Star Trek (The Original Series): The Naked Time (S01: E04)


Stardate 1704.2. The Enterprise is assigned to document the breakdown of a dying planet. A landing party beams down to meet with the research team that has been working on the planet. The Enterprise team is shocked to find the scientists dead. The crew returns to the ship unaware that they have been infected with a strange virus.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“It’s like nothing we’ve dealt with before.”

Beautifully written by prolific author John D.F. Black (original Shaft), The Naked Time is one of the strongest episodes of Season One. It is, in fact, actor George Takei’s (Mr. Sulu) favorite episode. It’s one of my favorite episodes too.

In hindsight, it was a really smart move to write this story so early in the series. Directed by the talented Marc Daniels, The Naked Time serves to flesh out some of the main characters while still delivering a thrilling science fiction adventure tale.

If you watch the TV series in chronological order, you’ll realize that until this episode you really don’t know much about the characters. This is where we learn of Captain Kirk’s (William Shatner) almost fanatical dedication to Starfleet and Mr. Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) personal demons. The character-driven narrative gives the actors a chance to flex their acting muscles, hence Mr. Takei’s enthusiastic response.

The Naked Time contains many memorable moments. Who could forget Mr. Sulu running about the spaceship with a sword? “The Vulcan Pinch Nerve” also makes its debut here. Technically, the “Pinch Nerve” was invented during the shooting of The Enemy Within, officially known as episode #5. Shot after but aired before The Enemy Within, The Naked Time takes credit for introducing the iconic “Pinch Nerve.”

This is also the episode where the crew inadvertently discovered time travel. It’s an exciting sequence packed with suspense and drama. Time travel is a fantastic plot device that the show and endless spin-offs of the series have used to great effect, most memorably in the still very popular feature films Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Star Trek: First Contact (1996).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts

The Naked Time is still one of the show’s most popular episodes. It became so popular with fans that it was reworked into an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) — the episode was appropriately titled The Naked Now (Season One, Episode Two). Highly recommend! Color, 50 minutes, Not Rated.

← Previous Voyage: Where No Man Has Gone Before               Next Voyage: The Enemy Within →

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