Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Star Trek, Season 2 (1967-68) ****

NR, 26 50-min. episodes
Creator: Gene Roddenbery
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Arlene Martel, Michael Forest, Leslie Parrish, Antoinette Bower, Theo Marcuse, Roger C. Carmel, Glenn Corbett, Elinor Donahue, Jane Wyatt, Mark Lenard, Julie Newmar, Sarah Marshall, Stephen Brooks, Charles Macaulay, William Shallert, William Campbell, Anthony Caruso, Victor Tayback, Nancy Kovack, Michael Whitney, Diana Muldaur, Richard Evans, Valora Noland, William Marshall, William Smithers, Robert Lansing, Teri Garr

If “Star Trek” was a bold concept for its time in its first season, it only grew more bold and confident in its second. The second season saw a good deal of positive changes for the series. DeForest Kelley’s Dr. “Bones” McCoy was elevated to leading status and the trifecta of the driving character forces of the series were solidified. Walter Koenig made his first appearance as Chekov and quickly became a staple of the cast. James Doohan effectively became the fourth lead with the character of Scotty also stepping up his role on the Enterprise.

The second season also contains some of the most important episodes of the entire series. Perhaps the most famous was the somewhat comedic “The Trouble with Tribbles”, which saw the Enterprise infested with adorable little balls of fur in a rather clever rouse the once again had the Federation clashing with the Klingons. The Klingons in general played a much larger role in the second season than in the first.

A couple of episodes also flesh out Vulcan mythology, including the season premiere, which saw Spock engaged in a Vulcan marriage ritual, and “Journey to Babel”, which introduced Spock’s mother and father. Mark Lenard, who appeared as a Romulan ship’s captain in the first season, was cast as Spock’s father Sarek, a role he would return to many times in the “Star Trek” movies and spin-off series.   

Other aspects from season two would also be repeated in the future movies of the franchise. The episode “The Doomsday Machine” would later serve as the blue print for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979, depicting a machine intelligence that takes over control of the enterprise. It turns out that like in the first movie, the machine was a satellite from the 20th Century that had lost its bearings. Season two also saw the introduction of the character responsible for the Federation through his invention of the warp drive, Zefram Cochrane. The Next Generation crew would meet a very different version of the character in the movie “Star Trek: First Contact”.

Season two of the original “Star Trek” series still has its awkward moments. Those who reach high are going to fall sometimes, but it finds the confidence it needs here to become the enduring mythology that has garnered millions of fans throughout its more than forty-five years of existence.    

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