Star Trek 50th Anniversary Blu-ray boxed set

CBS and Paramount have teamed up to combine all the HD content with The Original Series cast in one box. This includes the six movies, the three seasons of The Original Series, and, this box set is the debut of The Animated Series on Blu-ray. Plus the set includes an exclusive documentary and collectible goodies.

Trek content included in the set:

All six TOS crew movies are in their own case. These are mostly the same theatrical Blu-ray releases from 2009 that have been re-packaged before. The exception is of course is the new Wrath of Khan Director’s Cut Blu-ray, released earlier this year. This new release effectively renders the older 2009 TWOK Blu-ray superfluous, not only is it a better presentation, but it includes both theatrical and director’s cuts. Oh and yes it is the corrected version.

In the second (jumbo) case is everything TV related. It contains all three seasons of The Original Series on Blu-ray (effectively the same as previous 2009 season set releases) and the new release of The Animated Series on Blu-ray.

TAS debuts on Blu-ray

How does it look compared to the DVD?

I wish I could say the upgrade to HD shows TAS in a new light, but the reality is, it was done in a simple animation style, and done on a modest budget in 1974, so it doesn’t change much with the upgrade to HD. The line art gets a bit sharper. The difference between the two can vary quite a bit scene to scene, depending on the other noise and grain in the layers of animation.

tas-bd-comparisontas-dvd-comparison

This is technically the best quality presentation of TAS we’ll likely ever see. If you’re a TAS fan, the Blu-ray edition is worth having in your collection. Also note, that the TAS Blu-ray discs have the same bonus content as the 2006 DVD set, so while there’s nothing new, you’re also not missing out on anything if you want to sell off your DVD set.

 

The packaging:

50th-tos-crew-boxedset

The large outer box has a plastic slipcover with the transporter “sparklies”, so the crew is mid-transport with the cover on, and fully materialized when it’s off.

50th-boxed-set-slipcover-removed

The two snapcases, cardboard slip covers, and the individual disc labels are all part of a new coherent design. So they aren’t just the older versions of the discs shoved into a box together. Each one has new artwork and the TV discs finally have the names of the episodes each disc contains printed on them.

50th-TOS-case

 

Exclusive Collectibles:

Commemorative pin.

This is a very solid metal, magnet backed, 50th anniversary logo pin.

50th-bage

Mini-posters by Juan Ortiz

These are mini posters (each measures 10.5″ x 7″) for each of the six movies, printed on heavy card stock.

50th-mini-poster

Exclusive Content:

The Animated Series is an exclusive to the boxed set for a few months before the standalone release, in time for the holiday season.

The other piece of content is the new 2.5 hour documentary titled Star Trek: The Journey to the Silver Screen, broken into different segments:

  • The New Frontier: Resurrecting Star Trek (covers post-TOS, TAS, Lost Trek projects of the 70’s, Phase II)
  • Maiden Voyage: Making Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan
  • The Dream is Alive: The Continuing Mission (Covers the making of III, IV, and V)
  • End of an Era: Charting the Undiscovered Country

We got a taste of this new documentary on the TWOK DC release, where the segment that covers Wrath of Khan was included.

The documentary is another excellent piece of work by Roger Lay, Jr. While a lot of it a knowledgeable Trek-fan has heard before, there are rare behind the scenes photos and footage, that many people likely haven’t seen. There are new images of the “Planet of the Titans” Enterprise study model for example. The interviews include some new nuggets I hadn’t heard before, showing that there’s still more you can mine from the annals of Trek production history.

Lots of well known Trek names are included: Mark A. Altman, the Reeves-Stevens, DC Fontana, David Gerrold, the Trimbles, Nick Meyer, and Adam Nimoy (on Lenard Nimoy’s behalf).

There are new interviews with folks I’ve not heard from before such as Kerry O’Quinn (Founder/Editor of Starlog). Plus new fairly candid interviews with folks involved in the production of the TOS-films, including: Kirk Thatcher (formerly of ILM, he became Nimoy’s right-hand man during TSFS and TVH), Susan Sackett, Ralph Winter, and David Loughery.

 

Final thoughts:

This new boxed set has something to offer for any Original Series crew fan. If you only own part of what’s included in the set, say for example you just own a few of the individual movie releases, then grabbing this boxed set is a no-brainier, it gives you every classic Trek adventure in one handsome set. Relying on streaming to always offer up the Trek you crave isn’t a wise idea. Owning the physical media is the only way to be sure you can keep the content.

It gets a little harder to recommend if you’ve been an avid collector of the previous Blu-ray releases. The exclusive content is nice, however TAS will be available later this year as a standalone release. As a completist, the new documentary and the swag may make it worthwhile, and certainly something you should put on your holiday gift list if you’re at all interested in the new content.

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I think TAS can really benefit from having the animation completely redone. I’m sure it would be expensive, but the pathetic animation makes the show almost unwatchable at times.

I’ve been saying that for decades. They have the audio already, just spice it up to the quality of a HALO or the latest Final Fantasy movie.

