Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 4

The Naked Time

Aired Unknown Sep 29, 1966 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
245 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


A strange alien substance causes the crew to ignore their inhibitions and act out their deepest desires, while the ship plummets out of orbit.

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  • The crew of the Enterprise become intoxicated by a space phenomenon.

    An exciting piece of drama in its own right, "The Naked Time" helps define the Star Trek characters and establish what the series is all about in a way the previous episodes don't quite accomplish.

    It begins by letting the audience in on what's happening (with a groovy sizzle sound effect), giving viewers an advantage over the Star Trek crew which must work to figure it out. It's the sci fi equivalent of Columbo, a show that eschews "Whodunnit?" (showing us the culprit at the beginning) in favor of "How's Columbo going to figure it out?". It's a risky choice because it can make the protagonists look stupid if they're too slow to figure things out, but like Columbo, Star Trek pulls it off well here, moving things ahead at a quick pace. The fact is that while the episode begins with the crew unknowingly discovering a new sickness, it's really about seeing the effects: a drug-like state that removes inhibitions, with consequences ranging from dramatic to comical. It's an opportunity for the normally professional crew members to give us a look at their true selves, laying a foundation of character development that will continue paying dividends for the cast for a quarter of a century, or in the case of Nimoy, fifty years. It's here that he finally nails the character, realizing that the trick to Spock is to have him try to hide his emotions while letting the audience in on the secret that he feels as much as anyone. It's a dynamic on display in one of Star Trek's most poignant and important early scenes, an uncut shot of the Vulcan breaking down in private as the camera rotates 180 degrees to catch the moment in its entirety. It's a beautiful piece of work which, as a precursor to the future, was directed by Nimoy himself.

    Along with the emerging personalities of the Enterprise crew, "Naked" also establishes the tone of the series, from its dramatic opening tease ("It's like nothing we've dealt with before!") to the thrilling climax as the ship spirals downward toward the planet surface, the equivalent of a countdown clock. Future episodes would include more meaningful character conversations (with "Naked", due to its premise, including a lot of talking but little listening), but with its humor and spirit, not to mention an original musical score by Alexander Courage, this episode is a fine example of an early success for the series that it could build off of.

    Curiously, the episode was originally supposed to end with a cliffhanger which would lead into "Tomorrow is Yesterday", but this is modified into more of a curious tag in the final version.

    Remastered Edition: Some great little touches are spinkled throughout the episode, from a new establishing shot of the science station Spock and Tormolen visit in the opening, to a corrected Scotty phaser blast later on (which the effects crew forgot to put in the first time around). There's also a nice touch with the ship's chronometer, with the original inconsistent times replaced with correct times and a nicer looking display. The most notable change, however, is the planet itself, an upgrade that appears throughout the episode in establishing shots and on the viewscreen (with the latter putting the Enterprise in its proper decaying orbit as the ship spirals downward).

  • Those crewmen are going to get one hell of a hangover!

    The opening with the ice planet and the red goo virus will always make this a classic Trek episode for me. In an interview the writer said he wanted an episode were everyone was drunk but had full co-ordination. Watching now with an adults perception I can see where he was going with this concept! I think after they get the cure though, those crewmen must get one hell of a hangover!

    Interestingly at the end as they have regressed 3 days there must be another Enterprise zooming around the galaxy until they catch up to their current time line!moreless
  • A visit to a planet that is breaking up unwittingly brings a disease aboard the Enterprise, which causes crew members to lose their inhibitions and behave out of character. An okay-ish episode, but not one of my outstanding favourites...moreless

    This is a fair episode, and watchable enough the first time or so, but doesn't really have enough appeal in my view to be outstanding. In many ways it's a sort of 'novelty' story, with crew members acting out of character; and doesn't have the depth or the pull of some of the other first season greats.

    One of the best and most memorable moments is, of course, Mr. Sulu stalking the corridors, bare-chested and fencing sword in hand (which was immortalised in many episode's closing credits). But special mention has to go to Bruce Hyde as Lt. Riley, who reverts back to his Irish roots and declares himself as new Captain of the Enterprise, sealing himself in Engineering as the ship plunges towards the planet.

    Some of the 'out of character' moments (such as the above mentioned Sulu and Riley) work well, but others don't come off as successfully. I know others will fiercely disagree with this, but I find Spock's moments, especially the scene with Nurse Chapel, to be very drawn out and tedious. Spock is one of my favourite characters, but I'm afraid I find that these scenes rather drag.

