Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Galileo Seven

The Original Series, Season One
"The Galileo Seven"
Airdate: January 5, 1967
14 of 80 produced
16 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on CBS.com


While exploring a the Murasaki quasar, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and four other crewmen become stranded when their shuttle crashes. Spock is forced not only to deal with the hazards of the hostile world they are on, but the resistance of his own crew to his logical command style. Making matters worse is the fact that the Enterprise must leave the area soon to deliver medicine that will save thousands of lives. Will the Enterprise find them before the hostile aliens outside the shuttle or personal hostilities inside the shuttle destroy them?
The locals were not impressed by the park job over there...


Kevin: This is an entertaining story, even if it is an old story wearing a science fiction suit. Crews stranded with little or no hope of rescue and the conflicts that ensue are as old as sailing. The real story here is watching Spock deal with his first command experience in less than ideal conditions. The conflict was credible. The crew members would certainly chafe at the notion of being left behind, but I thought they registered their displeasure too forcefully too early. They are Starfleet officers. They volunteered for this job knowing it might come to a decision like this and any of them should be willing to sacrifice themselves for the others. It's what they do. That being said, they don't have to be happy about it, and practicing high ideals is harder than espousing them, so I'm not saying there should have been no conflict over the issue, it just should have started at a simmer, not a boil.

Matthew: I like the fact that the Enterprise has standing scientific orders. Other nice scientific touches include the establishing of scale, searching for a shuttle being more than a "needle in haystack," as well as a rudimentary portrayal of orbital trajectory. On the other hand, I have some serious science issues with this show. Why does the Quasar-like phenomenon not affect the Enterprise in a similar manner as it did the shuttle? How could a large primate species evolve in such an unstable region, and with so little supporting flora and fauna?

Kevin: I thought the arc of the story for Spock himself was pretty good. One of the lessons Kirk has definitely learned is that a series of individually right decisions can still lead to the wrong result. It's the basis for his ability to determine when and how to break the rules. Spock may look down on such decisions, but by the end of this episode, he begins to realize their importance. "Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end," as he will tell a less than receptive Valeris in Star Trek VI.

Matthew: I had some problems with Spock's dialogue. Is it really logical to muse on how the crew has turned against you WHILE the cavemen are attacking the shuttle. I appreciate that the writers felt it necessary to demonstrate Spock's alternative way of thinking, but his dialogue verges on the silly at points.

Kevin: I also like exploring the idea that these lovey-dovey Federation types may harbor their own prejudices, even unconsciously. That being said, again it's too one note. Bigotry is at its most insidious when it is most quiet. A frothing lunatic is easy to dismiss. A person not aware of the discriminatory nature of their decisions and opinions is far more dangerous. The crew is openly hostile well beyond the point of insubordination from the second they land. At least a little lip service to the idea that their objections are not racially motivated would have made the conflict more realistic.

Matthew: This is an interesting point. If we can view this episode this way, it should be considered a sort of poor man's version of the story regarding racism against Spock in Balance Of Terror.

Kevin: I do want to take a minute here to lament the inception of a favorite Star Trek plot device - the visiting Federation bureaucrat with bizarrely too much authority who JUST. DOESN'T. UNDERSTAND. what it takes to command a Starship successfully. Starting with the Galactic High Commissioner down through scientists and ambassadors, these educated, experienced people seem flabbergasted that a captain might dare to inconvenience them to save their crewmen. At least here, there was a credible crisis with more lives at stake, so it's not as bad, but placing a man on the bridge to be a two-dimensional, unrealistic obstacle is just lazy writing.

Matthew: the conflict could have been better illustrated had Ferris made the same utilitarian argument to Kirk that Spock makes on a smaller scale to the rest of the shuttle crew, that the inhabitants of Makus III need aid more desperately than 7 missing officers. It's implied but not explicit. It could have also shown the difference between Kirk's approach and Spock's to the question.

As far as irritating Trek cliche goes, the "laugh out to the credits" scene has to be one of the worst. Especially when (as is usually the case), members of the crew have died during the previous adventure.


Kevin: Spock and McCoy turn in solid performances and McCoy's objections ring truest and least hackneyed. Scotty was oddly absent this episode. He did his job and that was about it. James Doohan is a great actor and like his Celtic counterpart, Chief O'Brien is very good as portraying an everyman for the viewer. I would have liked to see how he would have butted heads with Spock's pragmatism. His life is doing things everyone says are impossible and that would obviously color his response. It would have been nice to see it.

Matthew: I have to think, as an engineer, Scotty would be somewhat more practically minded and sympathetic to Spock's reasoning. Either way, he is portrayed here as a by-the-book officer, obeying orders first, asking questions later. Don Marshall was good as Lt. Boma, and it's too bad he wasn't picked up as a regular.

Production Values

Kevin: The quasar and the shuttle scenes were average to good, even in their original form. The creatures on the planet were a joke. Their weaponry looked like it was manufactured by Fred Flinstone and the aliens themselves look like they draped a brown rug around and oil drum and had a PA carry it around. That may have been what they did actually. The aliens were of sufficiently bad design to pull me out of the moment and make me feel less tension for the Galileo's crew's situation.

Matthew: I usually try to be charitable with 1960s effects, but the majority of effects on the planet were downright bad. Styrofoam rocks, giant phony spears, tall guys in bear pelts, just not good at all. Any drama built up by the inherent conflict was torn away by these intrusive special effects.

The remastered effects are quite nice, including a redone shuttle bay, Murasaki Quasar, and exterior shuttle shots. We also get what may be the first appearance of the Majel Barrett computer voice.


Kevin: I am giving this one a 3. Spock gets some great moments and at least the main cast turned in good performances. The overacting of the secondary cast and one too many scenes of the High Commissioner walking on the bridge to announce the time remaining and walk out again plus some seriously shitty aliens drag this down.

Matthew: I've got to give this one a 2. There wasn't terribly strong sci-fi, the production values were not great, and there were some issues with writing. It's below average for me, and it wasn't difficult to give this one such a rating. That brings our combined total to 5.


  1. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/35206244/ns/today-today_fashion_and_beauty?pg=12#TDY_AltBeautyPageants

    Check it out. Page 12.

  2. You know? I was just thinking about a conversation we had on Saturday... tangently, anyway.

    Wil Wheaton is awesome, right? And he is known to review Trek, right? If this is indeed the case, then wouldn't he have had a problem wearing a lieutenant's uniform in Nemesis?

    And an even bigger problem with the idea that he went to the wedding with Robin Lefler as his wife? (Which was only rumored to originally be in the script)

    Let's discuss.

  3. Well, there are two concerns.

    One is how big a fan an actor is. From what I've read, the biggest Trek fan/actors are Walter Koenig, Jolene Blalock, and Wil Wheaton. But how big a fan does that mean? A fan of our level? Or just someone who likes Star Trek and thinks the Abrams farce is great?

    But the other is how much they want to get paid for something. If you're Wil Wheaton, and you finally get an opportunity to appear in a Trek movie, and earn a paycheck, do you complain about script problems? Probably not.

  4. Upon watching this one again, I find myself in agreement with Galactic High Commissioner Ferris. Why not hit up the Quasar on the way back? Surely it's been there for millions of years, and will still be there in 6 days.