Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 0

The Cage

Aired Unknown Unknown on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • "There's a way out of any cage, and I'll find it!"

    The Enterprise investigates a distress signal coming from the planet Talos IV, looking for survivors from the crashed survey ship SS Columbia, and once there Captain Pike is kidnapped and held captive by the Talosians, an alien race with a great power of illusion.

    Despite it being the first, rejected pilot for the original series, it's still a classic episode. In many aspects it's quite different than any other episode - there is another Captain in the Captain's chair, and an entirely different Enterprise crew, with Spock being the only exception. Save for Nimoy, there is only one other member of the regular TOS cast present - Majel Barrett, who will later play Nurse Christine Chapel, as Number One, the (seemingly) unemotional First Officer (much like Spock in the later series). The other two crewmen with a part in the story, Dr. Boyce and the red-haired Yeoman Colt, are also quite likeable.

    As far as the actual story goes, it has a much slower pace than TOS, mostly because the episode itself is somewhat longer than the usual 50 minutes. The Talosians are, no doubt, my favorite alien race encountered in TOS, with their over-sized heads, large pulsing veins, blue robes and slightly creepy, echoing voices. I hesitate to consider them villains, however. As Vina puts it, "They don't mean to be evil", and they do let the Enterprise depart at the end when they realize their mistake.

    The Talosians create three illusions for Pike, all involving a seemingly beautiful woman named Vina, who is also held captive. In one they are on Rigel VII, with Pike as the hero and Vina as the damsel in distress, in another they are married and on a peaceful picnic outside Mojave. But perhaps the best known one is of Vina appearing as the green-skinned Orion slave girl, dancing for Pike and two other men, accompanied by another musical number unique to the series, composed by Alexander Courage.

    Though there are some things that irk me, they are only minor, and don't distract from what is at it's core, classic Trek.
  • Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike is kidnapped by a race of aliens who are masters of mental power.

    Watching this terrific episode, I could not help but wonder why CBS rejected it. On the other hand, I am glad CBS did so because we would not have the "Star Trek" we have today. I have seen "The Cage" numerous times and have enjoyed every second of it every time. This episode is very well made and extremely well acted by all involved. The Talosians (Who were actually women) are a great villain. They almost rival the Klingons and Romulans they are so good! Seeing them use their mental powers is nothing short of amazing. I am also a very big fan of the two-part episode "The Menagerie" as well which used footage from this episode to further its story. However "The Cage" is much better because it contains a number of scenes that were cut from "The Menagerie". These scenes are important to the episode and make it all the more better. See "The Menagerie" by all means but definitely see "The Cage" as well. May you find your way as pleasant.
  • The full length version of this episode is incredible. The edited version that airs on television is missing lots of great stuff.

    The Cage stars an unfamiliar cast (with the exception of Leonard Nimoy), but it is "fascinating" to see this pre-James Kirk crew of the Enteprise. Also, the script for this, written by Roddenberry, is very good, and it's fun to see this story unfold.

    Unfortunately, The Cage (which did not air when Star Trek was first on television but was added for its syndication package) was brutually edited to get it down to 50 minutes for television, and a lot of meaningful scenes were cut. Also, a lot of the edits are painfully obvious with continuity errors and music skips. They did use the footage from this pilot as part of a two part episode called "The Menagerie" where they framed it with a Kirk/Spock story starring the familiar crew. It was a stroke of genius, and that's a superior episode, partly because the frame story is very good and amplifies the story, and partly because with two episodes the editor could keep in many key scenes cut for the television airing of "The Cage".
  • Welcome to the pilot version of Star Trek, not the first episode that was aired, but it was the first episode none the less and is a must to see for any trekkie out there.

    If you have not seen the pilot in it's uncut form, find it on DVD as it is readily available now, unless you are quite lucky enough to have it on vhs, sit back and enjoy Gene Roddenberry's original vision of the series. Capt. Pike, who preceded Kirk as the Enterprises first Captain, has grown weary of command, and has begun to consider life as a civilian. Also seen in this episode is a young, emotional Spock, and the stoic and logical female first officer, known as Number One (played by Majel Barrett who later takes on the role of Nurse Chapel.) A distress signal takes the Enterprise to the planet Talous IV to look for surivors. Upon exploring, the crew finds what appears to be a group of aged scientists living on the surface, along with the beautiful Vina. This proves to be a mere illusion placed in their minds by the real inhabitants of the planet, who kidnap Capt. Pike and imprison him underground. Although the script was a bit weak, the potential was spotted straight away and it proved what a serious contender it could be after its first two part episode "The Menagerie" which amazed the audiences.
  • Awesome episode!

