DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Star Trek: The Complete Second Season (Recommended)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Scott Kimball, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    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.
     
  2. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Some of those extras sound fantastic!

    Looking forward to getting this.. thanks for the great review! [​IMG]
     
  3. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the great review, Scott! Sounds pretty good; Glad to see the participation by D.C. Fontana in the extras.

    I would have liked to see maybe a featurette about the proposed spinoff series "Assignment: Earth," for which the episode of the same name was designed to be the pilot. That could have been a pretty cool, albeit quickly dated series. Oh well, small thing. Other than that, can't wait.

    I wish Paramount wouldn't charge quite so much for these sets, but I'm glad to have them nonetheless.
     
  4. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    "Assignment Earth" just never came across as a particularly well-executed idea IMO. One person who was really glad it didn't become a series was Terri Garr, who had nothing but bad things to say about her "Star Trek" work in a Bob Costas interview some years ago (she wasn't even able to recall Robert Lansing's name).

    What I'm looking forward to most in this set is seeing "Doomsday Machine" (my favorite episode) fixed with the missing music cue restored after Kirk says, "I'm going to take this thing right down it's throat!"
     
  5. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    Really? What all did she say?
     
  6. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Best season of Trek, ever!
     
  7. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I'm with Bryan on this one Eric... any recollection of what she said? I'm curious... [​IMG]
     
  8. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    These extras are more like what I was expecting with the first season box. They sound fantastic!

    Can't wait for this one!
     
  9. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    I'll try to dig out my old "Later" tapes some time to repeat what she said, but she clearly didn't think highly of the experience.
     
  10. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    And here it is from "Later With Bob Costas" circa 1993. In this segment, after discussing all aspects of her life and career, Bob almost seems embarrassed to bring this up, and Terri seems grudging, knowing it has to be gotten over with.

    Bob: "I am roughly one of the few people my age who never watched Star Trek."

    Terri: "So am I. Roughly my age and yours. I watched it a couple times. But---"

    Bob: "So you weren't a Trekkie when you showed up on the show."

    Terri: "No. But at that time, in those days it was a very popular show. But it was just another series. Anyway---"

    Bob: "So what'd you do there?"

    Terri: "Well I played one of the leads in the show. And it was also a spinoff pilot. Can you imagine if that pilot had sold?"

    Bob: "And who were you in this?"

    Terri: "Well I played a secretary in New York who was believe it or not, kind of ditzy. And Leonard Nimoy and...what's his name...."

    Bob: "William Shatner."

    Terri: "William Shatner! They came down into my office and the guy I was working for was from outer space. And something like that. And I didn't know. And the pilot was gonna be me and this other guy and I and he was....this guy from outer space and I was an Earth girl. Didn't sell. Thank God!"

    Throughout the proceedings she's practically cringing over having to recall this. She was a lot more positive about recalling "Viva Las Vegas" instead.
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    What is interesting to note about these TOS discs (I have the original forty discs) is how much better-looking they are than any of the TNG discs (which were a botched opportunity; Paramount should have worked from new high-def transfers, but no...).

    Ric: I respectfully disagree! [​IMG] First season, baby, first season. Unbeatable.
     
  12. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I actually have read the first one, which was pretty good, but for some reason I never got around to the 2nd one. At any rate, it is a cool concept, mixing Seven's story with Khan's. Looking at it now, it seems obvious, of course. [​IMG] Wasn't there going to be a third book about Khan & Co. after they were left on Ceti Alpha V?

    Eric: Thanks for posting that part of the interview. Interesting reading.
     
  13. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    I gotta go with Jack on this one. While TOS' second season had some mighty great episodes, the first season just had that little something extra to it that made it special - very likely because it was indeed the diamond in the rough at that time. And with lots of quality writers and producers on the series during the first season, that's what made TOS sparkle.

    Bryan, Pocket Books does indeed plan on publishing a third volume of Khan's story, entitled "To Reign in Hell". I'm thinking it'll come out in 2005.
     
  14. JoSAN

    JoSAN Second Unit

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    .
     
  15. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Really? That would be interesting. [​IMG]

    As for first vs. second season, I dunno. Tough call. The second season DOES hold pretty well all of my favorites though... Doomsday Machine, Tribbles, Assignment: Earth, Amok Time, and my all-time fav... Mirror, Mirror.
     
  16. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Don't forget Journey to Babel!
     
  17. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I've heard elsewhere (can't remember the source, sorry) that the audience was there, but with the ratings system they used, the network miscalculated.
     
  18. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    I think back then they didn't take into account demographics. Certain age groups, etc.
     
  19. Scott D S

    Scott D S Supporting Actor

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    The details are a little sketchy at the moment but, from my understanding, post-production for TNG, DS9, and VOY was done in the video realm since it was cheaper at the time. This means (I think) that no film masters exist for the final episodes. If Paramount wanted to do HD, they would have had to redo every title, optical, and FX shot.

    Okay, I just read through a footnote in The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which was published in 1994. (page 242)

    "In the planning stages of TNG, an important decision was made that still affects DS9 today. The choice Gene Roddenberry and the production team faced was whether to do the VFX for the new series using film techniques or on video. Video effects were faster and less costly, but only worked on the television screen. Because of video's low resolution at the time, there would be no final negative print from which film versions of TNG could be edited together for theatrical release in other countries. [...] Thus, although the resolution of the visual effects is much higher today than was possible in 1987, there are no final film prints of any episode of either series, and the episodes cannot be rescanned at the higher resolution necessary for high-definition television broadcast in the future."
     
  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    JoSAN- Gotta disagree with one of your bottom 5 S2 episodes. [​IMG]

    Metamorphasis was a very strong episode that was written by Gene Coon if I recall correctly and delt with the same issues as Devil In the Dark, different species who learn to live and love each other. It also had one of the great musical scores.

    And I'll add Amok Time and Changling to the best of list.

    Nelson
     

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