[Movies/SciFi] Star Wars – A New Hope (40th Anniversary)

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie “A New Hope” (that will become Episode IV). I was -2 years when it came (likely a Type II oocyte hidden in a follicle) but it was my first Star Wars I had watched.
Imagine being a teenager or a kid and watching the original trailer:

I still remember how I had to fight with my sibling to share the TV on a Sunday night, as its airing was simultaneous to another movie, zapping to its channel during commercial breaks. It was love at first sight! Aliens, spaceships, lasers (pew! pew!), great villain (Darth Vader aka Dark Vador in French), the famous Tie fighters roar (Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrsshhhh!!!!).

It also started the rivalry between Star Wars and Star Trek. Historically, Star Wars surely took a lot from Star Trek “The Original Series” in terms of space technology and phasers. But Lucas also took a lot from action movies, from cape and swords movies (you can replace the lightsabers with regular swords, set the Death Star as a fortress and voila!), from Western movies (the Tatooine and Mos Eisley cantina surely reminds a good ol’ dirty saloon, you can replace Solo and Greedo with a Colt or a Smith & Wesson revolver and still achieve the same outcome), from war movies (the final battle of Yavin, you could almost put this into the biplane dogfights of World War I and have Darth Vader posing as Red Barron).

If Trek and Wars movies were into a ring for a death match, Wars would win easily. Wars also set the standard very high, putting Trek in a very difficult situation. Just see Star Trek: The Motion Picture and just put the popcorn aside. It is slow. Very sloooooooooow (did I say how much I hated the uniforms in that Trek movie?).

Maybe the great thing about Wars is its opening, with John Williams mythical opening credit theme (that was then used as a welcome hymn in “V” to greet the first delegation of aliens landing on Earth to collaborate with Earthlings) followed by the “must-have” scrolling text that serves us as a ramp into the action.

Then Boom! You see the Tantive IV being blasted, overflown by the Star destroyer. Bang, straight into the action, with the rebels preparing to be boarded by the Galactic Empire. How this cannot be awesome witnessing that with a kid? All sugar-coated by the remarkable work of John Williams and the London Symphonic Orchestra that blends the visual action with the percussions. Thats how you get kids into classical music!

There comes Lord Vader, this huge and dark figure, breathing through without a word watching the causalities lying around all over the place. Comes in the famous Leia scene and the escape pod. The first action moment of Darth Vader is marking any kids, the deep voice of James Earl Jones with the physique of David Prowse. Here we are. A badass and ruthless villain, all shrouded in mystery and strength.

Then comes the arrival in Tatooine (from the Tunisian town of Tataouine, Tunisia) and the encounter with the Jawas that make it accessible to the kids and introduce us to Luke Skywalker.

Follows up the introduction to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca……the rest is history. A very tight and neat cuts that makes the narrative exemplary with little room for dead periods, bringing up the action as a roller-coaster without overkilling it.

Not even forgetting to mention the presence of Peter Cushing posing as Moff Tarkin and rival to Darth Vader, reminiscent of the rivalry of World War 2 movies between the Wehrmacht and the SS division. This is not innocent, as the Galactic Empire takes a lot of inspiration of Nazi Germany by its ruthless to achieve victory and homogeny at any cost.

Star Wars launched the first concept of merchandising, tying a whole toy line with the movie, setting probably the first massive toy collectionite in the galaxy. It is so engrained in the culture that almost anybody knows “Star Wars” without even watching the movie.
It surely inspired “Battlestar Galactica” TV series and James Bond “Moonraker”. It even was used as a codename for one of the most ambitious if not ridiculous Cold War operations aimed to put in orbit satellites with lasers to counter any threat from USSR.
It even had its “disco” soundtrack by Meco (oh man, it sounds so cheesy now!):

It sets up the spoof-movie “Spaceballs”, even inspired some local knock-off from Italian and Turkish movie producers like “Starcrash” (introducing a young ‘Hoff)

Or “Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam” aka “Turkish Star Wars”

And many mores….

Star Wars became an icon of a whole GenX culture (just see the Star Wars special episodes of “Family Guy” or “Robot Chicken”).
You cannot undo something that cannot be undone and Star Wars is one of these movies you can keep watching over and over again without feeling the boredom of watching them as it almost feel fresh despite knowing every single scenes.

