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Miri (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

The Enterprise discovers an Earth-like planet that was devastated by a horrific degenerative disease and is now populated entirely by impossibly old children.

Summary Edit

TeaserEdit

USS Enterprise orbiting Earth Two, remastered

Enterprise in polar orbit of an Earth-like planet

Onlies

The Onlies, led by Jahn

Responding to an Earth-type distress signal over a hundred light years from Earth, the USS Enterprise discovers a planet that is an exact copy of Earth. It has the same mass, circumference, density, and atmosphere. Even the topography is identical.

Act OneEdit

Beaming down, the landing party of Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Janice Rand, along with security officers Galloway and Fields, discover architecture like that of Earth, circa 1960. But there is debris in the streets and evidence that decay has been ongoing for at least several centuries. Spock surmises that the distress signal is automated.

Then, while McCoy is examining an old bicycle, he is attacked by a diseased man – a man horribly disfigured, insane, and violent. Before Kirk can get any useful information, the man dies, crying out several times, "fibber". Noises draw the landing party to one of the abandoned buildings, where they discover a terrified girl hiding in a closet, named Miri.

Meanwhile, Spock, Galloway, and Fields search the ruins outside. They hear children, and are pelted with debris and rocks, but they never actually see anyone; the feral children, who call themselves Onlies, know the area too well, and are too canny.

Talking to Miri, who only gradually realizes that she is in no danger, Kirk learns that the adults, whom Miri calls grups, became ill and insane, and the Onlies had to hide from them until all grups died. McCoy realizes that a plague struck this world, and killed most of its people. And then, on Kirk's hand, Miri finds a blueish blemish. Kirk has the same disease that killed the grups.

Act TwoEdit

Miri leads the landing party to an abandoned laboratory where McCoy takes tissue samples from the group in an attempt to isolate the organism responsible for the disease. Everyone in the landing party has this disease except Spock, thanks to his Vulcan green blood. However, Spock is a carrier and the whole crew would contract the disease if he were to beam back to the Enterprise.

McCoy begins to work, asking Lieutenant John Farrell to have a biocomputer and an electronic microscope beamed down from the ship. Spock discovers research dating back three hundred years: there was a project with the goal of prolonging life. It worked, after a fashion, but a miscalculation annihilated the adults, leaving only the children to survive on their own for the last three centuries. Once they reach puberty, they each succumb to the disease. Spock calculates that within a week, all of the Human members of the landing party will succumb; even sooner than that, they will go mad.

Kirk, wanting to find the elusive children to get some answers, asks Miri to show him where they are hiding. In an old, rundown building, Jahn, the oldest and apparent leader of the Onlies, and a number of Only children, discuss the sudden reappearance of the "grups". The children are afraid of things returning to the way it was in the "before time". Jahn hatches a plan to steal the landing party's "little boxes" they use to talk to other "grups" so they will be all alone on the planet. Before he can go on further, Kirk arrives with Miri and the children hide. When Kirk enters the building, a deformed and crazed Only child named Louise attacks him and he is forced to stun her with his phaser, which accidentally kills her. Miri, shocked and saddened by the death of an Only a little older than she is, embraces Kirk.

Act ThreeEdit

Janice&Kirk-Up-Close

Kirk and Rand up close together

In the laboratory, Kirk orders Spock and McCoy to recreate the way the scientists on the planet's thinking. If they can isolate the virus creating the disease, McCoy will be able to create a vaccine. Just then, Kirk hears the Onlies saying "nyah, nyah, nyah..." Outside and runs with Spock and McCoy to investigate. In the empty lab, Jahn merges from an open vent and takes all of the landing party's communicators. McCoy underscores the need for the communicators; if they do not have them, they will not be able to verify their findings without the Enterprise's computers and won't have a chance.

The disease is starting to affect the landing party; their nerves are frayed and their tempers are short. Kirk passes by Rand and bumps into her while walking by, causing her to drop a beaker. This causes her to snap and cry hysterically and Rand runs out into the laboratory's corridor. Kirk, alone in the corridor with Rand, crying and upset, takes Rand into in his arms to comfort her. Miri witnesses this and becomes jealous of Kirk's attention to her and Rand's romantic looks at the Captain. Miri returns to the Onlies and helps Jahn and then develop a plan to capture Rand, thereby luring Kirk to them.

Act FourEdit

Meanwhile, McCoy has discovered the organism responsible, and succeeds in isolating a substance that might be the vaccine. But without the ship's computer (still unavailable because the landing party was still without communicators), it is impossible to be certain – or to know the dosage.

