Plot: What’s it about?
Episode #73- “The Lights of Zetar” >>> Airdate 1/31/69
The Enterprise is transporting Lt. Mira Romaine to the planetoid Memory Alpha, where the Federation’s central library is located. She is to supervise the installation of some new equipment, which seems like a simple enough task. But soon, a strange energy based storm spins across Memory Alpha and leaves behind a wake of devastation, one in which survivors don’t exist and the destruction is total. The storm soon turns its focus toward the Enterprise and once it arrives, it overtakes Romaine’s body and possesses her. Now Kirk and his crew must unlock a way to exorcise the energy entities from Romaine’s system, or else she is doomed to perish, which would break Scotty’s heart, since he has fallen for her.
Now this is what Star Trek is all about, if you ask me and as such, it stands as one of my personal favorite episodes. It has a thin storyline, mind bending plot twists, romance, possession, and of course, the steadfast presence of William “I farted in Mind Meld” Shatner. The series was headed toward the close by this time and while that sometimes signals bad episodes, I find The Lights of Zetar to be an enjoyable installment. Yes, the acting is miserable, the story is paper thin, and the special effects suck, but it is packed with Trek style and to those who would be interested, that is what matters above all else. I’m glad to see this one released and while the wait was a long one, it was well worth the time.
Episode #74- “The Cloud Minders” >>> Airdate 2/28/69
As per usual, when some kind of threat looms on the horizon, Kirk and his intrepid crew are called in to neutralize the situation. This time around, an epidemic has spread across the realm and while it is lethal, it can be cured. But the antidote is not that easy to acquire and in truth, it is found in only one place and of course, that’s where Kirk has directed the Enterprise. The antidote is an element known as zenite and it is mined on Ardana, which is ruled by one set of beings and as for the others, well, they do the hard work. But when the lower class decides to hold back the zenite, it puts the crew in a tough spot, as they must have the element. Can Kirk somehow prove his good intentions to the workers, or will billions perish instead?
This episode has a decent premise and the Kirk factor is pretty high, but it ends up being a little too preachy for this reviewer. I’ve seen all the episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and while most are fluff sci/fi cheese, some try to deliver a message and without fail, it is done with a heavy hand and it ruins the episode. This episode still has some humorous moments, but the focus shouldn’t have been on the ham handed moral, I don’t think. The hilarious special effects make this worth a look, but brace yourself for the morality check, ok?
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame transfers, as intended. As per usual, Paramount has remastered and enhanced the video on these programs, so they look quite good and show minimal problems. Of course, this is a television series from 1969, so it doesn’t look pristine, but for this material, I was more than pleased. The prints look cleaner than in reruns, colors seem solid enough, and contrast is on the mark also. So you won’t be overwhelmed by the visuals here, but these episodes haven’t looked this good in a long while.
Audio: How does it sound?
I’ve never been too critical of the gimmick laden 5.1 remixes on these Star Trek discs, because the series itself seems gimmick laden. So the match is obvious and while the surround use is forced, the cheesy sound effects seem right at home, so no worries. The music also sounds richer than expected, while dialogue is clean and easy to understand at all times. In other words, not the best remixes out there, but as far as Star Trek goes, these tracks sound good enough. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You’ll find original broadcast trailers for each episode, which are fun to watch, I suppose.