“May The Force Be With You”

 

 

 

 

 

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[Sci-Fi/Star Trek] Star Trek: Discovery First Official Trailer

Just in time as I concluded my six-months journey (I started last Thanksgiving) through the Star Trek franchise (including the different movies), CBS just popped out the first official trailer for “Star Trek: Discovery”. It was generating enough interest that the server containing the video was completely saturated with requests.

The plot puts it 10 years before TOS and based on the trailer, it feels like a seamless transition from ENT in terms of the Starfleet uniforms (harboring the electric blue uniform) but also transitioning into TOS by the presence of ribbons marking the different classes (executive/gold, sciences-medicine/silver, operational/copper). The interior design of the ship look sleek, the photography pretty awesome. The only thing that bugs me are the Klingons (that look even more ridged and bald).

Now the thing that is bothering me: It will be only on CBS-Access (there are rumors that Netflix may propose them in his streaming offer) and that means $$$ to watch it.

Now, its gonna be a long summer…..

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24754790

 

[SciFi/Star Trek] Star Trek The Motion Picture – Daft Punk Tron Legacy Audio Cut

If you are a Trekkie, you know the big debate about Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP). It was released about the same time than Star Wars: A New Hope and when you come from Star Wars, TMP appears slow….very slow…….and also kitsch. Very kitsch. I am still try to understand how, 40 years later, they had made the decision on the Starfleet costumes (some ugly PJs that should have never seen light, even back in the 70s).

Now something interesting came that week, someone has the genius idea to blend TMP, cut into the extra-fat and plugged in “Tron Legacy” soundtrack. Oh boy, I really loved that sequel to “Tron” with the remarkable work of Hans Zimmer and Daft Punk, through their MOOG synthesizers, giving this primal electronic sounds that as synthetic is can carry some of the deepest emotions. The photography was sleek, it was well directed and was giving a major upgrade to “Tron”.  Just look back at the famous Light Cycle scene how the video and the audio blended perfectly:

Suddenly, TMP becomes a new movie and really makes me think if there was some very clever cut, with a re-designed soundtrack, could become much more watchable. It also now revived my interest in “Tron: Legacy” and I really hope Disney decides to get “Tron3” from the back-burner.

 

[Movies/SciFi] Turbo Kid (80%)

Sometimes a good surprise can await you around the corner. This was the case of “Turbo Kid”, as it popped as a suggestion on my digital service.
Turbo Kid is a French-Canadian movie written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Not much famous actors in the cast except with the exception of Michael Ironside (known for his role as Ham Tyler in the original “V” series).
“Turbo Kid” is not totally new to me, as the first iteration known as “T for Turbo” was the prototype for it and frankly it created a huge buzz:

It rightfully made a loud buzz by its VHS feeling of an 80’s post-nuke movie, a kind of genre I have been bottle-fed thanks to the Italian moviemaker. All the ingredients were already in: the post-nuke wasteland, the abandoned quarrel, the Bontempi synthesizers, the cheap gore effect, and the BMX ride. Even the inspiration of the “Cannon Pictures” gives this huge nostalgic vibe.

The plot is fairly simple but fairly fun. The plot takes place in a post-nuke 1997, in a quarrel posing as a wasteland. Water is scarce and became a precious commodity. In a complete anarchy, the law of the jungle prevails: the survival of the fittest.
“The Kid”, the main protagonist, lives on scavenging on his BMX bike and fomenting revenge to Zeus (played by Michael Ironside), as Zeus killed his mom in front of him. Taking courage from reading “Turbo Rider”, a comic book.
One day, the Kid finds Apple, an android girl that quickly becomes attached to him. This only starts the trouble once Apple get kidnapped by Zeus and fleeing from his minions, the Kid ends up in an abandoned vehicle and finds the remain of a certain “Turbo Rider”….

The movie is not aiming very high but it hits hard on the GenXers like me. You could almost believe you have seen this movie as a kid, as the feeling is so genuine to 80’s Sci-Fi B-movies, especially Italian post-nukes: They were cheap, the plot was quite often cheesy. But oh gosh they were great and fun to watch!

