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
- All 29 episodes from the 1966-67 season on 10 discs
- 5 special collector data cards
- Billy Blackburn's Treasure Chest: Rare home movies and special memories
- Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st century featurette
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I have owned the companion Season 2 set for some time, having long considered it the best season of the three, but revisiting the first season after so many years, I've developed a new appreciation for the depth of the story-telling in these initial episodes, particularly the first 13 (including the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before"). It's common knowledge that Gene Roddenberry rewrote everyone of those scripts to establish a specific tone and the characters' mannerisms. It's refreshing to revisit specific moments such as the first use of the Vulcan Mind Meld ("Dagger of the Mind") and the building love/hate relationship between Spock and Dr. McCoy.
My favorite episode of this season remains "The Man Trap" -- the first episode of the series telecast on NBC in September 1966 -- which featured Dr. McCoy in an engrossing thriller where a deadly alien takes the form of his lost love and wreaks havoc among the Enterprise crew. Deforest Kelley was not the network's first choice for the pivotal role of ship's surgeon and the Captain's best friend, but Roddenberry stood by his choice and we are all the better for it.
My father, a cook in the U.S. Navy, used to watch Star Trek from the day it first aired. I was only six years old, would see people talking or fighting, then suddenly they would sparkle and disappear. But, as time went on, I began to understand what was going on. The next year, in second grade, I became interested in the Solar System, and in 3rd grade I began my life long hobby of Astronomy. Finally, in fourth grade, I started reading Science Fiction. So, Star Trek in its various forms has been like a good friend to me for half a century! Hats off to the Late Great Bird of the Galaxy!
Yet I must say I'm mystified by some reviewer's anger and gripes about the enhanced effects. I'll take the point that it's like overpainting a Renoir, yet in this case the overpainting has been done on a pane of glass, in front of the original masterwork. You don't have to look through it if you'd rather not!
The restorations of the original shows are pristine, and ought be enough to satisfy any purist.
The bile some folks are spewing at the enhanced versions seems more appropriate to a mutilation, as though Paramount torched had the originals while making the enhanced versions. Relax guys; it feels like you're looking for reasons to get angry. (If that's your aim just turn on CNN or FOX news for five minute; that'll do it.)
In the meanwhile enjoy these classic gems!
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