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Reviews & Ratings for
"Star Trek" The Paradise Syndrome (1968)

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Among the very best of Season 3

10/10
Author: anderbilt from United States
18 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have wanted to write about Star Trek on IMDb; it's a series I got hooked on as a kid, mourned when it was canceled, and obsessed on when it rose again in syndication in the 1970's. The problem with doing that is that the episodes have changed over time, and continue to do so; not because of the excellent remastering of the series, but because of the normal human aging process. Most of TOS is pretty good, pretty well conceived human drama and the thing about human drama is what reaches inside of us and evokes a response. As a grade school kid, I was mesmerized by the newness and coolness of it all and loved every episode though the adult story elements sailed past me; as a teen in the 70's I ached to know and latch onto what the group consensus was on the 'cool' episodes and started laughing at the corny costumes and effects; as an adult I crammed TNG, DS9 and Voyager into my head, and then I returned to TOS. As an adult I asked myself what I liked about each story, and on THIS story, the answer was 'the disarray, haste and pressure of life, and breaking what you can never fix.' From the first mention of the Tahiti Syndrome, fate gives Kirk a vacation from cares while the extra pressure on the crew of the Enterprise is crushing, as they try in vain to divert a huge asteroid. As a kid I barely remember watching this one although I know I did; but as an adult, I finally saw the contrasts of simplicity and complexity played out, and understood what Kirok must have felt in his relationship with Miramanee. And this show reached into me and brought forth something I was not expecting. When I watched "The Paradise Syndrome" again as an adult, I had forgotten the death of Miramanee because it did not impress the child at all. But seeing it fresh with adult eyes, three decades between viewings, I felt a solid lump in my throat when McCoy tells Kirk she can't be saved. I have seen a reviewer here trash the death scene as 'syrupy.' That was not my experience. Seeing this scene as an adult for the first time in three decades, everything that followed McCoy's pronouncement was perfectly played by everyone, the production crew, the director, the composer, the orchestra, and most especially by William Shatner. Kirk speaks with tenderness and sadness but also with the distraction of the starship captain, which is an extra layer of sadness in itself as he remembers who and what he is. Yet he carries it inside and lets none of it intrude on her final moment of life, her final moment with her husband. (I need a moment) When she finally is still, when Kirk is still and the music does that subtle swell and break that pinpoints the instant of her crossing into death, it makes me cry like a baby. In fact just writing this has made me cry again. For me, this episode is excellent, and the scene I just described is in my opinion the finest two minutes of Star Trek ever filmed. But that's me. You can certainly be critical of a few earlier moments of overacting or the low-budget guitar track on the mind-meld. You can also think about where the show was trying to go in its third season and wonder whether the fighting between Spock and McCoy could have lead to a permanent split or a somewhat wider gulf between the two of them in the future seasons that didn't happen. Certainly they weren't close at all when they were reunited in The Motion Picture. I don't let any of that intrude on my appreciation and devotion to this fine episode of a fine classic TV series, which is rightfully a cultural icon.

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Stay away from the lodge and maiden of your choice.

10/10
Author: copper1963 from Staten Island, New York
17 October 2006

The only show from the final season to venture out into the sunlight, this Jud Taylor-directed saga registers highly as one of the best from that third season's roster. It was in the lead-off position and had to come out fast. The budget must have burst a leak at the purse strings and a good deal of cash spilled away. And so the rest of the season had to be sacrificed--like Kirk's wife and child--for the good of this production. Nevertheless, the dollars spent are present on screen, and are well divided between special effects and dramatic elements. The musical score by Gerald Fried is lush, emotional and thunderous, but never sappy. I like how the story unravels over a period of months. The actress who plays Miramanee enjoyed numerous roles of rebellion and angst throughout the Sixties. I have "The Paradise Syndrome" at home in my collection. I think because it poses legitimate questions about Man's place in the cosmos. Pine trees replace ship beams for a greater organic effect. A mammoth asteroid and giant obelisk (covered with ancient writings) produce impressive set pieces, as well as obstacles, for the captain and the rest of the crew to contemplate and decipher. Spock solves the riddle. He always does.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

good story undermined by excessive contrivances

8/10
Author: fabian5 from Canada
4 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode could have been executed better with a stronger premise and a larger budget. It starkly highlights the extent of NBC's budget cuts on the Star Trek TOS series in season 3. Kirk is missing and presumed lost on a Class M planet after he accidentally falls into an obelisk shaped alien structure. He then suffers from amnesia on the planet which is conveniently populated by native Indians while Spock and McCoy are forced to abandon their search for the captain for 2 full months! and return to the Enterprise to unsuccessfully to divert a giant asteroid from destroying the planet where Kirk was lost. When Kirk regains consciousness and walks out of the alien obelisk, he is seen by Miramanee, a native Indian women who thinks he is a god. Kirk then promptly saves the life a drowning child thus instantly becoming the native Indian's new medicine chief Kirok. This is all far too convenient.

