Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Star Trek TOS Goodness, 20 Court Martial

#20 Court Martial, 2/2/1967

I was surprisingly disappointed in this one on closer viewing.

On the Yay side, in order:
  A black actor in high rank -- Percy Rodriguez as Starbase 11's Commodore Stone.
  Kirk's demand for a full trial.
  New starbase sets -- lounge, quarters, courtroom.
  Cogsley's cat-like stalking of the truth and quick-thinking pounce at the right moment.
  Cautionary message about granting authority to machines (and databases).

On the Ughh side:
  Jame Finney's melodramatic emotion and fickleness.
  Unbelievable conflict-of-interest breach of Shaw talking to Kirk.
  The elevation of Kirk to near-perfection. (Oh Shatner's ego.)
  Spock testifying as an expert Anthropologist/Psychologist.
  Cogsley's speech and conclusion of "I demand it!" (Well OK then.)
  The whole heartbeat-masking experiment, OMG.
  Kirk un-f___ing his ship by removing Finney's "tubes".

Some tropes:
  Watching on screens, as noted/listed in the previous Arena post.
  Old flames (Shaw, Nancy Crater, Korby, Lester, Marcus).
  Mental breakdown/illness (Ben Finney, Decker, Tracey, Van Gelder, Garth, Lester, Marvick, Lenore Karidian).

One good point that I had previously missed is that Jame's supposedly very "human" forgiveness of Kirk is what triggers Cogley's suspicion of the inhuman computer.

Amusing was Areel Shaw's pronunciation of her first name as tri-syllabic and everyone else's as bi-syllabic. Why not give up on the exotic and just change it to "Ariel" in the script. (Very similar issue to what happened with Arena's "Metron[e]s".)

All-in-all, an awkward mashup of court-room-drama with space-drama, but a timeless warning about human gullibility around, and the false authority of, machines and databases.

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