“The Lights of Zetar” Remastered Review, Screenshots & Video [UPDATED] | TrekMovie.com
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“The Lights of Zetar” Remastered Review, Screenshots & Video [UPDATED] June 8, 2008

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: TOS-R Screenshots/Video , trackback

REVIEW
by Jeff Bond

Trek nears the bottom of the barrel with this nonsensical mix of romance and science fiction written by Shari Lewis, better known as the puppeteer behind Lambchop. Based on this script, it’s clear that puppeteering is her true talent—“Lights of Zetar” is a classic “Mary Sue” storyline profiling a female Enterprise officer who’s the latest woman since Lt. Caroline Palamas to drive Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott to irrational acts of incompetence.

The “Mary Jane” stories, staples of Trek fan fiction, usually involve a heroic female character who spends the tale being loved—or at least admired—by Trek’s male characters. It’s a bit of romantic wish fulfillment that’s particularly sad given the show’s tentative depictions of female equality—you’d think a female fan writing for this particular show could do better than to create a female character whose only function is as a romantic object.

Jan Shutan plays Lt. Mira Romaine, a records officer (librarian?) who has Scotty dizzy over her from the show’s opening scenes. The romance is notable enough that Kirk devotes an entire log entry to it, and most of the bridge crew spends the opening moments of the episode commenting on “the girl” (as Romaine is continually referred to throughout the episode, even by Spock). Sample dialogue: Chekov: “I didn’t think Mr. Scott would go for the brainy type.” Sulu: “I don’t think he’s even noticed she has a brain.” Ah, Star Trek—always ahead if its time…

In a virtual replay of the kickoff scene from “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (so much so that Alexander Courage’s score from that pilot is used throughout the episode), a swarm of alien lights invade the ship, finally lodging inside Romaine; shortly thereafter this “storm” attacks Memory Alpha. The lights of Zetar make people talk in slowed down croaks while processed color effects wash across their faces. Apparently they’re a lost race looking for a physical home to settle down in, and they’ve decided that a fetching brunette with great legs would be the best possible environment in which to live.

It’s sad enough to see Scotty, who’s shown to be not only a brilliant engineer but also a coolly competent starship commander in so many other episodes, reduced to the whimpering romantic puppy dog he becomes here. But just as in “Is There In Truth No Beauty,” Kirk, Spock and McCoy are also made into a Mira Romaine cheerleading society, lavishing more praise on the woman than poor, long-suffering Uhura, Sulu or Chekov will ever get. But unlike Dr. Miranda Jones, Mira Romaine isn’t a particularly impressive character—her chief accomplishment seems to be not whimpering in fear like some of the other female guest stars on the series. Shutan seems capable of playing a strong, intelligent woman, but the script undercuts her few contributions, instead opting for shots of her beaming winsomely at Scotty or otherwise surrendering her fate to the newly met command crew of the Enterprise who she “trusts implicitly.” Her experience as a records officer doesn’t play into resolving the plot’s dilemma and by the end of the story she’s merely an inert object floating in sickbay’s decompression chamber as Kirk, Spock and McCoy work to rescue her.

Meanwhile, Scotty’s behavior in this episode is despicable, if not insubordinate. He directly disobeys Kirk’s order to stay at his post on the bridge rather than follow the injured Romaine to sickbay, and he fails to report symptoms and behavior on the part of Romaine that have a critical bearing on both her survival and the safety of the ship and crew. His few acts of outright idiocy in “Who Mourns for Adonais?” are almost excusable in the heat of the moment, but you’d think a court martial would be in order after “Lights of Zetar.”

The episode’s one interesting idea is the Memory Alpha archive, although as shown in the story, placing a star-spanning civilization’s entire compilation of knowledge on one vulnerable planetoid turns out not to be such a great idea. The loss of these priceless records doesn’t get the impact it deserves as the episode wraps up tidily once the Zetars are exorcised from Romaine’s body. Presumably Lt. Romaine will spend the rest of her life trying to put Memory Alpha together again.

With its blinking lights, color-shifted faces and interstellar storms, “Lights of Zetar” was an effects-based episode, and as with “Day of the Dove,” the challenge for CBS-D is to retain many of the episode’s original optical effects as they are overlaid on live action scenes while taking advantage of the outside-the-ship scenes to broaden the palette of action and detail. The Zetar “storm” was simply but interestingly rendered on the original series as a kind of floating piece of interstellar gelatin with flashing interior lights, and the new effects expand marvelously on the original look, combining a bubbling, transparent red cloud with a series of coruscating, pulsating interior lights. The object is combined with the Enterprise in a number of very effective shots that take advantage of the possibilities for interactive lighting and seamless compositing. The only downside is the overlaying of these effects on top of the original optical effects of glimmering lights inside Romaine’s eye pupils and a rather effective dolly shot of the lights invading the corridors of the Enterprise late in the game. The combination of the new light effects on top of the originals just winds up being overly busy, while either effect on its own is quite striking and effective—given that the Zetar lights are operating in entirely different environments (something that becomes an important plot point at the episode climax) the original effects of the lights inside Romaine and the Enterprise could probably have been safely left alone.

Another ambitious addition is the revamping of Memory Alpha from the familiar colored globe of the original episode to a new, Mars-like planetoid that shows a huge, visible structure of linked domes—far more visually interesting and something that actually measures up to the momentous concept of Memory Alpha. With all these touches, and the dynamic look of even simple shots of the Zetar cloud pursuing the Enterprise visible on its viewscreen, this comes off as one of the more spectacular efforts by CBS-D. It’s almost enough to make “Lights of Zetar” worth sitting through again. Almost.

SFX VIDEO

SCREENSHOTS
by Matt Wright

Remastered vs. Original

Extras


Scotty protects his new younger girlfriend

Seasons One and Two at Amazon
The Season Two box set is now available at Amazon for pre-order, discounted to $63.99 (Amazon has a low price guarantee that if they drop the price before ship date of August 5th you will get that lower price). The Season One DVD / HD DVD combo disk is available for $129.95 (retail is $194.99).


Seasons One and Two of TOS-R ($129.95 and $63.99 respectively)

Comments

1. Green-Blooded-Bastard - June 8, 2008

The remasters make everything look so good. How long does it take to do a typical episode over?

