Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 4

The Naked Time

Aired Unknown Sep 29, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

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out of 10
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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!
  • 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...

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • A little silly, but SO funny

    This is one episode that manages to be funny without being completely ridiculous. Riley especially was hysterical, and everytime he would start with that ridiculous song again I would crack up. There are times when plot holes and things really take away from some of these episodes, but in this one it didn't seem to happen as much. I felt it was well plotted in addition to being witty. I loved the added drama of the ship about to burn up while they were all still trying to find the solution to the disease. This is definitely one of my favorite episodes from the first season.
  • A strange substance gets onto the Enterprise. Can everyones inner most desires really be everyone elses nightmare?

    This episode is well done. Down on the frozen planet you can get a chill just looking at the backdrop. The mysterious substance thats gets on the Enterprise is some sort of virus that makes people act on their inner feelings. Sulu at one point walks away from his station and is later seen chasing crewmen with a sabre like a musketeer. Crewman everywhere singing from this virus and Green disabled the engines so the ship is spiralling down into the planets atmosphere. One great note of this episode is that this is the first time I seen Spock actually have an emotional breakdown. Watch this episode. Its worth it.
  • Time to get naked!

    another weird title for a episode that has nothing to do with time or being naked. It just doesn't exist. But anyway Mr. spook and another enterprise officer brough something on the ship that turn people insane. Before you know it half of the officers are driven insane and the ship is moving towards the doomed planet. But it up to Kirk and the crew to become sane again and retake the ship and I don't think it would be easy. I give it a 7 because I like the epiosde, but it need more than that, a good title would be a good start.
  • No beach to walk on.

    This week’s story begins with the Enterprise investigating a frozen planet, where all its inhabitants on the station have died mysteriously. Spock and another officer by the name of Joe are sent down to the planet to gather readings and look around. This is when Joe stupidly removes his protective glove and contracts the virus that more than likely killed the people on the planet.

    Following medical checks and a decontamination that seemingly failed to detect any problems, Joe begins to question why he and the crew of the Enterprise are out in space. His actions and words appear as crazy talk to the rest of the crew, and later on he even turns a knife on himself. No doubt Joe was under the influence of a virus and depression had worked its way upwards because of it, but one has to wonder how much truth was in his words. It is a topic that is brushed under the carpet almost as quickly as it is revealed, but I was pleased to see it was brought up as it does have room for discussion nowadays and certainly would no doubt be a prominent topic of discussion in the future too. As a result of these scenes however, the plot continues as the virus is spread further throughout the crew.

    The episode then takes a turn into Trek’s comedic side and reveals both Sulu and O’Reily (who have contracted the virus) acting more than strangely. O’Reily begins speaking in a more prominent Irish accent, takes over the engine room and begins creating turmoil over the Enterprise, whilst singing old traditional songs over the intercom. Sulu on the other hand begins taking the ship hostage on another level, with his sword, eventually reaching the bridge which creates a great scene in itself. Spock comes to a conclusion that the virus is what is responsible, causing hidden personality traits to come to the surface of the characters and take over.

    To makes matters even worse, in comes in the trivial time limit plot restraint, to create tension which was already appearing but the writers seemingly decided they needed to go over the top and make the ship start falling into the planets surface trough its gravitational pull. As a plot device, it works. As an original plot device that doesn’t come off as contrived, it doesn’t.

    One of my favourite moments in the episode takes place during a short few seconds but the level of topics it touches on underneath its obvious façade is important. Kirk, in his frustrating position of command over such an unorganised ship and crew, snaps at Uhura before she snaps back. Both share a moment of silence before Kirk eventually apologises to Uhura, realising what is getting the better of him. It’s a nice moment that shows great characterisation and the relationship between them both that works brilliantly for such a small moment in the space that occupies the entire episode.

