I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. I grew up on this series, though I only watched what was on tv on reruns. All of these particular episodes are ones I was previously very familiar with. Surprisingly, that was not needed. These short write ups of the episodes are at once familiar and not. I had read somewhere that these were sometimes written up from early versions of the scripts and that does show. Some of the stories end slightly differently or have whole sections that are not there. Coming at it from a different angle helped further illustrate the idea behind the episode or made we look at it from another viewpoint. Very interesting.
Charlie's Law (Charlie X)
This may be one of my least favorite episodes, but I did like this short write up. Dr. McCoy has a substantial role in this version, and we get to see inside Charlie's head a bit more. That was helpful; next time I watch the show I'll be taking a closer look at the boy's acting. People seem to catch on to what he's doing sooner (something that bothered me a great deal in the show) and the ending scene between Charlie and Kirk is very good. Janice is shown much better in this as well. All in all, I liked this much better than how the script turned out.
Dagger of the Mind
Ahh, one of my favorite episodes of all time. I really liked Kirk in this show, as well as the danger he has to face. The one part I didn't like was the Dr. Noel character...and I still didn't in this. I simply find the whole back story of her and Kirk as unlikely at best. Kirk never goes after staff. In every other episode, Kirk clearly goes after people only when he's sure they don't serve under him. Janice Rand goes after him in several episodes and he never gives her a glance. Not because he can't see her for the uniform but because he won't compromise the chain of command or his position. This is very close to the finished product, the main difference is the reactions between Kirk and Dr. Adams. One wonders how much that steamed from how the two actors worked together. I found the writing to be much less a struggle between machine and a man's will and more a bat hitting while the man curls up and takes it. Episode better.
The Unreal McCoy (The Man Trap)
This one I've long been ambivalent to. The concept is good, but I just found the execution lacking. Can't really explain why, acting's good and all but just didn't seem to work for me. This write up is almost exactly the episode. The only differences is the lack of interaction between the creature and the crew that fleshed out the middle of the episode and since the story is written from Kirk's perspective, we don't see the final attempt of the creature to drain him. This also illustrates the difference an actor can make to lines of dialogue. The last line that Kirk gives sounds insipid when read, but Shatner did a great job with it in the episode.
Balance of Terror
Another one of my all time favs - mostly because of Mark Leonard's performance. This is a very close write up with one glaring exception. There is no scenes with the Romulan commander. There is no dialogue between two men that in another world might have been friends. I don't know if the change came in the next script change or if it came about because of the quality of acting Leonard could give. Not sure but while this is good, the episode is vastly better.
The Naked Time
While close, there are some real differences between this and what's on film. The main one being no scenes of Spock and Kirk going through the madness. The second one being there is actually an explanation of what is causing the madness. One that actually makes a fair bit of sense. Why this was left out of the episode...no idea. I actually liked that part of the write up better than the episode. However, not having Spock and Kirk go through it, weakened it. However, they do address something I wondered about. In this, they seal off parts of the ship to try and contain the contagion. I always wondered why they didn't do something so...common sense.
While the idea was very intriguing, I always felt rather ambivalent towards it. This is good, however, with more passage of time discussed and scenes of the group going further downhill than are shown in the episode. How Kirk handles Miri's stealing of the communicators and her actions is much more in keeping with his characterization in the series than the episode has him act. I never really got that, and this makes so much more sense. The detailed explanations of the hows and whys of the disease they are suffering from are too much for me to understand but I wish some of it had made its way into the episode. I always felt that was a weak point of it.
The Conscience of the King
Another one of my favorites. I think it is for many people. The fine line between justice and revenge is one that has dogged mankind for ages. Mixing a story that is personal to a character with ideas about it from Shakespeare is brilliant - and one that they used again, even with the final TOS movie. This is very close, though the name of the other survivor is different-I like Reilly better. This and the episode other than small changes are virtually identical. A very good episode and a very good write up.
There is very little here to complain about. These are very well written versions of the episodes and a great joy to read.
If you love the old episodes, I strongly suggest reading this. They are well written, good little short stories that both remind you of the episodes and are different enough to make you take a new and intriguing look an old friend.
Note: Here is the cover for this book, as I can't seem to get it to show up above. I like that they use images from the show. It's not a bad cover.