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. T... more »he 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.« less
If I could find something new to say about Star Trek, that would be a feat in itself. Let it suffice to say that it's the most successful TV sci-fi franchise of all time, was a pioneering show in many respects, and is just darned entertaining to watch, whether you're a "true believer" or not.
Season One of the Original Series is a great place to start for newbies and fanatics alike. We are introduced to the Romulans, Klingons, Khan, Starfleet, the Federation of Planets, and the whole crew short of Chekov, who appears in Season Two. We are presented with 29 episodes, at least 6 of which are absolute masterpieces, and another 10 of which are really, really good. In this package, you'll get classics such as "The City on The Edge of Forever," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "Balance of Terror," "The Menagerie," "The Devil In The Dark," and "Space Seed." Overall, it's the Original Series' strongest season, and it only has two real clunkers in the group ("Shore Leave" and "The Galileo Seven").
There's really not a whole lot to be faulted in this season. It's an absolutely rock solid item for any Trekkie, and indeed any sci-fi fan, to own.
So the question becomes, how is the presentation?
Well, it should be said right off the bat that the HD transfers of these shows are absolutely sparkling. Detail is through the roof, making every smile line, button and dial, star, and ship detail just pop right off the screen. Black levels are rock solid, especially in space scenes. Color saturation is deeper than deep, and bright colors are radiant in a way that the previous DVDs just can't replicate. The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio - thank goodness CBS/Paramount didn't try to stretch these shows in a manner similar to many "HD" rebroadcasts of older shows on cable.
The Original Series was shot on 35 mm film stock, which has more detail than any 480i TV broadcast can resolve (or 480p DVD for that matter). Thus, it is truly benefited by a high definition transfer. This isn't a release where you look at it and say "well, it looks pretty good for what it is." In fact, it has just as much fine detail and the same superior color as the newest shows currently broadcast on TV in HD. And it really does blow away the previous DVDs, too. There are, of course, a few shots here and there that betray their age. This is just the nature of the beast when dealing with 40 year old celluloid elements. But all told, a good 90% of the shots are competitive with modern HD. So as far as a video rating goes, this is 5 star material all the way.
Audio is a tad problematic. Some of the sound balancing seems to be a bit off - dialogue can have a tough time keeping up with music and sound effects. It's perfectly clear, don't get me wrong. But I found myself fiddling with the volume controls more than I'd like throughout an episode. On the other hand, the audio in general is great. The re-recorded theme song is breathtaking - especially when the Enterprise "wooosh-es" by from the front speakers to the rear surrounds. Red Alert klaxons and atmospheric sounds generally are mixed towards the surround channels. It's very cool.
Special effects sequences have been redone with modern CGI and in high definition. For the most part they look great, and it is quite refreshing in the era of the "Lucas-ing" (or is it Abrams-ifying?) of old material that the producers of the new effects went to such great lengths to respect the original design aesthetic of the 1960's material. I will say I kind of wish they had done new model work, as CG still just isn't to the point where it looks "real" (setting aside the fact that this is inherently unreal stuff being filmed...). But I understand that it would never have been done in that case, since it costs so much more these days to do model work as opposed to CGI. On balance, having new effects is much more good than bad.
But the kicker, and the reason it would be no big deal even if one hated the new effects, is the fact that the original effects are on the same disc. You can watch an entire show with the old or new effects, or, if you'd prefer to irritate your friends and significant others, switch between them in real time with the "angle" button on your remote. Are you paying attention, George Lucas? This is what we want in a Star Wars Blu-Ray! The beautiful new with the respected old, side-by-side. Big kudos go to CBS/Paramount and the Trek team for the job they've done here.
Also included are several extra features. Mini-documentaries, mostly reprised from the previous DVD set, are included one on each disc. The "pop-up" text commentary from the DVD has been retained as "Starfleet Access," a combination video-text commentary. The videos are nice, but they talk over the audio from the episode, whereas the older text commentary did not interfere with the audio. I wish both could have been included. New features include a mini-doc on the HD restoration and effects, and a set of "home movies" from an extra on the Trek set. Especially cool is an interactive "tour" of the original series Enterprise, showing many nooks and crannies not often seen or discussed, on the same gorgeous HD CGI model that the new shots use. All in all, a healthy set of extras.
