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The City On the Edge of Forever

Favorite Overall Trek Series/Movie  

206 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your overall favorite Star Trek series?

    • Star Trek: Enterprise
      16
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
      51
    • Star Trek: The Animated Series
      0
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      55
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
      50
    • Star Trek: Voyager
      34
  2. 2. What is your overall favorite Star Trek movie?

    • Star Trek - I: The Motion Picture
      10
    • Star Trek - II: The Wrath of Khan
      41
    • Star Trek - III: The Search for Spock
      7
    • Star Trek - IV: The Voyage Home
      22
    • Star Trek - V: The Final Frontier
      4
    • Star Trek - VI: The Undiscovered Country
      29
    • Star Trek - VII: Generations
      11
    • Star Trek - VIII: First Contact
      64
    • Star Trek - IX: Insurrection
      7
    • Star Trek - X: Nemesis
      11


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The City on the Edge of Forever

TOS Season 1, Episode 28

WRITTEN BY

Harlan Ellison

DIRECTED BY

Joseph Pevney

First Aired Apr 6, 1967

Stardate 3134.0

While investigating mysterious time ripples in orbit of an unexplored planet, Dr. McCoy accidentally injects himself with an overdose of cordrazine. Escaping from the Enterprise, he jumps through a time portal called the Guardian of Forever, back to Earth's past, where he changes history erasing the Enterprise and the Federation from history.

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I love the Guardian of Forever. Despite being a kind of machine, it feels like a real character/person. I give it a 10.

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Definitely one of my favorite episodes, despite all the het romance. *lol* (It does feature K/S as well, after all. Heh.) I adore the scene in which Kirk stops Bones from helping Edith and is visibly heartbroken and all... ouch.

A definite 9!!! :thumbsup2:

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I had to give it a 10. I don't know what it is about this one, but it's one of my all-time favorites. I've always loved the drama, the fact that they went back in time, and the creepiness of things that are meant to happen no matter what. I also like the humor involved with Spock's ears. You know, the story about the rice picker. :giggle:

Edited by Mrs. Spock

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This gets a 10, it is quite possibly TOS's greatest episode. This is probably the peak episode where Kirk and Spock's connection together is at it's best. McCoy the mad man with the same red blotches over his face that the salt creature gave people in "The Man Trap", running around as well. I love it!

Edited by Dillkid

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This gets a 10, it is quite possibly TOS's greatest episode. This is probably the peak episode where Kirk and Spock's connection together is at it's best. McCoy the mad man with the same red blotches over his face that the salt creature gave people in "The Man Trap", running around as well. I love it!

"You! What planet is this?"

--Captain Sisko

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I've probably watched this one repeatedly more than any other single TOS episode; despite the writing controversy, it's ST's finest hour.

It's so elegant and eerily dreamlike at times, with the howling winds of the Guardian planet adding to the loneliness and desolation of the place. And the eerie blue/purple sky and old, Grecian style columns... beautiful minimalist set design. I love the idea of the Guardian itself; a dispassionate entity, neither alive nor machine. Sentient, but not. Almost reminds me of some ideas I've heard about God himself; that he (it?) is more a force of nature, like gravity, rather than a man-like figure in white robes somewhere (even as an atheist, I find this idea intriguing). And I loved Edith Keeler too; not one of Kirk's typical nymphettes either. I could really see Kirk falling for this one. And Joan Collins was so NOT her typical screen persona, too; thank goodness!

In fairness, I've also read Harlan Ellison's original (and very controversial) original screenplay; and they are MAJOR differences. McCoy's overdose was at first a drug dealing crewman who takes too much of his own smack (called "jewels of sound") and causes an accident onboard where he is sentenced to DIE on the Guardian planet; where he escapes into the past. There was also a touching subplot involving a WW1 vet named "Trooper" (shame this plot went away). The Guardian was also a council of old men called the 'guardians' of Forever. Somehow I like the idea of a single machine better. There was also a touching coda onboard the ship where Spock tries to help Kirk forget the pain of his loss (ala "Requiem for Methuselah"). The original has pluses and minuses; the TV version does as well. I can say this though; the Ellison version (as good as it is) is not really very "Star Trek"-feeling, though; it feels more like a classic episode of "The Outer Limits." But as a one-off anthology story? It's terrific. As a ST? It just doesn't work. The TV version is the logical marriage between the two...

At any rate, I liked the broadcast version. And I love the old '30s ditty that plays when Kirk walks Edith home, "Goodnight, Sweetheart...." Beautiful, whimsical tune. :)

Best line(s):

"A question! Since before your sun burned hot in space, and before your race was born, I have awaited a question..."

