Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 15

Shore Leave

Aired Unknown Dec 29, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
196 votes
  • The crew of the Enterprise discover an Earth-like planet where wishes come true.

    Escaping the claustophobic Enterprise sets, most of this comedic episode was shot outdoors on location (at Africa, a ranch, and the nearby Vasquez Rocks, both just north of Los Angeles), and the feeling of freedom it gives combined with a fresh musical score makes "Shore Leave" a fan favorite.

    In truth, it's a somewhat bizarre offering. With Grace Lee Whitney gone from the series, Yeoman Rand is replaced by Yeoman Barrows, which forces the writers to switch some of the planned Rand/Kirk scenes to Barrows/McCoy. Meanwhile, Barbara Baldavin, who plays the bride to be in "Balance of Terror", returns after successfully auditioning for another character. For the sake of continuity, they try to use her character's name from the previous episode (Angela) but don't always get it right. Eventually she runs into a tree and disappears from the episode anyway, though she does return as another character in "Turnabout Intruder". (I suppose it helps to be married to the casting director). Meanwhile, Kirk gets into one of the longest fight sequences in television history, a multi part scuffle that weaves its way through the episode and which is played off as "boys will be boys" and "isn't this is great time?". Along the way, he also runs into an old fling, scored with an infamous "love theme" that includes a painfully out of tune cello. (I seriously can't understand how this bit of music made it onto television. I mean, even if it's the best the cello player can do and no one else is available, why wouldn't they simply get rid of the cello part? Or was the music director tone deaf and unable to hear it? The cello player was certainly tone deaf; that goes without saying). Curiously, the sound editor also uses a wind chime effect for the planet surface that's thankfully never used again.

    As the story, such as it is, meanders along, it becomes increasingly clear that the writers don't really have a plan and are just making it up as they go along, although it's also clear the cast is having a ball. In truth, Roddenberry himself wrote much of the script (supposedly under a tree) at Africa, . while the cast and crew were already shooting (and ad libbing). It all adds up to a unique, memorable episode but one that lacks the greater meaning of some of the others. In the end, it's really just a malfunctioning holodeck episode before holodecks.

    The animated series includes a sequel to this episode called "Once Upon a Planet".

    The Remastered Version: It's just the basic redo here, with a new ship and planet; though it's a notable upgrade to the original, which has a green blob for the planet (which is actually the "Earth" from Miri painted green) and a flipped shot of the Enterprise that causes the letters on it to be reversed. The new effects include a planet that matches the look in the animated series, a nice bit of retroactive continuity.
  • mccoy comes off as a creepy old perv

    I know this was the 60's and women were still pretty much just sex objects but McCoys "I'll protect you little princess" attitude towards the Yeoman was gross. Then his "bunnies" at the end were just lame.

    Fluff episode with not much going for it. My least favorite so far.
  • A Tour de Force; The best TOS Episode

    More than any single other episode; this one shows the power and promise of the Star Trek Franchise, much less the Original Series.

    And the concept is clear; the more advanced the mind the more the need for play. Gee, that's why I've wasted a of my life in video games! And having grown up with this series and seen this one maybe 20+ times: It might just be THE video game rationalization in my sub-conscious!

    FINNEGAN is the character of choice here. And I just find something relaxing about an old beat-up enemy saying "sleep Jimmy boysleep for as long as you like"

    A little inside information that folks outside the SF Bay area would have no reason to know; this episode's exteriors were principally shot at Marine World Africa USA far north of LA in Redwood City, California. Sadly the site is now condos, but at that time (a regular trip for us local kids back then) I clearly remember taking the tours and elephant back rides through that paradise. And so perhaps that more than anything slants my review here and disqualifies me to a degree ; )

    Anyway, great acting, great (for TOS) sets, Strafing, and Samurai!

    THE episode to show non-fans. If you don't like THIS episode I can't help you.

    How sweet it is.

  • In many ways, one of the most groundbreaking and clever entries in the original series.

    The crew investigates mysterious happenings on a planet that seemed to be a paradise.

