Format: DVDMultiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
List price: $69.98
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Saved from the brink of cancellation by its loyal fanbase, Star Trek's third and final season rewarded them with a number of memorable episodes. Tight budgets and slipping creative control, however, made it the series' most uneven season, though it did have some of the coolest episode titles ("For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," "Is There in Truth No Beauty," "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"). Some of the best moments involved a gunfight at the OK Corral ("Spectre of the Gun"), a knock-down drag-out sword battle with the Klingons aboard the Enterprise ("Day of the Dove"), the ship getting caught in an ever-tightening spacial net ("The Tholian Web"), TV's first interracial kiss ("Plato's Stepchildren," and it should be easy to guess who participated), Sulu taking command ("The Savage Curtain"), and Kirk's switching bodies with an ex-love interest ("Turnabout Intruder"). Also appearing in the set as a coda are two versions of the series pilot, "The Cage," a restored color version and the original, never-aired version that alternates between color and black and white. Starring Jeffery Hunter as Captain Pike, Leonard Nimoy as a relatively emotional Spock, and Majel Barrett (the future Nurse Chapel and Mrs. Gene Roddenberry) as a frosty Number One, this pilot was rejected, but a second was commissioned, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," now considered the "official" beginning of the series. But "The Cage" is very recognizably Star Trek with its far-out concepts (telepathic aliens collecting species samples), sexy humanoid women, character development, and of course cheesy costumes and special effects. Footage was later reused in the season 1 two-parter, "The Menagerie." The best of the 63 minutes of bonus material focuses on three of the actors: Walter Koenig, George Takei, and James Doohan. Koenig discusses how he was cast and shows off his various collections, one consisting of Chekov figurines. Takei speaks movingly about the Japanese American internment and, in what is probably his last Star Trek appearance, Doohan, slowed by Alzheimer's but still with a twinkle in his eye, recalls his voiceover roles and his favorite episodes. The Easter eggs are amusingly called "Red Shirt Files" in tribute to those poor saps who everyone knew were only in the landing party so they could die. --David Horiuchi