Important scenes are cut to a minimum and feel contrived: the sci-fi portion where the planet's obelisk activates and diverts away the asteroid from hitting the planet lasts only about 6 or 8 seconds. Spock's mind-meld with Kirk, to restore the Captain's memory seems unconvincing: Kirk repeatedly proclaims himself to be Kirok the medicine man throughout the process but then wakes up only to declare that the mindmeld worked and that he has regained his memory. Of course, a different take here is that Kirk was fighting to hold onto his current consciousness of his new life and his love for Miramanee--so perhaps that scene was properly handled after all. When Spock tells McCoy on the Enterprise that the mysterious signs on the obelisk shaped deflector are actually musical notes designed to activate the device, this important scene lasts only about 25-30 seconds with minimum feedback from the doctor. It frankly feels a litttle dull. Spock and McCoy beam down to the Earthlike Class M planet without any warning at precisely the moment that Kirk and Miramanee are being stoned to death at the obelisk by the native Indains for failing to protect their planet. Finally, Kirk's love scenes with his beloved Miramanee are--for this episode--somewhat sappy. No emotional scene of Kirk weeping or saying a final goodbye is shown after Miramanee dies. Instead, Miramanee dies and we quickly move to the closing credits. Frankly, the episode feels rushed and there are a bit too many contrivances for the story to be believable! The alien obelisk also turns about to be a giant asteroid deflector rather than say an alien observatory or outpost and accomplishes the task which the Enterprise couldn't--ie. diverting the approaching asteroid away from the planet. When you get 4 or 5 'convenient' instances like this, the plot progressively becomes less credible.

I still rate the Paradise Syndrome higher than the majority of the seasons 3 shows and I can see why it was one of Shatner's favourites in this season, too. (Shatner, Star Trek Memories, p.273) It was superior to the disastrous next Trek program which followed it--'And the Children shall Lead.' Unfortunately, that isn't saying much here. This episode had great potential and fulfilled most of it but the budget cutbacks hurt its quality somewhat. Still this Margaret Armen script worked well overall.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes, for me

Author: tamarenne from France
4 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I refuse to get PC about an episode of Star Trek, so I could care less if an Indian played an Indian, etc. Acting is SUPPOSED to be just that, acting. I would rather see a good, trained actor playing an Indian or an Arab or an Englishman than a bad actor of ANY ancestry. It is a long established tradition of the theater, that a truly good actor can play many roles, and should be lauded for it.

Now on to this episode. It's probably my absolute favorite episode from all three seasons. I find it far more compelling than say, City of the Edge of Forever, which many cite as the best episode ever of Star Trek, whilst simultaneously deriding this episode.

I never understood the double standard. As far as City on the Edge of forever, many seem to dig the power of Kirk's relationship with Edith Keller, but I don't see it. I never got the feeling that Kirk knew Edith Keeler very well, and although he may have been smitten with her, she could not have been considered his "mate" by any stretch of the imagination.

Cue The Paradise Syndrome. As one reviewer here noted, the final two minutes of Miramanee's life bring me to tears, and I will forever hold that it is SHE not Edith, who is the love of James Kirk's life. They had lived together for months as man and wife. She had even conceived his child. So, in my book, Kirk WAS married. I wonder why so many who discredit this episode because of its depiction of native Americans are also quick to dismiss this marriage as valid? Some might say it was because Kirk had lost his memory and was not "Kirk" but I don't buy it. He was still himself inside. He still dreamed of the "Lodge in the sky" (how poetic is THAT!) And he remembered enough of his past life to administer CPR. But I digress:

The episode is beautiful, and the fact that Miramanee carried Kirk's baby is a bit shocking even today. Certainly it was powerful stuff back in 1960's television. It was touchingly and sensitively acted by William Shatner, et al. (Shatner was an award winning Shakespearean Actor before Star Trek, many seem to forget that).

One could really feel the power of his attraction, not just to Miramanee, but to the simplicity and purity of living in a pristine world of Pine forests and roaring campfires; to the sound of the owl at night under a blanket of bright stars unassailed by pollution. This is a world we all came from and it still holds power for many of us, this natural humanity as lived by the native Americans of the planet.

