Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1
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Space. The Final Frontier. The U.S.S. Enterprise embarks on a five year mission to explore the galaxy. The Enterprise is under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. The First Officer is Mr. Spock, from the planet Vulcan. The Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy. With a determined crew, the Enterprise encounters Klingons, Romulans, time paradoxes, tribbles and genetic supermen lead by Khan Noonian Singh. Their mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
In 1966, Star Trek set out to boldly go where no series had gone before, beginning a three-year mission that led to a franchise that would last decades. Here at last is the first season of the original series all in one box, 29 episodes in their original broadcast order. That means starting with "The Man Trap," and soon followed by "Where No Man Has Gone Before," the second pilot filmed and the first one starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The many highlight episodes include "Balance of Terror" and "Errand of Mercy" (introducing, respectively, the Romulans and the Klingons), the two-part "The Menagerie" (which recycled footage from the original pilot, "The Cage," which featured Christopher Pike as the captain of the Enterprise and is not included in this set), "Space Seed" (introducing Ricardo Montalban's Khan character), and "The City of the Edge of Forever" (written by sci-fi giant Harlan Ellison and considered by many the best-ever episode of the series).
The first-season DVD set is supplemented by 80 minutes of featurettes incorporating 2003-04 interviews with Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, other cast members, and producers, and some 1988 footage of Gene Roddenberry. The longest (24 minutes) featurette, "The Birth of a Timeless Legacy," examines the two pilot episodes and the development of the crew. Slightly shorter are "To Boldly Go... Season One," which highlights key episodes, and "Sci-Fi Visionaries," which discusses the series' great science fiction writers (most famously in "The City of the Edge of Forever"). Shatner shows off his love of horses in "Life Beyond Trek," and, more interestingly, Nimoy debunks various rumors in "Reflections of Spock." 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 case is 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 set is 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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To read the entire 16 pages, Google this filename: Star_Trek_Pitch.pdf
This REMASTERED set of disks have breathed new life into the fading originals. It has been over ten years since I saw all 78 episodes, and they all seem so fresh to me now. Some episodes are better than others. For example, I find MAN TRAP, the first episode broadcast, to be boring, but others to be excellent.
I highly recommend this REMASTERED set of Star Trek episodes to you. (I myself am watching them through Amazon Prime, so I don't have to pay for them.)
If you'd like to know more about how Star Trek was produced, I recommend THE WORLD OF STAR TREK by David Gerrold, one of the episode writers (perhaps best known for The Trouble with Tribbles.
This is the end of my review, but I have copied (and written) other information that you might find interesting below.
SOURCE OF QUOTES:
Please note: This review has a number of quotes from Gene Roddenberry's original "Star Trek Bible" (my name for it). This 16 page first draft, his proposal to the networks on March 11, 1964, can be found by googling: Star_Trek_Pitch.pdf
and if you've never seen it, I highly recommend that you download it. I believe it is in the public domain.
WAGON TRAIN TO THE STARS
Wagon Train took explorers west into the unknown western reaches of North America. In his pitch, Roddenberry said,
STAR TREK is a "Wagon Train" concept -- built around characters who travel to worlds "similar" to our own, and meet the action-adventure-drama which becomes our stories.
In other words, he based "Star Trek" on a Wagon Train that took explorers out into known and unknown sections of our galaxy. For three years, Gene's Wagon Train showed us bold new adventures with Captain Kirk, Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy, and many more cast members.
Gene also took creative elements from Horatio Hornblower, using the latter to help him design the character of Captain Robert M. April:
A shorthand sketch of Robert April might be "A space-age Captain Horation (sic) Hornblower, lean and capable both mentally and physically.
The original vessel was not the U.S.S. Enterprise. Here is an excerpt from Captain April's orders:
You are therefore posted, effective immediately, to command the following: The S.S. Yorktown.
* Cruiser Class -- Gross 190,000 tons
* Crew Complement -- 203 persons
* Drive -- space-warp. (maximum velocity .73 of one light-year per hour)
* Range -- 18 years at galaxy patrol speeds
* Registry -- Earth, United Space Ship
In addition to "Wagon Train," Roddenberry makes comparisons with "Doctor Kildare" in his pitch when he describes where guest characters come from:
GUNSMOKE and DOCTOR KILDARE (and Snoopy's Doghouse)
As with GUNSMOKE's Dodge City, KILDARE's Blair General Hospital, we may never get around to exploring every cabin, department and cranny of our cruiser. The point being -- it is a whole community in which we can anytime take our camera down a passageway and find a guest star or secondary character (scientist, specialist, ordinary airman, passenger or stowaway) who can propel us into a story.
