“What is this, the Dark Ages?”
May 23, 2016 12:09 PM   Subscribe

The human-scale pleasures of Star Trek IV. Nimoy later explained the core concept: “No dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guy.” His previous Star Trek film had all those things, and outer space, and aliens, and sets. Nimoy wanted to make a movie about Earth, right now, shot on location, with human people.
posted by merriment (76 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Damn, I miss that guy.
posted by ocschwar at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I love that move. One of my favorite things about it is a running gag in which Kirk and Bones try to encourage Spock -- who is still not quite himself after the events of The Search for Spock -- to swear every now and then, with predictably hilarious results. The perfect capper, though, is when they have moments to get the ship into warp, and Kirk barks an order, and Spock retorts "One damn minute, Admiral!"

I love that movie.

The film also gives everyone in the bridge crew a moment in the spotlight -- Russian-accented Chekhov inadvertently taken prisoner on board the nuclear carrier Enterprise, where he was helping gather energy for their borrowed starship with Uhura, and navigator Sulu showing he can fly a Huey.
posted by Gelatin at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2016 [22 favorites]


he film also gives everyone in the bridge crew a moment in the spotlight

Scotty with the Mac might be my favourite.
posted by nubs at 12:26 PM on May 23, 2016 [36 favorites]


Hello, computer!
posted by popcassady at 12:27 PM on May 23, 2016 [44 favorites]


How quaint.
posted by nubs at 12:28 PM on May 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


I remember I watched this once when it came on tv and feeling surprised and delighted to be watching a TOS movie (sorry, motion picture), and enjoying it. I guess this is why.

Also I continue to be amused that every time I learn something new about sci-fi I understand a Futurama joke better.
posted by bleep at 12:28 PM on May 23, 2016 [15 favorites]


That was a lovely essay. I find myself thinking about Nimoy every so often, about how fine and strange and perfect he was in the role of Spock, but how good he was in other things: The smarmy shrink in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the retired magician in Mission: Impossible. How interesting his side projects were -- his albums don't have the florid madness of Shatner's, of course, but they manage to be profoundly personal and profoundly weird in a way Shatner never managed. His one-man adaptation of the life of Vincent Van Gogh, Vincent, in which he played Van Gogh's brother, and also cowrote and directed. I went to a Jewish high school, and so we heard a recording or two Nimoy did voice work on retelling Jewish stories.

I had a book of his poetry at one point, and also found his photography quite interesting -- he did a project about women's bodies inspired by Jewish mysticism, the Shekhina Project. His projects always seemed unusually intimate, personal, thoughtful.

I met him a few times. I once asked him about the rumors about the ghost on the set of Three Men and a Baby and he laughed and told me the film was shot on a soundstage in Canada. There were no ghosts. He came in once with his grandchildren and they squabbled, and he threatened to take them home, and he seemed like a Jewish grandfather, like my Jewish grandfather once had seemed, and I suppose that's the thing I remember the most when I find myself missing Mr. Nimoy.
posted by maxsparber at 12:31 PM on May 23, 2016 [69 favorites]


I actually think of Nimoy when I think of history, simply from playing far, far, far too much Civilization IV, which he narrated. God, Civ 5 was a joke and CIv 6 looks like trash, and here I am just chalking it up to lack of Nimoy over cartoony crappy graphics.

Also, this is obligatory anytime Nimoy comes up.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:34 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


The film also gives everyone in the bridge crew a moment in the spotlight

This. The other films used non-K/S/M bridge crew as human props or plot devices (Scotty's nephew in Khan, Uhura beaming the hijackers to the ship in Search), but this film had well-written roles for the entire senior bridge crew and allowed the actors to fully inhabit those roles. It's the only Star Trek film my parents will watch.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:37 PM on May 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I once asked him about the rumors about the ghost on the set of Three Men and a Baby and he laughed and told me the film was shot on a soundstage in Canada. There were no ghosts.

