Star Trek (1966–1969)
25 user 4 critic

Bread and Circuses 

The Enterprise crew investigates the disappearance of a ship's crew on a planet that is a modern version of the Roman Empire.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Claudius Marcus
William Bramley ...
Bart La Rue ...
Announcer (as Bart Larue)
Master of Games
Max Kleven ...
Lois Jewell ...

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While searching for the crew of a destroyed spaceship, the Enterprise discovers a planet whose oppressive government is a 20th-century version of Earth's Roman Empire. Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet the rebels, seemingly sun worshipers, but are soon thereafter apprehended by the regime. The missing Captain Merik is revealed as the "First Citizen" and a pawn of the regime, but he and the rebels ultimately help Kirk and company to escape. Back on the Enterprise, Uhura observes that the crew's understanding of the rebels as sun worshipers was not completely accurate. Written by MGR

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Release Date:

15 March 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon wrote this episode's teleplay from a story by playwright and television writer John Kneubuhl. However, Roddenberry and Coon received sole writing credit for the episode. See more »


Near the end of the program, the viewer gets a look at the planet from space, and we can see two moons off in the distance, with the sun shining from off screen right. In a subsequent shot, from the bridge of the Enterprise, we see the same thing, except that the sun is shining from the left onto the two moons, but still from the same direction as before onto the planet below. See more »


Master of Games: You bring this network's ratings down, Flavius, and we'll do a special on you.
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Referenced in Muppets Tonight: Andie MacDowell (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Merik, Ancient Romans & 20th Century Earth Era
12 January 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Season 2, episode 25. The Enterprise is on it's routine patrol when it runs across some wreckage of the SS Beagle. The Beagle has been lost for 6 years and it's captain was R. M. Merik, a man Kirk once knew. They find no signs of humans so they guessed that the crew was able to leave the ship before it was destroyed. They follow the debris trail to an unknown planet - never charted before. They discover the planet is very much like planet Earth and even pick up radio and video signals from it. The ship's computer picks up survivors from the Beagle on the planet. Kirk, Spock & McCoy beam down to the planet's surface and are soon met with a group of men with shotguns - they are runaway slaves. Kirk, Spock and McCoy befriend the runaway slaves. It is revealed that their slavery is over a belief or dispute of gods: sun god vs other gods. Kirk is looking for Captain Merik the slaves have mentioned a man named Merikus - is it one in the same man? The planet is similar to Earth's ancient Rome but mixed with 20th century Earth and soon they find themselves in a 20th century jail cell while searching for Merik... they soon find Merik. Merik takes them to the pro-council where Merik explains what happened to him, his crew and the Beagle. Later Kirk is made to order some of his crew members down to fight in the old Roman style arena. He tells Mr. Scott code green, all is well. Scotty knows that means trouble, don't interfere but stand by. Kirk refused to bring down his men so Kirk, Spock and McCoy are taken to the arena in a real fight to the death which is broadcasted on television. The Enterprise can pick up television signals which is in their favor but must stand-by under the captain's orders - Scotty cannot send down a landing party but he can do other things from the ship.

There are some excellent moments between Spock and McCoy - and we are able to learn a bit more about Mr. Spock. Yes Spock does worry about Kirk just like the very human Dr. McCoy.


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