Star Trek – This Side Of Paradise

★★★★★ March 02, 1967 Season 1 Episode 24

If you want to see where we are…and you missed a few…HERE is a list of the episodes in my index located at the top of my blog. 

This show was written by D.C. Fontana, Jerry Sohl and Gene Roddenberry

This one is one of my favorite episodes. It has humor and a good story. It is a great Spock episode. Spock…is actually happy through this episode but you do feel bad for him at the end. 

 It begins as a mystery on a very peaceful planet, where settlers were meant to begin an agricultural colony several years ago. Kirk tries to unravel the mystery presented before him…the colonists should all be dead by this point due to what are known as “Berthold Rays” and all animals have died off…but the colonists? They are beyond healthy…even growing things back like an appendix that was taken out years before. 

Everyone on the planet is beyond happy. The crew cannot figure out how these people are still even alive…much less so happy. The writing for this one I really enjoyed. Kirk asked Spock what the odds were that anyone was still alive while they were traveling there…Spock said “absolutely none” so imagine their surprise when they saw the people walking about. 

They find out soon what is keeping these people alive and happy. The spores from a type of plant/flower that sprays them out. It not only makes people happy but also keeps them healthy and safe from the Berthold Rays. 

Star Trek: The Original Series: This Side of Paradise – It Sure Don't Look  Like Eden – Thoughts From the Mountain Top

To see Spock happy is odd in itself but to see him in love is sensory overload. After the spores from the flowers get into Spock…he is a new man Vulcan. A sample of the dialog between Spock and Kirk amuses me. 

Capt. Kirk: We’re evacuating all colonists to Starbase 27.

Spock: No, I don’t think so.

Capt. Kirk: You don’t think so, WHAT?

Spock: I don’t think so, SIR.

For once in his life…Spock is happy. I found myself rooting against Kirk in this one just to let Spock be. I knew of course everything would go back to the way it was…but it was nice seeing that. 

What is really sad is the following exchange between Kirk and Spock after everyone was on the Enterprise…

Capt. Kirk: We haven’t heard much from you about Omicron Ceti III, Mr. Spock.

Spock: I have little to say about it, captain. Except that… for the first time in my life… I was happy.

What I get from this episode and please comment if you think I’m right or wrong but Spock…does have feelings underneath but he keeps them at bay. The spores brought them out into the open. 

Oh…can I have some of those flowers?

From IMDB:

The spores, in the early drafts, were a communal intelligence; when someone was possessed by them, that individual was granted telepathic abilities to link up with other possessed minds. The abilities of the spores to restore health were complete enough to enable them to return the dead to life. The antidotes for the spores were either the possession of a certain blood type or the introduction of alcohol into the affected person. Originally, Kirk leaped onto Spock and forced liquor down his throat to restore him to normal. This was presumably deemed unrealistic for various reasons. Kirk would not be strong enough to force alcohol no Spock. Even if he did, Spock could just spit it out because the alcohol would probably have to enter the bloodstream to have an effect. It is established in various stories that, while Vulcans will occasionally drink alcohol, it doesn’t affect (intoxicate) them the same way it does human. (On the other hand, in the novelisation of ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’, Spock states that the sugar sucrose, in the candies that Kirk bought to get change for the bus, has the same effect on Vulcans as ethanol does on humans.) In a surprise ending, the spores were revealed to be benevolent, conscious entities who never intended to act against anyone’s will.

Spock hints that, contrary to the common misconception that Vulcans have only one name, he has more than one name, like most humans, but when asked, all he says about it is: “You couldn’t pronounce it.”

The empty shot of the bridge, before the turbolift opens to admit Kirk, was the best available piece of film for Star Trek: The Next Generation: Relics (1992) to reuse as the holosimulation of the NCC-1701 bridge. The short snippet of film was “looped” several times and bluescreened in behind James Doohan and Patrick Stewart’s scenes. Using the stock footage in this way eliminated the need to completely rebuild the bridge – they only built a short section of the computer stations, the door alcove, and the command stations for the TNG-era actors to sit at.

