Review: Star Trek Remastered Season Two DVD Set

The second season of Star Trek is arguably the best season of the franchise. With classics like "Mirror, Mirror," "Amok Time," "Journey to Babel," "Trouble With Tribbles," and "The Doomsday Machine," Season Two has everything from humor, to character development, to ship on ship action. Although many are waiting to see the digitally remastered episodes on Blu-ray, the standard def. set arrives next week and is very tempting.


Review: Star Trek The Original Series – Season Two Remastered DVD Set

The Season Two packaging is exactly the same style as the Season One HD DVD / DVD Combo set released last November. It is comprised of an outer clear plastic box which holds a paper sleeve for the DVD magazine and ‘collectors cards’. Even though the disks are not double sided (like Season One), there is no art on the DVDs themselves, apparently to make the disks match Season one. Therefore, content info for the eight disks is on the four cards. The packaging is attractive, but not very sturdy. The outer plastic box is nice, but it is prone to cracks and pieces breaking off. The paper sleeve is the most convenient way to store the disks, but being paper it is likely to fray over time from taking the disk wallet in and out. The cards are very sturdy plastic and should outlast the whole set.

Packaging same as Season One, nice but not durable
(click to enlarge)

Navigation and options
The navigation system is again like the DVD side of Season One. Although the episodes are all shown in their original 4:3 aspect ration, the navigation screens are in widescreen, which is nice. Each disk starts off with a little animation that is unique to that disk, showing elements of the included episodes beaming into to a transporter platform. The transporter console is used as the controls for the entire set with the view swooping around as you choose different options. When you choose to ‘engage episode’ transporter sliders move up and you zoom in on the platform where the episode is ‘beamed in,’ another nice touch. Each episode allows for English stereo or Spanish or French mono audio (and English, Spanish or French subtitles). All in all it is easy to navigate and has a nice feel with the only thing missing being chapter logs (which were on the 2004 Original Series DVD sets).

Remastered Season 2 Navigation screens (click to enlarge)

The Transfer
The best part of the Season Two set by far is the new digital transfer of the remastered Star Trek. Watching the series every week in syndication doesn’t do it justice. Although the set isn’t in HD, it still looks better than in Standard Def broadcast (but maybe not as good once upscaled to HD compared to the broadcast on some digital channels, depending on the quality of your DVD upscaler). Plus the episodes are in their full length, which means that you will get a few minutes more than the syndicated broadcast (including some unseen effects shots). Much of the talk about the remastered project focuses on the new CGI effects, but actually the lion’s share of the work is in the cleaning up and remastering of all the live action. All the dirt and artifacts that were still on the 2004 DVD set are gone and the colors are less washed out, although the remastering does also appear a bit darker as well.

Original Season Two DVD vs. Remastered Season Two DVD
(click to enlarge images)

Colors look more vibrant in live-action shots from "Fridays Child"
and "A Private Little War"

The Season Two set also includes some of the best examples of the Remastered project, including "Amok Time" and the effects-heavy episodes "Ultimate Computer" and "Doomsday Machine." "Amok Time" is one of the few times they actually replaced a brief live action shot with a new matte painting, which has homages to both Star Trek III and The Animated Series. When comparing some of the effects shots from the 2004 DVDs, it is amazing how badly scratched some of those older effects shots were. The remastered project may not be perfect, but in almost all cases, the effects shots on this DVD set are an improvement over those on the 2004 DVD set. And in many cases the effects are remarkable and very much bring the show up to date while still retaining the feel of the original.

Original Season Two DVD vs. Remastered Season Two DVD
(click to enlarge images)

"A Piece of the Action" shows how badly the original effects needed a cleanup

Shot from "Amok Time" replaces live-action with homage to TAS and STIII

One of dozens of effects shots in "Doomsday Machine"

New matte painting for "Catspaw" incorporates live-action shot

Special Features
This Remastered set contains many of the excellent interviews and features from the 2004 DVD set, with the exception of the "Red Shirt Logs" easter eggs, in fact this set appears to have no easter eggs at all. It also has the all original previews aired on NBC in the 60s for each episode, just like the original set. The coolest new special feature is the second season portion of "Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest." The twelve minute feature has Blackburn narrating over clips from the show, as well as his own home movies shot on location and on the soundstage. Blackburn provides lots of interesting insights into the workings of Star Trek, especially on costumes. The only problem is that after watching it you only want more.

