Blu-ray Disc review by Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits
Star Trek: The Original Series -
1967-68 (2009) - NBC/Desilu (CBS/Paramount)
Released on Blu-ray Disc on September 22nd, 2009
Also available on DVD
Program Rating: A
Video (1-20): 18
Audio (1-20): 18
Continuing where they left off with the excellent Season 1 Blu-ray Disc release, CBS Home Video has now delivered a fine Season 2 BD release. Star Trek's second season includes many of the series' best-loved episodes, including Amok Time, Mirror, Mirror, The Doomsday Machine, The Trouble with Tribbles, The Ultimate Computer and Assignment Earth.
All are presented in full 1080p high-definition video, pilar-boxed to maintain the original 1.33:1 broadcast aspect ratio. Using the set's menus, you can select to view either the original broadcast versions in HD, or the new "remastered" versions with enhanced special effects. Depending on which version you select, the audio switches from the original Dolby Digital 2.0 mono to full 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The quality of both the video and audio presentations is excellent - a perfect match to that of the Season 1 Blu-ray set. Color and contrast are both superb, and detail is excellent on the whole, with even the new effects shots revealing a layer of fine grain to blend more properly with the original filmed footage. I said it in my Season 1 review, but I'll say it again here: There's no doubt whatsoever that this is as close to perfect looking as these episodes will ever get.
In terms of bonus features, here's what's included (and NOT included) from the previous DVD releases...
Missing from the original DVD release of Season 2 are the Okuda text commentaries on Amok Time and The Trouble with Tribbles, the hidden Red Shirt Log Easter egg featurettes, and the production art and photo galleries. The set DOES include all the other featurettes and preview trailers from the original set, as well as the Star Trek's Favorite Moments featurette that was originally included on a Best Buy bonus disc.
From the more recent "Remastered" DVD only release of Season 2, this new Blu-ray set includes EVERYTHING. Billy Blackurn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Moments, Part 2 is now presented in high-def, as is the animated More Tribbles, More Troubles episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. It's a full HD transfer from the original negative, and it REALLY looks terrific. The Trials and Tribble-ations episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also included in upconverted HD only, as the series was finalized at 480p resolution.
Newly included for this Blu-ray set is Starfleet Access enhancement of Amok Time and The Trouble with Tribbles (which replaces the original Okuda text commentaries), enhanced visual effects credits and BD-Live access to additional online content (including galleries, many of the missing Red Shirt Log featurettes and other new content). This set is also enhanced with something called Mobile Blu, which allows you to control the player with an iPhone or iPod Touch (compatibility with additional mobile devices will be added in the future - learn more about all this here), provided that you can download the free Mobile Blu app (from the iPhone app store) and connect to the same wireless network as your player. Four exclusive featurettes are available for viewing on your iPhone using Mobile Blu: Writing Spock, Creating Chekov, Listening to the Actors and Spock's Mother. I don't have an iPhone, so I haven't seen them yet. I HOPE that CBS makes these featurettes available online via BD-Live as well, for those who don't have iPhones to view.
Here's the complete breakdown of contents...
DISC ONE - Episodes: Amok Time (with Starfleet Access enhancement), Who Mourns for Adonais?, The Changeling and Mirror, Mirror. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), a promo trailer for other Star Trek DVD and Blu-ray releases (HD) and the Billy Blackurn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Moments, Part 2 featurette (HD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced, Writing Spock Mobile Blu featurette
DISC TWO - Episodes: The Apple, The Doomsday Machine, Catspaw, I, Mudd and Metamorphosis. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced, Creating Chekov Mobile Blu featurette
DISC THREE - Episodes: Journey to Babel, Friday's Child, The Deadly Years, Obsession and Wolf in the Fold. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced, Listening to the Actors Mobile Blu featurette
DISC FOUR - Episodes: The Trouble with Tribbles (with audio commentary by David Gerrold and Starfleet Access enhancement), Star Trek: The Animated Series - More Tribbles, More Troubles (HD, with audio commentary by David Gerrold) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Trials and Tribble-ations (upconverted HD). Additional extras: Original broadcast preview (SD), Trials and Tribble-ations: United Two Legends and Trials and Tribble-ations: An Historic Endeavor featurettes (SD), Star Trek: TOS on Blu-ray featurette (HD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced, Spock's Mother Mobile Blu featurette
DISC FIVE - Episodes: The Gamesters of Triskellion, A Piece of the Action, The Immunity Syndrome and A Private Little War. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), To Boldly Go... Season Two featurette (SD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced
DISC SIX - Episodes: Return to Tomorrow, Patterns of Force, By Any Other Name and The Omega Glory. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), Designing the Final Frontier featurette (SD), BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced
DISC SEVEN - Episodes: The Ultimate Computer, Bread and Circuses and Assignment Earth. Additional extras: Original broadcast previews for each episode (SD), Star Trek's Favorite Moments, Writer's Notebook: D.C. Fontana, Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy, Kirk, Spock & Bones: Star Trek's Great Trio and Star Trek's Divine Diva: Nichelle Nichols featurettes (SD), Enhanced Visual Effects credits, BD-Live and Mobile Blu enhanced
Word is that some 12 Easter egg featurettes are hidden throughout this set's 7 discs! some are easier to find that others, and we'll let you explore for them yourselves. [Editor's Note: See access hints below.] I should also note that you also get a little pack of exclusive Star Trek: Continuum Edition Monopoly game cards inside the package.
Bottom line: CBS has once again outdone themselves. I think the only way this set could have been better, would be if CBS Digital had given the Deep Space Nine episode the full "remastered" treatment. But that's a whole other can of worms, and would be a real challenge. Hats off to CBS for including The Animated Series episode in full HD. One wonders if The Animated Series will be released complete in high-definition on Blu-ray, or if Star Trek: Enterprise might be next. In any case, CBS has already announced that Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 3 will complete this Blu-ray wave on 12/15, so plan accordingly. In the meantime, THIS set is highly recommended.
[Here are the codes for viewing the Easter eggs hidden on this set. Thanks to the powers that be for sending them over. All 12 are brief interview featurettes (short, but well worth finding). For the Easter eggs that require you to enter a code, simply go to the disc's main menu screen and enter the numbers listed below with your remote. Good luck...
#1 - (Enter 1966) - The year Star Trek first aired on TV.
#2 - (enter 2265) - The first year of Enterprise' five-year mission.
#3 - (navigate right from Communication)
#4 - (enter 2232) - Spock's Birth Year
#5 - (navigate right from Communication)
#6 - (enter 1229) - Original air date (month/day) of The Trouble With Tribbles
#7 - (enter 1701) - Registry number of the Enterprise
#8 - (navigate right from Communication)
#9 - (enter 1616) - The year Shakespeare died (from By Any Other Name)
#10 - (navigate right from Communication)
#11 - (enter 1968) - The year the crew returns to in Assignment Earth
#12 - (navigate right from Communication)
Bill Hunt, Editor