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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #29 (1968)

"It's my experience that the prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other."
- Kirk (William Shatner)

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: August 17, 2001

Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, France Nuyen, Jay Robinson, Sabrina Scharf, Rudy Solari
Other Stars: Nichelle Nichols, Tony Young, James Doohan
Director: John Meredyth Lucas, Jud Taylor

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:40m:00s
Release Date: August 14, 2001
UPC: 097366002946
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+A-B+ D+

DVD Review

"Well, I've heard of reluctant brides, but this is ridiculous" - McCoy (DeForest Kelley)

Elaan of Troyius
Stardate: 4372.5
Original Airdate: December 20, 1968
Directed by: John Meredyth Lucas

This episode battles against several handicaps. It is somewhat of a remake of Journey to Babel as the Enterprise, tasked to ferry sensitive passengers, is shadowed by an unknown ship. In this case, Petri, Ambassador of Troyius (Jay Robinson) and Elaan, Dohlman of Elaas (France Huyen) are being taken to Troyius where the latter is destined to marry the ruler and the former is to educate her in the more sophisticated elements of Troyian culture.

Things go badly when Elaan stabs Petri and the ambassador refuses to continue with the mission. Under pressure from higher ups at the Federation, Kirk is forced to take over the education of the Dohlman. Petri reveals that a special fact about these Elaasian women is that their tears carry a chemical that acts as a love potion and any man who is touched is enslaved. This further handicaps the story as Kirk must struggle between his love for an exotic woman and his duty to the ship—again.

A common deficiency of the later episodes of The Original Series is that they were often derivative or out-and-out remakes of earlier episodes, using different elements. Aside from very crisp writing, there is only one reason why this episode triumphs over its handicaps and aspires to an essential list: the acting.

This is one of William Shatner's best performances. He experiences a wide range of incident and emotion, ranging from amused annoyance at the security trappings of the mission to frustrated anger and deep love. When the unknown enemy turns out to be Klingon, the affected Kirk must struggle with his emotions while fighting the enemy toe-to-toe, while his own ship is crippled by sabotage.

Nuyen, in a dazzling set of costumes, plays the Dohlman very straight and very effectively. She is wholly believable as the spoiled, wild child of a barbaric culture with very little experience except as an unquestioned queen. However, in the process of "taming the shrew," she just as believably provides a vulnerable and desirable beauty. Nuyen has had a long career in B-Movies and television, very often as the Asian femme fatale.

As Petri, Jay Robinson is in terrible makeup and wig. Although he overacts a bit, his smarmy officiousness strikes a perfect note as Kirk is forced to get past his own dislike of the man. Robinson's movie career began and peaked with his appearance as Caligula in The Robe and Demetrious and the Gladiators, although he was memorable in Warren Beatty's Shampoo as well. Robinson also has a distinguished guest appearance record in television.

One last casting note is the appearance of stuntman Dick Durock in the role of Elasian Guard #1. Durock went on to a long career in movies and television as a stuntman and appeared as The Swamp Thing in the movie of the same name.

All in all, despite its deficiencies, this emerges as a very good episode. Good script and fine acting make this a memorable show. I will "pivot at Warp 2" and give it three Enterprises.

"I have found paradise. Surely no man has ever attained such happiness." - Kirk

The Paradise Syndrome
Stardate: 4842.6
Original Air Date: October 4, 1968
Directed by: Jud Taylor

This is very much a Kirk episode. The landing party is investigating a planet that is in the path of a giant asteroid. The captain falls into a hidden door in an obelisk structure and loses his memory when he is injured by an alien device. Spock and McCoy are forced to abandon Kirk and take the Enterprise to the deflection point where the ship could possibly prevent the asteroid from colliding with the planet. When he awakes, Kirk has amnesia and meets natives who appear to be transplanted Native Americans, and they take him to be a god because he emerged from the structure.

The title makes reference to the "Tahiti Syndrome," also referred to by McCoy on seeing the beautiful environment of the planet. He notes that stressed ship captains are very succeptible. In his amnesia, Kirk is able to throw off the burdens of command and live peacefully as Kirok, the new Medicine Chief of the tribe.

Meanwhile, due to power problems, the Enterprise fails to deflect the asteroid in time to prevent the collision. (Technical note: this could be the first time that the main deflector dish is used in a focused beam. The device will later bail out the Next Generation crew many times as Geordi LaForge was usually able to get that deflector dish to do everything short of making ham sandwiches.)

Spock puts the Enterprise directly in the path of asteroid and they speed back to the planet, just four hours ahead of it, as Scotty works to restore power and give them a chance to use the phasers to split the asteroid. This takes two months and Kirk, although troubled by dreams of a "great lodge in the sky," falls in love and find an idyllic happiness. To see Shatner in his full ersatz Native American regalia is to recall another of his classic performances released this same year in which he was The White Comanche; fans of Shatner and/or Star Trek in general should not miss that one!

McCoy and Spock have several good scenes together and Scotty is very amusing as he watches his engines virtually destroyed. There is good suspense and this is an episode that I think would appeal to "less than hard core" fans of the series. Shatner's performance with the obvious actors playing Indians lends a decent level of credibility to the somewhat dubious premise. I rate this a solid two and a half Enterprises.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Two finely wrought transfers that are crisp in detail and bring to life both of these episodes. The first has a dazzling range of colors from the Dohlman's various outfits to the green chicken that she sups on. In the second episode we are treated to some lovely location photography of the paradisical planet. Several times, I was able to freeze-frame on the instrumentation aboard the Enterprise and see interesting little details. I love that stuff.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is finely remixed into Dolby 5.1 with the whoosh of the Enterprise and the sounds of phaser fire. The music sounds a little tinny on occasion. But overall, these shows are totally acceptable listening.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 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

Extra Extras:
  1. Information Booklet
Extras Review: The thin informational booklet provides a small amount of trivia and info about the episodes. Each episode comes with the standard subtitles and original television teaser.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

We have two solid James T. Kirk episodes here. William Shatner displays a wide range of emotions in these two stories and really shows what made his character so memorable for fans, for whom this disc is a must-have.


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