Here is the official trailer, you can catch the full movie on Netflix:

[SciFi/StarWars] Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Damn you 2016! I wished I did not have to write down this eulogy when the news broke on Friday afternoon. I knew the pathophysiology of a massive heart attack! I knew the consequence of a myocardial infarction! I knew the risk of cerebral ischemia following cardiac arrest! Yet, as report of her condition was stabilized and kept into ICU, I had hope that she will be back on track, that she will have suffered no cerebral damage, that she will be back on her feet and continue to animate TV shows and comic-cons with her joy, her sarcasms and her “bring it on!” attitude that percolated through Princess Leia performance.
Carrie epitomized the princess of space-opera: a princess that shoot on target better than any stormtrooper, a princess that kept quiet even under the torture, a princess that did not mind to set back on track space pirates, smugglers and scoundrels, a princess that stood on her mission until the last minute ensuring every single staff under her command was safely escaped, a princess that stood up to her love and went all over the galaxy to find him back, a princess that raised a whole generation of boys (dont look at me like this, I know you also share this snarky look on Leia’s bikini costume) into early puberty and girls into an iconoclasm of the “fairy-tale princesses” to become “kick-ass princesses”. Carrie brought so much that even one my daughter has her name inspired by the name of the Organa princess.
But little knew, and I knew little, about what Carrie has been going through during all these years. In all her majesty and highness, she put words and a friendly face on mental health, reminding everyone the true cost of living with bipolar depression and its toll by seeking addictive behavior. She taught us how mental illness is not some caprices, some imaginary disease to seek attention or some condition that you simply “get over it”.
Carrie also posed as a remarkable script doctor, making sure dialogues were properly in place and without hesitation correcting them (there is a floating script of TESB Star Destroyer scene with her comments all over that made this peculiar sequence unique).
I had hope she will survive her condition, but no one on Earth can tell you if you can survive or not. I can tell you the statistics, the odds of survivals, the risk factors but no one can tell if you will survive and recover.
Farewell, your Highness 😦

[Sci-Fi/Star Wars] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (85%)

Last week came Rogue One, the first movie inspired by Star Wars that is set aside the series canon, kind of a free electron bridging the gaps between two episodes. Big expectations, risk of big disappointment but also big hopes marked that 12-months waiting period between Episode VII that was fairly good and Episode VIII due to theaters by the end of 2017.
After some conflicting schedules and weather increments that restrained me to watch it upon its release day, I was able to catch it up and watch it although not in the best condition (this is why you should never try to book a seat at the last minute!). Here is my review and feedback.

