Star Trek: The Paradise Syndrome   Rewatch 
August 29, 2015 7:05 AM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Trapped on a planet whose inhabitants are descended from Northwestern American Indians, an alien device wipes Kirk's memory and he is proclaimed a God while the crippled Enterprise races back to the planet before it is destroyed by an asteroid.

"The Paradise Syndrome" was first broadcast on October 4, 1968. It is episode #58, production #58, written by Margaret Armen and directed by Jud Taylor.

Memory Alpha Link

Trek Today Review Review

The episode can be viewed on Netflix.
posted by Benway (8 comments total)
This episode has the longest objective elapsed time of all: over two months. Second place probably goes to "Miri", where the landing party explicitly stays planet-side for a week.

In "By Any Other Name ", "For The World Is Hollow..." and a few others, It's a bit vague just how much time passes. In some, with copious travel in time and between dimension, it's hard to be sure how much time passes either objectively or subjectively for POV characters.

In "City on the Edge of Forever", Kirk and Spock apparently spend some days -- possibly weeks -- subjectively on 1930s Earth, but they never say exactly. And then, when they return, Scotty says they had only been gone a few moments.

But this episode explicitly states that the asteroid will take two months to arrive and menace the planet -- and it does. Planet-side, Kirk's seed grows faster than his sideburns, as the plot gives him and Mirimani just about the minimal time required to procreate a plot point.

Oh, and longs I'm here . . .

posted by Herodios at 3:13 PM on August 29, 2015

Native Puppy Love
posted by homunculus at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2015

I don't have too much to say about this one... but I've always been really impressed by that obelisk! It's huge and very well-designed, it looks more like a movie prop (or a preexisting monument of some kind) than something built for the show, as it was. They had a tight budget and primitive effects technology on this series, but every now and then they put something together that can still wow you.

I've always thought the episode itself is just kind of blah, though.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:21 AM on August 30, 2015

I've only seen this episode once, when I was a child, but even then I was struck by the audacious plotting of having the episode take place over a couple of months. Very different from any other episode of any TV I had seen up until then.

I'm not going to watch it again, but I suspect it probably sucks, but the idea is very unique.
posted by AndrewStephens at 12:15 PM on August 30, 2015

The obelisk reminded me of the pylon on 'Land of the Lost' - I know that there were a lot of Trek people who wrote for Land of the Lost, maybe it was an intentional nod?

I so love that Spock-bass theme score, gives me chills sometimes. Some good Spock/McCoy and Spock/Kirk moments, but, ugh, the plot.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Memory Alpha points out that in this episode you can see people in the far background, working on a canoe. I remember seeing that as a kid and thinking it was way too much work for such a tiny detail, and it had to be that there was like a summer camp or something across the lake and they just happened to end up in the shot! (I no longer believe that, but it still amazes me that they'd go to all that trouble for such an easy-to-miss background element.)

I know that there were a lot of Trek people who wrote for Land of the Lost, maybe it was an intentional nod?

David Gerrold is the guy who more or less created Land of the Lost, and he did work on Trek earlier. So, I dunno, maybe the pylons were a callback. I do know that Enik was originally called Eneg as an homage to Gene Roddenberry, but that didn't make it on the air. (Walter Koenig wrote the first Enik episode, and he wanted to do a shout-out to his old boss.)

If anybody reading this is a fan of TOS, I STRONGLY suggest you check out Land of the Lost! Not only does it have many of the same writers, it's great pulp-y fun with underground cities of lizard men and all kinds of awesome stuff. It's got a trippy, surreal, post-2001 sci-fi vibe to it sometimes too. And just like with TOS, the special effects are hokey by modern standards but impressive for their time and kind of adorable if you look at them the right way. It was a kid's show, but it's surprisingly dark and serious and the people making it were clearly intent on not talking down to kids at all. It holds up better than a lot of 70s TV meant for grownups!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

And the Land of the Lost dvds have a lot of good commentary tracks, as I recall.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:10 PM on August 30, 2015

Having grown up watching the show, hearing those commentaries was fascinating but bittersweet. Wesley Eure seems like a really self-aware, fun guy, but Cathy Coleman had obviously experienced some hard times. She had this rough whiskey voice and a kind of wobbly, unpredictable vibe, and even if you didn't know where she'd been all these years you knew she'd been through some kind of hell.

The Will Farrell movie version really annoyed me. That show cries out for a reboot, it has all the ingredients for something great. But the stupid movie probably killed any hopes of such a thing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:27 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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