Thursday, September 18, 2008
tv on dvd review: star trek: season two remastered
When Loophole called me and asked me to do a review on a new DVD compilation on Star Trek I said “Beam me up, Loopey. I am there!” My excitement, however, waned when I realized the DVD was of the original series. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Star Trek fan. Although, I am more of the “Next Generation” generation. Give me a good old Picard monologue or a romance scene between Riker and Troi anyday. That being said I, like most people with working televisions, have seen at least some snippet of an original Star Trek episode. I can even identify the main characters by name and perform the Spock greeting with my hand - seriously, I’m not kidding. To say, however, that I am qualified to write this review is going a little far. Therefore, I will do my best at this mission, where no Baravelli has gone before.
Tell me what’s so special about this set, you say. Well, dammit Jim, I’m a doctor not a - errrr, oh, wait. Here goes ……
The Hard Facts
Star Trek the Original Series: The Second Season Remastered
26 episodes from the 1967-1968 season
8 discs in an accordian style set
Studio: CBS / Paramount
Dolby Digital 5.1 format
Release Date: August 5, 2008
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig
We all know the quality of the series when seen on television. Each scene was colored with woefully muted hues, while the quality a little grainy. Compared to the more recent series’ from this franchise, the stunts and visual effects are, at best, campy. It had definite cheese factor all over it. But when one thinks about the time in which it was created, it can not be disputed that Gene Roddenberry was definitely a master in his art. His imagination and vision of what the world could be in the future was one that I dare say no one else ever ventured to embark upon. Nichelle Nichols, Uhura, once said that she went into Roddenberry’s office and told him she had figured him out - he was writing allegories. The accusation proved to be dead on. Roddenberry’s vision didn’t just exist to make for great entertainment. His stories were written to prove a point or to create conversation, a thought that would possibly invoke change. While the presentation was campy the underlying plot and purpose was pure genius. Roddenberry often pulled from history to create his plot lines or even characters. During a short episode one could be exposed to any number of themes - racism, sexism, war, anti-religion, etc. It was a political speech in the form of pure, unadulterated entertainment. The evil villains of the universe were, without a doubt, pulled from history. Those lovable, soft Klingons are very reminiscent of history’s Mongols, while the Romulans identify with the Romans (how’d you figure that one out, eh Baravelli) and the Vulcans can be likened to the Greeks. Creativity meets education at it’s finest. Jokes are made all the time about the seemingly obsessive Trekkers, but they obviously have someone else in their corner. Although they never received an Emmy, The Original Series was nominated for several during the 79 episode run, including Best Guest Appearance, Best Dramatic Series, and Best Supporting Actor. The series did win 2 Hugo Awards, the top honor for a science fiction show.
Much about the show has already been said. It is important to note that many of the most popular episodes, even some listed by Entertainment Weekly as the Top Ten Star Trek Episodes are included in Season Two. Most notable of these are “ The Trouble with Tribbles”, “Amok Time”, “Mirror, Mirror”, and “The Doomsday Machine.”
The bonus features on this set are at Warp 9. These include preview trailers for the episodes in the set, some home movies, clips of favorite Star Trek moments, and interviews with the stars - what I went to first. Leonard Nimoy speaks about “Life Beyond Star Trek”, there is an interview with Nichelle Nichols, and the friendship between Kirk, Spock, and Bones is examined. These bonuses are all a must see.
The A/V effects are essentially what we are here to discuss, the reason this set is being termed “Remastered.” Well, CBS has digitally reproduced these episodes with CGI visual effects. While the plots and scenes between the actors have been put in high definition using the original 35mm film elements, the visual effects have been digitally enhanced. Most notable are a new CGI Enterprise, a new background, and the various “tweaking” of shots. According to Wikipedia (I give credit where credit is due) some scenes have been redone using new actors in the background of some of these shots. When the box says “Remastered” it means “Remastered.” Below are two comparison shots - the first is the original shot and the next the same scene from the remastered edition:
The Bottom Line:
Really, do I need to give you the bottom line? This set is full of bonus features and exciting new images, as well as the same old stories that you love, cheese factor or not. I would say that this is definitely worth the trip to your favorite big box store, even with the gas prices so high. Too bad you can’t beam there!! Scotty, where are you?!
Individually grading the set, A/V and bonus features, the set would earn the following:
Season Two: A+
Bonus Features: A
Star Trek: Season Two Remastered is a MUST HAVE!
We give it 5 stars (Groucho glasses)
Stay tuned- we've got more reviews, news and other great stuff lined up. Don't miss it!
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