Star Trek (TV Series): “The Naked Time” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Star Trek (TV Series)Synopsis:

Stardate 1704.2. USS Enterprise is assigned to document the breakdown of a dying planet. A landing party, headed by Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), beams down to meet with a research team that had been working on the planet. The Enterprise team is shocked to find all scientists dead. The cause of their deaths is a mystery. Spock and his team return to the ship unaware that they have been infected with a strange virus that weakens emotional barriers.

Reaction & Thoughts:

One of the strongest episodes of Season 1. In fact, it is actor George Takei’s (Mr. Sulu) favorite episode. It’s one of my favorite episodes too.

In retrospective, it was a smart move to write this story so early in the series. The Naked Time, written by John D.F. Black, directed by Marc Daniels, serves to flesh out some of the main characters while still delivering a thrilling sci-fi adventure tale. The strange disease may very well be a “MacGuffin” and as such it is an economical and clever way to rely information about the characters.

If you watch the TV show in chronological order, you’ll realize that until this episode you really don’t know much about the characters. Here is where we learn of Captain Kirk’s (William Shatner, Incubus) dedication to Starfleet, Spock’s inner-conflicts, etc. The character-driven narrative gives the actors a chance to flex their acting muscles hence Takei’s enthusiastic response.

There are a few memorable moments. Who could forget Takei running about the spaceship with a sword? The “Vulcan Pinch Nerve” also makes his debut here.

This is the episode where the crew inadvertently discovered time travel, a plot device that was explored in-depth in later adventures, most memorably in the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). The final act is particularly exciting. The cast also includes Bruce Hyde (Lt. Kevin Riley), Majel Barrett (Nurse Christine Chapel), and Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts

The Naked Time became so popular with fans that it was reworked into an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). That episode was appropriately titled The Naked Now (Season 1, Episode 2). Color, 50 minutes, Not Rated.

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