Let’s say you’re a STAR TREK fan, and you have every episode of every series on DVD. Including the animated series. You have every film on DVD. Also, you got them all on blu-ray. You have the posters on your wall. You wore your Starfleet uniform when you reported to jury duty. You performed A Christmas Carol in Klingon. You got the “City on the Edge of Forever” talking Christmas ornament. You actually went to the city in the middle of Iowa for crying out loud that claims to be the future birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Maybe you thought you’d done all you could to prove your affection for this classic franchise and its creator, Gene Roddenberry.
Now, thanks to Warner Archive, you can finally pick up the complete run of episodes of Roddenberry’s first television program, THE LIEUTENANT.
THE LIEUTENANT is William Tiberius Rice (Gary Lockwood, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY), a rifle platoon leader and one of the training instructors at Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, California. A career officer in charge of his first command, the intelligent, college-educated Rice is idealistic, compassionate and a natural leader. Captain Raymond Rambridge (Robert Vaughn, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.), Rice’s company commander, is his more experienced mentor. The stories revolve around the various personal and professional conflicts of a peacetime military life.
Exceptionally well-written and produced, with consistently good direction by a slew of TV veterans including Richard Donner and Don Medford, THE LIEUTENANT is engaging and compelling drama. The guest casts include a number of familiar television faces like Bill Bixby, Rip Torn, Norman Fell, Neville Brand, Linda Evans, Richard Anderson, Barbara Bain, Ricardo Montalban, and future TREKkers Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig – all of whom do extremely good work here.
The character of Lt. Bill Rice has a lot in common with STAR TREK’s James Kirk – beyond a middle name – and I think fans of Roddenberry’s space adventure would find a lot to enjoy with THE LIEUTENANT, as well. Recommended.
Personally, the one piece of STAR TREK memorabilia I would love to have is an autographed copy of Harlan Ellison’s lawsuit against Paramount over the “City on the Edge of Forever” talking Christmas ornament. Until I find one of those on eBay, I’ll just have to content myself with a Lieutenant DVD set.