The end is a bit of a triple knock out for Kirk, losing wife, child, and a primordial natural existence far from the cares of his first love, The Starship Enterprise. His bitch mistress who cares not whether his personal life is fulfilled, but whose fate is intertwined with his forever.

A beautiful, lyrical episode that touches my heart. And kudos of the wonderful remastering and high quality presentation.

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17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Kirok's Tahiti Syndrome (or: Kirk's Vacation)

6/10
Author: Bogmeister from United States
13 January 2007

Behold the god who bleeds! (the one great line). Behold a tribe of re-located American Indians. Behold a planet with the exact same vegetation as Earth. 'What are the odds?' Kirk muses. Is Kirk kidding? I place the odds at billions to one against, but they've already found a planet with the exact same continents as Earth ("Miri") and the 'Roman Empire' planet in "Bread and Circuses." What's the big deal? The odds look pretty good in the Trek galaxy. So now we have a 'Tribal American Indians' planet - but at least with an explanation: apparently some ancient alien race likes to displace doomed cultures from Earth to other planets. Now, in a set of circumstances I calculate as millions to one against (or, in the Trek universe, very likely), Kirk accidentally opens a hidden floor panel on a mysterious obelisk with his communicator, falls inside and gets zapped by amnesia. Spock and the rest of the crew, unable to find him, have to leave the planet to head off an approaching asteroid. The better scenes, as with a couple of other episodes, turn out to be the 'B' storyline on the Enterprise, where Spock really annoys Scotty by placing too much strain on the ship's engines.

With us so far? Kirk now exits the obelisk, gets spotted by a couple of females from the tribe and is assumed to be a visiting godling (the uniform must've given it away). Some tribe members are skeptical, but on a 1 in 10,000 chance (a certainty here), he resuscitates a drowned boy, thereby assuring his super-stud, main man, head honcho, favored status. However, he makes an enemy, the former medicine man (Solari) and that's where the whole bleeding god scene comes in. About two months pass. That's right - 2 whole months for this episode! While Kirk, er, Kirok exults in his new found life of nearly carefree abandon, hugging himself in ecstasy and running around the woods with his new wife(!), the Enterprise retreats before a steadily-closing hunk of rock almost the size of our moon. The theme in this one involves placing Kirk in a scenario completely divorced from his usual duties and watch his 'other' true self emerge - the gentle, unhampered Kirk existing in all of us working stiffs. This all sounds very ambitious for a TV episode, but Shatner's over-emoting, hard-to-buy-into plotting and a slipshod pace does it in, undoing much of the tragic impact at the end. I was more interested in these unknown advanced aliens, who may be the same unseen puppeteers of "Assignment:Earth."

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Chief Kirok Warps the Injuns

7/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
5 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Paradise Syndrome begins in a surprising way--instead of space or some obviously alien environment, Kirk, Spock and McCoy find themselves in a lush forest reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. It's a remarkably Earth-like planet "half a galaxy away". The planet is sparsely populated by what appear to be American Indians living in a traditional way. But there are bigger problems--a large, Moon-sized asteroid is headed the planet's way, and if the Enterprise crew doesn't quickly get back to the ship and warp to the asteroid's vicinity to knock it off course, there's a good chance it will completely destroy the "Shangri-La". Of course things can't be even that easy. Kirk goes missing in short order, and Spock and McCoy are left with an even bigger dilemma.

Kirk accidentally ended up inside a large, obviously alien obelisk near the Indian encampment. Spock and McCoy decide to head back to the ship before they can find him to take care of the local Armageddon problem. Meanwhile, Kirk gets zapped and loses his memory while fiddling with the mysterious controls inside the obelisk (I guess he set the controls for the heart of amnesia).

Which finally brings us to the home territory for the episode--Kirk adapting to life in the Indian community as they mistake him for a God, and he tries to remember just who he is. There's a slight Return of the Jedi quality to this. The set-up provides a lot of amusing material, although no Ewoks, as we get to see Kirk running around in various Native American getups, and at one later point, even bellowing out his possible Godhood in a last-ditch attempt to not make a complete ass out of himself. Yes, it's ironic, and it's one of the highlights.

Of course, there's a love interest for Kirk, or "Kirok", as he comes to be known in his deified form, and also a jealous party (an "Indian" who looks oddly like Gene Simmons) so that Shatner gets to do a few of his patented moves in a fight sequence, like his chaotic flying sidekick. The corniness and uniqueness (for "Star Trek", at least) factor arrives strongly with some idyllic, maybe even syrupy, romance film moments, and Kirk's love interest becomes probably his most serious yet. Another campy highlight related to this arrives near the end, when imminent doom is at hand, but Kirk just can't stop staring at his loved one in order to try to prevent everyone's deaths.

