Sunday, November 22, 2009

DVD Review: The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series Volume Two

Star Trek is a science fiction series that premiered in 1966, and chronicled the voyages of the star ship Enterprise. Its five-year mission was to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. The Enterprise is helmed by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), his first officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medical officer Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley). While the show is about exploration and creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a peaceful future, it’s also about the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy as well as the rest of the crew.

The series was almost canceled after its second season, but fan support saved it. However, fan support couldn’t save it from being canceled after the third season. Star Trek found major success in syndication and has spun off an animated series with many actors reprising their roles in voice. There have also been four spin-off series (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise), and ten movies based on the same Star Trek universe. The theatrical release this past summer of the eleventh film, Star Trek, rebooted the franchise by establishing an alternate time line.

The series have been on DVD for some time, with the original series recently released on Blu-ray. To capitalize on this summer's movie, Paramount released “Best of” DVDs from both The Original Series and The Next Generation. Now with the release of the new Star Trek movie on DVD they’ve released The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series Volume Two, which contains another four episodes from the classic series which ran from 1966-1969.

“Where No Man Has Gone Before” is the second pilot produced for the series after the first one was rejected. It actually aired third in sequence, and it's the first episode to feature William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.

“Space Seed” is an episode from the first season featuring Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered superhuman whom the crew of the Enterprise finds in cryo-sleep. Khan and his crew attempt to take over the ship before being defeated and this sequence of events sets up what is arguably the best Star Trek movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

“A Piece of the Action” is a second season episode that finds Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beaming down to a planet that looks like 1920s Prohibition-era America.

Finally there’s another second season episode, “Journey to Babel,” where we meet Spock’s parents, Amanda and Sarek (Jane Wyatt and Mark Lenard). We learn how Sarek truly feels about his son and see Spock’s human mother.

Sadly there are no extras on the DVD and if you’re a fan of the show you have the box sets of the seasons. These are the remastered versions of the episodes which means they look better than they ever have. Nonetheless, if you don’t have these, my recommendation is to either buy the box sets or just rent the DVDs as these “best of” sets are just designed to cash in on the movie’s recent success and fans deserve better than this.