    This episode is weird because of the unfamiliar crew (save Spock) but it really is a perfect example of what a great Star Trek episode should be. It has a strange new world, strange new lifeforms and civilization, cool fight scene with a giant brute, sexy space woman... oh yeah. But above all it does what Star Trek does best, and that is to make us think about what it means to be human. This particular episode touches on how we feel about captivity, and how much we hate it, no matter what, even if it is a like your own personal paradise where all your wildest and sexiest dreams can come true.
  • The Enterprise, under the command of Captain Christopher Pike, responds to a distress call from Talos IV. But the call is a ploy, and Pike is captured by alien beings who wish to carry out a series of "experiments". The original pilot, this is a classic..

    So this is it, the famous original pilot for 'Star Trek'. Although there a number of major differences between this and what would become the regular series, it is still, in my opinion, a classic.

    Although Jeffrey Hunter is in some ways a different captain to Kirk, he is still a great lead, and leaves us to only wonder what 'Star Trek' would have been like with him staying at the helm.

    The crew seems to be slightly less multiracial than it would famously become. Mr. Spock is the only familiar face in this original crew, although shows several signs of emotion that would be phased out in the regular series.
    The only other familiar face is Majel Barrett, who plays the female Number One (with some of Spock's trademark lack of emotion), who would go on to be Nurse Chapel in the series (as well as the voice of the ship's computer and the recurring Lwaxana Troi in 'The Next Generation' and beyond).

    The aliens, the Talosians, are a great race, with a really alien appeal, and one of my favourite 'Star Trek' adversaries. It is hard to decide whether they really are evil, or just very misguided, as they seem to show a different, almost kind side at the resolution of the story. I love their heads with massive veiny brains, and it is a great touch to have women playing them, dubbed over with high-pitched male voices.

    It is in some ways hard to judge just how good it is, what with it being the infamous original pilot, with all of it's differences, and being 'lost' for many years. But even taking all of that into account, I really enjoy this story, and actually it is probably one of my favourite 'Star Trek' tales.
    If I had to find fault, it would be that it maybe runs a bit too long (in it's complete form, it is over an hour), and there are small niggles such as the creatures that Pike views in surrounding cages obviously being people in costumes that look like leftovers from a fancy dress party. The sequence near the beginning, as the Enterprise travels to Talos IV, with a close up of the crew as the (repetitive) stars zoom by, accompanied by the theme, is also a bit ropey, even by 'Star Trek's often dated methods. But they are just small things, and do not mar the story as a while.

    Talking of the theme, it is – maybe rather surprisingly – the same tune as would be used in the series proper. In fact, it is quite similar in style to the version that would be used on the second and third season of the regular series, with accompanying female vocals.

    Although there are a number of differences to the regular series, it could easily have been adapted into a regular Captain Kirk story. (It was, of course, recycled into the popular first season two-parter 'The Menagerie').

    All-in-all, I love this original pilot to the series. Even beyond its novelty value, it serves as a great story, and a glimpse to what might have been.
  • Wrong thinking is punishable. Right thinking will be as quickly rewarded. You will find effective combination.