I'm also reminded of Snoopy's doghouse. Almost anything they ever need can be found in Snoopy's basement.
I have loved Star Trek since a few years after it first went off the air. I did not watch it while I was in high school because I thought it was going to be as terrible as Lost in Space, which I had tried and thought was stupid. Man, was I wrong.
In college, a blind student introduced me to his love of Star Trek, and it grew on me. Eventually, I started looking for opportunities to learn more. For example, when Gene Roddenberry came to speak at the IU auditorium, I enthusiastically attended, then I started going to Star Trek and Sci Fi conventions.
The series is excellent, though it does not has as good a continuity as later SciFi shows.
I highly recommend it to you.
And it all started with "Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1," a groundbreaking and intelligent sci-fi series that brought interstellar exploration to TV screens -- aliens, androids, strange phenomena and the odd planet that generates giant rabbits and school bullies. Yes, it has the late-sixties color schemes and miniskirts, but it also has a moral complexity and wide-eyed earnestness that most TV shows lack, along with crisp writing and a solid cast.
In the twenty-third century, mankind has spread out among the stars, and established a Federation of like-minded worlds. The starship Enterprise is part of their Starfleet division -- and it does pretty much everything, from fighting hostile aliens like the Klingon and the Romulan Empires, investigating distress calls (including from a planet infested with pain-producing alien blobs), and exploring planets with weird and freakish creatures on them (including a furry creature that sucks salt out of its victims).
The captain is James T. Kirk (William Shatner), who is assisted and guided by his two trusted friends: the logic-driven, half-Vulcan science officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the crusty, blunt-spoken doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Deforest Kelley). With the faithful crew of the Enterprise behind them, they travel through time, encounter godlike aliens, fall prey to some weird diseases (including one that makes you drunk!), crash a shuttlecraft, encounter a war fought with computers, and deal with androids, rock monsters, plague-infected kids, genetically-engineered Übermenschen, a giant lizard and the White Rabbit.
A lot of stuff in "Star Trek: The Original Series" has become sci-fi cliche by now, but that only underscores that the entire first season must have been wildly fresh and groundbreaking when it first aired. There are a few episodes that are hit-and-miss ("This Side of Paradise"), but many of them are wildly inventive and cleverly-written -- and it's not just about weird alien Threat Du Jour. The Enterprise crew also deals with some truly bizarre problems, ranging from Kirk being accused of murder to a visitor from an antimatter universe.
One of the best aspects of this season is that it never loses the human element. When the characters encounter problems, they often must grapple with issues of morality, revealing a great deal about themselves in the process -- Kirk's passionate love for a woman who is fated to die, his struggle to pass judgment on a mass murderer without giving in to his own base hatred, Spock's conflicted nature, his fierce loyalty to his old captain, an officer widowed during a battle, and so on. It's the personal part of the writing that gives it greater depth, beyond merely "Kirk fights with a big lizard-man by shooting diamonds at him." And yes, that does happen.
As stories, these episodes are crisply and solidly written, with a good blend of intelligent sci-fi, action and pathos. The dialogue was well-written ("Do you play God, carry his head through the corridors in triumph? That won't bring back the dead, Jim") but with moments of humor to keep it from ever getting pompous ("I'll protect you, fair maiden!" "Sorry, neither"). That's what allows even the slightly silly (Spock attacked by a flying brain cell) to be pulled off well.
It also has a very good cast, from the central three characters to the underused supporting characters like Uhura and Sulu. For all the gags about Shatner's acting, he plays Kirk as a man of both brains and passion -- he's driven and emotion, with a love for his ship, his crew and the unexplored crannies of the galaxy that rules his life. But he's also intelligent and canny, and more than once we see him outwitting a foe, whether it's making a primitive gun by hand or playing the ultimate bluff against a vast alien ship.
And he has uniquely solid chemistry with Nimoy and Kelley, so that you can really believe that these three characters are fast friends who bicker, joke and advise each other... well, mostly Bones and Spock snipe at each other, while Kirk sits there smiling. Nimoy gives a brilliant performance as the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock, struggling with the emotions that his Vulcan nature doesn't allow him to express. Kelley plays McCoy as the exact opposite -- a fiery Southern doctor whose determination to do the right thing sometimes clashes with his duty. Yes, he boozes it up while on duty, but who doesn't want a doctor like McCoy?
Few TV shows have had the impact on nerd culture that "Star Trek: The Original Series" has had, and the first season of this show is still an entertaining, thought-provoking story. Live long and prosper!
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