also now we see him as the product of a culture with its own deep fissures and unexamined contradictions. He chooses to identify with the self-declared "rational" culture in which he was raised rather than the supposedly chaotic civilization of his mother’s family, but it’s his Vulcan biology that drives him to behavior that he finds too humiliating to reveal to his human shipmates. Sturgeon includes a line of dialogue – "I’d hoped that I would be spared this" – suggesting in an ironic fashion that Spock might have been banking on his human heredity to enable him to be more rational and dispassionate about his sexuality than most of his people.

All real human cultures negotiate a complicated balance between their expressed ideals and mythologies about themselves and the actual ranges of behavior and beliefs of the individuals who live in them. Love and sexuality, in all varieties, were the central themes of much of Sturgeon’s work. "Amok Time" is all about such ideas and experiences, specifically in the context of a society that denies and suppresses them. Written for a heavily content-and-language restricted medium, in an America undergoing revolutionary changes in what would be considered acceptable sexual behavior and discourse – a liberalization which he was very much a part of both personally and ideologically – Sturgeon was mature enough a writer to examine the ultra-repressed Vulcans he created with intelligence and empathy rather than simply derisively portraying them and their culture as hypocritical. This subtlety of understanding, as much as anything, is what marks "Amok Time" out as one of the best of the original "Star Trek" episodes. The story speaks with undiminished authenticity across the decades, in marked contrast to such airily self-congratulatory polemics as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

Most notably, no screenwriter but Sturgeon ever has written dialogue for "Star Trek" that as succinctly articulates the commonplace truths of human experience as Spock’s nearly elegiac observation on the conundrum of desire: "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting."

The Effects – What’s Changed?
CBS Digital has got the deep space exterior and orbital shots of the Enterprise down solid at this point, much as they’ve been acing the planetary globes from the beginnings of TOS-R. In the case of those planets, though, they seem to have moved on from approximating the look of TOS planets toward attempting more fully realistic worlds. This week Vulcan is represented as almost a kind of alternate Mars in coloration and detail, but with a polar ice cap that’s probably bigger than Earth’s arctic right now. Aside from the ice, this Vulcan is consistent with its visualization in the Trek movies and later TV series.

Speaking of consistency, there are several shots of a beautiful matte painting showing the arena from a distance overhead. The entire area is revealed to be the flattened summit of a mountain overlooking a nearby city. That city closely resembles and probably represents Shi’Khar as first shown in the "Yesteryear" episode of the animated "Star Trek" series, and the elevated arena itself is very much like the temple where T’Lar reunites Spock’s body and soul in "Star Trek III: The Search For Spock."

Unless I’m mistaken, this episode thus becomes the first instance of the original series’ visual effects being adjusted in such a way as to bring them explicitly into line with Trek continuity created in the decades, movies and series that followed.

There’s a super-close flyby of the Enterprise that’s quite showy – i.e., "look how close we can get to the mesh without it looking CG." People will doubtless argue whether it does or doesn’t. For my money, it looks pretty much like I’d expect the original eleven-foot Datin-built model to look if photographed so close up (and I’ve spend quite a bit of time looking at that very model from a similar distance, behind glass in the gift shop of the National Air and Space Museum a few miles from my home). That said, the attempt does underscore the lack of detail on the original practical model – it wouldn’t have looked like a real big spaceship from that distance, and neither does the mesh.

A Vulcan-style homey background has been added to the image of the child bride T’Pring that we see on the viewer in Spock’s quarters. It’s a nice touch that makes it look a lot less like her folks popped over to the Shi’Khar Sears to take advantage of the $19.98 family photography special one Easter afternoon after church.

What’s Left Alone
The featureless cyclorama sky over the Vulcan arena, obviously. This would have required an enormous and impractical amount of rotoscoping. The folks at CBS Digital also don’t appear to consider "correcting" Trek’s occasional editing glitches as part of their mandate, probably a good thing. Last week, that would have involved fixing the "flopped" close-up shot of McCoy in "The Doomsday Machine." In "Amok Time" there are several continuity errors (in the strict filmmaking use of the term) involving the players in the Vulcan sequences. My favorite is the juxtaposition of a shot where Spock crosses the arena to hit the gong and is followed by T’Pring. She makes it maybe a quarter of the way across the arena behind him before we cut to a close-up of her still standing with the wedding party, then beginning her cross again.

It’s thus canonically established that Vulcans can be in two places at one time. J.J. Abrams, take note.


more: Amok Time Screenshots & Video 


1. T Negative - February 20, 2007

Great review!!
CBS-digital keep pushing the envelope!!

I am holding out hope for the DVD that when spock smashes the viewscreen in his quarters they add CG smoke and sparks when he smashes it. That alone would be worth the price of admission and it would be damn funny too. Do it CBS!!

2. Stanky McFibberich - February 20, 2007

I had just noticed that for the first time yesterday when T’Pring started to cross and then was just standing there before crossing again. I guess I wasn’t seeing things.

3. Gary Seven - February 20, 2007

Well a distinct improvement, in my opinion, over past reviews by this author. He demonstrates a wealth of knowledge of Theordore Sturgeon and Star Trek in general, and the bulk of the review is thoughtful. Consistent with past reviews, however, is the opening of the review, which to me, and apparently not to some others, is flippant and simply takes cheap shots (easy to take, but to what end?) at Star Trek. For example:
“Like they were really gonna discipline him (Kirk) just for disobeying direct orders. Again.”
Is it clever to make fun of Kirk? How original.
Anyway, I don’t want to get negative because the review is good overall- thoughtful and informative.

4. Jon - February 20, 2007

apparently Vulcans never carried logic into their intimate relationships.Big letdown if your looking for exposition on a totally “logical”race.

5. Spockariffic - February 20, 2007

Awesome job CBS-D, Okudas and Rossi. Grabbing a city from the animated series? WICKED COOL! I would have never noticed so thanks to the reviewer for pointing that out!!

Great review by the way! Love the use of humor! I really enjoy your reviews!

Anyone know what episode is next?

6. Jon - February 20, 2007

It’s just remiss of the writer that He came up with this maniacally primitive dimension to Vulcans.Like Vulcans being the logical race that they are never made provision for reproduction.This is where Star Trek’s fantasy meets reality and fails in a staggeringly campy way.

7. Bobby - February 20, 2007

one must always rememeber that star trek has always been on the cutting egde of technology and i for one love how the CBS-D crew is attempting to bridge the gap between TOS episodes and the feature films. the angles, the matte paintings and shot selection with the new CGI are wonderful. we are getting top quality effects, hd remastered episodes and all delivered under a strict budget and deadlines. keep up the good work, and boldy go!

8. CmdrR - February 20, 2007

Great review. I like your tone here and in previous reviews, Anthony. While we all indulge in series worship to some degree, it’s good to remember that this is a long waking dream, replete (

9. Nelson - February 20, 2007

And they also left alone the goof where Kirk and McCoy are talking to T’Pau and we see Spock in the background, casually leaning against a wall when he is supposed to be in the Blood Fever.

10. CmdrR - February 20, 2007

loved the ep. though E should have movement in the windows… think canon is broken even here, since Spock should murdalize Kirk and Amanda would have do be nearly celebate.

11. diabolik - February 20, 2007

I used to try that explanation on girls… “I am in the grip of an irresistible sexual urge and that I’ll die if I don’t mate Real Soon.”

After hearing “Then drop dead!” a few times I gave up on it.

12. diabolik - February 20, 2007

#6… I don’t get it. Or perhaps you don’t? It’s one or the other….