**********************ENTERING THE SPOILERS ALERT ZONE******************

My first big disappointment was the opening sequence. It starts with the classical sentence “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far Far Away”. You expect to hear John Williams opening theme and the classical Star Wars followed by the yellow scrolling abstract setting the tone of this part. Nope, you are just into action straight out from the Hyperspace.
It starts with a descent into the planet Lah’mu, filmed in Icelandic location near Myrdalssandur. Thats give a very dense gray and black tones that sets the tone of this movie: it will be dark and gloomy.
It introduces us to Galen (Madds Mikkelsen, the brain behind the Death Star), Lyra (Valene Kane, Galen’s wife), and Jyn (Felicity Jones, daughter of Galen and Lyra and one key element of the Rogue One team). As Jyn plays, Orson Krennic (head of the Imperial Weapons Development program, played by Ben Mendelssohn) arrive with his praetorian black Stormtroopers. You have to admit, the black color makes the stormtroopers look rad! Jyn flees upon her father’s order into a secret hideout, only to be saved by Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whittaker).
I am not very familiar with Saw Gerrera (except his armor looks a lot like a Fallout T-51 power armor) because I kept myself away from the expanded Star Wars Universe and the animated series such as Clone Wars (with the exception of the seasons covering the timelines between Episode II and Episode III) and Star Wars Rebels. However, if you have followed the animated series, you should be familiar with the series.
Then I found things got messed up. We get introduced to the other part of the skeleton crew that will form the Rogue One team without any logical sequence and it will take a good 30 minutes before you can connect the dots together.
First, we are introduced to Bodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed), a defected Imperial pilot, that comes into the Jedha planet and taken to Gerrera by one of Gerrera’s henchman. Suddenly we are transported into another story and another location and introduced to Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) and introduced to adult Jyn (15 years separates the attack on Lah’Mu and the present time), let rotting in an Imperial detention center.
Jyn got freed by Cassian, allowing us to get introduced to K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial robot that have a good sense of sarcasm and humor (something a bit similar to Futurama’s Blender, but with a less explicit mouth). Following her release, Jyn is brought to Yavin IV and bring us back to the original Star Wars lore. This was the first big bluff to see Mon Mothma, a remarkable copycat copy of the original Caroline Blakinston (Return of the Jedi) this time played by Genevieve O’Reilly. Also the surprising presence of Bail Organa gives this little easter egg that helps binding between the prequels (I,II and III) and the original trilogy. It is a nice one but also create one of the many conundrums in Star Wars logic. He is on Yavin IV almost the full period of the movie and almost like a stupid move go to die vaporized on Alderaan. Such little details like this are the same one that undermined this movie.
During this meeting, Mon Mothma instruct Cassian and Jyn to get in contact with Gerrera in Jedha, as Gerrera (leader of a guerrilla fighting off the presence of Imperial troops in Jedha) is hostile to anyone trying to get in touch with him. As a sidetone Cassian is also briefed that his next mission will consist of killing Galen. This is an interesting development in the story arc. The Rebel Alliance was always presented as a faction with a certain sanctity, killing only stormtroopers and Imperial forces by necessity during battles. This mission sounds more like an extrajudicial killing and smears on the white sheet that the Rebel Alliance draped in the original trilogy. This is also emphasized later in the expedition on Jedha with the terrorism act committed on an Imperial convoy in Jedha (from Gerrera’s liberation guerrilla) resulting not only in several civilian casualties but also in the ultimate collective punishment. These two aspects are highly echoing the Syrian conflict in which propaganda from both sides of the conflict are trying to minimize their atrocities in their quest for victory, only resulting in civilians (taken in the middle of the cross-fire) to pay the heaviest price of all: complete destruction. The destruction of Jedha by the Death Star is also highly symbolic of the abusive superpowers forces to bow down their enemies by targeting their civilian populations: American (WW2 German carpet bombing of major cities like Hamburg, Berlin or Dresden; Vietnam), Russian (carpet bombing of Chechnya’s Grozny; Syria’s Aleppo), German (Paris bombing during the 1870 war; WW1’s Somme and Northeastern France bombing; Spain’s Guernica campaign; WW2’s London bombing campaign…..).
