Episode: 08Title: MiriStar Date: 2713.5Writer: Adrian SpiesFirst Shown: 27th October 1966
In many original series stories they found strangely distorted versions of Earth, spread through the galaxy like relatives you never knew about.
Miri was the first of these, and initially it’s the identical nature of the planet that appears to be the mystery. But once they beam down to this duplicate Earth they discover that this is a world where things have gone badly wrong.
Searching the ruined city, or really the redressed sets from the The Andy Griffith Show, they discover feral children and a horribly mutated and aged adult who soon dies.
Soon it becomes apparent that the adult population has died off 300 years ago, leaving only pre-pubescent children to fend for themselves. Once the children reach adulthood, which happens very slowly because they age at only one month in 100 years, then they get the virus that kills grown-ups or ‘grumps’, and they too die.
In science fiction terms it is I Am Legend mixed with Logan’s Run with a dash of Lord Of The Flies for good measure.
The Miri of the title is a teenager they meet played by Kim Darby, two years before she bugged John Wayne through the majority of True Grit. It’s her crush on Kirk that at first puts everyone’s life in jeopardy, but eventually leads her and the other children to trust Kirk. The nemesis in the story is Jan, played by Michael J. Pollard, who was 27 at the time, but playing a teenager. I always find his performances really unusual, as he often seems to be offering the lines as a parody of what the direction he’s been given. But I guess in this story his style actually works, as his character is mischievously manipulating the younger children.
The real heroes in this story are Bones and Spock, who combine to find a cure for the illness just before it kills all the humans in the landing party.
In typical Trek fashion, Bones injects himself with the antidote without the confirmation from the ship’s computer that it won’t kill him. It’s the sort of foolhardy sacrifice we came to love in this show, and luckily for him, it works this time.
At the end of the story everyone is well, and help is dispatched from Star Fleet to help these 300 year old children adapt to a new beginning. At no point is it ever explained why their planet is identical to earth, down to the locations of the continents, but that seems unimportant to those on the Enterprise.
The remastered version of this has just a few new effects of the planet and the Enterprise in order, but nothing dramatic. However, they also revamped the sound, and the noise Bone’s medical computer makes is very annoying, indeed.
The writer of this story was Adrian Spies, who actually started out as a newspaper reporter. This was his only Trek contribution, although he wrote for many shows around this period including Hawaii Five-O and Dr. Kildare.
Filling the geek podium for this episode is the younger children that Kirk encounters on the planet. One is Shatner’s own daughter Lisabeth, who along with his other daughter Melanie and the daughter of the show runner Dawn Roddenberry, all appear in this story.
Next up the story that introduces the concept of mind melding, in Dagger Of The Mind.