13. Anthony Pascale - February 20, 2007

another entertaining and informative review DRB…well done

‘Des combad ees to de deat’ indeed. Always thought she should say ‘sucka’ after that bit of ‘gotcha’

14. Anthony Pascale - February 20, 2007

RE: spockariffic what ep is next
check out our info page on TOSR:

but the answer is “Paradise Syndrome”

15. Spockariffic - February 20, 2007

Mmmmm Mirimani

16. CmdrR - February 20, 2007

No cgi needed for Mirimani.

17. Adam Cohen - February 20, 2007

Thanks for a fantastic review, Sr. Bailey!

That Spock line always gets me when I read it or hear it spoken- about having not being as pleasing as wanting. What a perfectly measured dig by Spock to his double-crossing lady friend. Of course, Spock was not trying to hurt her feelings, but still there was an element of a cold-wet slap across the face to the line. Not quite as harsh as “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” but no less poetic.

18. Matt Wright - February 20, 2007

gotta say you’re quite sarcastic with your reviews but they are pretty funny and you make some good points in this one :)

Favorite quote from the review:
“..he’s in the grip of an irresistible sexual urge and that he’ll die if he doesn’t mate Real Soon. Kirk can easily relate to this…”

19. KublaKahn - February 20, 2007

It’s not a polar ice cap, ya big dummy. It’s a large white sands desert.

20. Dennis Bailey - February 20, 2007

I say it’s an ice cap and I say the Hell with it. :lol:

21. Anthony Pascale - February 20, 2007

it’s a floor wax

no it’s a desert topping!

22. steve623 - February 20, 2007

Too sarcastic for my taste. I look forward to Jeff Bond’s next review.

23. Gary Seven - February 20, 2007

I’m with steve623, (#22) about the sarcasm, although like I said it is a big improvement over last time, and has a lot of good points once you get past the sarcasm. At least he didn’t talk about how the uniforms look like pajamas or how William Shatner overacts. His sarcastic comments are less than informative or original, or even funny, to my taste (what’s in the next review, the uniforms look like pajamas or perhaps he’ll make fun of Shatner’s overacting?) But if you close your eyes over that stuff, he does have good things to say.

24. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 20, 2007

It’s carbon dioxide in the xenosphere, Vulcan is a tad arrid, kinda Dune like, Arrakis like even.

the sleep has awakened!

25. Trek Defense League - February 20, 2007

Great review, very insightful about Sturgeon’s touch.

I also picked up this time on the “I hoped I might be spared this” line, which went some way towards easing my disbelief that the logical Spock would get himself into this mess, for lack of planning: Couldn’t he have seen this coming, and planned a Vulcan vacation in advance? But yes, it would make sense that he expected his half-human side to pull him through.

The only thing unconvincing is what easy leeway Spock gets at the end of the show. The “Jim!” grin is of course a classic Trek moment. But no one seems very bothered that Spock carved a gash on the Captain’s chest and risked plunging Altair VI into instability with his poor ponn farrplanning. They’re ready to get back to work; maybe Kirk is just so delighted by McCoy’s BALCO tricks that he says, to hell with it.

26. Mark - February 20, 2007

“In the end Kirk gets to live, Spock gets better, T’Pring gets Stonn and T’Pau gets punk’d.”

Great line.

27. Cranston - February 20, 2007

Another great review, DB.

The biting humor (the “sarcasm”) doesn’t bother me a bit. It’s not the kind of sarcasm that shows disdain for the topic, it’s the kind that humorously shows intimate knowledge of the topic — knowledge that, really, he wouldn’t have if he didn’t love the show. My friends and I have been major Trek fans (and fans of other equally revered works) for decades, and we always talk about it with this sort of tone. (Of course, we also talk about each other with this sort of tone, so make of that what you will.)

28. Cranston - February 20, 2007

#24 — “xenosphere”?

29. Buckaroohawk - February 20, 2007

Funny review. I love DRB’s lighthearted jabs. Nice to know I’m not the only one who’s ever thought of them.

Re: Vulcan Mating Rituals. It may not have been in the sliced-up-for-syndication version, but I’m sure that in the uncut episode, someone remarks that it’s strange for such a logical race as the Vulcans to have such…uhhh…”passionate” mating rituals. I think McCoy explains that it seems to be payback for the total supression of their emotions. The mating rituals are a release valve (much as it can be for humans), but since the Vulcans are so stoic, it’s become a matter of life-or-death for them.

By the way, I don’t think it was ever stated explicitly (pardon the pun), but this episode only states that Vulcan males MUST mate every seven years. That doesn’t mean they CAN’T mate outside of that cycle, it just means that when the pon-farr is upon them that they have to. It’s kind of like filling your car up with gas. You can do it whenever you want, but you have to when the fuel gage reads the tank is empty or suffer the consequences. It’s a poor analogy, but it’s the first one I thought of.

Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to watching this show more every week, especially now that CBS Digital is really kicking in with some creativity and freedom in their work. I think the powers-that-be there have finally realized that they have some real artists working with them and they’re allowing them to stretch out and expand their vision of what the new FX should look like. I’m loving it and can’t wait to see more.

By the way, Dennis, I believe the phrase is spelled “KUN-a-ta-KAL-i-FEE” (emphasis capitalized). Oh my, that’s probably my geekiest moment on these boards. I’ve gotta go lie down.

30. Mysterious Stranger - February 21, 2007

Yet another verdose review, where the author attempts to impress with his unlimited knowledge of everything and at the same time takes shots at Star Trek, while throwing in accolades to his fav “Enterprise.”

Frankly, I’m sick of seeing Star Trek reviewed by someone who is more concerned with mocking the mores of the time, while winking and nodding to the present sexual……”Freedoms?”

Can’t we get a reviewer that will give a straight review about the merits of the episode and not drag his liberal, view of life into the mix?

Theodore Sturgeon was one of my favorite authors of Trek episodes and I highly recommend “The Joy Machine.” A novel transferred into the Trekverse after its original debut, but you know, I didn’t care whether the author was a drunk and I don’t care if he was gay, straight, or bi. It’s not relavent.

I would prefer to see the episodes reviewed by someone who likes the episodes and doesn’t look for every reason to poke a stick in the eye of the fans.

OK Dennis, we got it, you liked Enterprise and you like to rip on Star Trek. Give it a rest.

31. Toonoon - February 21, 2007

Loved the review! Great thoughts and a great episode.

This is slightly off topic, but someone wanted to know which “spock-orific” episode was next and I just noticed that I can’t find Operation: Anihilate on the schedule.

32. yo - February 21, 2007

Dennis: > “Koon-ut-kal-if-fee”
Buckaroohawk (#29): > “KUN-a-ta-KAL-i-FEE”

Sorry Buck, the spelling Dennis used is the long-accepted one.

“Koon-ut-kal-if-fee” is the spelling used in
articles about Amok Time at

AFAIK that spelling is also listed in the TOS DVD scene index.

I don’t have a copy of the Amok Time script.
(Dennis, have you got a copy?)

The oldest dated written reference that I have is the fact that
“Koon-ut-kal-if-fee” was the name of a Trek fanzine in the late ’70s.

(I also happen to know the same spelling was used in a
Microvax Star Trek game in the ’80s.)

(Have I out-geeked, or at least out-googled you yet?) ;-)

On the other hand, “Kunat Kalifee” remains a popular alternate.
(That was the spelling listed in the 1992-1993 unofficial
“Star Trek Spelling List” compiled by Neil Green, Joshua Laff, et al.)

But if dis combad ees to de deat,
“Koon-ut-kal-if-fee” is the winner.

33. Cranston - February 21, 2007

#30 – I find your criticisms a little bizzarre. The review above is a strongly positive review, written by someone who clearly likes the episode. It seems obvious to me that Bailey’s mention of “Enterprise” was a tongue-in-cheek putdown of that series’s portrayal of the Vulcans, rather than an actual “accolade.” He’s using irony.

