I couldn’t help myself. I know this is coming in pretty late, but the allure…the NEED
to watch every single one of the twenty-nine 50 minute episodes was overpowering for me. It wasn’t just that I was still on a Trek high after watching the new movie and doing the Star Trek episode of LEOG
. It wasn’t just that this Blu-Ray edition is so cleaned up and purty it’s like these were produced only yesterday. It was the re-discovery of a show way ahead of its time with great writing and ideas that influenced almost everything that came after it. Hell, it even influenced the actual space program. Let’s not forget that there’s a reason your cell phone flips up. Suffice it to say, I apologize for the wait AND
for this review which is, essentially, a novel. After all that time watching every damn episode and extra in the set straight through, I damn sure had a thing or two to say.
I wish I could come up with a bad thing to say about this Blu-Ray re-issue of “Star Trek The Original Series Season One”
. I like to say
I’m being critical. Other than the expected shoddy package (those Blu-Ray boxes start falling apart upon contact with oxygen as near as I can tell) this is a MUST own, a lynch pin of any good TV collection. Unlike a lot of the shows I have collected, I can guaran-goddamn-tee you that I’ll go back and watch this one again and again. That’s just for the episodes. I haven’t even gotten into the extras, with which this sucka is bursting, but first, a tour through the adventures of the intrepid crew of the original Enterprise:
1-“The Man Trap”
: Not actually the first episode filmed, but the one the execs at Paramount were most happy with since Kirk
gets in a big punch up and there’s a big silly monster. The Enterprise is sent to do a routine check-up on some archeologists down at a deserted dig but things aren’t what they seem, especially with Bones
’ ex-girlfriend down there cavorting about like a tramp and sucking the salt outta people wearing red shirts.
: No, this isn’t the X-Men crossover
, that came later in the comics and it pretty much sucked. This is the first of many ‘dude with god powers’
episodes this season. Charlie
is on the run and just wants to be loved, but he’s a typical adolescent boy, full of rage and insecurity. Only problem is, he could remake the world around him any way he sees fit like that kid in the Twilight Zone
movie. Naturally, Kirk
has some Alpha Male issues with this and has to box his ears a bit.
3-“Where No Man Has Gone Before”:
Two crew members (Sally Kellerman
being one of them) get godlike powers and cool shiny eyes. Naturally they immediately come to the conclusion that the ship should be theirs because they rock with their who glam rock-y god mind thing. This makes it TWO god-like powers episodes thus far.
4-“The Naked Time”
: A virus makes everyone drunk. I can’t help but think Kirk
let this one out on purpose. Only chance he’d get to tap those Yeomans. Not that I can say I blame him. Bonuses include Spock
being VERY uncomfortable as a drunken Nurse Chapel
sleazes all over him and Sulu
jumping around with a sword, which ties into the new movie. Oh yeah, and they discover the first of many, many MANY ways to go back in time. EXTRA TIDBIT: The Next Generation
Trek did their own version of this story in their first time with the episode “The Naked Now”
TOTALLY tapped Tasha Yar.
5-“The Enemy Within”: McCoy
isn’t all curmudgeonly for no reason. The transporter screws up and splits Kirk
into all good but wimpy Kirk
and all bad but decisive Kirk
has to fix the system before Sulu
and the away party below on a freezing planet die of exposure. Pretty creepy watching evil Kirk
near-rape Yeoman Rand
. Pretty creepy indeed. But, at least there’s a cute dog covered in cardboard alien crap to up the cute factor. And you get to see Kirk
all embarrassed, something that doesn’t happen often, but is all satisfying to watch when it does.
