Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bengals Run Over Browns

The Cincinnati Bengals pounded the Cleveland Browns today by running the ball down their throats. That led to a 16-7 win. Former Chiefs RB Larry Johnson had one hundred and seven yards rushing for the Bengals, making signing the controversial runner as a back up for the injured Cedric Benson, a good move. The Bengals other back Bernard Scott also had a good day running the ball. It was clear that the Bengals wanted to run and play smash mouth football AFC North style.

It wasn't the prettiest of victories. Bengals QB Carson Palmer was hurried many times. The passing game was off. Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn was simply awful. That doesn't take anything away from the excellent play by the Bengals defense. But a win is a win.

Today's victory makes a complete sweep of AFC North opponents. The Bengals are 8-3 with five games left to go. The battle of Ohio is ours. Here are the highlights.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's the classic Thanksgiving episode from "WKRP in Cincinnati." (Season One, 1978) In this show titled "Turkeys Away", bored station manager Arthur Carlson undertakes a crazy Thanksgiving promotion. Enjoy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Should Star Trek Return to Television?

With the successful release of the Star Trek film and DVD, should Star Trek return to television? Absolutely. Look if they can bring back Futurama, and Family Guy, why not Star Trek? There's already a built in audience of fans and the recent movie has generated new ones. It should be very successful.

But shouldn't Trekkers worry about what happened with Star Trek: Enterprise? After all it was cancelled after four seasons. No. Here's why. That show was on a network, UPN, that was not available nationwide or suffered from being preempted. The city I live in, had it on a low powered TV station and the cable company servicing us, initially did not carry it. (Wikipedia article on availability of UPN, effect on Enterprise) The solution is to put the show on an established cable network. Networks such as SyFy (I hate the change from SciFi), TNT, or AMC would be good matches.

The next question is which series to bring back. Obviously, the film series is now in the original TV series timeline, so you don't want to do anything here. Or do you? Perhaps a different crew in Kirk's timeline? Probably not a good idea, since you want to keep the film series unique. However, J.J. Abrams blew up the timeline in his film, it's probably apparent that you must bring back Star Trek: Enterprise. I mean who knows if The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager exist in the Abrams' timeline. For all we know, Captain Jean Luc Picard could turn out to be a vintner. On the other hand, the Star Trek: Enterprise timeline is unaffected. So, bring back Star Trek: Enterprise. (Crew pictured above.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bengals fumble away a victory

When the Bengals took a 14-0 lead against the woeful Oakland Raiders, you thought game over. Unfortunately, the Bengals went to sleep in the second half and the old adage "You don't let a bad team hang around" happened. Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowsski again beat the Bengals just like he did three years ago. When the Raiders scored the tying touchdown with less than two minutes to go, I thought we'll get the ball back and win it, "Cardiac Cats" style. Um, no. The old Bengals came back. Andre Caldwell took the kickoff and after running about twenty yards fumbled the ball. Raiders kick a field goal, 20-17. Game over. Still, the Bengals hold a one game lead as those Pittsburgh bums lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daivd Lloyd, 1934-2009

If you watched the Nov. 18, 2009 episode of "Modern Family", you saw at the end, an in memoriam card dedicated to comedy writer David Lloyd. The card read, "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." If you're older than forty, you know where that line comes from.

David Lloyd passed away on Nov. 10, 2009. He was a prolific comedy writer. He wrote for The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, Wings, Frasier and a little sitcom called, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." His comedy will stand the test of time.

It's not easy being a comedy writer. Humor is a subjective matter. Trying to find what is funny cannot be measured by objective means. So when you hear the plot to the season 6 episode of Mary Tyler Moore called "Chuckles Bites the Dust", written by Lloyd, it's not going to sound funny. But here it is. Chuckles the Clown, who is the children's entertainer at the TV station WJM, gets killed while marching in the parade. Not funny. But wait, there's more. He gets killed while dressed as one of his on air characters, Peter the Peanut. A rogue elephant in the parade tried to shell him. Okay, dark but funny. This leads the group at WJM consisting of Lou, Murray and Sue Ann to crack jokes. Mary is appalled because somebody has died. All of this comes to a riotous conclusion at the funeral. The episode won an Emmy for LLoyd.