Can’t get enough of Blackburn’s home movies
(click to enlarge)

Season Two contains the episode "Trouble with Tribbles" and so Disk 5 is all about Tribbles. Not only does it contain the remastered "Tribbles" episode (which adds a Klingon battle cruiser orbiting the K-7 station), but it also has the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribblations" and the Animated episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles." For "Trouble with Tribbles" itself there is an entertaining audio commentary from writer "David Gerrold."

All Tribbles – All the time
(click to enlarge)

Bottom Line
If you don’t already have Season Two on DVD then this set is a must buy, especially at the reasonable street price of $60. The calculation gets harder if you already have the standard set from 2004 and/or if you have a Blu-ray player. This new remastered set will upscale, but when (or if) the set comes out on Blu-ray, it will surely be higher quality, forcing HD fans to double (or triple) dip. For those without Blu-ray but with the 2004 set, while there aren’t enough special features to justify the new set, the improved transfers and new CGI effects make this set still very appealing, even though it means ‘re-buying’ Season Two. So for Standard Def fans, this is the set for you. For patient Hi Def fans, it may be worth waiting for Blu-ray (bearing in mind that CBS have yet to announce a Blu-ray version so there is no telling how long the wait will be).

Star Trek Remastered Season Two Arrives Tuesday August 5th
The Season Two box ships this week and is now available at Amazon for pre-order, discounted to $59.99 (retail is $84.98).


The Season One DVD / HD DVD combo disk is available now for $114.95 (retail is $194.99). Season Three arrives in November, but is not available yet for pre-order.

Season One available now and Three in November


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Awesome! Can’t wait to rewatch Doomsday Machine!!!

But the packaging is just plain shit on these. The episode list is on a bunch of coasters, the discs (on the first release) being double sided, it’s not easy to read what’s on them. I wish they’d just release them in a standard full season DVD, type case. That plastic case doesn’t make it easy to fit with your other DVD’s either!

While this looks like a great job, I already own Season Two, so I think I will wait for the Blu-ray transfers.

DVD Empire notified me that my set was on the way. As for the packaging, it is neither her nor there for me. The set fits perfectly on my wall rack and the case doesn’t serve any other purpose but to hold the discs when not in use. I know what the episodes are and I can navigate a DVD player and DVD menu without needing to refer to the case. The same can be said for all of the rest of my DVD collection. The meat of the product is the disc.

Max Gabl’s matte work was my favorite part of TOS-R. I only hope I can compliment his work with my own in the coming months.

Still waiting on the Blu-ray version for source material.

It’s a Tribble-Palooza!!

Speaking of remastered episodes, I am not sure if this was brought up when the set came out, but in the “Captain’s Log” box, “Balance Of Terror” is the remastered episode minus the new effects.
If you compare it with the original box set version its definitely the new one.
This is useful as an example of what the show would look like remastered without the new stuff.

Conclusion, the live stuff looks a lot better but it doesn’t really improve the fx shots that much, which leads me to believe that Paramount wont release the episodes is this semi remastered format.

It would be nice to have double sided with remastered untouched on one side and remastered with fx shots on the other but I doubt it will happen.

My only concern is for historical purposes like Star Wars, will these original versions simply disappear now and any reference to them going foward will only be using the new fx versions.

My one major gripe with these new remastered episodes is WNMHGB, no not the gravestone, but I miss the pink line across the screen with the enterprise heading towards it, not really captured that classic shot too well in the new one.

do these sets contain the original episodes un touched by the hand of god – i mean CBS?

You said:
“The second season of Star Trek is arguably the best season of the franchise. ”

WRONG. …there is NO argument.!
Season Two of Trek is the standard. All other seasons of all the other series are judged against it.
TOS Season 2 was the GOLDEN AGE OF TREK!

@8 – No they don’t. You’ll have to buy the previous season set releases for that.

BluRay waiter here.

…the adventure continues…

In regards to packaging- i cant believe they have left the discs blank- how ridiculous- squinting at tiny writing on the disc to tell which is whitch.

And i know they are keeping with the original release packaging but- since they r going to re release season one in SD why not just re-do them all for SD only- who thought of the cards anyway- just give us a booklet!-
i lookforward to the re-release of it in simple box set packaging like all the other reagion 4 releases.