"I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins...."

"He knows, Doctor. He knows..."

"Let's get the hell out of here."

Edited by Sehlat Vie

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I haven't seen all of TOS and even I know that this episode was the definitive Star Trek episode. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best ideas for a science-fiction story in general.

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I haven't seen all of TOS and even I know that this episode was the definitive Star Trek episode. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best ideas for a science-fiction story in general.

One of those rare 'classic' episodes that truly lives up to it's reputation. Too bad ST never revisited the Guardian planet; probably to keep Harlan Ellison off of their back (the man is infamous for suing anyone that whispers his name...).

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Yeah, it is unfortunate. I do wonder what end up happening to that planet in the later Treks...

I don't know if you watch the fan film series, "Star Trek Phase Two" (aka New Voyages) but they did a great sequel to "City..." (which also served as a de-facto sequel to "Doomsday Machine") called "In Harm's Way." I know fan films aren't everyone's cup of Earl Grey, but these are really well-made (for non-professional productions). If you only see two of them? See "In Harm's Way" and the wonderful Sulu episode "World Enough And Time" (George Takei gives his BEST performance as Hikaru Sulu ever in that episode).

I also read that during TNG's third season there was a proposed "City..." sequel that would've had Sarek use the Guardian to take Surak's place when Vulcan's timeline becomes corrupted somehow (shades of Dorothy Fontana's wonderful animated ST episode, "Yesteryear"; the best of all of TAS, IMO). I think Ellison's legal team put the kibosh on it, though....

The Sarek storyline was later rethought as TNG's equally brilliant episode, "Sarek."

Edited by Sehlat Vie

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I never knew that. A sequel sounds like it would have been wonderful. It's a shame legal entanglements ensued. :/ Then again, I don't think anything could top the fantastic story TOS did with the Guardian of Forever (and many books/Star Trek Online have TRIED).

I saw those fan-vids, Sehlat Vie. They were indeed well done. ;)

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I also read that during TNG's third season there was a proposed "City..." sequel that would've had Sarek use the Guardian to take Surak's place when Vulcan's timeline becomes corrupted somehow (shades of Dorothy Fontana's wonderful animated ST episode, "Yesteryear"; the best of all of TAS, IMO). I think Ellison's legal team put the kibosh on it, though....

I remember reading up on that. I think that was the original storyline that was slated for what eventually became "Yesterday's Enterprise", but they ended up changing it and writing in Tasha Yar as the character that goes back in time instead of Sarek.

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Most TOS fans think of this as the best TOS episode ever. I loved it when I was in my teens, but when I rewatched it at 55, I was less impressed. I think it's good, don't get me wrong, but I didn't really believe that Kirk could fall in love with Edith Keeler, and if Kirk isn't in love with her, then gosh, it's an awful shame that they have to let such a nice woman die, but it's not the great tragedy that it would otherwise be.

It's not that I think Ms. Keeler isn't lovable; of course she is. She's kind and smart and progressive (and gorgeous), and that all seems great. What I didn't buy was Kirk -- I didn't think Kirk had the emotional ROOM to fall in love with anyone, no matter how wonderful.

While Kirk is stuck in the past, he's frantically trying to keep history from unraveling. The entire future rides on Kirk's and Spock's shoulders, and everyone they have ever loved and all that they have ever known will cease to exist unless they can right things. Furthermore, Kirk is stuck in the past with a Vulcan. If the wrong person sees Spock without his cap -- or if he cuts himself helping in the kitchen or even just barks his shin on something and bleeds green -- they'll take him away to question ... or to dissect.

Kirk has lost his ship, his co-workers, his family, his world, and he's in danger of losing the one person he's brought with him. With all that on his mind, I don't care how nice Edith Keeler is, it just seems as if his attention and his emotions would both be fully occupied elsewhere.

I realize that this is a minority point of view. :-) It wasn't one that I held in my teens, but my middle-aged self has a different perspective. It's still a good episode, even if one doesn't believe in Kirk's love for Edith, but it's no longer grand tragedy, so it doesn't quite achieve best-ever status.

I do love the Guardian of Forever, Spock's trying to build a mnemonic memory circuit out of stone knives and bear skins, Kirk's frantically coming up with an explanation of Spock's ears for the police officer, and the heavy tension that comes from their having lost their entire world without knowing why.

So I'd give this episode an 8 or 9 -- excellent but not best ever.

 

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