2. Lights-of-Zetar - June 8, 2008

Any others votes from readers, that CBS-D is adding film grain to the Enterprise special effects shots?

3. Lights-of-Zetar - June 8, 2008

CLARIFICATION: Any other YES votes from Trekmovie.com readers that CBS-D is adding film grain to the Enterprise special effects shots?

4. WARIO - June 8, 2008

INTERESTING…

5. WVtrekker - June 8, 2008

Oh, lost oportunities. This could have been a decent episode with some revision. Making Scotty less of the love-struck teenager would go a long way! In fact, Lt. Romane isn’t even needed. Oh, well, like things in sci-fi, it is an interesting idea killed by poor planning and execution.

6. Tango - June 8, 2008

I like this episode more than Jeff Bond. I think for 1960’s TV Star Trek romances were appropriate for that era. Besides those aliens really creaped me out as a child. It had a real Outer LImits feel to it.

As I write this I am first. Let’s see where I wind up when I post it.

7. Toonloon - June 8, 2008

Is it just me or does the cloud look more fake than it originally did?

The planetoid is a fantastic addition though. Well done Mr Okuda!

8. CmdrR - June 8, 2008

At least Mira wasn’t wearing girlie coveralls and carrying a sock-puppet.

I like this ep, for a kid’s perspective, it moves along, it’s got emotional value (albeit wrong emotions) and it’s pretty. Plus, Scotty gets some stuff to do (albeit stupid stuff.)

I’ll disagree with Jeff Bond on choosing this ep as being one of the worst in terms of Mary Jane characters. Romaine comes off as composed, if not outright brave in the face of a perfectly rude alien race. We see it on TV a lot — invasion of the lite brite or whatever creatures. But, it would be absolutely terrifying to have someone else telling you what to do while shoving your consciousness into the rear seat. Romaine recognizes the threat and allows the others to help. That takes ballz.

9. Smitty - June 8, 2008

Jeff, it’s “Mary Sue” not “Mary Jane”

-cs™

10. Izbot - June 8, 2008

I agree with Jeff Bond on all the above points — the episode is a real groaner. For a person touted as “the first Starfleet officer assigned to Memory Alpha” the male crew-members sure treat her like a 10-year old. Kirk calls her “the girl” at least four or more times, McCoy twice and Spock at least once — often right in her presence. Then Kirk further condescends her by smiling and explaining slowly that “sometimes crewmembers new to the Enterprise find our procedures…confusing”. Scotty fawns over her but doesn’t believe a word she says about her experiences instead prefering to chalk them up to ‘just a wee case of space madness, that’s all! Now lets go get a milkshake!’ Kirk appears to go out of his way to depersonalize Mira, as if he’s jealous a woman would shower her affections on anyone but himself. The episode is rife with mid-20th century sexist stereotypes. Mira Romaine, leaving the service (too demanding?) to become a librarian (who else would want Scotty but a spinster with no other prospects?) acting all delusional (who can understand the irrational mind of a woman?).

Another thing about this episode — just like Mark of Gideon — is it is painfully slow and boring. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to watch this episode through in one sitting and even Remastered I had to stop and watch the second half this morning.

Scotty is completely ineffective in this episode — practically inert. Despite all this there are a couple nice touches. The zero G chamber is particularly effective (this is one of the only attempts at the effect of weightlessness on a person in the series and much more effective here than in The Tholian Web). The appearance of the new Memory Alpha planetoid is welcome. The reverse angle viewer pursuit of the lights was nice and harkened back to a similar effect in Squire of Gothos.

11. FredCFO - June 8, 2008

“It’s almost enough to make “Lights of Zetar” worth sitting through again. Almost.”

AMEN.

12. starfall42 - June 8, 2008

There one oddity in the original DVD release: the credits are different from the broadcast versions. The second slide in the broadcast versions is the Balok puppet from “The Corbomite Maneuver “. However, it’s an overhead shot of the Providers from “The Gamesters of Triskellion” (with a studio clapboard visible no less) on the DVDs. You can see this in trekcore.com’s screencaps, which are from the DVDs.

13. Jamie - June 8, 2008

As for “film grain”. I thought they’ve always added film grain to the SFX. What kind of incompetent CGI team would not add film grain? They would have to be complete amateurs not to give any grain at all to the film, when it’s supposed to be a live action show.

It may be that the team have recently decided to use a little more grain than before, but surely they wouldn’t ever have created CGI without grain. That would be like watching Toy Story or something!

14. dep1701 - June 8, 2008

I’m glad the CGI team didn’t try to remove my favorite effect from this episode: the discarded newspaper on the floor of sickbay during the end scene ( just look past Spock’s right elbow, through the door to the other room ). I think it’s hilarious that no one noticed it and it got left in the shot.

15. Tango - June 8, 2008

One observation; I don’t think they explained why putting the girl in an anti-grav pressure chamber will kill the aliens. Also they’re eplanation of how the aliens became from corporal form on a dying planet to a non-corporal form on Zatar was lacking. There were a lot plot holes in TOS, but I just assumed all these years that the parts explaining the plots further were edited out during syndication. Now that I can watch them uncut on cbs.com, I realize that they were script errors.

16. Tango - June 8, 2008

14 dep1701

I never noticed that before. You could almost read the advertisments on it. Also, when they go to a closup of McCoy, the newspaer is gone.

17. CmdrR - June 8, 2008

clipboard shot
http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/3×18/thelightsofzetar_484.jpg

I don’t know if that’s a newspaper, but it sure seems like a mistake:
http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/3×18/thelightsofzetar_466.jpg

18. FranBro - June 8, 2008

links are “forbidden…”

19. starfall42 - June 8, 2008

The pressure gets up to 40 atmospheres before the Zetars are driven off. That’s 588 psi. So why isn’t she dead?

20. Garovorkin - June 8, 2008

I do hope this episoade gets the MEGO TREK THEATER TREATMENT, that would be amazing ly funny as would a Robot Chicken version of this episode.

21. Buckaroohawk - June 8, 2008

Regarding Memory Alpha:
It’s always been my thought that, even though Memory Alpha contained all the historical information of Federation member worlds, it wasn’t the sole repository of that information. It just doesn’t make sense that every planet in the Federation would simply “dump” their histories into one (apparently remote and poorly protected) location. Rather, I see it more like the Library of Congress. You can find the information contained there in other places as well, but this location holds everything and different items can be cross-referenced and compared more easily. In other words, each Federation planet sent a COPY of their history to Memory Alpha to be cataloged, but they all still have the information on their home worlds as well. That way, the loss of Memory Alpha would still be a significant event, but not a total tragedy. I simply cannot imagine Federation planets not keeping a back-up of such important files. Highly illogical, indeed.

