Posted: 05/12/2009


The Best of Star Trek:The Original Series and the Best of Star Trek:The Next Generation

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and the Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation offers something for new trekkies or trekkers, as well as old trekkies or trekkers. Both DVDs are available May 12 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment.

The first one, The Original Series, offers episodes of vintage Star Trek, as the Starship Enterprise continues on its mission (set in the 23rd century) to explore strange, new worlds and “boldly go where no man has gone before.” In “The City on the Edge of Forever,” William Shatner (Capt. Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) try to subdue Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) after he accidentally overdoses on a serum that renders him delusional and causes him to totally flip out and “jump ship.” The crew diverts its course of travel and makes an emergency landing right in the ruins of the City on the Edge. Even cool Spock is stumped when they reach the city, as Dr. McCoy takes cover and escapes their view. They run into an archway that talks back—saying he’s the “Guardian of Forever,” machine and being, both and neither, who’s admitted that he’s been waiting ions for someone to ask him a question.

Of course, smooth Spock is perturbed by the “time portal” and doesn’t accept its insults easily.
Dr. McCoy is finally subdued, but the time portal intrigues Capt. Kirk and Spock. And before they can figure things out, Dr. McCoy passes into “what was” by jumping into the time portal.
Can the crew, with Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) desperately trying to record everything, rescue Dr. McCoy before it’s too late? Or will their curiosity cause them to accidentally change the course of time forever?

In “Amok Time,” Spock raises the concern of Dr. McCoy and Capt. Kirk, when he begins to behave irrationally. When prodded to get a checkup, he becomes belligerent and threatens Dr. McCoy. Spock insists on going to his home planet, to the shock of his crewmates. He argues with Capt. Kirk that he wishes to take his leave on Vulcan, merely saying that he needs rest.
An emergency arises, and Spock freaks out when he can’t get back to Vulcan quickly enough and goes behind Capt. Kirk’s back and changes course, ordering the ship to go straight to Vulcan. Spock is so disoriented that he doesn’t remember ordering the ship’s course to Vulcan, and he demands to be sequestered. He throws a hissy fit and is just intolerable.
It turns out Spock must mate or die (therein the reason for his insanity), but the bride that he chooses decides she favors Capt. Kirk better than she does Spock. What ensues is a fight to the death—the great Vulcan marriage ritual battle—with Capt. Kirk and Spock as the main combatants.

Other episodes include “The Trouble with Tribbles, which is deemed the most popular Star Trek episode of all time,” and “Balance of Terror.”

The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation takes the Enterprise a step further, in the adventures outlined in the only syndicated series to be nominated for an Emmy award. The Next Generation is set in the 24th century and has a bit more blended cast with Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan and LeVar Burton as the blind Lt. Geordi La Forge. These two join regular crewmates of the Enterprise-D, led by Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, and Comdr. William T. Riker, played by Jonathan Frakes.

Episodes on this DVD include two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds,” and “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” in which a previous Enterprise travels 22 years into the future to meet with its successor.

The last episode on this DVD is “The Measure of a Man,” an episode where Commander Riker is forced to take the stand to prove that Data is indeed an android.

Both DVD’s are delightful to watch, as I thought back to my youth when I didn’t realize I was actually watching science fiction, until years later. To me, it was just Star Trek: with Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Lt. Uhura and the rest of the mystifying crew.

Now available on DVD from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment, with The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and the Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you can watch the travels and triumphs of both friend and foe, over and over again; without ever having to miss those famous words, “Beam Me Up Scotty.”

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.

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