As for content- cant wait to see the new episodes i have watched season one so many times…

Thanks for this informative, detailed review! This covers every relevant aspect and the pictures are very good. Excellent! (Not that I hadn’t pre-ordered months ago, anyway :-)
The only small letdown of this box: I had hoped they would include the virtual inspection feature of the remastered Enterprise in this box. In the season 1 box it’s only included on the HD-DVD side, so that feature is basically lost to everyone without a HD-DVD player/drive. Maybe it would be costly to transfer that feature to standard DVD, don’t know. But I love it that ‘Trials’ and ‘More Tribbles’ are included.
Can’t wait for delivery!!

I really want them to split the Season 1 package its so annoying to shell out so much money for the combo pack for a now obsolete piece of hardware (HDDVD)

I look forward to this (getting double dipped or not). Frankly, I liked 80-85% of the new F/X that they did on this project AND even the ones I didn’t care for look better on the DVD set than on broadcast TV. Just a thought here, since in February TV is going all digital, I wonder if next year when they re-run the remasters, they’ll broadcast them in HD?

To everybody complaining about the box being too fragile:
I really have no problem with it at all. If it’s broken upon delivery then just ask for a replacement, you have the right.

If it’s in perfect condition when you bought it then it won’t break as long as you are being careful. I know that can be difficult for some people though.

God, I wish they could have just finished the HD-DVD mastering, considering they were close to it or maybe even there. Would it have been such a big deal to release it after the cancellation of the format itself? A lot of people still have HD-DVD players and it’s not like they would have lost any money on it.

Haha, the blank discs is a rather strange thing! It’s a nice gesture to the owners of season one but seriously I think people rather would have not wanted the hassle of the data collector cards, which were somewhat annoying anyway.

@14: Eventually they will, since the combo version is already deleted actually.

May have to pick this one up… If only because of Doomsday Machine, the best. episode. ever. And the bonus Tribble episodes are also tempting me – heck, I think I may buy this one before I get the remastered first season…

Great work Anthony, as always. For those wondering about the inevitable Blu release….according to Bill Hunt at Digital Bits there’s a good chance we’ll see the 1st season by the end of the year.

I picked up the set last night, Best Buy had it out early for whatever reason. I have already watched a handful of episodes. .

DDM feels even more like a Star Trek movie with the updated effects shots.

It doesn’t look like Netflix is carrying this set.

Apparently some FX was cut from the syndicated broadcast of the Ultimate Computer. Are any new effects on this DVD release? How does the complete episode look unedited ?

I agree re/the double-sided discs; I really dislike that practice. And though I hate the TNG packaging for the full series set (a gift from my wife on Dad’s Day), I appreciate that — after transferred to a good zipper case from Office Depot that fits quite well on a shelf — I can read what eps are on what disc.

“The second season of Star Trek is arguably the best season of the franchise.”

“WRONG. …there is NO argument.!”

Um. . . actually, there is.

While the second season does include its fair share of classic shows, the number of mediocrities and outright clunkers far exceeds that of the first (which really only had one, the excerable “Alternative Factor”). The second season’s great accomplishment was to present the notion of the ship’s crew being an extended family, while reinforcing Trek’s soaring optimism about the human condition. Both of these aspects have become key signature lines of the franchise (Harve Bennett’s films are almost entirely built upon the first), and were probably responsible for turning Trek into a pop-cultural icon. The first season overall was better written, acted, and directed (and, for the most part, was frankly much better science fiction)–but if the show had been canceled at that point it would be remembered as a landmark SF series of its time (a la “The Outer Limits”) and nothing more.

Of course, with few exceptions Trek’s quality fell right off a cliff in its third year. Now, about that, sadly, there’s no argument. :-)

While the remastered project has been a mixed blessing, I thought CBS-D really rose to the occasion with “The Doomsday Machine,” and would purchase the DVD set on that basis alone. (Yes, Sean4000, I’ve seen Dochterman’s “Doomsday” reel and would still put CBS-D slightly ahead on points, though I consider that judgement to be a tribute to the efforts of one man working alone in his spare time.)

Can’t wait till Tuesday. This remastered version run through my upscaling player will do just fine. And it’s never been about the special features anyway…it’s all those great epsiodes cleaned up and color corrected to perfection that has me watering at the mouth.

