Star Trek Season 2 Review

  • Series: Star Trek (aka ST: TOS – Star Trek The Original Series)
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 26
  • Discs: 8
  • Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett
  • Network: NBC (Paramount Productions)
  • DVD Format: DVD, Technicolor, Standard
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 09/09/2009, now hosted on Dreamwidth

In my review for Star Trek Season 1, I forgot to mention the case design. The case design is cute – I dislike cute cases. Collectible cases look nice in a store but they are annoying, to say the least when trying to put the DVDs on your shelves, alphabetically, with everything else you have. Most of my fancy DVD cases end-up getting displayed somewhere else – then I put either the internal cases on my shelves by themselves or the DVDs reorganized into plastic 2-sided slimline cases on my shelves instead. The Star Trek cases look like the transporter room and are hard, clear plastic. The case is split in half, and you fold it down to get to the paper insert, which is the size of a CD case. That’s right a CD case, not the normal DVD size. Inside the paper insert (tilted sideways) is another plastic case, glued on one side that flips open like a book with a DVD on each “page”. If you’ve ever seen the CSI box sets – it’s like that, but CD size. Well, at least they didn’t overlap the discs! However, I discovered when I went to put Star Trek on my shelves where it would belong, alphabetically, that because the cases are so short it just doesn’t look right. Everything’s basically the same height, then, oops, drop down, there’s Star Trek. So, for the moment the three separate season sets are back on my “new acquisitions” shelf – despite my having watched all of them. The second annoying thing about the DVDs is that they are silver on both sides – no labels, pictures, etc. OK, this is an aesthetic issue, but still – for something as expensive as Star Trek I was really expecting, and looking forward to nice portraits of the cast on the DVDs. Season 1 was DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other so that explains it for season one, but I expected it to be different for Season 2.

OK, on to the review.  Yep, the restoration work on Star Trek is still beautiful and the Technicolor colors really pop! The episodes truly do look gorgeous!

Many Star Trek connoisseurs consider Season Two to be the best season of Star Trek, and that very well may be true – having just watched all of it in just a couple of months. Season two dumps Yeoman Janice Rand – a character that, despite Grace Lee Whitney’s excellent performance never really fit in – and adds Ensign Pavel Chekov – who’s adorable. However, if you pay close attention, Chekov and Sulu never seem to be in the same episode in Season 2. It’s like they were working opposite shifts!

Excellent episodes from Season Two

“Amok Time”  – Vulcans are like salmons – Who knew? Actually, this episode, which opens the season, is quite possibly the best Star Trek episode ever (Though “City on the Edge of Forever” could also be nominated for that honor). What makes the episode really work is the way it shows the friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy – which was the core of TOS anyway. And who can forget the famous last scene – just the expression on Spock’s face is priceless.

“Journey to Babel” – For Classic Trek a surprisingly complicated story with a lot of layers. Plus it features Mark Lenard and Jane Wyatt as Spock’s parents. Again, focuses on the relationship between Spock, Kirk, and McCoy. Also, gives us background on Spock (like “Amok Time”) and his relationship with his parents. In a way – you can see, after watching it, that Kirk and Spock are a lot more alike than you might think. And, yes, another priceless last scene – and McCoy not only gets a great line – the smile on his face is pure perfection!

“Mirror, Mirror” – A classic, and I do mean, classic SF plot, that’s executed with perfection and extremely well-written.

“The Trouble with Tribbles”  – A Star Trek episode that even non-aficionados know, and Star Trek‘s first attempt at humor (and a very successful attempt too!). Shatner gets to play to one of his strengths – light-hearted drama.

“A Piece of the Action” – Another very, very funny Star Trek episode that actually also works in an SF context. And, I must mention something from the extra features – in a discussion of “Trials and Tribble-ations” the creators of  DS9 said that they originally were considering going back to the planet in “A Piece of the Action” – only to have it be the planet of the TOS-style Star Trek fans. My first thought was – “Wait a minute – that’s Galaxy Quest!” and my second was, “Oh man, Paramount would so mess-up that idea. I’m very glad it was scrapped!”

Honorable Mention

“The Doomsday Machine”

“I, Mudd”

“Wolf in the Fold” – OK, parts of it are almost silly – but at least it focuses on Scotty!

“The Immunity Syndrome”

“Patterns of Force” – The interaction between Spock and Kirk in this one is particularly good.

“Bread and Circuses” – The interaction between Spock and McCoy is very good in this. Unfortunately, Uhura’s revelation at the end sounds too much like The Twilight Zone and not at all like Star Trek.

“Assignment: Earth” – Meant as a pilot – for a show that unfortunately never happened, it has an excellent cast and really good plot. Only moves from excellent to honorable mention because as a proto-pilot the Enterprise and her crew aren’t really in it that much. Kirk more or less stumbles around wondering what to do and getting arrested by the locals – while Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) carries the bulk of the plot. Course, I like Robert Lansing! Teri Garr is also in the episode as the wonderfully dippy blonde “Roberta”, though’ her name is misspelled in the credits.

Still, if you are only going to buy one season of Star Trek (The Original Series) buy this one. You’ll miss some great episodes – but you will also get some of Star Trek’s finest moments.

Special Features:  Many, including preview trailers of all episodes. Also includes the Star Trek:  The Animated Series episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”