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Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 20, Episodes 39 & 40: Mirror Mirror/ The Deadly Years

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"Mirror, Mirror," Ep. 39 - Beamed up during an ion storm, Kirk and the landing party find themselves in a mirror universe aboard a U.S.S. Enterprise run by ruthless barbarians. "The Deadly Years," Ep. 40 - A landing party from the U.S.S. Enterprise becomes ill with a fatal aging disease and Chekov is the only one unaffected. Spock and McCoy search for a remedy using him as a guinea pig.

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"Mirror, Mirror"
When their mission to secure a mineral trade ends in failure, a freak ion storm catches Kirk, McCoy, Uhura, and Scotty in mid-beam-up and sends them to a parallel dimension where Federation leaders are as ruthless as the Klingons, and Star Fleet promotions are attained by assassination. They find themselves on an alternate Enterprise, peopled with evil counterparts to the people they know (all attired in glittery, glam-rock uniforms), including most famously an evil, goateed Spock whom Kirk must convince to overthrow the empire. Kirk and his landing party try to fit in with this crew of villains who are threatening with annihilation the planet where the mineral trade went sour, while searching for a way back to their world and fending off assassination attempts. Mirror, Mirror achieves the best of what Star Trek is capable, which is to say space opera brought to a high pitch by melodrama. Everyone appears to be having great fun turning their characters to the dark side, especially George Takei, whose evil Sulu beams when making his assassination attempt against Captain Kirk, and Leonard Nimoy, who makes Spock's shift from the meditative logician to the ruthless goateed one seem, well, quite logical. This episode in particular fueled popular culture in such a way that in some circles it is now impossible to sport a goatee without being called "the evil Spock." The story of the evil Spock is continued in the Deep Space Nine episode Crossover. --Jim Gay

"The Deadly Years"
While on the planet Gamma Hydra IV, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are infected with an unknown disease that causes premature aging. The only member of the party unaffected is Chekov (Walter Koenig), who becomes McCoy's guinea pig while searching for a cure back on the Enterprise. A nifty idea with some poignant overtones, the story by David P. Harmon startles a viewer with the sight of these familiar folks rapidly graying, wrinkling, weakening, and suffering memory loss. At the same time, Harmon is careful to age each character as a unique individual. Kirk slows down more than the longer-lived Spock, while McCoy remains mentally keen, if physically brittle. As for poor Scotty, well...

The dramatic subtext in "The Deadly Years" concerns the perennial conflict over when and how to decide that someone has become too old to execute crucial responsibilities. In that sense, this episode feels constantly relevant and uniquely entertaining: let's just say some of these actors play "old" a little better than others. (Director Joseph Pevney has reported that there was a lot of conflict over who was stealing old-guy moves from whom.) With all this going on, one might not notice that guest star Charles Drake is a truly familiar face, having been cast in The Maltese Falcon and Now, Voyager. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Barbara Luna, Vic Perrin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: CBS Paramount International Television
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055Z4J
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 20, Episodes 39 & 40: Mirror Mirror/ The Deadly Years" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The Star Trek DVD series is being issued in more-or-less the order in which the episodes were originally produced. So to date, some of the best episodes of the series have been issued in the same volume as some of the most, well, mediocre.
Both episodes on volume 20 are fantastic and emblematic of the best shows in the original series. "Mirror, Mirror" easily makes just about everybody's top ten list of best episodes. While the concept of alternate realities was hardly invented on Star Trek, this series (and its progeny) handled the "world-turned-upside-down" set up better than any. "Mirror, Mirror" is in many ways the inspiration for The Next Generation's "Yesterday's Enterprise" episode which finds the Federation losing an interstellar war to the Klingons. The mirror universe first introduced in "Mirror, Mirror" was the setting for a good half dozen episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
The premature aging concept at the core of "The Deadly Years" is hardly innovative either, but again, it is executed deftly on Star Trek. Watching the crew stumble into senility is amusing, but doubly so since we've got the benefit of still knowing the actors some thirty years after this story was filmed. Jimmy Doohan (Scotty) for one seems to age better in this episode than he would in real life.
If you're cherry-picking your way through this DVD series, this is among the handful of Star Trek volumes that you really must have.
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Volume 20 of Paramount's complete Star Trek collection contains two ever popular episodes from Season Two.
More than thirty years after its original airing, Mirror, Mirror, remains on most Trekkers' lists of Top Ten episodes. This story has also spawned a spinoff novel by George Takei, follow-ups on Deep Space Nine, and been touched upon in William Shatner's Star Trek novels. It's not hard to see why. From the redecorating of the ISS Enterprise, to the sexy uniforms, to being able to watch each Trek character engage in evil scenery chewing, this episode has something for every Star Trek fan. Indeed, this is one of the few episodes to make use of the entire ensemble cast. George Takei and Nichelle Nichols in particular shine here.
The Deadly Years is less effective now than it was originally. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, it's a relief to know that the Star Trek regulars have aged more gracefully than portrayed here --even if some of them have been aided by cosmetic surgery and expensive hairpieces. Actually, hairpieces are one of the problems here. The visual restoration has been successful to the point that the seam in William Shatner's toupee is glaringly evident when the "old" Kirk's hair is combed straight back. (Look at the forehead, just under the hairline, and you can't miss it.) For the most part, though, the old-age makeup stands up to today's standards surprisingly well. The Corbomite reference near the episode's end is a testament to how seriously story continuity was taken.
Sound and picture have never been better.
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Another reviewer hit the nail right on the head when he stated that so many times in the Star Trek: The Original Series DVD sets, a very good or great episode is paired with a real clinker. However, not this time. This DVD pairs up two terrific episodes that succeed on every level. Both episodes offer the varous cast members ways to play off of their usual characterizations on Star Trek:

