"Star Trek, Vol. 22: Bread and Circuses / Journey to Babel (Full Screen)" [Import]
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"Bread and Circuses," Ep. 43 - Kirk, Spock and McCoy must contend with a former starship captain-turned-traitor, Roman gladiators and television ratings in this unusual story. "Journey to Babel," Ep. 44 - The Enterprise is crowded with alien ambassadors, Kirk is attacked and Spock is in a terrible dilemma: he's replaced Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise, but his ailing father needs a transfusion in order to survive.
"Bread and Circuses"
Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) discover that Captain Merik (William Smithers), commander of the long-missing Starfleet vessel S.S. Beagle, has become "First Citizen of the Empire" in a re-creation of ancient Rome on an obscure, unnamed planet. Under orders from the Emperor, Merik forced his own crew to die in gladiator battles and lured other Starfleet personnel to the same fate. Now with Kirk, McCoy, and Spock in hand, the Emperor's barbaric (and televised all over the planet) amusements carry on another day. While the script takes a swipe or two at the sometimes less-than-elevated tastes of global audiences, the episode's most interesting idea is the existence of a long-suffering cult of sun worshippers, a parallel to the suppressed Christian groups in Roman times. For Trekkers, however, this one is full of the essentials: a surreal premise, a hostile planet, lots of fighting, and Scotty (James Doohan) on the bridge. --Tom Keogh
"Journey to Babel"
Years before George Lucas knocked us out with his wildly imaginative bar scene in Star Wars (in which a broad mix of exotic creatures mill about), Star Trek did much the same thing in "Journey to Babel." Serving as a transport for a variety of extraterrestrial diplomats, the Enterprise becomes a warp-capacity hotel for truly eclectic visitors. (Director Joseph Pevney credits the makeup artist with this episode's impressive array of alien species.) The story finds murder committed aboard the ship and an attack on Captain Kirk (William Shatner), all in an effort to sabotage the imminent signing of a peace treaty. But against this mystery is an even more curious family drama featuring Spock's conflicts with his parents, the Vulcan ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard), who disapproves of his son, and his human wife, Amanda (Jane Wyatt). Story editor Dorothy Fontana wrote the script after deciding it was time to show us the oft-mentioned mother and father of the Enterprise's first officer (Leonard Nimoy). We can thank her for inventing all the fascinating details of a complicated family relationship that ultimately became crucial to a couple of feature films and even a memorable episode of The Next Generation. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
For better or worse, the show was becoming less introspective. An argument could be made that some of these episodes should have been reigned in a bit. But Star Trek was riding high at this point on a string of strong stories and fun episodes; few could have guessed that the quality would start to deteriorate in just a few episodes.
Tidbit: This episode and Elaan of Troyius were the two that took the longest to get from production to the TV screen. In Elaan of Troyius I always assumed the delay was due to the spacecraft special effects. What was the explanation here? (3 stars)
Journey to Babel-In another classic Trek, we meet Spock's parents, and the Enterprise turns into a veritable 'who's who' of alien dignitaries. Like so many second season shows, this episode is fast paced and dramatic. There are actually several plot lines going at once. Not only do the subtleties of Spock's relationship with his parents play well here, the show is augmented by the fact that so much else happens (murder, Kirk and Sarek's physical troubles, a spy aboard the ship, a Klingon vessel, etc.) A lot to juggle, but the writer and director managed it well, even bringing everything together at the end. True, it's absurd that Kirk and company would know so little about Spock's family, but the bombshell does make for a dramatic close to the teaser. (4.5 stars)
BREAD AND CIRCUSES © PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Expendable Enterprise Crewmember ('Red Shirt') Confirmed Casualty List: None
REVIEW/COMMENTARY: Before I go into the review proper, it has come to my attention that the guys at Paramount™ put these original series DVDs out to the market without respect to neither the episodes' canonical-chronological order nor their date-of-broadcast order. This particular volume is a case in point: The first show, Bread and Circuses ©, was originally broadcast on March 14, 1968 (Stardate 4040.7), while the following show, Journey to Babel, was shown on November 17, 1967 (Stardate 3842.3). At first, I was kinda taken aback by this haphazard arrangement of eppies; after all, they could've at least TRIED to release classic 'Trek in some logical fashion, right? But after envisioning the throes of agony that the more anal-retentive/OCD-suffering UberTrekkies would suffer due to this strange quasi-random release of episodes, I actually found myself rejoicing at Paramount™'s brazenness. Anything that gives the uberfans major hissy fits is just fine and dandy in my book!
A rather intriguing 'what-if' type story where the elimination and/or delayed reaction of a an apparently vital historical element (in this case, "son worship" or Christianity) could have a major impact on the course of human history (in this case, the Roman Empire still exists in the 20th century). Throw in a few less-than-skillful-looking gladiatorial death matches and a turncoat starship captain (similar to the rogue C.O. in The Omega Glory ©), and you've got... um... hey, remember that scene in Airplane!Read more ›
The first episode here is BREAD AND CIRCUSES. The Enterprise crew finds the wreckage of a fellow starship the U.S.S. Beagle and decide to investigate the planet below it. When they arrive on the planet they meet up with a band of sun worshippers and later are captured and taken to a city that looks like Earth's ancient Rome. It turns out that The Roman Empire rules the planet into somewhat modern times where Gladiator games are brodcasted on tv like WWF wrestling. Kirk finds out that Capt. Merik (who was the Beagle's Capt) betrayed his crew and became first citizen of the Empire and is now a close friend to Proconsul Cladius Marcus (played by Logan Ramsey). Marcus demands Kirk to beam down his crew to fight in the arena but Kirk refuses and tries to convince Merik that fighting is wrong in the arena. When Spock and McCoy are forced to fight all hell breaks loose and in the end Merik sees the error of his ways and allows Kirk to escape but unfortunetly Merik is killed by Marcus. This is a very well written episode but the end is somewhat weak. Kirk, Spock and McCoy merely escape. They do not really seem to save all the planet's innocent slaves or anything even Cladius Marcus gets away with all his evil deeds. It's a good episode but has an uneven ending.
The other episode here is the real winner JOURNEY TO BABEL.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've got mixed feelings about this mixed bag. I'm a trekker with a tilt towards the original series (Classic Trek or, to others, "TOS"), yet even I can't ignore that incarnation's... Read morePublished on July 14 2002 by Rottenberg's rotten book review
There really is not an obvious connection between the two second season episodes of Star Trek included on Volume 22 of this DVD series, but the cover photograph of Mark Lenard as... Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2001 by Lawrance Bernabo
Over the course of 79 original Star Trek episodes, can anyone imagine the gravity of this series and its progeny without the importance lent by the episode "Journey to... Read morePublished on July 3 2001 by richard hong
"Bread & Circuses"...An episode written by Gene Roddenberry & Gene Coon...an episode with the hidden Easter message. It works quite well. Read morePublished on June 17 2001 by McHenry John
The color and sound on this disc are wonderful. I bet they look and sound better than when they originally aired back in the 60s. Read morePublished on May 1 2001 by Brant Day
With the introduction of this volume of Star Trek we can really see the show is flying high. This second season set shows the cast have shaken off the shackles of the first season... Read morePublished on April 26 2001 by William Smith
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