Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Star Trek: Once Upon a Planet

My friends and I are embarking on a new journey to watch all 22 episodes of Star Trek's animated series.  We'll be posting on Wednesdays.  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of our adventure. 

Episode: "Once Upon a Planet"
Series: Star Trek: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 9
Original Air Date: November 3, 1973
via Memory Beta
"Once Upon a Planet" is a sequel to the TOS episode "Shore Leave."   The Enterprise crew returns to their favorite vacation spot where a mind-reading computer generates fantasy tales for its visitors.  All innocent fun, or so they thought.  Alice and the White Rabbit are harmless enough but when the Queen of Hearts and her minions attack Dr. McCoy, the dream turns to nightmare. 

When our friends last visited, a being known as The Keeper oversaw the planet but he has since died, leaving the Master Computer (voiced by James Doohan) in charge.  The MC is tired of sitting around and amusing others.  It wants to get out and see the universe, intending to hijack the Enterprise for this purpose.

The fun of the TOS episode was the mystery of the origin of all the fantastical beings.  This later story goes a bit further down the philosophical query path: where is the relationship between human and machine heading?  Which is master, which servant?  If we are to endow machines with intelligence, what are our responsibilities to them?  To what rights and liberties are they entitled?  How can we convince them not to enslave us all?

Apparently we just need to convince them they already live in the perfect vacation spot.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants.  Next week: "Mudd's Passion."

 

12 comments:

  1. Is that from the one where, like, the fully armored knight appears and rides down... someone?

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  2. I liked this episode. It had a good lesson. Too often, a sentient mechanism --biological or, in this story, electronic-- will find some liberating progress and imagine itself at odds with other beings. I was pleased by how a cartoon disposed of that fallacy and reunited antagonist and protagonist. Governments could learn from this.

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    1. That's very much in keeping with the philosophy of the franchise, isn't it? We must always confront "the other" with compassion.

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  3. I remember the original episode, Shore Leave, as one of my favorites so this one was probably interesting.

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    1. I think anyone who enjoyed the original would find it satisfying.

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  4. Uhura should have contacted the Keeper of the Planet before Scotty hastily beamed the landing party down. No contact with the Keeper should have been enough to warn anyone something was up!

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  5. Sounds like an interesting episode! I like that it brings up so many questions! :)
    ~Jess

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  6. I always loved the original episode. It's amazing to think the caretaker knew how to handle the big sentient computer-Maybe the computer was grieving and lonely:)

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    1. Maybe. MC comes across more as put upon and bored.

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