Warning: spoilers for “The Menagerie,” “Requiem for Methuselah,” Star Trek (2009), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
As anyone who’s watched at least a minute of the show has likely noticed, Star Trek: the Original Series (TOS) was shot on, let’s say, a limited budget. All sorts of money-saving measures were put in place. Remember Elaan, the monarch with magical tears? Her bodyguards’ armor was made out of place mats. Too obscure? Okay. The transporters were created to avoid filming expensive shots of the Enterprise landing on each planet the crew visited. Obviously, some of these cost-cutting measures were more successful than others. “The Menagerie” two-parter was one of the more successful efforts, at least according to the Hugo Awards who awarded it Best Dramatic Presentation.
For those of you who don’t know the story, “The Menagerie” was cobbled together at the last minute to prevent production from shutting down. Gene Roddenberry took the original pilot (“The Cage”), which had a completely different cast than the series with the exception of Mr. Spock, and incorporated it into a new story which framed “The Cage” footage. You really have to wonder what was going through Gene’s head when coming up with the frame at the eleventh hour. “I know! We’ll have Spock steal the Enterprise and kidnap a cripple!”