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Featured TV on DVD Review: Star Trek: The Original Series: Origins

September 10th, 2013

Star Trek: The Original Series: Origins - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Star Trek: The Original Series started nearly 50 years ago, while this week the latest movie, Into Darkness, comes out on the home market this week. To celebrate, a single-disc Blu-ray, Origins, comes out. So what episodes are found on the Blu-ray? And is it worth picking up?

The Show

  1. The Cage
    This is the original pilot, the one that never aired on TV and the one that was thought to be lost for 20 years. It stars Jeffrey Hunter as Christopher Pike, the Captain of the starship Enterprise. While traveling through space, they receive a distress beacon, a very old distress beacon. It is so old, 18 years, that he decides not to investigate, unless there is evidence that there are some survivors. It seems a previous away mission went poorly and there were injuries, and casualties, so the captain wants to take care of his crew first. However, when confirmation of survivors is received, they race to rescue them. Once on the planet, they discover not only that there are survivors, but one of them is a young woman, Vina (Susan Oliver), who was born practically during the crash. While the crew of the Enterprise is amazed to see this young lady, they in turn are being watched by three aliens.
    I'm so used to seeing this episode cut up as part of The Menagerie, so much so that it is a little strange seeing it in this form. It is definitely less of an action-oriented show than the rest of The Original Series, but good in its own way. On the other hand, pilots rarely live up to the rest of their show and this is the case here.
  2. Where No Man Has Gone Before
    The Enterprise, now captained by James Kirk, is about to fly outside the galaxy. On their way, they find a ship's recorder that had been ejected a long time ago, but before they can check out the contents, they travel past the Galaxy's edge. When they pass through, two of their crewmembers, Gary Mitchell and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, undergo some kind of psychic transformation and gain superpowers and one of them will threaten the Enterprise.
    Like I've said before, the pilot is very rarely the best episode of the series. This is a good introduction to the show, but it is a little slow.
  3. Space Seed
    The Enterprise comes across a derelict ship floating in space. Its from Earth and was launched in the 1990s, which was the era of the Eugenics Wars. Aboard the ship, they find 60 to 70 people in suspended animation. One of these is Kahn Noonien Singh.
    If you were to rate the best episode from Star Trek: The Original Series, most people will put this episode in the top ten, and for good reason.
  4. Errand of Mercy
    This is the episode that introduced the Klingons. The crew of the Enterprise travel to Organia, a non-aligned planet. They are there to negotiate a treaty with the Organians in order to prevent the Klingons from being able to use it during the war, which has just begun. Captain Kirk tries to convince the Organians to join their side using diplomacy. The Klingon commanders, Kor (John Colicos), uses force instead. Force works, but mainly because the Organians seem unwilling to fight, even to protect themselves. But why?
    This episode isn't in the top ten for the entire series, but it's close. It has great confrontation between Kirk and Spock and the Klingon commander. It also has a good mysterious alien of the week.
  5. Trouble with Tribbles
    The Enterprise is heading to a disputed planet, Sherman's Planet. Both the Federation and the Klingon Empire have laid claim to it and under the Organian Peace Treaty, it will go to the one who can develop it most efficiently. While on the way, they get a Priority One distress call, but when they get to the Space Station K7, there's nothing wrong, at least nothing they can see. However, when they beam aboard, they are greeted by Agriculture Under-Secretary Nilz Baris, who is an aggressively petty bureaucrat. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Uhura meets a traveling salesman, Cyrano Jones (Stanley Adams), who gives her a Tribble. Shortly after that, a Klingon Battlecruiser, led by Captain Koloth (William Campbell), who claims he's just there for shore leave, and under the Organian Peace Treaty, they can't be refused. Of course, it doesn't take long till something breaks.
    Sci-fi and humor don't always work; however it works better in this episode than it just about any other episode in the Star Trek series. I would argue it is in the top ten for the series, perhaps even the top five, but I like it more than most.

The Extras

The only extras on the Blu-ray are short minute-long intros for each episode.

The Verdict

Star Trek: The Original Series: Origins is a typical single-disc release. Three of the five episodes are classics, while the other two are good and have historical significance. All five are worth owning, but, and this is a big but, fans of the show likely already have them on Blu-ray, and there are not enough extras to make up for that.

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Filed under: Video Review, Sally Kellerman, Gary Lockwood, Ricardo Montalban, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, William Schallert