    This story was originally intended to lead into a second part, with the Enterprise having travelled back in time, but this was dropped and it became a stand-alone story (what would have been the second part eventually became 'Tomorrow Is Yesterday'). I think it is a bit of a shame, as the series could have done with a few more two-parters (ultimately, only 'The Menagerie' was the only two-parter of the series).

    The story was recycled to serve as a sequel, in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation's early episode 'The Naked Now' (the first episode after the pilot, 'Encounter At Farpoint', of that series). Like 'The Naked Time', that episode doesn't really stand as one of my particular favourites.

    All-in-all, this is a watchable episode, but just doesn't really stand out in my view.moreless
  • Indecent exposure....

    "The Naked Time" starts off as a lackluster episode of the original Star Trek series but ends up much better than it began by the episode's end. After investigating the mysterious death of a group of Federation scientists on planet Psi 2000, crew members on board the Enterprise begin to act strangely - some become violent, some get disoriented with silliness, and others loose control of their emotions. The sane part of the crew now has to race to find a cure and struggle against the unstable planet.

    The first half of "The Naked Time" is far too silly for its own good. Not much of the humor works but on top of that the pacing is horrible as well. Then things start to pick about during the other half when the crew face real danger and begin to fall apart. Leonard Nimoy is especially good in this episode.moreless
  • Whenever I watch this, it cracks me up again. Yeah, it's silly, but it's funny, too.

    Well, I must say, for an old show, it's pretty funny. I mean, who can forget Sulu going around, challenging everyone to duels, and shirtless? I had this on TV during a marathon, and guess what? By the time it had ended, my ribs, stomach and legs hurt from laughing too much!

    I knocked off a few points because Kirk was overreacting to everything. But you have to admit, fellas, "Please, not again" was a classic one-liner that reacted to Reilly's VERY crazy takeover. (Double-portions of ice-cream for everyone? COUNT ME IN!)

    I gotta show this to Cousin Nikki when she gets home. We both got a lot of laughing to do.

    Casey likey:

    * Sulu running around. Shirtless. Brandishing a foil and challenging everyone to a duel. I fell to pieces over that, dude!

    * Who can forget Spock crying about his mum? I was crying too, while laughing at the same time. What? If it was a tragic episode, I would've let all my tears flow. It's comical, you know!

    * Reilly warbling his head off with "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen". I was ROFLing the entire time!moreless
Bruce Hyde

Bruce Hyde

Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley

Guest Star

William Knight

William Knight

Amorous Crewman

Guest Star

John Bellah

John Bellah

Laughing Crewman

Guest Star

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Recurring Role

Grace Lee Whitney

Grace Lee Whitney

Yeoman Janice Rand

Recurring Role

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • When Spock and Tormolen are being examined at the beginning of the episode, they're both wearing black T-shirts that are clearly supposed to be worn by the male crew members under their long-sleeved shirts, as we clearly see Spock putting his blue shirt over the black one. But later, when Bones rips the shoulder of the Kirk's yellow shirt to give Kirk a hypospray, there's no black shirt underneath, though the uniform has the black collar visible.

    • When Scotty is cutting through the bulkhead with the phaser he is concerned about cutting through wiring and he doesn't want to go any faster--wouldn't it have been easier and faster to use the phaser to just cut through the door?

    • Trivia: Tormolen is the Original Series' first, and only, Lieutenant junior grade, as indicated by his single broken uniform braid.

    • The Psi 2000 virus apparently infects quicker with each new victim. Those infected at the beginning of the episode take a fair amount of time before the virus' full effects are apparent. Most of them exhibit only the annoyance/sweating on the point of contact at first. Later, when Nurse Chapel infects Spock, he immediately feels the full effects. Likewise, when Kirk is infected, he's immediately feeling the full effects.

    • When Spock enters the briefing room, there is a sign on the door saying, "Briefing room 2". It was on the left side of the door. When they leave the briefing room, the tag is on the right side of the door.

    • When Scotty was cutting through the bulkhead with the phaser, there was no beam coming out of the phaser. (This was corrected in the 2006 remaster.)

    • When Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel operate on Joe, the medical readings change between the close-up of the screen and the far shot.

    • When the ship's chronometer runs in reverse at the end, then stops and starts going forward, it reads, "7:59 - 7:00 - 8:01". (This sequence was fixed in the 2006 remaster by replacing the mechanical chronometer with a CGI-rendered version without rotating dials.)

    • Later, in "Operation: Annihilate" we'll find out that Vulcans have sensitive hearing. Here, Spock totally fails to hear Sulu say he's deserting his post, although Sulu is only about 10' behind him.

    • The isolation suits Spock and Tormolen wear to the surface aren't...well, isolated. The helmet isn't connected to the suit and there's a noticeable gap.

