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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #18 (1967)

"Die! Die! Die! Everybody die! Hahahaha! Kill! Kill! Kill you all!"
- Hengist (John Fiedler)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: October 17, 2000

Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, William Windom
Other Stars: DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei
Director: Marc Daniels, Joseph Pevney

Manufacturer: CADDS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence, adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:40m:44s
Release Date: October 24, 2000
UPC: 097366001840
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-A- D

DVD Review



"Random chance seems to have operated in our favor."—Spock

Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #18, Episode #35

The Doomsday Machine
Stardate: 4202.9
Airdate: October 20, 1967
Directed by: Marc Daniels

The ominously-titled The Doomsday Machine concerns a giant leech-like robot spaceship of unknown origin, programmed to devour planets and spacecraft for fuel. Arriving upon the remains of the crippled U.S.S. Constellation, Captain Kirk and his landing party hear a tale of disaster from troubled Commodore Decker (William Windom), who has transported his entire crew down to a planet no longer in existence. Beamed aboard the Enterprise for medical treatment, Decker attempts to seize control of the bridge while Kirk searches for a solution aboard the Constellation.

This episode functions primarily as an allegory about military escalation: Kirk speculates that the robot ship was the result of some alien arms race, invoking the 20th Century's H-Bomb as an example. William Windom contributes a fine performance as the imbalanced Decker, making William Shatner's reaction shots rather comical in comparison, and the papier-maché alien ship looks cheesy but suitably menacing, thanks to some up-close camera work and motion timing that communicates an impressive sense of scale. Tension builds nicely and the alien craft's nature isn't over-explained.

Random Notes and Amusements: Kirk once again comes off as the Complete Womanizer, as his gaze in one scene seems fixated on a comely young crew member's short skirt and bottom before he begins his lines - the Constellation's official crew emblem resembles nothing so much as a glittery pretzel - this episode features an innovative piece of Enterprise communication hardware, a big, painful-looking silver object stuck directly into the ear - McCoy's vehemently disavowed career in this episode is that of mechanic - Kirk realizes his Scotty fantasies by wielding a soldering iron - the brand-new crewman survives - we actually get to SEE the "beam me up" guys at work!

This episode rates 4 out of 5 Enterprises:




"This is a completely hedonistic society."—Dr. McCoy

Star Trek: The Original Series—Volume #18, Episode #36

Wolf in the Fold
Stardate: 3614.9
Airdate: December 22, 1967
Directed by: Joseph Pevney

This creepy episode was scripted by horror great Robert Bloch and has a certain degree of macabre humor about it. It's a unique story in that it takes place during a recreational visit to Argelian by Kirk, Scotty and McCoy, with little reference to the Enterprise, following a head injury sustained by Mr. Scott. Scotty hooks up with an attractive belly-dancer (thanks to a little maneuvering by Kirk) who winds up dead while her confused date is discovered nearby holding a bloody knife. Several more murders ensue, all implicating Scotty and dismaying the locals, who would rather focus on love and pleasure than a criminal investigation—except for the offworlder administrator Hengist (John Fiedler). A little metaphysical exploration turns up the spirit of Jack the Ripper, still floating around and feeding on fear and hatred, gaining the energy to claim more female victims via possession of unsuspecting vessels.

Once again, Bloch (Catspaw) takes the Star Trek experience into Twilight Zone territory, with mixed results this time around. It's an interesting idea, though not quite as well realized as it might have been—the concept sounds good on paper but stretches credibility a little too much in the realization. The murders produce little reaction from anyone involved, reducing their impact significantly, and the plot turns too much on Scotty's inability to remember anything connected with the frequent but unwitnessed murders. It's an old-dark-house courtroom drama transplanted into the Star Trek universe; an interesting failure.

Random Notes and Amusements: Hearing TV's popular "wimpy guy" John Fiedler vow death and destruction is hilarious - McCoy says "She's dead, Jim!" twice - happy "tranquilizers" are made available with nary a nod to moderation - Kirk knows "a place where the women are so - " but never gets to finish the sentence - knives in the future look really nasty and old-fashioned - while the "oldest profession" still seems well-staffed -

This episode rates 2 out of 5 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: Trust me, you've NEVER seen Star Trek looking this good. The series was shot and edited on film, and Paramount's DVD takes full advantage of the fact, presenting the shows in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratios with clarity surely unseen when they were originally broadcast. Optical effects composite shots are visibly grainy and dirty, but color is strong, detail is solid (sometimes revealing the textures of the wood-and-cardboard sets) and the source prints are clean and almost completely damage-free. Paramount preserves one of their most valuable entertainment assets with style and quality—excellent work.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Paramount supplies Star Trek: TOS, Volume 18 with a remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. It's dignified as remixes go, adding some directional "whooshes" to the opening credits and some atmospheric sounds to a few key scenes. Dialogue is centered, with music spread subtly around the soundstage, and the digital master sounds terrific, crisp and clear with no hiss or distortion, though the frequency range is naturally limited by the age of the material. Purists may object, but the 5.1 remix is in keeping with the flavor of the show and not too gimmicky for my tastes.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 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

Extras Review: Star Trek Volume 18 features few on-disc extras, though a brief keepcase insert provides a few trivia notes. The disc includes English subtitles, 14 chapter stops (7 picture-menu stops for each of the two episodes), and "Star Trek Next Voyage" episode previews. The preview clips tend to be fairly dirty and just slightly faded, but they're interesting historical artifacts. Given the stature of the series, it's a pity more information on the episodes at hand are not included.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

If you're bothering to read this review, you probably haven't sampled Paramount's solid Star Trek: The Original Series on DVD. The series has never looked better, and while two episodes per disc might seem a bit stingy, the price is reasonable for two 50-minute episodes. Hardcore Trek fans will want a complete collection, and even casual fans will want to check out the presentation. Recommended.

 


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