As for the new FX, the Zetar lights look very, very cool, but the choice to overlay the new FX with the interior ship scenes has me stymied. It’s not that the scenes now look too busy. I’m thinking of all the hand phaser shots and other FX (like the transporter) from previous episodes that they chose NOT to spruce up. It makes things that much more inconsistant.

Darn it, there’s that word again. “Inconsistant.” Like a ghost haunting the TOS-R project…

22. Wayne - June 8, 2008

Not a bad episode overall. The remastered effects were great but i do agree about the lights within the Enterprise. That could have been done better. The effect where the people of Zetar invaded the Enterprise could have been done better. Overall 8/10

23. Smitty - June 8, 2008

CmdrR, I can’t call that an error, some of those stills seen during the closing credits were on set snapshots taken during production.

I recall the shot of the stand in taking off his android makeup from Return To Tomorrow.

Oh those newspapers were there because McCoy’s dog had a litter of puppies and he was giving them away to whoever wanted them!

-cs™

24. CmdrR - June 8, 2008

Smitty — yeah, was calling the papers the mistake. The clapboard w/ the bad brains is just cool.

25. James Dairy - June 8, 2008

This episode sucks, but CBS didn’t make it better. The lights look like the space amoeba now – a bubble – rather than a cloud of sparks. The enterprises evasive bank lacked mass, as many of the E’s action shots have in the past.

And adding their own new effects over the old, to over power the original, just looked muddy and crowded. Better to have simulated the old effects in space perfectly and left the live shots alone.

26. Garovorkin - June 8, 2008

Heres’ a question , The Zatarans are incorporeal energy, that have survived the vacumne of space, yet they can be killed by a pressure chamber? Excessive Atmospheric pressure should not be able to affect them let alone kill them. and also how is it that they can pass through the Enterprise deflectors and ships hull effortlessly yet, they cannot pass through the simple walls of the of a pressure chamber. Does anyone else see a probelm with this?

27. EFFeX - June 8, 2008

I have to admit, some of the original shots in this one were slightly better.

28. eagle219406 - June 8, 2008

I agree with some of the things mentioned above. Particularly the way they portrayed women. It seemed to go against the show’s concept a lot. Which could have been the reason why they show originally failed. The concept was great, and as Spock said about Edith Keeler, Roddenberry was right, but at the wrong time. While it was a good concept, it was one the world at the time wasn’t ready for. One thing I disagree with is the lost information in the library, As far as I knew, none of the archives were lost, just the people.

#26: Who says they didn’t? THey never said they were dead, just “Gone.” That could mean anything.

29. Garovorkin - June 8, 2008

No tin this case gone means dead, again incorporeal how would they even be affected by Pressure, this is a very obvious example of bad writing , plus its a Fred Friedberger and he gave little thought to such things as good writing anyway. I believe even McCoy mentioned something about Pressure killing them.

30. Denise de Arman - June 8, 2008

Why the negativity over this ep? Aside from the usual sexist 60’s dialogue, I have always liked this one, and do not consider it to be a Mary Sue at all. Usually, Mary Sue characters are unbelievably strong, beautiful, intelligent women who have either Kirk or Spock (or both) falling over themselves to lick the woman’s toes. Mira Romaine is a temporary crewmember who happens to like Scotty. Insofar as Scotty’s behavior is concerned, at least it is consistent with his “Scotty’s in love” behavior seen in Adonis. This story has a good plot and keeps one wondering what is going to happen next, which is more than I can say for many of the other third season shows. Totally disagree with Jeff Bond on this.

31. US Taxpayer Dude - June 8, 2008

“It’s a bit of romantic wish fulfillment that’s particularly sad given the show’s tentative depictions of female equality—you’d think a female fan writing for this particular show could do better than to create a female character whose only function is as a romantic object.”

It’s funny reading all the feminist pretensions at this site. Haha! You people, male and female (or should I say Morg and Eymorg?) need to get out around normal people. Feminism is a relic of the past and no one really cares for such a doctrinaire, killjoy, and sterile — and I mean that literally — ideology that is thoroughly discredited by anyone with active hormone glands. Or memories of the same.

Out here, in the real world, girls enjoy being girls and they enjoy the attention they get from “the boys”. Then they get married and have a lot of kids and never look back at their bitter single “sisters” who complain because no boys will even give them the time of day.

But then, I’m not a scientist, pretend scientist, or computer
persons who live in hermetically sealed, theoretical worlds that act as you want them to act! I’m one of those 0.9% of surveyed Star Trek fans who happens to earn his living based on a verifiable, testable, and ruthless compliance with human nature – that being, business. Ideologies don’t stand a chance in my world. That leads to this thing we call “bankruptcy” and “disgrace”.

Boy meets girl. Boy chaces girl. Girl lets boy catch her. All is well :-)

Just sayin.

32. max - June 8, 2008

It boring and forgettable (well, I thought so anyway), so the usual sexist 60’s stuff stands out a little more than usual. Also, the Memory Alpha idea is a little dated. Back then they thought a computer would have to be huge to hold that much information. Now we have Wikipedia.

All in all, I just don’t think about this episode much.

33. Michael Hall - June 8, 2008

#31–Sure, whatever. “Ideologies don’t stand a chance in your world”? Right–like being a bitter reactionary who would keep half of the human race (and God only knows who else) in their place isn’t, somehow, being an idealogue. Here’s a clue for you: women, whether they call themselves feminists or not (and, your caterwauling to the contrary, a fair number still do) don’t need your sort to inform them how they should best live their lives. Any more than the rest of us do.

34. lodownX - June 8, 2008

“Mr.Spock says its alive… maybe I can talk to it.”

Thank you Sherri Lewis… for the Trek quote of MY day.

35. lodownX - June 8, 2008

BTW… this ep. totally reminds me of the first TNG Pocket book “Ghostship”… that book rips-off the isolation chamber and “gelatinous” disembodied space-light-consciousness thing.

wow… I just geeked myself out with that one.