Lone Browncoat,

Re:They have the audio already

The sad thing is, they don’t. When Hallmark transferred ownership to a French company they destroyed all the archive materials including original film and audio masters. All they sold them was DVD digital master.

The soundtrack can’t be upgraded with better orchestration or sound effects, or mix. Any new animation would be stuck with the DVD’s audio mix.

The only chance for a more elaborate reimagined audio is if the DVD did a boring 5.1 mix where the dialogue was largely isolated to front center channel.

Lonebronwcoat,

I just had a dim glimmer of a recall that for copyright purposes, I believe Paramount retains a copy of the film master. But that would be a monaural only mix.

I recently watched a couple of epsiodes, and had forgotten it was made at a time when real orchestras were still used, before synthesizers became commonplace. Pretty impressive.

I’m not sure the audio as mixed is so bad, they just need to update the picture. I’m holding out for the day when they can realistically CGI the actors with likenesses of the originals. I’d love to see “live action” versions of these episodes.

Lifting dialogue out of existing mixes can be done. They controversially did it for Hitchcock’s Vertigo a good 20 years ago, before a lot of the software we have now. Heck, even an amateur soundman like me (professionally a video editor) is capable of doing it to a limited extent in Adobe Audition – I’ve had to do it for the occasional corporate video if I’m supplied with premixed material from an old video that needs dropping into a new edit. It’s not perfect, but it’s acceptable, so a professional can do vastly better.

I’d be very happy for them to work with the existing materials and maybe bring in a few new voice actors to replace the countless voices James Doohan and Majel Barrett had to supply, which are sometimes painfully obviously the same actors. Even better, cast some soundalikes who can fill in the occasional lost line, then continue the series with new episodes using the new actors!

Dom,

Re:Lifting dialogue

Well that’s encouraging. Thanks for the update.

I often wondered what was pulled out of their magic bag of AUDIO tricks in DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID?

Ugh, no- just leave it be. I like the animation.

New animation would not change the lousy pacing or Shatner’s mispronunciation of Kukulkan, anyway.

This new box set may as well be called STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR MORE MONEY

@Harry Ballz,

Take heed of Rule of Acquisition # 3, never spend more for an acquisition than you have to :)

Kirk Thatcher – I remember this guy. He’s the punk from the bus in Star Trek IV that gave gave a nerve pinch and everyone clapped after. :)

He wrote the song too.

Matt Wright,

As I start to shake the cobwebs from my mind, I recall Paramount may have retained some sort of Film master of the animation but that would have had a monaural audio mix as I recall. Is there any information on what this blu-ray presentation was able to draw upon for the audio?

“CBS and Paramount have teamed up”

Now that’s something you don’t see everyday!

Two questions: How much is this going for? and: Are the TOS episodes the original uncut versions or remastered?

I want it, even though I pretty much have everything on it. But I won’t get it. It’s too expensive, I’d rather spend that dough on the Communicator (which will be mine one day, oh yes, it will be).

My wife bought me the communicator as a gift, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Works great.

I freely admit that I am jealous. :-)

Those mini posters look stupid. That style is getting a little overused.

hope somebody puts the TMP doc on youtube, just so I can see how many goofs there are in it.

Paramount and CBS are always finding new creative ways to get us to spend our money. I still remember buying DS9 VHS from Columbia House thinking what a great deal it was to get TWO episodes on each tape for 19.99. Little did I know 15 years later I could buy a whole season for $50 OR LESS. I bought the first 5 seasons that way then the DVD’s started on TNG (I knew DS9 would be coming). I sold all those tapes about 2 years ago finally for $15 (I was probably lucky to get that). I was just like get them out of my sight, I was so disgusted.

I currently have TNG and Enterprise on DVD and Blu-Ray now. I’m reluctant to sell off my DVD’s because I know I’ll never come close to recouping the costs.

Regarding the animated series, would it really be that expensive to redo the animation. With today’s technology I imagine they could do really good animation that would not be prohibitively expensive. There were some great stories from the animated series and it would be great for the animation to reflect that, even if they can’t upgrade the sound.

Does anyone know if this comes with digital copies too?

I’d appreciate if they ditched the disks and sold the same content on a flash drive or something. I didn’t even bother getting an optical drive for my computer back in 2012, deciding to outwait the BR and wait for the next big format – and I suspect I am not alone in this. Even my old DVDs are gathering dust in the attic because I’ve already ripped them to my NAS years ago. Buying this box now would feel like buying a VHS box in 2001…

are the rest of the movies directors Cuts too?

does it include the captains summit?

A couple of questions regarding the series discs. I know that you can choose between the original effects and the new effects, but does choosing the original effects mean that you get the show exactly as it appeared originally, or does this mean only the space shots and matte shots from the original? To better clarify, would choosing the original effects mean that I will have a Gorn that doesn’t blink in “Arena,” and I won’t see phaser beams that move around in “Wink of an Eye,” and any other similar small changes done to the non-space sequences?

Also, when choosing the original version, does that mean that I’ll be hearing the original opening theme, and not the redone with a new vocal version?

Thank you for the help!

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