I remember this was a common topic of discussion when I was in elementary school. When viewed on a blurry VHS tape recording made during an HBO free preview weekend, the figure seen hiding behind the curtains in one tracking shot did look a bit like the ghost of a small, forlorn child. But when viewed in the harsh clarity of DVD years later, it's pretty obviously a cardboard standee of Ted Danson's actor character.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also it's a great heist movie. We need a heist club on FanFare.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


I would say that this is also obligatory when Nimoy comes up
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


this film had well-written roles for the entire senior bridge crew and allowed the actors to fully inhabit those roles.

According to George Takei's autobiography, the script had a scene in which Sulu met a Japanese-American boy who would become a distant ancestor of his, but the young actor had difficulty with the shoot and so the scene was dropped. Sulu does mention on screen that he was born in San Francisco, though.
posted by Gelatin at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thank you so much for this. Every word is true. A great movie that was able to turn self-awareness into a positive thing, unlike, say, James Bond.
posted by Melismata at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2016


ST:IV is the only Trek movie that *got* Trek. It feels like a bigger-budgeted episode of the series, while most of the other movies seem like someone bolted someone else's ideas onto the framework of the Enterprise. Star Trek VI is the only other one that comes anywhere close.
posted by briank at 12:45 PM on May 23, 2016 [24 favorites]


Harlan Ellison penned an essay reminiscing on his involvement in the Trek TV show. He recounted visiting Shatner with a completed script, who carefully read it, and then read it again. Ellison then realised that Shatner was comparing Kirk's line count to Spock's.

I'd link to it but Harlan Ellison may sue.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 12:50 PM on May 23, 2016 [14 favorites]


Ellison was called in to pitch ideas for the first Star Trek movie. He kept giving dieas, and the producers kept saying, no, bigger.

Finally he pitched an idea where the starship crashes through a wormhole and comes face to face with the eye of God himself.

No, bigger, the producer said. Ellison claimed to have walked out.

Not for nothing, that's basically the plot of Shatner's outing as a director.
posted by maxsparber at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


When I marathoned the first eight movies while down with the flu it put various entries of the franchise into better perspective. Most notably, ST:IV felt like the capstone to the original series. Wonder filled science fiction followed by two entries of space opera and ending with hopeful science-utopianism.

Part V seemed especially bad after that and VI, which I had remembered as being the movie which redeemed the franchise, felt like a phoned in cash grab.
posted by charred husk at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my earlier comment, I honestly was thinking helmsman Sulu, but instead typed "navigator" for some reason.
posted by Gelatin at 12:55 PM on May 23, 2016


Nimoy later explained the core concept: “No dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guy.”

Sadly, in the reboot Star Trek movies - it's non-stop wall-to-wall dying, fighting, shooting, photon torpedoes, and stereotypical bad guys.
posted by fairmettle at 12:56 PM on May 23, 2016 [41 favorites]


Sadly, in the reboot Star Trek movies - it's non-stop wall-to-wall dying, fighting, shooting, photon torpedoes, and stereotypical bad guys.

And lens flare. So much lens flare.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


No, bigger, the producer said.

And then it wound up being a movie about slowly turning on lights one by one on the exterior of a docked spaceship.
posted by Foosnark at 1:03 PM on May 23, 2016 [27 favorites]


Foosnark:
"And then it wound up being a movie about slowly turning on lights one by one on the exterior of a docked spaceship."
And it was glorious!
posted by charred husk at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2016 [20 favorites]


Not that I quite realized it, but the "dialysis!" moment meant a lot to me as a kid. I saw this on TV when my great-grandmother was struggling on dialysis. I myself was going through low-level, chronic infection problems, as many kids do. At the time, I thought that kidneys just made people sick a lot, and there wasn't much anybody could do. McCoy's little moment with that old lady, and her happy recovery, came up in my mind whenever I got sick again. It reminded me that, in medicine, there would someday be a future.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:14 PM on May 23, 2016 [33 favorites]


You guys like Italian?
posted by duffell at 1:16 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


OMG, by reading Nimoy's take here, I just realized how much this movie and my love of it growing up shaped why I feel like I totally deserve a wide-release Marvel movie that's just Steve, Bucky, and Sam on a roadtrip in a too small car occasionally being heroes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2016 [27 favorites]


Nimoy later explained the core concept: “No dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guy.”