In a blooper, Leonard Nimoy flubs his line about the plants acting as a repository for thousands of spores. Instead, he says the plants act as a “suppository.” The crew cracks up, as does Nimoy, who caps the fun by putting a Tootsie Pop in his mouth.

Frank Overton died shortly after completing this episode.

This is the first episode in which Spock is shown to have superhuman strength.

The title refers to ‘This Side of Paradise’ the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

At a one man show in Orlando, Florida, Leonard Nimoy said it was hard doing love scenes with Jill Ireland with her husband Charles Bronson watching off stage. However, she was in the process of divorcing David McCallum when the episode was shot. It’s possible Bronson may have visited the set, but they didn’t marry until the following year.

In the script, Kirk first spots Spock and Leila kissing passionately by the stream. There is no scene of Spock hanging off the tree limb. That facet of the episode may have been made up on the spot. Indeed, director Ralph Senensky came up with the idea of Spock hanging from the tree on location, when he found the tree and the spot closely to Bronson Canyon. Originally the scene was to be shot on a clearing. Evidence taken from a deleted scene, of Spock and Leila’s presence near the stream, appears in the episode’s preview trailer.

Ralph Senensky originally wanted to film the Kirk versus Spock fight scene from a wider angle, so the stunt doubles wouldn’t be so obvious, but the transporter room set was too small to achieve this.

According to director Ralph Senensky, the original schedule was that the first three of the six shooting days were to be spent on location, shooting at the Golden Oak Ranch (also known as the Disney Ranch), then the remaining three days indoors, filming the Enterprise scenes. However, after two days of shooting outdoors, Jill Ireland fell ill and couldn’t appear on the set. It was in question if she had measles or not. Senensky decided to film all the farm scenes which didn’t contain Leila’s character and then return to the studio for Enterprise interiors in the remaining of the day, and hope for the actress’ return. Ireland appeared the following day, as it turned out that she did not have measles. However, the crew couldn’t return to Disney Ranch as it was already booked for another production. They decided to film the remaining scenes at Bronson Canyon.

D.C. Fontana very much liked the finished episode. She recalled, “It worked out very well because the actors were brilliant for me, and had a very good director, and you know, I really like it.”

This is listed as one of the “Ten Essential Episodes” of TOS in the 2008 reference book “Star Trek 101” by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann.

Some of Spock’s family background is fleshed out in the episode with references to his half-human heritage. The episode also first reveals that Spock’s father is an Ambassador, which would be depicted in later stories. Spock’s mother is said to be a teacher, but there would be no further details or depictions of her career. However, Spock’s mother and father are also referred to in the past tense, indicating they may not be alive (which is disproved when they appear in Star Trek: Journey to Babel (1967)).

Gerald Fried’s score from Star Trek: Shore Leave (1966) is heavily featured in this episode, most notably the “Ruth theme”, successfully accompanying the lost love between Spock and Leila.

One of the basic aspects that D.C. Fontana immediately changed was Jerry Sohl’s original conception of the spore plants residing in a cave. Thus, to avoid the danger of the plants, the crew merely had to avoid the cave. Fontana put the plants everywhere around the planet, and later the Enterprise to make them a real menace.

In Jerry Sohl’s original draft (first titled “Power Play”, then “The Way of The Spores”), it was Lt. Sulu who was infected by the spores and was able to fall in love with Leila. Displeased with D.C. Fontana’s rewrite, Sohl was credited under the pseudonym Nathan Butler.

Stuntman Bobby Bass, whose character tried to break up the fight between the two officers, had his only lines of dialogue in the series here.

The buildings seen in the teaser, the first scene after and the scene in which DeSalle shows McCoy the Spores are at a different location than the buildings seen in the rest of the episode. The green farm structures were located at the Disney Ranch. The concept of Sandoval’s people refusing modern technology was intended to justify the late-19th century Americano style of the ranch.

The script featured characters named Lieutenant Timothy Fletcher and Crewman Dimont as members of the landing party. When Michael Barrier and Grant Woods were cast in these roles, the names were changed to DeSalle and Kelowitz respectively, to appear constant with the two actors’ previous appearances on the series.

