Star Trek: The Original Series-Season 1 (1966)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Original Preview Trailers
Subtitle Commentary-Text Commentary By Michael Okuda And Denise Okuda
Featurette-The Birth Of A Timeless Legacy
Featurette-Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner
Featurette-To Boldly Go...Season One
Featurette-Reflections On Spock
Featurette-Kiss 'n' Tell: Romance In The 23rd Century
Trailer-Star Trek: The Next Generation
Trailer-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Trailer-Star Trek: Voyager
Easter Egg-Red Shirt Logs (3)
|Year Of Production||1966|
|Running Time||1401:35 (Case: 1461)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (8)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Marvin J. Chomsky
Paramount Home Entertainment
Grace Lee Whitney
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German Text Commentary
English Text Commentary
Spanish Text Commentary
French Text Commentary
Italian Text Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Star Trek is not just another TV show – it is a household name, one of the greats of science fiction that tends to come to mind whenever anyone ever mentions the genre. It has been played and then replayed in repeats again and again since 1966, and has spawned its own subculture and a franchise with millions of devoted fans.
So what exactly what this first series all about? As the title credits say: “These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission – to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before...”
In command of the vessel is Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), a mix between Horatio Hornblower and Hamlet according to series creator Gene Rodenberry. With him on the voyage are his Vulcan first officer, Lt. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and ship’s surgeon Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForrest Kelley). At the helm we have Ensign Sulu (George Takei), and at the rear of the bridge in a shorter than short miniskirt there is communications officer Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). And of course there is Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) – ‘Scotty’ to his friends – keeping the warp engines on line down below.
Getting this first series made was no easy task, as the special features bear out. Anybody who has ever met with Gene Roddenberry before his death in October 1991, or his wife Majel Barrett, or seen either of them interviewed, will no doubt have heard the various stories of how Roddenberry eventually got the show up and running. Part of this story involves the making of a pilot episode, The Cage, that was never aired due to the intervention of studio executives. However, a year later, some more adventurous executives decided to give Star Trek another go, this time keeping a much tighter leash on Roddenberry. The result was the following 29 episodes:
1. The Man Trap (48:23) – Upon visiting an outlying colony, McCoy is wary about meeting a long lost love of his. But when she appears to each member of the away team as a different girl and a crewman is bizarrely killed, Spock begins having suspicions that something is not quite right.
2. Charlie X (48:22) – When the Enterprise takes on a passenger, the sole survivor of a crash many years ago, the crew become wary of his strange and almost supernatural behaviour.
3. Where No Man Has Gone Before (48:22) – The second pilot for the series (although aired as the third episode): Upon encountering a strange energy field in space, one of Kirk’s crewmen begins exhibiting superhuman capabilities which pose a threat to the ship and crew.
4. The Naked Time (48:23) – A virus is loose on the Enterprise, making people behave as if they are drunk, with some rather humorous results, and also some potentially deadly ones.
5. The Enemy Within (48:23) – A transporter accident splits Kirk in two – one his ultra rational self, the other a wild madman attacking the crew at will.
6. Mudd’s Women (48:18) – After rescuing the survivors of a damaged vessel, Kirk is faced with a dilemma where he must trade several beautiful women to a group of dilithium miners in exchange for the valuable crystals that keep the Enterprise running. But is everything as it appears to be?
7. What Are Little Girls Made Of? (48:20) – A maker of androids proposes to create a double of Kirk in order to take over the Enterprise and deliver an army of androids around the galaxy.
8. Miri (48:19) – Stuck on a strange planet inhabited only by children, the crew must find a cure for a disease that apparently only kills adults.
9. Dagger Of The Mind (48:21) – An escaped convict who stows away on the Enterprise claims to be a doctor’s assistant who has been brainwashed by an evil scientist in control of a penal colony.
10. The Corbomite Maneuver (48:24) – The Enterprise encounters a powerful alien spacecraft in space intent on blocking their path or destroying them. Can Kirk bluff his way out of this one?
11. The Menagerie Part I (47:25) – To help an old friend, Spock hijacks the Enterprise and heads for a forbidden part of space. But when Kirk catches up to him, the only recourse is a court martial.
12. The Menagerie Part II (48:11) – As Spock’s court martial continues the strange truth behind his actions starts coming out, all of it linked to a mission taken by the Enterprise before Kirk was the captain.
13. The Conscience Of The King (48:20) – After seeing a play on a distant world, Kirk is suspicious that the lead actor may be a mass murderer who he saw once many years ago as a junior officer.
14. Balance Of Terror (48:22) – After several outposts are attacked on the border of Romulan space, the Enterprise investigates. Can the crew prevent a war and track an invisible enemy?
15. Shore Leave (48:22) – When the crew take leave on an uninhabited planet, they are puzzled by a series of strange happenings apparently brought on by their own desires.
16. The Galileo Seven (48:22) – When Spock and a shuttle crew of five others crash on a hostile planet, the Vulcan must use logic to keep his crew alive, while Kirk fights the clock to find his missing crew members before he has to deliver vital cargo.
17. The Squire Of Gothos (48:22) – A planet that appears out of nowhere turns out to be inhabited by a rather strange being calling himself General Trelane (ret.) or, as he prefers, the lonely Squire of Gothos. After he kidnaps several of the crew, Kirk challenges him to a duel to get his ship back.
18. Arena (48:22) – Chasing a vessel that has destroyed a Federation Colony, Kirk is suddenly transported to a strange planet by powerful beings. There he must fight the captain of the enemy vessel, and if he loses his ship will be destroyed.
19. Tomorrow Is Yesterday (48:24) – After accidentally travelling back through time, the Enterprise must destroy all the evidence that they were ever in the past before finding a way to return to their future.
20. Court Martial (48:23) – After the death of a crewman in an ion storm, Kirk is court martialled when his account of he facts do not match with the computer records. Was the death an accident? Or did Kirk mean to kill an old friend?
21. The Return Of The Archons (48:25) – Stranded on a planet where the population are brainwashed into a docile state, Kirk must find a way to undo the brainwashing effect before his crew are absorbed and his vessel destroyed.
22. Space Seed (48:22) – After encountering a ship adrift in space the crew become increasingly convinced that they have stumbled across some of the escaped survivors of a controlled breeding experiment.
23. A Taste Of Armageddon (48:26) – While trying to negotiate a port treaty with an alien race, the crew of the Enterprise unexpectedly become mixed up in a war of bizarre proportions.
24. This Side Of Paradise (48:20) – After discovering a group of colonists on a planet who should have died of radiation poisoning Kirk finds his crew one by one giving in to some notion of happiness.
25. The Devil In The Dark (48:24) – A series of mysterious deaths by a monster at a mining colony brings the crew of the Enterprise to investigate.
26. Errand Of Mercy (48:20) – Kirk and Spock find themselves caught in the middle of a Klingon occupation when they try to negotiate a treaty with a border world.
27. The Alternative Factor (48:23) – After the galaxy is shaken by a strange anomaly, the crew of the Enterprise find a raving lunatic called Lazarus on a nearby planet claiming that a mad beast is going to destroy the universe.
28. The City On The Edge Of Forever (48:23) – When McCoy is accidentally injected with a drug that drives him crazy, he disappears through an alien artefact and winds up changing history so that mankind are wiped out. To save humanity, Spock and Kirk must return to the past and undo whatever McCoy has done.
29. Operation: Annihilate! (48:24) – A trail of planet wide madness leads to a Federation colony where the population is descending into random acts of violence. When Kirk finds his brother dead on the planet and his nephew unconscious he vows to stop whatever plague is causing the phenomenon.
What is there to say, when so much has already been said before?
Star Trek and I go a long way back, so I must confess that I come to this show with a certain amount of bias. However, unlike a lot of fans, I try not to descend into the kind of factionalism that tends to pit fans of one series against fans of another series. As far as I am concerned, all incarnations of Star Trek have had their merits (and their down points), and have all been good for different things in different respects.
Nearly 40 years on now, the Original Series of Star Trek still retains a lot of its charm, and has regained a kind of retro cool. You can see a family huddled around an old black & white TV tuning into a Friday night adventure of the intrepid crew of the starship Enterprise, distantly imagining a world away from the escalation of the war in Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the East-West ideological conflict that threatened nuclear Armageddon – a world where humanity is no longer trying to destroy itself, and is instead seeking out new life amongst the stars as explorers on a new frontier. While the politics have since changed, and the values of society with it, Star Trek can now be stripped back purely to its philosophical and moral conundrums which form the core of hallmark science fiction.
Moreover, this first season also holds some of the best episodes that the Original Series had to offer. Episodes like The Naked Time, Balance of Terror, Court Martial, and A Taste Of Armageddon epitomise what Star Trek can be at its best, with original writing that pushed the barriers of TV for those days, everything from the human side of the characters to the difficulty of striking a balance between duty and honour and what is moral or right.
In this reviewer’s opinion, where this incarnation of Trek seems to fall a little flat is in its overall continuity. Things are too easily picked up in one episode, wrapped up at the end, and then left behind even if not properly resolved. While The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise worked on a similar episodic formula – as opposed to Deep Space Nine that really worked on year long story arcs built around a full seven year arc – at least in these later series plotlines were not so easily discarded. The disregard shown by Kirk for the loss of his brother and the fate of his nephew in Operation: Annihilate! is quite unbecoming of his character, and yet in order to keep the storyline neat and wrapped up in one episode that is exactly what happens. This was a wasted dramatic opportunity, and indeed Operation: Annihilate! would have worked very well as a two part season cliffhanger, although sadly this technique would not be effectively utilised by Star Trek until the third series of Next Generation with the Best Of Both Worlds storyline.
But despite these faults, the writing in Star Trek: The Original Series was ahead of its time in the 1960s, and remains intriguing all these years later. While the FX, costumes, production standards and acting have all dated severely, the truly inspired writing is what keeps this a landmark in science fiction. With scripts by sci-fi masters Dorothy C. Fontana, Harlan Ellison and Robert Bloch writing in their prime, you can see why this show is still admired in the 21st Century.
If you’re a fan, I’m sure I don’t have to convince you to pick this set up. If you just like quality science fiction, in terms of storytelling you cannot get much better even all these years on. And even if you’re just a little bit curious, I suggest that you at least give this a shot, particularly this first season. Because even dated Star Trek is better than so much of what is on offer these days.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, this is the original aspect ratio for the series.
As for the picture reproduction itself, this is really a wonder to behold. Your VHS copies will look like junk by comparison, believe me.
The transfer has a crystal clear sharp image with no edge enhancement – intentional soft-focus filter scenes aside. It has awesome shadow detail, with fine gradients of shading as opposed to murky blacks and dull lights. Indeed, the resolution is so good that you can really tell where budgetary cuts were made because the producers did not think that the television broadcast technology of the time would allow the faults to be seen. As Mike Okuda and Denise Okuda point out in their text commentary on Menagerie, the detail on the DVD even allows you to see the join in Spock’s prosthetic ears.
Colour is about as good as you’ll ever see for a TV show made this long ago. While limited by the source material, the colours here are nevertheless well saturated for the most part, and skin tones are generally well balanced, except for where there is a fault in the source that could not be corrected. Indeed, you can finally see the slightly green shading of makeup on Spock, intended to coincide with his green copper-based blood.
There are no MPEG artefacts, and film-to-video artefacts are exceptionally light – limited to some very faint moire on some of the more tweed-like costumes, and barely perceptible aliasing on some background grilles.
There is a bit of dirt on the print, most notably in scene changes where the film would have had to have been physically handled in order to cut and splice the scenes together. A lot of the dirt from the VHS version has been cleaned up and hairs down the screen or blotches are fairly rare, although still present.
All episodes have subtitles in just about every language you could want (a list is provided in the table above). They appear as white with a black/grey edge and are easy to read.
The dual-layer pause is concealed between episodes, with two episodes per layer.
Audio is available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, and German, French, Spanish and Italian in the original 1.0 Dolby Mono overdub. As expected, the Mono tracks are fairly limited, although the lip syncing for the dubbing is fairly accurate, and I can hear what is being said even if I don’t actually understand it. I will say that some of the other languages are quite amusing in terms of the voices they have for certain characters.
As for the English track, the dialogue is very well mastered, and I never had trouble hearing what was being said, a vast improvement on the VHS versions. There were very few audio glitches on the dialogue track either, and really this is as smooth as any other TV show I can readily think of. The syncing was a minor issue, with all outdoors scenes obviously dubbed over in post production. This was a problem with the source material, though, not the transfer process, and if you watch your VHS copies you will notice the same fault, although it is less clear because of the reduced resolution.
There is plenty of surround information, which came as a total shock. The Enterprise is constantly flying through the sound field from back to front and left to right with great effect. Although dialogue is generally centralised, this fits the camera action. There is also some great use of the surrounds in ambient noise, with the rumble in the ‘negative’ scenes of The Alternative Factor momentarily fooling me into believing there was a thunderstorm raging outside.
There is a very good range, and Star Trek’s overdramatic – some would even say melodramatic – score is mixed very well, filling out the surrounds to maximum effect. This would become a Star Trek trait for the movies and then through the later series.
The subwoofer gets a surprisingly good workout, and I was a little blown away at first. While definitely not up to the standards of modern Hollywood, during the battle scenes in Balance Of Terror the sub was put to great and truly effective use.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are in 1.33:1 Full Frame. The disc home menus are of the bridge view screen with ambient bridge noises in 2.0 Dolby Surround. The episode home menus are a similar variant looking down on the bridge. All other submenus have a 2.0 Dolby Stereo track of ambient bridge noises.
There are text commentaries on four episodes. When you choose ‘Play’ for these episodes, you will be presented with a new menu asking if you want the text commentary. You will then be given a list of language subtitle options for the text commentary. NOTE: If you do not choose a language, the commentary will not appear. So even if you want the commentary in its original English, you must select it in English before the commentary will appear.
All episodes have a trailer running approximately 60 second in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 1.0 Dolby Mono.
All special features on Disc 8 are presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, with the interviews inset in 1.85:1 letterbox, unless otherwise specified.
A documentary on the making of The Original Series with a very insightful interview with Gene Roddenberry.
This is a recent interview with Shatner at his horse farm in Los Angeles.
A good season overview with interviews from many of the people involved in making the show.
A look at the character of Spock with an extensive interview with Leonard Nimoy.
A look at all the 60s sex kittens cast in Star Trek: The Original Series, including recollections by cast and crew.
A series of questions for fans looking for 4 degrees of separation between various actors and guest stars on Star Trek between the movies and the various series and greater Hollywood.
A featurette about the writers on Original Trek, including interviews with several of the original writers from the show.
A series of 38 inset stills from the production of Season 1.
These are a trio of short hidden featurettes that you can access by highlighting the other panels on the helm control pad on the first and second menus of the Special Features section. These are:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Star Trek: The Original Series came out on DVD in R1 little by little on two-episode single DVD releases, beginning in August 1999 and ending in December 2001. Each release had the original trailer previews but nothing more. And unlike this R4 version, the episodes were released in production order, not in the order of the original air date as we have them. These R1 releases are missing out on all the special features, such as the text commentary and featurettes.
A R1 boxed set which appears to be identical to the R4 release is scheduled for release in August.
So, unless you are a purist, and want the NTSC image and the original production order preserved, I suggest picking the whole lot up in the one box set in R4 where the resolution of the image is likely to be a little better than that of the R1 boxed set.
Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1 is classic old school late night science fiction TV. Retro cool, to be sure, but nevertheless great.
The video is fabulous for a TV show this old – there has obviously been a lot of work put into remastering this series and it has paid off in spades.
The sound is a truly amazing 5.1 Dolby Digital remix from a 1.0 Mono source and I take my hat off to the boys and girls at Paramount for this truly gargantuan effort. Outstanding – Trek the way it should have always been.
A swathe of extras helps the saleability of this item, and the text commentaries are an excellent addition. Paramount, please keep them coming...
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|