Maybe some day the bluray players will get down to a reasonable price. And then, maybe someday Paramount may recode these into bluray format. But in the meantime, I’d rather not do without.

Best Buy here I come!

so far, including season 1 remasters along with the upcoming remastered season 2, there is approx 20 some minutes of BB home movies, there must be much more, why are they giving us so little of his footage? If I see BB next week in Vegas, I am going to ask him how much footage he has. He was a very nice guy when I spoke to him last year, so I am sure he will not mind answering.

If I find out what the deal is, I will let everyone here how much footage he has and why so little is being put on the DVD’s.

“the reasonable street price of $60”

Um, No… A reasonable street price for a single season set of a 40 year old television show should be about $29.95.

Paramount ALWAYS overprices Star Trek as compared to other shows.

Seasons of Stargate SG-1 are half the price. And arguably as good a series, and unlike Star Trek has not generated over a billion dollars in income for Paramount.

I’ve bought the entire series on VHS, and started to buy it on DVD’s. I think Paramount owes us fans a thank you for being loyal and buying every release of the show on playable media.

Pricing these sets reasonable would be a start.

The first season was generally regarded by the fans in the syndication years following the cancellation of the show, to be the best for sci-fi and story content. The second season was seen to have a reduced rate of quality in comparision. I can understand why many fans do rate the second season over the first with regard to the relationships of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, as this season furthered the opportinunity to explore all of the aspects of the show. I think it’s a great season.

I’ll be waiting for Blu-Ray. I’ve got the first season set on HD and it is remarkable as to how great the show looks and sounds.

I would also like to see the episodes released as they were originally done (without the remastered cgi) with the new digital restoration.

I won’t be able to afford the Blu-Ray setup with TV etc. for a while, so for now, all my audio/visual media will be DVD.

It should also be noted that the original Star Trek was designed for standard definition NTSC 480i broadcast.

I have the unremastered season box sets, and I love them all, however I am likely to get this Season 2 DVD set.

I would rather see the Season 1 set match the new Season 2 set for pricing, and I hope Season 3 is priced similarly.

If they produce season sets for Blu-Ray, I am all for it, since many DO have Blu-Ray or are moving to the format.

I will eventually, but I want to wait for the technology to mature and come down in price. And of course, my capability to upgrade financially must be dramatically improved.

I will not purchase Season 1 at the price it is currently at out of principal, but Season 2 has many of the best episodes, and some of the best remastering (Doomsday Machine, Amok Time, Ultimate Computer).

Including Trials and Tribble-ations is a very nice touch.

Wait a moment….have I missed something? Are people saying there’s already been a remastered season 2 release? If so when did I miss that?

The increased price over other season sets of other shows is the fancy plastic case.

I had always heard that Season One was considered the best, with Season Two being good, but with a somewhat “dumbed down” quality, in all my years as a TOS fan. So it’s kind of interesting that people are saying Season Two is better. Has there been a shift in opinion as the years go by?

Well, Mr. Seven, back in the day that was certainly the opinion of Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, and David Gerrold, amongst many others. If the weight of popular opinion has shifted since then, that’s fine too. The successful films certainly took more of their touchstones from that season (for all that “Khan” was based on a first-season show), so I’m guessing that it’s the season most younger fans would relate to. Hell, for awhile there was even a staunch defender of the third season who frequently posted to this site. Folks should like what they like.

Great review. I already have it on pre-order and I am looking forward to receiving it. I have TOSR Season One as well and the packaging looks better than the 2004 TOS DVDs but TrekMovie is right that it is not as sturdy.

One thing I am disappointed in is that there is no art on the disc (the 2004 TOS DVDs, TNG DVDs, and DS9 DVDs all had art on them). However it’s not unheard of for Trek DVDs to have no art on them as the VOY and ENT DVDs had very little art on them. Even still the CBS DVD release of the TNG Complete Series 20th Anniversary 2007 DVDs, not to mention all the “Fan Favorite DVDs,” have art on them so I was hoping these would. I also recently found out that one-sided DVDs are less likely to be damaged than two sided DVDs , the Season One TOSR set was two-sided (HD-DVD/DVD), so I hope that the discs are more durable.

It seems likely that Season Three of TOSR will be the same as Season Two, same case, same DVD paper cover, same lack of art on the discs.