So it's fitting for Christopher Lloyd, David's son, and co-creator of "Modern Family" to put a card on the air with that expression. Since it comes from
"Chuckles Bites the Dust." You see that was Chuckles the Clown's motto and at his funeral, the Reverend recites it. Somebody posted the entire episode on YouTube. Here it is.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rating the Star Trek Films

To celebrate the DVD release of Star Trek (2009), I'm going to rate the all eleven films, starting with the worst and finishing with the best. First, let's get some introductory issues out of the way. I grade all the Star Trek films from excellent (A) to average (C). There are no bombs in the Star Trek movie library. Second, here are some notes to Bad Robot, who is developing the next Star Trek film. Stop making Wrath of Khan. I'm sick of seeing a plot with a bad guy seeking revenge. See Star Trek: Insurrection, Nemesis and the new film. Don't let actors develop the screenplays. See Star Trek V and Star Trek: Nemesis. Finally, could we have some space exploration? I'm not talking about a lot here. But the opening monologue talks about exploring strange new worlds, and seeking new life and civilizations. Now let's boldly go and rate the Star Trek films.

11. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) Spock's half brother steals the Enterprise to find God. What?! Directed and partly written by William Shatner, this silly movie is the worse of all the Trek films. In it, you have Kirk, Spock and McCoy sitting around the campfire singing, "Row, row, row your boat." You've got Uhura doing a fan dance. Scotty knocks himself out walking into a support beam. Ha. Grade: C.

10. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) A massive alien cloud called V'ger heads to earth with possible harmful intentions. The Enterprise must stop it. It's the return of Star Trek after the classic series was cancelled. You had a film helmed by Robert Wise, of The Day the Earth Stood Still and the Sound of Music. What could go wrong? Well, the film is similar to the second season episode "The Changeling." There is also a lack of dramatic tension because the cloud is well, nebulous. The saving grace is Jerry Goldsmith's majestic score. The main theme is so good, it's used again as the theme for the Next Generation television show. Grade: B Minus.

9. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) must stop the Federation from exploiting a planet inhabited by a bunch of New Age aliens. We are introduced to F. Murray Abraham's Ru'afo who also wants to exploit the planet and also seek revenge on the planet. See Khan.

This movie feels like an elongated episode of the Star Trek: Next Generation. The aliens look like humans probably to allow for a romance between Picard and the lead female alien, Donna Murphy. Ru'afo also has a disgusting skin stretching procedure to keep feeling young. What's the point here? I'm sure Abraham was saying to himself, "Wasn't I in Amadeus?"Writers Rick Berman and Micheal Piller who come from the TV side of Star Trek put together a story that feels like an inside joke. Still, it's well made and somewhat entertaining. Grade: B Minus.

8. Star Trek: Generations (1994) Picard must stop an addicted scientist from destroying stars to move an energy ribbon which has trapped Captain James T. Kirk. (William Shatner) Look, rather than having Kirk stuck in an energy ribbon why didn't the writers just have a way for him to travel into the future? And how do you travel from the ribbon into the real universe? Tap your magic slippers? Additionally, there's no need to kill off Kirk. This movie is saved by great action set pieces, humor and Dennis McCarthy's dynamic score. Grade: B.

7. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) Picard's clone seeks to kill Picard and destroy life on earth. You see the clone was created as a replacement and spy for Romulus. Once the plan was abandoned, the clone was exiled on Remus, a planet of mines to die. If this sounds all like Khan, it should. There's even a heroic sacrifice and death. Data. Of course, the story allows for a resurrection of sorts like Star Trek 3 because at the end of the movie there exists a prototype of Data. Excellent action sequences but we've seen this before. There's a story assist by Brent Spiner. I hope the future producers of Star Trek will ignore story ideas by the stars because having Data sing "Blue Skies" is goofy. Okay, use them only if they're good and original Grade: B.

6. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Kirk and McCoy on a diplomatic mission are framed for the assassination of the Klingon leader. This film is the swan song for the original crew. It does them justice. There's action. Intrigue. Who framed Kirk and McCoy and why? There's humor. You got to give it to Shatner for some of the jokes at his expense. And there is a great message, about letting go of hate and changing for the better. Grade: B.

