Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 25, Episodes 49 & 50; A Piece of the Action/ By Any Other Name
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In "A Piece of the Action", the crew journeys to Iotia, a planet whose inhabitants prove incredibly resourceful and adaptive. Based upon a single book on 1920's Gangsters left behind by a previous starship, the Iotians have modeled their entire culture to resemble Jazz-era Chicago - Tommyguns, mob-molls, hits and all. Landing on Iotia to open contact, Kirk and crew find themselves in the middle of a gang war. The episode is funny without being too campy (forgetting that this is the story requiring the heroes to sneak around a Paramount backlot in period costume). Kirk struggles to unite the warring gangs for the good of the planet without taking sides and without becoming another hit. The last shot is classic - leaving open the possibility that the Iotians may one day demand a piece of the Starfleet's action.
In "By any other name", the Enterprise is hijacked by the Kelvan - an advanced race of beings from the Andromeda galaxy. Having been marooned when their ship was crippled by the energy barrier at the rim of our galaxy (the same barrier that has made appearances in "Where no man has gone before", "Is there no truth in Beauty" and the fifth Trek film), the Kelvan took on the shape of human beings. Their actual forms - immense being with many tentacles and huge brains - would have trouble managing turbolifts. Once past the barrier, the Kelvan use their advance technology to reduce much of the crew into small styrofoam boxes, and otherwise keep the remaining crew in submission.Read more ›
A Piece of the Action remains one of Trek's most popular episodes. In essence, it's a time travel episode, without the time travel, which frees the story from the usual "Don't alter the future" constraints. The hands of Gene L. Coon, who co-wrote this episode, are evident in the colorful writing, and in the banter between the characters. Deliberately, the Iotians are all made to speak using a nonstop stream of 1920s cliches. When Kirk adopts these cliches, and eventually persuades Spock to adopt them, the course is set for maximum comedy.
By Any Other Name is mostly standard action fare, involving the Enterprise being hijacked by an invading force of Kelvans from another galaxy. These esoteric aliens have taken Human form to be able to function in a human environment. The solution is to introduce them to the pleasures of the senses, which creates a chance for James Doohan to shine as Scotty gets a Kelvan, and himself, drunk. This episode also highlights one of Kirk's finest characteristics: his willingness to forgive. Even after the Kelvan leader has killed one of his crew, Kirk is willing to extend the hand of friendship and offer the Federation's help.
Both sound and picture are fine.
William Shatner did a superlative acting job here, as did guest star Vic Taybeck.
By Any Other Name was almost as good. My favorite scene is where Scotty gets the one Kelvan drunk, takes his "turn people into styrofoam blocks" doohickey, and passes out cold in the doorway of his quarters.
A PIECE OF THE ACTION may very well be one of the top five most popular episodes of the original series. The Enterpirse crew arrives at Sigma Iotia II to find a civilization similar to the Chicago Mobs of the 1920's. The planet itself has been divided by gang wars and Kirk feels he must reunite the planet so it can have good relation with the Federation. Kirk resorts to him and Mr. Spock donning mobster gear and talking in slang which leads to A PIECE OF THE ACTION being one of the funniest Star Trek episodes. The episode itslef is quite good and very entertaining especially Kirk driving the old jalopy, the card game and Spock acting like a gangster. However the episode wraps up unevenly and it really makes you think: Kirk completely disobeyed the Prime Directive in this episode! However this episode doesn't fail to please and the end left this plot open for a sequel. Unfortunetly it has never been produced. A PIECE OF THE ACTION is an excellent episode of Star Trek though.
BY ANY OTHER NAME may be one of the strangest episodes of Star Trek ever! Kirk and the crew are abducted by Kelvans who take on a human form. The Kelvans demand control of The Enterprise so they can take a voyage to find a planet suitable for colonzation since there own ship was destroyed. The Kelvans are so ruthless they even go to the extent to killing an innocent enterprise crew member to get what they want.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Star trek great series. Buy the complete set unless you are like me filling in a partial set.Published 7 months ago by Michael D Yust
I have always been a fan of Star Trek since I was a kid. William Shatner is such a cowboy. Always doing things his way and explaining to his superiors later. Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by yazda
They arrived quickly and at a good price. They were in perfect shape.Would buy from them again.Amazon is a pest with these reviews.Published on October 23, 2011 by Saturday mechanic
If you are choosing which volumes to keep, this one falls under the "nice to have but not essential" category. Read morePublished on December 4, 2006 by Frederick Baptist
The Chicago Crime book contaminated the iconian society, whose propensity for exactness and imitation built two war societies on the descriptions from the Book. Read morePublished on August 27, 2006 by Golden Lion
Star Trek seems to be one of the few science fiction television shows that cover a range of different genres such as westerns and gangsters and A PIECE OF THE ACTION is one example... Read morePublished on April 2, 2003 by Adam Paul Bailey
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