    This episode is often overlooked or thought of as silly, probably because of the large "man in a rabbit suit" from the first scene. In actuality, Sturgeon crafted a very inventive story, in a time long before the planet Raisa or the holodeck of later Trek lore. And it's exciting, count the number of dramatic situations and characters the crew encounters in 60 minutes, it's quite astounding. The premise is similar in concept to a holodeck - machinery that creates real objects, organisms, and people all for the sake of the mental diversion of the planet's visitors. An interesting idea and fairly innovative for the late 1960s.

    "Shore Leave" makes a nice bookend with "This Side of Paradise" as an exploration of what truly makes the mind entertained, challenged, and satisfied. Another plus is the glimpses into characters that impacted Kirk during his academy days, something the original series rarely mentioned. There is also a decent sense of dramatic mystery here. The more I think about it, after these Season 1 episodes, there really are only a handful of entries in "Star Trek" that show half the imagination of stories like this one.
  • While on shore leave, Kirk plays hide and seek, Sulu plays with a gun, McCoy plays with a yeoman

    Well sorry folks. In my last review we agreed more so on any other review. (Balance of Terror) However, on this one, we disagree more so on any other review. I thought this one took the cake for not making any sense at all for a script and Kirk's character was farthest from what the series set up for the man he was characterized. I'm guessing everyone was taken in by the delightful characters and imaginative thoughts that took us out of the normal mindset of Star Trek. I think those refreshing attempts were achieved so much better in "I Mudd", "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "A Piece of the Action".
  • The crew of the Starship Enterprise prepare to take shore leave on a peaceful, lush planet supposedly devoid of life, but where people's dreams come to life, which in some cases proves to be very dangerous. A so-so but rather silly tale...

    After a run of more serious episodes, here things let up with a more light-hearted story.

    The episode in many ways is a comedy, but never seems to fully decide on this, as some more 'dramatic' moments are mixed in. I found a couple of the scenes, such as Spock 'tricking' Kirk into taking shore leave, to be a bit smug.

    The episode has some nice location footage, filmed at Redwood Shores in California. I always loved episodes with good location scenes, and here they really bring the episode to life, rather than being stuck in a semi-convincing studio as is sometimes the case.

    But not everything is so slick - during the fight between Kirk and Finnegan, for example, there are a number of clear stunt double shots, which I found to be very distracting.

    Doctor McCoy has some strange flirting scenes with the episodes 'guest crew member', Mary Teller. These scenes were quite nice in a way, but as others have commented, McCoy is old enough to be her father!

    Apparently, the original script was more extravagant but was too expensive to film, so had to be cut back. I wonder, in today's CGI world, if that episode could be produced, and if I would rank it higher.

    I know that some people absolutely love this episode. While I can name worse TOS episodes, personally it isn't really one of my favourites. It's a watch-once-and-move-on episode in my opinion, and doesn't have the re-watchable factor of some better episodes.
  • The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play

    In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of the episode that the series needed at this point. After six rather mentally engaging episodes, it's good to finally be able to kick back and enjoy a bit of fantasy with the characters we have –by now- grown to love.

    Penned by the great Theodore Sturgeon, 'Shore Leave' is Trek's first story with a comedic edge since the brilliant 'The Naked Time'. Perhaps not as interesting or as involving as the previous episode, but nevertheless makes up for any lack of serious themes with a good dose of light-hearted comedy. This episode also has a great deal of characterisation told similar to that of 'The Naked Time', using both recurring characters and guest stars and living out their 'fantasies' or even desires. Not only does this build our cast and help flesh out those guest characters to be more than death bait, but it creates a very interesting and fantastic story that allows pretty much anything to happen. In this way, it holds the attention very well and has an irregularly fast pace for an original Trek episode. All of which, work in the show's favour.

    As mentioned above, this style not only works for the story, but for developing our main characters too. We get to see Kirk being reunited with a long lost love, getting into an elaborate fist fight with an old nemesis (more on that later!), McCoy becoming a bit of ladies man and chasing a six foot rabbit, and Sulu firing off a 6-shooter and running away from a samurai. The one problem I had was that Spock was pretty much left alone to smirk at the rest of the crew. Aside from that though, as you can see, there's plenty of character construction going on here, even if much of it is based upon pre-established ideas. It's still good see development of those characteristics and Sturgeon does a good job of doing so.

