As good as a Star Trek movie!
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 01/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In addition to being a great double episode, this one thus becomes an early "Star Trek Movie," and a darned good one too! I gleaned some of the following information (edited and mixed with my own comments) from Wikipedia for the benefit of consumers here.
Here we get to see the ORIGINAL Captain of the Starship Enterprise, Jeffrey Hunter, who played the role of Captain Pike. Hunter wasn't nearly as theatrical and overdramatic as William Shatner, who ended up in the role of Captain James T. Kirk, but would have, in my opinion, been equally great for the entire series had he stayed on board.
Part one of the two-part episode was broadcast on November 17, 1966 with the second part broadcast a week later on November 24, 1966.
Here, Spock has to trick Captain Kirk and essentially commit treason in taking the Enterprise to the forbidden Planet, Talos IV. At his trial for that infraction, Captain Pike, a man unable to move or speak except through an electronic device, ultimately reveals the story behind Spock's bizarre deception.
New filming took place for the framing story for "The Cage," the Star Trek pilot film which Gene Roddenberry shrewdly utilized in the production of this episode. Since actor Jeffrey Hunter was unavailable to reprise his role as Captain Pike, a look-alike actor, Sean Kenney, played the injured captain in the new scenes of "The Menagerie".
Sadly, in 1969, while flying back to the U.S. from Spain after filming "Viva America!," Jeffrey Hunter suffered the signs of a stroke. After recovering at a hospital in Los Angeles, he suffered another stroke while at home, causing a fall and a skull fracture. He died the following day from his injuries and was ultimately interred in the Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery in Sylmar, California.
In summary, while this double episode is NOT representative of the typical Star Trek program, it's still a superb entry and any fan of science fiction television would much enjoy this intriguing and coherent story. You don't have to be a Trekkie to "get it"."