And I may have missed it, but where exactly in the review does he “drag his liberal, view of life into the mix”?

I’m confused.

34. Keith - February 21, 2007

I’ve often wondered how Spock’s uncontrollable biological need to fly across the galaxy get his end away disappears after a fight with Kirk!

35. Dom - February 21, 2007

Some of the comments after these reviews are, frankly, astonishingly bitchy. Are people jealous of not being able to write reviews here themselves?

The remarks were not ‘sarcastic’ (Sarcasm: from Greek sarkasmos, ‘to tear flesh’ is sneering, jesting, or mocking a person, situation or thing. It is strongly associated with irony, with some definitions classifying it as a type of verbal irony intended to insult or wound.)

There was some gentle humour in the review that was very funny and showed the writer likes the series about which he’s writing. And where did he say the author was a drunk, gay, straight, or bi?

My other assumption about the decision to add new shots of the arena is that the big complaint where Amok Time is concerned has been that we see nothing much of the Vulcan landscape.

If CBS-D can address certain flaws such as that, then they definitely should! Also, where continuity errors are concerned, we don’t know that these editing errors might not be sorted for the eventual HD-DVD/Blueray releases. As an editor myself, I’d want to change them. Removing a few erroneous frames here and there can’t kill ‘canon!!’ ;)

Frankly, the editors should look through all the nitpickers’ guides and books like The Star Trek Compendium to find out where all the errors are and remove them!

Thanks for the review Dennis! :)

36. Dyson Sphere - February 21, 2007

I liked this review. Thoughtful and the quips fit.

As a kid, I was always hoping there would be another mating cycle to see how differently everyone might have handled it. “Nurse Chapel – please report to the Hydroponics Lab”

37. Doug - February 21, 2007

re 30: seriously man, you take a relatively innoccuous review, and tear the reveiwer a new one. I prefer an objective reviewer to one slanted either which way. Let’s see some non Trek watchers reveiw it and get a totally unbiased opinion…

re 21: either way… it’s delicious!

re the episode and effects… No complaints from me this week. Love the ep,and the effects were very nicely done.


38. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

#28 Cranston,

woops a daisy, I intended “Exosphere,” not Xenosphere, that’s what too many cokes and too little sleep do for you, either way, the joke fell flat hah hah.

The point being even an arrid inhospitable desert world such as our favorite Vulcanians domecile on would have carbon dioxide at the polar regions, the nice layer was a stark contrast to the oranges and reds.

I sort of wish “The Motion Picture” Directors edition had not “corrected” the oversight of adding companions in orbit of Vulcan, that matte painting was powerful and , oh hell I love that movie, everything about it made everything so familiar look and feel so “alien.” Klingons for example, have looked like shit ever since. I loved those white eye contact lenses and swarthed hairstyles. Orson Welles narration of the commercials was spot on when he said “It will alter your perception of the future, by taking you there.”
Star Trek adventures after that first film may have been more fun, engaging, humourous, and popular, but NEVER since has the future been so brilliantly captured on celluloid. That film is a JOY to see.
I digress, back to my point, I wish that hadn’t of been corrected so that the remastered team could have included these companion worlds around Vulcan. I don’t recall if Spock ever had any dialogue alluding to Vulcan having moons or such.

39. Dom - February 21, 2007

Spock says at some point in TOS that Vulcan has no moons. TMP certainly feels like the future. Even the humans seem alien!

I hope the characterisation of the Klingons will be corrected at some point to being more like the TMP versions: they were so sinister and, clearly, wily and intelligent!

40. Jeffrey S. Nelson - February 21, 2007

De air is de air. What can be done?
Ain’t no stinkin’ ice caps on Vulcan. It’s white sands, alright.

41. Kegan - February 21, 2007

Hmm. They sit around a dank bridge, shout an alien language to each other, open fire on a mysterious cloud, and then get, ah, ‘downloaded’ into the Vejur mainframe.

Oh yes, those TMP Klingons. Very intelligent. And certainly their panic is sinister.

And Spock specifically said Vulcan had no moons in response to Uhura in the episode ‘The Man Trap.’ It’s, ironically, part of a punch-line about how thoroughly unromantic his race is.

42. Rick - February 21, 2007

Great review. I always loved that this episode in that it gave more depth to Vulcans/Spock in that a very logical race had this highly emotional part to them. It makes logical sense that something like sex would bring a strong wild emotion out of most races. Overall a fun ride and I dug the new effects by CBS-D.

43. TheVamp - February 21, 2007

Great review, man.

Thanks for the insight on Sturgeon.

P.S. While I do enjoy Jeff Bond’s reviews very much, I’ll take Bailey sarcasm over Altman vitriol any day of the week!

44. Dom - February 21, 2007

Kegan. Dude, they’re aliens!! Why the obnoxious sarcasm? This a discussion forum, not a dick-swinging contest!

I’d hardly say the Klingons panic. Mark Lenard’s commander is clearly intelligent (rather than the TNG-style bombastic oaf!) and is the Klingons sitting in a low-lit bridge any different from the crew of the Enterprise sitting in a low-lit bridge in most of the films?

45. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - February 21, 2007

Hey Dennis… Great job!

Your review is informed, light-hearted, well-written and clearly shows you did your homework. Your observations, via Sturgeon’s writing, on Vulcan culture are acute, insightful and caring. Moreover, whether extolling the episode’s virtues or taking a jab with “tongue firmly implanted in cheek”, it is clear you have a great love for the show.

46. diabolik - February 21, 2007

I’d like to hear from the CBS artists if they intended the white area to represent an ice cap. It makes sense. The planet could not support life without some source of water.

47. diabolik - February 21, 2007

I agree that the TMP Klingons seemed much more intelligent than the others we have seen. They were restrained and deliberate. Although the Commander barked his orders, they is typical. But the subtle interaction between the Commander and his first officer, the professional and subdued manner of the bridge officers, all spoke of a higher caste of Klingons than what we have seen since.

And they operated the equipment by simply touching the screens, not smashing huge buttons and switches.

I wish some of that imperial aloofness had been retained instead of the Viking boorishness we saw come later.

48. diabolik - February 21, 2007

And I meant, “this is typical,” not “they is typical.”

49. Dennis Bailey - February 21, 2007

Thanks for all the kind words and compliments about the review. :)

On the subject of “Koon-ut-kal-if-fee,” there do seem to be a couple of accepted spellings so I went with the way Sturgeon spelled it in his script.

As far as biases are concerned: I like “Star Trek” and I like “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and I like “Star Trek: Enterprise” and quite a bit of other stuff that Desilu and Paramount have called “Star Trek.” Ain’t nuthin’ to it. ;)

50. brady - February 21, 2007

ill take this review…entertaining and funny…over some DDOC worshiper ranting about George Lucas anyday

51. Dr. Image - February 21, 2007

Great review Dennis.
Amazing how many posters just don’t “get it.”

Concerning the close fly-by, I like the way the CBS-D modellers applied just enough surface irregularities to convey at least some scale. Admittedly the 11-footer doesn’t have much detail, but given that, notice that CBS has still achieved a credible battleship-style subtle surface texture. Impressive.

52. Scott - February 21, 2007

I will concede that though this thin-skinned Trekkie felt the bite of some of Bailey’s sarcophagic humor in his opening synopsis of this seminal (heh) episode, I wholeheartedly agree with #27’s, Cranston’s, comments. Good, clever review — including the irreverent humor. All in good fun.

I also agree with #29, Buckaroohawk’s, comments on Vulcans and CBS-D’s willingness to go a bit further with the new effects.

Here’s a question I’ve always had: what the heck did Spock do every seven years leading up to this episode? I’m assuming he’s 35 years old when Amok Time happens. Has some (probably female) writer addressed this in a novel somewhere? Cold sonic showers? Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet?

