Star Trek (The Original Series): Miri (S01: E08)


Stardate 2713.5. The crew of the USS Enterprise comes across a planet that is an exact replica of Earth. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his team are beamed down to the surface of the planet only to discover that a group of children are the planet’s only inhabitants. The landing party also learns that they have been infected with the same deadly virus that killed the planet’s entire adult population.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“A child entering puberty on this planet means a death sentence.”

Although Miri suffers from the TV show’s budgetary constraints, the episode’s premise is surprisingly pertinent to modern eyes. The crew of the Enterprise isn’t fighting intergalactic beings. The crew is fighting a virus that is shockingly similar to COVID-19: the super-bug disproportionately affects the older population.

The episode was inspired by William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies (it also has a touch of Milton’s Paradise Lost). Like Golding’s book, Miri is critical of humans (the virus was created in a lab by unethical scientists) and I think this is why the episode offended some people — Miri was one of a handful of Star Trek episodes that was boycotted by viewers who found the program’s subject matter inappropriate for children.

Written by Adrian Spies and directed by Vincent McEveety (The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again), Miri is the kind of episode I like best: There is a problem that seems unsolvable and our heroes use all their unique skills to decode the puzzle. It’s the kind of group brainstorming that I’ve always found irresistible. I also liked the idea of seeing the crew members racing against time to find a solution to the problem.

Furthermore, Miri demonstrates that conflict in personal and professional relationships is perfectly natural. It has been said that we fight with the people we love the most: Kirk gets really cranky and starts yelling at everybody, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) turns very snappy too, and even Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) gets a bit frustrated.

Movie buffs will recognize some familiar faces among the guest actors. Kim Darby, who is best known as Mattie in the original True Grit (I also love her in the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark — the TV movie gave me nightmares as a kid!), plays the title character, a teenager who helps the crew of the Enterprise. The actress is very good as the shy girl who slowly emerges as the heroine of the story.

Michael J. Pollard plays the teen leader (okay, he doesn’t look like a teenager) of “the lost children.” Soon after shooting the episode, Pollard landed his most famous role, dim-witted Moss in Arthur Penn’s 1967 groundbreaking crime drama Bonnie and Clyde, and received an Oscar nomination for his fine work in the movie.

Child actor John Megna (To Kill a Mockingbird and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte) plays a troublemaker who is a bad influence on the other kids. The rest of the kids were played by the children of the show’s actors and crew members — the two little girls are Shatner’s real-life daughters, Lisabeth and Leslie Carol. Citing privacy concerns, actor Nimoy flatly refused to allow his kids, Adam and Julie, to appear in the episode.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

I might be tempted to complain about a few things (the cheap-looking sets are an eye-sore) if I didn’t think Miri was a well-acted, well-directed and well-written episode. It was also very interesting to see how a science fiction TV show handled the concept of a dangerous virus spreading quickly through an entire planet, something that has unfortunately become a reality. Recommended. Color, 50 minutes, Not Rated.

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9 responses to “Star Trek (The Original Series): Miri (S01: E08)

  1. Hurrah for Leonard. He was a good father and his two children loved and respected him. This I know from personal experience. He allowed them to grow up as normal children and make their own choices of careers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m assuming you met him through your work. I’ve always felt that he was very much like Spock. By all accounts, Nimoy was a thoughtful, caring, highly ethical man. He, I’ve read, felt that putting his kids on the show was a form of exploitation (he wanted to protect his children). In fact, his falling out with Shatner was apparently due to Nimoy’s inability to deal with Shatner’s dishonorable behavior any longer.


      • Yes I was involved very closely with Leonard for two years during his Vincent, one- man show period. I got to know him and his family very well, even spent a week in their home. I got to know his wonderful parents. And sadly, to have been at two parties where Shatner was present.
        In the ‘Stage Hand’ portion of my blog are many stories about my days with Leonard. Our friendship lasted until his death.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have Nimoy’s I Am Spock book. He comes across as a kind, honest and intelligent man. I’m glad to hear that he was indeed a decent person. He was also a true Renaissance Man: he was a great photographer and a wonderful director (he deserved to have a bigger career behind the camera). Anyhow, I’ll be visiting your blog soon — I’m definitely interested in reading more about Nimoy, his life and career.


  2. I also liked the ‘crew working as a team’ aspect of the story, and thought this was an above-average episode. But VERY interesting to read about Nimoy’s decision to not allow his kids to be on the show (and the insights from Don about the same). Thanks for the bit of ST history!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also enjoyed a lot this episode. It has a touch of horror, its themes are dark (I didn’t know it had been boycotted!), and it’s the type of episodes where all the main protagonists get to shine.

    By the way, viruses are something of a cliché in the series, especially in the third series! Lots of parallels with COVID-19!

    Liked by 1 person

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