Star Trek: The Complete Second Season Studio: Paramount Year: 1967 - 1968 Rated: NR Length: 21 Hours, 47 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Subtitled in English, and Closed Captioned in English Special Features: Episode trailers, featurettes, text commentaries, galleries, etc Expected Street Price: $100 USD Release Date: November 2, 2004 Star Trek continued with strong episodes in its second season in 1967, after threats of cancellation from NBC. The show was ahead of its time, and hadn’t found a large enough fan base to make it profitable for the network. NBC gave the series a stay of execution for its sophomore year. By the time Star Trek was canceled in 1969, man had landed on the moon. Interest in science fiction would grow, but it would be too late for the original series of Star Trek. Season two is presented in its entirety, in airdate order, in the Complete Second Season on DVD. The season is consistently strong, with only a couple of episodes that don’t resonate with fans today. Season two saw the departure of Janice Rand, and the addition of Ensign Chekov. Following are a few of my favorite episodes from season two. Amok Time lets us see into Vulcan culture when Spock returns home for a mating ritual - which, if avoided, could cost him his life. He brings his friends Kirk and McCoy along. The Changeling finds the crew of the Enterprise dealing with Nomad, a damaged Earth space probe which has had its programming altered in such a way as it becomes a threat to the entire galaxy. Mirror, Mirror has Kirk, McCoy, Scott and Uhura beaming back to the Enterprise during a magnetic storm. When the transporter circuits overload, they are thrust into an alternate universe where the Enterprise carries an aggressive, dangerous crew bent on domination. In The Doomsday Machine, William Windom plays Commodore Matt Decker, who has lost his entire crew to an alien war machine. In a Captain Queeg like manner, Decker takes over the Enterprise, endangering its crew in order to fight a battle against impossible odds. Journey to Babel introduces Spock’s father, Sarek, as an ambassador on a diplomatic mission. There are those who will do all in their power to see that the mission fails. Wolf in the Fold finds Scott defending himself against multiple murder charges, as a Jack the Ripper character commits murders and frames Scott. The Trouble with Tribbles... need I say more? This is one of the most praised episodes of the series, and is noted for its humor. The Ultimate Computer has the Enterprise being controlled by a computer for wargames. It is assumed that the computer would be able to make decisions faster than a captain and crew. Of course, things can go wrong... Assignment Earth stars Robert Lansing as Gary Seven, a displaced human in 1968 assigned to put a stop to nuclear proliferation on Earth, and Teri Garr as Roberta Lincoln, Seven’s unsuspecting secretary. The Enterprise, on a mission to observe Earth’s past, comes in contact with the mysterious Gary Seven, and Kirk doesn’t know whether to trust him and his mission. I’ve left a few of my favorite episodes off of this list... there are just too many of them. Packaging and Menu Navigation The packaging for Star Trek: Season Two is essentially identical to that of season one, save for the color of the outer shell and the detail in the insignia on the outer package. Menu navigation shows minor differences from season one, but it still features the same graphics of the bridge. Audio Video Quality The A/V quality is much the same as we saw in season one. The transfers are in the original, 1.33:1 aspect ratio. They are quite sharp and detailed, especially when comparing them to transfers of newer Star Trek series. Grain is variable, as on the original film elements, and shows up with great frequency on optical effects shots. There is no overt evidence of sharpening artifacts. The colors are often vibrant and deeply saturated, but are slightly variable from one episode to the next. Dust and scratches are present to a minor degree. You’ll notice the dust much more in the multilayered optical effects shots. The 5.1 remix is quite well done. Stereo and surround effects are fairly subtle, as they should be. The music takes on new life with the additional channels. The subwoofer comes alive during key sequences (explosions and the like). Dialog is always sweet, crisp and clear. There is a occasionally touch of hiss audible at higher volume levels, but it isn’t to the point of distraction. Unfortunately, the original monaural soundtracks are missing, as in season one. Special Features Text Commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda Amok Time The Trouble with Tribbles Any Star Trek fan should know who Michael Okuda is, and most fans will be familiar with the text commentaries seen on other Star Trek DVDs. These commentaries seem a little bit