Thursday, December 11, 2008
स्टार ट्रेक सीज़न ३ DVD
Star Trek- The Original Series: Season Three Remastered DVD Edition
Reviewed by- Jennifer Smith & Rob Klein
Star Trek Season Three Remastered Edition is “sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik.”
Star Trek’s season three looks very different than the previous two seasons, and it wasn’t just because the Starfleet uniform’s fabric was switched from fuzzy velour to “Brady Bunch”-ish polyester. Star Trek suffered from a severely cut budget, due to the shows’ near cancellation at the end of season two. NBC had no faith in the program, and due to the historic letter-writing campaign spearheaded by loyal first generation Trek fans, Star Trek was awarded a third season. Star Trek was not given a fair chance, as its third season time slot of Friday at 10:00 PM was known as the network “dead-zone.” This was the time when the loyal fans that had supported the shows for two years were out of the house being teenagers, and the younger Trek fans were asleep, as 10:00 PM was still past their bedtime, even for a weekend. Additionally, the departure of Gene Roddenberry as the show’s writer/producer due to political posturing over contract disputes also affected the style and feel of the third season. Though the new producers did a great job with what they had to work with, Star Trek’s third season too often gets dismissed as throwaway when compared to the first two seasons. It may not be the strongest of the three, but with episodes like “Spectre of the Gun”, “The Enterprise Incident’, “All Our Yesterdays” and the “The Savage Curtain”, we should thank God for Star Trek’s third season, and this new DVD set celebrates it with style.
In season three, “all bets are off”. There are many far-out premised episodes that affirmed that the show was strong enough to carry controversial stories concerning race and war; subject matter that other shows of the time dared not tackle. Star Trek had the guts of storytelling that would pique the interest of the hardest of Klingons, and it took 60’s television boldly where no other shows had gone before. An excellent example of this is “All Our Yesterdays”, a tour-de-force of acting by Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and DeForest Kelley as Dr. “Bones” McCoy. Sent back in time to a frozen wasteland by mistake, Spock and McCoy encounter the beautiful Zarabeth, marooned there by an evil dictator. McCoy finds a way to return through the time portal, but cannot jump through without Spock. Spock sacrifices his future with Zarabeth for McCoy’s return to the Enterprise, leaving Zarabeth alone in the past. Almost 20 years after the Trek episode was filmed, a brilliant book was released called “Yesterday’s Son,” by A.C. Crispin. In it, Spock realizes that he fathered a son by Zarabeth, and travels back in time to rescue him. How many other television shows have spawned episodes being embellished upon 15 years after the episode premiered? Another example is obvious; the first season episode “Space Seed” that originally starred Ricardo Montalban as “Khan” became the vehicle that generated the best Trek feature film: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Star Trek- The Original Series: Season Three Remastered DVD Edition looks great in spite of the controversial addition of enhanced effects. Though we will always be purists and want to see the original cuts and effects live on forever in reruns, I must admit that it’s fun seeing these new digital effects pop-up from time to time in an episode, especially when you forget you are watching an enhanced version. There is a certain thrill at seeing an episode that you’ve watched dozens of times, and being “wowed” or at least caught off-guard by how cool The CG “U.S.S. Enterprise” looks in orbit.
Sometimes DVD releases get everything right (in this case, except for the absence of a “play all episodes” function). The set is incased in a clear plastic covering which hinges open to reveal a CD-sized clear box, housing the DVDs with a colorful slipcover and neat-o data cards printed on clear red plastic featuring the set’s program. Continuing the typical third season tradition, the episode “The Cage” is included, which was the pilot before William Shatner was the Captain of “The Enterprise”. Some of the extras in the set have been regurgitated from the 2004 Trek DVD release, while a few are recent. “To Boldly Go… Season Three” is a short featurette that covers the highlights of season three. “Star Trek: A Collector’s Dream” explains the re-production of Star Trek props like phasers and communicators. It also coins the hysterical phrase “crapezoid” to refer to Trek’s non-working background phasers. Other mini-documentaries include “Life Beyond Trek: Walter Koenig”, “Chief Engineer’s Log” and “Captain’s Log with Bob Justman,” about the man who took up producing responsibilities when Gene Roddenberry left. On a lighter note, a little feature called “Collectible Trek” is just about as uncomfortable to watch as the film Trekkies. To those of you who have not seen Trekkies, it may be the best Star Trek film after Star Trek- The Wrath of Khan. On a more serious note, a very moving and informative look into the life of George Takei is shown in “Memoir from Mr. Sulu”, where he poignantly discusses his years in a Japanese Internment camp as a boy during World War WII.
As with the DVD Enhanced releases of seasons one and two, season three comes with the best Trek news of the decade: “Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest.” This is home video gold. Blackburn was on the Trek set five days a week. He provided production support, which is, to say the least, a Trekkie’s dream job. He was a stand-in for DeForest Kelley, stuntman, assistant to Fred Phillips (Star Trek’s resident make-up wizard with prosthetic effects), in addition to helping Bill Thiess with wardrobe. Blackburn took home movies while on the Trek set or while on location, and each Enhanced DVD Trek release reveals new Blackburn home movies never before seen or heard of until now. Part 3 features perhaps the only behind the scenes footage from Star Trek season three in existence (other than the elusive “season three blooper reel”).
The greatest moment of these season three home movies is seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk on location for the episode “The Paradise Syndrome” hanging out around the giant Indian pylon featured in the story. Fantastic footage of the giant set piece under construction is awesome. Due to the slashed budget for season 3, not many episodes were filmed on location. However, “The Paradise Syndrome” was one of the few that let the crew out of the confines of the small Desilu studios in Hollywood to enjoy the outdoors and green pine trees surrounding the Hollywood Reservoir. The treat of leaving the studio’s gates is perhaps is why Blackburn documented so much material from this particular episode. These moments captured are priceless, and to reveal original series footage this long after everyone thought that the Trek well had run dry is a one in a million opportunity for fans.
The Blackburn footage is truly amazing, though short. Hopefully these sets will sell well, and their success will be attributed to the inclusion of “Bill Blackburn’s Home Movies”, not just to the enhanced effects. Blackburn must truly be commended and compensated for his foresight in capturing these precious moments in television history. His footage may be all that exists…but then again it may not be. Let’s hope that the success of these current DVD sets will spawn the future producers of Trek videos to suss out the “other” forgotten footage that still awaits discovery in the garages of Trek production personnel. The archeology of Star Trek still awaits, ready to be discovered.