Posts Tagged ‘Paramount’

‘Doomsday Machine’ steals show for remastered ‘Star Trek’ Second Season DVD

August 1, 2008

Now that the next Star Trek movie is boldly going where no Trek film has gone before — to Kirk and Spock’s youth —  it’s a superb time to revisit “Classic Trek” via Paramount’s interrupted but now ongoing release of the original three seasons in remastered form, with updated visual effects.

Those who have watched such shows in syndication recently know how beautiful they are, even though you’ve probably seen them in truncated form, with five or six minutes trimmed to make room for more ads. No sweat. Due Tuesday, the new Star Trek Season Two Remastered DVD Edition has all 26 episodes in full, including such fan favorites as The Trouble With Tribbles, Amok Time, I, Mudd and The Deadly Years.

Having glommed much of them in advance, I can report that one episode you might not expect to stand out is truly the key — key to the remarkable job Paramount has done in sprucing up this show via enhanced effects. (Even staunch fans must admit, there was ample room for improvement.) And that episode –effects-drenched and driven by a sense of wonder for its spectacular interstellar images — is The Doomsday Machine.

Not only is it a great Star Trek episode, with William Windom playing, in effect, a tortured Captain Ahab seeking his Moby Dick — in this case an enormous trumpetlike machine with a giant maw that’s gulping entire planets — but it’s also a grand showcase for new special effects, with its many exterior shots of hardware, planetary bodies and the big fat bad thing grazing the galaxy.

Some even deemed The Doomsday Machine as a “litmus test” for the remastered and revamped efforts, especially after preview clips of the effects surfaced a year ago.

Indeed, if this doesn’t sell you on Trek’s retooling, nothing will. My only quibble (rhymes with Tribble) is that the huge thing in space now reminds me even more of a snack food called Bugles which, coincidentally, first hit the market just before Trek began airing in the ’60s.

Hmmmm . . . I wonder . . .

Anyway, whether the contraption makes you awed or awfully hungry, it’s the best example yet of how Trek’s once-bold but always cheap SPFX have been supplanted by work which makes Classic Trek look more like the movies which followed. In fact, slow down the footage in one scene and you’ll notice an asteroid field hanging in space outside a window past which Kirk (William Shatner) passes. Nice touch.

The box set itself has some nice extra touches, too, including bonus episodes of animated Trek and Deep Space Nine, each featuring an extension of the Tribbles saga.

For too many years — including the era of Star Trek’s original run — sci fi as a genre got negligible respect, along with horror and fantasy. No more. These classy improvements to a great show are downright reverential.

So beam us up again, Scotty. No matter that HD DVD bit the dust after Season One emerged. DVD is still DVD, and these episodes have never looked better — even including the dates on which they originally aired.