Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Star Trek: The Devil in the Dark

Episode: "The Devil in the Dark"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 25
Original Air Date: March 9, 1967
via Memory Alpha
"The Devil in the Dark" plays on a hypothetical I've often wondered about myself: what if there were a life form based on some element other than carbon?  The Enterprise visits on a vital mining colony on Janus VI to investigate a creature who has been killing miners.  Sensors and phasers are ineffective because the critter is silicon-based rather than carbon-based.
via Memory Alpha
Apparently, this was William Shatner's favorite episode.  In his words, it was "exciting, thought-provoking and intelligent, it contained all of the ingredients that made up our very best Star Treks."  I enjoyed it, too, though there were a few sections that dragged, particularly an extended mind meld between Spock and the creature.  I appreciated the authenticity of the miners.  They came across as run-of-the-mill blue collar types - all credit to the actors for that.

*****
via Memory Alpha
Ken Lynch (Chief Engineer Vanderberg) was born July 15, 1910 in Cleveland, Ohio.  He built his career in 1940s radio, performing in numerous dramas in that medium, including Hop Harrigan, One Thousand Dollars Reward and Gunsmoke.  He had a substantial resume in television, too, with multiple appearances on Perry Mason, McCloud and Bonanza among many others.  He managed to score a few roles in major films as well, including North By Northwest and Anatomy of a Murder.  Lynch died of a virus in 1990.

22 comments:

  1. I loved the twist that the villains were really the heroes and Spock's mind-meld is classic.

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    1. I like the twist, too. I sort of saw it coming once they got curious about the silicon balls - knew they had to be eggs. Still, the development was nice. I do feel the meld went on a bit too long but for the amount of information he had afterwards, it was probably appropriate.

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  2. I sort of remember this one.
    You know, we've discovered some kind of non-carbon life form on Earth, now, right?

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    1. It's some kind of bacteria. I'll see if I can find the link.

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  3. Gosh, I remember the mind-meld with the creature but my mind is a blank on the rest.
    Getting old and not remembering is not fun. Or possibly I just have so much information in my brain that it is leaking out my ears ?

    cheers, parsnip

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  4. I enjoyed that episode. The special effects were clearly silly even back then, but still enjoyable.

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    1. One does often have to forgive the special effects. Star Wars is still nine years off - a long time in film technology. The shag carpet come to life is not so much terrifying as hilarious - kind of cute, though.

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  5. Great episode.
    Carbon is so overrated!

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    1. Yeah, carbon... What a loser. Tungsten's where it's at, man!

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  6. This is one of my very favorite episodes...every time I have a migraine, I flash back to Spock and his mind-meld with the Horta, yelling "Paaaaiiiiinnnnn."

    If I remember correctly from one of Shatner's books, his father passed away the week they were filming this episode. The way he spoke about the cast and crew and the way they supported him that week - so much love and affection, and appreciation, there. That may be another reason why this episode stands out for him...

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  7. Is this the one where Bones fixed the monster with spackle? I loved that!

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    1. Yup! He looks so giddy with the goop all over his hands, too - a kid playing with wet clay.

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  8. I love the Star Treks where they imagine all sorts of wildly improbable alien life forms. Wandering away from ST, thought Orson Scott Card did a good job of this with the Descolada, a super-intelligent virus. Although he got a little carried away with the concept.

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    1. Ender's Game... I've never read it. My teaching partner's a big fan, though, so I should probably give it a try.

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    1. Did Not Us And!

      I was impressed by how quickly the Horta picked up the lingo.

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  10. Vanderburg is hilarious although understandably frustrated when Spock queries him about the hortas egg sitting on his desk.

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    1. Vanderberg is brilliant - I'm glad to know there will still be foremen with Jersey accents when we venture into the cosmos.

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