36. OR Coast Trekkie - June 8, 2008

Also, this episode is a classic example of Shatner over-acting!

But I agree, if they overlaid lights over live-action, why not overlay new phaser beams? As #21 said: Inconsistency. Heck, it almost makes me wonder if they decide how much they are going to go out on for episodes by drawing them out of a hat…

I guess being one in his late 20’s, I found the sexism rather appalling. Geez, it seems like they were practically 2 seconds away from saying “Shut up woman and make me a sandwich.”

One of these days Alice…

37. OneBuckFilms - June 8, 2008

Great effects, but the episode was a Clunker.

Conversation with my wife:

Me: Did you hear that?
Wife: What?
Me: That noise
Wife: What noise?
Me: That CLUNK !!!

I got a pair of rolling eyes.

On the other hand, the idea of the Federation, and the use of the Anti-Grav chamber worked well, and the stomach-gargling noise was actually creepy enough to be effective.

38. AJ - June 8, 2008

31: USTPD:

Wow. I am also in business. I am from the US. You? The US has a 50% divorce rate, and in the 2nd term of the Bush Administration, non-married couples surpassed married couples for the first time in quantity. Where are all these happily married baby-making wonder-wives?

Hilary Clinton almost became the Democratic nominee for President. Could she have done it in 1968?

The depiction of women, men, races, nations, physically challenged, etc., in Star Trek is a key element of the show. And I think the discussion here is more about 1960s sexism than Gloria Steinem-style feminism.

And it’s interesting to note that Trek in the ’80s and ’90s actually removed male-female sexual interaction from the show. You could have sex if at least one of you was an alien, under the influence of a space-borne illness, were married, in love, in a Q-induced illusion, or an android.

In any case, “Zetar” is a true bottom-feeder.

39. ety3 - June 8, 2008

I just wish the shape of the Zetar lights in space shifted a bit. Throughout the screenshots above — regardless of the angle — it looks the same shape.

40. John - June 9, 2008

What’s with the sound of the Enterprise 1:41 or so into this video? It cuts out and then comes back in while the music is playing and Kirk’s voice over continues. I guess this was originally several shots turned into one, but the sound was never fixed. The same thing happens a few seconds later in another sample in this clip.

41. Engon - June 9, 2008

A major problem with this episode is the story structure. Who is the protagonist? Who changes? What is learned? Most glaring of all is the resolution. You don’t just pull the resolution to a story crisis out of the air. It’s the product of a character’s development – of information or skills they’ve gained. But, since there is no character development in “The Lights of Zetar,” Kirk inexplicably intuits that “pressure” will kill the Zetars but not harm “the girl.” There is NO explanation for how he arrives at this conclusion. It’s not Spock the scientist who makes this discovery, nor McCoy the physician. It’s Kirk the captain, suddenly an expert on how to kill a novel form of incorporeal life. He might as well have said, “Spock, I believe the Zetars can be killed by smooth jazz.”

I must admit, “Lights of Zetar” is my least favorite TOS episode. Even “Spock’s Brain” or “Way to Eden” can be watched for the “hoot factor,” but “Zetar” just sits there desperately needing another re-write from a production staff who were too discouraged to remove discarded newspapers out of shots anymore.

One has to envy Lt. Romaine’s next assignment, though – dropped off alone at Memory Alpha with what now (thanks to remastering) looks to be several hundred thousand corpses

42. DJ Neelix - June 9, 2008

@21 & 36:

Regarding the lack of re-work on phaser shots and transporter effect you should remember that they were on a very strained budget and time schedule. I think they realised they would have to leave it out in every episode to keep the consistency you’re talking about. If they would have re-worked those effect from the start it’s possible they would find themselves not being able to do it in every episode which would really have been inconsistent!

I doesn’t bother me though as I don’t think theres anything wrong with those effects, they still look good today, about 40 yrs later.

43. Irishtrekkie - June 9, 2008

@35 , yes i remember TNG Pocket book “Ghostship” , and come to think of it your right they did totally rip this esp off !!!

44. Tchessi - June 9, 2008

I haven’t watch this in a while, but doesn’t Scotty incorrectly have a sciences division insignia the whole episode?

45. Bryan with Pointy Nacelles and a large Dish - June 9, 2008

Hey, I love Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse…..cut them some slack Trekkers!
That Mira Romaine is easy on the eyes.

46. Dom - June 9, 2008

Mira Romaine – another gorgeous woman from original Star Trek. I love how sexy the women were in 1960s Trek. There actually was a kind of equality in the show: Mira Romaine is a records officer ***and*** all these guys fancy the hell out of her – not surprising given they spend large amounts of time isolated in deep space.

If you go to any workplace in this day and age, you’ll find men and women still discuss each other in ‘sexist’ terms, even if it’s just to be ironic. The strange, slightly uncomfortable view of human sexuality doesn’t turn up until the 24th century. You can almost imagine those characters drawing up legally-binding contracts before they have sex. Oh, and curiously enough, for all the lack of believable male/female interaction, there’s the Risa, which is effectively a planet-size whorehouse – what’s with that?

I always remember Zetar from my early Trek viewing experiences (aged about 4 in 1979) The whole possession thing really freaked me out. `it’s easy to be harsh on season three of Trek, but if you were new to concepts such as ‘possession’ the whole thing was truly mind-expanding!

47. AJ - June 9, 2008

46: Dom:

It’s not the 24th century per se, but the 21st. ENT had the same “restrictions,” apart from the unlikely pairing of Trip and T’Pol. Since she was not human, and they fell in love, they were “allowed” to have sex by the writers. Archer was the most asexual of all the captains in Trek.

When GR had control, I think he tried harder to depict sexuality than ended up the case later on. In Farpoint, Riker gets a hiney-gaze from a female crewman, and Worf gets to describe Klingon sex a few eps in. Then there was that planet with half-naked people running around where Wes gets the death sentence.

Also, in TMP, the Deltans were a society where sex was not taboo, and was a natural part of their body’s functioning (as it is with humans, as well, but we are “sexually immature”). And penetrating V’Ger was a big colorful metaphor.for “it.”

Now’s the time to bring it on back, JJ.

48. diabolik - June 9, 2008

Regarding the newspaper… that’s not as bad as the huge dusty bunny garbage on the floor during the court-martials scene in “Space Seed.”