The few moments aboard the Enterprise are far from the most exciting and suspenseful material in the series, but we do get some classic Spock/McCoy bickering where they both turn out to be right for once, and in an even more unusual moment, Scotty's Chicken-Littlish cries about the engines prove to be on target for once. It's also a heck of a lot of fun to note that the Enterprise apparently rides through space in reverse for two months just before the climax.

This episode has plenty of corniness, as I mention above, and that's usually enough to push "Star Trek" up a notch for me so it gets a higher score. That's one of the things I love about the show, as I keep mentioning in other reviews. But something about The Paradise Syndrome just doesn't flow right, and it's not just the fact that in spite of "Star Trek's" putative policy of promoting multiethnicity, there's not a Native American actor in sight. The problem is rather that The Paradise Syndrome plays as if most involved parties' minds were elsewhere, from the writers to the director to the cast. This is one of the lesser episodes, but even a lesser episode of "Star Trek" is still fun and entertaining.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Get Kirk ?

4/10
Author: Henry Kujawa (hkujawa@comcast.net) from Camden, NJ (The Forbidden Zone)
7 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched one ST episode that I fully intend to never watch again: "The Paradise Syndrome".

I see a woman wrote this one... and I don't think she was thinking logically when she did it. Kirk disappears, McCoy rants about not leaving orbit while he's missing, so he & Spock beam back up, the ship departs-- late-- and they didn't leave one person behind to search for Kirk, not even a medic in case he was hurt?

Kirk can't remember who he is (I hate "amnesia" episodes), but when they decide to make him "Medicine Chief" for saving the child's life, he doesn't object. He doesn't offer to teach the actual Medicine Chief how to do the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation thing so HE would become an even better Medicine Chief. And though he seems surprised when Miramanee announced they're to be married, he doesn't object to that either. (I suspect Rudy Solari's character was really hurt the most when Miramanee didn't answer him when he asked her, "If you did have a choice, would you choose me?" I guess for her, he would have been just following tradition. You'd think she could have found a way to let him down a little easier, wouldn't you?)

Man, those Enterprise engines sure seemed to burn out easily, didn't they? Is this Scotty having a bad run of luck, a writer who hasn't been watching the show enough to pay attention to the ship's "technical" history, or just a writer with a certain "agenda" and they're not gonna let anything stand in the way of telling the story they wanna tell, no matter what? ("Beneath The Planet Of The Apes" feels like it was "written" that way, too... heh)

So Spock fixes Kirk, and Kirk orders Scotty to get out of orbit once they pass the safety point, "The landing party is expendable." WHAT? 4 of the most important people on the ship, and they wouldn't beam them up first? And what about even trying to rescue ALL those other people, the way "The Gatherers" did? What is this, bad fan fiction?

Gotta hand it to those Gatherers. They not only plant these people on a nice planet (albeit one in recurring danger of asteroids, thus requiring an asteroid deflector!), they somehow know, centuries in advance, that Kirk would activate his communicator and say what he did and use it as the audio trigger to open the temple.

Let me not forget to mention Rudy Solari's father, who out of sheer arrogance and stupidity, put all his people and the entire planet in mortal danger, all because he didn't want to tell his son the secret of operating the "temple"-- "too soon"-- and died before he got the chance later on. Stupid, stupid, stupid! (I wonder how he was supposed to get in without Kirk's particular key words? And how odd they had 2 ways in-- the regular way, and the special way, foretold by the prophecy.)

It's so ironic, at the beginning of the story, they didn't want to show themselves to the Indians, and tell them of the danger... yet, if they had, they'd have soon found the Indians knew of the danger, and, what was needed to avert it! "Primitive" culture, eh?

I suppose the cool moment in the entire story was when Kirk tells Spock, "Just-- push the right button." And he does. One button. WOW! And it does what the entire power of The Enterprise was unable to do-- and much better. That's some technology.

The music in this one makes me think someone was watching "This Side Of Paradise" and they wanted to do for Kirk what that episode did for Spock, both story-wise and music-wise. Damn thing, it's so pretty it's almost too painful to sit thru...

Finally... are we really supposed to believe that with all the future medicine on The Enterprise, that McCoy couldn't save a woman from a simple stoning? Get outta here...!

