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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #25 (1968)

"We do not colonize. We conquer, we rule!"
- Rojan (Warren Stevens)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: June 27, 2001

Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Other Stars: Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Anthony Caruso, Vic Tayback, Lee Delano, Warren Stevens, Barbara Bouchet, Stewart Moss
Director: James Komack, Marc Daniels

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, scenes of sensuality)
Run Time: 01h:40m:34s
Release Date: June 19, 2001
UPC: 097366002540
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C-AA- D

DVD Review

"Sir, you make an excellent starship commander, but as a taxi driver you leave a great deal to be desired." - Spock

Star Trek: The Original Series-Volume #25, Episode 49

A Piece of the Action
Stardate: 4598.0
Airdate: Jamuary 12, 1968
Directed by: James Komack

I really dreaded reviewing this episode, since it irritated me to no end when originally aired. To my mind, it signalled the decline of the series into repetition. Once again, the Enterprise crew finds itself on the equivalent of 1930s Earth, in a vain effort to recapture the lightning in a bottle of City on the Edge of Forever. After the U.S.S. Horizon visited Sigma Iotia, the ship was lost for a hundred years. The Enterprise is dispatched to the planet to see what possible cultural contamination may have taken place before the noninterference directive was in place. Unfortunately, the Horizon left behind a book about Chicago gangsters of the 1930s, and the Iotians have adopted the Dillinger lifestyle to the hilt. Kirk, Spock and McCoy find themselves in the middle of a turf war, and are held captive by a boss bent on getting some of the Enterprise's "fancy heaters."

In retrospect, the episode was a good deal more entertaining than I'd remembered it, with quite a bit of humor. Vic Tayback, later to be immortalized as Mel on Alice, makes for a good crimelord. Anthony Caruso as Boss Oxmyx has a good time as head of the primary mob. The 4th-rate Dashiell Hammett dialogue spouted by the gangsters is quite amusing, particularly as Spock struggles to understand the vernacular. The mistaking of the Federation for "The Feds" is a real gem. The Machiavellian plotting between the bosses, as well as Kirk's resolution, are entertaining as well. In all, a happier experience than I recalled, but the "back in time" scenario was still getting tired by this point. Probably the most intriguing part is the idea that almost any book could serve as a Bible under the right circumstances, for the dictates of the gangster volume are taken as sacred scripture to the Iotians.

Random stuff: Vulcan nerve pinches are grossly overused here. Kirk pads the running time with an extended ad libbed card game. No shirtless Kirk, and Bones fails to insist on his profession. Kirk, we learn, is not a person to accept a ride from. It's worth it to hear Kirk refer to his first officer as "Spocko" and to say, "I'm tired of playin' pattycake with you penny-ante operators."

This episode rates two and a half Enterprises out of five.





"I think we're somewhat alike, Captain. Each of us cares less for his own safety than for the lives of those under his command. We feel pain when others suffer for our mistakes. Your punishment shall be to watch them die." - Rojan (Warren Stevens)

Star Trek: The Original Series-Volume #25, Episode 50

By Any Other Name
Stardate: 4657.5
Airdate: February 23, 1968
Directed by: Marc Daniels

Once again, the landing party is tediously held prisoner. This time, it's by some marooned tentacled creatures from the Andromeda galaxy who have conveniently assumed human form, thereby salvaging the effects budget. With the aid of a paralysis field, they are able to conquer the crew and the Enterprise without breaking a sweat. Modifying the ship to cross intergalactic distances (a modification somehow forgotten in subsequent episodes), the aliens take off into oblivion to summon their compatriots to conquer the Milky Way. The end.

No, wait. The Andromedans, being in human form, start to assume human feelings and emotions. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty are the only ones left to take advantage of this (the rest of the crew having been turned into powdery Platonic solids). Scotty uses a taste for liquor, while Kirk, of course, uses human lust and jealousy to his purposes. There are some good moments, such as Scotty's attempts to sabotage the Enterprise and Kirk's agonizing over whether to go ahead with it. The resolution is, as usual, forced and improbable.

Random stuff: Bones is still not saying what he is. Kirk gets plenty of smooching in here, but keeps the shirt on. For a change, Spock's mind meld is spectacularly unsuccessful. Two episodes in a row where the landing party is taken captive is a little tedious. In the original airing they were wisely spaced nearly a month apart. One red shirt (a woman, which is rather unusual) bites it, this time as her polyhedron is crumbled into dust. Oops.

This episode rates one and a half Enterprises out of five.



Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Once again, the DVD version of these programs puts every other format, including the original broadcasts to shame. Although the special effects shots look awful, the picture is quite nice overall. Color is excellent and blacks are rich and deep. The red shirts are eye-popping, and a tremendous amount of detail can be seen in the gangsters' suits.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a rather subtly remixed DD 5.1 in a hearty 448 kBps. Directionality is subdued, but present upon careful listening. No hiss or noise is to be heard. At times the theme music sounds a little shrill, but otherwise the sound is excellent. Dialogue is clear throughout. The red alert klaxons come through nicely on the surrounds.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: As is par for the course on this series, the extras are minimal. We do get some less-than-excellent quality trailers for these episodes, and fairly thorough (though slightly paraphrased) subtitling. The booklet contains a few trivia factoids, and that's about it.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Another round of beautifully restored episodes, with a repetitive flavor. The series is definitely taking a downturn here, and these episodes are only for hardcore devotees.

 


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