Sunday, July 20, 2014

Star Trek: Return to Tomorrow

Episode: "Return to Tomorrow"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 20
Original Air Date: February 9, 1968
via Utterly Star Trek Review
There's definitely something special about a Trek episode in which we get to see Spock smile.

The Enterprise crew discovers highly advanced beings on what was presumed to be an uninhabited planet.  Or rather, they find the long-preserved consciousness of those entities.  Kirk, Spock and special guest Dr. Ann Mulhall all willingly submit to telepathic possession so their new friends can build robots to house their minds for the next thousand years.  But even superior beings are morally corruptible and Henoch, the one possessing Spock, hatches a murderous plan to stay in his organic Vulcan vessel forever.

*****
via The Flaming Nose
Diana Muldaur (Dr. Mulhall) is well-known to Trek fans.   This was her first of two appearances on the original series, then 20 years later she played Dr. Katherine Pulaski for the second season of The Next Generation.  Muldaur was born August 9, 1938 in New York City.  She graduated from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, then studied acting with Stella Adler.

Muldaur spent more than a quarter-century in television but her biggest role didn't come until after Trek.  She played the ruthless Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law from 1989-91.  She received two Emmy nominations for the part.  Muldaur was also the first woman president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
via Memory Alpha

26 comments:

  1. I was first intrigued by the name, Sargon, a real earthly Sumerian king -- his government is, after many thousands of years, still under discussion. And, of course, Diana Muldaur (what an attractive woman!) who played Dr. Mulhull and was announced by the stock Star Trek soupy-music that preceded all kissy scenes. It was a particularly wonderful episode! I rewatched it!

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    1. We should probably have a broader discussion of the incidental music of the series at some point. A lot of different composers contributed over the years and individual stories have varying atmospheres as a result. George Duning did the score work for this particular episode.

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  2. Hm, maybe I should rewatch it, too. All evidence points to this as one of the good ones from season 2... and it prefigures some of the "katra" weirdness from the movies.

    I almost forgot about Rosalind Shays... and that infamous elevator shaft! :-)

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    1. I didn't watch LA Law as much in the later years, though I do remember when she was caught in bed with Leland.

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  3. Wow, that is a lot to soak in about a minor Trek character. Not that she doesn't deserve such reverence.

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    1. PVP, I've claimed actor bios as my angle for my Trek explorations. Trek is well covered territory in the blogosphere. For me, the actors are interesting. For us, Trek is cultural phenomenon. For them, especially in the beginning, it was just a gig.

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  4. Even though she was a minor character, I totally remember her! She had a unique look. Everyone who grew up in the 60s was unofficially a Trek cultist. How could you not be one? There was nothing cooler on television!

    Thanks, Yeoman Squidlu.
    Cherdo
    www.cherdoontheflipside.com

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    1. Thanks, Cherdo! Muldaur definitely has a distinctive look - permanent smirk.

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  5. I always wished that Diana Muldaur would get a little more respect from the fans. I loved Pulaski.

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    1. I felt she was a nice change of pace in TNG, if only a temporary one.

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  6. Diana Muldaur did a great job, but the worst part of Dr. Pulaski's character was that she was always picking on Data. Unlike the Spock\McCoy relationship they seemed unequal. It felt like she was harassing a child. A great episode for the smile to be sure.

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    1. I think that's why the fans are generally ambivalent toward her. Data is beloved. The devoted are not amused by her picking on him.

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  7. I remember this one.
    And I think Diana Muldaur was very beautiful. I loved her voice.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. And 20 years later, the voice was just as distinctive.

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  8. I love these wacked-out plotlines they come up with :) Fun times!

    Great old picture of Diana.

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  9. Reading summaries of shows makes me want to watch them. I've only see a few episodes of the first Star Trek. Maybe I should watch a marathon.

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    1. That sounds like fun! Maybe when I'm finished with this, I'll come up with a must-see episode list for first-timers.

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  10. I love these star trek flashbacks/flashforwards! what a beautiful, talented woman. admirable.

    and thanks for stopping by my broken branch falls blog tour!

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