"THE BEST OF STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)
William Shatner as CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK
Leonard Nimoy as MR. SPOCK
DeForest Kelley as DR. MCCOY
James Doohan as SCOTTY
Walter Koenig as MR. CHEKOV
George Takei as MR. SULU
Nichelle Nichols as CMDR. UHURA
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In case you haven’t caught all the episodes of the original “Star Trek” in reruns, you can catch up on the best of the bunch in this single disc DVD. Four of the most famous episodes are featured on this release.
“The City on the Edge of Forever” features Joan Collins as a guest star. Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) accidentally gives himself an overdose of medicine and goes temporarily insane. He beams down to a planet with a temporal gateway that sends him back to Earth during the Depression. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) must follow him and set the time stream to the correct path.
In “The Trouble with Tribbles,” the crew of the Enterprise dock at a space station for some shore leave. Captain Kirk has been ordered to protect a shipment of grain which the authorities think might be sabotaged by Klingons. Meanwhile, a shifty entrepreneur introduces the cute but troublesome tribbles to the space station, resulting in a tribble population explosion.
“Balance of Terror” features the first glimpse at Romulans in the 23rd Century. The Enterprise faces a traitorous Romulan commander who is destroying Federation outposts near the Neutral Zone. While Kirk tries to keep the situation contained, a racist crew member suspects Spock to be a Romulan traitor due to the similarities between them and the Vulcan race.
In “Amok Time,” Mr. Spock goes through the Vulcan process of Pon farr, in which he enters a blood fury and must return to his home planet to take his mate. In the process, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy stand by their friend, but an unwelcomed consequence threatens their lives.
WHAT I LIKED
It’s true that even the most casual science fiction fan will have seen these episodes many of times in reruns and on previous released formats. Still, an affordable and easily digestible four-episode splash on DVD makes for a nice way to revisit them. You may not consider them to be the best of the original series, but this disc does serve as a decent “Star Trek” primer if you can’t catch the reruns on television.
Of course, I always loved “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which was the show’s height of comedy infused into a science fiction universe. For some reason, I always seemed to miss “The City on the Edge of Forever.” This might have been because as a young boy watching the reruns on television, I was initially turned off by the love story between Captain Kirk and Joan Collins. I’ve known this to be a classic episode, and now after finally seeing it in its full glory, I do appreciate it.
“Balance of Terror” was never my favorite episode, partly because it just seemed confusing to have Mark Lenard play both the Romulan commander and Spock’s father in later episodes. Even as a child, I found this strange. However, it is very relevant to the release of the new “Star Trek” film in theaters, being that Romulans are the bad guys there.
Similarly, “Amok Time” is relevant to the new film in that it shows the emotional side of Vulcans, which is explored in J.J. Abrams’ installment. Plus, Spock’s betrothed is pretty hot.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Being a show of the 1960s, “Star Trek” is filled with cheese and camp, even though this wasn’t the intention. The mood lighting is ramped up in the Enterprise, but it gets a break in episodes like “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Amok Time” where much of the action takes place off of the starship.
Going into these episodes with the knowledge of the history behind the series – and the sometimes tense relationships between the actors – you can see where this affected the show. Kirk is shoehorned into the love story of “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and it just seems a little too convenient that Shatner gets his shirt ripped so easily in “Amok Time.”
Still, for a sampling of the original series, this is a fun ride.
Sadly, you’ll have to be content with the episodes themselves – and a somewhat self-serving preview of the new film and the first season of the original series on Blu-Ray – as there are no other special features on the disc.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who wants a “Star Trek” refresher course, or who wants to see what’s consider the best episodes from the show’s three-year run.