Appellate Judge Mac McEntire can't wait for them to make Trek Stars Gone Wild.
Before they conquered space, they had to face the first frontier.
As you've probably already guessed, Trek Stars Go West is a two-disc compilation of actors from Star Trek: The Original Series appearing in Westerns, years before their fame on board the Enterprise.
Star Trek and Westerns have always a spiritual connection of sorts. Creator Gene Roddenberry infamously pitched the series as "Wagon Train to the stars," and the original crew came across cowboy/Western settings more than once. The Old West even showed up in later generations aboard the holodeck, and the sense of exploration that fueled Trek throughout the years is of course a staple of Westerns as well.
On these two discs, we get a bunch of episodes of TV Westerns and one feature, featuring Trek actors and a few other well known names. Set phasers on…lasso?
• Tate "Comanche Scalps" (1960)
• Bonanza "The Ape"
• Outlaws "Starfall" (1960)
• The Lone Ranger "The Legion of Old-Timers"
• The Last of the
Mohicans "Scapegoat" (1957)
• The Last of the Mohicans "Way Station"
• Outlaws "Shorty" (1960)
• White Comanche (1968)
Westerns used to dominate so much of the entertainment landscape that Hollywood made a science out of cranking them out fast and cheap. Most of what's on these discs are B-Westerns at heart, made for TV or no. The budgets are tiny, the acting is dodgy, and historical accuracy doesn't bother rearing its head. Even the beloved Bonanza, with its color photography and truly kickass theme song, comes across as stodgy and creaky by today's standards. Of course, for fans of these shows, their clunky nature is part of their charm. Interestingly, a lot of these TV episodes attempt some social commentary (not unlike Trek so often did) on subjects like tolerance and racism, but it's hard to take this seriously when there's so many white dudes done up like Native Americans.
The screentime allotted to our favorite Enterprise crewmembers varies, as they're guest stars on any given episode. Those interested in this only for the Trek connection might get frustrated, wondering "when's Nimoy going to show up already?" The real gem for the Trek faithful is White Comanche. It was made during the original series production, which makes it a juicy trivia nugget, and it has Shatner chewing the scenery as only Shatner can.
Picture and audio is rough, which is expected, considering the age and obscurity of some of these episodes. There are no bonus features.
More of a novelty item than a watching experience, fans of either Trek or B-Westerns will get a few laughs from this release. Not guilty.
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