List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes
“Miri” is the eighth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek, that was first broadcast October 27, 1966, and repeated June 29, 1967. It was written by Adrian Spies and directed by Vincent McEveety.
In the episode, the Enterprise discovers an exact duplicate of Earth, where the only survivors of a deadly man-made plague are some of the planet’s children.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Reception
- 3 BBC ban
- 4 Production
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Enterprise answers an automated distress call from a planet resembling Earth in every detail. A landing party of Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, Yeoman Janice Rand and two security personnel find an abandoned, 1960 Earth. When they examine a tricycle they are attacked by a strong, disfigured man. After Kirk hits the man three times, the man has a seizure and dies. A mysterious figure catches their attention, and they investigate.
They discover an adolescent Miri, who ran away from them because “grups” (“grownups”) killed and maimed children before dying. She and her friends are “onlies”, the only ones left.
The landing party, except for Spock, notice purple lesions on their bodies; Miri tells them that these are the first signs of the disease and they will soon become like the other adults. The party find a medical research laboratory and look through documents for clues to the disease, and discover that it is a side effect of a life-extension experiment, affecting those who have reached puberty; death follows a brief period of violent madness. The “children” are over 300 years old, aging one month every century.
Spock learns that when the disease begins, its victims have seven days to live. Although he is apparently immune, he considers himself a carrier who could infect the Enterprise if he returned.
The other children, mistrustful of the “grups”, meddle with their plans. Jahn steals the landing party’s communicators, rendering McCoy’s search for a cure impossible without the Enterprise’s computers. Miri opposes the mischief and remains near Kirk; when Yeoman Rand panics at their impending fate and Kirk comforts her, a jealous Miri runs away and schemes with her friends to kidnap Rand. Another girl goes insane and attacks Kirk before she collapses and dies. Jahn’s line while banging the hammer on the table is “bonk, bonk on the head (repeated continuously).”
McCoy and Spock, drawing on their own knowledge, pursue a discovery of McCoy’s that may lead to a vaccine that can prevent the fatal disease from killing them and the onlies. However, without the ability to check their work with the ship’s computers, the vaccine they create may not be a cure, but a deadly poison. They have no way to tell.
Miri is confronted by Kirk, who tells her that she and the onlies will contract the disease if they do not help him find a cure. She brings Kirk to where Rand is being held; he confronts the children, but one beats Kirk with a hammer. Kirk begs them to think of the youngest onlies, who will be helpless when the older ones are dead. He points out that almost all of the food in the town has been eaten, and soon there will be none left. The children will starve within six months. Convinced, Jahn gives the communicators back to Kirk.
He rounds up the children and returns to the laboratory, finding that McCoy has collapsed after injecting himself with a dose of experimental serum. The doctor’s sores begin to fade; the serum McCoy devised without the assistance of the ship’s computers is the cure for the disease the scientists 300 years ago had been searching for.
Back on the Enterprise after vaccinating everyone, Kirk asks the Federation to send teachers and advisers to help the children improve their lives. Dr. McCoy suggests that they also send a few truant officers.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an ‘A-‘ rating, describing using children as the antagonists as one of the script’s “smarter twists.” Handlen felt that the sense of threat was maintained throughout as although the audience knew the crew wouldn’t die, “they don’t know that.”
Following the first screening of Miri on British television in December 1970, the BBC received a number of complaints regarding the episode’s content. The quantity and nature of the complaints were never made public, but the scenes most likely to have caused concern include an early one when a hideous-looking creature attacks the landing party shortly after it has beamed down to the planet’s surface, and also when Kirk is surrounded and then badly beaten by a group of children. The BBC refused to show the episode again during its many repeats in the 1970s and 1980s, and also banned three further episodes: Plato’s Stepchildren, The Empath and Whom Gods Destroy. Fans writing to the BBC to complain about the ban during the 5th repeat run in the mid-1980s received a standard reply: “There are no plans to screen the four episodes because we feel that they deal most unpleasantly with the already unpleasant subjects of madness, torture, sadism and disease. You will appreciate that account must be taken that out of Star Trek’s large and enthusiastic following, many are juveniles who would watch the programme no matter what time of day the series is put into the programme schedules.” The ban was finally lifted in the early 1990s for the BBC’s 6th showing of the series.
The planetary exteriors were shot on the set used for fellow Desilu series The Andy Griffith Show, part of what had originally been known as the RKO Forty Acres backlot in Culver City which had been acquired by Desilu.
Apart from guest stars Kim Darby and Michael J. Pollard, several of the children on Miri’s world were portrayed by relatives of the Trek cast and crew. Among them were William Shatner’s daughter Lisabeth, Grace Lee Whitney’s two sons, and Gene Roddenberry’s daughters.
Two of the child actors, Phil and Iona Morris, later appeared in subsequent Trek shows as well. They are the children of Mission: Impossible (also produced by Desilu) star Greg Morris.
This was child actress Kellie Flanagan’s first television role. She played the Blonde Girl standing on the table in the schoolhouse. Between takes her agent, Dorothy Day Otis, got her a line to deliver during the scene, which led to Flanagan receiving her SAG card.
One of the children was played by John Megna, who also played Charles Baker ‘Dill’ Harris in To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962.
Michael J. Pollard, born May 30, 1939, was 27 years of age at time of airing in 1966. He was cast in the role of an adolescent of roughly 14 years of age.
- The Cry of the Onlies, a Star Trek novel by Judy Klass which includes events occurring after the episode Miri. (In this novel, all references to Miri’s world being a copy of Earth were ordered removed; Miri’s world is presented as a long-abandoned colony of Earth.)
- “Miri” at StarTrek.com
- “Miri” on IMDb
- “Miri” at TV.com
- “Miri” at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- “Miri” Review of the remastered version at TrekMovie.com
- “Miri” Full Episode for viewing at CBS.com