Star Trek Nazis? I Hate These Guys…

In perhaps a very oblique reference to Veterans’ Day, a word about Star Trek.  And Nazis.  Together again in Germany for the first time.  What do I mean?  Well, listen to the breaking news this week from Deutschland:

Star Trek: Patterns of Force

German television has finally aired an episode of Star Trek, which was previously held from broadcast due to a Nazi theme that ran throughout.

Filmed in 1968 for the second season of the original series, Patterns of Force features Kirk and Spock dressed in Nazi uniforms, trying to blend into a planet overrun by aliens that look and act exactly like Hitler’s henchmen.

The locals, taught Nazi order by a renegade Star Fleet officer in a bid to make the trains run on time, end up adopting the full spectrum of bad authoritarian behaviour, including intolerance, despotism and racism, and set themselves on a mission to destroy neighbouring planet Zeon. Hmm.

When Star Trek was first aired in Germany, TV channel ZDF held the rights and though there were no laws banning the episode’s broadcast, the station decided Patterns of Force should not be shown.

Now, 43 years later, the same station has changed its opinion, broadcasting Patterns of Force dubbed into the local lingo. Even then, though, it was played after 10pm, with viewers strictly warned that no one under the age of 16 should watch it.

The episode has apparently only previously been offered to German audiences by means of a 1995 VHS release.

Clearly, this episode wins the award for “Most Likely To Open the Old Wounds And The Collective Conscience Of A Former Aggressor Nation Through The Use Of An Outrageous Premise

A few other “award-winning” episodes of the classic Trek for your consideration:

  • Best Episode:  “City on the Edge of Forever.”  Captain Kirk and Spock travel back in time to save history.  Shatner falls in love, and for once DOESN’T get the girl.
  • Worst Episode: “The Man-Trap.”  A lot of people say this spot belongs to “Spock’s Brain,” which features the removal of, well, I think you get it.  But “The Man Trap” involves the pretty boring story of a salt-sucking vampire going after Dr. McCoy.  Further downside: the vampire doesn’t even sparkle.  Eww.
  • A Very Special Episode On Race Relations:  “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”  The Enterprise encounters survivors of a race war that destroyed their civilization.  Only two remain–on opposite sides.  The difference:  one is black/white, the other is white/black.  Yowsers!  Gripping social commentary.  Runner Up: “Plato’s Stepchildren.”  A TV first in featuring an interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura.  But it only happens because malevolent and all-powerful aliens force them to.  Because, after all, who really wants to kiss Shatner?

  • Episode Most Clearly Set In the Late 1960s:  “The Way to Eden.”  Space hippies take over the Enterprise and try to settle in a mythic utopian Eden.  There’s singing, there’s 60’s era trippiness, and bright colors.  So bad and so good all at once.  For some reason, they ported this entire episode (minus the singing) into the late 1980s and turned it into “Star Trek V.”  Good move, guys.
  • Episode Most Likely To Be Shown in High School Latin Class:  “Who Mourns For Adonais?”  Shatner and company discover the home of an ancient Greco-Roman god.  He’s not happy, but never fear: Shatner defeats him.
  • Best Episode Highlighting Shatner’s Penchant For Overacting: “The Enemy Within.”  A transporter accident (don’t we love those) splits Captain Kirk into good and evil.  One side is a hideous creature that hams across the set and inspires dread, and the other is evil.  The best moment from this episode is forever etched into my mind, courtesy of “evil” Kirk:

  • Episode Most Likely To Bring About World Peace All By Itself: “The Omega Glory.”  Shatner and company discover a planet where warring sides have fought and destroyed civilizations.  Their names:  Yangs and Kohms.  Hmm.  Yangs?  This sounds familiar.  Wait—what is that?  Their flag?  Oh, I see….they’re US.  And the Kohms?  No…they couldn’t be.  They ARE.  Thank you, Star Trek, for ending the Cold War.
  • Episode That Should Be Quoted Every Time You Pick Up Glassware In Chemistry Class: “Miri.”  The trio (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy) are marooned on a planet and infected with a disease that will kill them if they don’t discover a cure.  At one point Spock picks up a piece of equipment with a potential antidote and reminds everyone: “It could be a beaker full of death!”  Kudos, Mr. Nimoy.  Chemistry class is now officially fun.

Last but no least:

  • Episode In Which All-Powerful Aliens Force Kirk To Fight To The Death With A Giant Lizard Creature Using Only His Wits, Bizarre Fighting Skills, And Knowledge Of Chemistry In A Way That Inspires Both Nerds And Homegrown Terrorists Everywhere:  “Arena.”  Kirk fights a lizard creature, and later on he MacGyvers a gun out of dirt.  Amazing.

Let me know if you have any other award-winning moments!

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8 comments on “Star Trek Nazis? I Hate These Guys…

  1. Crow T Robot says:

    Palm pet. Nuf said…

  2. Curt Brown says:

    I disagree with your selection of worst episode. It has to be “Turnabout Intruder” – Kirk becomes trapped in the body of a woman who in turn takes his body and is trying to kill him/her… Can’t get my brain around that one.

  3. Curt:

    “Turnabout” is sometimes cited as well. I’ll have to watch it again to see.

  4. Amy Sutherlun says:

    I have never watched an entire episode of Star Trek. But this post makes me wish you could stop by our CRW apartment for dinner.

  5. Thanks, Amy! I miss you guys too. Hope all is well in WV. Rachel and I are making the adjustment to living out here in Seattle. Nice place…but far from home!

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