5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) Remember Star Trek II where Spock dies? Well, they left a way to resurrect him. You see the Enterprise fired Spock's torpedo towards the Genesis planet which creates life from matter. Meanwhile McCoy has Spock's katra, his living soul inside of him. To save Spock, Kirk steals the Enterprise and goes to Genesis to find Spock. Then they must go to Vulcan so the soul and body can be united. Whew. Trust me you'll like it. Leonard Nimoy directs this solemn and enjoyable journey of the crew of the Enterprise. Grade: B.

4. Star Trek (2009) Romulan Nero goes through a black hole trying to enact revenge on Spock and goes back in time changing the timeline. The film then traces how the crew of the Enterprise got together. We see young Kirk and Spock before Starfleet Academy. But the timeline has been significantly changed as evidenced by the destruction of Vulcan, one of founding planets of the Federation. However, some of the forty years of Star Trek canon survive. Update: What has happened is that Nero's appearance in the past has caused a second or alternte reality. It is in essence a parallel universe. So, Trek canon has survived but now Bad Robot can alter old canon in this new universe.

The good. Director J. J. Abrams has crafted a well made and entertaining film. The special effects are spectacular. The cast does a great job. There's some very funny moments. The movie is going to get young people to look at Star Trek.

The bad. This is a shallow film. Kirk (Chris Pine) comes off as an insolent jerk. The humor at times comes at the expense of Star Trek canon. See Kirk munch on an apple while defeating the Kobayashi Maru test. There's some strange logic too. See Chekov run to the transporter room to teleport Kirk and Sulu as they are falling to their death. Okay, by the time he gets there, Kirk and Sulu should be road kill. And altering the timeline is a cheap way to reboot the series. There was no need to do this. There's a galaxy of stories that could be told within the existing timeline. Why destroy Vulcan? That leaves the Federation with the alien pig race Tellarites and Andorians to protect us from the Klingons and Romulans. Heaven help us.

(From "Journey to Babel" TOS, the alien pig race, Tellarites. These guys against the Klingons, I smell bacon.)

Abrams is more of a Star Wars fan. (Entertainment Weekly, Oct. 24, 2008, pg. 29) But Star Trek is not Star Wars. Star Trek stands for intelligent science fiction not fantasy. Heck, the series had science advisors. Yet, this movie at times felt more like Star Wars not Star Trek.

One quick note on the soundtrack. Micahel Giacchino is wonderful composer. But on this one, he struck out. The main theme is in a minor key. Now, I like minor key melodies too, but for Star Trek? The dour theme could be Spock's song but the main theme of any Star Trek movie must inspire. And by inspire, I mean make one yearn to explore the stars. Thankfully, he adds Alexander Courage's optimistic original TV theme for the end.

Does all that criticism mean I hate this film? No. It's still a lot of fun. I just want the next one to be smarter. Grade: B.

(Data and the Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact.)

3. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Bad ass Next Generation villains, the Borg, go back in time to stop man's first warp flight to alter the future so they can more easily assimilate mankind. The twist? It's Picard who has revenge issues since he was previously assimilated in the TV episode, "The Best of Both Worlds."

This is the best of the Next Generation films. What can I say about the Borg? They exist to assimilate you into their culture. They phyiscally change you into a hideous cyborg creature. You lose your individuality. And who can forget their line, "Resistance is futile." But as scary and evil as they seem, there's a twisted logic behind it. They seek perfection by absorbing other races. This is what I call a grade A villain. There's great acting by Patrick Stewart as he wrestles with his desire for revenge. Action sequences are tense as the Borg try to assimilate the Enterprise. There's also a great Star Trek moment as mankind makes first contact with an alien race. Grade: A.

2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) Khan (Ricardo Montalban), who was exiled on a planet in the original TV episode Space Seed, seeks revenge on Captain Kirk.

This movie revitalizes Star Trek. Ironically, it does so as it deals with the ideal of aging. Kirk laments that he is getting older. Montalban is a tour de force as Khan. His portrayal as a superhuman who loses his wife after being abandoned is sympathetic. Leonard Nimoy's performance as Spock brims with wisdom of a man who has learned much from life.

