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Star Trek: The Original Series- The Complete Series: 55th Anniversary Steelbook Collection Blu-ray Review

 “Star Trek: The Original Series” is simply one of the best TV series.

1966’s “Star Trek” (AKA “Star Trek: The Original Series and “Star Trek: TOS”) may have been pitched as “A Wagon Train to the stars,” but it was much more than that. Not only was it a game changing series for television, but it also became an iconic part of the sci-fi genre. Much like the characters comprised of Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Nurse Chapel, the Enterprise took viewers to a new place with every episode. Through creator Gene Roddenberry, viewers were able to see a powerful vision of the future filled with equality, exploration, wonder, connections, time travel, and above all hope (unless you wore a red shirt). Yes there were action scenes and plenty of dangers with viruses, monsters, and alien threats, but it wouldn’t be much of a series without excitement and conflicts. What really stood out about Trek over the course of 79 episodes and 3 seasons was the world building and intelligent storytelling about everything from war and technology to race and love. It didn’t hurt that some of the greatest writers in sci-fi were telling these stories such as D.C. Fontana, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, and Roddenberry himself. 

With the exception of a chunk of season 3 which is decidedly quite lackluster compared to the first 2, there are so many classic episodes here. Among my personal favorites are “Balance Of Terror” intense cat-and-mouse game with Romulans, “Arena” (in which Kirk faces the Gorn), “Space Seed” (which introduced Khan), the time travel classic “The City On The Edge Of Forever,” “Amok Time” (which explores the Vulcans more), “Journey To Babel” (an intense story about an assassin), “The Trouble With Tribbles” (you all know this classic) and “The Tholian Web” (a space alien yarn).

As strong as the writing is, it’s the ensemble cast that ultimately made this show come to life.  William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig and DeForest Kelley elevated the entire series. They made you believe in this futuristic world and made the Federation seem plausible. Could there have been more characterization and stories about characters that weren’t Kirk, Spock and McCoy? 100%, but those 3 characters were the heart of the series as were their dynamic together. 

Note: Episodes can be viewed with original effects or with new effects.

Video/Audio: 

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look?  The 2009 remasters are divine. The colors are rich and the episodes look better than they ever have. The entire restoration team did a spectacular job on these.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Talk about an upgrade. The show has never sounded better than with the 7.1 audio tracks (also from 2009).

Extras (none new to this set):
* Episode previews
* “To Boldly…Go”- 3 featurettes for each season
* 2 2009 San Diego Comic-Con panels- The Anthropology of Star Trek and The World Of Rod Roddenberry.
* The 3 part Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest which are home movies from a background actor on set.
* Starfleet Access- A picture-in-picture feature for the episodes “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” “The Menagerie” (parts 1 and 2), “Balance Of Terror,” “Space Seed,” “Amok Time,”  and “The Trouble With Tribbles.”
* “Spacelift: Transporting Trek Into The 21st Century” is a featurette about the restoration.
* “Life Beyond Trek” segments that feature interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig after their post Trek careers.
* “Reflections On Spock”- Another interview with Nimoy talking about the character and his career.
* “The Birth Of A Timeless Legacy” is about Trek’s origins and early episodes.
* “Sci-Fi Visionaries” is about sci-fi and Trek.
* An interactive tour of the Enterprise.
* “Kiss ‘N’ Tell: Romance In The 23rd Century” revolves around the female characters and the romances they had in the series.
* Commentary on “The Trouble With Tribbles” by David Gerrold.
* The DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” (an absolute classic) and the “More Tribbles, More Troubles” episode of the “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
*  2 featurettes on the DS9 episode “Trials And Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends” and “Trials And Tribble-ations: An Historic Endeavor”
* “Star Trek: TOS On Blu-ray”- A panel discussing the Blu-ray release.
* “Designing The Final Frontier” is all about the set design.
* “Star Trek’s Favorite Moments”- Cast members and uber fans chat about their favorite TOS moments.
* “Writer’s Notebook: D.C. Fontana” revolves around the writers.
* The self-explanatory featurette “Kirk, Spock, And Bones: Star Trek’s Great Trio.”
* Enhanced Visual Effects Credits
* “Star Trek’s Divine Diva: Nichelle Nichols”- An interview with the actress.
* “Chief Engineer’s Log”- An archival 2003 extra with James Doohan.
* “Memoir From Mr. Sulu”- An interview with George Takei.
* “Captain’s Log: Bob Justman”- A tribute to the producer.
* The restored, unaired pilot episode for “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”
* David Gerrold hosted 2009 Convention Coverage featuring Trek cast member interviews and more.
* “Star Trek’s Impact”- An interview with Rod Roddenberry on Trek’s legacy.
* “Collectible Trek”- One of my favorite extras on this set is this look at Trek merchandise and props.

November 6, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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