Even still, I look forward to be able to place it on pre-order so I hope that TrekMovie will keep us informed as to when TOSR Season 3 is available for preorder.

I’m tempted, but I don’t think I’ll buy it. If they dropped the price on the Season One set I might. They might as well, since its HD-DVD content holds no value anymore.

Is 2nd season now commonly regarded as the strongest? I always believed 1st season was considered the most popular among fans.

You can pre-order it now, as I have already done, for $62.99 (30% off) via Amazon, with free Super Saver Shipping:

Why, why, why are they still doing this in airdate order? WHY? They know the fans don’t like it.

When I was a kid, the general consensus seemed to be that Seasons One and Two were the best. Season Two, I think has a greater number of my personal favorite episodes.

When I looked at these episodes as an adult, I find that the first season may have had some greater highs, but for me, there was a run of episodes in the middle of first season’s production block that I find mediocre. For me, that would be the batch containing “Miri”, “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, “Dagger of the Mind”, “Return of the Archons” and “The Armageddon Factor”. However, I attribute whatever lack of quality I perceive in them to part of the series’ growing pains. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the above episodes, I have enjoyed them more this go round. Cutting seven minutes per episode out of those stories got rid of most of the bits that used to make me squirm in embarrassment. :-)

I find the second season to be largely more consistent than the first. While it may not always achieve the highs of the best episodes of the first season, with a few exceptions, it is consistently entertaining.

Then, there’s the third season where the gems are few and far between.

Out of the official releases of ST:TOS-R, the only one I am currently tempted to get is the Second Season.

#38. That would make too much sense.

“Airing them as filmed has never been done. Oh, my, I might get fired!”

“Suits” understand one thing- profits.

Re: #38 Jovan:

While I too wish they had chosen to release TOS-Remastered in the old syndicated production order, I think that TPTB have chosen to cater to a vocal subset of generic TV-on-DVD fandom that prefers Season Sets to be released in airdate order.

There is, of course, a perverse part of me that wants to try putting together a run of the series in Stardate Order.

Heh, good luck. Some of the stardates aren’t entirely consistent! Just one of those things that I casually dismiss… like those pistols that first appeared in The Cage being “lasers.” (They ARE pretty much phaser pistols.)

#40: Not entirely true. Firefly’s DVD set — and I’m sure some others — had the episodes in production order for better continuity. They even tweaked a scene of dialogue that had unnecessary information because there was a never before aired episode that had the same information, but that’s getting off topic. I think CBS just believe we don’t care. But it’s especially jarring to have the episodes in airdate order with the PRODUCTION NUMBERS RIGHT NEXT TO THEM. Look at that screen… “30, 41, 31, 44”? Yikes!

“The Armageddon Factor”?

Is someone mixing up “The Alternative Factor” with “A Taste of Armageddon”? And if so, just which episode is it that the poster has a problem with?

After watching Season One Remastered, I was pleasantly surprised by most of the CGI work. It made the “double-dip” worthwhile, in my opinion. Anthony, you should have mentioned again that the first season set is available from Amazon Canada at a very substantial discount.

Am perplexed by your mention of a DVD “magazine”. My first season set (which was bought new, not used) has cards only.

I’ll be double dipping this Trek treat for sure. Can’t wait to see Doomsday Machine, uncut.

And for my money, the first season is where TOS was most consistant in it’s excellence. But the second season sure ain’t chopped liver, and I certainly can understand many fan’s appreciation of it.

I don’t like the fact that the episodes are arranged in airdate order. But before the original DVD season sets came out, there are some folks who were VERY insistent that airdate was the ONLY proper way to do it. Unfortunately, TPTB listened to them.

Personally, I much prefer production order.

Re 43 Captain April:

A few synapses misfired in the brain when I typed my list, I’m afraid. I really meant to write “The Alternative Factor”.

“The Armageddon Factor”, however, is a six-part DOCTOR WHO serial that concluded the Key to Time season and has nothing to do with STAR TREK.

just saw the commercial for this twice on Spike TV this afternoon

I know, I’m nuckin futs, but I just might get Seasons 2 and 3 Remastered…

I am…stark…raving…loony toons.

On behalf of all us UK based Star Trek fans, could I please ask when and where is Series 2 going to be availble in region 2 format. Any Ideas?

I picked up the last one on display at Best Buy in Lafayette, LA.

Looks incredible on my H.T.