1.08 : Charlie X

Dave

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1.8 : Charlie X

A space teen, with amazing powers, creates chaos on the Enterprise.

Other episodes also explore this theme of power and intellect without constructive purpose and discipline. "The Squire of Gothos" being one, but Charlie is not responsible for his actions, never having been taught to curb his powers, or disciplined to tame his destructive urges. But the Enterprise crew should have realised much earlier that he had "the Power", they acted a little thick in that respect.

Escaping from the forcefield enhanced room, Charlie freezes his would-be captors in their tracks. . . except that Spock can still blink -- due to that incredible Vulcan physique!
 

Extollager

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Star Trek would develop a problem of excessive use of repetitive “themes.” When “Charlie X” was broadcast, the series makers had already filmed another story about a human being who, possessing “godlike” powers, is a danger to the Enterprise. Charlie Evans acquired his powers from benevolent aliens, while in the next-broadcast teleplay, Gary Mitchell acquired his powers from an energy field through which the ship passes at the edge of the galaxy. It’s too bad these were broadcast back-to-back, since they have such a similar idea, but perhaps most viewers didn’t notice. Mitchell and Charlie look and act differently, which helps: Charlie is a stereotypical awkward adolescent who quickly develops trust in Kirk as a father-figure, while Mitchell is an “ordinary sensual man.” Charlie’s powers seem to be fully developed in his teleplay while Mitchell’s are rapidly developing. (I haven’t forgotten Elizabeth Dehner in “Where No Man,” but her powers are lesser than Mitchell’s, etc.) The actor who plays Charlie has to carry the teleplay, and does so. He was 26 but is believable as a 17-year-old. His large upper head was suitable to the appearance of someone with great “mental powers.”
 

Dave

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The Gary Mitchell story was filmed first. It was the first episode made, which you can tell if you listen closely because some 'star fleet' terms (later to be known as technobabble) hadn't yet been pinned down. Not that it alters what you say about comparing the two episodes. The idea back in the 1960's was that you syndicated the series to different networks, who played them in any order, and whichever episode you happened to catch first, it didn't matter, because it didn't really matter in which order they were shown. Quite different to today, when story arcs mean that it is vital you watch a series in order and in full. Even I remember the time before the VCR when if you missed an episode, you missed it for ever! That also contributed to the higher viewing figures that shows got back then.
 

BAYLOR

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Star Trek would develop a problem of excessive use of repetitive “themes.” When “Charlie X” was broadcast, the series makers had already filmed another story about a human being who, possessing “godlike” powers, is a danger to the Enterprise. Charlie Evans acquired his powers from benevolent aliens, while in the next-broadcast teleplay, Gary Mitchell acquired his powers from an energy field through which the ship passes at the edge of the galaxy. It’s too bad these were broadcast back-to-back, since they have such a similar idea, but perhaps most viewers didn’t notice. Mitchell and Charlie look and act differently, which helps: Charlie is a stereotypical awkward adolescent who quickly develops trust in Kirk as a father-figure, while Mitchell is an “ordinary sensual man.” Charlie’s powers seem to be fully developed in his teleplay while Mitchell’s are rapidly developing. (I haven’t forgotten Elizabeth Dehner in “Where No Man,” but her powers are lesser than Mitchell’s, etc.) The actor who plays Charlie has to carry the teleplay, and does so. He was 26 but is believable as a 17-year-old. His large upper head was suitable to the appearance of someone with great “mental powers.”
They did fan made Episode in which Charlie X and Gary Mitchell did battle.
 

BAYLOR

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So, why couldn't the Aliens have simply removed Charlie's powers?
 

hej

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So, why couldn't the Aliens have simply removed Charlie's powers?
I may be wrong, but I vaguely recall that his powers were inextricably part of who he was.

I thought his acting was adequate, but I did not really see him as a teen. Sure, he acted (very) immature, but he did not look that young to me.

All in all, a pretty good episode.

I found the faceless crewwoman (after Charlie X commands, 'no laughing') to be memorable. It did leave me wondering how she could survive without any possible way to breathe.
 

farntfar

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You know what's so upsetting about all these threads?
We look back on the glory days of TOS, when we were young and innocent and we have these great memories of it, and then we dissect it and show how rather shallow and trivial it all was really, and the myth is gone.

It's as bad as comparing the number of really good Python sketches to the number that were really quite dull.

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
 

hej

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You know what's so upsetting about all these threads?
We look back on the glory days of TOS, when we were young and innocent and we have these great memories of it, and then we dissect it and show how rather shallow and trivial it all was really, and the myth is gone.
Gee, I have the opposite reaction. When I revisit TOS and watch carefully, I still see the magic. For the most part, I find the stories deep for a TV series.
 

Dave

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I agree, it was weekly TV, made with a (relative to today) low budget and yet it can still be watched today. Compare it with anything else made at the same time and see how easy it is to watch that. Compare it with other SFF and they are laughable. I know Lost In Space has many fans of its own, but really? Star Trek had real SFF authors writing the episodes. The costume and set designs are also timeless and will never (apart from micro-miniskirts) date.
 

Vince W

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This episode is an adolescent power fantasy run amok. It has never been one of my favourite episodes, but it establishes Kirk as having a very powerful will and a reasonable thinker and not the shoot from the hip reputation he seems to have.
 
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