49. star trackie - June 9, 2008

#32 “Now we have Wikipedia.”

Which anyone can alter and fill full of baloney. Wiki is about as reliable and accurate as my Aunt Mildred.

Always loved the whole idea of memory alpha, and aside from Scotty tripping over his feet with the love -bug, this isn’t a bad episose at all. It’s nothing spectacular but it’s always a fun watch….and with the remastered effects, even more so.

50. diabolik - June 9, 2008

All the problems in this episode can be chalked up to the care-less attitude of the third season producers. In their mind’s it was a kid show, so who cared?

51. Dom - June 9, 2008

diabolik (50) I don’t think that’s quite fair. Freiberger was given a poisoned chalice. While season three features some major lows (although many were very watchable) there are some classic episodes in there! A number of people involved in the show have been quick to back Freiberger too, saying he did the best he could with a bad situation!

And AJ (47) yeah, I was forgetting about Enterprise – admittedly, the show felt more like a 24th Century Trek than TOS! Roddenberry’s attempts to add more sex to TNG were noticeable and, when spoken of later on, mentioned as a criticism. Admittedly, the portrayal of sex in early TNG was a bit superficial and embarrassing!

In the new movie, if they can come up with costumes half as hot as the one Megan Fox was almost not wearing in Transformers, I’ll be a happy chappy! ;)

52. Daoud - June 9, 2008

Imagine if Shari Lewis had appeared as Lt. Romaine how this episode would be perceived when called a ‘girl’ and in her April-Next December romance with Scott.

I’ve always gone with the theory that Scott and Romaine actually knew each other a lot longer than Kirk knew with his log entry. Perhaps (and again, Shari would have been more believable) so much as I think in one novel or comic, that she soon becomes Lt. Mira Romaine Scott.

Perhaps though, Lt. Romaine is well known in the Federation for some reason that never gets mentioned. (Miss Universe 2259? MTV’s Best Screen Legs of 2261? Gold Medalist in the Allen Ludden College Bowl? Valedictorian of Starfleet Academy, Class of 2259?)

I like Jeff’s boo boo calling this a “Mary Jane” story though. If you smoke some MJ before watching it, it’s a MUCH better episode. So I’m told!

#random The Pressure Chamber was to kill Romaine before the Zetarans could, not to kill them. I think the idea was that if she was nearly dead, they’d leave her body.

#32 Wikipedia is a digital library: here’s assuming Memory Alpha has more than just digital, but actual recordings and storage media from thousands of civilizations. Not sure how well the Interstellarnet speeds are, but probably not capable of 100000baseU or whatever they might use. Also, don’t assume Wikipedia is all that small. It’s been a real challenge to have server and storage space keep up with the contributions… just ask Jimbo Wales.

53. John Gill - June 9, 2008

Why is Scotty wearing a Science Officer’s insignia on his shirt in this episode? I just noticed it after watching this episode several times over the past 30 years!

54. Daoud - June 9, 2008

Oh, and that’s not a newspaper, that’s Ensign Zebra Vit-Dyper-Ash ;)

(Those trying to look at the images, change the multiplication sign × to the small letter x, it should be 3×18)

55. Robert H. - June 9, 2008

Jeff Bond’s review sucks. How he goes after Scotty like that is despicable. Love sick puppy and that is suppose to be bad? Talks such nonsense as insubordination?

56. MikeG - June 9, 2008

I happen to agree with the reviewer completely. This episode, IMO, represents Star Trek, TOS’s 3rd season, and “fan-fantasy” at its worst. I can understand Mr. Doohan enjoying the spotlight, but why he never complained about this one is beyond me. Scotty is completely out of character, Mira Romaine is not just the romantic-object but also a mere victim-object, and the show’s stars are pretty much bystanders and observers.
I have always felt that most of the best TOS episodes were written by real sci-fi writers, like Ellison, Sturgeon and Matheson.

57. BrF - June 9, 2008

Enterprise still might be a little quick and light here as she does her evasive maneuver, but on the whole this is a much better job of showing the ship change course than the bob-and-weave maneuvers we saw in earlier efforts. Nice job, overall.

58. Lyle - June 9, 2008

35, 43

Kinda off the subject, but take a look at the ship on the cover of the TNG novel “Ghost Ship”… It’s the original 1970’s Battlestar Galactica turned upside-down…

Rip-off indeed!

59. Marian Ciobanu - the Hyper Trekker - June 9, 2008

- That song from ‘STAR TREK ROOLS’ seems to be much more interesting than the screenshot from the episode..

60. COMMANDER KEEN - June 9, 2008

I wish they had redone the tactical display on the main viewer when memory-alpha was attacked. That would have been a really cool, and relatively easy, upgrade. Other than that a typical late 3rd season episode.

61. Iowagirl - June 9, 2008

Nothing special, but I still like that episode, and it has some priceless dialogues, as usual…:)

“Scotty, where have you been? Where are you?”
“In the sickbay.”
“Are you sick?”
“Ach, no. I was just checkin’ on the lass. She’s going to be fine though, there’s nothing wrong with her.”
“Well, I’m relieved to hear your prognosis, Mr. Scott. Is the doctor there with you or will I find him in engineering?”

62. eagle219406 - June 9, 2008

#59 I wish they had redone the tactical display on the main viewer when memory-alpha was attacked. That would have been a really cool, and relatively easy, upgrade. Other than that a typical late 3rd season episode

I thought they did.

63. eagle219406 - June 9, 2008

I am surprised people are saying that the way Scotty acted was OOC. Well it makes sense to me. He was in love, Love can do that do a person.

64. ngl;sdb;ga - June 9, 2008

did they manage to edit out her cold sore?

65. CmdrR - June 9, 2008

Garovorkin asked “…how is it that they can pass through the Enterprise deflectors and ships hull effortlessly yet, they cannot pass through the simple walls of the of a pressure chamber. Does anyone else see a probelm with this?”

TNG answer: The walls were out of phase.
Voyager answer: The metaparticles in the air of the pressure chamber reacted to the collated energy of a mediscanner to form a quantum recombinant barrier.
Answer from a pubescent fan of TOS: Her boobs look great in zero G.

66. The Underpants Monster - June 9, 2008

Hey, I’ve always found trackie’s Aunt Mildred to be very informative! ;-)

The new Memory Alpha was lovely, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. It looked so TNG-era that it didn’t go with the rest of the visuals. The shots of the E were gorgeous; that’s how Kirk must see her all the time!

