Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 3
Original Air Date: September 22, 1966
|via Fez talks Star Trek and Phase 2|
It would seem that Trekkies owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Lucille Ball, of all people. It was Ms. Ball who convinced NBC management to consider a second pilot for Star Trek, entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Apparently, she really liked creator Gene Roddenberry and believed in the project. Luckily for all of us, the idea took the second time and the successful pilot was the third episode to air. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is the first-filmed episode to feature Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Lt. Sulu (George Takei) and Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan). In this second pilot, Sulu is the ship's physicist, not the helmsman he would become in the regular series run.
A magnetic space storm ignites intensified ESP abilities in helmsman Gary Mitchell, also revealed as a former student and long-time friend of Kirk's. As Mitchell's powers increase and he shows signs of hostility, Spock recommends killing Mitchell before it's too late. Kirk resists the idea, of course, and contrives an alternate plan to maroon Mitchell on an isolated planet.
So, why did the second pilot work better? Some of the answers are easy. Shatner is a better and more charismatic actor than Jeffrey Hunter who played Captain Christopher Pike in the first pilot (my reflections here). Also, the character of Spock is better developed - a crucial element in the long-term appeal of the show. But most importantly, at least in my opinion, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is a stronger story.
Taking in the grand sweep of Star Trek history, I believe there are some narrative templates the franchise handles better than others. Basic mystery/puzzle solving stories are the default and usually work out well. Tales involving children, on the other hand, tend to fall flat. I feel that the very best Trek stories usually revolve around an ethical dilemma. The question of what to do with Mitchell is an excellent example.
George Takei (rhymes with okay) was born on April 20, 1937 in Los Angeles, California. The story of his early life is, unfortunately, typical of the Japanese Americans of his generation. His family spent three years in internment camps during World War II.
|via Travel Arkansas|
Takei originally went to UC-Berkeley to study architecture but ultimately graduated from UCLA in theater. Roles for Asians were hard to come by in the 1950s and '60s but Takei found work. His first television appearance came in the third season of Perry Mason in 1959. His first film role was in 1960's Hell to Eternity.
|via All hail the glow cloud|