    For anyone who is reading this and thinking that it all sounds like a bunch of baloney, then fair enough, it is baloney, but I enjoyed it. Thankfully if you're still looking for nice character writing however; it's all there, even in the scenes that don't involve knights and WWII fighter planes. In fact, I probably enjoyed such scenes more than the wacky surreal ones. The simple banter between Kirk and McCoy down on the planet before things turn really weird, and Spock tricking Kirk into taking leave, amid others all work magnificently and indeed rather hilariously on screen.

    And how about that Finnegan guy! Bruce Mars does an absolutely brilliant job of bringing the animated bully from Kirk's academy years to life. I loved every scene he was in (as inherently annoying as he was written to be) and found the interaction between him and Kirk to be both informative about Kirk's past, and just plain fun. Not only this but it also makes way for one of the best and most memorable fight scenes to be used in the series. This is because there's decent conflict between these characters (this isn't just some guard or obstacle in Kirk's way) that's developed before we meet him: though hearing Kirk's tales with McCoy, and at the beginning of the episode where Kirk is feeling the strain of getting old (although not admitting to it).

    Speaking of memorable scenes, I realise that it was very unlikely to be permanent but nevertheless I still found the 'death' of McCoy to be well performed, written and directed. Perhaps not as touching as say, Star Trek II, but still quite a bit of heavy character work early on the series. It's also quite ambitious in that it relies on you being connected to these people, and of course it does work because we do care thanks to episodes like these.

    The final conclusion and "ah-ha!" explanation given in the last five minutes wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. In fact, I couldn't really find that much of a problem with it. It does provide good food for thought and for anyone with an imagination, it's quite an attractive premise; A planet where your dreams come true? I wouldn't say no.

    In addition to all this (I've really went on and on with this one), we also have a fantastic episode for the eyes and ears. The planet itself on which the crew find themselves taking their break is full of wonderful colours and natural beauty that is so seldom seen aboard the Enterprise and indeed, any of the constructed planet sets made in the studio. This outing also has a very original score that I'm not sure is used later on in the series. This offers a nice break, and helps the viewer connect with the story, taking a vacation you could say, from watching the rather tired sets of the ship. Sure, we'll be glad to see it back in the next episode, but it is good to give it a rest every now and again. Especially as we haven't gone elsewhere in around six episodes!

    So with all this you'd think I'd be giving the episode a perfect score, but unfortunately that isn't the case. As entertaining as it can be, 'Shore Leave' is nevertheless just that; a vacation. It's a nice break and a fun episode, but lacks any real substance. There are also a few low points in the story here and there that don't really work. However, as I say, at mid-point in the season, the episode was sorely needed, and it does its job well, without sacrificing the show's integrity by never really taking itself too seriously. All in all, a great light-hearted and well developed episode for character and plot.
  • The crew visits a planet where their dreams come true.

    "Shore Leave" is a decent episode about the crew's imaginations coming to life literally on this strange planet. It has some funny moments like when McCoy see the White Rabbit and Alice from the story Alice in Wonderland. That is not all, Kirk also meets an old love and gets to fight with an old school rival. It is also interesting to see that it looks like Bones has a love in his life since there is a particular girl he seems to have interest in on the episode. Overall, pretty good, but it's not one of the best episodes of the series.
  • Not as silly as it seems

    When I first saw this episode back in the early 1970s, it immediately became one of my favourites. However, for some reason, while watching the DVD box set, I put this one off and watched the other episodes on the disk first. I'm not sure why, but I just "didn't fancy" this episode.

    But in the interests of completeness, I sighed, shrugged my shoulders and hit the Play button before I put the disk away for another two years. And I'm glad I did.

    Yes, it's a silly episode. Yes, there is more magic than science going on here. And yes, it's a bit weird that McCoy begins a romantic involvement with Kirk's yeoman (Emily Banks) that goes nowhere and comes to nothing, even though he looks old enough to be her dad. But there is much to enjoy here.

    So switch off your forebrain, don't analyse and just enjoy the odd goings on as Sulu battles a Samurai warrior, McCoy is run through by a mounted knight's lance and Kirk ignores the peril to his ship so he can beat the tar out of Starfleet Academy's biggest bully, Finnegan. And did we ever find out who Ruth was, or is she just the "girl Kirk left behind"?