Later, Rand goes missing and Kirk becomes lovesick and lost in thought with Rand's whereabouts, and in finding his "Janice." He grabs Miri and shouts, "Where is she, Miri?"..."Where is she, Miri?"..."Where's Janice?"..."Where is she?"..."Has something happened to her?"..."I've got to find Janice!!". Kirk persuades Miri to help him, by revealing the secret the landing party had kept: that she, and all the children, would get the disease, and that the youngest would starve long before that. Miri takes Kirk to where Rand is being held and tied up by Jahn and the other Onlies. The children don't trust Kirk and pummel the captain. Beaten and bloodied, Kirk finally makes the children realize they're doing what the grups did – hurting others. Meanwhile, a desperate Dr. McCoy injects himself with a hypospray filled with the serum, knowing that without confirmation from the ship's computers he could be injecting himself with, as Spock described it, "a beaker full of death."

Returning with Rand and the communicators, and carrying one of the smaller children, Kirk finds Spock and a security man at McCoy's side. The doctor is unconscious, perhaps dying... and then the blemishes begin to fade. The vaccine is a success.

The Enterprise departs, leaving a medical team in charge of the children, who will soon receive the care they need.

Log entries Edit

  • "Captain's log, stardate 2713.5. In the distant reaches of our galaxy, we have made an astonishing discovery: Earth-type radio signals coming from a planet which apparently is an exact duplicate of the Earth. It seems impossible, but there it is."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 2713.6. The building Miri led us to also housed an automatic transmission station, which sent out the signal that drew us to this planet. We also discovered something else: that the blue splotches, characteristic of the unknown disease, had appeared on each of us, with the exception of Mr. Spock. There was a well equipped laboratory in the building. Dr. McCoy took tissue samples of each of us, in an attempt to isolate the organism responsible."
  • "Captain's log. Dr. McCoy's biocomputer and a portable electronic microscope have been beamed down from the Enterprise. They will be used in conjunction with computer banks on board ship."
  • "Captain's log, supplemental. It's the second day of the seven left to us. We've found nothing. Enterprise is standing by with its labs, computers, ready to assist us. There's no data, no starting point."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 2717.3. Three days, seven hours left to us. Investigation proves that the supply of food left in the area is running dangerously low. Unless something is done, the children will starve in a few months. In addition, the disease is working on each of us according to Dr. McCoy's prediction. Our tempers are growing short, and we're no further along than we were two days ago."

Memorable quotes Edit

"Now, this is marvelous. The most horrible conglomeration of antique architecture I've ever seen."

- McCoy, arriving on Earth Two


"Being a red-blooded Human obviously has its disadvantages."

- Spock, on why he shows no symptoms of the virus


"Life prolongation. Didn't have much luck, did they?"

- McCoy, on the bioengineering experiment


"I think children have an instinctive need for adults; they want to be told right and wrong."

- Kirk


"A child entering puberty on this planet means a death sentence."

- McCoy


"Eternal childhood, filled with play, no responsibilities. It's almost like a dream."
"I wouldn't examine that dream too closely, yeoman. It might not turn out to be very pretty."

- Rand and Kirk, on the effects of the virus


"I am a carrier. Whatever happens, I can't go back to the ship... and I do want to go back to the ship, captain."
"(smiling) Of course, Mr. Spock."

- Spock, rallying the landing party in his own Vulcan way with Kirk understanding


"I'm upset, so upset. Back on the ship, I used to try to get you to look at my legs. captain, look at my legs."

- Rand to Kirk, showing her scabs


"Bonk! Bonk! On the head! Bonk! Bonk!"

- Redheaded Onlie, inciting the other children


"You two will have to re-create their thinking if we’re going to isolate that virus and be able to develop a vaccine."
"Is that all captain, we have five days you know?"

- Kirk and McCoy


"This is the vaccine?"
"That's what the computers will tell us."
"Without them, it could be a beaker full of death."

- Kirk, McCoy, and Spock


"Where is she, Miri? Where is she, Miri? Where's Janice?"
"What's the matter with you? How should I know."
"Has something happened to her?"
"Don't you feel all right?"
"No, I don't feel all right!! None of us feel all right!! Can't you see what's going on? "
"Jim, I don't want anything to happen to you."
"Where is, Janice? I've got to find, Janice!"

