|Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 19|
|DVD TV Shows|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Tuesday, 13 February 2001|
For anyone under the age of 50, "Star Trek" is part of childhood. Yes, the series first aired in the ‘60s, but it’s been with us ever since in syndication and new editions, so just about anybody who’s turned on a TV set in the last 35 years has come across it at some point.
"Star Trek: The Original Series" just about defined pop culture. Paramount Home Entertainment, aware that the franchise is a flying gold mine, has gone to unusual lengths to restore picture hue and integrity and increase audio resolution. There are classic feature films made a decade later that don’t look and sound nearly as good on their DVD releases as original "Star Trek" episodes do.
The consistency of quality on the episodic "Star Trek" DVD releases seems to be pretty consistent. While the episodes still have that unnaturally-lit Technicolor brightness that marked TV drama in the ‘60s, the photography looks as it did in first run, without faded colors or, worse, print scratches. The 5.1 surround mostly just spreads the tracks evenly through the sound field, but occasionally there’s a nice effect, like a satisfying rumble when the Enterprise is hit by a ball of energy in "The Changeling" and klaxonlike warning sounds in the rears a little later in the same chapter.
"Vol. 19" is neither the worst nor the best of "Star Trek." The first of the two episodes on the disc is "The Changeling," about a world-destroying, space-going, cylindrical machine that mistakes Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) for its creator. The second episode, "The Apple," parks four of the Enterprise principals – Kirk, Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Mr. Chekov (Walter Koenig) on a world populated by a childlike race who worship a false god.
The episodes themselves are agreeable, if perhaps a bit hokey even by "Star Trek" standards. (Seeing the characters euphemize their way around a discussion of sexuality in 1967 series TV is so surreal that it’s almost worth the price of the disk right there.) Viewers who want just so much "Star Trek" and no more should start elsewhere, but the episodes both have charming moments, and they are beautiful testaments to the knowledge and determination of a very skilled audio/video restoration team.