As Jyn meets finally her former savior (Gerrera), we finally get the crystallization and reach finally a semblance of narrative after a hodgepodge series of sequences that resulted in a very messy and chaotic introduction to Rogue One team. As this point, we have a skeleton crew of what I would call misfits but completely dedicated members: Jyn, Cassian,  K-2SO, Bodhi, Chirrup Imwe (played by Donnie Wen, a blind monk-warrior strongly believing in the force) and Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen,  mercenary harboring a laser Gatling and Imre BFF).
This encounter is only short-lived as Krennic decides to test-fire the Death Star on Jedha.
This was some mind-blowing sequence in the movie: first, it was an impressive moment to see Peter Cushing raised back from the dead thanks to modern CGI (it also shows how we are coming far from The Matrix Reloaded Playstationesque VFX). It was also some “shock and awe” moment to see the Death Star blowing up the planet in a death that was slow and painful: unlike the immediate blow of Alderaan as depicted in Episode IV, it is slow enough (maybe a good 10-15 mins) to have the population assist to their own death without any chance to escape it. Suddenly, the memorable quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi before the arrival in the Alderaan system takes its true meaning. However, this also creates another conundrum as Alderaan explosion does not make sense anymore. This is where an update of this scene can significantly gain in its impact. The silly moment is certainly Gerrera standing in the collapsing Jedha although he could have fled. Facing death in Sci-Fi movies is the hallmark of spaceship captains, not some revolutionaries.
The movie then take us to us to Eadu in which Cassian is appointed to kill Galen but also highlights on the logistical mess that the Rebel Alliance (and often most rebel groups and resistance) is. It is one of the darkest and gloomiest sequence (also marked by the photography) by several aspects: Krennic’s cold-blood execution of engineers following Galen’s leak to rebels, the death of Galen in Jyn’s hand allowing only few second to reunite with Jyn after 15 years before dying in her arms.
The end of the second third of the movie is marked by a sequence full of references: a volcano planet (Mustafar?) that holds a dark Sith castle, a bacta tank (TESB anyone?) with a severely malmed individual in it. It brings Darth Vader in a short sequence, just teasing for the final sequence.
The final third of the movie is made to recover the Death Star plan located on Scarif planet (filmed in the Maldives island), a paradise planet that will become an apocalyptic hell. It is one of the greatest battles that I even see: First it points out the lack of the Rebel Alliance readiness to fight off the Empire. Second it demonstrate that the Rebel Alliance lacks any maturity in the decision-making and leadership, a feature that undermine many failed revolutions. Third, it combines both the Episode’s V battle of Hoth (with a strong feeling of the D-Day Normandy assault as depicted in the “The Longest Day” ) and episode’s VI galactic battle of Endor. Fourth, this battle concluded in a “bad ending” scenario. No Naboo fest, No Endor fest, no ceremony…….None of the Rogue One members survive, with Jyn and Cassian’s seeing their own fate unfolding with the explosion of the planet, displayed by a giant atomic mushroom that vaporize them. Finally, we have a sneak peek of Darth Vader coming in full rage, slashing through rebels in a Tantive-like vessel as never seen before. We are lead to speculate that this is the same vessels than Princess Leia but only figure out that it was a diversion as an escape shuttle jump to hyperspace to give the information to Princess Leia. This is also a side of the movie that was disturbing: a CGI Carrie Fisher rejuvenated by 40 years, making the direct link to Episode IV.
This is also creating a major conundrum in the canon: we have another feeling of incoherency that marked the first third part of the movie. It felt Leia just dropped in as a convenience. It also raises the credibility of the Rebel Alliance to face the Galactic Empire immediately after being smashed on Scarif.
Overall, Rogue One is way better that any prelogy chapters. It has some good vibes of the Empires Strikes Back but still not reach A New Hope. It somehow looks better  than Return of the Jedi but fare below a New Hope. Also if you are fond of the Jedi mythos (I honestly does not give a care about the Jedi/Sith mumbo-jumbo in general), you will be disappointed. But if you want to see great Sci-Fi features (aliens, spaceships and lasers) you will be in heaven.

