(That recap sounds like one of Kirk's fantasies, doesn't it?) This is a forgettable episode based on the German legend of Lorelei (in which the spirit of a woman distracts sailors causing them to become shipwrecked.) Actually, the episode comes across more like the bastard son of "Spock's Brain" and "The Deadly Years", and that's not really a good thing. Still, it could be worse, and it's fun to see the women take charge for once; although having only two female voice actors (Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barrett) for the entire series doesn't help when moments like these arrive. Thumbs in the middle.
I really did enjoy this episode and it felt a lot like an episode from the original series. This episode was very interesting because it is the first time in Star Trek history that a woman took command of the Enterprise when Uhura became acting Captain as the men were under the women's control. This episode also featured Scotty, James Doohan, singing which was a very interesting thing to see, especially since he was a pretty good singer. This episode was the introduction of Nurse Chapel into this series. She actual had some action scenes and showed how tough she can be and knows how to fire a weapon!
It comes with great sorrow that I must write this review for upon watching the opening episodes for the animated series, I really thought I was in for a treat throughout. Then of course, ‘The Lorelei Signal’ arrived.
The episode centres on the mysterious disappearances of ships occurring every 27 years or so. This leads to the Enterprise of course, going in head first to see just what has been going on. As a result, the men of the crew begin to see illusions of beautiful women in their minds, luring them down to a planet below where a heavenly singing is being transmitted. Eventually it is discovered that the women on this planet drain the life from men through some sort of telekinesis in order to remain immortal. There’s no other way to put it other than that it’s completely stupid.
The problem with the story is there’s no real build-up to the events that take place on the planet and no insight into the women at all. Instead, it isn’t long into the plot at all that we’re placed in the usual ‘trapped on the planet with a super-being that’s trying to kill us’ scenario that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The conclusion to the story also ends terribly abruptly and is so rushed that the solution comes across as completely absurd when if done properly could have been delivered with much greater realism. The Lorelei Signal just doesn’t get off to a good start and comes crashing down to end what could have had potential and instead turning it into an effortlessly dumb, cliché and pointless script.
Performances from the cast remain average with the odd dull read here and there coupled with a great performance of Scotty and Uhura in command. Even though this episode was well below average, it does have a scene which I may not forget, involving Scotty singing a song over an Enterprise orbiting shot. I actually think the writers put this in here to show they really weren’t taking this seriously at all, as it was at least humorous.
The problems don’t stop there unfortunately. The animation for this episode was the worst that I’ve seen yet by far. Although the character face models looked pretty authentic, limbs, movement and all other sorts of animation look hideous. It really is a shame because animation as a whole for the series has remained consistently of decent quality.
Overall, Lorelei Signal is probably the reason Gene didn’t want TAS to be considered canon. That was a joke, but I wouldn’t blame him if he did. Although featuring a few redeeming factors here and there, far and few between, Signal is a classic example of a rushed job: Over-used animations; new low quality animations; bad dialog; terrible script. Of course I could be wrong. They could have just made a really awful episode. I don’t know for sure but what I do know is that I probably won’t watch this one again any time soon.
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