I remember my roommate saying, "it's OK but there weren't any fight scenes". He's probably happier with the nu-Trek movies.
posted by octothorpe at 1:20 PM on May 23, 2016


I would say that this yt is also obligatory when Nimoy comes up

EVEN MORE OBLIGATORY: Leonard Nimoy sings "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"

NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU

NOTHING CAN WITHSTAND IT

ITS MIGHT MAKES MOCK OF NATIONS AND WORLDS

WATCH IT AND DESPAIR

seriously it's great check that shit out
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


And one of those writers was Nicholas Meyer, the man who made Wrath of Khan. Meyer’s generally credited with writing the film’s 20th Century-set Act 2.

As the kids say these days, get you a man who can do both.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:27 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


swear every now and then

They are not the hell your whales
posted by sidereal at 1:27 PM on May 23, 2016 [10 favorites]


I watch this movie over and over again. The others get stale, but not this one.
posted by Peach at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nicholas Meyer stole somewhat from his own movie Time After Time which was also about a time traveler in San Fransisco.
posted by octothorpe at 1:33 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Roger Ebert: ".. It is sending out signals in an unknown language which, when deciphered, turns out to be the song of the humpback whale. It's at about this point that the script conferences must have really taken off. See if you can follow this: The Enterprise crew determines that the probe is zeroing in on Earth, and that if no humpback songs are picked up in response, the planet may well be destroyed. Therefore, the crew's mission becomes clear: Because humpback whales are extinct in the 23rd century, they must journey back through time to the 20th century, obtain some humpback whales, and return with them to the future - thus saving Earth. After they thought up this notion, I hope the writers lit up cigars."
posted by Melismata at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2016 [29 favorites]


EVEN MORE OBLIGATORY: Leonard Nimoy sings "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"

Um you didn't click the first obligatory Nimoy link.

In honor of this, I give you this: yet another essential obligatory Nimoy link!
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Growing up in the '80s and '90s, we had no cable TV and no reception on the free channels, so I cycled through my favorite few VHS tapes on heavy rotation. The Voyage Home was right at the top. (Fiddler on the Roof was #2, if you're asking.)
posted by duffell at 1:40 PM on May 23, 2016


I would enjoy watching a conversation between Nimoy and Ebert, two men I admire a great deal. Did they ever have an interview? Hm.
posted by maxwelton at 1:41 PM on May 23, 2016


Fun fact: Bus Punk was an associate producer.

AND OOOYYYEEEE SAY SCREW YOU!
posted by Fleebnork at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2016 [11 favorites]


Um you didn't click the first obligatory Nimoy link.

Well, shit.

How about this one? Or this? The rich bounty of the internet holds glories beyond counting.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:53 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


For whatever it might be worth, I can highly recommend Nimoy's book I Am Spock on audio. Nimoy reads it and it's very much like sitting down with him for a few hours as he tells a great story about his participation in all this.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 1:57 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I remember my roommate saying, "it's OK but there weren't any fight scenes". He's probably happier with the nu-Trek movies.

*rips tunic*
posted by thelonius at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would enjoy watching a conversation between Nimoy and Ebert, two men I admire a great deal. Did they ever have an interview? Hm.

Google found this from 1979. No audio or video, sadly.
posted by lharmon at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2016


Nimoy's cover of 'Proud Mary' is one for the ages.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is a lovely piece about a lovely movie.

Though, it's worth at least acknowledging the overwhelming problem with the plot: once you introduce easy, voluntary time travel to a series, you suddenly face the task of explaining why time travel isn't the fundamental concern of every future part of the franchise.

