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Star Trek - Balance of Terror

episode 1.14
Raumschiff Enterprise - Spock unter Verdacht

USA 1966
produced by
Gene Roddenberry for Desilu, Norway Corporation/NBC
directed by Vincent McEveety
starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Mark Lenard, Paul Comi, John Warburton, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, George Takei, James Doohan, Lawrence Montaigne, Stephen Mines, Barbara Baldavin, Garry Walberg
written by Paul Schneider, created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Fred Steiner, theme by Alexander Courage

Star Trek, Classic Star Trek, Star Trek (original crew)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For a hundred years, the Federation and the Romulans have had a truce, tied to the condition that neither enters the other's realm. Now though, it seems a Romulan spaceship is attacking Federation outposts to provoke a war, and the problem is that the Romulans are using a deflection shield so it cannot be seen on screen and only traced by its energy signature. Only when the ship gets ready to fire it has to become visible for the shortest time ...

The starship Enterprise happens to be near the outposts though and when investigating they soon pick up pursuit of the Romulan ship - which cannot see the Enterprise either due to their deflection shield. Soon the whole thing becomes a battle of wits between the Romulan Commander (Mark Leonard) and the Enterprise's Captain Kirk (William Shatner), who both seem to know every trick in the book and continually do their best to outsmart each other, not always successfully. It soon becomes clear how much these two men are alike, despite the fact that the Federation and the Romulans haven't had any contact at all for the last hundred years.

Ultimately of course, Kirk and the Enterprise manage to blow the Romulan battleship to Kingdom Come, and when Kirk offers the Romulan Commander assistance for the survivors, he prefers for them to all go down with their ship, like any good soldier would (?) ...

A subplot concerns navigator Styles (Paul Comi), whose ancestors were killed by the Romulans and who now distrusts half-Vulcan Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy), because the Romulans and the Vulcans look so much alike - until that is Spock saves his life and fires the decisive shot against the Romulan ship. Another subplot concerns two crewmembers (Stephen Mines, Barbara Baldavin) wanting to get married, but one doesn't survive the attack ...


Despite this being an episode almost entirely set on the Enterprise (which are usually the duller episodes of the series) and filled with special effects that are not really up to the requirements of a space battle like this (at least from today's point of view), Balance of Terror is probably one of the best episodes of Star Trek, presenting a space battle not so much as an endless sequence of special effects but a battle of wits between two men who in order to win have to pretty much become their opponent - which if nothing else proves that good writing can do wonders to a plot that lacks the adequate budget and technology to bring it to life otherwise. Or course it doesn't hurt either that William Shatner gives one of his best performances of the whole series and Mark Leonard proves to be a great opponent.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD