Return To Tomorrow With Season Two of TOS

By Michelle
October 26, 2004 - 10:53 PM

Star Trek: The Complete Second Season, considered by many fans to be the high point of the original series, will be released on DVD on November 2nd. Some critics have already posted their reviews online.

  • Holly E. Ordway of DVD Talk called the second season more experimental than the first, with "an interestingly varied assortment of episodes" and "the show tentatively developing its characters." Because Mr. Spock had become a fan favourite, many episodes focused on the character and on Vulcan culture, including such episodes as "Journey To Babel", which introduced Spock's parents, and "Amok Time", which brought the concept of pon farr into being. The latter, noted Ordway, marks the start of greater development of the friendship among Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, brought to the fore in second season stories like "Bread and Circuses" and "A Piece of the Action."

    "To be totally honest...I have to admit that these episodes are most enjoyable for their place in Star Trek history, not as stories that work well on their own merits," said Ordway, who found the plots sketchy and much of the action gratuitous. She awarded the set only three and a half stars overall, though she was mostly impressed with the video and sound transfer. "I found the colors to be a tad bit muted, with a slightly dull look at times. A few print flaws make it through, mostly in the form of scratches or lines in the print, and some noise is evident at times. She recommended the set to serious Star Trek fans "rather than to viewers who are looking for great science fiction television" and labeled it "retro fun."

  • TrekWeb's BWilliams gave the DVD set four stars out of five, citing the arrival of Chekov, the "strong character-based tales" and the strong bonds among the three leads as assets of the second season. In addition to season opener "Amok Time" and the aforementioned "Journey To Babel", Williams noted that this collection also encompasses the comedic fan favourites "The Trouble With Tribbles" and "A Piece of the Action", plus a prototype alien Nazi story, "Patterns of Force", one of many Trek trial stories, "A Wolf in the Fold", and the perennially popular introduction to the alternate universe of "Mirror, Mirror."

    In fact Williams' biggest complaint is not with the included episodes, which he praises highly, but with the relative lack of new material about them:

    As with the previous set, Paramount has included an optional text commentary...this time on only two episodes, "Amok Time" and "The Trouble With Tribbles"...while these text commentaries are good, I would have preferred some additional text commentaries for "Mirror, Mirror", "I, Mudd", "Journey to Babel", "The Omega Glory", and "Assignment: Earth", among others.
    He also lamented the absence of any archival interview footage of Gene Roddenberry and the absence of James Doohan from commentary. Moreover, behind the scenes footage, outtakes and the legendary blooper reel are not on the set. And though he appreciated the Easter Eggs, Williams felt that some of that material, as well as the bonus disc sold only via Best Buy, Suncoast and other venues, should have been included in the set proper.

  • "The season is consistently strong, with only a couple of episodes that don't resonate with fans today," wrote Scott Kimball of Home Theater Forum. In addition to the popular episodes cited above, he noted his affection for "The Changeling", in which a damaged Eart space probe finds its way to Enterprise, and "The Doomsday Machine", which finds Commodore Decker playing Captain Ahab to a great white whale of an alien war device. Then there was "Assignment Earth", a time-travel story about nuclear proliferation and mysterious alien intervention. "Iíve left a few of my favorite episodes off of this list... there are just too many of them," admitted Kimball.

    Despite graininess on optical shots, the video transfer received favourable mentions, though Kimball lamented the absence of the original monaural soundtrack. He called "Life Beyond Trek" an interesting and intimate look at the Spock actor's career, including his current interest in photography, and says that Nichelle Nichols "is very animated" and "gives a wonderful interview" during the segment on her career, on which viewers can also hear her sing. "The special features on this set seem somewhat 'meatier' than what was found on the season one set," he concluded, calling the set "highly recommended".

    Star Trek: The Complete Second Season will be released in North America one week from today. It may be preordered from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

    Discuss this news item at Trek BBS!
    XML Add TrekToday RSS feed to your news reader or My Yahoo!
    Also a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation fan? Then visit CSIFiles.com!

    Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.