Scott B. out.

53. Scott - February 21, 2007

Oh, I also vote for a polar ice cap. After all, there’s ice water at the poles of Earth’s moon, why not a planet like Vulcan?

If the “desert planet” thing is hanging anyone up, not to worry — technically, there are ice-covered deserts right here on our own little planet. Antarctica is considered by geographers to be a “cold desert” because of its lack of precipitation.

Scott B. out.

54. Dennis Bailey - February 21, 2007

#52: “what the heck did Spock do every seven years leading up to this episode? I’m assuming he’s 35 years old when Amok Time happens. Has some (probably female) writer addressed this in a novel somewhere? Cold sonic showers? Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet?”

There’s no good “in-continuity” answer to that, which has prompted a lot of interesting speculation over the decades. One hypothesis, which I’m inclined to accept, is that Spock’s hope that he might be “spared” the Ponn Farr was based upon it not having shown up on schedule earlier in his life due to his unique biology. He’s therefore taken by surprise and quite alarmed when it manifests this time.

55. acb - February 21, 2007


But in Star Trek III when he was aging and hit 21 didn’t he go through Ponn Farr then, possible showing the cycle to be normal for him. Of course, if one wanted to they could argue I suppose that it arrived sooner there because of his connection with the Genesis shift that was going on.

56. GNDN - February 21, 2007

This is a solid review with good background information on Sturgeon. My only concern is the perception that Kirk was a chronic rule-breaker. While became a staple characteristic of his after TWOK, when exactly did the Captain disobey orders in TOS? Throughout the series he seemed to be something of a Boy Scout. Kirk was much like Horatio Hornblower in that he often follwed admiralty orders despite his personal reluctance. (“The Apple,” “A Taste of Armegedon,” and “Spectre of the Gun.” In fact, it was a source of dramatic tension when he either disobeyed an order, such as in “Amok Time,” or pushed an interpretation of orders and regulations to the limit, as in “Obsession” and “The Galileo Seven.”

While Nicholas Meyers did a lot to save this franchise, it came at the cost of adopting his vision of Kirk as a rebel. Perhaps it was necessary for the payoff of TWOK to be truly effective, it altered the character of Kirk established in TOS. Simply put, if Kirk was such a maverick, then ignoring Komack’s direct order wouldn’t have added much to the suspense of the episode.

57. Jon - February 21, 2007

What the heck did spock do every 7 years leading up to this episode?Answer;the writer didn’t think of that.

58. billy don't be a hiro - February 21, 2007

I have a moderate threshold for sarcasm and I find Mr. Bailey’s reviews have too much of it for my taste. It just becomes tedious to me. I stopped subscribing to Entertainment Weekly for the same reason. Glad some of you enjoy it but its not for me. I much prefer Jeff, Darren or even Mark.

59. John N. - February 21, 2007

I thought that it was a fantastic review, and quite funny!

To the criticisms of the humour… lighten up people. It’s a TV show, a one that didn’t take itself all that seriously at times.

60. FlyingTigress - February 21, 2007


“I sort of wish “The Motion Picture” Directors edition had not “corrected” the oversight of adding companions in orbit of Vulcan, that matte painting was powerful and , oh hell I love that movie,”

I don’t recall which one of the books addressed this, Spock’s World, or something else, but I recall the (paraphrasing here) line in the book being “[Vulcan has no moon] . Yes, it has a nightmare!” reflecting the comparison size between “The Watcher” and its companion (Vulcan, itself).

I also recall hearing/reading a technical explaination for the difference between a ‘moon’ (generic gravitationally-tied satellite) and a dual planet –and that a plausible scenario is that Earth’s “Moon” may very well be one-half of a dual planet system (Earth, of course, being the other half).

61. Paul W. - February 21, 2007

I enjoyed the review.. I didn’t find it overly sarcastic… it was insightful. WAY better than that last reviewer.

62. Adam Cohen - February 21, 2007

#61 Dude, did you just rip on Mark Altman?

63. Father Rob - February 21, 2007

Not to wander too far afield, but just an FYI… I saw that the Starship Farragut fanfilm announced this Friday as their web release date and that ST: Of Gods and Men has posted their upcoming release schedule.


64. Dom - February 21, 2007

I think Spock hadn’t gone through the Pon-Farr before Amok Time. One assumes his human blood prevented that happening before. Canon nutters are the ones who insist everything has to be written in stone for them, rather than using their imagination or a little common sense to fill in the blanks!

As for ‘Kirk the Rebel,’ I think that character trait is one the makers had the luxury of developing because the Kirk stories were told across 26-ish years.

In TOS Kirk was more of a boy scout: he was a young captain galloping around the galaxy. By TMP, he’s frustrated, sat at a desk for a couple of years, but he’s young enough to get his command back with relative ease.

By TWOK, he’s 52, feeling his age, and deskbound again. Reaching that age, confronted by Starfleet regulations, he decides he’s ‘too old for this shit!’

I suggest people try to work things out for themselves more, rather than expect someone ‘official’ to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t!’ It’s more fun for a start! ;)

65. Robert Bernardo - February 21, 2007

billy don’t be a hiro wrote:

> I have a moderate threshold for sarcasm and I find Mr. Bailey’s
> reviews have too much of it for my taste. It just becomes tedious to
> me.

Agreed. This is the second review (unless I missed others) in which the author has used this technique. First… well, o.k.. Second… it gets tiring. As I read the second, I thought, “Just get to the topic at hand.”

66. Dennis Bailey - February 21, 2007

Fifth, actually, with more planned.

67. Anthony Pascale - February 21, 2007

And I am happy to have him aboard.

Dennis’ reviews are exactly what I like…informative and entertaining. They make you take a look at the episodes in a thought provoking way.

if you dont want your thoughts provoked I am sorry

68. Scott - February 21, 2007

I have to agree with Anthony. Dennis’s reviews open with a contrarian and ostensibly humorous recap of episodes we all know and love, and get one thinking about things a bit differently. If he knocks the idol and makes it wobble…well, to each his own, but my faith in the power of this episode isn’t going to be shattered by a few well-aimed barbs. Kudos, Mr. Bailey.

Scott B. out.

69. CmdrR. - February 21, 2007

As I’ve said (unless my puter ate it) I like Mr. Bailey’s humor. I find it contrarian at worst and at best a hoot.
If you want HARSH review style, check They occassionally hit on Trek. Some of the reviewers appear to like their Tranya a LOT.

70. John N. - February 21, 2007

Agreed and agreed… :)

71. Kegan - February 21, 2007

Re: TMP Klingons.

I guess my point was a tad obscure. Basically, we see a handful of minutes worth of interaction in TMP, during which they are, in essence, the fall guys. The Klingons get zapped into Vejur so the audience can get the idea that Vejur is dangerous. They look more interesting visually than their predecessors, they speak a weird language, and that, basically, is it. It’s a gimmick, plus a set-up.
Mark Lenard does give a good performance, but it’s not exuding the cold intelligence of, say, his Romulan Commander… and this might have something to do with the script limiting him to a handful of lines in a handful of minutes. Claiming that this relatively limited appearance is really a markedly different and superior depiction of Klingons is disengenuous at worst, and wishful thinking at best.

A rather better film example of non-Ron Moore slovely Viking variety of Klingons would probably be those in ‘The Undiscovered Country,’ with a ridged Lincoln and an elegantly Shakespeare quoting General. These Klingons are indeed quite intelligent, and in Chang’s case, sinister. There’s a world of difference between Christopher Plummer and Robert O’Reilly, to put it mildly.

