STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL
As someone who grew up watching STAR TREK on television, and having the show become part of my daily ritual during my formative years, all I can say is that I am delighted by the fact that the show is now being made available on DVD in season sets. There were a lot of years that I was unable to watch STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES (as it is referred to today), simply because it was not longer being regularly syndicated in the market in which I lived, or it was being aired in the middle of the night. The arrival of the complete first season on DVD made remember just how good of a show the original STAR TREK TV series actually was, and had me especially eager for the season two, which contained more than its fair share of classic episodes.
For the handful of you completely unfamiliar with STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES the show was the brainchild of that Great Bird of the Galaxy Gene Roddenberry. STAR TREK is set several centuries in the future, and takes place on board the Starship Enterprise, whose five-year mission was to explore strange, new worlds… seek out new life and new civilizations… to boldly go where no man has gone before. The regular cast for the second season of STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES featured William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as the ship’s Vulcan first officer Commander Spock, DeForest Kelley as ship’s surgeon Dr. Leonard McCoy, James Doohan as ship’s engineer Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, George Takei as helmsman Lt. Hikaru Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, Walter Koenig as navigator Ensign Pavel Chekov and Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel.
STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired during the show’s that sophomore year. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Amok Time, Who Mourns For Adonais?, The Changeling, Mirror, Mirror, The Apple, The Doomsday Machine, Catspaw, I, Mudd, Metamorphosis, Journey To Babel, Friday's Child, The Deadly Years, Obsession, Wolf In The Fold, The Trouble With Tribbles, The Gamesters Of Triskelion, A Piece Of The Action, The Immunity Syndrome, A Private Little War, Return To Tomorrow, Patterns Of Force, By Any Other Name, The Omega Glory, The Ultimate Computer, Bread And Circuses and Assignment: Earth.
Season two of STAR TREK was a great year for the series that produced a lot of episodes, which this reviewer counts among his personal favorites, including: Amok Time, which strips the Vulcan first officer of his steely logic. Mirror, Mirror in which a transporter mishap strands several members of the crew in a savage parallel universe. I, Mudd marks the return of conman Harry Mudd, who now rules over a planet of androids. Journey To Babel finds the Enterprise transporting alien diplomats to a Federation conference, including Spock’s parents. Wolf In The Fold finds Scotty the prime suspect in a series of murders. The Trouble With Tribbles is one of the all time classic Trek episodes involving Klingons, a type of grain called quadrotriticale and furry little creatures with prodigious reproductive habits. The Ultimate Computer takes control of the Enterprise, but will it render living crews obsolete. Assignment: Earth finds the Enterprise journeying back in time, where they encounter a mysterious human, who has been trained by an unknown alien race to help prevent humanity from destroying itself.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-six episodes from STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Similar in quality to the season one set, all of the episodes in this collection look pretty terrific. The image tends to be sharp and very nicely defined, especially the actors close-ups. There are some softer looking shots, and opticals have some minor limitations. In general, colors are strongly saturated, with appealing looking flesh tones and no signs of chroma noise or smearing. Blacks appear inky, whites are clean and contrast is good for a nearly four-decade-old television series. The film elements from which the episodes are transferred are in great shape, showing few blemishes for their age. There is some mild film grain in just about every episode, but it is never excessive. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are always nicely contained.
Just like the preceding set, all the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON come with upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. The multi channel sound mixes are very well implemented for a television series originally presented in monaural. Channel separations are effective and work well within the limitations of the original sound design. Surround usage isn’t excessive, but there is a fairly nice spread of music and ambient sound to the rear. Fidelity has some limitations, but the music never comes across as being either harsh or shrill. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. Most signs of background hiss and surface noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the episodes with a nice sonic quality. The bass channel provides a respectable bottom end to the sound, but never sounds artificial or forced. English Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVDs, as are English subtitles.
3-D animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s cool interactive menus- I still love those CGI renderings of show’s plywood sets. Through the menus, one has access to the standard set up and episode selection features, as well as the supplemental materials. Throughout the set, one will find a preview trailers for each of the episodes, while Amok Time and The Trouble With Tribbles feature popup factoid text commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda. As for the rest of the supplemental materials, they can be found on disc seven of the set. To Boldly Go... Season Two runs nearly twenty minutes and features various cast members reflecting on some of the second season’s stand out episodes, as well as a new addition to the cast.
Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy is a twelve-minute program featuring the actor discussing his latest project and love- photography. Kirk, Spock & Bones: Star Trek’s Great Trio clocks in at seven minutes and features Shatner and Nimoy discussing their chemistry on screen with the late DeForest Kelley. Designing The Final Frontier is a twenty-two minute program featuring art director Matt Jefferies discussing his work on Trek. Star Trek’s Devine Diva: Nichelle Nichols is thirteen minutes long and features the singer/actress talking about both aspects of her career and how she got involved with Trek. Writer’s Notebook: D.C. Fontana is a seven-minute interview in which the writer/story editor discusses her involvement and contributions to the series. Production Art is a gallery of design drawings by Matt Jefferies, while the Photo Gallery offers an assembly of production and publicity photographs.
STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is a great collection that features some of the series best and most classic episodes. Again, Paramount has done a terrific job in the audio and video department, making this a set every fan (who hasn’t already picked up the individual releases) will want to own. Highly recommended.
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