The packaging is nowhere near as bad as some previous DVD Trek seasons, but it still has its issues. Why can we not be presented with episode titles on each disc? The discs are just blank silver paint, with loads of empty space that helpful titles could have occupied. Instead, the episodes are listed on the INSIDE of the Blu-Ray insert, and are covered by both the filler material in the front, and by a disc in back. Being required to pop out a disc to see the contents of three more is really not convenient.
***** The audio niggles and the packaging stupidity might be enough to make some downgrade this to a four star rating. I am swayed however, by the astounding HD clarity of the video, and the wonderful options for old and new special effects. The other things are minor issues in the scheme of things. This is a tremendously good presentation of an absolutely seminal television show and science fiction saga. The respect with which the "restoration" was handled is truly commendable.
Any Trekkie/Trekker who has a Blu-Ray player should own this set. It's just that simple. If you are just a general sci-fi fan, you also should give this serious consideration."
Finally, A Season Set Of The ORIGINAL Series!
Servo | Atlanta, GA USA | 06/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With practically all of the Star Trek spinoffs now available as season sets, Paramount Home Entertainment FINALLY delivers the highly anticipated Star Trek - The Complete First Season on DVD this August 31, in an 8-disc collectible box set. The box will contain all 29 episodes - in airdate order - from Season One of the original Star Trek series, along with newly produced bonus features exclusive to this DVD release. The contents of the DVDs are as follows: Disc 1: "The Man Trap," "Charlie X," "Where No Man Has Gone Before,"** "The Naked Time" Disc 2: "The Enemy Within," "Mudd's Women," "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" "Miri" Disc 3: "Dagger of the Mind," "The Corbomite Maneuver," "The Menagerie, Part I,"** The Menagerie, Part II"** Disc 4: "The Conscience of the King,"** "Balance of Terror," "Shore Leave," "The Galileo Seven" Disc 5: "The Squire of Gothos," "Arena," "Tomorrow is Yesterday," "Court Martial" Disc 6: "The Return of the Archons," "Space Seed," "A Taste of Armageddon," "This Side of Paradise" Disc 7: "The Devil in the Dark," "Errand of Mercy," "The Alternative Factor," "The City on the Edge of Forever" Disc 8: "Operation: Annihilation" ** These four episodes have text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda Disc 8 of the DVD also includes the following special features: "The Birth of a Timeless Legacy": The definitive telling of how it all began: from the first pilot, "The Cage," (which will be included on the Season 3 set, and will be the same two versions released before) to reshooting the pilot with William Shatner, to the many challenges leading up to its premiere on NBC in 1966. Included are interviews with cast and network executives and producers. Also featured are new interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Robert Justman. "Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner": Featured on each volume, this featurette follows one principal cast member around on their most current film and TV projects, charity events, conventions, trips, or hobbies. In Season One, William Shatner gives viewers an exclusive invitation to his ranch to discuss his love of horses. "To Boldly Go .": Includes discussion of "The Naked Time," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "The Devil in the Dark" and "The Squire of Gothos" by cast and production crew members. "Reflections on Spock": Leonard Nimoy discusses his character in depth, and explains why he chose to write two different books on the subject: "I Am Not Spock" and "I Am Spock." "Sci-Fi Visionaries": A look at Star Trek's famous writers, featuring interviews with Gene Coon, Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Thomas, Richard Matheson, D.C. Fontana, Gene Roddenberry, Bob Justman and John D.F. Black. Original Preview Trailers Photo Log
Here are the official release dates of the original Star Trek season sets: - Season 1 on 8/31 - Season 2 on 11/2 - Season 3 on 12/14 - The Complete Series on 12/14"
I own it... Gorn's are greener than I was led to believe.