MIRROR, MIRROR: I love watching films or TV episodes where you know that the cast and crew must have had a ball filming it. Mirror, Mirror is one of those episodes in spades. Those who have been to a Star Trek convention have, more than likely, seen the Star Trek blooper reel. It seems that a quarter of the bloopers shown are from this episode. William Shatner, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols must have felt cheated, not being able to play their snarling, savage altnerate counterparts for the entire episode. Of the four, only Shatner, in his inimitable small-screen Charlton Heston way, gets to play his evil self at all. George Takei gets the Snidely Whiplash prize for the most flamboyant evil counterpart. With his red uniform shirt, huge scar and lecherous leer, Takei jumps into the role with both feet as the Gestapo-like head of security on the I.S.S. Enterprise. Walter Koenig plays the alternate Chekov as a sneering rat and is, unfortunately, gone from the episode too soon. The best performance in the episode, however, is from Leonard Nimoy who manages to make Spock fit into the alternate universe while still maintaining the integrity and intellectual honesty that is so much a part of the character. It's one of the great episodes of the series and regretably wasn't followed up either later in the series or in one of the feature films.
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"Mirror, Mirror" is a Trek classic and fan favorite, one of the better "alternate dimension" stories in cinema sci-fi. After a failed attempt at convincing a neutral and pacifistic planet to provide resources for the Federation's weapons, Kirk, Uhura and McCoy beam back aboard ship - but find themselves on a completely different Enterprise in a parallel dimension, fascistically tyrannical, imperial and sadistic. It's easier for them to masquerade as barbarians to fool this dimension's Empire than for their swapped counterparts to fool the more equable Federation, and it falls on the Spocks of both dimensions to logically determine what has gone on and come up with a solution to return everyone to the universe in which they belong.
A great episode, very dramatic and suspenseful, and - to use Spock's own word - it's "fascinating" to see the usual cast members playing against type. Sulu becomes an especially sadistic S.S. style security man, Chekhov a treacherously backstabbing mutineer, and Spock a ruthless (but still logical) bearded cossack. Barbara Luna has a nice supporting guest role as the alternate universe captain's main squeeze, who figures out about the same time Spock does that the crewmembers who beamed aboard her Enterprise are not the same ones who left.
"The Deadly Years" is unintentionally more comical than not, largely due to William Shatner's tendency to ham-it-up when not carefully restrained. The story is pretty good - Kirk, Spock and McCoy become infected with an alien disease that causes them to rapidly age - but the makeups are uneven and not always convincing (the production crew was rushed, over-time and over-budget), and so are the performances by the three principals. Shatner doesn't act old age convincingly at all, and you often get the impression DeForest Kelley is deliberately overdoing it just to have fun - but it is kind of entertaining, actually.
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