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As someone who grew up watching STAR TREK on television, and having the show become part of my daily ritual during my formative years, all I can say is that I am totally ecstatic that the show has been given a full spit and polish upgrade to high definition, which includes cool new special effects, and that the whole package is being released on Blu-ray Disc in season sets. Sure, there were a lot of years that I was unable to watch STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES (as it is referred to today), simply because it was not longer being regularly syndicated in the market in which I lived, or it was being aired in the middle of the night. However, the original DVD release of STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES made all of those classic episodes available any time I wanted to see them, but I have to admit having the show available in high definition, almost makes this classic television series seem brand new again.

For the handful of you completely unfamiliar with STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES the show was the brainchild of that Great Bird of the Galaxy Gene Roddenberry. STAR TREK is set several centuries in the future, and takes place on board the Starship Enterprise, whose five-year mission was to explore strange, new worlds… seek out new life and new civilizations… to boldly go where no man has gone before. The regular cast for the second season of STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES featured William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as the ship’s half-Vulcan first officer, Commander Spock, DeForest Kelley as ship’s surgeon Dr. Leonard McCoy, James Doohan as ship’s engineer Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, George Takei as helmsman Lt. Hikaru Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, Walter Koenig as navigator Ensign Pavel Chekov and Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel.

STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 ($130) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired during the show’s sophomore year. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Amok Time, Who Mourns For Adonais?, The Changeling, Mirror, Mirror, The Apple, The Doomsday Machine, Catspaw, I, Mudd, Metamorphosis, Journey To Babel, Friday's Child, The Deadly Years, Obsession, Wolf In The Fold, The Trouble With Tribbles, The Gamesters Of Triskelion, A Piece Of The Action, The Immunity Syndrome, A Private Little War, Return To Tomorrow, Patterns Of Force, By Any Other Name, The Omega Glory, The Ultimate Computer, Bread And Circuses and Assignment: Earth.

Season two of STAR TREK was a great year for the series that produced a lot of classic episodes, which this reviewer counts among his personal favorites, including: Amok Time, which strips the Vulcan first officer of his steely logic. Mirror, Mirror in which a transporter mishap strands several members of the crew in a savage parallel universe. I, Mudd marks the return of conman Harry Mudd, who now rules over a planet of androids. Journey To Babel finds the Enterprise transporting alien diplomats to a Federation conference, including Spock’s parents. Wolf In The Fold finds Scotty the prime suspect in a series of murders. The Trouble With Tribbles is one of the all time classic Trek episodes involving Klingons, a type of grain called quadrotriticale and furry little creatures with prodigious reproductive habits. The Ultimate Computer takes control of the Enterprise, but will it render living crews obsolete. Assignment: Earth finds the Enterprise journeying back in time, where they encounter a mysterious human, who has been trained by an unknown alien race to help prevent humanity from destroying itself.

CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-six episodes from STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 available on Blu-ray Disc in the proper 1.37:1 aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 delivers the goods, as the fairly stunning 1080p presentations will attest. These shining jewels have never looked crisper or better defined than they do here- nor have the mismatched stunt men been more obvious. Additionally, the new special effects look tremendous and give the outer space shots a level of credibility that the original 1960’s TV budget effects lacked. There is also a viewing option to watch the episodes with the original special effects, which tend to come across as even more dated in high definition. Live action shots that contain optical effects do show diminished resolution, but that is the nature of the beast. In regards to unprocessed principal photography, texturing and fine detail are impressive, especially in close ups, with every nuance of the actors’ faces being readily visible. The picture is also fairly dimensional, or as dimensional as the confined sets will allow. Colors get a big WOW and pop really nicely- especially the bright hues of the Starfleet uniforms. Flesh tones look as natural as the applications of makeup will allow. Blacks appear quite inky, and the whites are crisp. Contrast is good, but the television lighting rarely allows for shadows, let alone, shadow detail. The elements from which STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 do display minor blemishes, which isn’t bad when you consider that the episodes are more than four decades old. Grain is ever-present and adds a wonderful organic quality to the presentations.

All of the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. I have to admit the lossless encoding provides for surprisingly robust sonics, especially when you consider that this television series originally presented in monaural. There are effective channel separations that are appear primarily in the forward hemisphere. Surround usage isn’t extensive for active effects, but there is a fairly nice spread of music and ambient sound to the rear. Despite the lossless encode, musical fidelity has some mild limitations as a result of the age of the recordings, but holds up well enough. The bass channel adds a nice bit of rumble and some solid percussive force. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, plus the voices seem to have more presence than are contained on the original monaural track. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital monaural tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starfleet Access has been granted on two episodes (Amok Time and The Trouble With Tribbles) and consists of picture-in-picture video commentaries and other programs, as well as pop-up factoid text commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Billy Blackburn's Treasure Chest offers candid home movies from the set of the STAR TREK television series. Bonus Episodes More Tribbles, More Troubles from STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES and Trials And Tribble-ations from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE are provided to supplement The Trouble With Tribbles, along with the programs Trials And Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends and Trials And Tribble-ations: An Historic Endeavor. Star Trek: TOS On Blu-ray offers a discussion of the release of the series on the high definition video format. Star Trek's Favorite Moments is fan-ish and self-explanetory.

Programs ported from the previous DVD release of season two include the following: To Boldly Go... Season Two runs nearly twenty minutes and features various cast members reflecting on some of the second season’s stand out episodes, as well as a new addition to the cast. Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy is a twelve-minute program featuring the actor discussing his latest project and love- photography. Kirk, Spock & Bones: Star Trek’s Great Trio clocks in at seven minutes and features Shatner and Nimoy discussing their chemistry on screen with the late DeForest Kelley. Designing The Final Frontier is a twenty-two minute program featuring art director Matt Jefferies discussing his work on Trek. Star Trek’s Devine Diva: Nichelle Nichols is thirteen minutes long and features the singer/actress talking about both aspects of her career and how she got involved with Trek. Writer’s Notebook: D.C. Fontana is a seven-minute interview in which the writer/story editor discusses her involvement and contributions to the series. Episode Previews round out the standard supplements. STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES- SEASON 2 features some of the series best and most classic episodes. The Blu-ray release offers fairly stunning hi-def presentations of these classic episodes. Very highly recommended.



Star Trek The Original Series: Season Two [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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