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Season One:
-1: "The Cage"
-2: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
-3: "The Corbomite Maneuver"
-4: "Mudd's Women"
-5: "The Enemy Within"
-6: "The Man Trap"
-7: "The Naked Time"
-8: "Charlie X"
-9: "Balance of Terror"
-13: "The Conscience of the King"
-16: "The Menagerie"
-20: "The Alternative Factor"
----: _Time Travel Season 1
-21: "Tomorrow is Yesterday"
----: _Prime Directive Origins
-22: "The Return of the Archons"

-23: "A Taste of Armageddon"
-27: "Errand of Mercy"
-28: "The City On the Edge of Forever"
-29: "Operation -- Annihilate!"
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Mudd's Women

(Star Trek story #4 in production order)
  • story by creator/producer Gene Roddenberry
  • teleplay by Stephen Kandel
  • directed by Harvey Hart
  • music by Fred Steiner

Mudd's Women

This is one of the strangest entries amongst Star Trek's earliest episodes, and it is stranger still to learn that it was one of the three scripts competing for the position of the show's second pilot. While it may work as an off-beat entry for the middle of a season, it's quite hard to believe that anyone considered that it might sell the series to a network.

Though it has some outdated concepts at its core and flaunts those as a draw for the audience, the story has a surprising number of redeeming elements as well which may not be remembered quite so vividly until one hauls it out and has another look at it.

Perhaps the earliest concept was that of the lovable old rogue. Actor Roger C. Carmel is brought in to play Harry Mudd, and was successful enough to warrant recurring appearances both in the second season and in the animated series. Curiously, he starts out with quite a heavy Irish accent, which gradually becomes less and less pronounced as the episode proceeds.

Early on, the episode makes a bit of a meal out of the fact that the crew is guessing what Mudd's real scheme(s) may be, and with them the audience is trying to guess what this episode is all about - with the most obvious answers that come to mind seeming a bit risqué and unsuitable for 1960's American television. Is it a prostitution ring? A mail-order bride scam? An alien metamorphosis designed to incapacitate the crew? Some bizarre combination of all of the above? At times, the story seems to be leading towards these things artificially to create some extra drama. This story contains its fair share of fluff.

One of the down sides here is that it's a little too obvious that the apparent "power" that these women have over the crew is being projected so strongly by primarily extra make-up, lighting, and soft-focus camera tricks. The three ladies are virtually an advertisement for Technicolor, one in a red dress, one in green, one in blue. Their act is so loaded with manipulative behaviour that I find their attractiveness extremely limited. On the plus side, the reactions from most of the male regulars help sell their effect quite well, and give us many enjoyably humorous moments. On the down side, we don't really get any perspective from the regular female members of the crew. Uhura only has a handful of technobabble lines to deliver, far from the trio of women and with no emotion whatsoever, while Yeoman Rand is nowhere in sight today, and Nurse Chapel does not yet exist. Another Majel Barrett character does make its debut here, as she plays the voice of the ship's main computer for the first time ever.... but that too is all technobabble and no emotion.

The plot is a double-edged sword here. On one hand, it is well worked out to deliver a lot of good material fairly organically. Our Starfleet characters get into their predicaments by selflessly burning up their own resources to help others, whether rescuing Mudd's gang from a doomed spacecraft, or searching for Eve in a sandstorm. But of course, we could ask if it really made any sense to chase Mudd's vessel into the asteroid belt in the first place. At any rate, we learn here for the first time the importance of lithium and/or dilithium crystals to the functioning of Enterprise's engines and power systems. Scotty has quite a lot to show us and report on this subject, but has to do all that on the bridge or in the conference room because... haha, the engine room set hasn't been built yet.

One of the great weaknesses of this plot can only occur in retrospect, after we get to know the Trek universe much, much better. The Federation supposedly uses no money, which I personally think is one of the great moves that could push writers to really advance the social philosophies on display in this series. Yet, if that were true, could the story of "Mudd's Women" even exist? Would any of these characters be motivated to do what they do, or make the crazy bargains they are seen to make, if their lives were really all about bettering themselves and all Mankind instead?