    Television programing today is divided into two classifications. Those that provide smart, thought provoking entertainment, and those that cater to a dumbed down audience, who's attention spans, it seems, are no bigger than your average sound bite. In 1964, it wasn't that drastic, or clear cut. But programming back then was very formulaic. Sit-coms , dramas, and adventure series alike used standard formulas, and the philosophy, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Likewise, Science Fiction programing was also very formulaic. Very light on science, heavy on fiction and adventure. Perhaps the only exception, in America at least, was the anthology series The Twilight Zone, created by the genius Rod Serling in 1959. Serling never underestimated the intelligence of his viewing audience, and presented thought provoking stories. Such a thing was almost taboo back in those days, but I think he got away with it because the stories were, by design, so unbelievable... nightmarish fantasies that were set in a paranormal netherworld. But even Serling and his writers could never get too complicated with certain scientific and philosophical ideas, because the thought process at that time was to leave the story details simple enough for the average viewer to process easily. But by 1964, America was becoming a different place. Our country's innocence was seemingly shattered by the events of November 22, 1963.. when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Even before that, with Civil Rights issues , and issues about the brewing Viet-Nam war, young people in particular, and audiences in general, were becoming more aware of the world around them , ...of foreign policy...our own goverment , and had became eager to talk about, question and learn about new ideas, and different ways of living. Former cop and military pilot Gene Roddenberry was one of those writers in Hollywood who felt the time had come to boost the audiences appreciation for a more advanced storytelling level. His idea...Star Trek, would shape and change the playing field for Science Fiction for years to come. This was the first Pilot film for his new series idea. It was financed by Desi-Lu studios, and proposed to the NBC network. This historical work is very different from the series that came to be. There is no Captain Kirk or McCoy here. Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock is there, but also different than his final version. He is not yet the seemingly emotionless half-Vulcan we came to know. He shouts a lot, and even smiles a few times. The story itself concerns the Captain of the starship Enterprise, Captain Christopher Pike. The Enterprise receives a distress call from survivors of a transport crash on the planet Talos IV. Upon arriving, they discover that all of the survivors except one, an attractive young woman named Vina...are an illusion. It is a trap, to lure Captain Pike into becoming a specimen in a zoo-like enviroment. They put him through various scenarios..dangerous and comforting...nightmarish and pleasurable..watching him react and feeling his responses...every illusion with Vina present. Meanwhile the crew work against these powerful forces to retrieve their Captain, to no avail. The concept was a very sophisticated one, even by todays standards. Pike is a very tired and fed up man when we meet him. He and his ship have just been through a disasterous mission in which several of his crew are dead or incapacitated. He's sick of ordering people to die, and is ready to quit. His best friend, the ship's doctor tried to remind him that he's not the kind of man to settle into a life with no responsibilities.. that he'll wither away inside living a simple life. But Pike is adamant. The underground dwelling Talosions initially seem like your very typical evil alien that you would be used to at that time..capturing a human and keeping him as some kind of slave for their own purposes. But the reality is something completely different. The Talosians put Pike through one experiment after another...forcing him to re-live the disaster mission he just went through, this time protecting Vina, concocting a nightmarish burning alive scenario from a childhood story, punishing Vina for something he did. They even offer him that comfortable life he was talking about, on Earth..with Vina as his wife. They even offer Vina as a wild sexual love slave. When none of this works, they bring down two females from his own crew. They obviously want him to breed. Despite their methods, they also seem to want him to be happy in the life illusion of his choice. But why? The explaination is a complex one. The Talosians once lived on the surface, and almost destroyed themselves in a terrible war, making the surface unlivable . Moving underground, and not having much else to survive with, they concentrated on developing their mental powers. But they became so dependent upon them, that they gave up any physical life, or civilization in a real sense. Their entire culture was gone and forgotten, and they were still destroying themselves, just in a different way. They are at a dead end, and need another life form to revive their previous culture, and way of life. When Vina's ship crashed, they found the adaptable life form they needed, but needed a mate. seems, met the requirements of Vina's perfect man. However, through Pike and his crew's resistance, and upon learning human history..they discover that using humans, would result in the same tragic outcome...self destruction..and let all but Vina go. Vina, you see, because of the way her broken body was re-assembled after her crash years ago..cannot survive without the Talosians assistance. Pike now understands what a life without risk and challenges might bring, and returns to his post with a renewed sense of purpose and inner peace. Jeffrey Hunter is excellent in his portrayal of Captain Christopher Pike. When I first saw the revived and edited footage from this in The two part episode "The Menagerie", I thought he was fairly one-dimensional, but then, so much had been cut for integration purposes, and then more for syndication viewing, that almost all interesting aspects of his personality seem stripped from the character. The all too pivital scene with the Doctor in the beginning, was cut entirely from the version I grew up with. And even in the full version of the Menagerie, the bookending scene back aboard the ship is missing. Seeing the original, uncut pilot..shows him as a man you would be proud to serve under, and glad to call friend. Susan Oliver is terrific as Vina, a beautiful, but intensely sad, and ultimately... tragic woman. The scene in which her true appearance is revealed (although very primitive by today's standards) is still very effective. Likewise..the Talosian method of punishments are frighning, and the ease at which these illusions switch from peaceful and benevolent, to nightmarish.. punctuated by the matter- of fact attitude of the Keeper are quite chilling. As a well known fact, NBC did not react to the showing of the pilot very well, calling it, "Too cerebral" for audiences to grasp...that a series like this would never last. However.. one of NBC's most powerful executives, very much liked the fact that the film made him feel like he was really on a spaceship, and an alien world. The rest of the execs agreed, and did the unthinkable. They let Roddenberry re-tool the concept, and make a second pilot...with the provision that it had a more familiar action-adventure tone to it. That brought about the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before".. the second pilot, and the first episode featuring William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Jeffery Hunter was not available, and rather than re-cast, Roddenberry created a whole new captain. The Cage was never shown in its original form. But most of the footage was not wasted. As with so many new shows, there was a budget crunch during the first 16 episodes, and Roddenberry figured out a way to make a two parter story, saving money by using most of the Cage's footage, and writing a back story around it. That's when Spock's mutiny and Pike's ill fate came into being, and The Menagerie was born. When watching this, you will notice an oddity regarding the voice of The Keeper. His voice changes in pitch from time to time. These are from snippettes taken out due to time constraints while putting together The Menagerie. There is a reason for this. In making The Cage, the Talosians were all played by women. But Roddenberry thought that by dubbing in male voices for them, it would give them an extra alien-like quality. The actor that dubbed the Keeper's voice was Malachi Throne, speaking slowly, but it was his normal voice pitch. Problem was, for Spock's mutiny storyline in the Menagerie, Malachi Throne also plays Commodore Mendez. So what Roddenberry did was, for the Cage footage included, he sped up Throne's Keeper voice rather than just overdub with another actor. (Ironicly, this makes the Keeper sound female after all) But when it came time to finally release the pilot in it's original form in 1986.. the only remaining original source material was in black and white only. They chose the cheapest solution. Since most of the footage was used in "The Menagerie", and was in color, not to mention, still a pretty clean print.. most of the footage is from that, and therefore, featuring the sped up Keeper voice. For some reason, they did not bother to speed up the remaining Throne lines of dialogue to make it match, so in those few snippets, you hear the Keeper as he originally was meant to sound. That's why you hear the change in pitch from time to time. All in all, this is an essential piece of history. Watching it makes the viewer think of how different the series would have been, had it continued with Hunter. Even if you're very familar with "The Menagerie", as most of us are..check this out sometime. You'll still see a decent amount of stuff you didn't before, and most currently available versions are in full color throughout.
  • See "The Menagerie" Part one and two