Gary Tooze | Toronto | 04/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am probably one of the few that actually own it. I am a reviewer and have an early copy. It looks and sounds magnificent. Each of the 7 Blu-ray discs are dual-layered (47+ Gig) and each episode takes up between 7.5 - 12 Gig of space. I've compared screen grabs to the old 2000 DVDs on the DVDBeaver website and anyone can plainly see the incredible superiority. The image is stunning and the 7.1 sound is over 4000 kpbs. These are even better transfers than the HD-DVDs. I give a very strong recommendation. Great value in my opinion."
Bowing In/Bowing Out
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 12/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1964 Gene Roddenberry pitched his Star Trek idea to NBC executives as "Wagon Train to the Stars." Expecting a western set in space, they gave Roddenberry the go-ahead and set him to work. When they viewed The Cage in early 1965, they must have been surprised. After complaining it was "too cerebral," the suits issued a litany of other complaints: the female second in command (Number One) was unacceptable, and there were too many females in general on the ship ("people will think there's a lot of fooling around going on up there"); the presence of minorities would offend NBC affiliates in the South, who would refuse to air the program; and "that guy with the ears" had to go. Roddenberry was willing to concede the female second in command, but thereafter he dug in his heels: minorities and aliens continue to be a presence in Star Trek to this day.Watching The Cage from a 21st Century perspective, one wonders what the NBC suits were in a ringer about. The episode is not appreciably higher in concept than many original series episodes, and the whole affair has an appealing "New Frontier" Kennedy-esque flavor.Somewhat like an Ed Wood movie, Turnabout Intruder is unintentionally humorous. The story idea is ludicrous, the dialogue cringeworthy, and the acting has to be seen to be believed. William Shatner's realization of Kirk's body under the control of Janice Lester (which includes filing his nails and walking with a mincing gait) is the single most over the top performance in all of Trek. He comes across as Joan Crawford on Psilocybin. How his intensely homoerotic moments with guest actor Harry Landers got past the network censors will forever remain a mystery. This story is the greatest camp masterpiece since Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. How does this DVD look? The full color version of The Cage is a true restoration, not merely a remastering. The print has been carefully cleaned and color corrected, and various sound elements (dialogue, music, and sound effects) have been remixed from the original sources. Generally it wears its age well, although portions of the dialogue sound fuzzy. The Black & White/Color amalgamation of The Cage is also included. This version has had no rework done, which makes the restoration of the all-color version all the more stunning. Gene Roddenberry's introduction from 1986 is also included, a nice touch."
Review of product presentation, not the show itself
Steve Bonario | Houston, TX United States | 09/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm guessing few people want to read another opinion about the show. If you do, skip this review. Instead, I'll share my opinion and rating of this DVD collection from a physical product standpoint, as well as some of the DVD-collection/presentation elements.
PHYSICAL PRODUCTION PROS: - comes in a single hard shell case instead of a cardboard fold-out box - each disc label has a photo of an original cast member as their character CONS: - each of the 8 DVDs is stored on a single, clear plastic, uncovered disc-holder. All 8 are held together with a piece of clear tape. - the taped bundle of 8 discs fits inside a tight-fitting paper sleeve - booklet for the DVDs is just a flimsy long fold-out with little informative value
DVD PRESENTATION: PROS: - good sound - decent image quality - episode preview trailer included for each episode - some episodes have text pop-up commentary - all episodes have chapter logs - original broadcast date included - a few extras included CONS: - being forced to sit through the credits of every episode - being forced to sit through the bridge animation sequence to get to the main menu - bad quality control process on some of episode selection/nav console sequence (for example, I always experience stuttering and visual errors when loading the episode nav console for "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") - use of prints apparently remastered in 1978 (unless the closing copyright date is simply a studio copyright and not print-related).
OTHER STUFF: Price: I bought it new and discounted at $79.99 and thought that should have been the *list* price. Pretty poor value if you pay much more than this."