Star Trek: Miri

McCoy: "A child entering puberty on this planet means a death sentence."

This is another episode in the "don't bother watching" category. And it's too bad, because it could have been cool. The idea of a society of nearly immortal children with their own customs and language had real dramatic Lord of the Flies like possibilities, and all they did was put them in weird clothes and use words like "grups," "onlies" and "foolies." The plot was focused entirely and way too predictably on curing the immortality plague before Yeoman Rand's legs were completely ruined and Kirk would never be tempted to look at her again.

Clearly, no female is safe from Captain Kirk. Things have obviously changed a lot since 1966, because it apparently wasn't considered out of place when the episode originally aired for a grown man to flirt with an adolescent girl and talk about how she was "becoming a woman." In 2010, though, the Kirk/Miri scenes make our hero look like a perv – and that was even with Miri played by an actress significantly older than the part. (As was Jon.) I certainly understand why they chose to cast older actors in the more difficult parts, but it's something no casting director could get away with today.



To make it worse, in the "come on, tell me another one" department, the planet was an exact duplicate of Earth, third from its star, with the same layout of continents and weather patterns as well as Earth-like architecture and signs in English; this unbelievable coincidence was never explained. And there was a three hundred year supply of food (impossible to believe) that was running out right about then (straining the bounds of coincidence).

And I can't help wondering if the kids stayed immortal when the disease was cured. No one said if they were or weren't.

In all, there just wasn't much that worked about this episode, and I don't remember liking it when I was a kid, either. Oh, well.

Ben says...

This was not a favorite of mine either. I couldn't point to one thing offhand, but it may have been the whole Soylent Green meets Peter Pan vibe that didn't really work for me. I think it hit all the illogical and hopelessly dystopic ideas that were so popular in the sci-fi of the sixties and seventies. Sure, the Star Wars era swung the pendulum too far to the other side, leaving us with a generation of televised and movie sci-fi that was mostly escapist pap, but Star Trek generally did better than either. The Enterprise flew through a universe that was hard, dangerous and serious, but also hopeful and solvable in significant ways. The whole vibe of this episode didn't fit that at all.

Now on the upside, it did introduce us to the word "grup" which I still use to this day to refer to any distasteful or unhappy task I must do because I am a grown up. As in: "I have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning so I can miss traffic and make my early meeting in north Baltimore. It sucks to be a grup," or "Time to be a grup and change another diaper."

Back to Billie for bits and pieces:

— Stardate 2713.5. The duplicate of Earth was never given a name. Maybe it should have been Earth II. Gee, that sounds familiar.

— Everyone got the disease except Spock. His green blood came in handy.

— The "maniac" that attacked the landing party was wearing a pink shirt, and Miri a pink flowered dress. The sores from the plague were all bright blue on top of bright red. One thing that has really struck me on seeing this series again after so many years is the bright, unrealistic colors.

— There are two red shirts, but they don't die tragically this time.

— The computer that Spock entered figures into was pretty clumsy-looking, but hey. Small computer. Thinking ahead.

— During one of the Kirk-confronts-the-kids scenes, Shatner actually threw one of the kids to the floor. Oops. Hope the parents didn't sue.



— Kirk's and McCoy's shirts got torn and everyone looked the worse for wear. But Yeoman Rand's magical floating hairdo stayed pretty much the same for days on end. How could she possibly sleep on that?

— Michael J. Pollard (Jon) and Kim Darby (Miri) have had long, prolific acting careers. Pollard's most famous part was probably in the classic movie Bonnie and Clyde, while Darby's was probably as the little girl in the John Wayne film, True Grit.

Interesting plot idea, but executed badly. One out of four grups,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

5 comments:

GreenHornet said...

Cliff Clavin Little-Known Fact: The young girl Kirk swings around in the group scene towards the end is one of William Shatner's daughters in real life.

Funny, I and my sibs also instantly absorbed use of the word "grup". It seemed so BAD somehow, and yet you could use it safely! Ande y'know, we didn't have a whole lot going on back in the 1960's...

But you'll note that equal time was given to the other side too. The kids seemed pretty darned creepy, and when I saw them take down Kirk I thought "Hey, we can DO that?" So both grups and punkids squaresville-ing off against each other... kinda like a space opera version of the song Kids! from Bye Bye Birdie, no? :-)

Kathy said...

(small voice) I like this episode. I may be the only one. (/small voice)

Admittedly the biggest reason I like this episode was I first saw it as a really young kid. While Star Trek II is the first thing I definitely remembering watching in Star Trek, "Miri" stands out in my mind as one of the first, if not THE first, episode I remember watching. Maybe I liked the idea of a society with nothing but kids when I was 5. Maybe I was already laughing at the Spock/McCoy arguments. I'm not sure.

Yeah, it doesn't really hold up that well when I'm 35 as opposed to 5. But, I still use the word "grup," as in "Man, I got another bill to pay? It sucks to be a grup!" This is also one of the first episodes to highlight the Kirk/Spock/McCoy trio in some way.

And, I still cringe at Kirk getting beaten with the wrench (I think?). Yeah, definitely fake blood, but that beating just looks painful.

So, I will admit that I'm probably the only person who doesn't mind this episode. Because I don't.

(Although I've decided that I don't like Kim Darby. HATE her in "True Grit.")

Kat

Billie Doux said...

Kat, great comment, and your opinion is as valid as anyone's. Sometimes something speaks to us and not to others. Everyone's mileage varies when it comes to television.

Kathy said...

Completely agree there! Just like movies. My favorite movie is Casablanca. I've met people who don't like Casablanca.

Differences are what makes the world go 'round. :)

Kat

Anonymous said...

Well, I like this episode too. It's not great overall but it has some moments that really stand out. When Rand says to Kirk, "Look at my legs", and when he really does look, she tries to cover the lesion. It is just so natural and both Whitney and Shatner are good in that scene.

And the scene where McCoy injects himself with the vaccine is great too because it gives us a glimpse of what Bones is all about. And Kelley not only acts it well but also looks very handsome, though I think he'd have cried out for Jim rather than Spock.