Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek -- Season Two

Disc four. If you need a single reason to buy Star Trek: The Original Series Season 2 on Blu-ray, that reason is disc four. Of course, as it turns out, there are seven discs on this fantastic new set, and you'll want them all. But disc four is a perfect example of how box sets should be released in this day and age. But I'll get to that. At this point you probably don't have to be sold on a Star Trek box set; if you're reading this, you're most likely already interested. Every medium has seen a release of the TOS (including the now defunct HD-DVD), and this is no exception. Fortunately for us, the only way to get us to buy it over and over again is to make the sets better -- and since you can't improve the show ... you have to add content.

And that's where this new Blu-ray set really stands out.

Just like the season one box set, you get the option of watching the beautifully restored episodes as they originally aired or with the enhanced effects from the special re-do several years ago. In addition, there are a number of Starfleet Access Mode episodes, which show the episode along with a cut-in series of interviews discussing scenes, the origin of episodes, actors in each episode, and how the special effects came together. Certain episodes even interview the original writers and actors some 40 years after the fact.

And let's not forget that season two introduces major cast member Pavel Chekov and includes a number of fan favorites beginning with "Amok Time" (in which Spock experiences Pon farr). There's also the infamous goatee-wearing Spock episode "Mirror, Mirror"; "Journey to Babel," in which we first meet Spock's parents; "The Changeling," which would be somewhat borrowed from for the original Motion Picture; the gangster favorite "A Piece of the Action," and the time travel/modern day episode "Assignment: Earth," set in 1968. And then of course there is "The Trouble with Tribbles," quite possibly the single most beloved episode of classic Trek ever.

And that brings us to disc four which, as I've previously mentioned, is where the stars come out to shine. Disc four is entirely about "The Trouble with Tribbles." It contains only one episode of the classic series -- but that in no way infers that the rest is simply supplemental material. On the contrary, the disc contains the episode "More Tribbles, More Tribbles" from the Saturday morning animated series as well as the legendary (and ground breaking) 30th anniversary episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in which the crew of DS9 are sent back in time and are inserted into the original "Trouble with Tribbles" while hunting down a potential assassin -- who reprises his role from the original episode. All this plus bonus featurettes on the history, making-of, and imagining of the classic episode. Seeing all of these elements brought to glorious high definition was an incredible treat.

And there are seven discs of this content. It is truly a Star Trek lover's dream collection. Paramount has really been giving Star Trek the full court press this year and I, for one, am thankful for it.

Star Trek: The Original Series Season 2 is available now from Paramount Home Entertainment.