72. Ralph F - February 21, 2007

The close-up flyby is one of my favorite shots yet — it was one of those moments where I thought CBS/D was doing this just for me. :)

73. DaveR - February 21, 2007

Another GREAT review. Please do not listen to the naysayers about your humor and spot on sarcasm, That’s what makes it a GREAT review. Thanks!

74. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

Kegan regarding your analysis of the Klingons seeming intelligence via barking orders in the first film, there is a very specific line of dialogue edited out of the Directors edition of the film- which clearly illustrates the klingons to be sophisticated and saavy like their TOS series counterparts:

“Intruder unidentified, believe luminescent cloud to be enormous powerfield surrounding alien vessel, our sensor scans unable to penetrate…..Imperial Klingon cruiser AMAR continuing to attack…..”

This was a translated version of a communique’ intercepted by Epsilon 9 during the confrontation, this particular ship was under attack while the tranmission was being made.

Evidently this line of dialogue, as well as a similar line by Kirk during the briefing in the rec deck was removed to further mystify Vejur. The Klingons had already figured out an important plot point 3 minutes into the film – there was a ship inside the cloud. Or so they suspected.

I prefer these first movie Klingons ANY day to the future CONAN type Klingons. Gowron, Kurn, Kruge, Klaa, Koord, Lursa and B’etor, come on this isn’t Beowulf or a fan real life role playing event, these are supposed to be the Federations primary adversaries and in most of the films and future series they are treated like dogs that happen to possess huge militaristic battleships.

Jeffery Coombs may have tied or beaten Mark Lenards record, but Lenard is still a HELLUVA lot cooler.

75. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

As well as being a better actor.

76. billy don't be a hiro - February 21, 2007

That I find the consistent sarcasm to be tiresome and repetative, Anthony, does not mean I don’t like having my thoughts provoked, or that I don’t have a sense of humor, John N. It just means I find the sarcasm tiresome and repetative. The fact that I don’t like what you like does not mean I’m stupid. I just have different taste. If that’s Mr. Bailey’s schtick, that’s fine, but its not my bag.

77. brady - February 21, 2007

i always felt that in stIII:tsfs when Savik helps young Spock with Ponn Farr that he got her pregnant and thats why she stays behind on Vulcan….my own take on it

78. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

That’s true Brady, that was an abandoned plot point for The Voyage Home, it’s a shame they didn’t pursue that course but, the studio wanted to sever all ties to the “Spock Trilogy” of II-IV.

79. Jeff Bond - February 21, 2007

Oh, the humanity!! What’s gonna happen if I slip some sarcasm into my next review? I’ll be crucified! I hereby withdraw my offer to review “And the Children Shall Lead”…

And don’t dump on my man Jeffrey Combs…in my opinion he was one of the few actors (J.G. Hertzler and Marc Alaimo among them) to carry on the great tradition of big, juicy old school Star Trek acting–he was just about the only thing that kept me watching Enterprise… :)

80. Dennis Bailey - February 21, 2007

#79: “Oh, the humanity!! What’s gonna happen if I slip some sarcasm into my next review? I’ll be crucified! I hereby withdraw my offer to review ‘And the Children Shall Lead’…”

I’m not looking forward to doing reviews of the bad episodes. It’s really difficult to entertain oneself and wring humor out of something truly, numbingly bad or unimaginative.

81. CmdrR. - February 21, 2007

OK, then I will…

In a brilliant and bold maneuver, Team Okuda has laid CGI shots of the E (with slightly washed out nacelle caps) over nintey percent of “And the Children Shall Lead.” Sulu’s daggers are replaced by the hypodermic needles used by Marvin Chomsky during the actual filming of this episode. Uhura’s reflection is replaced by actual shots of Shatner in 2007.

82. Joe Burns - February 21, 2007

Great review Bailey. You’re not relieved.

I’m of the opinion that classic Trek is best taken on 2 levels: dead serious and an affectionate humor regarding its limitations and failures. Perhaps some readers aren’t able to detect the affection; it’s coming in loud and clear here.

#30: don’t think there was much in the way of politics in this one. Maybe you’re still smarting over the Mitchell harrassment comment? If there was, well, if you really cared about the issue you’d offer your own view – surely you can’t expect to suppress his opinions? Marketplace of ideas, Stranger.

I’m quite pleased with what I’m seeing. Amok Time grew less convincing as the years went on, as it was clear Vulcan was yet another “Planet Hell” soundstage trip (still a fav, tho). The yearnings to see more of Vulcan are eased. Tragic cuts with no smashed monitor or Chapel teary-eyed agreeing to whip up some more Plomeek soup- and now the iTunes outlet for uncut eps is gone :-(. The XCU of the big E was like a blind date turning out to be a hottie.

IIRC, when the second season of Trek premiered with Amok Time, there was in fact a mini-“Spock’s Brain” reaction from fans. People were outraged that thier favorite logical Vulcan could be reduced to such savagery. “Star Trek is done, Second Season is gonna blow….”
They got over it. ;-)

FWIW, I miss the Vulcan moon in ST1MP as well; it’s on the bonus disk if you need to get your fix.

The Klingons: count me in the “TMP Klingons are teh win” crowd. All subsequent Klingons (with the previously mentioned exception of STVI:TUC) have followed in the path of Christopher Lloyd’s freelancing Kruge. Aside from Worf, “modern” TV Klingons always seem to be off thier meds, and unable to control themselves sufficiently to be a real threat. It was the absence of this flaw, not the presence of some great coolness, that improves ST:TMP by comparison.

IMHO, Kor and Kang are the best models, and I think Christopher Plummer did channel Colicos a bit. But Kang gotta eat!!
“You will die… of suffocation… (smiles) in the icy cold of space.”

83. Joe Burns - February 21, 2007

On Saavik:

IIRC, there was another, problematic connection in her backstory.
Remember the Romulan Commander from “The Enterprise Incident?”
After she and Spock toss down the Ale, the camera leaves them alone for a spell. If it were Kirk we’d all know what to think… there was a story going around that Saavik was the result of this joining. Definitely a problem if we take the Pon Far subplot together with this one. Ruh-roh!

84. Stanky McFibberich - February 21, 2007

re: 83. Joe Burns

So at the time of Search for Spock that would have made Saavik about 14 or 15? (Forgive me, nitpickers if I have miscalculated)

85. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - February 21, 2007

Man, I gotta tell ya’ I’ve been coming to this site for the last five months or so and, although this thread hasn’t been the worse (by far!), there is this pervasive sense of derision and negativity that too often permeates the joint. “He sucks, she sucks, that’s crap, no talent, etc, etc, etc.”

My mom used to tell me when I was little, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Free expression is one thing but… my god… the moral indignation, lack of humor and hackneyed histrionics about the smallest thing is absolutely demoralizing.

Sometimes the comments are just mean not constructive… flippant not fun… hurtful not discerning… There are real people on the other end of the off-handed, glibly phrased slurs and slights that get tossed off.

#79. Jeff Bond… I enjoy your reviews… please reconsider.

#80. Dennis Bailey… hang tough and keep your sense of humor.

It’s just a f**king TV show… albeit, a great one!

86. billy don't be a hiro - February 21, 2007

A little goes a long way, Jeff. Like sage.

87. The Artist Formerly Known As Picardsucks - February 21, 2007

Great Dennis as always very thoughtful now please finish Exeter or at least let us know what decade Act III will premeir in. Seriously I have been esposing the great virtues of Exeter On Aint it cool for years and on this site we all love since it’s Genesis. That close up primary hull shot into the bridge view was every bit as good if not better that CBS Menagerie and the reveal of the smashed Kongo hull strewn about an alien landscape was breathtaking. I have donated what I can via paypal to the effort, if they need more money just ask we Original Series Trekkers are a generous lot.

