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Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 13: The Conscience of the King [VHS]

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Bill Blackburn
  • Directors: Gerd Oswald
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Barry Trivers
  • Producers: Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry, Robert H. Justman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: CBS Paramount International Television
  • VHS Release Date: April 15, 1994
  • Run Time: 46 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630021317X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,622 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

"The Conscience of the King" is a memorable drama about a traveling Shakespearean troupe led by one Anton Karidian (Arnold Moss), who may or may not be the same man as Kodos the Executioner, former governor of a Federation planet who oversaw the mass murder of thousands of people rather than watch them starve to death during a food shortage. (Shortly after the deaths, Federation supply ships arrived and Kodos disappeared, right around the time that Karidian arrived as a classical actor touring the planets.) A nice twist: among victims of Kodos's wrongheaded mercy killings were relatives of Captain Kirk (William Shatner), adding a personal note to the mystery of Karidian/Kodos. Well-written (by Barry Trivers) and sensitively directed by a not-well-known but very interesting Hollywood filmmaker, Gerd Oswald. --Tom Keogh

From the Back Cover

After Kirk beams up actor Anton Karidian, deadly accidents occur aboard the starship. Could Karidian be Kodos the Executioner?

TREK TRIVIA
Barbara Anderson (Lenore Karidian) went on to star with Raymond Burr in the hit TV series Ironside.
This episode marked the first appearance of the Observation Deck, which was not seen again until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier...more than twenty years later!

Customer Reviews

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Tightly written and expertly acted, 'The Conscience Of The King' foreshadows the recurring themes of Shakespeare used inventively in several episodes and incarnations of Star Trek. Here Kirk is a thinly veiled interpretation of Hamlet as he tries to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspected mass murderer and whether or not he can act on the scarce evidence at hand. Though the plot seems a bit farfetched - of 8,000 colonists on Tarsus IV only nine eyewitnesses can identify the planet's most prominent politician - the story is punched acrossed solidly with it's few obvious flaws sidestepped gracefully. As Anton Karidian/Kodos The Executioner Arnold Moss supplies one of the best character portrayals from the original series, and Barbara Anderson (of television's "Ironsides") is his equal as his daughter who comes unhinged in the finale.
A scientist who claims he has invented a food substance that will save the populace of another planet suffering a famine summons the Enterprise to Planet Q. Soon after they arrive though they discover the story is a ruse. The scientist, an old acquaintance of Kirk's, explains to him that he is certain that an actor in the traveling troupe visiting Planet Q is the infamous Kodos The Executioner. Kodos was responsible for the death of 4,000 colonists on Tarsus IV, a colony that both Kirk and his friend were part of when the massacre occurred; now some twenty years later only a few eyewitnesses who can identify Kodos remain alive. Kirk is skeptical at first but when his friend turns up dead and a consultation with the ship's computer reveals that seven of nine eyewitnesses have been murdered while the traveling troupe is in the vicinity, this coincidence persuades Kirk to arrange to transport the actors to their next destination.
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The suspense isn't very engrossing and the mystery doesn't yield too much of a surprise, but the concepts in the episode are worth considering.
The actor that portray's Koridian does an excellent job and Bruce Hyde gets to ham it up again as the passionate, misunderstood, overeager Kevin Riley.
If you can sit through the slow moving story, this is actually a fairly good episode.
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Conscience of the King is the 1st season Trek Original Series December 8th, 1966 episode. The story is that Anton Karidian a space touring Shakespearean actor may really be Kodos the Executioner who wiped out half of his colony (4000 people). Kirk is one of 9 witnesses, 7 of which have been killed, and Karidian and his beautiful daughter Lenore(Barbara Anderson of Ironside fame) end up onboard the Enterprise.
It's an interesting twist on the equivalent of a Nazi war criminal of the future, and a reference is made as such: "his own form of eugenics" "he wasn't the first".
And considering William Shatner's classical acting training, he must have loved the Shakespeare stuff in this episode. And it's hard to take your eyes off of Barbara Anderson, strikingly beautiful (oh I said that already) and great intensity in her acting. And the story offers a great twist at the end, not at all predictable. Watch also when Janice shoots Lenore a quick icy "get away from my man" stare.
Finally all acting here is first rate, and we even get to hear Uhura sing and play that guitarlike thing. And the final part is classic '60s Trek drama all the way: the "death scene" where Hamlet merges with reality, and the final thing with Bones "you really cared about her didn't you?...I have my answer."
A couple lines in the dialogue were definitely "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" influenced as that film was out in 1966:
"later, latest, too late" and such. And even the sub-theme is a vague allusion being a woman who has lapsed into fantasy. This and the other best Star Trek Original Series episodes have that je ne sais quoi surrealism, intensity, intelligence, believability, creativity, and '60s style.
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