    • In the opening shot the planet rotates right to left, but on the viewscreen from the bridge it rotates left to right.

    • Scotty burns through the bulkhead with a phaser on heat/cut and then immediately grabs the resulting panel and yanks it out with his bare hands - ouch!

    • Early in the episode, the planet totally disappears from the view screen twice and then reappears.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Spock: Our spectro-readings showed no contamination, no unusual elements present.
      Scotty: At least none your tricorders could register.
      Spock: Instruments register only those things they're designed to register. Space still contains infinite unknowns.

    • Joe Tormolen: We're all a bunch of hypocrites. Sticking our noses into something that we've got no business. What are we doing out here, anyway?
      Sulu: Take it easy, Joe.
      Joe Tormolen: Bring pain and trouble with us. Leave men and women stuck out on freezing planets until they die. What are we doing out here in space? Good? What good? We're polluting it! We're destroying it! We've got no business being out here! No business!

    • Joe Tormolen: You don't outrank me and you don't have pointed ears so just get off my neck!

    • Riley: Where's Joe?
      Nurse Chapel: Well...
      Riley: He died, didn't he?
      Nurse Chapel: Yes.
      Riley: You know something? You have such lovely eyes, pretty lady.
      Nurse Chapel: I know he was a friend of yours. This must be a terrible shock.
      Riley: You know what Joe's mistake was? He wasn't born an Irishman.

    • Riley: Lt. Uhura, you've interrupted my song. Uh, I'm sorry but there'll be no ice cream for you tonight.

    • McCoy: We're doing everything that's possible!
      Kirk: Bones I want the impossible checked out too!

    • Scotty: We'll be warping out of orbit within a half second of getting your command.
      Kirk: I'll hold you to do that half-second, Scotty.

    • Scotty: Even if we were under full scale attack, I could na move any faster, not in maintaining a safety factor.
      Spock: At the rate you're proceeding, you'll take a minute and a half more than we have left. We cannot afford a safety factor.

    • Kirk: (to Spock) Love. You're better off without it and I'm better off without mine. This vessel. I give. She takes. She won't permit me my life. I've got to live hers.

    • Nurse Chapel: Mr. Spock... the men from Vulcan treat their women strangely... at least people say that.

    • Riley: Attention, crew. This is Captain Riley. There will be a formal dance in the bowling alley at 1900 hours tonight.

    • Riley: (over shipwide intercom) This is Captain Riley, crew. I have some additional orders. In the future, all female crewmembers will wear their hair loosely about their shoulders. And use restraint in putting on your makeup. Women... women should not look made up. And now, crew, I will render "Kathleen" ONE MORE TIME!
      Kirk: (muttering) Please, not again.

    • Sulu: I'll take you, fair maiden!
      Uhura: Sorry, neither!
      (Spock nerve-pinches Sulu)
      Spock: Take D'Artagnan here to Sick Bay.

    • Riley: (over shipwide intercom) Now, attention, cooks. This is your captain speaking. I would like double portions of ice cream for the entire crew.

    • Scotty: Ah canna' change the laws of physics. I've got to have thirty minutes.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Scotty's line "I canna change the laws of physics!" (when realizing that Riley had shut off the engines) would be later be used as his character's line in the 1987 parody song Star Trekkin.

    • John D.F. Black originally planned for Sulu to act out a samurai fantasy. George Takei felt it would be stereotypical and suggested the Musketeers fantasy would be more interesting.

    • This episode marks the first appearance of Nurse Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett). She would go on to become a recurring character through all three seasons of the show and appear in two movies. Here she receives top billing in the end credits, over even DeForest Kelley and James Doohan.

    • Lt. Riley declares that "a formal dance will be held in the bowling alley at 1900 hours tonight." However, he is also delusional, so it's not certain that the bowling alley he spoke of actually existed. The bowling alley was included in the 1975 Franz Joseph deck plans of the Enterprise (published by Ballantine Books), probably based on this mention.

    • This episode was originally supposed to be the first part of a two-part episode that ended with "Tomorrow is Yesterday", but both episodes were rewritten when the idea was dropped.

    • The decontamination suits that Spock and Tormolen wear to the planet are made of shower curtains.


    • Spock: Take D'Artagnan down to sickbay.
      Sulu seems to think that he is the main character in a series of novels written by Alexandre Dumas that follows the adventures of a young man who leaves home to join The Three Musketeers. He sees Kirk as Cardinal Richelieu, the powerful and cunning advisor to King Louis XIII depicted as a power-hungry and greedy minister in the novels.