If a newly-undead science officer with a second hand ship and some Kingon user manuals can easily zip back and forth through the centuries using nothing more than a nearby sun and a pocket calculator, why isn't time travel the solution to every problem Starfleet faces? Not only would it allow them to easily fix every plot conflict in all the later films and television shows, but it introduces new dangers that are far more interesting and important than the plots we're shown. Once you discover easy time travel, why would anyone spend time doing anything else but studying and or inventing policy regarding time travel? It's clearly the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of civilization. (One can argue that faster-than-light travel already implies time travel; but that doesn't help any. It just pushes the crisis even further back in the show.)

Sure, you can invent head-canon explanations: laws and treaties and whatnot that make it illegal to work on such things; secret agents from the future who police the timeline. But are we really meant to believe every civilization in the galaxy would obey those treaties? Colonizing pre-industrial Earth seems like it would be pretty appealing to someone. And you don't even need a government to pull it off: just a single, second hand ship. Just how many Ferengi speculators do the future time cops have to kill in order to keep the galaxy-spanning Ferengi empire from happening? Any why are those time-cops willing to let the whale-rescue go ahead without interfering?

Assuming ST-IV is the first time anyone's tried this trick - which seems pretty surprising, given how easy it was to accomplish, but is implied throughout the film - it seems like the next film should have focused on the complete reformation of the Starfleet as a body wholly concerned with time travel.

None of this causes me to love the film any less. It's still fantastic: beautifully written and directed, and able to dance along the line that divides funny things from moving things with more precision than almost any other film I can think of. But, for perhaps the first time in the history of Star Trek, I wish they'd dropped a bit more deus ex machina alien magic into the plot instead of trying to explain things. If there's something about magic alien whale probes that makes time travel possible, you no longer need to explain why they only do it once. That the crew is able to cause the time travel themselves is a real problem, and it's not given nearly enough attention.
posted by eotvos at 2:09 PM on May 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


Assuming ST-IV is the first time anyone's tried this trick

Kirk, Spock, and crew used this trick twice before (details here), the first time by accident in the TOS episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday." One solution to your dilemma might be that Spock, deciding that time travel was too dangerous, simply refused to share with the Federation the details of the accident necessary to repeat the trick.
posted by RichardP at 2:29 PM on May 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


I have to admit, Mr. Plinkett's commentary on ST:V has led me to reëvaluate the film. It still sucks, but not as much.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2016


I think I need to see this movie again. Actually, I'm quite sure I do.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:34 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


DS9 covers this later (time travel issues)

"Seventeen separate temporal violations - the biggest file on record."
posted by eckeric at 2:35 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I loved this film, too. And I didn't like TOS at all, but I am a sucker for charming goofy utopianism.

Time travel is a big problem for the whole franchise; toward the end of TNG it seemed to come up every other episode and the chrono-police were showing up to arrest Picard and frankly, it seemed like the crutch of a writer who had run out of ideas.

The one GOOD time-travel (well, delay) story was the one where Picard ends up befriending a Starfleet officer, whom, due to time/space problems, will be dead before he can get to her to rescue her. Who is technically "already" dead but he can talk to because of the weirdness of time and space and faster-than-light. That one episode communicated the fundamental weirdness of FTL travel and the vast distances of space better than any number of hackneyed We Must Change the Past plots.
posted by emjaybee at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


This article captures my love for this movie well. The dialysis scene made a lasting impression, and I like that the author called out the scene with Scotty and the keyboard. He really shone in that moment.
posted by latkes at 2:48 PM on May 23, 2016


toward the end of TNG it seemed to come up every other episode and the chrono-police were showing up to arrest Picard and frankly, it seemed like the crutch of a writer who had run out of ideas.

...wasn't that VOY and Janeway and Seven of Nine?

The one GOOD time-travel (well, delay) story was the one where Picard ends up befriending a Starfleet officer, whom, due to time/space problems, will be dead before he can get to her to rescue her. Who is technically "already" dead but he can talk to because of the weirdness of time and space and faster-than-light.