- Kirk to Miri, extremely lovesick in finding Rand


"Tell 'em, Jim!"

- Jahn, inciting the Onlies to taunt Kirk


"Blah! Blah! Blah!"
"No blah! Blah! Blah!"

- Redheaded Onlie and Kirk


"LOOK AT MY ARMS!! That's what's going to happen to you... unless you let me help you!"

- Kirk, tearing up his uniform sleeves to show the extent of the disease


"Nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah!"

- Onlies, surrounding Kirk


"I never will understand the medical mind."

- Spock, on McCoy's risky self-injection


"Miri. She really loved you, you know."
"I never get involved with older women, yeoman."

- Rand and Kirk, on Miri

Background information Edit

Production timeline Edit

Story and production Edit

  • Adrian Spies's original script draft featured a much closer relationship between Kirk and Janice Rand. [1]
  • In Spies' original script, the action is basically the same. However, around 80% of the dialogue is different from Carabatsos' rewrite and the aired episode. Janice is revealed to be 24 years old (James Blish includes this reference in his adaptation of the episode), and she is considering leaving the Enterprise. Also, the character of the "Fat Little Boy" is extended, and more emphasis is put on the older kids taking care of the younger ones. [2]
  • This was the first episode produced by Gene L. Coon, and Gene Roddenberry (previously the line producer) serving as Executive Producer.
  • Because the script still needed a large amount of rewriting when photography on "Dagger of the Mind" was completed, production shut down for two days (plus a weekend) before the filming of this episode. This also allowed some prep time for director Vincent McEveety, who directed the two episodes back-to-back. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
  • McEveety directed this episode from a wheelchair, as he had broken his leg in a home accident (previously incorrectly stated as a skiing accident) a few days prior. (The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, p. 103; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
  • The initial mystery of how an "exact duplicate" of Earth came to exist – right down to the shape of the continents and the architecture of the buildings – is never resolved. In fact, after the first ten minutes of the episode, it is simply never referred to again. This was not a case of an explanation having been cut for time, even at the script stage. The mystery was not resolved in Spies' original draft script, nor in subsequent drafts by John D.F. Black of Gene L. Coon.
  • Clocking in at a minute and ten seconds, this episode's teaser is the shortest of any in the original series.

On the set Edit

Lisabeth Shatner, Miri

William and Lisabeth

"... once we entered the set and were directed to the costume room ... someone handed me a box with a costume in it, and told me to put it on. Since Halloween was one of my favorite holidays, I opened the box eagerly – I was getting a chance to dress up, and it wasn't even Halloween! However, my excitement was somewhat lessened when I saw the costume. It was a beige, apron-like dress with the words "I Spy" printed on the left pocket. Even at the age of five, I considered myself too mature to wear such a silly costume. I spent the next hour with my left hand over the print ... my mother made matters worse when she asked the costumer if they had any green wigs left. She had seen a little girl walk by with a wig of long, green ratty hair and she wanted one for me. I breathed a sigh of relief when she was informed none were left."

After they left the costume room:

"Leslie, who was also appearing in the episode (and got a much better costume than I did), accompanied me to the make-up room to visit dad. When we walked into the room, he was sitting in the make-up chair, his back to us. We ran forward excitedly, relieved to see his familiar outline. When he turned towards us, I caught a glimpse of his arm and saw the skin on the inside of his elbow was covered with a long, bluish-red scab! I blanched, and my dad burst out laughing, and told us to touch the sore. It was made of rubber – at that moment, I realized everything was "pretend." Once I understood that, I relaxed."

Only with blood on his hands

Shatner shows them the "blood"

Afterward, she and her sister were taken to the set and "a make-up man came around and put dirt smudges on our faces, something which Leslie didn't appreciate very much." When shooting began, she confessed her confusion:

"Finally, my father started talking. I understood that his words belonged to the "pretend" realm, but what he was saying still didn't make much sense. "Look at your hands," he commanded. "They have blood on them." When no one moved, he stopped talking. "Well, look at them," he said, and all the kids looked down at their hands. I followed suit, but didn't see anything unusual. I wondered why he told me there was blood on my hands when there wasn't any."