Produced and co-written by Harve Bennett, who undertook the job by watching the complete original series. He got it. He understood Star Trek. With direction by Nicholas Meyer, they made a great film. The battle in the Mutara Nebula is tense and exciting. There's Trek humor and sacrifice. The naval score by Jack Horner (who would write the score for Titianic) is inspiring. The grade is A.

1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) An alien probe wrecks havoc on earth while searching for extinct humpback whales forcing the crew of the Enterprise to go back to the year of 1986 to bring some whales into the future. Trust me, when you see this movie, you'll love it.

So, why is this film without space battles, number one? Here's why. After two very serious movies, they decided to do a little comedy. And it works. The movie is actually a fish out of water story. The crew of the Enterprise turn in funny performances as they try to adapt to twentieth century earth. It also has a message as does all great Star Trek stories do. Ecology. Save the whales to save the future. This is in harmony with the TV show's sixties roots and is in tune with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's vision. Of course, it's unknown if a giant alien probe will come to the planet in the twenty third century but the metaphor is what this film is about. Save the planet's ecology to save the future. A hilarious, and fun film. Grade is A+.

Bengals Replacements Step Up

Today, the Cincinnati Bengals swept those Pittsburgh bums. Yes, that's right. The Bengals win 18-12 over the Steelers. The team trusted the defense with less two minutes to go by running the ball up the gut on a third and long. They knew they weren't going to get the first down by that play but went for a field goal to go ahead by six points. Coach Lewis trusted the defense. And they came through stopping Benji Roethlisberger from pulling out another last minute victory. All day, the defense played fantastic. They had four sacks and the pressure was great. The Bengals coverage was also excellent.

But what about those replacements? Running back Bernard Scott replaced a hurt Cedric Benson and did a good job. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. (Pictured. AP) Linebacker Brandon Johnson was playing for a hurt Keith Rivers. HE WAS EVERYWHERE. Rookie Cornerback Morgan Trent was not playing like a rookie, he was playing like a veteran. This is a team with depth.

Now with this victory, the Bengals are 5-0 in the division. They have swept the Ravens and the Steelers! The Bengals now stand first atop the AFC North at 7-2. See you later, you Pittsburgh bums. Who Dey. Who Dey. Who Dey Think Gonna Beat Those Bengals! Nooooobody. Here are the highlights.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maurice Purify of Hard Knocks fame is signed to the Bengals

Due to the placing of safety Roy Williams to the injured reserve, the Bengals have signed wide receiver Maurice Purify to the team from the practice squad. First, my Bengals fans, don't fret about the Williams loss since Chinedum Ndukwe has been playing pretty good. As for Purify, he'll fill the spot of WR Chris Henry who was placed on the injured reserve for breaking his forearm last week against the Ravens. When quarterback Carson Palmer was asked who replace Henry, Palmer endorsed Purify. Here's what Pro Football Weekly's Draft Guide 2008 says about Purify. "Knows how to use his body as a shield on underneath routes. Can win battles in the air." (Pg. 52) And if you didn't know, he was a highlight on Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals. In the Oklahoma drill, he destroys Roy Williams. Here's that clip.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jon Stewart reacts to Sean Hannity's Apology

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show shows his reaction while watching Sean Hannity's show to catch Hannity's apology for using old footage to pump a rally story. Here's his take from Hulu. Hilarious.

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes, the Original Series, No. 1

The City on the Edge of Forever, from season one, is the best original series Star Trek episode. It is probably the best episode of all the multiple series that would follow. It is considered one of the greatest television shows. Winner of the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, it was written by science fiction writer Harlan Ellison.

In the episode, the Enterprise orbits a planet which is sending out temporal energy. Dr. McCoy suffers a hypospray accident and goes mad. He transports to the planet. Captain Kirk leads an away team to find him. What they find is the "Guardian of Forever" a living machine which is portal to any point in time. McCoy runs through the portal and changes the timeline. The time he runs to is the Great Depression. Kirk and Spock decide to go through the portal to stop McCoy from changing the timeline.

