Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete Seasons 1-3
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STAR TREK THE ORIGINAL SERIES features the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Capt. James Kirk (Shatner) and his first officer, Lt. Cmdr Spock (Nimoy) during the 23rd century. They are on a mission in outer space to explore new worlds, where the Enterprise encounters Klingons, Romulans, time paradoxes, tribbles and genetic supermen.
The facts have become legend. Star Trek, the NBC series that premiered on September 8, 1966, has become a touchstone of international popular culture. It struggled through three seasons that included cancellation and last-minute revival, and turned its creator, Gene Roddenberry, into the progenitor of an intergalactic phenomenon. Eventually expanding to encompass five separate TV series, an ongoing slate of feature films, and a fan base larger than the population of many third-world countries, the Star Trek universe began not with a Big Bang but with a cautious experiment in network TV programming. Even before its premiere episode ("The Man Trap") was aired, Star Trek had struggled to attain warp-drive velocity, barely making it into the fall '66 NBC lineup.
The series' original pilot, "The Cage," featured Jeffrey Hunter as U.S.S. Enterprise captain Christopher Pike--a variation of the role that would eventually catapult William Shatner to TV stardom. Filmed in 1964, the pilot was rejected by NBC the following year, but the network made a rare decision to order a second pilot. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was filmed in 1965, and only one character from the previous pilot remained--a pointy-eared alien named Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), whom Roddenberry had retained despite network disapproval. The second pilot was accepted, and production on Star Trek began in earnest with the filming of its first regular episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver."
Never a ratings success despite a growing population of devoted fans, Star Trek was canceled after its second season, prompting a letter-writing campaign that resulted in the series' third-season renewal. It was a mixed blessing, since Roddenberry had departed as producer to protest the network's neglect, and Star Trek's third season contained most of the series' weakest episodes. And yet, the show continued to "to explore strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilizations to boldly go where no man [a phrase later amended to "no one"] has gone before."
There were milestones along the way. The first interracial kiss on network primetime TV (between Shatner and series co-star Nichelle Nichols) furthered a richly positive and expansive view of a better, nobler future for humankind. The series offered a timelessly appealing balance of humor, imagination, and character depth. And at least one episode (Harlan Ellison's "The City on the Edge of Forever") ranks among the finest science fiction stories in any popular medium. Beloved by long-time fans in spite of its cheesy sets and costumes, and the now-dated trappings of late-1960s American culture, "classic Trek" has aged remarkably well, and its sense of adventure and idealism continues to live long and prosper. --Jeff Shannon
The three 2004 DVD sets collect all 79 episodes of the show, including "The Cage" in both a restored color version and the original, never-aired version that alternates between color and black and white. Each set is supplemented by over an hour of featurettes incorporating new and old interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, other cast members, and producers, and there's also some vintage footage of Gene Roddenberry. Accompanying the 20-minute seasonal recaps ("To Boldly Go...") are a number of interesting featurettes: "The Birth of a Timeless Legacy" examines the two pilot episodes and the development of the crew; "Sci-Fi Visionaries" discusses the series' great science fiction writers; Nimoy debunks various rumors in "Reflections of Spock"; "Kirk, Spock & Bones: The Great Trio" focuses on the interplay among Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley); and, in what is probably his last Star Trek appearance, James Doohan (Scotty), slowed by Alzheimer's but still with a twinkle in his eye, recalls his voiceover roles and his favorite episodes. As they've done for many of the feature-film special editions, Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda provide a pop-up text commentary on four of the episodes filled with history, trivia, and dry wit. It's the first commentary of any kind for a Star Trek TV show, but an audio commentary is still overdue. The technical specs are mostly the same as other Trek TV series--Dolby 5.1, English subtitles--but with the welcome addition of the episode trailers. The plastic cases are an attempt to replicate some of the fun packaging of the series' European DVD releases, but it's a bit clunky, and the paper sleeve around the disc case seems awkward and crude. Still, the sets are a vast improvement both in terms of shelf space and bonus features compared to the old two-episode discs, which were released before full-season boxed sets became the model for television DVDs. --David Horiuchi
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Well, finally I gave in, and WOW am I happy that I did. The people at Paramount have gone to great pains to brag about certain space scene heavy episodes such as Balance Of Terror, The Corbomite Manuever and of course, The Doomsday Machine, and yet, while those shows do wow on a whole new level with the new treatment, there are countless other moments that are smaller in scale that ad to the experience. It's amazing the effects we take for granted today in other movies and even the Star Trek Universe. This new rendering of the classic show now finally measures up to it's other TV show siblings, most notably, Next Generation.
Each of the planets is now completely unique and we get multiple angles rather than the same orbit angle seen again and again. Ship manuevers during movement and battles is more realistic. Thankfully, they didn't change the transporter beam sequences, but they did provide more accurate settings for the show's stars to beam into. Those familiar with the lustrous but one dimensional paintings that were provided as occasional backdrops will be awestruck at their newfound three dimensional realism.
Even simple touches like in Amok Time, when Spock is looking at a picture of T'pring as a child on his monitor, adding the outdoor background of Vulcan complete with other Vulcans adds to the realism of the tumultuous time Spock is going through in contrast to the original photo with a flat, grey background that appeared to have been taken against one of the enterprise walls (and probably was, budgets being so short and all). That small touch and several others like it are things that as a Trekkie you may not have even considered before, but they add a welcome warmth. Even Mr. Sulu's analog 1960's clock radio style chronometer gets a modern refresher.
There is little doubt that Roddenberry himself would find all of the work done on his iconic show to be a welcome update, as he was thrilled when The Next Generation hit the airwaves. Sure, the space and special effects scenes are secondary to the overall plots that involve facets far more important that have to do with events, consequences, struggles, humbling, and triumphs of humanity, but The Next Generation proved that you could have all of that and still do incredible effects. Indeed, if Gene had the budget and if it were possible to achieve this level of effects when the show was created, he surely would have done it this way.
One thing that should have been left alone however, is the theme in the opening credits of season 2 and 3. The woman they chose to re-do the operatic theme has a lovely voice, but it is jarring to so change the theme. You wouldn't think something could be so obtrusive, but it is. The first season's opening theme update was beautifully rendered in modern tone and clarity, however.
All in all, the changes offered us were welcome ones that make going where no man has gone before a completely new and vivid experience all over again. Beam me up, Scotty!
I wish I'd read others' reviews before buying this product. Every time someone purchases something this badly designed it just encourages them.
Other manufacturers have gotten this simple issue right. The entire television series, "Daniel Boone," is simple, the disks stay put when not in use and they extract easily for viewing. That set is a real joy, UNLIKE THIS ONE!
I have removed the disks and put them into sleeves for a notebook; not my first choice, but at least I got them all out without breaking any. Now if they only will play...