    It's kind of hard to review this one because I have only seen it within "The Menagerie" parts one and two. I read somewhere that since the network had trouble with a female being cast for "number one", they combined the coldness of her character with Spock, who smiled quite often during this pilot, into one character. Thus Spock became "number one" or second in command and maintained the cool, calm collective behavior that "number one" had. Obviously a stroke of genius or maybe it was blind luck. We all know how well Spock character worked though out the season.
  • The episode that would start the most loyal fandom in the world.

    "The Cage" is the episode that started it all. Jeffrey Hunter made an excellent Trek captain as Captain Christopher Pike, but he is no Kirk. It is amazing how many things changed from this episode compared to just the second episode when Kirk took over the series. The uniforms weren't as colorful, Majel Barret costared as Number One and Spock looked older. Overall, the episode is very well made and far ahead of it's time for when this was made. This is still worthy of Trek and those who have never seen this episode should, it is very interesting and has a twist.
  • A true TV classic.

    This is a true star trek classic, it's too bad jeffrey hunter left the show. this episode aired a month after he died. but this episode became a classic. When Captain Kirk stepped into the picture, there were changes to the show. The sexist nbc executives demoted Majel Barett to a nurse. This episode is indeed one of a kind. Star Trek began with this classic. This pilot episode is very engaging, it's not boring, it keeps you wondering of what's going to happen. Best of all it's very fun to watch. I really love this episode, it's really exciting watching it.
  • This is where the world of Star Trek began.

    Anyone who watches Star Trek on a casual basis has probably seen the 2-part episode "The Menagerie," which tells the story of Captain Christopher Pike, who preceded Kirk as the commander of the Enterprise. That episode uses most of the footage from the original pilot episode, "The Cage." If you have not seen the pilot in it's uncut form, find it on DVD, and sit back and enjoy Gene Roddenberry's original vision of the series. Jeffrey Hunter gives wonderful performance as Capt. Pike, a man who has grown weary of command, and has begun to consider life as a civilian. Also seen in this episode is a young, and sometimes emotional Spock, and the stoic and logical female first officer, known as Number One (played by Majel Barrett who later takes on the role of Nurse Chapel.) A distress signal takes the Enterprise to the planet Talous IV to look for surivors. The crew finds what appears to be a group of aged scientists living on the surface, along with the beautiful Vina. This proves to be a mere illusion placed in their minds by the real inhabitants of the planet, who kidnap Capt. Pike and inprison him underground. The Talousians then tempt Pike with more illusions involving Vina, however Pike refuses to accept life as a specimen in a zoo.

    I personally feel that this original pilot is superior to "Where No Man Has Gone Before," the second pilot episode that was accepted by NBC.
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