[TV/Sci-Fi] Star Trek 50th Anniversary: How I learned to stop worrying and love being a Trekkie.

As 2016 closes to end with its many tumultuous and tragic toll over this year, I wanted to also highlights some of the good things that happened on a personal level this year. One of them is discovering “Star Trek” through watching “Star Trek The Original Series” as 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the original series on NBC.
For a long time now since my initial exposure to Star Trek universe when I was a kid, the airing of the original (remastered) episodes on BBC America provided a plato how I learned to stop worrying and love being a new member of the Trekkie family. As I am finished up binging on the original series (I am in the almost done with the first-half of Season 3, watched the original movie and the two JJ Abrams movies), I thought it would be great to put that into a blog and why I think Star Trek surpasses Star Wars in many aspects, at least based on my binge level and current knowledge of the lore.
My first experience of Star Trek was maybe when I was 3-4 years old, when the series was aired on some French public TV channel. I was intrigued but quickly stopped by my Dad skepticism about the seriousness of the series, impersonated by Spock Vulcan trait (in other words his pointed ears). So this eagerness was stopped and stayed latent until now, as I moved into Star Wars and fueled by the misconception that Star Trek was boring. This I feel define the rivalry between team Star Wars and team Star Trek.
Indeed both are different and addressing two distinct philosophies: the former is highly impregnated by religion and beliefs (indeed Buddhism, Zen and other religions have highly influenced Georges Lucas) whereas the later is driven by logic, skepticism and critical thinking (that I guess why Star Trek is highly popular amongst scientists and also a trademark of Gene Roddenberry humanism). It is also driven by their very distinct plot development: the former constitutes a clever blending of sword & buckler (lightsabers) and Western (the famous Han solo cantina duel) whereas the later prone the diplomacy approach before the use of violence (even there, the crew use their phasers on stun mode) to solve a hard-time situation. This lack of action in the latter is probably why folks often chastise Star Trek as a boring series due to its lack of action (the first Star Trek Original Motion Picture was indeed exemplifying this stereotype).
However, “Star Trek – TOS” provide a much richer environment than Star Wars although being 10 years older than then Star Wars. In Star Trek, we are not dealing with the Star Wars skeleton crew. We are dealing with a whole navigating team, each with their own expertise, pros and cons. We have Captain James “Jim” P. Kirk (played by William Shatner), a charismatic and womanizing ship captain, seconded by Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), a Vulcan science officer and champion of logic. Contrasting with Spock personality, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) provides the mercurial and hard-boiled doctor, using any of the situations to verbally joust with Spock.
In addition, we have key elements that made the series very innovative by its cultural inclusiveness and progressive views:

  • Lt. Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols), a Afro-American woman in place of the key communication officer.
  • Lt. Hikari Sulu (played by Georges Takkei) as a Japanese helm officer. Sulu is the man behind the “USS Enterprise” maneuver into warp drive, putting the defenses on and firing phasers and torpedoes against hostile encounters.
  • Ensign Pavel Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) a Russian second-in pilot
  • Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (played by James Doohan), easily recognized by its strong Scottish accent, key engineer that have the spaceship “USS Enterprise” run in good hands. He is the man behind the transporter that made Star Trek as it is.\
  • Nurse Christine Chapel (Majet Barett, Roddenberry love affair and second wife), assistant to McCoy and Spock secret lover.Aside from taking (limited) control of the ship during absence of Kirk, none of them are dispensable (unlike Star Wars in which almost everyone knows how to fight and fly the Falcon Millennium). Almost each episodes of Star Trek is centered about the discovery of a novel planet and its inhabitants or around a spaceship encounters. This is what I love about Star Trek: they don’t go blindly into a planet. They scan it, study it, define its composition and identify any presence of living beings. Even after living beings, the crew stands on a strong ethos driven the Prime Directive: do not interfere with the population technology or beliefs. Observe and limit interactions. Sounds sciencey no? It is. Many things that are appearing in Star Trek have crossed the science-fiction into the science: the use of miniature storage device that almost look like flash drives, the health monitoring system in sick bay that is now a common device in every hospitals….There are things that still into the science-fiction realms like the Tricorder, the propulsion system called warp drive…..The Original Series spans on 79 episodes split in three seasons. Overall most of them are interesting but there are also inequalities: some are excellent, some are just kind of a reheated episode, some are completely weird or infamously bad.

    These are some of the greatest episodes that i recommend to watch. Season 1 is certainly one of the best season as there are many episodes that made my favorite list:
    Season 1 (1966-1967):
    – S01E04: “The Naked Time”. In this episode, the crew is investigating the death of a federation outpost, only to be contained by a transmissible parasite that makes the crew hallucinating and schizophrenic.
    – S01E05: “The Enemy Within”. A damn good episode! One of the few written by Richard Matheson (you may heard his name as a screenwriter for many “The Twillight Zone” episodes and “I Legend”). In this episode, a malfunction in the transporter results in having Kirk personality split into two Kirks: the good-hearted Kirk and the evil-minded Kirk. This is the episode in which Kirk appears completely insane!
    http://s294.photobucket.com/user/Pamelia_and_Stormi_SongBird/media/Celebrities/CaptainKirk.gif.html
    –  S01E07 “What Are Little Made Of”. In this episode, the crew investigates a distress call from Dr. Roger Korby, an exobiologist that is also Nurse Chapel long lost finance. He has been working on creating humanoids replicas and try to use the Enterprise as a vehicle for dominating the world.
    – S01E10 “The Corbomite Maneuver”. In this episode, the crew face an encounter with ah alien spaceship, putting the crew into a nerving mouse-and-cat game.
    – S01E11-E12 “The Menagerie”. Based on an unaired pilot repurposed in this 2-part episode. It sees Spock mutiny decision to follow Captain Pike’s order, former USS enterprise commander.
    – S01E14 “Birds Of Prey”. This is the first episode that introduce us to the Romanian faction, one of the faction at war with the Federation. It is also has this classical feeling of chivalry that was noted in WW1 air and sea battles.
    – S01E16 “The Galileo Seven”. This episode is one of the most stressful as Spock and the team are stranded on a transport shuttle crashed into an hostile environment, fighting form their survival and trying to get back into the Enterprise.
    – S01E18 “Arena”. This is probably one of the classical episode that looks weird and outdated but yet fascinating. In this episode, Kirk and the captain of a hostile spacecraft (a paper-mache reptile) are put on a planet with only their intelligence and natural resources to develop lethal weapons, as only one will leave this place alive.
    – S01E22 “Space Seed”. This is an important episode as it introduces us to “Khan”, one of most fearsome foe of the Star Trek Universe.
    – S01E23 “A Taste Of Armageddon”. Thats another great episode by the political meanings. The Enterprise crew arrive in a planetary system that appears thriving and  peaceful, only to see that a 500-year war has been running between two factions. A virtual war but with deadly civilian tolls, as each faction have to disintegrate its own civilians as “collateral damage”.
    – S01E25 “Devil in the Dark”. This is the episode that was used in one video made from someone of my home region, using a vernacular regional German dialect (Alsatian), with a creature (referred in the parody as “la merde de l’espace”) that terrorise a mining company. One of these weirdest episode highlighted by Spock mind-melding with the creature.
    – S01E26 “Errand Of Mercy”. Not a great episode but worth in the list as it is the first episode to introduce the Klingons (their appearance and language will greatly differ in the subsequent iterations).
    – S01E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Certainly one of the best episode due to its dramatic tense. Following an accidental injection, a delusional McCoy beams himself into a planet hosting a time-travel portal transporting him, Kirk and Spock into the 1930s depression-era. Kirk and Spock faces not only the dilemma hold by the Prime directive but also the consequence of saving someones death on the historical timeline.

