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  • Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 37 - Episodes 73 & 74: The Lights of Zetar / The Cloud Minders
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Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 37 - Episodes 73 & 74: The Lights of Zetar / The Cloud Minders

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Product Description

"The Lights of Zetar," Ep. 73 - Strange-colored light entities take possession of Lt. Mira Romaine, Scotty's new love. If Kirk can't exorcise these Zetarians, they'll kill Romaine and the U.S.S. Enterprise crew. " The Cloud Minders," Ep. 74 - Suspicious Troglytes, subservient miners on the planet Ardana, refuse to give zenite to Kirk and his crew. Without this antidote, billions will die on a Federation planet.

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"The Lights of Zetar"
A planetoid called Alpha Memory is chosen to become the Federation's official library, and Lieutenant Mira Romaine (Jan Shutan), charged with transferring records to the site's computers, is en route to that destination aboard the Enterprise. Along the way, she acquires a new beau in the adoring Scotty (James Doohan), and big trouble when the collective consciousness of the Zetars, a lost and disembodied race, attack the Alpha Memory project and take possession of her and her voice. Not surprisingly, the story was written by someone who knew a lot about projecting personalities and voices into hapless third parties: puppeteer Shari Lewis and her husband Jeremy Torcher, both big fans of Star Trek. Typical of the original series' troubles with ever-shrinking budgets, the Zetar entities are represented as mere colored lights, an adequate effect improved immensely by the scary-dramatic context in which they appear and by a good vocal performance by Barbara Babcock (lately of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) as the merged creatures. Shutan is just fine as the comely librarian, and Doohan is great in his impassioned-Scotty mode.

"The Cloud Minders"
All the signs that Star Trek was creatively strained late in its third season (following the departures of key creative personnel and the absence of Gene Roddenberry's full attention) can be seen in "The Cloud Minders." David Gerrold, author of the hugely popular "The Trouble with Tribbles," conceived an almost Dickensian story about the exploitation of miners, called Troglytes, on the planet Ardana, and the way Troglyte labor enriches the lives of an aristocracy that literally lives in the sky, above the fray. Third-season producer Fred Freiberger wanted fewer ideas and more action, and he had another writer deeply revise Gerrold's notion that Captain Kirk (William Shatner) should broker positive change on behalf of the have-nots. The finished production finds Kirk more irritated than anything that a domestic problem is slowing his mission to retrieve zienite, a medicinal mineral. Meanwhile, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) uncharacteristically sniffs around an Ardanian cutie who flirts with him, and a ridiculous torture-the-space-babe scene belongs in a midnight movie from the 1950s. "The Cloud Minders" is like a junk-food snack: chunky in its organization and cheesy in its production values. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Bill Blackburn
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Q79B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,814 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 37 - Episodes 73 & 74: The Lights of Zetar / The Cloud Minders" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B.C. Scribe on January 11, 2003
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'The Lights Of Zetar' is an episode that plays by it's own rules and the result is one of the poorest efforts of the original series. The story was written by Shari Lewis, of "Lamb Chop" fame, and her husband Jeremy Tarcher, with the thought that she would be the female lead. Thank goodness clearer heads prevailed! The idea of a conscious body of interstellar beings traveling the galaxy looking for an escape from their incorporeal state isn't really a bad concept at all. It's the way that they are defeated that's the problem here.
In the beginning we are introduced to Lt. Mira Romaine who the Enterprise is taking to Memory Alpha, an immense library sanctioned by the Federation and open to all. The starship encounters an unusual phenomenon just before reaching their destination. It appears onscreen as a multi-colored cloud that gives no discernible readings when scanned. It soon penetrates the hull and disables the crew in various ways; the cloud assaults Lt. Romaine momentarily and later she has what she believes is a disturbing premonition concerning the Memory Alpha facility. Within time the true identity of the mysterious cloud is discovered - and the crew also learns that Lt. Romaine has been chosen by them to fulfill a sinister and costly purpose.
What really hurts this episode is that Kirk, Spock and McCoy devise a way to defeat the Zetars that isn't quite plausible. How will this method defeat the beings? While you are watching this keep in mind they penetrated the ship's hull with no problems in the beginning of the show and also they have existed in zero gravity for millennia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 8, 2001
We are obviously getting near the end of the road here because Volume 37 of the Star Trek DVD series offers up a couple of lesser efforts from the show's final season. "The Lights of Zetar" is heading for Memory Alpha, which must be the Federation's version of Asimov's Foundation facility, when an energy cloud appears. After knocking out Lt. Mira Romaine on the ship, the cloud attacks Memory Alpha, kills most of the researchers and wipes out the computer memory. When the Enterprise encounters the cloud again, it is clear that there is some weird link between it and Romaine. Eventually Kirk gets around to exploiting it in order to figure out what is going on and what to do about it. This is one of those Star Trek episodes that just strikes me as rather lame. The explanation is unsatisfying and the resolution is a bit extreme on several levels. Besides which, I do not think energy clouds are this easy to defeat.
"The Cloud Minders" finds the Enterprise visiting Ardana, a planet rich in the mineral zenite and where the society is divided into those who live on Stratos, a city in the cloud where everyone engages in the mental arts, and the Troglytes, who work in the zenite minds. As Kirk tries to negotiate for the zenite, the Troglytes have started to rebel. Plasus, the head of the Stratos Council, starts torturing Troglytes, with little success. Kirk meets with Vanna, the leader of the Troglytes and offers help: it seems the zenite gas causes "temporary" mental and emotional problems and McCoy has whipped up some masks that improve the health of the miners. Of course, Vanna does not trust the strange visitors from another planet and the people of Stratos do not want to give up their belief of superiority over the Troglytes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Baptist on February 24, 2007
In a mostly terrible 3rd season of stops and starts but of mostly the former, it's refreshing to get a mini-revival for at least two episodes before the very end. A combination of low budgeting and poor ratings due to a poor time slot gave the production team very little to work with and it shows here in this volume especially in the first episode with "The Lights of Zetar". The "possession" scenes with the lights over the faces of both the first female victim and Lt. Romaine represent special effects scenes so poor that they were almost humorous instead of the horror which was the intended effect. Still, this average episode ranks among the better ones of the 3rd season.