...wasn't that DS9 and Sisko?

I mention those because the plot summaries vaguely correspond to what I remember from those VOY/DS9 episodes, but none had Picard, and then I went here and nothing really seems to match up w/r/t Picard...
posted by qcubed at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Re chrono-police, I seem to recall that being DS9 and tribbles.
posted by XtinaS at 2:53 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right, but nobody was coming to arrest Sisko for that one, just "interview" him. Though, I don't recall if they mentioned his previous turn as Bell, either?
posted by qcubed at 2:55 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think time travel explains a lot in Trek, like the way they develop game-changing technologies all the time, and which are never heard from again.

Also, I tend to think humans were just lucky with their time travel, and other races learn not to touch it.
"Hey...HEY! Since when do we have bumps on our foreheads?"
"Since always. Why?"
posted by happyroach at 3:04 PM on May 23, 2016 [11 favorites]


Nimoy later explained the core concept: “No dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guy.”

Apologies if already said but it's even better than that -- these things are in the movie but they utterly fail to solve any problems. (The probe is impervious, Chekov's phaser won't fire.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:12 PM on May 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


I heard that Shatner's "Well, double dumb-ass on you!" was ad-libbed when he was almost accidentally run over by a cab while filming on the street without a permit.
posted by steef at 3:15 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wasn't that...?

Yeah, probably, they all run together after a while.
posted by emjaybee at 3:17 PM on May 23, 2016


...un-Kirk Captain who looks too much like Jay Leno’s chin chest-bursting out of Ray Liotta’s face.

Great Bird of the Galaxy, that is tortured prose!
posted by Splunge at 3:23 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sure, you can invent head-canon explanations: laws and treaties and whatnot that make it illegal to work on such things; secret agents from the future who police the timeline. But are we really meant to believe every civilization in the galaxy would obey those treaties? Colonizing pre-industrial Earth seems like it would be pretty appealing to someone.

For a good example of this, see: the Borg, particularly the TNG movie "First Contact". After a battle that easily obliterates a Borg cube (the first one is always free, it seems, except at Wolf 359) a little pod hops out and travels back in time to conquer Earth, not pre-industrial (I always wondered why!) but pre-warp drive, post WWIII.

Throughout the whole TNG saga (and in the books) the Borg are constantly pushing the limits, approaching warp 10, whereby they can be anywhere in the universe and everywhere at the same time but they seem to just slowly itch towards it asymptotically (see novel "Vendetta," I am a dork and was a bigger one in the 90's). Then they suddenly run into a snag after never seeming to amass enough troops to take Earth, and just time travel blithely in an attempt to whoop some proto-Starfleet azz.
posted by aydeejones at 3:40 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Haven't read the comments yet, but loved TFA. Star Trek IV was the best Star Trek Movie, and I will not apologize. That was a lovely writeup -- my only quibble is that it gave so much away for anyone watching it for the first time -- part of its joy was how much about it was genuinely surprising. This spoiled that a bit.

I still say "Computer?" in my best version of that accent when using a mouse. My 7 year old asked me why. So I showed him that scene, with a very brief explanation. Now he does it too. :)
posted by Mchelly at 3:44 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Someone in my high school used a quote from the film as his yearbook quote - but the one he chose was Mirk's admonishment after they first got to 20th century earth and cloaked the
Enterprise ("everybody remember where we parked"). Which in 1988 we all thought hilarious and just so like him.

Taken out of context, using it as your yearbook quote is really weird.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 PM on May 23, 2016


Time travel is a big problem for the whole franchise; toward the end of TNG it seemed to come up every other episode and the chrono-police were showing up to arrest Picard and frankly, it seemed like the crutch of a writer who had run out of ideas.


Time's Arrow is one of my favorite cross-season cliffhangers. I will fight you.

I love the Samuel Clemens and Guinan connections
posted by Fleebnork at 4:13 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


The secret to coping with temporal paradox and Obvious Plot Problems with time travel in skiffy is to ignore them. Completely. Don't worry about it.

