Wednesday, July 22, 2009


From Wikipedia:

"Shore Leave" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It was first broadcast on December 29, 1966, and repeated on June 8, 1967. It is episode #15, production #17, and was written by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, and directed by Robert Sparr.

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise visits a bizarre planet of dangerous illusions.

More here.

I've always liked this episode. I mean, since I was a kid, a little kid, like maybe five or six or so. I watch it these days and I feel like I shouldn't like it. After all, it seems like simply an excuse to save on production costs by shooting on location, and using stock sets, costumes, and props. And it's so freaking off the wall, with a menacing tiger, a samurai warrior, a WWII Japanese fighter plane, the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, not to mention Alice herself, a black knight--I mean, this one's just weird, and not in a particularly interesting way.

But it works.

Maybe they pulled it off because the cast had figured out by this point what Star Trek is all about: the central conflict, then, becomes a struggle for the Enterprise's crew to maintain its own sense of dignity and decorum as they are pounded senseless with absurdity. In this respect, "Shore Leave" might also be Star Trek's very first comedy episode--indeed, an early scene where Spock tricks Kirk into assigning himself unwanted shore leave is quite mirthful in tone, with Spock on the verge of cracking a smile; by the time Kirk gleefully engages in multiple fistfights with his Academy tormentor Finnegan, you know it's okay to laugh.

I can't help but like this one.

Maybe it's because hard sci-fi writer
Theodore Sturgeon wrote the script: Sturgeon is from the same generation of writers that produced the likes of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke; those types didn't fuck around. At any rate, despite my usual resistance to watching "Shore Leave," I'm always happy that I did.

Check it out: