So, I babbled again, and someone saw fit to record it for future listening and mockery. Call it my Independence Day gift to you.
Seems pretty simple, right? Of course I’m going to do my best to screw it up, somehow.
Host Aaron Coker invited me to sit down and talk Trek with him quite a while back. We actually recorded this episode back in mid-January, but the show records many episodes in succession and then parses them out over the course of several months. I’d almost forgotten about this one, but don’t take it personally, Aaron; I can’t tell you what I had for dinner last night.
The idea is that a given Star Trek episode isn’t reviewed or recapped so much as it is discussed, to we end up talking themes, favorite moments, lasting impact, and so on. When Aaron approached me about coming on the show, he asked me for five episodes I really wanted to talk about, and I gave him five options (not all from the original series, so relax, newer Trek fans).
But first up? One of my early and lasting favorites: “Arena,” from the original series’ first season.
Yes, the one with the Gorn. The one with the big green lizard. The one with the big green rubber lizard costume. The one where Kirk beats the Gorn with the bamboo cannon.
Yes, it hasn’t aged as well as some of the other Star Trek tales, but there’s a timeless, hokey charm that’s impossible to deny. As we discuss on the podcast, this is one of those episodes I’ve loved since childhood, and is one I always hoped was on when I came home from school for the daily Star Trek rerun on my fuzzy black and white TV. Once you get past the rubber lizard suit and what is perhaps one of the all-time worst examples of hand-to-hand combat ever committed to film, there’s a real message and story here, and much to appreciate even after all these years. It occupies a permanent spot in my top favorite original series episodes.
Many thanks to Aaron for hosting what ended up being a fun, entertaining discussion as we revisited this classic slice of Star Trek.