Release: Jul 16, 2021 - Author: Peda - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB - more from this series
The Starship Enterprise - everyone knows it. Affectionately referred to as the "classic series" these days, the old Star Trek series from 1966 is the cornerstone of something a lot of fans would call the greatest space saga ever, which would go on to be followed by several more TV series and feature films. This success could not have been imagined when the series was first broadcast. Produced under the tightest budgets and schedules, the ratings always left room for improvement. Only the massive commitment of the fan base, which was already loyal at the time, made it possible for the series to make it to 3 seasons. Then NBC pulled the plug and Star Trek seemed dead.
In the early 1970's, the series was sold to so-called "syndicated" stations, smaller, local stations that broadcast Star Trek on the best slots and sparked an enthusiasm for the series that would later lead to the production of the feature films. And yet another station bought into the series - ZDF. A bold move for a public broadcaster of the time, but not too bold either: German viewers got to see only 26 selected episodes, and in 1973 another 13 of the total 79 episodes. Unfortunately, ZDF did not acquire the original NBC versions, but the syndicated versions, in which numerous episodes had been cut in favor of commercial time. Therefore, we're discussing those in our archive. In the following, the episode "Space Seed" in its shortened TV version (1972) is compared to the uncut DVD version.
This outstanding episode marks the first appearance of Ricardo Montalban as supervillain Khan. It worked so well that producer Harve Bennett based the second feature film on it. According to the plot, genetically engineered superhumans have seized power over 40 states on Earth, sparking the Eugenics Wars - all in the 1990s. The German version thankfully moved this to the year 2096. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only change - a lot of dialogue was altered and the scissors were massively applied.
There are about 5 minutes and 8 seconds missing from 8 cuts or changes.
A shot of the Enterprise and Botany Bay has been shortened to hide the English title overlay.
Spock and Kirk speculate much longer about the origin of Botany Bay. After Kirk speculates it might be a prisoner transport, the Eugenics Wars also come up more clearly, which may have been a reason for the cut.
Spock: "With simple nuclear-powered engines, star travel was considered impractical at that time. It was ten thousand to one against their making it to another star system. And why no record of the trip?"
Kirk: "Botany Bay... that was the name of a penal colony on the shores of Australia, wasn't it? If they took that name for their vessel..."
Spock: "If you're suggesting this was a penal deportation vessel, you've arrived at a totally illogical conclusion."
Spock: "Your Earth was on the verge of a dark age. Whole populations were being bombed out of existence. A group of criminals could have been dealt with far more efficiently than wasting one of their most advanced spaceships."
Another conversation between Kirk and Spock, in which first Khan's genetic manipulation and then again the Eugenics War comes up, is missing in the German version. At least they added the information that in the year 2093 a group of superhumans has taken over the rule in more than 40 countries of the Earth. For this, they used short snippets from the later part of the scene, which is also included in the German version. Thus, these small snippets can be seen twice within a short time.
Kirk: "Would you estimate him to be a product of selective breeding?"
Spock: "There is that possibility, Captain. His age would be correct. In 1993 a group of these young supermen did seize power simultaneously in over forty nations."
Kirk: "Well, they were hardly supermen. They were aggressive, arrogant, they began to battle among themselves..."
Spock: "Because the scientists overlooked one fact: Superior ability breeds superior ambition."
Kirk: "Interesting if true. They created a group of Alexanders, Napoleons."
42 sec cut, time difference about 30 sec.
The officers speak more lengthily in praise of Khan. Spock cannot understand the fascination over a tyrant.
Scott: "I must confess, gentlemen, I always held a sneaking admiration for this one."
Kirk: "He was the best of the tyrants. And the most dangerous. They were supermen in a sense... stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring."
Spock: "Gentlemen, this romanticism of a ruthless dictator is..."
Kirk: "Mister Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appaling, but there, nevertheless."
As Kirk faints, it fades to the conference room where Khan is trying in vain to get the senior officers to cooperate. Since the beginning of this scene is missing in the German version, the dissolve became assssssss hard cut.
Khan: "Nothing ever changes. Except man. Your technical accomplishments... improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity. But improve man - and you get a thousandfold. I am such a man. Join me. I'll treat you well. I need your training to operate a vessel this complex."
Scott: "Where is Captain Kirk!"
Khan: "I see now I made one serious error."
A clever cut: when Uhura refuses to activate the monitor, Khan's henchman knocks her out. This is missing in the German version, it only resumes when the guy goes for a second punch, but is then stopped by McGyvers.
As the officers arrive for the military court hearing, the German version already announces the outcome of the meeting via log entry - Khan is banished to an uninhabited planet. The rest of the hearing is missing. Thus, the German viewer does not learn that Khan is not banished at all, but Kirk openly offers him to conquer an uninhabited world. One also does not learn that McGyvers decides to accompany him. And we also don't learn that it is the planet Ceti Alpha 5 - an important information in relation to the movie "Star Trek 2 - The Wrath of Khan"!!!
Kirk: "This hearing is now in session. Under the authority vested in me by Starfleet Command, I declare all charges and specifications in this matter have been dropped."
McCoy: "Jim, agreed you have the authority..."
Kirk: "Mr. Spock, I believe our heading takes us near the Ceti Alpha star system?"
Spock: "Quite correct, Captain. Planet number 5 there is habitable, although a bit savage, somewhat inhospitable."
Kirk: "But no more than Australia's Botany Bay colony was at the beginning. Those men went on to tame a continent, Mister Khan. Can you tame a world?"
Khan: "Have you ever read Milton, Captain?"
Kirk: "Yes. I understand. Lieutenant Marla McGyvers. Given a choice of court-martial or accompanying them there..."
Khan: "It will be difficult. A struggle at first even to stay alive, to find food."
McGyvers: "I'll go with him, sir."
Khan: "A superior woman. I will take her. And I've gotten something else I wanted. A world to win, an empire to build."
Kirk: "This hearing is closed."
Khan and McGyvers leave the room.
In order to have a little more time for the logbook entry, a reaction shot of Khan and McGyvers was added in the German version. Interestingly, the planet Ceti Alpha 5 is not mentioned in the German version, but it is shown: they simply mounted a shot of a red planet including background music from a completely different episode. During the restoration in 1994, this shot was removed, but the now inappropriate background music remained on the German soundtrack.
The way the officers talk about Khan's motives afterwards was also cut in the German version.
Scott: "It's a shame for a good Scotsman to admit it, but I'm not up on Milton."
Kirk: "The statement Lucifer made when he fell into the pit. It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."
131 sec cut, 129 sec time difference.
Missing is how the officers leave the conference room, and the Enterprise flies away. Some credits are faded in as they do so.