Thursday, January 22, 2015

Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever- The Original Teleplay


IDW adapts Harlan Ellison's controversial teleplay.

Years ago, I read a superb book called THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER: THE ORIGINAL TELEPLAY THAT BECAME THE CLASSIC STAR TREK EPISODE, which delved, in painstaking detail, into the turmoil that surrounded the episode in question. I vividly remember reading Ellison's original teleplay, which is included in the book, and thinking that it was good, but so was the episode as it originally aired. Ellison's fury and hatred for practically every human being involved in the production of the show stuck with me, however, and it, along with various other incidents and anecdotes, have made me unable to read any more of his work, because he seems like such an unpleasant fellow. (The book is illuminating and entertaining, and I highly recommend it. It's out of print, but used copies are cheap.)

 Now, IDW has adapted Ellison's original story, and it's a fairly good adaptation, at that. IDW doesn't provide any credits in their review copies, which drives me out of my gourd, but Amazon has the adaptation credited to David and Scott Tipton (Writers), and I've got nothing as far as who the artist was. The art has a painted/photo-realistic look to it, and the likenesses are spot-on. (Which means it's probably some kind of photoshop/CG deal, but, whatever. It worked.)

 The story revolves around an Enterprise away team tracking a renegade crew member on an uncharted planet. The planet is home to the titular "City on the Edge of Forever", which houses a time portal guarded by a bunch of useless old guys who, after untold millennia of guarding this portal, manage to let the one dangerous guy they've encountered so far slip into the portal, where he damages the timestream. (Good job, old guys!) Kirk and Spock follow him back to New York in the 1930's, where Kirk promptly falls in love with a woman who is very important to restoring the damaged timeline.

 The story remains as poignant as ever, and the writing and art serve the adaptation well. This isn't the timeless piece of lost Trek that Ellison would have you believe it is, but it is well worth seeking out for curious fans of the original series.

 IDW provided a review copy.