The first thing on this tape is an introduction to the original pilot episode of Star Trek – The Cage. It looks suspiciously like I recorded it off another VHS tape, which I probably did. There’s a few talking heads on it, and it’s introduced by then current Captain Patrick Stewart.
Of course, Gene Roddenberry was there, still alive at that time.
Even Shatner was there.
And George Takei, although presumably on different days.
I don’t think Leonard Nimoy did a new interview for this special. All his interview pieces look like archive pieces. Here he’s talking about directing one of the movies, I’m assuming Number IV from the screen behind him.
After this intro, recording switches to BBC2 and their broadcast of The Cage. So I clearly wanted a first generation recording of it rather than my second generation dub. Before that, there’s a trailer for Teenage Diaries.
The Cage is interesting as a historical piece, but it’s best enjoyed after watching the rest of the series, I think. That way, you can enjoy spotting all the ways in which things were tweaked between this and the series proper. Not just in the obvious cast changes, but also in the way language is used to describe the ‘scientific’ ideas. The phrase ‘Time Warp Speed’ is used, things like that.
There’s also the casual sexism, despite the programme laudably having a woman as first officer. It’s very blokey in parts.
But, as I’ve observed before, the Talosians really are one of the best Alien races the show ever did.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th August 1992 – 18:00
Before the next episode, there’s the end of a random looking Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film Artists and Models.
There’s a trailer for TV Hell.
Then The Man Trap. This wasn’t the first episode filmed – that was Where No Man Has Gone Before, which is noticeable for having uniforms more similar to the Pilot’s constumes. The Man Trap is actually a rather dull story about a salt vampire that can change its appearance to look like the person you most desire. Naturally, when we first meet it, it’s as a woman, who also happened to be an old flame of Doctor McCoy.
Its true form is not very pretty.
And the episode kind of skips over the bit where the other colonist basically says “Yeah, well that Salt Vampire did kill by beloved wife, but then it pretended to be her, so I let it move in with me.” That’s very weird.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th August 1992 – 18:00
Before the next episode, there’s the end of From The Edge.
Then, Charlie X, definitely a classic. A teenage boy is dropped off on the Enterprise, having been rescued from a colony where everyone else there had died. It soon becomes clear that, as well as being desperately socially awkward, he also has some magical psychic powers, and can make almost anything happen. Which is not much fun since he’s a petulant teenager with a massive chip on his shoulder and a grotesque sense of entitlement.
Even though the plot shares a great deal with a famous Twilight Zone episode, it’s still pretty scary. Entitled teens are scary enough, but ones with literally world-changing mental powers are terrifying. I also vividly remember being quite scared by the way he glares and rolls his eyes up when doing his mind magic. As a youngster these things make a large impression.
Also in this episode, Uhura sings, although her musical zingers aimed at her crewmates might be judged a little insensitive. These days she’d be sent on a course.
I like the way that Charlie is an accurate representation of entitlement. Apart from the mind powers he could be any twitter troll, unable to talk to women as people, then taking their justified rejection of his as a slight. He’d totally be a MAGA guy.
I like the way Kirk is written as the surrogate father, having to be stern, but trying to be understanding. Although I think forcing him to learn Judo dressed in bright red leggings was probably not a wise parenting move. The last thing a nerd wants is time in the gym.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd September 1992 – 18:00
After this, recording continues, with a trailer for Stingray and The Man From Uncle.
Then, an episode of Wayne’s World – well, an isolated sketch from Saturday Night Live.
This one starts with a rundown of the top ten babes. Sigh. But then there’s a dream sequence where they meet Madonna, shot in the same style as her then movie.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd September 1992 – 18:50
The tape ends just after this.