4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An interesting piece of "lost" Star Trek history,
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This review is from: STAR TREK--He Walked Among US (Kindle Edition)
This screenplay confirms two impressions I've long held regarding the original Star Trek:
(1) It was at its best when professional science fiction writers were given relatively free rein to play in the ST universe, as evidenced by David Gerrold's "The Trouble With Tribbles," Theodore Sturgeon's "Shore Leave" and "Amok Time," Norman Spinrad's own "The Doomsday Machine," among others. "He Walked Among Us" would have been a worthy addition. It reads and feels like a Star Trek episode, and a good one. A New-Age-ish Dr. Theodore Bayne plays God and makes over a primitive civilization in his image of Utopia, with decidedly mixed and potentially catastrophic results. Lots of action, lots of clever, thought-provoking dialog (interestingly right-wing by Star Trek standards) and just the right touch of humor to keep the story light and fun.
(2) The producers should have loosened those reins far more often than they did. Exhibit A: "Arena," a darned good Fredric Brown story turned into a formulaic monster-fight yawner. "He Walked Among Us" suffered a similar fate: Gene Coon rewrote it into an exceedingly lame comedy; so much so that Spinrad insisted that it not be produced as (re-)written. Spinrad was right; this is good stuff just the way it is.
It's a pity. The good news is that, 45 years later, we can read the screenplay, picture the scenes and characters and voices in our minds, and enjoy a brand-new, better-than-average "lost" episode of the original Star Trek. Five stars.
*UPDATE* 3/1/12: The New Voyages people are going to film it, with Spinrad directing! Too cool.
*UPDATE* 3/7/12: AND, they're trying to get William Shatner to play Bayne!! This. Must. Happen.
*UPDATE* 3/31/12: ...AND, CBS's lawyers just stomped on the whole thing. *SIGH*. Shakespeare was right.