Star Trek: The Changeling

“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”

John Green

By rights, tonight’s post should, I know, be an Apprentice review. But the Resident Grammarian refuses even to countenance watching it (on the grounds that it is “utter rubbish”), and I’ve sort of lost interest in the whole sorry business anyway since Lord Vetinari Jason, the only candidate with even a scrap of decency, was fired. So we have Star Trek: The Original Series (now showing on the Horror Channel, for reasons that are incomprehensible to me) instead. Hurrah.

As I explained in my Into Darkness review a few weeks ago, I am technically a “non-fan” when it comes to Star Trek. That is, I’ve seen the two new films and one about whales a long time ago. But, actually, I’m finding the original series weirdly compelling. The Changeling features a homicidal, intelligent probe-machine that looks about as convincing as a cardboard Dalek and wants to wipe out all life anywhere for reasons that do not appear to be grounded in common sense. Oh, and apparently it was built in the early 2000s. So we shouldn’t have long to wait, then.

There is a lot to laugh at here. Scotty’s accent veers erratically between Scottish and American; the acting of secondary characters is often dire and occasionally non-existent; the special effects are, well, exactly what you would expect from a product of the 1960s; and don’t even get me started on the logic fails. One example: after having fired at an unknown craft twice, Captain Kirk declares “We mean no harm to you.”

But, for some reason, I kept watching. And, I have to admit, it does make a good story. It’s quite refreshing to find a sci-fi show that doesn’t involve long and mostly pointless shoot-outs with futuristic guns but actually sitting down and coming up with a workable plan, and generally Finding Things Out instead of whacking people in the face at every opportunity. Violence doesn’t have to solve everything in sci-fi land, it seems.

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