Paramount Home Video
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig
Fortunately for fans, Paramount Home Entertainment is pretty dedicated when it comes to releasing the Star Trek franchise in high definition, and I was eager to get my hands on their 7-disc Blu-Ray set of "Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 2" to see if it held up as well as the previous season.
In this set fans will find all 26 episodes from the 1967 season of the show, completely remastered in high definition to breathe new life into the series. Like in the Blu-Ray set of Season 1, it is simply mesmerizing to see the quality improvement on display here. What should be a mediocre presentation of a low budget TV production from 40 years ago, shines in high definition like there's no tomorrow. While the image quality fluctuates slightly across episodes and scenes, overall, you will be stunned once again by the level of detail that the show is suddenly reveling in. Special effects shots that had to use optical printers are generally a bit more grainy than other shots but throughout, I found the episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 2" every bit as beautifully restored as on the previous season set. Also utterly impressive are the colors, which are strong and colorful. The second season seems to make use of color a little more deliberately than the previous season, straying from the pastel tones of old, and replacing them with much bolder hues that create a very vibrant image. If you haven't seen "Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 2" in high definition yet, you simply owe it to yourself to take a look, as it is hard to describe, just how dramatic the improvements are.
This season also arrives with a brand new 7.1 channel DTS HD Master Audio track. This is remarkable in so many ways, because no TV show I know has ever been given a discrete 7.1 treatment, let away a presentation in lossless master audio quality. Originally produced in mono, all of the show's audio elements have been cleaned up, reworked, massaged and remixed for this track, creating an incredible experience yet again. I did notice that the volume is a little on the low side, but other than that, you better ready yourself for the ride of your life. Of course, the show's original mono audio track is also included to make sure the episodes are available in their original, unaltered form for posterity.
Once again, Paramount offers the show in two version on this release, allowing viewers to decide whether they want to see each episode exactly as it was aired in 1967, or as an updated version in which many of the special effects shots have been replaced with computer generated images. Easily, with the press of a button, you can toggle between these versions at any time, though I found that I enjoyed the digitally reworked episodes slightly more enjoyable. With the high definition renderings of space, the spaceship Enterprise, the beautiful planets etc, I found that the show seems less dated as many of the issues portrayed are still as relevant and exciting as they were back then.
An entire disc of the set is dedicated to "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode, offering countless little additions to to highlight this classic fan favorite, including the "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" in high definition as well as the animated Star Trek episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles," also in high definition. This one disc in particular is a real treasure trove of Tribble gems that fans will undoubtedly sink their teeth in.
As before, the Blu-Ray Disc set also contains a number of other extras, such as 'To Boldly Go…: Season 2' an insightful little featurette covering some of the episode highlights of this second season. Complete with cast and crew interviews you will hear some really great information and anecdotes about the show's production and how certain shots came about.
'Life Beyond Trek' is an interview featurette with Leonard Nimoy as he spends an intimate twelve minutes with the audience, talking about himself, his life, his family, his work and life in general.
'Kirk, Spock & Bones' is a featurette about the show's great trio, once again, filled with interviews by cast and crew members. In 'Designing The Final Frontier' we get to take a look at the show's productions design, including sketches and pre-production art and how they evolved into the final sets.
'Star Trek's Divine Diva: Nichelle Nichols' is a wonderful featurette in which the actress gets the chance to talk about her character of Lt. Uhura in quite some length. She also remembers how she got involved in the show, certain anecdotes from the show as well as her favorite moments. It's a great supplement full of charm and laughs that you should definitely check out.
In the 'Writer's Notebook: D.C. Fontana' the writer gets the chance to talk about her involvement in the show and some of her favorite story moments of the second season.
Given the sheer amount of extras and little additional tidbits, it is easy to lose track of all there is on this cool 7-disc release, but also look for "Creating Chekov," "Listening to the Actors," "Writing Spock" and "Spock's Mother", as well as an onslaught of hidden features.
It is hard not to gush all over this Blu-Ray Disc set. If you're a fan of the show, "Star Trek: The Original Series" alone should be reason enough to upgrade to high definition, if you haven't done so yet. The quality of the presentation, and how it breathes new life into cult episodes like 'The Trouble With Tribbles' or 'Patterns of Force' is breathtaking to say the least, and show just how committed Paramount Home Entertainment is to make these Star Trek releases the absolutely best they can.