In the second episode "The Cloud Minders", we get one of the best episodes of all Classic Trekdom. We get a very good overall episode which is a fable and satire about discrimination. The scriptwriting on this volume has improved dramatically from previous volumes and the acting as well making this episode to be overall a worthy addition to Classic Trekdom lore.

If you are looking for one of the better volumes of Season 3, this one falls under the "must have" category.

Recommended.
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Volume 37 of The Star Trek DVD series contains two of the lesser episodes from the show's third and final season. This collection points out the low points of the third season because both episodes are quite weak.
THE LIGHTS OF ZETAR is the better of the two here. However that's not saying much. An evil alien entity invades the body of Lt. Mira Romaine (Jan Shutan) Scotty's new love interest. The alien is from Zetar and threatens the crew that Mira will die. Essentially this episode is a blue print for the famous horror film 'The Exorcist' however this episode lacks any distinct depth. The episode isn't the worst in the series and Jan Shutan makes a nice acting appearance here. However the story is weak, Scotty's love interest is completely unconvincing (like all the others he had), and the ending of this episode is completely lame. I don't think evil possessive aliens can be defeated so easily by a pressure chamber!
It's gets worse though. THE CLOUD MINDERS has to be one of the weakest Star Trek scripts ever to make it into production. The episode try to tackles the discrimiantion issue between upper and lower class people, but ends up flopping over and the message is not only vague but incomplete. The budget (which was really low at this point) was spent entirely on set and costume design. Therefore we have a really weak script and some pretty mediocre and shoddy acting. Although this episode may have been good had the budget been spent better and the plot developed more. Even a double serving of eye candy with Diana Ewing (who plays Droxine, a rich Stratos girl who becomes a totally unbelieveable love interest for Spock) and Charlotte Polite, cannot save this episode from the depths of humilation. It's bad but there has been worse so this is still watchable.
Overall not the best thing to come out of the Star Trek production crew but this is still classic Trek and worth picking up. Recommended to fans of the Original series.
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