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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > TV > Adventure > Space Opera > Star Trek - The Original Series: Season Three (Remastered DVD Edition/CBS DVD)

Star Trek - The Original Series: Season Three (Remastered DVD Edition/CBS DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B+     Episodes: B+



As we take one last trip and go boldly where no man has gone before (on DVD), we explore the third and final installment of Star Trek – The Original Series: Remastered.  Following in line with the three previous season releases, Star Trek - The Original Series: Season Three Remastered has upgraded the picture and sound quality of the series, while adding on some digitally enhanced scenery and special effects.  Think George Lucas, but not as bad.  Essentially in 2006 Paramount gave Michael Okuda the permission and funding to go ahead and bring the classic series into the new digital millennium by adding on new special effects.  The classic series underwent multiple sessions of ‘phaser revitalization surgery,’ in order to strip out the old cardboard sets and insert new digitally remastered backdrops.  Even the slightest mention of messing with a classic (like Star Wars) and fans are up in arms, but truly the series looks better than ever.  Granted the original cuts of the series are not available in this particular set, but they are out there in some galaxy faraway to be released on High Definition one day.


Though it took some time for even this reviewer to embrace, the new digitally enhanced Star Trek sets have breathed new life into a series that often times was too ‘cornball’ for its own good.  From bad costumes too bad acting (*cough* Shatner *cough*) fans on some level must be honest and see the humor, no matter how nostalgic, in asteroids on strings and cardboard control decks.  For the most part Michael Okuda did an excellent job of concurrently remastering the series, while keeping everything the series stood for in tact.  The stories and adventures are all present with only the occasional digital nip and tuck here and there.


The final season of Star Trek: The Original Series is not quite as memorable as the first two seasons of the series, but the third installment was creative enough and gives us many new elements to embrace.  The season is full of plenty of Klingons and Romulans, but never reaches the heights that seasons 1 and 2 did.  Some of the memorable episodes are “All Our Yesterdays,” “Spectre of the Gun,” and “Day of the Dove” in which Klingons board the Federation to supply an already perturbed and paranoid crew with weapons of both the mental and physical variety.  The most stand out episode of Season Three “The Enterprise Incident” that involves a cloaking device and a band of Romulans.  Kirk and Spock are taken prisoner on a Romulan ship and in a strange course of events Spock is forced to “kill” Captain Kirk.  Kirk returns to the Enterprise and we soon discover that he is under orders to obtain the cloaking device at all costs and a covert mission ensues.  “The Enterprise Incident” is a classic Star Trek episode that is as good as any; something that can not be said of most of Season Three.  The season as a whole feels extremely sporadic as it contains both some very interesting episodes as well as the worst in the catalog (“Spock’s Brain” anybody?) and never offers the same level of Trek that was captured in the first two seasons.  This reviewer will never turn down another helping of Star Trek, this season was just a tad hard to swallow at times.


The technical features on the Third and Final Season of Star Trek: The Original Series are not out of this world, but are able to hold their own.  Not as sharp or clear as the Season One HD release, the picture here is presented in a standard definition 1.33 X 1 full screen that demonstrates a vibrant color palette, fine textures, solid blacks, and a nice clarity.  The overall problem with this release (as well as the previous two Remastered sets) is that it is not currently supported by 1080p.  It is undeniable that the series looks better than ever, but it just not at the level it could be without High Definition support.  There are already talks that Season One will be arriving on Blu-ray shortly, but until that day we get to deal with the adequate image that still displays dirt and grain, along side the newly added and at times distracting digital effects.  What was so wrong with cardboard models?


The sound is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound that like the picture quality is a clear advancement from the 2004 DVD release; although not all together perfect.  The sound has a nice directionality and clarity, balancing the high and low frequencies of the series quite well.  The phasers move across the speakers fluidly and the dialogue is clear and distinct.  Though it is not perfect, fans will be pleased with the tracks overall dynamics.


The extras featured on this new remastered set offer fans a lot to teleport into.  Included on the set’s seventh disc is the Original Pilot episode “The Cage” featuring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike.  The episode mainly centers on the said captain being held captive by aliens and later was reimagined with “The Menagerie,” starring William Shatner in the role of Captain Kirk.  Two versions on presented in this set; the first being a fully remastered, color version (with newer special effects) and the other being a black and white spliced footage version.  Both act as an important inclusion in this set and to Star Trek history.  Also on this set is a third installment of Bill Blackburn’s Treasure Chest, which features exclusive “home video footage” of the on set moments, as well as Blackburn’s personal thoughts about the now classic series.  Another interesting feature is the To Boldly Go…Season Three featurette, which brings the cast and crew back together to discuss their time on the series and what Season Three, in particular, has meant to them over the years.  Being one of the more interesting features on the set, A Star Trek Collector’s Dream Come True, delivers just what it states as the featurette boldly goes into the depths of an extreme collector’s Stark Trek memorabilia hoard.  Then there is Life Beyond Trek: Walter Koenig; a mental retrospective of the series and life for the man who has done it all.  Other stars give their feelings on the series with features like Chief Engineer’s Log with James Doohan, as well as Memoirs from Mr. Sulu featuring George Takei going into politics, the series, life, and not so much how it hates Shatner.  Another couple features added for good measure are Collectable Trek (previously on the BEST BUY exclusive disc) that once again looks at the collecting habits of Trekkies and Star Trek’s Impact with Eugene Roddenberry who discusses the series impact on his life.  The only NEW feature on this set is Captain’s Log: Bob Justman that allows the late Bob Justman to reflect on his time on set, as well as the other cast and crew discussing Justman’s impact on them.  All in all a nice set of extras, but don’t expect much in terms of new material if you already own the 2004 (un-remastered) DVD set.


The new remastered Star Trek set is nice all around.  Whereas some may be turned off by the added special effects, for the most part they are truly well done.  It would have been nice for the studio to include the original unedited series as well as the remastered footage, but I will take what I can get. Plus, it has been speculated that the Blu-ray release will contain both versions of the series.  The final installment of the original television series is more than amazing and allows the viewer to experience the real Captain Kirk and crew from the very beginning.  The original inspiration for an endless universe of creativity (and nerdom) is established right here.  Live long and prosperous.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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