Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 12 (The Deadly Years)

Some of the episodes from the original Star Trek were memorable.  A few even hit it out of the park.  They didn’t have a huge budget, but the writing and acting were pretty decent.  There was enough of a fan base to spawn a sizeable franchise.  Unfortunately, most of the episodes weren’t that great.  Those like The Deadly Years were actually pretty thin.

A landing party beams down to a colony site only to find everyone dead of old age.  This includes people who were in their twenties.  Checkov is the one who initially makes the horrifying discovery.  When they beam back up, everyone in the landing party starts to age rapidly…except Checkov.

It’s not passed on to other crew members, which is good.  The bad news is that those affected don’t have long to live.  If McCoy, in his elderly state, can’t find a cure, that’s it.

To make matters worse, the ship is transporting Commodore Stocker to his new post.  Stocker is one in a long line of powerful people who are ust itching to get somewhere.  Stocker uses Kirk’s condition to commandeer the vessel and take it through The Neutral Zone.

When the Romulans catch them, they take this as an act of war and attack the Enterprise.  It’s fortunate that McCoy is able to save the day and allow Kirk to return to work immediately.

I could see this being a way of showcasing the hardships that elderly people have.  Instead, it’s almost a way of poking fun of those crotchety geezers.  (Kirk is the only one to have forgetfulness, for instance.)  I’m surprised that they didn’t have some kids on the bridge so that someone could yell, “Get off my lawn!”

Also, I’ve noticed that the names of planets seem to be a Greek letter, some word from Latin and a number.  Here, it’s Gamma Hydra IV.  I could just see some chart in the writers’ room for generating names.  (Take the first letter of your pet’s name and use the corresponding Greek letter…)

The episode comes off as unnecessarily campy.  I wonder if there was some rush to get an episode produced.  It looks like the kind of script that either wasn’t written well enough or went through way too many rewrites.  I don’t know that there would be an ideal way to handle old age except maybe to tone it down a little.


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