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I have to admit that growing up I was pretty indifferent to the big "Star Trek TNG" craze that started around the time I was 8 or 9 years old. By the time I was a teenager I had seen a few episodes of the show and liked what I had seen but by no means would I have considered myself a fan. I guess at such a young age I wasn't able to understand the science fiction aspects of the show.  At the time I was a huge fan of Baywatch and I remember having to fight my baby sitters for control of the remote. However "Star Trek TNG" as it’s shortened by fans was not the first Star Trek series. In 1966 science fiction writer Gene Roddenberry created what would become one of the biggest sci-fi franchises ever. Although the original series starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelley would only last 3 seasons. Star Trek went on to spawn 3 series lasting a combined total of 21 seasons and  9 feature length motion pictures. Now with a 10th movie in production and a new spin off series entitled "Enterprise" set to debut on the UPN network in the fall, Paramount releases another collection of 2 episodes from the original series on DVD.

Star Trek Original Series Vol 27
Episodes
Episode #53 entitled "The Ultimate Computer" which originally aired on March 8th 1968 kicks off the disc. The episode begins with Starfleet commanders asking the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise to test a radical new computer system that is designed to bring down the number of people needed to operate the ship. Under normal conditions the number of personnel required to operate a ship of the Enterprise’s size and power is over 400 but with this new computer that number could be lowered to 20. The computer system is the M-5 designed by Dr Daystrum the same man who designed the primary duotronic controls already in use on the ship. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is greatly impressed by the system while Kirk (William Shatner) has his reservations. At the beginning the M-5 appears to be functioning normally but when it suddenly takes over total control of the ship the crew must find a way to regain control before it does something it shouldn't.

The second episode contained on the disc is episode #54 "The Omega Glory" which aired the week prior to #53 on the 1st of March 1968. The episode begins with Kirk, Spock and McCoy (Deforrest Kelley) approaching the planet Omega 4. During their approach they come across another ship the U.S.S Exeter which seems to be standing still in space. Wondering what is going on they beam themselves aboard only to find that all the members of the crew are missing.  They decide to play back the on-board log which describes to them that they are all dead men if they return to their old ship. The only hope for survival is to beam down to the planet and locate the ship's captain Ron Tracey. Upon arriving on the planet they learn that like the others they have become infected by some sort of alien disease. Captain Tracy explains that as long as they remain on the planet, they will not become sick as the planet some how acts as an immunization to the virus. However not all is as it seems down on Omega 4 as fighting between the two groups of inhabitants occurs and it appears Captain Tracy is involved.

Star Trek Original Series Vol 27
Having not seen much of the original series I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of story and plot quality. I was half expecting to be bored out of my mind and laugh out loud at the cheesy production values that plagued the show. After all the show was filmed in the 1960’s before the advent of computer generated special effect shots. While the episodes contained on this disc didn't turn me into a "trekkie" they held my attention and provided an enjoyable 100 minute distraction from the world. I still don't think I'll go out and hunt down any more of these discs on purpose but I might watch the occasional episode on TV if I come across it.

Video
Considering the age of the original source material, these episodes look pretty damn good. Presented in their original intended aspect ratio of 4:3 Paramount Home Entertainment brings these episodes home in the best quality possible. Since these episodes were filmed in and around 1967 one can't expect the video quality to look like it was shot yesterday. Some of the problems that pop up include slight color tone shifting in some scenes, moderate to heavy amounts of grain in some shots and the occasional speck of dust or dirt on the print used.  Colors are often strong and vibrant and aside from the aforementioned shift skin tones remain natural. This is a very strong presentation for material this old. Paramount should be applauded for keeping the source material in such good shape all these years. These episodes look far superior to the occasional TNG re-run I see when flipping through the channels.

Audio
For the entire series of discs, Paramount decided to make all new Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes and this disc is no exception. The sound here is nothing remarkable as aside from the occasional whiz-bang type sound effect, things stay in the front of the sound stage. Dialogue is easy to understand and music clarity is about as good as one could expect considering the original mono source. I didn't notice many uses of the rear speakers other than during the opening credits. I don't believe the LFE channel was used at all during the two episodes on this disc and if it was it surely wasn't earthshaking.

Star Trek Original Series Vol 27
Some purists would prefer the discs have the original mono soundtracks included but I don't have a problem with their exclusion from the disc. Unlike most other Paramount discs this disc does not feature a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track although I suspect the 5.1 mix track will downmix just fine as it doesn't really contain a lot of bass.

Extras
Nothing much to speak about here as the only extras are the original broadcast trailers.

Overall
I went into the disc as indifferent to Star Trek as one could get and now after watching these particular episodes. I have a better understanding of why people like the show so much. "Star Trek OS Volume #27" with it's two excellent episodes and very good audio/video quality is worth a look for both fans and non fans alike.


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