88. Michael Hall - February 21, 2007

Fortunately, Dennis, there aren’t that many unregenerately bad eps for you to review. Even the worst of the third season usually had a redeeming moment or two.

Kirk’s actions in this show are quintessentially 1960’s American. Faced with an ancient culture about which he knows little, on a planet where the nursery-school kids are smarter than he is, the good captain thought he could game a life-and-death contest to get the desired results by just showing a little old-fashioned American pluck and resolve. Without a quick-witted CMO and his trusty hypo, he would have been as dead as any redshirt.

He meant well, of course. Americans, at least in our most treasured self-image, always mean well.

89. CmdrR. - February 21, 2007

Hubris would be a great theme for a Trek film. A total muck-up involving the Prime Directive. However, I think we need a solid action adventure for XI. Maybe for XII, we could indulge in angst.
I agree with you, Michael, on Americanism being a strong part of Trek. It’s endearing, although it also has its dark components.

90. Stanky McFibberich - February 21, 2007

I enjoy a little well-placed sarcastic humor and I didn’t feel your review crossed any lines. It’s got to be tough to review things that have been written about so many times and come up with a new slant, so good job making it an interesting read.

91. Michael Appleton - February 21, 2007

#88 “Americans….always mean well.” Interesting that two of the biggest and iconic AMERICAN hero characters portrayed in television or film (of the past four decades) are James Kirk and Jack Bauer, both played by CANADIAN actors, William Shatner and Kiefer Sutherland. Coincidence? I think not!

92. Stanky McFibberich - February 21, 2007

Jack Bauer?

93. Michael Hall - February 21, 2007

Well. . . no. Kirk may be from Iowa, but he’s never specifically referred to as American, for the simple reason that we have no idea if such a political entity even exists in his own time. Certainly, Starfleet itself is represented as an international (and interplanetary) organization, not an American one.

His actions and attitudes, though, reflect the America of JFK’s New Frontier. There was indeed a lot of hubris in that vision, but there was a lot of hope as well. Not to open a huge political can of worms here, but it’s almost impossible to imagine James Kirk ever torturing anyone. That hope for a better future is the reason this show still has a hold on audiences forty years later, even with the plywood sets and styrafoam rocks.

94. CmdrR. - February 21, 2007

Starfleet is the American Dream, idealized. The real American Dream (or Chinese Dream, or Iranian Dream or what have you) usually involves a grand diversity with the dreamer on top. Trek is all about Kennedy’s committment to space. Interestingly, it also looks at our follies in Vietnam and our unease about the diversity we claim to embrace. Yes, I think there is something universal (pun intended) about thinking on a galactic scale and thinking there might one day be a truly universal peace.

95. Gsmarty Pants - February 21, 2007

Okay… this was a great review, but to the guy who’s knockin’ Bailey’s style, dude, seriously, calm down. “It’s flippant, it’s flippant!!!” I like Star Trek as much as the next person here, but really, it’s not the Bible, Quran, the Principia Mathematica, or the Constitution.

It’s a TV show.

It’s perfectly okay to poke a little fun at a TV show. Most people here seem to get that. Please, in the future, spare the rest of us your pedantic complaints.

Congrats again to Mr. Bailey for a most entertaining and informative review.

96. Dom - February 21, 2007

I find it bizarre that this site seems to have been invaded by a bunch of freaks, lately, who go nuts every time someone makes a joke and even more nuts if a slight modification is made to a TOS-R episode and start ranting about ‘killing canon!’

The reason I’ve always liked this site is that it is a worldly place where people come to chat about Trek. Unfortunately there’s been a recent influx of weirdos who strut about here acting like warrior-fanatics protecting some kind of sacred scroll.

If people here want to have a laugh about a show they like, why the hell shouldn’t they? If you want to find a Trek site out there that is humorless and self-righteous, go have a look on Google! I’m sure somewhere there’s a site for psycho ‘fans’ who have no life!

And one or two people here who are going on about Dennis’ supposed ‘sarcasm’ are clearly a bit thick!! I’m staggered that a nicely-written, really rather innocuous review can provoke so much ire.

Unless, as I’ve already posited, there’s a bitchy vein of jealousy running through them, because certain posters want to attack a known Trek critic or a guy who actually goes to the trouble of making new Trek.

I appreciate all these reviews, which people have taken valuable time to write. When posters here start bitching about the writing style, they clearly demonstrate that they neither have the intelligence to discuss the points raised nor the good manners to be grateful that a writer could be bothered to contribute here.


97. Michael Appleton - February 21, 2007

#96 I like how you start off talking about “nuts” and then finish your rant with “twats”. Come to think of it, there is the occasion where these two categories aren’t really that far apart from each other. As a matter of fact, they even get up close and personal on a recurring basis! Great,… now we’ve gone from social intercourse to another kind!

98. Scott Gammans - February 21, 2007

Good work (again) Dennis. :)

99. Dennis Bailey - February 21, 2007

TAFNA-Picardsucks, I’m working on Exeter even as I type. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

100. Michael Hall - February 21, 2007


I’d just about given up all hope. :-)

101. Anthony Pascale - February 21, 2007

Ok…things are getting personal…so stop it

Dom, I may agree with your sentiment…but lets not get into name calling.

Mysterious Stranger & Others- bottom line is that this site will continue to have a diversity of reviewers and the more thought provoking the more I like them. For those that cannot handle that I suggest you skip the reviews, but I suggest a bit of open mindedness. However it someone isnt your cup of tea fine, but no need to get personal or vitriolic over it.

102. TomBot2007 - February 21, 2007

Hey, I thought the review was pretty fun, especially the bullet points… ;-)
I agree with TMP almost being a Bizarro World version of Trek… It’d be nice if XI could accomplish “almost” the same feate but with a little less plodding.

103. Canonista the Cultist - February 21, 2007


“Man, I gotta tell ya’ I’ve been coming to this site for the last five months or so and, although this thread hasn’t been the worse (by far!), there is this pervasive sense of derision and negativity that too often permeates the joint. “He sucks, she sucks, that’s crap, no talent, etc, etc, etc.”


104. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

I’m still waiting for a Trek incarnation to utilize the all-powerful blaster beam sound effect again……Vejurs theme owned.


You just can’t beat striking an artillery shell for sound!

105. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

Oh granted, you had the minified DONG for First Contact, but it lacked the OOMF and AH-haaaahhh of Vejur’s DOOOOOONG.

106. YARN - February 21, 2007

I “KUN-a-ta-BEL-i-eve” that some people are so far out in the Xenosphere (whatever that is) as to attack this most entertaining and informative review. I “KUN-a-ta-BEL-i-eve”, of course, is derived from the Vulcan “Kuanatabelemos”, ‘to tear one a new orifice ’(is sneering, knee-jerking, or the rejection of a reviewer, or review. It is strongly associated with an overreaction to irony, with some definitions classifying it as a type of ad hominem intended to insult or wound.). I would say more but I have to wander into the Vulcan ice cap/desert to worship DDOC now….

107. Josh T. ( The Undiscovered Wrath of Spock Voyage The Motion Picture) Kirk Esquire' - February 21, 2007

Why are people talking about a damn review when we could all be discussing the power of DOOOOONG, Klingon eye contact lenses, or Treknology in The Motion Picture, I mean damn oye?

108. Gsmarty Pants - February 21, 2007

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!!!! Yeah, that really is a great sound, inconic in its own way.

Sorry if I raised anyone’s ire or contributed to any kind of factionalism… truth is I lurk here just about every day, there’s always something to get a kick out of, and it’s by far the best site for trek news/reviews around. It just kind of blows my mind occasionally that some folk seem to check their sense of humor at the door. As others have said, Mr. Bailey’s jocularity clearly stems from his love of the show – they’re jokes you can only really make if you know it very, very well, and this is just so obvious that I just don’t get why anyone could possibly be so offended. Maybe that’s how I should have said it initially, and I apologize for singling that guy out. Won’t happen again here.

