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The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Paramount Home Entertainment DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B001TH16CO
Date: 24 May 2009 List Price $14.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: The City on the Edge of Forever / The Trouble with Tribbles / Balance of Terror / Amok Time / Show Official Info /

When I heard from my contact at the PR agency handling Paramount Home Entertainment that a DVD with The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series was coming I didn't ask what episodes were on the DVD - I simply asked for a review copy.

"The City on the Edge of Forever" - (Season 1, Episode 28) Original Air Date: 6 April 1967

"The Trouble with Tribbles" - (Season 2, Episode 15) Original Air Date: 29 December 1967

"Balance of Terror" - (Season 1, Episode 14) Original Air Date: 15 December 1966

"Amok Time" - (Season 2, Episode 1) Original Air Date: 15 September 1967

Previews:
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1 (Blu-ray)

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray) – includes Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and The Captains' Summit Bonus Disc

The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series, The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (includes Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) on DVD

Charmed - The Final Season (Season 8), Seasons 1-7 Also Available

The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series:
While there are certainly more than four excellent episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, I certainly won't argue that the four chosen for The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series are to be counted among the best of them.

With a pair from Season 1 and a second pair from Season 2, the best two seasons are well represented. From time travel, Klingons and Tribbles, Romulans, and a visit to Vulcan, I’d say this is a very good cross-section and makes for an outstanding sampler for those getting their first taste of Classic Trek. For long time fans of the series, including those who watched it in first run, all four episodes are the digitally enhanced ones.

Leading off is "The City on the Edge of Forever", winner of the 1968 Hugo Award for the Best Dramatic Presentation awarded at Baycon, the 26th World Science Fiction Convention held in Berkley, California. The original screenplay was written by science fiction writer Harlan Ellison and although he received sole WGA credit for it, the screenplay underwent major editing and most fans would agree that the revised time travel story runs smoothly.

Second up is "The Trouble with Tribbles", a story with both Klingons and some altogether too cute animals called Tribbles. Written by a 20-something science fiction writer named David Gerrold, this episode was one of the three Star Trek episodes which lost the 1968 Hugo Award for the Best Dramatic Presentation to "The City on the Edge of Forever". Captain Koloth, the commander of the Klingon ship previously played Trelane, the Squire of Gothos in Season 1.

Considered by many to be their favorite Trek Classic episode, I had the good fortune to see James Doohan give presentations on two separate occasions. Claiming this was his personal favorite episode, he screened "The Trouble with Tribbles" on both occasions and even provided personal commentary on certain scenes. I only wish I had audio recordings of both presentations, but will have to settle for the memories.

Third on the DVD is "Balance of Terror", written by Vincent McEveety and our first introduction to the Romulans and Mark Lenard, later to play Spock’s father. Many people compare this to the Cold War taking place in real life and pitting the Federation (the USA) against the sneaky Romulans (USSR), a subtlety that no doubt escaped anyone who was not a science fiction fan.

Finishing off is "Amok Time", the fourth and final episode and the second of the three Star Trek episodes which lost the 1968 Hugo Award for the Best Dramatic Presentation to "The City on the Edge of Forever". Written by the late science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, this episode gives us a completely different view of the planet Vulcan and a completely unexpected peek into Vulcan sexuality. We learn that roughly every seven years Vulcan males and bonded females experience an overpowering mating drive known as Pon Farr, a time where their logic and self control are completely ripped from them.

One compelling reason to purchase this DVD is that all four episodes are digitally enhanced and uncut. No more dirty, scratched, patched up videotapes cut repeatedly so that your local station could cram more commercials in place of segments of the episodes.

Consider buying the DVD of The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series as a Fathers Day gift, or declare a personal holiday, but treat yourself to this special release.

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