Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek

'The Big Bang Theory' is a show I discovered a bit late. I tried a few early on, but it wasn't until the reruns, when it started to be on TV at least four times a day, that I realized what a smart and fun show it is.

I saw an episode the other day where Sheldon is showing an overnight guest around his apartment. Explaining his 'Emergency Preparedness Kit' to her, he mentions that it contains "a Hi-Def collection of Season Two of the original 'Star Trek'."

I thought that was an interesting choice, since Season One is regarded as the best season. But I, like Sheldon, prefer Season Two.

I think of it as the 'fun' season. Season One was a bit too intense and grim. A real paranoid vibe. Sorta like 'The Outer Limits'. But that second year, they found the characters and tone and it got more lively, more action oriented. And it also had three 'comedy' episodes: 'The Trouble With Tribbles' 'I, Mudd' and 'A Piece of the Action'. 'I, Mudd' is a bit of a clunker, but the other two are a blast. Not many shows could pull off the occasional comedy, though many have tried. I think I remember a 'funny' 'X-Files' that laid an egg. 'Bonanza' is the only one besides 'Star Trek' where the actors seemed comfortable playing the fool and the where writers came up with scripts that were actually funny.

Some of my favs from Season Two include 'Mirror, Mirror' (Spock with beard!), 'The Doomsday Machine' (William Windom as Commodore Decker who, like all Commodores takes command of the Enterprise and screws things up), 'The Ultimate Computer' (The King of Cartoons chewing up the scenery like nobody's business) and 'A Private Little War' (A anti-Vietnam War statement, 'The night of maddness' and a Mugato).

I also discovered 'Star Trek' during the second season during it's orignal NBC run. The first episode I actually watched was the aforementioned 'A Private Little War' (I was obviously aware of it and saw a bits of it here and there). So my preference of that season might be a bit of nostalgia on my part.

You can actually include the last ten or so episodes of Season One when it comes to the tone of the show shifting. They weren't shown in sequence and you'll notice that 'Court Marshall' with Elisha Cook seems out of place as Episode #20. It has that 'earlier' feel to it. But ignoring 'Court Marshall', the change comes around #15 with 'Shore Leave'.

I won't discuss Season Three. I still like them, but you gotta be a real Herbert to love them.


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