According to D.C. Fontana, the episode had to be seriously rewritten because Jerry Sohl had not quite gotten it right. Gene Roddenberry told her, “If you can rewrite this script, you can be my story editor.” She thought about it and eventually realized that the story wasn’t really about Sulu, but about Mr. Spock. Leonard Nimoy, who was initially taken aback when he was told that they were working on a love story for Spock, later felt that the episode turned out to be a lovely story.

The food processors in the transporter room, placed there so Kyle could provide chicken soup for the air sergeant in Star Trek: Tomorrow Is Yesterday (1967), disappeared from the room by the end of the first season. In this episode, an enraged Spock destroys one of them.

Admiral Komack is mentioned in this episode; he is seen in Star Trek: Amok Time (1967). The character was named for James Komack, director of Star Trek: A Piece of the Action (1968).

Upon arrival, Sulu and another crewman inspect the colony for “whatever doesn’t look right.” Sulu says, “When it comes to farms, I wouldn’t know what looked right or wrong if it were two feet from me.” As he says this, the alien plant carrying the hypnotic spores is roughly two feet from him.

Ralph Senensky recalled that directing the episode “really proved to be very, very, very well worthwhile doing. Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland were wonderful, as was the whole cast.”

Many fans have noted that this planet would have been perfect for the agrarian-minded hippies in Star Trek: The Way to Eden (1969).


The Enterprise is ordered to clean up the aftermath of a doomed colony on Omicron Ceti III, a planet under constant irradiation from deadly Berthold Rays. Upon arrival, however, the colonists aren’t only alive but in perfect health, with no desire to leave their new world. They are in fact under the influence of plant spores which not only keep them in good and improved health but simultaneously keep them in a placid state of happiness and contentment. Mr Spock reacquaints with Leila Kalomi, an old friend who had been (and still is) in love with him. She leads Spock into being affected by the spores, and he is thereafter, for the first time, able to express love for her in return. Eventually the entire ship’s crew is affected, leaving Kirk alone to wonder how he can possibly rescue them from perpetual bliss.


William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
Jill Ireland … Leila Kalomi
Frank Overton … Elias Sandoval
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Grant Woods … Kelowitz
George Takei … Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Michael Barrier … DeSalle
Dick Scotter … Painter
Eddie Paskey … Lieutenant Leslie
Bobby Bass … Lieutenant (uncredited)
Bill Blackburn … Lieutenant Hadley (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Brent / Vinci (uncredited)
Walker Edmiston … Transporter Chief (voice) (uncredited)
Carey Foster … Enterprise crewmember (uncredited)
John Lindesmith … Engineer (uncredited)
Jeannie Malone … Yeoman / Omicron Colonist (uncredited)
Sean Morgan … Engineer (uncredited)
Fred Shue … Crewman (uncredited)
Ron Veto … Kelowitz’s Opponent (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “Star Trek – This Side Of Paradise”

  1. Definitely one of my top five favorites. It was nice to see Spock smile, especially in my adolescence when I had a crush on him. I still don’t completely buy Kirk’s ability to resist the spores.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m with you on that. He got sprayed with the others at first…didn’t really affect him but he was in the back…but the second time…that was hard to swallow.
      I really truly felt so bad for Spock at the end when he told the Captain it was the only time in his life he was happy.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. ‘Never trust a plant that makes you happy’ says the subtext. In 1966/7 that would have been the older gen’s attitude!
    Also, I agree with Kirk having superhuman powers of willpower. If a cold and all t0o chilled Vulcan submits to its charms, therefore it surely means Kirk has a mind and heart of stone. ‘It is not logical,’ to state the obvious quote.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the best and agree on it being one of the top 10 must-see. I also loved this episode and felt so bad for Spock and Leila. Just not fair. I went out and found that Spock blooper. It’s about 90 seconds into the clip:

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. Some of those clips in that video were old school sexist, and I hope anyone who watched it wasn’t offended. It was the only YouTube I found with that in there and thought it was worth risking to share.

        Question: it seemed like Nimoy was a little like Spock. Do you think so? When Uhuru flirted with him in one of the clips they showed a few times, he didn’t break role.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I noticed that about Nimoy when she did that. it’s some really funny moments and they looked like they had a ball doing the show.

        Liked by 1 person

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