By story's end, I began to wonder if this hadn't started life as a "Bonanza" episode. After all, when one of the Cartright boys falls in love, by the end, the woman always dies!

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Ugghh!! The horror of Kirk's overacting!

5/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
8 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kirk and the landing party head to a planet directly in the path of a huge asteroid. It is doomed to strike unless they can do something. They are surprised to see both a thriving tribe of American-style Indians and a huge statue-like device that was obviously put there by some beings of an advanced society. Kirk accidentally activates a door and falls inside the device and suffers amnesia. By the time he is able to leave, the landing party has left in an attempt to avert the catastrophe. And, stumbling outside, he is immediately mistaken by the simple folk as a god!!! This is a pretty popular episode and I seem to be in the distinct minority in not especially liking this one. My biggest problems were the whole idea of finding American Indians on other planets (what's with that?!) and Kirk doing a massive amount of overacting as the god, Kiroc. When he stands on the pedestal and yells "I am,...KIROC!!!!" I can't help but laugh. Subtle this episode isn't nor is it especially good. Plus, all too many times, what happens next is 100% predictable. For example, when he marries a lovely lady, you know she is doomed!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Strange premise, strange execution

3/10
Author: Christopher Baird from United States
3 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Indians in space! This episode starts with a strange premise: Kirk gets lost among Native American Indians on an alien planet, gets amnesia, and is considered a God. With bad acting thrown in, it just goes downhill from there. The love scenes between Kirk and the Indian girl were just painful to watch; they were classic late 60's/early 70's cheese. People tune into Star Trek to see space ship battles and alien worlds; not to see the hero frolic mindlessly through the meadows with an Indian girl to syrupy flute music. In the beginning, as soon as Kirk encounters the band of male and female Indians, you just know which one Kirk is going to fall in love with: the one with the pretty face and form-fitting outfit. Once they marry, you just know she's going to end up dead so that the show can reset for the next episode. In the end, everything seems to be unraveling when Spock heals Kirk's amnesia with a mind meld (that seems to be a lazy script-writer's solution to everything) and pushes one button to deflect the asteroid: anti-climatic! The whole subplot about deflecting the asteroid and deciphering the obelisk had a lot of potential. If the producers had cut out the love story and Indians, and focused solely on the asteroid and obelisk, it would have been a lot more interesting.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Kirk gets married

8/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
28 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode opens on a planet where Kirk, Spock and McCoy comment on its unlikely similarity with earth. They discover a strange obelisk that appears to have been created by an advanced civilisation; far more advanced that the local population who are reminiscent of Native Americans. They don't have much time on the planet as they must intercept an asteroid which is heading towards the planet; if they fail to deflect it then the planet will be destroyed in two months. Kirk decides to have one last look at the obelisk and as he calls the Enterprise a floor panel opens and he falls into a room full of advanced technology. He triggers something, collapses and loses his memory. Unable to find him Spock and McCoy return to the Enterprise and head to the asteroid. They attempt to destroy it but overload the engines; travelling on impulse power alone they will get to the planet four hours ahead of the asteroid. Meanwhile Kirk emerges from the obelisk and the locals assume he must be the god of the obelisk coming to rescue them; unable to correctly recall his name he ends up called 'Kirok. Not everybody is happy; Salish the Medicine Chief has his title taken from him and given to Kirk; not only has he lost his position he has lost Miramanee, the woman promised to him, as her position means she must marry the Medicine Chief. Kirk and Miramanee grow to love each other and ultimately he learns that she is to bear his child. Shortly afterwards the ground begins to shake and Kirk is expected to enter the Obelisk to save everybody; of course he has no idea what to do and he finds himself being stoned along with Miramanee.

As this episode opens it feels like so many others where the Enterprise finds an Earth-like planet with locals who look human from a specific culture. However once Kirk loses his memory and Spock leaves to try to deflect the asteroid things get much more interesting. Kirk may have lost his memory but his growing relationship with Miramanee is believable, touching and ultimately tragic; the chemistry between William Shatner and Sabrina Scharf is better than most of the alien women Kirk gets involved with; both actors do a fine job. The conflict with Salish may be predicable but it is necessary and leads to the tragic events at the episodes conclusion. Meanwhile, for once, the events on the Enterprise do not go according to plan and we see Spock dealing with the possibility that his choices could have condemned the planet's population and Kirk. Interestingly we learn that the obelisk was built by an alien race that has rescued members of endangered societies and relocated them on suitable planets; explain why so many of the planets the Enterprise has visited have populations that look human. Overall a solid episode; much better than I had expected.

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