Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 22, Episodes 43 & 44: Bread And Circuses/ Journey To Babel
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Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) discover that Captain Merik (William Smithers), commander of the long-missing Starfleet vessel S.S. Beagle, has become "First Citizen of the Empire" in a re-creation of ancient Rome on an obscure, unnamed planet. Under orders from the Emperor, Merik forced his own crew to die in gladiator battles and lured other Starfleet personnel to the same fate. Now with Kirk, McCoy, and Spock in hand, the Emperor's barbaric (and televised all over the planet) amusements carry on another day. While the script takes a swipe or two at the sometimes less-than-elevated tastes of global audiences, the episode's most interesting idea is the existence of a long-suffering cult of sun worshippers, a parallel to the suppressed Christian groups in Roman times. For Trekkers, however, this one is full of the essentials: a surreal premise, a hostile planet, lots of fighting, and Scotty (James Doohan) on the bridge. --Tom Keogh
"Journey to Babel"
Years before George Lucas knocked us out with his wildly imaginative bar scene in Star Wars (in which a broad mix of exotic creatures mill about), Star Trek did much the same thing in "Journey to Babel." Serving as a transport for a variety of extraterrestrial diplomats, the Enterprise becomes a warp-capacity hotel for truly eclectic visitors. (Director Joseph Pevney credits the makeup artist with this episode's impressive array of alien species.) The story finds murder committed aboard the ship and an attack on Captain Kirk (William Shatner), all in an effort to sabotage the imminent signing of a peace treaty. But against this mystery is an even more curious family drama featuring Spock's conflicts with his parents, the Vulcan ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard), who disapproves of his son, and his human wife, Amanda (Jane Wyatt). Story editor Dorothy Fontana wrote the script after deciding it was time to show us the oft-mentioned mother and father of the Enterprise's first officer (Leonard Nimoy). We can thank her for inventing all the fascinating details of a complicated family relationship that ultimately became crucial to a couple of feature films and even a memorable episode of The Next Generation. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
Certainly "Journey to Babel" has the best teaser in Star Trek history. The Enterprise crew is decked out in their formal dress to welcome the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek aboard. Kirk and McCoy are surprised when Sarek snubs Spock and go into complete shock when Spock tells that Ambassador Sarek and his wife are his parents.Read more ›
No other original series episode visually demonstrates the scope and inclusiveness of The United Federation of Planets as does this episode. Over the course of the series, the grand United Federation of Planets is represented mostly as a boatful of multicultural humans plus one Vulcan. Sure, the costumes and productions values are not up to modern-day snuff--the Tellerite masks were no doubt deplorable in their OWN time--but folks, THIS is THE original Cantina scene. In an admittedly shoddily re-set USS Enterprise conference room, we have, perhaps, THE original "casual" meeting of indiscriminate races and alien life-forms. Not only is does this scene represent the true substance of seven years worth of DS9 Promenade beauty-shots, this is one of the only episodes in the entire series that attempts to demonstrate that humans were working with other races to solve to varied woes of newly encountered species. Ironic that in one of the only other instance in which we saw an Andorian, he is crazed murderer looking to escape a Federation penal colony. (Andorians are, after all, one of the five founding races of the the Federation, along with Terrans, Vulcans, Tellerites, and the Alpha Centauri).
This episode is worthy of recommendation even were it not for the very compelling 'human' drama of a successful hero facing the life-threatening choice of saving the life of his own unsupportive father.Read more ›
In "Bread", the Enterprise searches for the crew of a missing starship. A clue turns up when finding that a nearby planet, supposedly stuck in the pre-industrial age, now shows appears to have advanced to something comparable to 20th Century Earth. The advances, however, are also paralleled by that world's embrace of Imperial Roman culture, especially its bloodlust. Unsurprisingly, the missing starship captain has much to do with elevating (and debasing) the planet's primitive state. Despite the gory depths to which cultural disruption has brought that world (every night is gladiator night, complete with canned cheers and catcalls, but very real gore) the rogue captain rationalizes his violation of the Prime Directive. This would have been a middling episode, but it's devolved itself, mostly because the idea seems to have been done to death in other TOS episodes: A planet patterned after one of Earth's less proud eras ("A Piece of the Action"); starship captains who violate the prime directive ("Omega Glory"; "Patterns of Force"; "A Private War") and little more to separate from that pack.
The high-point of this disc, far and away, is "Journey to Babel", in which the Enterprise hosts a menagerie of alien ambassadors to a high-level conference where they will hash out the admission of the beleagured world of Corridan. Here we meet Andorians, Tellarians and other Vulcans.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an original copy of this DVD from when first released in 2001. It was shrink wrapped and functioned as a new DVD. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by F-14TommyToro
journey to babel one of my favorites. quality of dvd top notch, jewel case excellent, included literature from the factory.Published on November 24, 2012 by christopher peyko
Hundreds of diplomats are aboard the Enterprise enroute to a secret location called Babel. Sarek and Amanda arrive by shuttle and receive an ambassador greeting by all the... Read morePublished on December 23, 2006 by Golden Lion
If you are choosing which volumes to keep, this one falls under the must have category, although the second episode, "Return To Babel" is clearly the stronger one. Read morePublished on November 5, 2006 by Frederick Baptist
"Sarek's accomplishments were many, and included the Coridan admission debate in 2267 before the UFP Council, early Klingon treaties, and his incredible 93-year effort to bring... Read morePublished on November 25, 2005 by D. Nishimoto
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