And the secret to that is to grow up in the UK with Doctor Who. If you can't foster a Zen-like grok of the marvellous daftness of how writers and directors are even worse when dealing with time than physicists, then you're probably better off with westerns or procedural police stories or buddy movies or whatever.

Which reminds me - I must get a I Grok Spock button.
posted by Devonian at 4:16 PM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


I love the Samuel Clemens and Guinan connections

Shame on you, Mr. Clemens!
posted by duffell at 4:31 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The secret to coping with ... time travel in skiffy is to ignore them. Completely. Don't worry about it.

Treat it like a holiday. Seriously, have you ever really looked at the traditions around Christmas or Halloween or April Fools? They're bonkers. Yet, we have fun, it's a gas, everyone enjoys themselves. That's a time-travel episode in Star Trek - a brief holiday from the series, in which the series participates; some of them goofy, some of them somber, some of them just weird.
posted by eclectist at 5:03 PM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


One night when I was six, I had a horrible nightmare and woke up around 10pm. I forget what that nightmare was, but since I was one of those kids that couldn't fall asleep if everyone else was already asleep, waking up at that time of night was akin to being marooned in a desert.

I sat for a while despairing in my bed, until I noticed a little flicker on the hallway wall. I got up to investigate and found my father awake and watching television. He saw that I was a little distressed, so instead of putting me back to bed, he invited me to finish the movie he was watching. It was obviously Star Trek--there was Captain Kirk, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, Checkov, and some Klingons, but there was something about it that seemed both familiar and completely new.

And then the Enterprise blew up, JUST LIKE IT DOES AT THE BEGINNING OF STAR TREK IV!!!

At that point, I had probably seen Star Trek IV several hundred times--it being the most "kid-friendly" Trek film, but I had never considered that the brief recap at the beginning might have actually "happened". Seeing them capture the bird of prey, escape to Vulcan, and "wake up" Spock was a surreal experience that I had a very hard time comprehending, especially so late at night. It was probably the first time I ever realized that continuity could exist between narratives--that events in some other book, film, or episode could directly influence events in the current story.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:37 PM on May 23, 2016 [10 favorites]


Assuming ST-IV is the first time anyone's tried this trick - which seems pretty surprising, given how easy it was to accomplish, but is implied throughout the film - it seems like the next film should have focused on the complete reformation of the Starfleet as a body wholly concerned with time travel.

They reformed the ST: Enterprise writers room around it instead. And, to a certain extent, Nu Trek.

And io9: "Star Trek has played with crazy time-travel shenanigans more than any other franchise - yes, even Doctor Who. So it's no surprise there are at least half a dozen ways time travel works in Trek.

See also Millenium.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:44 PM on May 23, 2016


After a battle that easily obliterates a Borg cube (the first one is always free, it seems, except at Wolf 359) a little pod hops out and travels back in time to conquer Earth, not pre-industrial (I always wondered why!) but pre-warp drive, post WWIII.

For me the problem isn't that the pod travels back in time to Earth, it's that they wait until the main cube gets destroyed, then send the time pod to Earth. As opposed to sending the time pod back to meet the Borg cube before the battle, and warn it about what's to come. Or you know, travelling back in time from a safe distance of a thousand light years away, and THEN travelling to Earth when there's nobody around to stop them.

Honestly, it's tme travel made stupid. Which is the Borg all over.
posted by happyroach at 10:36 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Do you trust me?"

"Implicitly."

God I love this movie.
posted by hototogisu at 3:54 AM on May 24, 2016


"Let me guess. They don't have money in the future?"
posted by nubs at 8:31 AM on May 24, 2016


"Let me guess. They don't have money in the future?"

Of course they do.

Fully a third of Star Trek episode explicitly mention money.

 
posted by Herodios at 9:22 AM on May 24, 2016


Assuming ST-IV is the first time anyone's tried this trick

Kirk, Spock, and crew used this trick twice before


Don't be so Fed-centric. The universe was 14 billion years old at that time. Surely somebeing else had previously succeeded at what is apparently so simple and repeatable a maneuver.

once you introduce easy, voluntary time travel to a series, you suddenly face the task of explaining why time travel isn't the fundamental concern of every future part of the franchise.