The episode features Joan Collins as Edith Keeler, a woman that Kirk falls in love with. Her performance is charming and will probably be her best known role. There is humor. There is tragedy and sacrifice. Thee are lines of Star Trek's great optimism. This is one of the finest television shows ever made.

Here is "The City on the Edge of Forever."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jon Stewart shows Sean Hannity to be a fraud

Last week Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had an anti-health insurance rally. Now Sean Hannity had her on his Fox show and both bragged there was about 20,000 to 45,000 people there. To demonstrate Hannity showed film of the rally.

There's just one problem as Jon Stewart of the Daily Show points out. Hannity uses footage from Glenn Beck's much larger rally in September in an attempt to make last week 's rally to look much bigger. Of course, Stewart mines this for comedy gold. Here's his take from Hulu.

Thank You Veterans

It's Veterans Day. I would like to thank our military, active and veterans for protecting our great nation.

Sell the Cincinnati Reds Now!

FanHouse is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds GM Walt Jocketty might have to move some players to make the 2010 payroll. (Here's the link.) "It just depends on how ticket sales go this offseason." WHAT?! If the Reds move second baseman Brandon Phillips, how can they win? Nine straight losing seasons. Why should I want to go to a Reds game if they shed payroll?

Reds owner Bob Castellini said when he bought the team in 2006, he would bring world championship baseball to Cincinnati. How does shedding payroll bring back championship baseball back to Cincinnati? Look, if he can't afford this team, sell it. Mark Cuban wants to buy a baseball team. How about George Soros? Baseball economics are a mess. If local ownership refuses to pay players, sell the team to an owner who wants to win. I don't care if he lives in Cincinnati or not.

Addendum to No. 2 of the Top Ten Star Trek Episodes, TOS

Following up on no. 2 of the top Star Trek episodes, The Trouble with Tribbles, I want to talk about a delightful homage from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine called, "Trials and Tribble-ations." Part of the thirtieth year anniversary of Star Trek, this show details the efforts of the Deep Space Nine crew to stop a particular Klingon from killing Kirk in the past. The rub is that crew is transported to the past to where the Enterprise has docked with the space station of Tribbles fame.

Using state of the art special effects, this episode of Deep Space Nine lovelingly recreates the ships and the space station of Trouble with Tribbles. Interiors of the Enterprise look like they did back in the sixties. And the mixture of the original show's episode footage with present day actors is seamless. If you don't want to buy the whole Deep Space Nine series to watch this on DVD, get the Star Trek: Time Travel Fan Collective which gathers classic time travel episodes from multiple Star Trek series.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes, the Original Series, No. 2

The Trouble with Tribbles shows that Star Trek could do comedy. This season two show about furballs called tribbles that overrun a space station and the Enterprise expanded the humor that the show often demonstrated into a full episode. You can't forget the scene where Kirk is inundated with tribbles. It's one hilarious show.

Here is no. 2, "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats Film Review

The Men Who Stare at Goats is a wild dark comedy about the excesses of military paranoia. The title comes from an exercise in which psychic soldiers stare at goats and attempt to kill them by stopping their hearts. The film is from a book of the same name by Jon Ronson which purports to be based on real events.

The film starts out with Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) interviewing what seems to be a crazy man (Stephen Root) who claims there was an army unit in the eighties designed to use paranormal powers. He claims the unit featured a powerful psychic named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) who now runs a dance studio! Wilton dismisses the story until he runs off to Kuwait after a failed marriage during the 2003 Iraq war. While there he fortuitously runs into Cassady.

Cassady is there on a "secret" mission. After seeing a doodle that Wilton has drawn, Cassady believes that it is destiny for the two to come together. Cassady allows Wilton to accompany him into Iraq. While driving through the country, Cassady tells the story of the psychic army unit. It was formed after the Soviets started a similar unit when they thought the U.S. was trying to communicate with a submarine by paranormal means. The submarine story was false but the U.S. Army fearing to be left behind decided to start its own unit. Yes, that's right. The unit was formed from a bogus idea.

