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To fans of the TV show Star Trek, the term Trekkie is either a term of endearment or the ultimate insult. To me it's just a term used to describe a collection of fans of one of the biggest science fiction series of all time. As I've admitted before in my review of the Disc 27 of the Star Trek series, I was never a fan of the show growing up. I guess it could have been the timing with the "TNG" series beginning before I was really old enough to understand it. Sure other series started after that but I was never a big sci-fi geek. However with the invention of the DVD and the fact I'm a few years older, I can now enjoy things that I couldn't when they originally aired. I'm not saying I'm an all out fan of show but I can now see what people saw in it and it's importance in TV history. Now after reviewing that earlier disc I no longer groan when a friend mentions the 'Trek'. Coming up in the fall UPN is debuting another new Trek series that is supposed to take place before the original series. The new series set to debut sometime in early October is entitled Enterprise with Scott Bakula sitting in the captain's seat. Will my new found interest in Trek have me glued to the tube for this series? That remains to be seen but to hold fans over Paramount has released aother 2 episodes of The Original Series (TOS) on DVD.

Star Trek Original Series Volume 28
Episodes
Paramount continues on with the format/layout of the series by providing two episodes on this disc.

Assignment: Earth
As the episode begins we join the crew of the USS Enterprise as they prepare for a routine research voyage to the year 1968. However before they can begin, they pick up an odd disturbance in outer space. Accidentally a strange man is beamed aboard the ship. This man identifies himself as Gary Seven (guest star Robert Lansing). Seven explains that he is an earthling who has been living on a different planet and was sent to Earth to avoid a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Captain Kirk is not sure that he trusts this mysterious visitor and asks to have him locked up until his claims can be validated. However before security can arrive Seven escapes and beams himself down to Earth. On Earth it becomes clear that Seven plans to mess with a space shuttle launch and with the help of his trusty cat and secretary (a young Teri Garr) he begins to accomplish it. Meanwhile Kirk and Spock follow him but are detained by security at the launch site. Will Kirk and Spock reach Seven in time to find out the truth?

Spectre of the Gun
One day while flying through Space, the USS Enterprise happens upon a strange buoy guarding a mysterious planet. When the ship approaches the buoy, it warns them to retreat back away from the planet citing that if they continue further that there arrival on the planet would be treated as hostile. Kirk proceeds after sending a radio correspondence that they indeed intend to land but that their visit is of a peaceful nature. The Melkots who inhabit the planet have different ideas for our fearless crew, instead punishing them for disobeying their wish. The Melkots use their mystical powers to recreate a 19th Century midwestern town. The site of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. The Melkots also transform the Enterprise crew into the famous Clanton gang. The Clantons are one of two gangs that fought for control of that small town in the 19th Century. The other group the Earps where victorious. Is history doomed to repeat itself or will Kirk, Spock, Bones and Scotty figure out a way to avoid certain death.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've never been a huge fan of Star Trek but after reviewing an earlier volume of episodes, all my fears about the quality of the show had been calmed. As this was my second 'Trek' experience I was no longer in the dark about the production values or the story quality. While not every episode is created equal the second episode on this disc Spectre of the Gun which takes in a sort of futuristic Wild West, is by far the best Trek experience I've had. Now I'm not a fan of Westerns so to have an episode that has an Old West theme to it become my favorite is something of a feat.

Star Trek Original Series Volume 28
Video
When a DVD transfer is done right, the results can be amazing and with today's transfers, the results are getting better and better by the week. It's becoming a treat to watch the latest offerings as the quality is just getting that good. If a modern film (one released within the last 2 years) is offered on DVD and the transfer is lousy you'll be sure to hear about it. It doesn't pay to do things wrong nowadays. However for older material the transfer becomes even more important as the differences in quality can be like night and day. Back in the 1960's preservation of original source material wasn't considered a very high prority and many original
camera negatives of the biggest projects were destroyed. Others still became worn, scratched and worst of all lost all together.  Restoration plays a big part in these releases and Paramount has done a nice job here.

Paramount presents these episodes in a beautiful restored transfer in their original 4:3 TV aspect ratio. As the material was filmed in the late 1960's the technology and image quality that we are accustomed to today wasn't available. However despite this, these episodes look as good as they are going to get. Sure there are problems that pop up including moderate to heavy amounts of grain and the occasional speck of dust or dirt on the print used, but overall this is a very nice presentation. One major plus that this disc offers over Volume #27 is that I didn't notice any shift in color and skin tones a problem that plagued the previous disc. 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.

Audio
For this series of discs, Paramount decided to make all new Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes and this disc is no exception. The previous disc in this series -- Volume 27 -- was a fairly straight forward audio affair with things remaining in the front of the sound stage. This volume however opens things up a notch and contains some pretty impressive LFE. Dialogue is easy to understand with music sounding good despite its limited fidelity. There's nothing here to rival a modern science fiction movie but the results are still pleasing compared to a Dolby Stereo or Mono soundtrack you could hear on an old TV rerun.

Extras
As with the other discs in this series, the only extras offered are broadcast trailers for the episodes on the disc.

Star Trek Original Series Volume 28
Overall
While I'm still not a total "trekkie" I can now appreciate Star Trek for what it was. A good show that was far ahead of its time. No longer will I make fun of people who like Star Trek as I sit on the fence of that group. Sure I'm still not going to hunt down these discs but I will watch them happily if given a chance. If you're a fan of the series, there's no question that you should pick up this disc. Paramount offers up excellent A/V quality as well as two great episodes including the superb "Spectre of the Gun". Another great disc in the series leads to another worthy purchase for fans and a great disc to introduce people to Trek with.


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