Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 25

The Devil in the Dark

6
Aired Unknown Mar 09, 1967 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

8.6
out of 10
Average
192 votes
  • Kirk, Spock and McCoy investigate a series of incidents on a mining in which workers have been killed by a seemingly hostile subterranean creature. Although it looks somewhat cheap and dated in places, mostly a good episode...

    9.5
    (Note that, as with all of my 'Star Trek' reviews, I am reviewing the original versions; I have not yet seen the remastered versions).

    I have been watching 'Star Trek' since I was very young, thanks to my father who was a casual viewer. When I started to really get into it during my teens, this episode stuck in my mind as being one of my favourites for whatever reasons.

    Something that works against this episode somewhat is its cheap and dated look. In most cases, I will defend original 'Trek' episodes, as I believe they mostly worked wonders considering the technical limitations of the time, not to mention the usually tight budget. But I have to admit, this one looks a bit ropey in places.

    A key example of this is the backdrop to the mining colony; while elsewhere in the series we are treated to some stunning matte backdrops, this one sadly just looks like a cheap painting, and looks very unconvincing.

    The caves too aren't the best (looking distinctly like paper mache in places), and the creature itself looks like something from a weaker moment of vintage-era 'Doctor Who'. Some episodes have dated better than others, and I have to say, time hasn't been very kind to this one.

    But for all that, the episode is redeemed by being a really good story. Look past the dodgy effects and sets, and this is a great piece of 'Trek' writing and direction.

    Unusual with this episode, is that it features extremely little of the Starship Enterprise. The entire teaser does not feature any crew members – a rarity in itself – and we only get a brief Enterprise scene at the start of the second act, and in the final, obligatory "all laugh at Spock" scene.

    William Shatner has commented that this is his favourite 'Trek' episode, and in many respects I can see why. It is an interesting story, with an interesting twist in the tale, which makes you question just who the real villain of the piece is. Where other shows would dish up standard 'monster of the week' stories, 'Star Trek' would offer up more thoughtful – yet none the less entertaining – tales such as this.

    Talking of Shatner, I did notice in a number of shots from behind that it was a double in his place. This would be explained by the fact that his father passed away during filming of this episode, so a double was used in rear shots to allow him some time away.

    As I say, as a teen I really liked this story, and I still enjoy it. There are a couple of moments where things slow up a little (heck, that's the case in many episodes), but if you're prepared to forgive the dodgy effects and sets, this is a really good episode.
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