During the journey through Iraq, Cassady tells his story and through flashbacks we see the first commander of the psychic unit, Bill Django. (Jeff Bridges) The soldiers in the unit were part of the First Earth Battalion and called themselves Jedi Warriors. Django is seen as exploring all kinds of crazy New Age ideas to form a paranormal fighting force. These ideas include everything from dancing to yes, staring at goats to stop their hearts. Cassady reflects on his greatest feat. Using remote viewing, a way to psychically project yourself to another area of the universe, he finds the location of a kidnap victim. Unfortunately, another soldier, Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), in the unit becomes jealous and disagreeing with Django's views helps to dismantle the unit. But the journey through Iraq is the present part of the film. We find out that Cassady was directed into Iraq by remote viewing his mission. That mission is the goal of the story.

Written by Peter Straughan, the screenplay preserves the absurd ideas that Army was willing to waste time and money on. These goofy ideas, of course, make good jokes. You got to love the irony of Clooney's character talking about "Jedi Warriors" to Ewan McGregor's Bob when he played Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars movies. Grant Heslov's direction is crisp and he doesn't let some of the wild paranormal ideas take over the movie.

The Men Who Stare at Goats is an enjoyable and funny movie. It loses its way towards the end but it's still smart satire. The grade is B.

Bengals Pound Ravens

Today the Bengals pummeled the Ravens and won 17-7. The first half featured the offense running over the Ravens and getting a seventeen point lead. The offensive line blocked well and allowed lanes for running back Cedric Benson to run through.

What can I say about the defense. There was excellent pressure from the middle of the defensive line. Ravens QB Joe Flaccid, I mean Joe Flacco was running for his life many times. Bengals defensive cornerbacks Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph each had an interception. They shut down the Ravens receivers all day. The Bengals may not have blown out the Ravens but they pounded the Ravens, the way you have to in the AFC North. See you later, flying rats. Here are the highlights.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jon Stewart Goes Glenn Beck

Fox News' Glenn Beck recently had his appendix removed. Jon Stewart uses the news to develop a crazy conspiracy theory like Glenn Beck usually does. He does it in Glenn Beck's mental furball style. Stewart even uses the blackboard just like Beck. Brilliantly funny. Here's his take on Hulu.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Bonds of Brotherhood

I was just watching Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. What a wonderful message at the end. The Fellowship which was to take the Ring to Mordor is breaking up. One member, Boromir, is dead. Merry and Pippin have been kidnapped. Frodo decides to take the Ring himself because the temptation to take the Ring is too great for the others. However, Sam, his friend refuses to leave his side. They travel without the others to Mordor. It's bleak. There's an air of defeat. Gimli tells Legolas and Aragorn, the Fellowship has failed. Aragorn disagrees, "Not if we hold true to each other." He tells them they will not abandon Merry and Pippin. He leads them on the journey to rescue them. This message of brotherhood formed in the face of adversity is relevant today. Groups of men may forsake each other when confronted with trouble but the right thing to do is to stay together and face the adversity together. That is honor. That is love.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes, the Original Series, No. 3

We're down to the top three episodes of Star Trek, the Original Series. At no. 3 is the second season show, "Journey to Babel." The Enterprise must transport delegates to Babel for a conference on the admission of the Coridan system to the Federation. During the trip, the ship is pursued by a hostile vessel and murder occurs on board.

This is the episode that we meet Spock's parents, Sarek and Amanda. (Mark Lenard, Jane Wyatt of Father Knows Best depicted) We learn about Spock's childhood, his pet sehlat, and the taunting he suffered from bullies who hated his half blood race. The bullying was well depicted in Star Trek, the 2009 film. Unfortunately, in J.J. Abrams' movie, he kills off Amanda in the altnernate timeline. Also, the movie destroys Vulcan, which leaves the pig like Tellarites also depicted in this TV show, as one of the main surviving races of the Federation. Yikes. These pig guys are going to protect us against the Romulans and the Klingons? But I digress. "Journey to Babel" is a great show that details Spock's early life, and his relationship with his parents which would later be fleshed out in the films, Star Trek III and IV. Plus, Dr. McCoy gets the best last line ever.

Here is no. 3, "Journey to Babel."