109. Buckaroohawk - February 21, 2007

Just to toss my quarter into the wishing well…

Even though I like DRB’s reviews, I can understand why they may not appeal to everyone. Different strokes for different folks. Some people prefer Mark Altman’s style, which to me always seems like he’s staring down his nose at me. DRB’s is more light-hearted. Both he and Altman have an incisive wit, but Bailey always makes sure to use the flat of his blade so as not to cut too deeply.

What astonishes me is those people who visit this site, see the bi-line with the author’s name and continue to read a review knowing full well that they’re not likely to enjoy it. Then, to put a cap on it, they slam out a post ranting about how their sensibilities have been offended “yet again” by the author of the review. It’s like saying “The last time I put my hand in the fire, my hand got burned. I wonder what will happen if I stick my whole head in?”

I have a simple solution. If you have come to the conclusion that you don’t like a certain reviewer’s style, do yourself (and all of us) a favor and skip the review. Don’t read it. Look away. Save yourself the increased heart rate and high blood pressure. I’m sure you’ll feel better for it. Oh, and just so you don’t get mad at me for making such a bold suggestion, feel free to leave a post stating that you skipped the review so we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was impinging upon the right to free speech.

110. Dave Mack - February 22, 2007

thurs morn and no preview yet for
” I……AM….KIROK…!!!!!!!!”

111. Holo J - February 22, 2007

The preview for “The Paradise Syndrome” is up now on

112. Bob Jones - February 22, 2007

Geez, Dennis.

Your complete lack of common sense, disfunctional personality, huge head, poor fashion sense and appalling personal hygiene and all some people can do is criticize your excellent and humorous reviews?

Something is just not right here. ;-)

113. OM - February 22, 2007

#30: This particular reviewer is nowhere near as self-centered and egotistical as Trek Today\’s current excuse, Erica Michelle Greene, who has about as much business writing Trek reviews as I do on the issues surrounding which brand and/or design of feminine hygenic to use.

…However, you *do* have a point, tho, and it\’s a point that a *LOT* of reviewers miss and/or conveniently ignore: a review isn\’t about how much the reviewer knows and wants to show off, it\’s about the topic of the review and the questions that the topic raises. CNN\’s Paul Tatara used to be one of the classic examples of the problem of letting your ego get in the way of properly reviewing a film, which is one of the reasons he was eventually forced off that network.

…For a review of a film or TV show to be done properly, the reviewer has to do the following at the bare minimum:

* Explain the basic plot of the film, usually sans major spoilers.
* Delve into what\’s known about the director\’s motivations, intentions and even agenda.
* Ditto for the major cast members.
* Point out any glaring flaws in plot, execution, and especially logic gaffes that are so blatant that you have to wonder what the film editor was smoking that day, and whether he shared it with the execs who cleared the film for release.
* Explain whether or not the film presents any “allegoricals” *PROVIDED* the director and/or writer has specified as such. One of the major failures of a poor review is for a writer to try and show off how much they stayed awake in their Humanities class(es) by comparing the plot of the film to some Greek myth-tragedy that\’s obscure to about 90% of the audience, and bears AbZero relationship to what the creative team had any iota of producing. One of the best retorts was one reviewer claiming some Steven Seagal flick was an allegory to a specific Norse tale, and Seagal coming out and making it clear that the film had no hidden meaning like that, and was just a “kick-ass action flick with nothing but ass kicking” as the message.

Bottom Line: Tell us about the show in basic facts, touch base on what the creative team was trying to accomplish, give a basic analysis of whether or not the succeeded, and *then* tell us whether or not you liked the film and why. Don\’t try to read into a show something that isn\’t there as a soapbox to show off your self-delusion that you\’re trivially-unchallenged to the Jeopardy level. Give your reader enough info for them to decide whether or not to see the show on a fair basis, and leave it at that.

114. billy don't be a hiro - February 22, 2007

Its really interesting to me to see how many of you really get your noses out of joint over a minority of people expressing a viewpoint that runs contrary to that of the majority. I was under the impression that Anthony put a “trackback”/talkback/whatever feature on the site because he’s interested in the opinions of his readers and in receiving feedback on the site. Opinion and feedback can be positive and it can also be negative. I don’t get the impression that Anthony is the kind of guy who only wants his ego stroked, only wants to hear praise, and only wants to be told that everything on this site is universally loved. I have no problem with Dennis, personally. I think he’s an intelligent guy. I liked one of his TNG episodes. He raised some interesting points in the review. I just don’t care for the sarcastic tone of this and his previous reviews. Particularly taken in total, it goes overboard for me. I have no problem with humor in reviews, I have no problem with poking fun at Star Trek. There is obviously plenty to poke fun at. I just think the predominantly sarcastic review style is hackey and has become cliched. Its been done to death in entertainment journalism and I’d enjoy the points Dennis makes in his reviews more if he’d lay it on a little less thick. That’s my opinion and that’s all. That a handful of people basically saying that don’t care for a review’s tone or the style in which its written gets such angry responses, accusations of people being too “thick” to “get it”, being called “twats”, “freaks”, “self-righteous”, “humorless”, it just seems like such an overreaction to a few people saying “I don’t like the sarcasm”. I can really only recall one guy who made anything approaching what I would consider a “rant” about the review, the rest seemed like pretty mild criticisms, including mine. Dennis is a professional writer and I’m sure he is used to reading criticism. I’m certainly used to reading criticisms of my own comments. That goes with the territory. But some of you really seem to have gone way overboard in your responses. People can have a difference of opinion over a review without calling each other stupid, humorless, et cetera. Those of you complaining about the negativity and derision, its on all sides of all differences of opinion. Finally, to Anthony, you said “bottom line is that this site will continue to have a diversity of reviewers and the more thought provoking the more I like them. For those that cannot handle that I suggest you skip the reviews, but I suggest a bit of open mindedness.” I’m all for the diversity of reviews, reviews, and viewpoints, the more thought provoking the better. But not everybody is going to like every review. You suggest people skip the reviews and open their minds. So I have to ask, do you want honest feedback or not? Do you want to hear the opinions of people reading and visiting this site, regardless of whether or not they agree with your own or even the majority of the people posting? Are free exchanges of ideas and civil disagreements of opinion encouraged here or not?

115. Baldrick - February 22, 2007

I think this episode really nails it on the subject of Vulcans. Leonard Nimoy commented in an interview that many actors don’t know how to play Vulcans. They play Vulcans as if they have no emotions to begin with, which is incorrect. Vulcans have emotions, they just manage to successfully supress them (most of the time). I think writers tend to have the same problem. It’s much easier to portray Vulcans as basically humanoid robots – think Data’s with actual blood flow, than to try to have a character that struggles to restrain natural urges and instincts, especially when those struggles are required to be rather hidden and not readily apparent. It requires a great of subtlety to pull it off.

116. Baldrick - February 22, 2007

From Dom – “The reason I’ve always liked this site is that it is a worldly place where people come to chat about Trek. Unfortunately there’s been a recent influx of weirdos who strut about here acting like warrior-fanatics protecting some kind of sacred scroll.”

Dom, for your continuing and baffling desecration of our beloved sacred scroll, you are hereby banished from the Trek Movie Report forever. And as a final humiliation, you must walk home naked, dragging behind you the Stone of Shame.

117. Canonista the Cultist - February 22, 2007

I hope that Dennis Bailey is still bothering to read this thread, because I have just discovered something that I did not know:

If I am correct, Dennis is the co-writer of both the TNG Episodes “Tin Man” and “First Contact”, both episodes that I would rank among the best in their respective Seasons. It’s a pleasure to be able to give feedback to you, if this is really you.