    Season 2 (1967-1968):
    Season 2 was also very good but some episodes have this feeling of “deja-vu” by using a plot already explored. These are my favorite Season 2 episodes in my list:
    – S02E04 “Mirror, Mirror”: Another great epidote in which a disturbance in the transporter beam leads to a mix-up between two parallel universes, sending Kirk and its teammates in which the Federation is more like a pirate and terrorizing organization.
    – S02E06 “The Doomsday Machine”. Another favorite episode. In this episode, the Enterprise faces a huge doomsday machine that is fueling on planets and galaxies that he swallows. He sees the demise of an another spacecraft and captain that will make the ultimate sacrifice as a ship’s captain.
    – S02E10 ” Journey To Babel”. A unique episode as it brings various races of the Federation into the Enterprise, in particular Spock’s parents. All on a “whodunit” intrigue as well as a unique father-son relationship makes this episode unique and original.
    – S02E15 “The Trouble with Tribbles”. THE episode with the fur balls!
    – S02E16 “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. One of the action-packed episode seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk becoming gladiators.
    – S02E17 “A Piece of The Action”. What would Star Trek would like if it took place in the 1920’s Chicago prohibition-era? Well this episode!
    – S02E21 “Patterns of Force”one of these episodes using a planet as a mirror to human history, in particular to something looking like the Nazi Germany. Worth the seeing.
    – S02E24 “The Ultimate Computer”. Before computers were even outside, this episode had this visionary feels as it predicts the danger of considering any computer devices as fool-proof, devoid of any “bugs”. Wargames’ WOPR or Terminator’s Skynet anyone?
    – S02E26 “Assignment: Earth”. An odd but fun episode, playing with Star Trek colliding with modern-day (1967-69) Earth, straight in the line of “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (S01E19) episode.
    Season 3 (1968-1969):
    Season 3 in my opinion started to go into weird direction, brining some of the worst episodes and maybe explaining why the series was plugged off. This seasons feels like a roller-coaster as it feels an a succession of “yeah” and “meh” episodes. Here are some of the best and worst episodes that I was given to see:
    – S03E01 “Spock’s Brain”. The worst episode in my opinion, just look at the plot: A lost civilization sent a woman into the Enterprise, put everyone to sleep to steal Spock’s brain. Not only Spock remains alive without a brain, even better McCoy find a way to make a remote-controlled Spock!
    – S03E02 “The Enterprise Incident”. Maybe of the best of that season, in which Kirk and Spock decide to stealthy steal a Romanian technology. One of the few times Spock kicks away his logic and use his seduction to the female Romulian ship captain  to plot the theft. When James Bond collides with Star Trek, it makes one interesting episode.
    – S03E03 “The Paradise Syndrome”. Another terrible episode in which Kirk becomes amnesic and fall in love with a Native-American like indigenous inhabitant and becomes a God-like symbol.
    – S03E05 “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. Another terrible episode in which Kollos, a Medusean ambassador is locked into a box due to transportation, any human seeing Kollos (in other words the inside content of that box) become insane before dying. I never knew that psychedelic visuals would make someone to die, unless you are on LSD. I guess that was maybe the message behind that episode “Don’t do drugs”.
    – S03E07 “Day Of The Dove”. Thats another great episode in which Kirk and a rival Klingon ship have to work together to fight a common enemy, an energy-made creature feeding on anger and violence.
    -S03E08 “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. Not a great episode but worth mentioning as it has the only episode in which McCoy have a love affair with a priestess from a drifting spaceship turned into an asteroid.
    – S03E09 “The Tholian Web”. One of the darkest episode. As Kirk investigates the wreckage of USS Valiant, the crew faces multiple challenges that put them into the most challenging situation: a disease that makes crew members bezerk, Captain Kirk declared dead by Spock only to be found lost into another dimension running low on oxygen, the attack of a Tholian fleet resulting in major casualties and mechanical damage, putting Spock and McCoy into the most tense decisional fight in decision making.
    – S03E10 “Wink of an Eye”. A very boring episode in which Captain Kirk moves at the speed of light following the incursion of some aliens inside his ship. The only noteworthy moment in my opinion is when Captain Kirk went the extra mile, above the call of duty with the female alien :p.
    – S03E11 “Eylaan of Troyius”. An interesting but also weird episode, with Kirk having to discipline a tin-foil clad but spoiled princess and a sabotage by some Klingons. We knew Kirk was a womanizer but making up with a princess-bride was priceless.
    – S03E12 “Whom God Destroys”. An overall okay episode taking place in a space asylum taken by Garth of Izard, a former Starlet captain turned psychopath (and capable to take others apparence). What make this episode very interesting? Two things: seeing the false Captain Kirk getting loco as Scott refuses to beam him inside the Enterprise, the cruauty of Garth that does not hesitate to let suffocate Marta (her love affair from Orion) by exposing her to deadly poisonous gases but also to explode her alive remotely all on the prime-time screen.
    – S03E14 “The Mark of Gideon”. A bizarre episode in which the Enterprise try to establish diplomatic contact with the habitants of the Gideon Planet. The only problem is that such planet is overpopulated by mute folks in spandex moving using Brownian movement. Choosing Kirk for helping to control the population is certainly sarcastic.
    – S03E19 “Requiem For Methuselah”. I liked this episode as it has some Twillight Zone twist to it. The Enterprise is beamed down a planet to harvest and extract some ryetalyn to treat some a Rigelian fever outbreak (I wonder if there is any association  with the Ritalin drug used for ADHD patients). At the surprise of the captain, they found two humanoids on the planet that not what they appear to be.
    – S03E20 “Way to Eden”. Oh my, this is an awful episode. Imagine hippies into space looking for their ashram and raising a mutiny inside the Enterprise. Ugh!
    – S03E21 “The Cloud Minders”. An interesting episode by its inspiration for Lando Carlissian’s cloud city of the Bespin planet. It has also a strong inspiration with Fritz Lang “Metropolis” by the social class divide (the intellectually poor are relegated to terranean surface, whereas the rich ones are living in the clouds).
    – S03E22 “The Savage Curtain”. Another interesting one, as the crew of the USS Enterprise are encountered by a replica of Abraham Lincoln, only to be forced to participate in a gladiators game similar to “Arena”. Kirk, Spock and Lincoln team with Saruk (a legend amongst Vulcan history) into a deathmatch against some of the greatest villain of Earth History including Gengis Khan and Captain Green. The second time that a rock-based alien is the center of attention.
    – S03E23 “All Our Yesterday”. This is a must-watch, one of the best episode by its darkness and probably the first time Spock showed his human emotion. The USS Enterprise is visiting a planet that has 4 hours to live before its destruction by its star that became a nova. Spock, Kirk and McCoy are beamed down into a library and greeted by the last librarian. At their surprise, the librarian tell them everybody else have left into safety (despite their lack of knowledge in rocket science and space exploration). The trio discovers the fate of its population as they are trapped in some holographic portals.
    – S03E24 “Turnabout Intruder”. The last episode before NBC cancelled the production. Also one of the worst episode of TOS franchise. Captain Kirk is visiting Camus II following a distress signal from Dr. Lester, a scientist and former Kirk love affair during its time at the Starfleet Academy. Using an ancient device, Dr. Lester traps Kirk and use it to switch minds. This episode is awfully bad essentially for the mostly misogynistic allure of it. The whole  plot is centered on Dr. Lester venality, as women are barred from becoming Starfleet Captain. Dr. Lester also use many mysogynistic techniques such as “slut-shaming”, physical and verbal violence (she tries to kill Kirk imprisoned in Dr. Lester’s body several times) and “gaslightning”.