Oh, yes, this was definitely Mira Sue. The embarrassing thing for Scotty wasn’t that he was acting like a lovesick puppy (happens to the best of us) but that it was completely interfering with and overshadowing his work. Like, I can see him sitting by his girlfriend’s bedside patting her hand, but I can’t see him doing it in the middle of a crisis when he’s needed in the Engine Room.

67. ety3 - June 9, 2008

Scotty sho ’nuff is wearing a ‘science’ insignia patch:
(http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/3×18/thelightsofzetar_196.jpg)

I’ve been on this Earth 33 years and a Trekkie for about 32 years, and I never noticed that.

68. Roger - June 9, 2008

@CmdrR

Your Voyager answer totally forgot the deflector dish and tachyons. There are always tachyons on Voyager.

69. The Underpants Monster - June 9, 2008

DS9 answer: The laws of physics you thought you knew were all a lie perpetrated by a secret cabal

70. Daoud - June 9, 2008

#67 Scott must have swapped insignia with Romaine when they were, erm, getting dressed? That velcro is so confusing in the dark!

#65 ENT answer: they were just Borg implant-induced haze, or Ferengi-but-they-never-say-there-name, or it was Romulans, or Nausicaaaaaans (with extra a’s), or inconsistent holograms by an advanced Xyrillian civilization, which will never be mentioned again in ENT, or seen in any other incarnation of Trek. Unless we can factor in the Temporal Cold War or the 29 1/2th century Sphere Builders changing the timelines which change the properties of Zetarians!

71. Daoud - June 9, 2008

BSG answer: Romaine is the Final Cylon.

72. Roger - June 9, 2008

It wouldve been cool to see the “Lights” coming around Memory Alpha in hot pursuit of the “E” as she was pulling out of orbit.
Another thought mightve been to combine 10 distinctive faces
making those same face contortions in the lights, as Spock said his sensors registered that many life forms within.

73. girl6 - June 9, 2008

Shari “Lambchop” Lewis?!?! If that ain’t the freakiest bit of Trek trivia, I don’t know what is.

Hey Anthony–That would be a cool article: “Most Obscure Trek Trivia/Connections”

74. Andy Patterson - June 9, 2008

Here’s another obscure one that not too many seem to know…….The kid from “And The Children Shall Lead”….the lead male, is the guy who invented the cosmic sound bar that is used prominently in Star Trek the Motion Picture’s sound that represents the VGer cloud.

75. Jeff Bond - June 9, 2008

He also plays Kirk’s nephew in “Operation-Annihilate!”

Sorry about “Mary Jane”–I must have been flashing back to my college days. :)

I do feel a sense of accomplishment in finally getting someone to say “Jeff Bond’s review sucks!”

76. c0MmODoRe g0oFbAlL - June 9, 2008

zEtAr lIgHtS lIkE tHe bUbBlEGuM bAlLZ iNsIdE mY bRaIn— BrAiN aNd bRaIn—wHaT iS bRaIn?

77. jr - June 9, 2008

Romaine is great w/Ceaser dressing

78. Tossed Salad - June 9, 2008

Shari Lewis: “…and the Enterprise heads into space after that. So, what do you think?”

Fred Freiberger: “Great, great! We have these blinking lights that are the ‘alien bad guy of the week’ — I LIKE it. Only two guest roles to fill. That’ll fit the budget constraints.”

Shari Lewis: “I really would like to polish the script a bit more before…”

Fred Freiberger: “No, no! Let’s get this into the hopper a.s.a.p. Time is money!”

Shari Lewis: “Now, I wanted to talk with you about playing the Romaine role–”

Fred Freiberger: “Romaine? Yeah, I could go for a salad. You move along now. I have to call Woolworth’s about some blinking Christmas lights. Have your agent call mine. We’ll do lunch, um, some other time.”

79. CmdrR - June 9, 2008

Shari Lewis: “But, Fred, I want to play Mira. I’ve bought a new set of coveralls for the part.”

Fred Freiberger: “No, we need someone with much bigger — (awkward pause) — presence.”

Shari Lewis: “You treat me like some kind of puppet.”

Fred Freiberger: “I’ll make it up to you. I’ve got this new gig in England coming up.”

Martin Landau: “Fred, what the hell have you done to this treatment of “Arena.” Who’s gonna believe in killer trees for chrissakes?!”

80. CmdrR - June 9, 2008

Fred Freiberger: (stuffing Trek scripts into carpet bag) “I’ve got lots of ideas for the new season — series — Martin.”

Martin Landau: “Like what?”

Fred Freiberger: “We have a great one called “Immunity Syndrome” and another about an evil cloud-thingie.”

Shari Lewis: “Hey! I’m right friggin’ here, Fred.”

Barry Morse: “Count me out. Little Billy would never forgive me.”

Fred Freiberger: “Done and done, Barry.”

81. D. McCoy - June 9, 2008

The external space shots need more contrast (brighter). Planets and planetoids reflect light much more than the new cgi effects indicate. Not asking for super-realistic shots…but somewhere in between would have been much better.

82. Engon - June 9, 2008

The “Lost in Space” answer:

Judy: “Mother! Apple Pie! How did you do it?”
Maureen: “On the computer!”

83. Engon - June 9, 2008

Let us not forget that this episode was also written by Jeremy Tarcher – who just happened to be Shari Lewis’ husband.

84. Engon - June 9, 2008

#52

I’m not sure if you’re implying that Shari Lewis was older than Jan Shutan, but, in fact, Lewis was 2 months younger than Shutan.

85. classictrek - June 9, 2008

this is an episode ive never liked for some reason. its not one of my favourites.

dont know what the remastering will do to it.

cheers
greg
UK

86. Rich - June 9, 2008

yeah, and her (CENSORED) were two sizes smaller.

87. eagle219406 - June 9, 2008

I kind of liked this episode. One of the reasons why is that it was one of the few episodes where the Enterprise wasn’t orbiting a planet the entire time. It really gave them something to work with.

88. John in Canada, eh? - June 9, 2008

This episode defines the mediocre Third Season – an interesting enough concept (Memory Alpha), too many plot points that are retreads of what we’ve seen before (“Dead Body talking” from Catspaw, premonitions from “Where No Man”, etc.), forgettable dialogue, a lack of cohesive plot structure, a lacklustre resolution, and emotional behaviour that seems just too far out-of-character to be comfortable.