The first episode featuring this beloved scumbag character, Harry Mudd
, an outer space con man. The Enterprise overtakes his ship, which is desperately trying to evade them. Upon capture, it is revealed that the ship not only contains the slimy salesman, but three total hotties who seem to have an overpowering effect on any man who comes near. Turns out they’re travelling as potential wives for miners in the area and that all (gasp) is not as it seems. Oh Mudd
, you old rapscallion. This would have been a perfect episode except for some nonsense at the end about “looking beautiful because you think you do”
7-“What are Little Girls Made Of”: Nurse Chapel
(later to become Mrs. Gene Roddenberry
…tsk, tsk, Gene
, dipping your pen in the company ink) runs into her old fiancée and it is discovered that he has made the first Realdoll
factory. Sure, he’s a genius, but there isn’t any porn on archeological digs. Of course, he’s ALL into this robot replacement thing, too much for anyone to feel even vaguely comfortable about it. Not that it stops Kirk
from getting some tongue time with the robot. EXTRA TIDBITS:
Written by the guy who wrote “Psycho”
, Robert Bloch
. Plus, it stars Lurch
from the Adams Family
For some totally unexplained reason, the Enterprise discovers an exact duplicate of Earth (convenient from a budgetary point of view, you must admit) only a disease has wiped out all the adults leaving a Peter Pan
mafia in charge. The “Wendy”
of this group totally falls for Kirk
’s charms, of course and thus the race for a cure is on before the away crew gets covered in nasty purple lesions and goes crazy. EXTRA TIDBIT:
The actress who played the title character Miri
also played John Cusack
’s terrible cook of a mom in “Better Off Dead”
9-“Dagger of the Mind”
: Another top scientist who has gone kind of crazy. This one runs a prison planet and has a mind control device that he’s gotten a little too happy with. Kirk
has to deal with Bones
assigning the ship’s psychiatrist to the away party. He hooked up with her at the Christmas party and is now sheepish about being around her (not joking here, this is verbatim). Damn, Kirk
is a total dog. Naturally, the dick scientist makes Kirk
believe he is in love with her in order to complete this awkward situation. EXTRA TIDBIT
: First time Spock
does ye olde Vulcan Mind Meld. They invented this rather than show Spock
merely hypnotizing someone FOR FEAR FOLKS MIGHT GET HYPNOTIZED AT HOME. Lol. Ah, science.
10-“The Corbomite Maneuver”
: A big rotating cube in outer space stalks The Enterprise. When they blow it to hell, a much bigger space ship shows up to bitch and gives the crew ten minutes to do whatever before they fuck their shit up. Nothing seems to placate the weird looking alien until Kirk
decides it’s all a game of poker. I don’t want to give too much away (this is a fun one) but I will say that Clint Howard
has to be the ugliest kid I have ever, EVER seen. Plus, godlike alien alert number three.
11 and 12-“The Menagerie”
: Running over budget? No problem, just grab the unreleased pilot for your show and film some cheap scenes around it to explain what it has to do with anything. This was mainly the pilot that Paramount chose NOT to pick up with Jeffrey Hunter
as Captain Pike
(played by Bruce Greenwood
in the new movie where his fate isn’t so horrible). In this re-working of it, Spock
has abducted the Enterprise and everyone on it with some computer manipulation in order to get Pike
, now all burnt to a crisp and capable of not much more than yes/no answers, to a forbidden planet where the two of them once voyaged before. Spock
willingly puts himself on trial in order for Kirk
and a Starfleet high muckety-muck to see a video of what happened originally so they’d understand. As much as it seemed like a lame idea to recycle the pilot, it worked REALLY well and is one of Trek’s smartest episodes. This was one of only two TOS episodes to win Sci-Fi’s prestigious Hugo award. Also, godlike aliens alert number four. And green slave chick. Very, very hot green slave chick. This sequence helped me through puberty in a way I’m not sure I should elaborate on.
13-“The Conscience of the King”
: We learn that an unspecified amount of long time ago, Kirk
was on a planet where an evil dictator wiped out half the population, Hitler
style. Now, visiting an old friend and fellow survivor on his planet, while watching a play of “Macbeth”
together, his friend decides that the lead actor of the troupe actually is this evil dictator. Is his friend crazy? Is Kirk
crazy? Is Spock
losing his patience with these humans who obviously all need to be on space-prozac? Is Kirk
totally gonna tap the maybe-dictator’s hot daughter even knowing what he knows? Probably. This is one of those high-minded Trek episodes, and in my mind, one of the better of the first season. Sadness that this is the last Yeoman Rand
episode, because she was my Trek-crush.
14-“Balance of Terror”:
After two episodes of cerebral sci-fi, it’s time for an old fashioned naval war movie. Kirk
and a Romulan warbird captain face off in space with their submarines, er, spaceships. This is the first appearance of the Romulans (the baddies in the new movie) and the first appearance of the actor Mark Lenard
on the show who played the Romulan commander here but went on to put the pointy ears back on as a Vulcan, more specifically, Spock
’s dad Sarek
(played by Ben Cross
in the new film). This is a badass episode for fans of movies like “Das Boot”
: A pleasant-looking enough planet ends up manifesting whatever the crew on it imagines, for good or bad. McCoy
has Alice in Wonderland
characters showing up, Sulu
is stalked by Samurai, and Kirk
…you can imagine what Kirk
thinks about. Godlike alien alert number 5! Plus, a metric ass-ton of space babes. Yes, I know they’re all like sixty now. This Blu-Ray re-mastering helps you to forget. What can I do? I still watch Savannah
movies too. This was written by one of the sci-fi big boys, Theodore Sturgeon
(especially for fans of Larry Niven
’s “Dream Park”
series of books)
16-“The Gallileo Seven”
and some random Trek dudes take a shuttlecraft out but gets sucked off course and forced down to a barren planet filled with giant Neanderthals and not much else. An ion storm in the vicinity makes finding them next to impossible and they’re running out of time to get medical supplies to a plague ridden planet. Everybody (except Scotty
who is, in fact, the Trek dude who it would be coolest to get drunk with) gets all racist against Spock
who is, of course, right most of the time despite their ‘green-blooded, pointy eared, logic-brained’
hurled epithets. Fact: Bones
is kind of a dick. This one makes me kind of uncomfortable and not in an arty cool way. Plus, the giant Neanderthals are way lame. VERY nice re-mastered effects in this one though.
17-“The Squire of Gothos”
: The first “Q”
episode, at least as it has been ret-conned now. That being said, of course, it’s time for Godlike alien alert #6! When a planet is discovered where none should be, the crew investigates. Kirk
are forcibly teleported from the bridge by mysterious forces that end up being a Liberace Q
named General Trelane
who just wants to have a spot of fun playing with the ship member’s lives. Kirk
is even more annoyed than Picard
is by these beings. And I love seeing when Kirk
gets annoyed. Love it. Spock
totally tells this guy off and had me cheering.
Big lizard in my space yard. Can’t afford to beat him anymore. Kirk
and company beam down to visit an old friend only to find him and everyone else dead and a trap waiting for them. They manage to get back to the ship and give chase to the alien vessel who pillaged the outpost only to have both ships trapped by a….wait for it…GOD-LIKE ALIEN
(#7)…who takes Kirk
and the lizardy alien leader, a Gorn
, down to a planet to duke it out old-school style. This is filmed at the iconic Vasquez Rocks
where Bill and Ted fought their robot doubles
and where Trek
fans re-enact the battle regularly. If only I had that much free time. I’d still find something better to do with it. Sorry, level 10 Trekkers. Live long and at least put some effort into trying to get laid, okay?
19-“Tomorrow is Yesterday”:
Accidentally for the first of a million times ending up time travelling to 20th century Earth (it’s like there’s some kind of space/time waterslide directly to that chronal wading pool), the Enterprise must deal with being spotted by the Air Force and perform a cover-up. Also, they end up with one of the pilots on their ship who, it appears, they must convince that he can never return. This is like the X-files
in reverse. Still only okay though. It kind of meanders a bit. Plus side, this is where we first see the sun sling-shot strategy for travelling through time, later used prominently in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”
is totally framed by a douche-bag of the crew who never got over some old shit. Since we know he didn’t do what he’s accused of, this ends up being not as interesting as one might have hoped. The solution was kind of lame and science-ridiculous even for Trek. But mainly I wanted to smack everyone twice in this episode. At least Kirk
gets to mug down with the prosecuting attorney. Damn, he’s pimp.
21-“The Return of the Archons”:
Not actually a godlike alien story although one can be excused for thinking as much. The crew beams down to a planet modeled after 19th century Earth where everyone is all moony-eyed for their leader Landru
, and claim to be part of “The Body”
. Naturally, Kirk
not only takes exception to this sort of lack of individualism he almost has to be physically restrained from speechifying about it. A bunch of hooded dudes walk around with metal tubes that go bang keeping the law, but they seem suspiciously robotic in their communications. Kirk
completely ignores the Prime Directive
! Yes, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”
got its start from this fantastic episode. The Enterprise finds the 20th century (how were they to know we’d still be lame by now) space ship SS Botany Bay
floating in space filled with bunches of people in suspended animation who turn out to be Khan
and his crew of super-dudes. Super or not, you gotta get up pretty genetically early in the morning to beat Kirk
. The ‘weak’
female bit in here is kind of lame in retrospect and Ricardo Montalban
playing an Indian is not really appropriate but the rest is kick-ass. The show “Enterprise”
also dealt more with the Eugenics wars that bred Khan
and his kind, but who cares.
23-“A Taste of Armageddon”:
The Enterprise ignores missives from a planet to stay away from it because of a dickish diplomat on board (note: diplomats in Star Trek
are always either total cocks or secretly aliens or evil or something. Gene
must have had a bad experience at the U.N. as a child). They show up anyway and get caught in a 500 year old computer run war game that has very real casualties as the hypothetical victims must go get disintegrated after the virtual attacks. The Enterprise is ‘targeted’
and once Kirk
makes his decision (basically, to once again totally disregard the Prime Directive), he puts his thing down and starts fucking shit up. He is at his pimpiest ever here. It’s good to be a space gangsta’.
24-“This Side of Paradise”:
A planet where everyone should be dead because of radiation ends up containing hippy-mind-state-inducing flowers that keeps everyone alive, happy, and completely non-productive. For some reason, Kirk
is the only one who can emote past their effect, ostensibly because if he could, he would totally have sex with his ship and no stinking hippy flower is going to tell him different. Even Spock
gets all tripped out, macks down with a farmgirl and gets to smack Kirk
25-“The Devil in the Dark”:
You thought the Gorn
and the Salt Monster
were rejects from Doctor Who
, wait until you see the Horta
, shambling rug monsters who are killing miners whose services are essential to the federation. Kirk
and co. come down to figger a way out for these threatened folk. Despite the silly looking monster, script wise this is a damn good episode with a rather Next-Generation
style brainy and peaceable style solution rather than Kirk
getting into a fight. Which is good. This rug monster really tied the mine together, in my opinion.
26-“Errand of Mercy”:
Klingons! FTW! The first appearance of the beloved race and a vision of things to come as a GOD-LIKE RACE
(#8) tells Kirk
and the Klingon leader that some day their races will be fast friends. This occurs only after both men act like vicious dingleberries trying to claim the quiet peaceful planet for their own. It’s nice to see these episodes that take us to task for being war-like past the point of reason. Somebody has got to. Bonus: Kirk
more embarrassed than ever.
27-“The Alternative Universe”:
A dude with a very fake beard seems to be crazy and claims he’s chasing a monster. Turns out he’s a time traveler and doesn’t care who or what gets in the way of his mission. Also, he’s totally bonkers. Kirk
is more patient than I imagine he actually would be. This dude needed a sock in the jaw. If it wasn’t for some unimaginative parallel universe jumping special effects that go on for considerably too long multiple times, this would have been better. By the time it finally gets to the inevitable reveal, you’re ready to go to Mister Lebowski
to get the rug monster back.
28-“The City on the Edge of Forever”:
The big one. The episode against which all other TOS episodes are judged. The other one that won a Hugo award. The one episode written by Harlan Ellison
(who has gone on to be cranky about it for decades afterward). Bones
accidentally overdoses on a medicine that makes him crazy and he beams down to the planet they are orbiting where they find a talking time portal built by a GOD-LIKE ALIEN
(#9) that Bones
jumps through before they can do anything. Immediately, things are messed up and it becomes clear that A: if they don’t fix whatever he did then they’ll be trapped on this planet because the Enterprise has disappeared and B: the Trek universe absolutely cannot make up its mind about the effects of changing time in the past. Parallel universe or everything changes? Whatever works for the story at that given point, I guess. Nailing down the time period he leaped to by about a week, Kirk
to New York City during the Great Depression. They got there before Bones
did so they set up shop doing small bits of labor for Edith Keeler
) a peace loving futurist who runs a soup kitchen. Kirk
falls head over heels for her while Spock
builds a time analyzer or something from vacuum tubes attached to his tricorder. Turns out the event that has to be fixed is not something that Kirk
is going to be happy about. While this episode is anti-anti-war movement in a way that REALLY infuriated Harlan Ellison
(changed from his original script) it’s still drama at its best, with the feeling more of a movie than a show.
Not sure what this title has to do with the actual episode. Sounds like a “Thunderbirds are Go!”
title more than Star Trek
. Blobby things have driven several planets to extinction through suicidal madness and now they’re on the planet where Kirk
’s brother Sam
lives. Arriving too late to save him, they manage to prevent his nephew from dying but Spock
gets infected. Using that Vulcan control he manages to keep the pain-driven mind control at bay while the Doctor
try to find a cure. This was pretty cool considering the alien things were just novelty vomits inserted in a bladder with an air pump. I was surprised the script didn’t call for Kirk
to be more emotional about the death of his brother than he was, and later about what happens to Spock
but I guess this isn’t the “City on the Edge of Fake Vomit Aliens”
Holy crap, am I done? A review of all twenty-nine episodes? No, of course I’m not done. I’m never done because I’m a prisoner of my own love for this set. I’m not going to go into detail but the set contains a number of extra features:
-“Transporting Trek into the 21st Century”
: about the remastering of the episodes with new special effects
-“Reflections of Spock”
: Leonard Nimoy
-“Life Beyond Trek – William Shatner”
talks about horses. Not sure why this is here other than a bribe to get him to be interviewed for the billionth time about Trek on the rest of it.
-“To Boldy Go…Season one”
: Season overview
-“The Birth of a Timeless Legacy”
: Story of how it all came to be.
-“Interactive Enterprise Inspection”
: Tour around the outside of a virtual enterprise with audio explanations of what each part of the ship does.
: More self-congratulation
-“Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories”
: One of the actors who regularly played bit parts on the show filmed a lot of Super 8 stuff in the background.
-“Kiss ‘N’ Tell: Romance in the 23rd Century”
: The ladies, the ladies.
-“Special Access Episodes”
: Versions of some of the episodes with picture-in-picture commentary by various folks.
: TV trailers for the episodes
: The first time I’ve ever seen this used properly. If you have a newer Blu-Ray with an Internet connection you can download this wealth of text info about the series as well as more videos and current stuff from Trek Conventions. It’s kind of neat but time-consuming to download.
So what’s the final verdict? Other than, Cyrus
is the biggest nerd ever? It’s that you SHOULD own this set. Not only is it the best version ever of the series for long-time fans to own with new and worthwhile extras (and if you’re grumpy about the new effects added you can watch each episode with or without them), but it’s a great gift for folks who enjoyed the new film and never got a chance to see how good the original show was. Trek is one of those animals best digested in clumps anyways. Now hopefully that was exhaustive enough of a review that the powers that be will send me the re-mastered season two when it comes out. I can hardly wait!
Click Here to Buy Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1 [Blu-ray]