    As a counter balance to Kirk’s un-relentless attempts at trying to restore order, Spock on the other hand fighting with himself and his emotions eventually breaks down and gives in to the virus overcoming him in a brilliantly performed set of scenes. This is brought on by the nurse expressing her ‘love’ for him, and in turn Spock retreats to a room where he breaks down and cries, going over past memories of family and most probably all the moments he had to subdue his emotions. Nimoy does a great job of conveying the ongoing battle between Spock’s brain and heart, going back and forth between each before finally showing himself as he is, in all his frailty.

    Both Kirk and Spock eventually clash together, trading words and fists as Kirk tries to get his first officer back. He ultimately gives in himself to the virus and expresses his love for the Enterprise and the women he has to refuse every day because of his position. This in itself is an important scene and it too is well performed by Shatner, but in the end, it just doesn’t compare to Spock’s previous offering. Objectively however, it’s a great showing of characterisation and offers us a boundless insight into the ever guarded captain of the Enterprise.

    In the final minutes of the episode, McCoy finds a vaccine, Scotty manages to get enough power to propel the ship backwards in time, away from the planet and we see Kirk’s final moment of weakness as he reaches out to touch Yeoman Rand, before pulling away uttering “No beach to walk on”. The ending plot wise, isn’t too great. In fact, it is rather anti-climatic and doesn’t serve a great pay-off. As far as characters go, the ending is justified, and serves as a good climax even though certain characters situations are left unresolved. In addition to this, I personally thought the whole travelling backwards in time thing was unnecessary and prematurely conceived. It was interesting and a twist I wasn’t expecting however so in its defence, it does serve as a decent plot device, but not for the last 4 minutes of an episode that has almost nothing to do with time travel.

    As a whole, The Naked Time is an interesting hour, full of comedy, great acting and boasts a more than competent plot that still holds up today, even though the ‘virus on the enterprise, argh!’ thing has been done to death in the subsequent series’. Most of all, you’ll be treated to some fantastic character insights and development that have lasted throughout the Trek saga.
  • The Enterprise is plagued by a graffiti freak

    No matter how many times I watch this one, I laugh my head off when Kirk and Scott break through to the engine room and Riley says "No dance tonight". I also love hearing George Takei explain how he prepared for the role involving the sword scenes. The story line was great too. I totally bought the intensity of the flow wondering if the Enterprise would burn up into the planet's atmosphere. Much like "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Immunity Syndrome". This episode had a wonderful mixture of comedy and drama that both worked.
  • Spock cries!

    The Enterprise goes to a frozen planet with six dead people on it. The bodies are found in strange positions and situations--a man showering fully clothed, another slouched at his work station as if he didn't care, a woman strangled. Spock and another crewman are sent to investigate. While there, the crewman takes his glove off and contracts whatever killed the others.

    The crewman can't seem to stop sweating and becomes worried and paranoid about being in space where humans don't belong. He attempts to stab himself but only gives himself a minor wound. Dr. McCoy performs surgery but the man dies anyway, presumably because he wanted to die and gave up.

    The substance spreads and others begin losing their inhibitions and acting out all over the ship. Sulu attacks crewmen with a sword, one man takes over the ship from engineering, and Spock struggles with his emotions and begins to cry.

    McCoy is able to isolate the problem and realizes it acts like alcohol. He is able to synthesize a serum and the crew live on to explore the galaxy.
  • This one was sweet. Remeber when Sulu had the sword?

    God I love the original Stsar Trek. Say what you will, but it's solid storytelling and blash blah hwo cares i won;'t be wswaying any opinions.

    Remember when Sulu was slashing all over with the sword? Awesome, what a great idea. And then Spock did the thing and said 'Take D'artagnan here to sick bay.'
    Spock! You rock!

    And Spcok wept. This always crept me out, because as a kid, I didn;t want to see ANY grown man weep, much less a Vulcan. It was uncomfortable.

    This episode left a lasting impression on me, as I always will remember the sight of the disease crawling up Sulu's arm. Ew.