Never noticed before how awkward the directing is in this one: the long shots of the actors often don’t match up with the medium and close-up shots (actors’ hands in wrong places, body angles different, etc.) This felt like a rush job – there’s one shot in particular on Kirk where the camera can’t seem to frame him properly, so it keeps moving up, down, and over as he speaks.

89. Barry - June 9, 2008

I still think doing this to an old classic sci-fi show is very bad. When are the folks at Universal going to replace all the shots of Frankenstein with a CGI monster? (yeah, you laugh now- but just wait). It’s just a bad idea, what will they do 30 years form now, remaster them again? Does this have an end…?

BTW- this episode was nowhere near as bad as the above review made it out to be…sheesh!

90. max - June 9, 2008

“#32 “Now we have Wikipedia.”

Which anyone can alter and fill full of baloney. Wiki is about as reliable and accurate as my Aunt Mildred.

Always loved the whole idea of memory alpha, and aside from Scotty tripping over his feet with the love -bug, this isn’t a bad episose at all. It’s nothing spectacular but it’s always a fun watch….and with the remastered effects, even more so.”

Ha ha. Touche. You got me there. ;)

But the point I was getting at is back in the original series you always saw computers as being these huge things. Memory-Alpha is the biggest of them all. Compare that to the Enterprise-D computer which knew everything. Memory-Alpha is just an amusing sign of era that produced it, that’s all.

I’m also amused by the scene with Amanda in Journey to Babel that seems to imply civilians couldn’t possibley understand computers. Just one of those things that tickes me. Carry on. ;)

91. Dom - June 9, 2008

Hi Max (90) But maybe the Enterprise-D was wirelessly connected to Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, Memory Gamma or whichever super server happened to be nearby in that part of space to supplement its memory!!

92. Trekboi - June 9, 2008

battle of the sexes aside- i do miss the appearance of the lights as just a bunch of free floating lights chillin together in deep space as oposed to looking like the lump in “the immunity syndrome”.

as for it being terrible or not- i only saw it for the first time a couple of years ago- it was one of the last few original series episodes i saw- so i was just happy to see some new shows- i had watched the better ones to death.
and now finding out about the lamb chop connection makes me far more forgiving.

93. Billy Bobby - June 9, 2008

This is by far the weakest job to date. First, the lights from Zetar look like the amoeba from The Immunity Syndrome. Then, the rear shot of the Enterprise with the title of the episode was plain horrible. Once I saw that shot, I knew I was in for bad special effects. The next thing that drove me crazy was that the map showing the “storm” hitting Memory Alpha was the same from 1969. And this was not the only time that this happened. When the crew was reviewing the brain patterns at the conference table, the same effects were used from 1969. Then, CBS just put the new special effects on the old ones (i.e., running through the corridor, crawling inside Mira, leaving her eye and body. CBS could get rid of the phaser field from Wink of an Eye but it can remove this floating lights. CBS is not taking this project seriously anymore. I thought things would be fine after they took a week off to get their act together. But I guess they are back to their old ways. Like I said, these are the worse effects to date.

94. Robert Bernardo - June 10, 2008

BuckarooHawk wrote:

> As for the new FX, the Zetar lights look very, very cool, but the choice to
> overlay the new FX with the interior ship scenes has me stymied.

I can see the need to redo the lights effects. If left as original, they would look too much like the light effects of the Companion in the episode, Metamorphosis. Come to think of it… perhaps the Companion and the original Lights of Zetar are the same race of beings.

95. Ralph F - June 10, 2008

What happened to the super high-resolution, desktop/wallpaper-worthy screen caps?

96. Adam Bomb - June 10, 2008

The over head shot that zooms in on Kirk wasn’t even done for this episode; it was done for “Galileo Seven” but not used. Chekov isn’t even at the navigator’s station; it’s Bill Blackburn’s Hadley. That shows just how much budget cuts for the third season hurt the series.
I’m a fan from the series’ original NBC run, and there are no real bad episodes; every one has something to offer. Even this one.

97. Billy Bobby - June 10, 2008

93 continued and fixed

***If CBS could get rid of the phaser field from Wink of an Eye then they could have removed these old lights.*** Also, CBS could have gotten rid of the newspaper on the floor in the last scene of the episode.

98. Billy Bobby - June 10, 2008

Did anyone else see the newspaper?

99. Billy Bobby - June 10, 2008

Question of the Day: Which is worse, The Lights of Zetar or Whom Gods Destroy?

100. richr - June 10, 2008

Personally, with Fred Freiberger (later of Space: 1999) as the executive producer of third season Trek, as an inside joke CBS Digital should have made the re-imagined Memory Alpha look a lot more like Moonbase Alpha…how cool would that have been!!!

101. Dr. Image - June 10, 2008

#99- Answer of the Day: And The Children Shall Lead.

102. Garovorkin - June 10, 2008

It still bugs me that the Zatarans who live in the hostile vacumne of space get killed in a pressure chamber, this makes no sense whatsoever, Again they can effortlessly phase through the ships deflectors and the walls of the ship yes they cannot escape a pressure chamber? does anyone see just the smallest thing wrong with any of this.? And how is it in the entire cosmos only she is the right host for all 100 oft them?

103. Garovorkin - June 10, 2008

Friedberger just could not do science fiction very well, When you look at and episode produced by him. The story telling is lousy, the editing sloppy and the acting is kind of sub par in the third season episodes.

104. Dr. Image - June 10, 2008

Jeff, your review is so dead on it’s pathetic.
This episode is so underwritten, so dreivative, so embarassingly sappy, so illogical, yet so much of a classic that it’s really hard to totally hate. And the whole concept of Shari Lewis writing this makes it even more bizzare- and laughable- but also sad at the same time.
At least the FX looked good, giving it SOME redeeming value.
Note Scotty’s sideburns- look out, here come the 70’s!
#102- EXACTLY!

105. Garovorkin - June 10, 2008

Are we talking the same Same Shari Lewis of Lamb chomp fame? LOL

106. Thomas Jensen - June 10, 2008

#99-Answer of the Day: “And the Children Shall Lead”.

I thought the Zetarian effects were much better overlaid over the originals or otherwise.

