Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon

Episode: "A Taste of Armageddon"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 23
Original Air Date: February 23, 1967
via Memory Alpha
"A Taste of Armageddon" is a dystopian narrative.  The Enterprise travels to Eminar VII in hopes of establishing diplomatic relations.  Upon arrival, our heroes learn that the Eminans are at war with the nearby planet of Vendikar.  However, the war is fought entirely by computers - essentially an interplanetary video game.  Here's the catch, though: citizens of each world must submit to execution in order to meet the resulting casualty totals.  To complicate matters further, the Enterprise has been caught in the virtual crossfire and Captain Kirk is expected to turn over his crew for sacrificial disintegration.

*****
via Memory Alpha
David Opatoshu played the role of Anan 7, leader of Eminar VII's planetary council.  He was born David Opatovsky on January 30, 1918 in New York City.  His father, Joseph Opatoshu, was a Yiddish writer.

The younger Opatoshu had a television career which extended for over 40 years, first appearance in 1949.  In 1963, he co-starred with Trek's James Doohan (Scotty) in a Twilight Zone episode entitled "Valley of the Shadow." He won an Emmy in 1991 for a guest appearance on Gabriel's Fire.

He had an interesting and varied career on the big screen as well.  He performed in 1939's The Light Ahead, filmed entirely in Yiddish.  In 1958, he had a supporting role in The Brothers Karamozov alongside William Shatner.  As a writer, he adapted one of his father's novels, Romance of a Horse Thief, for the screen.

24 comments:

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    1. First time for me - not one of my favorites so far but still solid.

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  2. That storyline actually made me giggle, though I'm not sure it was meant to? :P

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    1. I bet it was actually the hats that made you giggle.

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  3. Kirk looking all serious with those two campy costumes behind him ... still, though. Concepts before their time. In hindsight, pretty impressive.

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    1. Before its time? With the War Games story, yes. But dystopias in the post-Orwell world are hardly new.

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    2. Well, excuuuuuuuuuuu-uuuuuuuse me.

      I meant the war fought entirely with computers. Think about it, the graphic user interface was not even a twinkle in a hardware hacker's Twinkie-and-Orange-Crush-fueled eye in 1967.

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    3. Okay there, Steve Martin...

      I understand.

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  4. I know all of these titles but when I read your descriptions I am drawing a total blank. Maybe I have amnesia? LOL
    I think it's time me for to quit rewatching Glee for third time on Netflix and start rewatching Star Trek, what do you think? :)

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    1. As one who couldn't even get beyond the pilot for Glee, I think you should definitely switch over!

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  5. I do remember this one. My older brother and friends had discussed the idea before this program aired, so I believe the concept of cyberwar was not entirely new at the time. ST was known to dramatize speculative futurism in other areas as well.

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    1. One could even argue that fear of a mechanized world has its literary roots in Frankenstein, first published in 1818.

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  6. I don't remember this one but... got to love the hats !

    cheers, parsnip

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  7. No doubt an allegory of watching the Vietnam War play out on television...

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  8. Tony's right. It's a powerful allegory. It also has a ton of plot holes, but they're heart is in the right place.

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    1. Trek usually does have its heart in the right place.

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  9. Those are impressive hats on the guards

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    1. They are AWESOME hats. Kudos to Bill Theiss for yet another memorable costume design.

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  10. Love the hats on the guards. The would certainly intimidate me.

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    1. Yeah. Maybe I could claim those as squid hats...

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  11. Anan 7 is quite a sneaky little begger. Great episode.

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