Star Trek: The Original Series – Season One

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock
William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk
DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy
Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
James Doohan as Scott
Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie
Bill Blackburn as Lt. Hadley
George Takei as Sulu
Frank da Vinci as Lt. Brent
Walter Koenig as Chekov
Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel
Roger Holloway as Lt. Lemli

Special Features:
Bonus features on the HD DVD side are as follows:

Starfleet Access – On-screen graphical interface allows viewers to access Picture in Picture video commentaries, comparisons of re-mastered vs. original effects, encyclopedic information (science, life forms, technology), episode trivia and more on the following episodes:

Where No Man Has Gone Before
The Menagerie, Part 1
The Menagerie, Part 2
Balance of Terror
The Galileo Seven
Space Seed
Errand of Mercy

Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st Century – From new visual effects to sound, this documentary provides an in-depth exploration of the remastering of classic Star Trek episodes.

Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories – Join crew member and “extra-extraordinaire” Billy Blackburn as he shares his own behind-the-scenes home movie footage of life on the set of Star Trek.

Interactive Enterprise Tour – Viewers will explore the Enterprise interior and exterior in detail as they pilot their own shuttlecraft in this spectacular 3D simulated feature.

Perpetual Entertainment’s “Star Trek Online” MMO Game Preview

Bonus features on the standard DVD side are as follows:

Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st Century
The Birth of a Timeless Legacy
Reflections on Spock
Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner
To Boldly Go…Season One
Sci-Fi Visionaries
Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories
Kiss & Tell: Romance in the 24th Century
Trek Connections
Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier
Episode Preview Trailers
Perpetual Entertainment’s “Star Trek Online” MMO Game Preview

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French Subtitles
Running Time: 12 Hours 34 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the press release:

“CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment invite you to experience ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ as never before when the legendary first season arrives for the first time ever in a 10-disc HD DVD/DVD combo disc set on November 20, 2007. Meticulously remastered from the original camera negative specifically for this high-definition release, each classic episode is presented in pristine condition with state-of-the-art digital visual effects. 1960s special effects have been replaced with 21st century computer-generated imagery to give new depth and atmosphere to various elements including the main title sequence, the galaxy shots frequently seen from the Enterprise’s bridge, the battle scenes, planets and alien ships, some of the matte paintings used as backdrops for new worlds, as well as the Enterprise and other Starships, which have been replaced with state-of-the-art CGI-created ships. The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The refurbished episodes also feature higher quality sound for the famous opening theme. The original score by Emmy® Award-winning composer Alexander Courage has been re-recorded in state-of-the-art digital stereo audio with an orchestra and a female singer belting out the famous vocals. A digitally remastered version of William Shatner’s classic original recording of the 38-word “Space, the final frontier…” monologue continues to open each episode.

In addition, the extraordinary set features true HD audio and exclusive HD DVD interactive features produced by New Wave Entertainment. Interactive menus and a “Starfleet Access” interface will allow viewers to activate icons which provide such features as Picture in Picture video commentaries and an interactive tour of the starship Enterprise. Both the standard definition and high definition presentations also include rare on-set home movie footage, an inside perspective on what it took to transport Trek into the 21st century and much more. Housed in a futuristic clear case, the ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ HD DVD/DVD set will be available for the suggested retail price of $217.99.

‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ is a 10-disc collection presented in the original aspect ratio (1.33:1) screen. The standard definition presentation includes Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, LAS Mono and French Mono as well as English, LAS and French subtitles. The HD DVD presentation features English Dolby True HD and LAS Mono with English and LAS subtitles. The DVD is not rated in the U.S. and rated G in Canada.”

“Star Trek: The Original Series” is not rated.

The Series:
The best way to describe this DVD set is “Star Trek: Special Edition”. Like Lucas’ revamp of the original “Star Wars” films, Paramount has digitally cleaned up the original picture and revamped the special effects. And I have to say the series look better than ever. The picture is crystal clear and the colors look very vibrant. And they didn’t stop there. They also re-recorded the original score using a new orchestra playing the original sheet music. It’s perfect for a surround sound presentation.

But there’s one big difference from the “Star Wars” Special Editions – the revamped effects don’t change the original story. (Kirk doesn’t awkwardly dodge any phasers or attack a computer generated Gorn.) The CG guys made every effort to match the original composition of the ’60s special effects shots. They so closely resemble the original ’60s effects that at first glance I thought, “These effects look terrible! I’ve seen fan films with better effects.” But once you realize the spirit they were doing them in it’s all perfectly cool. While I’m sure some purists will rant and rave against these upgrades, I’d argue that in some cases the effects enhance the story. In one episode you see the Enterprise launch satellites while in the original version you couldn’t see anything. In another episode they add a phaser blast from Scotty when originally there was none. They also expand some of the cities, add a couple of blinks to the Gorn’s eyes, and other minor touches here and there. Overall, I think it was a great series of additions.

The Extras:
This DVD set contains both regular DVD format and HD DVD format discs. It’s certainly a good way to please everyone (and push the HD DVD format). Unfortunately, a few of the bonus features were only available on the HD DVD side. If you want to see Picture in Picture video commentaries, comparisons of re-mastered vs. original effects, encyclopedic information (science, life forms, technology), episode trivia, the Interactive Enterprise Tour, and other stuff, you need to buy an HD DVD player. Unfortunately, I don’t have one so I can’t comment on those bonus features.

If you bought the original version of the Original Series, you’re going to see a few familiar bonus features. The following items have already appeared on the older DVD offering:

-The Birth of a Timeless Legacy
-Reflections on Spock
-Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner
-To Boldly Go…Season One
-Sci-Fi Visionaries
-Episode Preview Trailers

So what does that leave that’s new? Here’s the breakdown:

Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st Century – This 20 minute featurette details all the changes made to the episodes. They discuss the philosophy behind updating the effects, the digital cleanup process, recording the new music, and more. While some purists may disagree, I completely bought into the upgrades. I thought they put the polish on the original item. They didn’t reinvent it.

Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories – Blackburn was an extra on the original series playing everything from the Enterprise navigator to the Gorn to the White Rabbit. He talks about life on the set and even shows home movies he took from the set. It’s extremely rare footage and very interesting to see (though a highlight is seeing Spock in the catering line).

Kiss & Tell: Romance in the 24th Century – This featurette highlights not only the loves of Captain Kirk but those of the other crew members, too.

Trek Connections – This is “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” but “Star Trek” style. This game is absolutely not for newbies. You have no hope of winning.

Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier – This was an hour and a half documentary hosted by Leonard Nimoy that was shown on TV. All the living cast and crew were interviewed and they covered all the Trek TV series. A major focus of the documentary is an auction of Trek props. There’s a lot of fun footage of fans and auctioneers raiding the warehouse for items to sell.

The Bottom Line:
This is a great revitalization of the original series. The new effects, improved picture, and new sound are quite impressive and the bonus features should please many Trek fans.

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