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Friday, November 04, 2011

German public TV airing "Patterns of Force" - AKA the Nazi episode of STAR TREK - for first time tonight

Forty-three years after it first aired on American television in 1968 as part of Star Trek's second season, "Patterns of Force", the episode that had Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise looking for a Starfleet historian and finding an alien civilization modeled after Nazi Germany instead, will be broadcast for the first time tonight on public television in Germany.

Why hasn't "Patterns of Force" been widely aired (it was made available as a pay-per-view episode previously) until now? The official reason is that later in the episode, the Nazi era is described as "the most efficient society” in Earth's history. But widespread consensus is that the extreme hesitancy regarding "Patterns of Force" mostly has to do with what remains the shocking and startling image of James T. Kirk in an S.S. officer's uniform (along with Spock's similar attire, before being captured and tortured in the only scene in Star Trek history that has Leonard Nimoy without a shirt).

Maybe not as fun a watch as is "A Piece of the Action", the other classic Star Trek episode about cultural contamination. And I remember one of the episode's own creators calling it "pretty hokey" in retrospect. But even so, that "Patterns of Force" (read more about the episode at Memory Alpha) is finally getting serious airtime in Germany is a pretty fascinating thing.


James said...

The DS9 episode Trials and Tribbleations for Star Trek's 30th birthday was originally going to be about returning to Iotia II from Piece of the Action. The Iotians had given up being gangsters and were imitating Starfleet from the classic era. It was going to mock Trekkies! I liked Trials and Tribbleations but that would have been the most outrageous Trek episode of all time if they had done that :)