Onlies converge on Kirk

Lisabeth's character being thrust towards her father

"The next scene didn't clear up my confusion. [ Keith Taylor ] was told to pick me up and carry me towards my father, whereupon I was supposed to take a swipe at my father's face. I knew this part was "pretend." In fact, I couldn't keep a smile off my face every time I got close to hitting him. My father kept saying, "No, no you can't smile," every time I grinned. We had to do it four or five times before I finally could keep a straight face. I wasn't entirely sure why I was supposed to look as if I meant to hit him."
For the last scene Lisabeth was, where Kirk and the Onlies run to the lab:
"My father entered carrying me, and set me down next to the actress playing Janice Rand, who was kneeling on the floor. The scene took a long time to film. Eventually, I began looking around the room, and discovered I had a bird's eye view of the top of the actress's head. I was utterly fascinated by her hair, which was woven into a checkered pattern on top. I stared at that hair for a long time, wondering if it was possible to actually play checkers on it."

  • During the Friday night end-of-the-week party on 26 August, after filming this episode, Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) claims to have been sexually assaulted by a member of the show whom she identifies only as "The Executive" in her autobiography The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy. She was fired soon afterwards, strengthening her depression and alcohol addiction.

Cast and characters Edit

Sets and props Edit

Costumes Edit

  • This is the only episode in which the men's Enterprise uniform tops are revealed to be fastened by hidden zippers, as shown when Kirk's and McCoy's tunics are opened at the neck.

Goofs Edit

  • When Spock and the security guards are searching the streets just after the crew finds Miri, we see the hand of an Only inside a building wiping grime from a window through which Spock is visible. As Spock approaches the window, the reflection of a large fresnel stage light can be clearly seen in the still grimy portion of window above and to the right of the cleared spot.

Effects Edit

File:McCoy suffers from the life prolongation project.jpg
  • Fred Phillips was responsible for the creation of the "rubber scabs" worn by the infected crew, which has been described as a "simple matter" for Phillips to create. It was his choice of color that added the dramatic edge. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 187)
  • The signal coming from the planet can be heard in The Outer Limits episode, "The Man Who Was Never Born" (also featuring make-ups by Fred Phillips, and starring Martin Landau and Karl Held).
  • The sound of Kirk's phaser firing is unique to this episode. So is the appearance of the beam itself, which oscillates in and out of the emitter.
  • The sphere model used for Earth Two has the same geographical configuration of its continents as modern Earth, only without any clouds. Recycled footage of the Enterprise orbiting "Earth" can be seen in "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Assignment: Earth". In the former episode, clouds were added in post-production, although in some instances, the original "cloudless" model can be seen. In the latter, they simply reused the footage from "Miri" without any clouds. The same Earth globe was also used in "Shore Leave" and "Arena", printed backwards and with exotic color tints added.

Titles Edit

  • "Miri" is not only the shortest episode title (and its sole proper name title) in the Original Series, but the only one that is rendered on-screen in italicized type.
  • The font of the closing credits in this episode is different than any other first season episode.

Other information Edit

  • Despite being transmitted by the BBC in the UK in December 1970, "Miri" was not broadcast again until the '90s. An official BBC statement by Sheila Cundy of the Programme Correspondence Section reads: "After very careful consideration a top level decision was made not to screen the episodes entitled "Empath" [sic], "Whom The Gods Destroy" [sic], "Plato's Stepchildren" and "Miri", because they all dealt most unpleasantly with the already unpleasant subjects of madness, torture, sadism and disease" (BBC form letter, undated, Reference 28/SPC). Apparently, when "Miri" was first broadcast by the BBC (in black and white), several viewers wrote to complain about its content and the BBC reviewed the remainder of the episodes, deeming the three mentioned above as being unsuitable. When the BBC came to restart its showing of the first season (having acquired color film prints), "Miri" and the others were omitted; in 1984 when the BBC decided to show Star Trek in prime-time, these episodes were still omitted, despite the continuity announcer telling the audience that they would be "beaming up the whole series." Clips from "Miri" were shown circa 1984 on the I Love TV quiz show, broadcast on a rival station (ITV), possibly because the BBC did not have exclusivity on this episode; a clip was shown of the "glandular changes" scene on a brief late night documentary feature on Star Trek: The Next Generation in late 1987.
  • This is the only one of the eight episodes in which Janice Rand appears in which she actually leaves the Enterprise.
  • This is the first of eleven episodes in which all action aboard the Enterprise is confined to the bridge. The others are "A Taste of Armageddon", "The Devil in the Dark", "Errand of Mercy", "Metamorphosis", "Who Mourns for Adonais?", "Bread and Circuses","Spectre of the Gun", "The Empath", "Plato's Stepchildren", and "Whom Gods Destroy".
  • The scene in which Spock discovers McCoy unconscious on the laboratory floor is shot from an unusual angle, offering a worm's-eye view of the action.
  • In this scene, too, Spock not only places McCoy's hands over his heart, he clasps them as he waits expectantly for McCoy's recovery. This gesture may subtly indicate Spock's essential respect for his ostensible antagonist.