more complete than the bits that I sampled from season one, with more commentary on set pieces and continuity. They don’t quite match up with the depth of the more recent Star Trek series, but that isn’t surprising since Okuda was directly involved with the other series. You’ll find some interesting factoids here, though - it’s definitely worth checking out. To Boldly Go... Season Two (19:40) “A Fuzzy Thing Happened” became “The Trouble With Tribbles.” William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols recall this famous episode. George Takei and Walter Koenig recall their uncomfortable start together, and how they grew to be good friends, quickly. D.C. Fontana and Walter Koenig discuss the addition of the Chekov character. Leonard Nimoy recalls “Journey to Babel” and “Amok Time,” two Vulcan-oriented episodes. Nichelle Nichols and George Takei talk about “Mirror, Mirror.” D.C. Fontana talks about cloaking the controversial issues of the day as science fiction, and presenting it in a fresh way that was allowed to be shown on television. Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig also comment. This is a good and balanced summary of season two. Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy (12:11) Leonard Nimoy talks about his latest photography project on the subject of time. He shows the camera some prints from the work in progress, shows some of his equipment, and talks about his work process. Nimoy goes on to talk about the spiritual aspects of his work., his book Shekina, and his darkroom work. This is an interesting and intimate look at Nimoy’s work. Kirk, Spock & Bones: Star Trek’s Great Trio (7:19) Shatner and Nimoy talk about the unusual chemistry between them and DeForest Kelley, with comments by D.C. Fontana, George Takei, John D. F. Black, and Bjo Trimble. Designing the Final Frontier (22:27) In a 2002 interview, Matt Jefferies discusses his start on Star Trek. Jefferies and Robert Justman talk about the realities of budget, and how it affected the production of the series. Jefferies talks about the process of working on as many as seven different episodes at once. There is discussion of the Jefferies Tube, which was named after Matt Jefferies. There is much interesting talk about the mechanics and logistics of set design on a budget. This is a fascinating look at the set design and effects of Star Trek, telling many of the secrets of what the sets are made of, and showing clips from the episodes so you can see these pieces in action. We see early concept sketches and production sketches from Matt Jefferies, as he discusses them. This is one of the best featurettes I’ve seen on the making of the original Star Trek. Star Trek’s Devine Diva: Nichelle Nichols (13:12) Nichelle Nichols speaks candidly of her pre Star Trek musical career, how she won the role of Uhura, her feelings about her part in Star Trek, and about her one woman show, “Reflections,” where she performs as many of the great singers who influenced her career, including Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and Pearl Bailey. Nichols is very animated throughout, and gives a wonderful interview. Writer’s Notebook: D.C. Fontana (7:44) Fontana talks about her role as writer and story editor for Star Trek. She talks about some specific episodes and characters, indicating the need for consistency in stories and characters throughout the series. She talks about the working relationships between writers, producers and actors, as well. This is an interesting look at the construction of the Star Trek stories. Production Art 40 or so production drawings by Matt Jefferies. It is interesting to note how closely the final set design matches with his drawings. This is a very nice gallery of Jefferies fine work. Photo Gallery This is a collection of stills from Star Trek episodes, with a few publicity shots as well. Red Shirt Logs RSL 1: 1:39: Shatner talks about fighting aliens in costume RSL 2: 2:44: Nimoy talks about Star Trek’s influence on science RSL 3: 1:53: Bjo Trimble talks about how censorship affected Star Trek RSL 4: 1:46: Penny Juday talks about the Tribble design The special features on this set seem somewhat “meatier” than what was found on the season one set. All of the featurettes have something of interest, but I was especially impressed with Designing the Final Frontier and Star Trek’s Devine Diva. The production art gallery is also of interest to fans, while the photo gallery is pretty standard fare. Final Thoughts Star Trek: The Complete Second Season offers up all 26 episodes of the original Star Trek series, with very good audio / video quality and almost 90 minutes of quality featurettes, plus trailers for each episode, select episode text commentaries, and galleries. If only those elusive blooper reels could find their way to one of these DVD sets... This set is highly recommended.