Trekathon 028: The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS)

January 14th, 2010

The episode popularly ranked as the best of the original Star Trek.

And? It’s a pretty strong episode, but it’s a bit held back by the sheer number of times the story has been repeated. It would, I suspect, be a lot better if you watched the episode cold. As it is it’s well constructed, but the lack of a surprise weakens things a little. The final moment is still heartbreaking, one of the best in any show I’ve seen.

I have a soft spot for time travel stories – they’re hard to write, but can be very rewarding. They’re best when there are tight limits, as is done here. Although the ‘Butterfly Effect’ makes it pretty much impossible to do time travel stories in a ‘realistic’ fashion.

I’ve read Harlan Ellison’s original script for this, and in some ways it’s a more interesting story – the scenes on the ‘alternate universe’ enterprise are very good. But as rewritten it’s a better Star Trek story.

The anti-peace movement plot is a bit blatant – it really comes down to the biggest Godwin’s Law around: peace movement = Hitler wins. Still, that was the politics of the 1960s.

28 down, 709 to go.