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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: The Original SeriesóVolume #35 (1968)

"...you are new to this part of the galaxy, which is governed by the United Federation of Planets. We live in peace with full exercise of individual rights. The need to resort to violence and force has long since passed and it will not be tolerated aboard this ship."
- Kirk (William Shatner)

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: October 31, 2001

Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Lee Meriweather, Frank Gorshin, Lou Antonio
Other Stars: George Takei, Walter Koenig, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols
Director: Herb Wallerstein, Jud Taylor

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:40m:00s
Release Date: October 23, 2001
UPC: 097366003547
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BB+B+ C-

DVD Review

To see all Star Trek: The Original Series reviews, click here.

"The inconsistencies are so compounded as to present a seemingly impossible phenomenon." - Spock (Leonard Nimoy)

That Which Survives
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: January 24, 1969
Directed by: Herb Wallenstein

That Which Survives is certainly not one of the best Star Trek episodes. In many ways, it is a remake of several other episodes in which the Enterprise crew finds itself encountering a strange alien force that seems to be determined to kill them (usually the red-shirted security guys first) in an Agatha Christie-like Ten Little Indians scenario as they search for a scientific solution. We can usually only hope that the culprit is not (once again) a rogue computer.

However, this show features two unique elements that distinguish it. The strange woman they encounter in visiting an unusual planet is played by Lee Meriwether, notable for having been Miss America in 1955 and having gone on to a long career in television with roles in a potpourri of series from the 1960s through the '80s, including Time Tunnel, Mission Impossible and Barnaby Jones. She also portrayed Catwoman in The Batman Movie from 1966 and had a stint on the soap opera All My Children as Ruth Parker Brent Martin, R.N. #2. Her part here does not exactly stretch her acting talents but she does provide an unusual "face" factor to the episode.

The second unique element involves extended interaction between Spock and Scott. While Kirk and McCoy are on the planet, an unknown force propels the Enterprise a thousand light years through space... er, actually 990.7 light years, as Spock notes. The two must work together to defeat the continuing danger of the alien force and stop the sabotage that threatens to destroy them as they attempt to return to rescue the landing party. It is interesting to watch these characters that are so often in the same scenes, yet rarely speak to each other, quickly bond into a team to save the ship.

Although the story is very typical, the acting is quite good and this episode has interest. I give it a reasonable two Enterprises and a half.





Bele: I once heard that on some of your planets, people believe they are descended from... apes.
Spock: The actual theory is that all life-forms evolved from the lower levels to the more advanced stages.

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Stardate: 5730.2
Original Air Date: January 10, 1969
Directed by: Jud Taylor

This particular episode has a strong personal association for me. Many years ago, I attended my first Star Trek convention with my brother Jon in Dallas, Texas. This was long before the heavily commercialized conventions that we know today: a bunch of tables in a big room with a whole lot of junk and a few gems for sale or trade. The former cast members in attendance were James Doohan, who I hung out with while he chain smoked, and George Takei, who had led a crowd around the streets of Dallas earlier that day in a morning jog. There was the obligatory costume contest and my brother had brought along a karate outfit and some black and white grease paint. He made himself up as one of the characters from this story, which features men with black on one side of their face (presumably the rest of the body as well) and white on the other. He competed for the prizes with other costumed fans ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Although the winner was ultimately what seemed to be a professional Star Wars group in expensive costumes, the memory is indelible and I cannot watch this show without remembering it.

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is one of the really potent and memorable episodes from the original Star Trek series, with a strong message about the futilities of racism and the destructiveness of hate. The episode features dynamic performances by the guest stars, a riveting plot line and one of the most powerful conclusions in all of Star Trekdom.

Lou Antonio portrays Lokai, a political fugitive from the planet Cheron, who is taken aboard the Enterprise when his stolen shuttlecraft is encountered on a routine mission of mercy. Spock determines that his unusual appearance must be a one-of-a-kind mutation, but is quickly proven wrong when Commissioner Bele (Frank Gorshin) boards the ship. He has been pursuing Lokai across the galaxy with determination out of Les Miserabl&eacture;s for 50,000 "terrestrial" years. Displaying incredible powers, Bele quickly commandeers the Enterprise and sets course for Cheron. We then participate in the classic Star Trek situation in which the bridge crew enters their destruct codes to authorize the computer to blow the ship up rather than surrender to extortion. Stiff-necked lot, these earthmen.

Faced with obliteration, Bele gives up control and allows the Enterprise to complete its mission. Kirk notes the hate between the two men that seems to transcend the idea that they are merely hunter and prey, even for so many thousand years. Bele reveals that the difference between the two is the fact that he is black on the right side and white on the left, while Lokai's people are white on the right side and black on the left. In the multicultural universe of Star Trek, this is the ultimate in senseless and it is interesting to watch the repulsion on the faces of the humans at the behavior of the hate-filled pair.

Once the mission is complete, Kirk sets course for Star Base 4 so that Starfleet Command can hold an extradition hearing to determine the legitimacy of Bele's claim. However, the Commissioner has other ideas and, after destroying the memory circuits that allow the self-destruction of the ship, again seizes control and forces the ship toward Cheron. This leads to a very suspenseful battle between the two duo-toned aliens among those that they considered "mono-colored" trash. The teleplay by Oliver Crawford, based on a story by Lee Cronin, does a fine job of presenting the conflict between the two equally fanatical opponents, yet avoids being overtly didactic.

Both Gorshin, best known as an impressionist and as The Riddler in the Batman series, and Antonio give fine performances, ably supported by the regular cast. The writing, directing and production of this episode are all top-notch and it is definitely a strong candidate for anyone's best of Trek list. Four full Enterprises.



Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The image transfers continue the high standards of the collection. These are as crisp as any in the whole series. Colors are just gorgeous sometimes and even though makeup and effects suffer slightly in being too visible on occasion, it is worth it to see all the details of the lighting and sets.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: We are provided with another nice job on the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Very subtle expansion of the sound across the stereo spectrum provides depth without the artificial quality that over-processed sound can have. I had moments where I just enjoyed the sound design of the show and the subtle use of sound and music that separates Star Trek from run-of-the-mill television.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

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

Extras Review: Each episode comes with the standard well-done subtitles and original television teaser. The informational booklet provides the usual scant amount of trivia and info about the episodes. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information out there on the Internet for more details about these shows.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

This disc has one episode that is among the best of The Original Series and one that is not. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield can be counted on the short list of essential episodes, so That Which Survives can almost be designated a bonus episode. For Frank Gorshin aficionados, it is a definite must!

 


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