You’ll notice that I didn’t weigh in on the review, because I frankly didn’t have an opinion on the writing style. It is what it is. I didn’t detect any significant bias (lol, at least this time). I am glad you enjoy “Enterprise”. That now makes two of us that peruse!!

Thanks again for your TNG work, Dennis….

118. Dennis Bailey - February 22, 2007

#112: “Your complete lack of common sense, disfunctional personality, huge head, poor fashion sense and appalling personal hygiene and all some people can do is criticize your excellent and humorous reviews?”

Most haven’t had the uplifting experience of dealing with me face-to-face, hence those glaring oversights. :)

Oh, and it’s “dysfunctional” not “disfunctional,” dude. The latter is an apparent result of confused folk etymology – “dis” for reversal or removal as opposed to “dys” for “abnormal or impaired.

You were spoken well of over the weekend, Beavis. Go figure.

119. Dennis Bailey - February 22, 2007

#117: Thanks, Canonista.

120. Buckaroohawk - February 22, 2007

billy (#114)

You make some very good, level-headed points in your argument, which is exactly what these forums are about; intelligent point and counterpoint discussions. You stated, quite clearly and without making personal or political attacks, why you’re not a fan of DRB’s reviews. You don’t seem to be offended by them, you just aren’t a fan of his style.

There is a big difference between not liking a writer’s style and being actively offended by it, however.

The trouble is that there are people who are offended, and even though they KNOW they will be, they subject themselves to his reviews apparently just so they can get angry. They don’t respond to the review, they attack the reviewer as if they expect an apology for subjecting themselves to something they know will upset them. There is nothing constructive about that whatsoever. It doesn’t do anything productive for them or this site. DRB isn’t going to change his style, Anthony isn’t going to stop publishing reviews from him, so what good does it do to scream about it?

I don’t think that the chastising about “not getting it” or being “humorless” was aimed at you specifically. There are a number of people who’ve stated that they don’t like DBR’s reviews without resorting to perosnal attacks. As long as you can make your opinion known without mud-slinging, it’s all good. Still, I would suggest to everyone that, since DRB’s reviews will continue to appear here despite what you might think about them, you determine how productive it is for you to respond. If you have a valid point to make, then make it. If you’re just going to cry about how your personal and/or politcal views have been somehow damaged by a review for a 40 year old TV show, then you’ve got some bigger issues that need to be addressed.

Simply stated, it’s silly to get so upset or angry over DRB’s writing style. It’s sillier still to whine that it somehow rebukes your own ideas and philosophies so much that you feel you’ve been attacked and must respond in kind. Star Trek can withstand his “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” attitude. If you’re sensibilities cannot, then the problem lies within you and it’s not DRB’s responsibility to fix it. He’s not attacking anyone in his reviews, so no one should feel that they have been attacked. If you do, then it’s your attitude that needs improvement, not his.

121. billy don't be a hiro - February 22, 2007

I’m not upset or angry over Dennis’s writing style. I simply didn’t care for it and I said so. Is that not the back and forth nature of these talkbacks things? They people who seem to be angry and upset are the people who dodn’t agree with my opinion of Dennis’s review.

122. brady - February 22, 2007

118…..the pen is mightier than the….you go boyyyyyyyyyyyy

123. billy don't be a hiro - February 22, 2007

And I should add, I appreciate your willingness not to paint everybody with a broad brush, #120. I wish everyone would take a page from your notebook. And I look forward to Dennis’s next review, whether I like it or not, and I will probably comment on it, whether positive or negative.

Thanks for the exchange.

124. YARN - February 22, 2007

“There’s no way that T’Pau would hold McCoy’s little bit of chicanery against Starfleet or the human race, of course. That’s like suggesting that Tony Soprano would whack a guy for talking to the Feds. So, she covers Kirk’s hinder with Starfleet.

Like they were really gonna discipline him just for disobeying direct orders.”

We don’t know when T’Pau requested Enterprise be redirected to Vulcan. It could have been done before she got T’Punked (perhaps Spock issued a personal request to her in a desperate bid to get to Vulcan).

This point aside, one must admitted that the end works out a bit too conveniently. If this ceremony is so big on its honor code that they bring in masked extras from the MadMax to enforce da’ rules, you have to think that she might not respond favorably to being duped by the doc’s doping. If anything, you would think that McCoy would have damaged relations with Vulcan — instead T’Pau issues them a get out of jail free card. Does not seem quite right, does it? Of course, you do have to tie things up at the end of a compartmentalized show like this (unless it is a two parter), but it feels like a Deus ex McCoy.

It would have, perhaps, been better to have established that Kirk was about to be honored with a promotion, title, or medal — and then to have him lose it for playing fast and loose with his orders. The show could end Kirk talking about how he was happy to sacrifice losing that honor (and stalling his career) to help his friend.

125. Toonoon - February 22, 2007


126. Dr. Image - February 22, 2007

Anthony, there should be a convention and everyone should be locked in a room with baseball bats.
Well, maybe not the latter… but to hear a bunch of fans get into screaming matches, live and in person, WOULD be entertaining…

127. Dom - February 22, 2007

You’d never get everyone in the room: certain people would complain that the doorman had a sarcastic tone of voice! ;)

128. Anthony Pascale - February 22, 2007

by the way I will be on a panel discussion at the upcoming wondercon next month

I will do my best to keep the sarcasm at an appropriate level

129. Doc Horror - February 22, 2007

The only reviews I care to read are Dennis’ *because* he uses humour/sarcasm.They’re fun….a change of pace, and right on the mark. And lately I’ve just gotten tired of the obsessivness of too much of fandom, especially both Trek and Comics.

Evan Dorkin had it right with Eltingville:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Chill out. It’s all just made up stuff.

Dennis, I knew you wrote “Tin Man”, didn’t know you wrote “First Contact”. I remember for years thinking it would be cool to see an ep from the aliens point of view. And it was. Didn’t like that the movie took the name of one of the best eps of the show. Thanks for a great work of Trek!

130. Dennis Bailey - February 22, 2007


Thanks. I can’t take too much credit for “First Contact,” though – my writing partner and I did the first draft teleplay and it went through two more drafts by other writers on staff. I think Michael Piller is entitled to the lion’s share of credit for what you saw on screen.

131. Buckaroohawk - February 22, 2007

billy (#121 & #123)

Exactly! Saying that DRB’s reviwes aren’t in your taste is fine. No writer has ever won everybody over with their prose. Saying that he is somehow dismantling your ideology with these reviews, however, is another thing entirely. Some people who visit here are just WAY too sensitive.

I take everybody here at face value. I’ve had some great discussions here, and a few dust-ups as well. We’re all fans of Trek. It means a lot to each of us. Sometimes most of us are in agreement, sometimes there are debates, sometimes arguments; but that’s what really makes Star Trek special. It means something a little different to each of us and is a place where we can expand our horizons a bit. There may be a few who refuse to do that, but in the long run they’re the ones who are missing out.

I’m glad we had this talk, too. Maybe it will spur others to put down their phasers and shake hands.

132. dil - February 26, 2007

Still disappointed in the edits. Shouldn’t have to sacrifice dialog for the new cgi. Christine never got to tell Spock we are bound for Vulcan. And T’Pau never asked Spock if he was human or Vulcan. Not here, I recorded these shows and watched it (those parts) three times and they were omited. Critical dialog. Still like the shots of the land that Spock’s family has held for two thousand years.

133. Lou Ligon - May 10, 2011

I’m aware about this previously, however there was clearly some helpful bits that completed the image for me personally, thanks! is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.