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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #34 (1968)

"They said I was lucky they kept me around and I believed them. The arms and legs of everybody's whims. Don't meet their eyes. Look down. Smile. Smile. Those great people... they were gods to me. But you showed me what they really are."
- Alexander (Michael Dunn)

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: October 11, 2001

Stars: DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Michael Dunn, Liam Sullivan, Barbara Babcock, Kathie Browne, Jason Evers
Other Stars: James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols
Director: David Alexander, Jud Taylor

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:41m:00s
Release Date: September 18, 2001
UPC: 097366003448
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BB+B C

DVD Review

"Fascinating. I believe we are experiencing the psychokinetic manifestations of Parmen's delirium." - Spock (Leonard Nimoy)

Plato's Stepchildren
Stardate: 5784.0
Original Airdate: November 22, 1968
Directed by: David Alexander

Plato was a Greek philosopher in the late centuries before the common era who wrote a series of dialogues featuring the character of Socrates debating some of the most important questions of philosophy with his followers and enemies. The Platonic dialogues are highly poetic and stand as the foundation of Western Philosophy, influencing the structure of our understanding of the metaphysics and ethics of our world and society. One particular work, The Republic, attempts to establish the idea of a perfect utopian society ruled by what were known as philosopher-kings. It has been a mark of Star Trek in all its forms that it represents one of the few popular dramas that dares to incorporate intellectual ideas into its dramatic content. The aliens encountered in this episode have modeled their society (somewhat loosely) on the ideas of Plato and, even though the Platonic references are mostly interesting window-dressing, the very fact that the legendary philosopher's name is even mentioned on prime time popular television fare is notable in itself.

Encountering these "Platonians" after receiving a distress call, the landing party finds that not only are they adherents to the philosophy of Plato but they also possess a highly-developed psychokinetic power that allows them to control objects at great distances. Because of this power, the people have very little reason to move or work when everything can be done through the power of their brainwaves. However, this has rendered them susceptible to injury and the leader of the community, Parmen (Liam Sullivan) has received a scratch that has developed into an infection. Dr. McCoy sets about to treat the patient and it becomes apparent that these people with their power and philosophy are very unpleasant and arrogant.

The only exception is the dwarf, Alexander (Michael Dunn), who for a reason as yet unknown does not possess the psychokinetic power and serves the Platonians as a slave. He instantly likes the visitors for the fact that they, like him, have no such power and are also reasonably likeable. He tries to warn them that the community will not let them go when the leader is cured but he is silenced. As the situation becomes more apparent to Kirk, he protests and is abused brutally by being forced to slap himself by Parmen. After apologies, the excuse being the illness, Parmen informs them that Dr. McCoy is to stay and become part of the community. When this is refused, Parmen forces Kirk and Spock to participate in some activities intended to frighten McCoy into accepting. Despite the abuse, the demand is refused and Parmen is forced to create more fearful situations to intimidate McCoy into accepting.

The surrealistic nature of this episode is intriguing and, although the story is not unique (landing party held prisoner), the high style with which it is carried off is worthy of three Enterprises.





"Bones... could something be making me hallucinate?" - Kirk (William Shatner)

Wink of an Eye
Stardate: 5710.5
Original Air Date: November 29, 1968
Directed by: Jud Taylor

This is a very interesting take on the fairly typical Star Trek plot of the ship following a false distress signal and then being taken over by an alien force. In this case, it is humanoids who live in an accelerated existence that are not visible to the normal slow-moving humans. The water of the planet Scalos, where the distress call originated, acts as a speed element that translates a person to this faster level of existence. This is first noticed when a red-shirt member of the landing party disappears.

Later, as it becomes apparent that some kind of force has invaded the Enterprise, Kirk determines that they must wait for these invaders to make the next move. This turns out to be adding some of the Scalosian water to Kirk's coffee and translating him to the accelerated level. He meets the queen of the Scalosians, Deela (Kathie Browne), who has chosen him for her mate, because the men of her society are sterile. Despite the Captain's penchant for intergalactic escapes with women, this is one of the few episodes where it is intimated that he actually had sex with an alien woman, as we see him discreetly pulling his boots back on after an interlude. The ulimate plan of the Scalosians is to use the Enterprise crew as breeding stock to continue their civilization.

The direction is very nice; the camera is used very skillfully to show the difference between the two worlds: a normal view for normal speed and a skewed camera angle when in the speeded-up existence. There are some interesting scenes where the crew members still in the slower existence must hold long still positions as scenes are played out in accelerated time around them.

Although not the greatest of episodes, this one is solidly presented by the cast and the writing is decent.

This is quite an eerie episode, with a wild premise about people who live a high speed existence that overcomes the typical nature of the story and gets a solid three Enterprises.



Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image transfers continue the high standards of the collection. Both are crisp and gentle on the eyes. The colorful world of Yonada comes off very well in the first episode with finely detailed costuming and makeup. Wink of an Eye takes place almost totally aboard the Enterprise. The ship looks great and there is some excellent colorful costuming for the invaders, especially the queen, Deela.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: We are provided with another nice job on the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Very subtle expansion of the sound across the stereo spectrum provides depth without the artificial quality that over-processed sound can have. There are some nicely expanded special affects sounds.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Information Booklet
Extras Review: Each episode comes with the standard subtitles and original television teaser. The informational booklet provides the usual amount of trivia and info about the episodes (not much.)

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Although both episodes feature typical "Enterprise encounters a strange alien force through a false distress call" beginning, we end up with two very intriguing and different stories. The first features the famous first interracial kiss on American television between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) as Kirk and Spock battle the telekinetic abilities of a group of self-styled followers of the philosophy of Plato. In the second, Kirk finds himself drugged by aliens and forced into a accelerated existence that is incredibly fast and moves like a wraith through the corridors of the Enterprise. A good disc for viewers interested in a couple of episodes outside the commonly mentioned mainstream The Original Series.

 


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