The Series (4/5)
Star Trek in 2016 is now considered an icon of television media. The original series was sequelized and prequelized into 5 additional series (with a new one coming from CBS in 2017), and a reboot series of films lead by producer/director J.J. Abrams (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, SUPER 8). However, back when it was first created by Gene Rodenberry in the late 1960's as a "Wagon Train to the stars", It was not remotely popular with TV audiences. Whether this is because NBC aired it too late for it's primary youth based demographic, or the fact that it was too vastly different from what audiences at the time expected from their television science fiction.
Star Trek's premise is vastly simple. The crew of the Starship Enterprise lead by Captain James T. Kirk are on a five year mission by the Federation of Planets to explore and discover "strange new worlds" and document them. The show unlike later shows in the series doesn't involve a continuous narrative arc with episodes tying into one another. What happens in a typical Star Trek episode is a self-contained adventure narrative with the crew getting involved in some situation, that ends when the episode does. What the series does, so well, is create well rounded and interesting reoccurring main characters. Our main crew members from William Shatner's Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy's Spock, and DeForrest Kelley's Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. They have certain quirks and trademarks from the first episode, and these are built upon throughout the 3 seasons of the show, and the 7 movies over the next 30 years years.
The show itself, and it should be no surprise to anyone reading this is fantastic. The first 2 seasons are, the best the show had to offer. Due to fan demand the show was brought back for a third year, but unfortunately the show’s budget was cut and as such the quality of the show went down all around. The upshot to the maligned third season, however, is that it brought Star Trek up to the required episode count for syndicated broadcast, where the show found it's huge fan base throughout the 1970's and beyond.
The performances from the main cast are quite excellent though obviously stylized. Of course, having grown up my entire life watching them on TV, it is hard to be objective when these people just are their characters in my eyes. The shows are a colorful pulpy cocktail that just look stunning and otherworldly. CBS has previously released the entire Star Trek series to Blu-ray previously in 2009 to coincide with the release of J.J. Abrams original reboot film. Now with the third about to hit theaters, they are set to do a re-release. The packaging and disc colors are the only things that are different about this release. The content and A/V quality is the same to what came before. It just happens to fit on the shelf much more nicely.
CBS presents Star Trek: The Original Series in a series of 1:33:1 1080p AVC encoded transfers that look positively splendid. As a child watching the show on SD TV, I thought the show looked quite faded, and old. Watching the Blu-ray remaster with either new or old FX the show looks absolutely gorgeous. Detail is fantastic throughout, blacks levels are solid, but special detail needs to be paid to the colors here. The colors on the Blu-ray remaster make Star Trek look like the televisual equivalent of a Mario Bava film, think Planet of the Vampires. It is simply glorious.
The audio has multiple options a DTS-HD 7.1 track in English and a DTS-HD 2.0 mono track in English. Both tracks are quite excellent with dialogue, score, and background effects coming through nicely. I did not detect any issues with the audio during my playthrough.
Not quite as packed as the TNG Blu-ray editions, but still there is a wide swath of material to be had including documentaries, interviews, trailers, on almost every facet of the show. This includes featurettes and interviews that go into depth on the show’s creation, production, details on the cast and crew and MORE.
Star Trek: The Original Series is a landmark in science fiction television. The Blu-ray from CBS is a simple repackage, but if you haven't bought the series yet, this is a great cheap and easy way to do it. The Blu-rays looks and sound fantastic, and are loaded up with extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.