Perhaps there is an out here. Today's planet is Rigel 12, and we all know where the star Rigel lies. It's not hard to believe that the three miners that we meet do business within "The Orion Syndicate". Kirk has a line about being authorized to pay a good price for new dilithium crystals, perhaps indicating that his society that uses no money internally still retains some means with which to facilitate trade with those other societies that do - and later episodes on Deep Space Nine would seem to corroborate this. In actual fact, the "no money" concept likely hasn't been thought of by the writers yet.

Perhaps more detrimental is the hard split between roles for men and women here. Why are all the miners men? If these women want to live with the benefit of a dilithium miner's income, why are they stuck on the idea of marrying a miner, rather than becoming one? The image of the strong rebellious female miner from the third season episode "The Cloud Minders" is worth considering. Indeed, the women seem to be "selling" themselves only to end up with virtually the same lifestyle they were reportedly escaping. It's hard to view the miners as having an enviable amount of riches when indeed they live like hard-up hermits. It's definitely a pioneering time for the Trek universe, and not everything has yet been worked out believably.

But the episode has its redeeming bits as well. The initial Venus Drug scene in Mudd's quarters has a nice power to it, with sentiments that provide a much-needed counterbalance to all the seductive scenes in the early parts of the episode, and perhaps we should salute the bravery of the three actresses in allowing themselves to appear on camera in as unflattering a light as they do.

Fred Steiner's score for the episode is also a great delight for the ear as well, with many enjoyable highlights. In particular, his cue for this scene in Mudd's quarters, known on the sheets as "The Venus Drug", is one of my all time favourites. Because of the way it works so well backing scenes of the regulars exploring unknown territory in other episodes, I often wanted to call it "Alien Ground" instead.

music by Fred Steiner

I especially like the final act of this story. Eve has grown so tired of her manipulative outer shell that she sheds it, and relaxes into her natural self. She's a deeper and more interesting character here, with a bit more heart and warmth - and she turns out to be a more attractive human being while at it.

There's also a very nice empowering twist on the end here, as Kirk and Mudd trick her with a placebo. Self-confidence as a beauty secret is an important and worthy part of the human condition to explore, and a lesson that never really gets old no matter what generation you happen to be a part of. That's a nice positive spin to give the episode's ending, earning it another big favourable point with me. Even more interesting is that fact that, as this episode was the sixth one in the original 1966 broadcast sequence, it is the first in that sequence to have an ending with a truly positive spin - its predecessors had mostly dark or at best fairly neutral endings. Hmmm. A bit of fresh air?

One more point for this episode only comes post-climax in the coda.... where we see Spock and McCoy's first real significant interaction with each other. It sparks with the sense of fun rivalry that fans will come to love in these two characters, and offers them a really classic moment. Sweet.

"Mudd's Women" is a bit of a bizarre entry on Star Trek. Though one's lasting memory of it might be some questionable imagery, and it seems a bit less polished a story than its three predecessors, it does have a good heart, a good final core message, and a healthy host of positive points waiting to be discovered and re-discovered. Cheers!

Read the next Star Trek review: "The Enemy Within"

This story is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek Season One "Purist" Standard DVD Box Set:

Watch the legend develop from its infancy. Set contains 29 episodes from the first season in their original wacky broadcast order, including "The Menagerie Parts 1 & 2" which used footage from the original unaired pilot "The Cage". However, "The Cage" itself is only included with the Season Three Box Set.

As someone interested in researching how the episodes actually looked and sounded originally, and when and exactly how certain musical cues first debuted, this was the DVD set for me, and it remains the most untampered-with full-season collection of Star Trek out there. Unique extras include pure text commentaries on select episodes. Sadly, these sets are starting to become rare, and prices are now rising as these become collectors' items....


