Star Trek was a ground-breaking series, but a few of the episodes (especially early in Season 1 before the main characters come into their own) are pretty painful to watch. 4 stars overall for the 3 seasons, but many of the episodes are 5-star. No doubt you have seen the show on TV (edited to fit in more commercials), and other reviewers on Amazon have written excellent reviews for the single season editions so I won't go into details. I just want to summarize some information that may be helpful in deciding whether to buy this set now, or wait until later...
First, the set I received had several defective disks (1,6,7 in the first season). The program freezes, then eventually skips from seconds to minutes of the show. Amazon has a good exchange policy, and I'm hoping I get a good set this time, but I won't know until I go through all the disks and that will take a while. At least one other reviewer has also recently (fall 2006) received defective disks, so it is likely that there is a bad batch at Amazon at this time.
- UPDATE: I received the replacement set and have watched all the episodes. It has defects too, but I'm keeping this one as they are relatively short, and only affect two episodes of the three seasons.
Second, as many people have noted in the single-season reviews, this has to be the most impractical packaging yet devised by man. The outer plastic cases don't stand upright on their own. They come with what looks like a sales display stand, and will stand upright in these, but I notice the individual stands have been reinforced and weighted in the bottom by what looks like leftover building material. Inside each case is a stack of plastic trays held together by cellophane tape. This fits inside a thin paper sleeve which will no doubt tear soon, and the accompanying paper booklet does not fit in the sleeve. So you have to go though several levels to get to the disks, and the booklet falls out each time.
Third, as others have hinted, Paramount has been remastering all the episodes with new CGI for the ships, and for some other effects. It's the same ship, it just looks real now instead of like a model on a string. The sound is also being remastered (and in a few cases the music is being re-recorded). The picture is also being cleaned up. These episodes are currently airing on affiliate stations as they are completed (also edited to fit in more commercials). You can go to the Paramount website and navigate through their 'home video' page links/search/etc until you find the Star Trek pages. There you can download previews and information. I've seen a couple of these remastered episodes airing locally, and TOS has never looked so good. Be aware that as of this writing, Paramount has not committed to releasing the re-mastered series on DVD, but I have no doubt that they will as they have a history of getting as much money from Trek fans as possible.
The bottom line...if you want the series with all the original effects (cloth backdrops, the same planet tinted different colors, reused ship clips, etc) go for this set. I doubt if it will get any less expensive than it is at the time of this review. But download some of the remastered previews from the Paramount site first, and if you can, watch the remastered episodes on TV before making up your mind. They aren't altering anything that significantly changes the show, and it looks stunning compared to this set. If you want the remastered 'improved' version though, you will have to wait until Paramount releases it (season by season, and eventually the full set), and expect to pay a lot more than this set, unless you are willing to wait a year or more after release. Finally, if you decide to order this set, check all the disks as soon as possible, as it appears there are defective sets being sold. Hope this helps in the decision...live long and prosper :-)
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