Apocrypha Edit

  • In his original script, Spies offers no explanation for the existence of a parallel Earth, and its presence has no bearing on the development or outcome of the finished episode. Presumably, the parallel was posited because it would have been prohibitively expensive to have created an entirely alien culture for the episode. In his first volume of Star Trek episode adaptations, James Blish supplies a backstory that is vastly different to that of the "identical Earth" premise depicted in the television episode. Blish wrote that Miri's planet is the fourth planet orbiting the star 70 Ophiuchus, and is a beautiful Earth-like planet having one large and two smaller continents connected by islands. Ophiuchus IV (or Ophiuchus 4 – Blish never names the planet) is located between twelve and fifteen light years from Earth and had been the first planet outside Earth's solar system to be colonized, in this case by refugees from the so-called "Cold Peace" in the early 2100s, about five hundred years before the events depicted in the television episode. These colonists were isolationists who violently repulsed the first attempt to contact them by a later expedition from Earth, and so no further contact was attempted. As it turned out, the Ophiuchus system was in a "backwater" part of the galaxy that subsequent years of Earth-based space exploration passed by, and so the belligerent colony was easily ignored and almost forgotten. Around 300 years before the events shown in "Miri", scientists on Ophiuchus IV developed the experimental life-prolongation project that resulted in the deaths of every adult on the planet. Yet despite their close proximity, the distress signal sent by the colony didn't reach Earth because Ophiuchus IV stood between Earth and the center of the Milky Way, whose radiation created interstellar static that drowned out the SOS signal the colony had directed towards Earth.
  • In the Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novel Forgotten History, Miri's homeworld is described as being an alternative version of Earth from a parallel universe which arrived in the primary universe as a result of a subspace confluence. It was eventually returned to its own universe by the same process in 2275, having been transposed with a Vedala planetoid from the same universe.

Remastered information Edit

The remastered version of "Miri" was first aired in many North American markets as a "bonus" episode during the weekend of 16 September 2006, alongside "Balance of Terror". These were the first episodes to be "remastered" by CBS Digital and featured a flawed CG-model of the Enterprise that was eventually replaced. [4] The episode is notable for the replacement of the original, highly unrealistic shots of Earth Two with brand-new computer-generated versions. The episode was rerun (finally airing in some markets for the first time) on the weekend of 23 June 2007. [5]

Video and DVD releases Edit

This release included "The Empath" and was unrated, dating its release to prior to the Video Recordings Act 1984.

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Featuring Edit

And

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt double Edit

Stand-insEdit

References Edit

1900s; 1960s; adolescence; adviser; atmosphere; automatic transmission station; bacteria; Bartlett Stable; beaker; before time; Biggs'; biocomputer; blackboard; "Bones"; carrier; chemical pollution; circumference; classroom; closet; communicator; computer bank; density; distress signal; doctor; dosage; Earth; Earth Two; electronic microscope; foolie; genetics; grup; hotel; Human; Krazy Kat; laboratory; landing party; life prolongation project; logic; metabolic rate; mice; microscope; mile; Milky Way Galaxy; museum; nitrogen; nitrogen cycle; nucleic acid; "olly olly oxen free"; onlies; oxygen; Palmerton Cafe; pencil; pencil sharpener; pill; police; power (mathematics); puberty; radioactivity; Rusk Hotel; seizure; slide (science); slide (toy); smoking; SOS; Space Central; teacher; test tube; tissue; tissue sample; ton; tricycle; truant officer; typewriter; vaccine; virus; zoo

Unreferenced material Edit

badminton; basketball; Beatle; blood; cage; canary; cat; colds; ghost; government; Hongkong; hots; lions; lion tamer; mannequin; mommies; (money); North America; pint; price tag; principal; sailboats; (sailing); surfboards; surfers and surferettes; time bomb; (trap); tuxedos; water; wig

External linksEdit


Previous episode produced:
"Dagger of the Mind"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1
Next episode produced:
"The Conscience of the King"
Previous episode aired:
"What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Next episode aired:
"Dagger of the Mind"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Balance of Terror"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"The Devil in the Dark"

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