Plot: What’s it about?
Episode #55- “Assigment: Earth” >>> Airdate 3/29/68
The U.S.S. Enterprise has been sent on a research mission in 1968 (perhaps to watch their own show), but this mission will not be the usual one, not by any means. As the task unfolds, the crew runs into Gary Seven, a human who claims to be more than a normal man, with more than a normal life. Seven says he was raised on another planet and is charged with an important task, to keep the people of Earth from destroying themselves. This all seems a little hard to believe of course, but Seven claims that World War III is about to happen and unless he is trusted, the world will cease to exist as we know it. But should Kirk (William Shatner) trust this unusual man, or should he be turned over to a mental institution?
An insane man, William Shatner, and the end of the world…sounds another disaster averted at a Star Trek convention, if you ask me. I like this episode and while it has problems, it never fails to entertain and please, Shatner is money from start to finish. Shatner’s banter with this unusual man is classic Trek, but of course, the writing is awful and Shatner is forced to elevate the material, as per usual. A decent enough premise, weak details, and some cool costumes, all in all, not a bad episode in the end. Not one of the best or even the better installments, but one that is worth a look, especially for fans of Shatner and this series.
Episode #56- “Spectre of the Gun” >>> Airdate 10/25/68
As Kirk and his crew travel through space, they notice a strange warning sign, but choose to push ahead and ignore it. But that warning was placed by the Melkots and if you know them, then you know they hate it when people invade their space. And since Kirk and his dedicated staff ignored the warning and went ahead, the Melkots demand some justice, in a most unusual fashion. The Melkots live on a very offbeat planet and have unusual customs, but this punishment order is outrageous, to be sure. Kirk and his crew are forced to play the roles of the Clantons in a reenactment of the O.K. Corral shootout, which means the Melkots will be the Earps. Will history repeat itself and the Clantons be gunned down, or will Kirk hatch a plan to save the crew once again?
These outlandish episodes are terrific and man, Kirk and his men in the Old West? That’s good watchin’ and this episode proves to be well worth a look. I’d seen it a few times on television, but it was great to see it again, especially in such fine form. I just think the premise is good, given the usual drek you see on the series, although some of the fun starts to drain, then picks up strong toward the end. As you should know, Shatner gives a riveting turn and really flexes his artistic muscle, some of the best acting you’ll see from a television show, perhaps anywhere. If you’re a fan of the series or are looking for an episode to start with, this would be a wise choice to watch.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are shown in their intended full frame format, just as they were seen back in the old days. In a nice gesture, Paramount has remastered and enhanced these episodes, which means the image quality is increased and passed on to you. I’ve never seen the episodes look so good, but then again, I’ve only seen them in reruns, so what do I know. The image here is much better than the television versions, with much richer colors, better contrast levels, and cleaner source materials. In other words, terrific work from Paramount that results in celebrations from fans of this landmark series.
Audio: How does it sound?
In addition to enhancing the video, Paramount has also boosted the audio, via new Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. I am pleased with the results here, as the audio environment is very immersive and the surrounds see much more action than expected. Of course, the surround channels don’t explode with dynamic sound, but as far as an old television show goes, this is terrific stuff indeed. No issues with vocals however, so as Spock’s father delivers his lines, all the passion burns through, just as it should. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you want to enable them.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You’ll find a promotional trailer for each episode, which is cool.