Good review, but I certainly don’t base my love for the series upon anyone’s opinion. I suspend my disbelief just enough to enjoy every episode. Sure, some of that comes down to scenes, dialog or some indefinable combination of elements from the show. And certainly some episodes are much better then others, but Star Trek is a product of it’s times and for many years, when people thought of Star Trek, it was this show they had in mind. And this show may just become popular with many more people when the new movie is released.

We’re back to the telling of the adventures of the original characters and that’s just fine with me.

107. eagle219406 - June 10, 2008

I don’t know why people are complaining about a dumb newspaper. If it wasn’t mentioned on this review, nobody would have ever thought to look for it. I don’t even notice until someone says it. I don’t even know how they see it. It probably was looked to as unimportant.

108. G'Thul - June 10, 2008

Actually, it’s a severed head in a duffel bag.

Now is it more interesting?

109. Billy Bobby - June 10, 2008

The Lights of Zetar is another episode where people have to make up their own reasons for events. For example, the lights of Zetar aren’t capable of leaving their possessed host. This would explain why they just didn’t leave the decompression chamber. As for the decompression chamber solution, I have no idea if it would work or not. I can see it working if the vacuum of space has no pressure.

110. Garovorkin - June 10, 2008

#109 Logically that does not work, If you can phase through a deflector screen, you can leave a host body and exit a pressure chamber. think about it if you can phase through matter then then pressure is not going to affect you at all.

111. OMG - June 11, 2008

Best FX ever created with particle illusion period. oh wait, they’re supposed to be professional graphic artists? nevermind then

112. Daoud - June 11, 2008

#84 It’s not the model year, it’s the mileage.

In any event, Shari in that timeframe had more of a matronly look: and would have been more of a bookish librarian type that would have “fit” Scott.

Jan Shutan was so beautiful, I just didn’t buy the romance… Then again, maybe Mira Romaine was the Salt Vampire all this time!

113. Engon - June 11, 2008

#112. Here’s the “matronly” Shari Lewis about 5 years before “Zetar.” She could pretty easily have passed muster as a Star Trek babe.

youtube.com/watch?v=lsa07ilO2cQ

114. Billy Bobby - June 12, 2008

110
This episode reminds me a lot of Operation: Annihilate! Remember when the creatures possessed Mr. Spock, they were permanently attached to his spinal cord? The only way they were able to get rid of them was by using light. Well, in this episode, the lights of Zetar were permanently inside of Mira Romaine, incapable of leaving. The only thing that killed them was the decompression chamber (the equivalent of the lights from Operation: Annihilate!) And I think the decompression chamber would have worked. There was a button on the panel that said Pressure and another that said Vacuum. Since the lights of Zetar were used to the vacuum of space (no atmospheric pressure) pressure would kill them.

115. Garovorkin - June 12, 2008

#114 yes the problem is is that if you phase through an energy field like deflector shield and through solid a metal hull which, then pair pressure eve n extreme air pressure is not going to be able to affect you at all. if you can pass through solids this implies that you can throw your self out of phase with whatever dimension you in or minimize your composition to the point where things like vacumne or air pressure any environmental conditions are are not going to have any affect at all. so know pressure being problem for them is not logical at all.

116. dep1701 - June 12, 2008

#107
I don’t think people are complaining about the newspaper as much as amused by it,. I always enjoy seeing these little goofs, it makes watching the episodes more fun. But the reason it’s bothers some people is that it is very visible, and can distract a viewer out of the moment wondering “what the hell is that?”. Unforunately it is indicative of the lack of time, budget, and care late in the third season.

And by the way, I noticed it thirty years ago, at the age of 15…without the aid of screen caps, freeze-frames or the internet, so I’d call it noticeable.

117. KimmycatO - June 12, 2008

#52. I think you have something there. My husband and I watched “THe Lights of Zetar” this past Monday morning and were thinking right along those lines. In the Gar and Judith Reeves-Stevens TOS novel “Memory Prime”, MIra was definitely not a bimbo or an airhead. She was a brilliant computer technician that actually designed the new Memory Prime installation. She also was responsible for establishing the other Memory planets mentioned in the novel. She was actually referred to as the Chief Technician of Memory Prime. Accroding to that novel, her father was a former high ranking Federation Official. I think that was also stated in the James Blish novelization of TLZ as well. He could have possibly been part of Starfleet Engineering. My husband thinks that Scotty may have worked for her Dad at one point in his Starfleet career. He could have met Mira in the past and they always fancied each other. I think they might have even been friends but never had the chance to act on their feelings until she was stationed aboard the Enterprise. I think she was very mature for her age and would be attracted to an older man like Scotty. I think they both could relate to each other because they both are so brilliant in their own fields. I think they eventually got married and had a long-term relationship.

Yes, the special effects were cheesy and the storyline was full of holes but this episode had heart.

118. MikeyPikey - June 13, 2008

hahah omg, i could have done a better job on those blinky blobby lights near the end of the clip up there, did they just dump new blobs on the old blobs? hmm should have just left the shot blank and left it up to the viewer to throw some glitter at the tv….hahah mmm but the new planet shot is great :)

119. Dr. Who-ly Fracking Wasp Droppings!!!! - June 13, 2008

I am officially renaming this the flashy xmas bulb episode….

CBS-D had too much fun with this one…

120. Will - June 17, 2008

41
“He might as well have said, “Spock, I believe the Zetars can be killed by smooth jazz.””
Quick, find Uhura and grab your harp!

121. Loop - November 23, 2008

Romaine had nice legs. Really like the scene where she’s lying on the med-exam table.
The remastering crew should’ve put ‘mean faces’ in the Zetar lights. Looks like all they did was fuzzy them up and put an aura around ‘em. They could’ve had a lot more fun with this episode…
like when the ‘lights’ are in the room, they should’ve had McCoy say something like ‘phew, they sure smell bad’

122. Grady Christie - April 1, 2009

By no means the best TOS episode ever. I’m not sure that CBS-D had their hearts in this one. Watchable, though.

123. Oh no, not another Tos Lover - September 8, 2010

I think that in their world the Enterprise crew (or at least Kirk, McCoy, Spock and Scotty) were to a certain extent the celebrities of their day, so being department heads, and therefore seen as ‘powerful’, I can see no question regarding would Mira Romaine be interested in Scott.

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