Thursday, May 14, 2009


From Wikipedia:

"Charlie X" is a first season episode of the original series of Star Trek, first broadcast on September 15, 1966. It was repeated by NBC on June 1, 1967. It is episode #2, production #8. It was written by D.C. Fontana, with the story by Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Lawrence Dobkin.

Overview: The Enterprise picks up an unstable teenage boy with dangerous mental powers.

More here.

Okay, not my favorite. Indeed, when I would watch this episode as a kid, I always had some embarrassment for Charlie's youthful stupidity, the same kind of feeling I got watching virtually every episode of The Brady Bunch, something along the lines of "this kid's making us all look like idiots." To this day, I still kind of just stare at the floor during Charlie's dorkiest moments.

On the other hand, maybe I should give "Charlie X" more credit: it moves me emotionally, and that's something of an artistic accomplishment.

At any rate, despite it tending to make me ashamed to have ever been a kid, there are some high points. Spock plays the Vulcan lyre while Uhura sings. Kirk performs kung fu while shirtless and glistening with sweat. Yeoman Rand is arguably at her hottest in this one. And there is also one of the creepiest moments I've ever seen on television: Charlie uses his psychic powers to render a woman faceless.

If you really want to see the classic sci-fi theme of the boy who got God's power, you're probably better off digging up the old Twilight Zone gem "It's a Good Life." But "Charlie X" is well worth watching, if only to see actor Robert Walker, Jr.'s honest and earnest work playing the title role--three years after the episode was shot, Walker recites the agonizingly ceremonial but great prayer during the commune scene in Easy Rider.

Check it out: