Star Trek Season 1 Review

  • Series: Star Trek (aka ST: TOS – Star Trek The Original Series)
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 29
  • Discs: 10
  • Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
  • Network: NBC (Paramount Productions)
  • DVD Format: DVD, Technicolor, Standard
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 08/09/2009, now hosted on Dreamwidth

My first comment is WOW – oh, wow – Star Trek has never looked so good! The original series must have been filmed in Technicolor because it looks absolutely fantastic! The bright primary colors of the uniforms really, really pop, especially the blues and reds. Consistently, every frame of every first season story looks good. The restoration work going into the set must have been immense – and it looks better than even The Man from UNCLE (which had some flaws and artifacts).

If only all DVDs, especially TV DVDs had such excellent restoration. The Technicolor look is that of the Errol Flynn and Olivia deHaviland’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain, or Judy Garland’s The Wizard of Oz. Which just goes to show how truly beautiful Technicolor really was – especially when properly restored. The other technical notion is that Star Trek, though filmed and filmed in Technicolor at that, was filmed in 4:3 ratio – the only ratio available at the time, especially for TV (If you watch the fully restored films mentioned above you’ll note they also are properly 4:3 ratio – not widescreen.)

I did have a technical problem with my set – discs 3 and 4 did not play properly. “Miri” skipped horribly, as did the opening CBS logo and episode 1 of  “The Menagerie”. I didn’t check Episode 2 of  “The Menagerie”, because by then I knew I’d have to exchange the discs. I called Amazon (from whom I purchased the entire 3-Season set) and found I could not simply return the bad discs. They wouldn’t even accept exchanging Season 1. This is annoying. I have found before, especially with DVD sets with extremely large pressings, that sometimes you just get bad discs. The problem with exchanging an entire set is that you don’t want to exchange 1:1 and take the chance that different discs are bad if you follow me. I’ve watched all of  Season 1 – and found no more errors, so when my replacement arrives I should be able to take discs 3 and 4 out of it, put them in my original set and send back the replacement. And I’ll only have six episodes to check instead of 29.

The first season of Star Trek is a bit uneven – I missed Ensign Chekhov greatly, and in some episodes, major characters are completely missing (chiefly Scotty and Dr. McCoy, though Sulu also disappears occasionally, as does Nurse Christine Chapel). However, there are some classic episodes as well. “The Naked Time”, “Dagger of  the Mind”, “Shore Leave”, “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, “Speed Seed”, “This Side of Paradise”, “The Devil in the Dark”, “Errand of  Mercy”, “The City of the Edge of Forever”, and “Operation – Annihilate!” are all first season episodes. Of these, certainly, “Devil in the Dark” and “The City on the Edge of Forever” were personal favorites of mine.

But with the release of the new Star Trek movie (which I absolutely loved!) and now my taking the time to re-watch classic Trek, well, in the words of a guy a recent media convention during the Trek movie panel – “Isn’t it great to be a Star Trek fan again?” This is something that has happened over and over with Star Trek. After all, the original series did not do that well – it never got good ratings and was canceled after a mere three seasons. It was the action of the fans – especially fans who organized clubs and conventions (Shout out to Bjo Trimble who created the Star Trek Welcommittee) and the female fans who kept Star Trek alive in fan fiction that not only kept the show alive (Star Trek Lives! – Great book, not only for fans of Star Trek but for anyone interested in cultural/media fan history) – but made the subsequent series and movies possible.

Special Features:  Many, including preview trailers of all episodes.