Star Trek, the original series, has gone high-definition HD-DVD! Yeah! Whoot-whoot! Time ta start the party!! Too bad I don't have an HD-DVD player. Guess I'll just have to flip the discs over and use the standard DVD side. I won't have access to the super-spiffy HD-DVD extra features such as picture-in-picture commentaries or encyclopedic information, but whatcha gonna do? I still get to watch the series, and see all the extra vignettes, most of which are really pretty good, by the way. Lots of behind-the-series info as well as looking back at the classic series.
I have to say, even ignoring the high-definition aspect, this is a very cool release. First off, the color has been corrected, so it is now crisp and clear. It looks practically new! I've watched the series on TV for years, and the colors there always looked very faded, which made the show seem bland at time. I'd find myself getting on the computer to do something while an episode was playing, but when watching this DVD release, I was never tempted to stray. I believe the fresh look actually help bring me into their world rather than just seeing it as some old sci-fi show. But that's only part of it....
For this release, the special effects were seriously beefed up. All of the exterior ship special-effect were completely re-done with computer graphics, and it looks fantastic. I know there will be a lot of purists out there who will bitch and moan about this, but I think it really helps suck you into the universe. Instead of seeing a special effect and thinking they had it rough back when the show was made, now you can see a special effect and feel like it's real, like it's a part of the world.
But wait, there's more! They also cleaned up the film, fixing scratches and fingerprints and whatever else may have muddied the print. And finally, they re-recorded the opening theme with a new orchestra, though using the exact same arrangement as the original so it sounds the same, only clearer and crisper. The voice of Shatner talking over the theme remains the same, which is good as I'm sure it'd sound way different if he tried to do it now.
Unfortunately, there are also a few flaws in this release, such as no inclusion of Episode 1: The Cage, which was the original un-aired pilot. Perhaps it will be included on the Season 2 HD-DVD box set, but just seems like it belongs with this one, especially since they labeled "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as Episode 2. But that's minor compared to this next bewildering flaw.... the episodes are not arranged in order! For instance, the first disc contains episodes 6, 8, and 2, in that order. Wanna see episode 3? Well then you'll have to put in disc 4. Oh, you want episode 4? Then grab disc 2. WTF?!
The packaging of this set is really nicely done. First there is a stylishly designed outer plastic case which splits open at the top and is hinged on the bottom. Inside this case is the actual DVD case, which is about the height and width of a CD case, but deep as it holds 10 discs. It opens like a book, with each page holding a disc. I much prefer this design to other designs which fold out making a really, really long case that's impossible to hold in one hand. This method is much, much better. Not only can you hold it in one hand, but you don't have to unfold several flaps just to get to the disc you want.
Inside, there is a special offer for a universal remote control shaped like a Type-II hand phaser (which is a Type-I phaser with a pistol-grip attachment). You must have purchased the set between November 20th and February 28th, 2008, and then be willing to separate with $7.95 for shipping and handling. Well worth it in my book.
And now, for your convenience, here is how everything is arranged on this box set:
- Episode 6: The Man Trap
- Episode 8: Charlie X
- Episode 2: Where No Man Has Gone Before
- Spacelift: Transporting Trek Into the 21st Century
- Episode 7: The Naked Time
- Episode 5: The Enemy Within
- Episode 4: Mudd's Women
- The Birth of a Timeless Legacy
- Episode 10: What are little Girls Made of?
- Episode 12: Miri
- Episode 11: Dagger of the Mino
- Reflecting on Spock
- Episode 3: The Corbomite Maneuver
- Episode 16: The Menagerie Part 1
- Episode 16: The Menagerie Part 2
- Life Behind Trek: William Shatner
- Episode 13: The Conscience of the King
- Episode 9: Balance of Terror
- Episode 17: Shore Leave
- To Boldly Go... Season 1
- Episode 14: The Galileo Seven
- Episode 18: The Squire of Gothos
- Episode 19: Arena
- Sci-Fi Visionaries
- Episode 21: Tomorrow is Yesterday
- Episode 15: Court Martial
- Episode 22: The Return of the Archons
- Billy Blackburn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories
- Episode 24: Space Seed
- Episode 23: A Taste of Armageddon
- Episode 25: This Side of Paradise
- Kiss 'n Tell: Romance in the 23rd Century
- Trekker Connections
- Episode 26: The Devil in the Dark
- Episode 27: Errand of Mercy
- Episode 20: The Alternative Factor
- Episode 28: The City on the Edge of Forever
- Episode 29: Operation: Annihilate!
- Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier
- Star Trek Online Game Preview