Its a good thing Star Trek re-set the universe after each ep; If it'd been run like a RPG, by the end of the series the Feds would have accumulated the powers of:
  • Perfect knowledge of the past ( "Cruller on the Edge of Forever")
  • Time travel ("Naked Time"; "Tomorrow is Yesterday")
  • Space travel at Warp factor 20 (8k times C) ("By Any Other Name")
  • Whatever the heck it is that Medusans can do wrt navigation. ("Is There in Truth No Beauty?")
  • Accelerating a person's metabolism and perceptions to a level at which they become invisible and react and move fast enough to step out of the way of an energy weapon (and return to normal) at will. ("Wink at the Censors")
  • Invisibility "The Enterprise Incident")
  • Telekinesis ("Plato's Dungeon")
  • Body swapping ("Turnabout Intruder")
  • Immortality (more or less) ("Grups and Onlies")
  • (Large scale) Antigravity (not the city -- that gown!) ("The Troglyte Manifesto")
  • Shapeshifting (whatever that actually *is*) ("Whom Gods Destroy")
  • Unlimited supply of humanoid robot slaves ("My Name is Mudd", "Sugar & Spice", maybe "Sargon, Far Gone")
  • Ability to 'place' a person's 'consciousness' into a humanoid robot, presumably allowing for personal immortality ("My Name is Mudd", "Sugar & Spice", maybe "Sargon Far Gone")
  • Control the immense powers needed to hurl a starship 990.7 light years in a moment (once they plunderassimilate the dead Kalandans' technologies) ("Catwoman Which Survives")
  • Whatever they could learn -- apart from cures for imaginary diseases -- by plunderingassimilating the highly advanced but moribund Cabrinigreens' 'data banks' ("Even For The Sixties, This Was A Long Title")
  • Whatever they could learn -- personal shields, anyone? controlling a starship with one's 'will'? -- by plundering the highly advanced but extinct civilization on Charon ("A riddle: What is Black and White and Genocide All Over?")
  • Whatever they could learn -- apart from "microvision and nanopulse lasers, handworked to the finest tolerances" -- by plundering assimilating the highly advanced but extinct Andromedan colony that built Mudd's androids ("My Name is Mudd")
  • Whatever else they could learn -- cryogenics, maybe? -- by picking the brains of the now-humanoid Kelvans (After Rojan stands trial for the murder of yeoman Thompson!) ("By Any Other Name")
  • Whatever advanced discoteque and puppetry technology Bailey manages to trade Balok for. ("Corbomite Maneuver")
 
-----------------------------------------------
* This all assumes that the Talosians or the Thasians or the Metrons or the Trelaynes or the Organians or the Halloween aliens or the Triskelians or the Kelvans or the Androids or any of the other super-advanced civilizations or godlike races they've encounted decide that the peace of the galaxy is more important that keeping their word and go work out on the Feds.
posted by Herodios at 9:44 AM on May 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


"Let me guess. They don't have money in the future?"

Of course they do.

Fully a third of Star Trek episode explicitly mention money.


It's how you get out of paying for pizza on a date when you are Kirk, though.
posted by nubs at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]




My mom is notoriously anti-scifi; she LOVES Star Trek IV. And I am generally anti-time travel plots, unless played humorously, ala Bill & Ted, but I also love Star Trek IV.
posted by epersonae at 5:19 PM on May 24, 2016


Wow, Herodios. That's one hell of a list! Beautiful.
posted by eotvos at 8:12 PM on May 25, 2016


The scene with the kidney dialysis gave me hope, as a young kid with a chronic disease, that one day treatments would advance, and people would realize that even a great medical advance can simultaneously still be pretty shitty for the patient.
posted by benzenedream at 11:17 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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