DVD Canada


Standard DVD Extras include:

  • original restored broadcast versions of the 29 episodes.
  • "The Birth of a Timeless Legacy" documentary (24 min.)
  • Text only commentary by Denise & Michael Okuda on "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Menagerie Parts 1 & 2", and "The Conscience of the King".
  • "To Boldly Go" featurette (19 min.) discussing
    "The Naked Time", "City on the Edge of Forever",
    "The Devil in the Dark", and "The Squire of Gothos".
  • "Reflections on Spock" featurette (12 min.)
  • "Sci-Fi Visionaries" writing featurette (17 min.)
  • "Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner" featurette (10 min.)
  • "Red Shirt Logs" Easter Eggs (7 min. total)
  • Photo Log (still menus)
  • Original Trailers for every episode (1 min. each)

Standard DVD Remastered with CGI:
DVD/HD Combo R1
DVD/HD Combo R1
DVD/HD Combo R2
Standard DVD only R2

The Original Series Remastered Sets

The re-mastered Star Trek sets are more readily available, and in addition to picture and sound quality restoration, liberties have been taken with "upgrading" the episodes. Most famously, new CGI effects and optical shots have replaced many space scenes, matte paintings, and phaser effects. Unlike similar upgrades applied to select Doctor Who DVD releases since 2002, the CGI effects cannot be turned off to see the original effects. The kicker for me comes from reports that the episodes have been rescored with new music. Interesting, funky, but since it's primarily the original music I'm after in the first place, this was not the set for me.

Another curiosity: Season One was released on double-sided discs, with standard DVD on one side and HD on the other. Reportedly, not all extras are accessible on the standard DVD side. However, by the time the remastered versions of seasons two and three were released, HD had clearly lost the standards war to Blu-Ray, and so seasons two and three "remastered" offer standard DVD only yet again.

Adding to the bizarre formatting is the very gimmicky, awkward packaging that is prone to damage both during shipping and with light usage. The season 1 set fares better than its counterparts for seasons 2 or 3 though, in having some interesting bonus features not found on any other season one Star Trek set:

DVD/HD Combo Season 1 Exclusive extras:

  • Starfleet Access interactive trivia plus picture-in-picture interviews for "The Galileo Seven" (HD version only).
  • "Beyond the Final Frontier" History Channel documentary (SD, 90 min.) with host Leonard Nimoy.
  • Trekker Connections interactive DVD game (SD side)
  • Star Trek online game preview (SD, 3 min.)

Season One - Blu Ray

  29 episodes @ 51 minutes
Star Trek sets are now available on Blu Ray. Picture and sound quality restoration has gone up yet another notch since the remastered version, as have the liberties taken with "upgrading" the episodes. Once again, even newer CGI effects and optical shots have replaced many space scenes, matte paintings, and phaser effects.... but this time the upgrades have the same respect and user-functionality applied to select Doctor Who DVD releases since 2002, as the CGI effects can now be turned off to see the original effects. Good show. It seems that the music has still been tampered with too much for my liking though.

Blu-ray U.S.

Blu-ray Canada

Blu-ray U.K.

Blu-ray features add:

  • option to watch episodes with original or new CGI effects.
  • Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st Century featurette (HD, 20 min.) covering the restoration, CGI effects, and music upgrades.
  • Starfleet Access - Okuda interactive trivia plus picture-in-picture interviews on 6 episodes:
    • Where No Man Has Gone Before
    • The Menagerie Part 1
    • The Menagerie Part 2
    • Balance of Terror
    • Space Seed
    • Errand of Mercy
  • Behind-the-scenes 8mm home movies (HD, 13 min.) from Billy Blackburn (Lt. Hadley / Gorn)
  • Kiss 'N tell: Romance in the 23rd Century (8 min.)
  • Interactive Enterprise Inspection (HD)
  • plus all documentaries, featurettes, and episode promos from the "purist" standard DVD set listed far above.

Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next Star Trek review: "The Enemy Within"

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