Review: Star Trek TOS Season 2 Blu-ray

On Tuesday the Second Season of the digitally remastered Star Trek The Original Series finally makes it to Blu-ray. The new set lets you choose to watch Star Trek in HD, with the original or new digital effects, and is full of special features. Find out how it stacks up in our review below.

Review: Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two Blu-ray Boxed Set

Season Two of Star Trek starts off with the memorable look at Spock’s home planet in “Amok Time” and keeps going with “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Doomsday Machine,” The Trouble with Tribbles,” and may more beloved episodes are from Trek’s second season. Here again CBS gives us the option to view the original effects of the more recent digital version.

[note: all images in the review can be expanded by clicking on them]


Just like with Season One, the new BD packaging features an outer sleeve which protects the inner disk case. Both feature the same box art. The new set fits perfectly with Season One and the recently released TOS movie set (and presumably the TNG movie set, which we will be reviewing later this week).

Season 2 packaging + side by side with other Trek 2009 Blu-rays

CBS continues to use the compact 7-disc case that they used for Season 1

The case open with 7 Blu-ray discs.

As with season 1, the episode listing is actually on the reverse side of the cover art inset, and not on the disks themselves. Since the Blu-ray case is translucent you can see through it to the printed list of episodes, of course disc 7 is in the way of the second half of the list, so it’s a minor inconvenience, but you can just pull the insert out to get to the episode list.

Navigation and Options

Once again CBS took this new release as an opportunity to improve upon the past releases. The rather clunky menu system from the DVD releases has been scrapped and a brand new menu system that uses the motif of being on the bridge and looking at the viewscreen to engage the episodes and choose options. There are four options to the left by blinking colored lights:

  1. Episodes (selecting an episode lets you choose which version to watch)
  2. Starfleet Access (the picture-in-picture commentary version of an episode)
  3. Additional Data (any extras on the disc as well as the classic previews for the episodes are here)
  4. Communications (chooses which soundtrack/language you’d like and controls over subtitles)

A small scanner screen pops up on the right which shows you the options. The viewscreen flashes by with the specs of the Enterprise and snippets of the episodes on the disc while the console lights up.

TIP: You can always toggle between the Remastered and Original Effects by using the angle button on your remote (if it has one) or by bringing up the interactive pop-up menu while the episode plays and toggle it with the little film camera icon.

The menu (click to enlarge)
NOTE: The interactive menu text is missing due to issues with the screen capturing process

The Video Transfer

As we’ve raved about before in our TOS-Remastered reviews, the digitally remastering of the original live-action filmed content is incredible. Star Trek was one of NBC’s front runner TV series used to show off the benefits on color television, and it really shows here with the vibrancy of the colors, and there is a ton of detail that can be seen in the fabrics, sets, and actor’s faces.

Tech. Specs: CBS gave the Blu-ray release a brand new video encode at 1080p, compressed with VC-1, with pillar boxing to preserve the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Here are some screenshots showing the live-action transfer.

And what about those new digital special effects shots that have been such a hot topic? They have never looked better. Here are some images of both versions to compare:

The great thing about these Blu-ray sets is the seamless branching, so you can choose which way you want to watch, with the original effects, or the new.

Audio Quality

CBS has done an amazing job with the sound on the Blu-ray set.  Audio is much harder to restore and squeeze extra clarity from as compared to film, so it is quite a testament to the technology we have today that these discs sound as good as they do. The audio is stored as DTS-HD Master Audio which is a lossless compression (think of it like a ZIP file for the audio), which means this is as good as it will get. It sounds just like it sounded in the sound engineer’s booth when they made the Blu-ray discs.

Just like Season One, the audio is clear, with dialogue well prioritized, it is never drowned out by other sound effects. Another well designed touch is the sense of ambiance mixed into the surround channels. When on the bridge you are engulfed in the sounds of ship. However, the purists are again considered, as CBS included the mono track as well. It can accessed by choosing Communications in the main menu and then selecting Audio Options.

Special Features

The season 2 Blu-ray set contains many of the excellent interviews and features from the previous DVD sets, with the exception of the “Red Shirt Logs” Easter eggs (which will likely appear on BD-Live later, as they did for Season One).

These are all directly ported over in standard definition from the previous DVD sets:

  • Star Trek’s Favorite Moments — Cast and crew from other Trek shows discuss their love of TOS
  • Writer’s Notebook: D.C. Fontana — D.C’s memories about moving from Gene Roddenberry’s assistant to staff writer
  • Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy — Nimoy talks about what he’s doing now (taped circa 2003, pre-JJ Abrams Star Trek), his photography, etc.
  • Kirk, Spock & Bones: Star Trek’s Great Trio — Various people pontificate on “the trio’s” chemistry
  • Star Trek’s Divine Diva: Nichelle Nichols — Nichols discusses her career prior to Trek and her singing, acting, and dancing abilities.

Also included are the original previews aired on NBC in the ’60s for each episode.

Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest

This season Disc 1 holds the home movies made by Star Trek background actor Billy Blackburn. Blackburn narrates over clips from the show interspersed with his own home movies shot on location and on the sound stage. Billy’s behind the scenes information really helps fill in the blanks about what went on behind the scenes in regards to both the production and the personality aspects.

(click to enlarge)

Tribbles Disk
Season 2 introduced those pesky Tribbles which have shown up in nearly every version of Star Trek since. The Blu-ray set celebrates the furry creatures with an entire disc, disc 4 of the set to be exact. It contains “The Trouble with Tribbles” and included as extras are the two TOS-era companion episodes: The Animated Series episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and the incredibly popular Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”. They are both labeled as “HD” on the box and in all the PR material. The Animated Series was indeed made on 35mm film so it was possible for it to be scanned in at 1080p for HD use. 1080p makes the flaws and budget constraints that were already obvious on the DVD release of TAS even more obvious. But at least it seems to actually be an HD transfer.

However, the same cannot be said for the DS9 episode. It was already well known that the Deep Space Nine episode would not actually be in high definition because of the 1990’s post-production workflow being done on video tape. But a well-done upconversion can look pretty decent. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. It seems that the video engineer responsible for the 480i (SD) to 1080p (HD) conversion phoned it in that day. The video is incredibly soft and suffers from some serious interlacing artifacts (something that should have been taken care of when it was reprocessed into 1080p) and analog video noise.

Also included on the Tribbles Disk are the two documentaries about the making of the episode from the DS9 DVDs which appear to be normal standard definition presentations without any of the issues that plague the main episode.

Easter Eggs

Apparently there are a dozen Easter eggs spread throughout the 7-disc set! So far I’ve only had the chance to find the obvious three “Easter eggs” that use the same method as the first season. They aren’t hard to miss. On the discs listed below the red button has no text next to it, arrow over and select the red button anyway. All three are short clips from other interviews.

Disc 5 — D.C. Fontana talks about going to dinner with Nimoy and Shatner during a production meeting and showing a Vulcan neck pinch in a public restaurant.

Disc 6 — David Gerrold reminisces about seeing a colorful commercial on TV about Star Trek, being really intrigued with the series premise, and being able to be on set to see The Man Trap being filmed.

Disc 7 — Charles Washburn (assistant director on TOS) talks about working on TOS and the racially integrated nature of the show compared to the multiple other shows he had worked on.

One of the new TOS S2 Easter Eggs

Blu-ray Exclusives

Star Trek: TOS on Blu-ray
Disc 4 includes a new HD interview lead by book author (and TNG script author) Marc Scott Zicree who interviews CBS Digital’s Niel Wray, Mike and Denise Okuda, and Dave Rossi all discuss the features of the new Blu-ray discs and the production of TOS-R in general.

Picture-in-Picture Commentary

Blu-ray can mix two video feeds at once, on episodes that are listed under ‘Starfleet Access’ a running commentary starts in the lower right hand corner of the screen. It will come and go as scenes come up that have commentary associated with it. For season two “Amok Time” and “The Trouble With Tribbles” are Starfleet Access enabled.

Picture-in-Picture commentary example (click to enlarge)

BD Live – Online Extras

BD Live is an optional component to Blu-ray that allows for extra content and interactive features to be downloaded or streamed over a high-speed Internet connection. You must have a BD Live (also called Profile 2.0) player and the requisite 1GB (or more) of flash memory connected to your player for download space. CBS used BD Live quite well in Season 1, they have added more features and video featurettes since I first reviewed Season 1. You can get an idea of what’s available and sign up for an account if you decide to save your custom made Trek trivia quizzes or upload your own photos by visiting: (NOTE: most of the information pertains to the Season 1 set’s BD Live portal).

Season One BD Live Interface (example)

The Star Trek interface took less than 2 minutes to download, and then about 1 minute more to load up the Java environment on my Panasonic BD35 player. The main menu offers two choices: the Star Trek Season 2 portal or the main CBS BD-Live Community portal.

At press time the Season 2 option seemed to be inactive. The CBS BD-Live Community portal was also rather lacking in options that were enabled. A couple of Star Trek quizzes were available and that’s about it. The most interesting sounding function “CBS BD LIVE Movie Nights” was disabled. This is quite a let down as CBS did a great job with the Season 1 BD Live portal.

Mobile-Blu — Extras for your iPhone

This is a new ability that CBS added to Season 2. Thanks to BD Live (Blu-ray Internet access) you can have the Season 2 discs send extra featurettes directly to your iPhone. It can also load a remote control application to let you use your iPhone as a remote for the discs while you watch them in your Blu-ray player, which is pretty cool. More details on setup and compatibility are at the Mobile-Blue site:

See the full list of extras in the Season 2 Press Release for Mobile-Blu content.

Bottom Line

As I said in the Season One review, this is the ultimate edition of a beloved classic, whether you’re a purist or like the new tweaks. The remastered series was meant to be seen in HD and looks it. Both the audio and video are fantastic. If you’re happy with how the standard definition sets look upscaled from standard DVD, well then I’d say stick with it for now, but I would think about putting the Blu-ray edition on a birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. list and start to replace them with the high definition (and generally more complete) versions.

Star Trek Season 2 Blu-ray comes out tomorrow, Tuesday September 22nd. You can order it now from Amazon.

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Thanks, Matt!

Nice to know the old girl looks and sounds better than ever!

Does anyone know if there is a way on these discs to do a split-screen, comparing the old and new effects side-by-side?

It sucks that we can never have DS9 in true HD. Some of those space battles during the Dominion War, hackneyed as they may be, would have been awesome to watch in true 1080p (or at least 1080i, in the case of my TV). I assume the same is true for TNG, Voyager, and at least the first two seasons of Enterprise. How ironic that the oldest of the Star Trek series, made long before anyone had any idea what HD was, is the only one that can be made to look decent on modern high-definition television sets. I guess that will only solidify TOS’s position as the most prominent and well-known of all Star Trek series. Rightly so, I suppose.


Great review. Thanks… and thanks for the screencaps! Just a minor note: The DS9 episode, I believe, was only upconverted to 1080i not 1080p… so that’s the reason you see still see 480i interlacing artifacts from the original source. I also heard there is some video tearing near the beginning of the episode… is this correct?

HD DS9 *is* possible… they just have to do it right. And spend the money.


Agreed. It definitely sucks that I’ll never be able to watch TNG or DS9 in decent quality again (since I already got rid of my analog TV, and 480 looks like absolute crap on an HD set).

I suppose I could watch them on my computer… but it just wouldn’t be the same. : (

I have to wait till November to get this but I cannot wait to get this, this will be awesome. Season one was an awesome package. I am counting down the days to this package. I just cant wait

Agreed it is a shame that it will be ages till we get to see the spin off shows in HD. I’ve been watchingTNG and DS( on my PS3 and to me the quality is still great when upscaled for those shows.

I think earlier ones like TNG season one do show up but the later season look cool still on DVD.

the people who are saying that we will never see ds9 or tng in true hd on bluray arent entirely correct. Its a given that we will in fact one day, but its going to take alot of time,effort and money on CBS home videos part.
Most likely the next trek series to get a bluray release will be enterprise and possibly TOS animated series. eventually we will get TNG, DS9,and Voyager in True HD, its just going to be a few years,

David J, just curious but when you mention your standard def trek looks like crap on your hd set, what sort of connection are you using because upconverted the episodes while not great are not that bad looking all things considered.

ive watched plenty of ds9 and tng episodes on dvd on my bluray player and they look decent(not great mind you but better than they ever looked on my standard def tv)

I agree with David J Standard Def Remastered Trek looks bad, I’ve mentioned it before on another thread, the actual mastering of the standard dvds is pretty bad. The original season sets were mastered better and seem more stable than the new remastered dvd sets.

There is considerable noise on the dvd pictures, (not grain) that detracts from watching the episodes, I can only assume the new dvd sets were done really quickly to get them out there, the bit rate on the live action shots is very low compared to the original dvd sets.

Does anyone else agree that the remastered dvd season sets look bad?

TIP: I have reversed the sleeve on my standard dvd sets so the episode lists are on the outside, makes it much easier to find the episode you are looking for, I imagine the same can be done with the Blu-Ray.

Billy Blackburn must be the world’s luckiest extra. Not too many get to be recognized and actually get to be part of the behind the scenes like narrating on some episodes.

I wish I can be that lucky…

I am actually counting down the days till this is realeased in UK< its out the same day as the TNG box set and the new movie.

I Have asked to get the TNG mocvie boxset as a Christmas prsent.

Season 1 looks great on HD and cannot wait to see this

I know its probably a moot point, but i wish they would release these in production order rather than Airing order, as especially in the first season there are some continuity errors when watching it in Airing order. I rip all my DVDs for backup purposes (and ipod/HTPC) and always re-order them in production order.

It’s nice that they added DSN’s episode Trials and Tribulations, it is a big booster to the Re-rendering of DSN like they did TOS. But I’ll bet they will go for TNG first.

The imaging looks near perfect almost as good as if it is the original works, and great for HDTV’s. The big hassle is the video frame format, as I explained before converting from 4:3 to 16:9 is possible but will take money and make the art work done in TOSe episodes look like child’s play.

First you need to convert the video from Raster to Vector based video. Then convert it to a 3D video file for software use. Then the hard part is to have artists fill in the missing parts of the video stage. some of that can be done by the software because of the frame of view pans and moves on the stage. The whole stage needs created and the actors now being vactors can be scripted back on the stage and the hole episode gets re-rendered in 16:9.

This process can be used on any film or video if you have the time and money and the converting company just needs Video processing computer systems and memory to store the hi-res stage sets to be scripted upon and legal beagles to get the contracts processed.

Could you imagine in 2025 or so having HD 16:9 versions of all the Star Trek episodes (all 623 I totaled I think)/ And since the new video is on Computer in 3D could Holodecks be far away and your future relatives can be playing in Star Trek not just watching episodes in HD. And what a show to bring this technology forward to us.

P.S. I am now testing Google Chrome v3.0 and it lets you stretch the reply text window side. So if you can more than Twitter speak (thats say some thing bigger than 140 letters) you can see more of what you type. Less window content scrolling needed.

To #12) Duncan MacLeod

As for authored order of the shows on DVD that is nice and can help in the story portrail when the shoe environment changes show content. But very few get that indepth into the validity of the content of the show. They are lucky to remember things as life happened let alone a show, be it a good one at that.

And even thoe I do not watch the real time survival like shows most viewers are getting use to that kind of junk, so your desires are growing smaller every year.

It can be a big pain but that is something that real life forces you to live with. So find a pill and learn to live with it, because the pain may last for the rest of your life.

I might actually pick this Blu-ray set up. It contained the only two episodes I myself thought looked half way decently remastered, Doomsday Machine and Amok Time.

#15) Sean4000, the rendering are very good, and do ad much to the story, I guess you can almost say the stories are of better quality that viewing them on old Tube TV does not give them justice.

I wonder how shows in 10 year will look if they were viewed on Tube TV’s. They might look like rap that starts with a C.

One of these days I’ll be able to afford the upgrade from low res HDTV to True HD and be able to live in true viewing luxury. But at least I’m not still in the tube world even if I can only do 1280×720 but that still makes 720×480 look dull. And most sports is still in the lower res.

My only standing complaint about having a Mac is that I own a screen that is *perfect* for DVDs of this resolution, and for some ridiculous reason Apple weren’t forward thinking enough to include Blu-Ray drives.

They were ahead of the pack when they went with USB only, and when they ditched the floppy drive completely – why the hell are they missing the boat on this one??

#9- Nope. I remember reading this review of a hotel in the Caribbean on TripAdvisor. Everyone else’s review’s raved about the beach, pool, service, food, etc. This one guy ranted about how the repair job on a few tiles in the bathroom were not done in a highly professional manner. He went on to say he is an easy-going guy, but the whole trip was ruined because of it.

To a large extent, we make our own reality.

These Star Trek Blu-rays are nothing short of amazing.

If you can afford it just throw your dvd’s away and pick up Star Trek on Blu-ray.

Not holding my breath for it, but I sure do wish CBS would give us a cleaned up copy of the infamous “blooper reels” as an Easter Egg on the Season 3 set. I’m sure they could locate a 16mm or 35mm copy somewhere and do a quick digital transfer and cleanup. It shouldn’t cost a lot and would please many longtime fans who have had to put up with horrible VHS transfers for all these years!

Good report Matt. You go. Ordered this set today (for a considerable discount)

I still haven’t figured out how to toggle back and forth between effects. Maybe it’s my age or my color blindness. Or that’s what we’ll call it.

What is that second image of Billy Blackburn from? The one where it looks like his eyes are rolled back….

Just saw a advanced list for the season 3 box set which reportedly includes the unaired original version of the 2nd pilot as an extra. Now that would make that more likely to buy!


They should really fix up the Star Trek animated DVDS. BCI Brentwood Inc. fixed up Filmation’s He-Man and She-Ra cartoons for DVD, and they have never looked better! They went in there and fixed the colours and really made the animation pop out. Why not give the Star Trek cartoon to them to fix, since it was also done by Filmation??

#20 “These Star Trek Blu-rays are nothing short of amazing. If you can afford it just throw your dvd’s away and pick up Star Trek on Blu-ray.”

I second that. It’s like seeing them for the first time. I can’t get enough of my season one set.

Bought mine at lunch. Can’t wait to throw Doomsday Machine up on the big screen. I loved the remastered episodes and watching them all over again in 1080 glory will be a treat. Great review, thanks!

I still say the new promos that were made for the remastered airings ought to be included as well.

I just purchased the TNG movie set on blu-ray and cant wait to watch it. I have only made it through half of season 1 on blu-ray so I will probably pick up TOS season 2 blu-ray in a few weeks.

Does anyone have the DVD version of TMP? How are the extras and commentaries?

Oh it’s “Amok Time”, “Journey To Babel”, and “Friday’s Child” tonight…damn the television schedule….

“The Doomsday Machine”, “The Trouble With Tribbles”, and “Mirror, Mirror” tommorow.

I love the first season, but for sheer volume of quality episodes (decent to great), I think I’ll take season two.


Just an HDMI cable. But it’s possible I’ve just been spoiled for too long by that beautiful HD picture. : )


I’ve noticed on my blueray that I can only switch back and forth when a visual effects shot is actually on screen. It might be the same case with yours.


Agreed. I can’t get over the fact that we’re now seeing these episodes in even better quality than when they ORIGINALLY AIRED.

That’s just mindblowing to me.

#27—Whadaya know, Prime?

I thought the effects sequences were in widescreen?

#35 … It’s good to see you made it back through the Guardian of Forever! Conversation around here definitely takes a hit in your absence.

I just purchased Season 2 Blu-Ray at Best Buy for $59.95 and absolutely love it! I watched “The Immunity Syndrome” first to experience the enhanced graphics and I was blown away!! The video AND audio quality are tops!!! Thanks for sharing about the “easter eggs”, I didn’t know about them. It’s like watching the show all over again for the first time. If you don’t yet have Blu-Ray you have GOT to invest in it! Live long and prosper!!!!

#37—-Awww…you’re going to make me blush!!!! :)

#36, the exterior effects shots were produced in 16×9 for future proofing, but cut down to 4:3 to match the rest of the original negatives. This was allegedly mistakenly released in a mixed format for Sony PSP 720p digital versions.

There is a rumored Japanse version in which the original negatives have been re-framed for 16×9 in much the same way Seinfeld has been, but I have never seen one legitimate or official reference to it anywhere on the internet. If it existed one would think it could be purchased on

I’ve had bluray since last Christmas, but haven’t used it nearly enough….since I don’t have alot of BR discs!

I watched a few season one eps, and BR is a definite upgrade. I’ll get even more use out of season two, since more of my favorites seem to be in that season…

“Amok Time”, “Journey To Babel”, “The Trouble With Tribbles”, “The Ultimate Computer”, “Obsession”, “Friday’s Child”, “Mirror, Mirror”, “A Private Little War”, “Assignment: Earth”, “The Changeling”, “Bread And Circuses”, “The Immunity Syndrome”…That’s nearly half my top 25 all-time right there!

There isn’t even alot of duds….”The Gamesters Of Triskellion”, maybe….”The Apple”…?

A few guilty pleasures though….”A Piece Of The Action”, “Patterns Of Force”, “The Omega Glory”, “Return To Tommorow”, “By Any Other Name”…

Ok…so “Catspaw” is pretty forgettable!!!

Look, it cost almost €2500 just to get all the DVDs, ie all the TV shows icluding TAS, and ten SE movies. And most of those were were on sale to about €75 to €100, so you’ll have to excuse me if I give CBS/Paramount the middle finger about their nice and shiny Blu-Rays.

Besides. I actually like the “clunky” TOS DVD menus.

I love the TOS DVD menus! I love the spin shot around the bridge! I won’t rebuy them on DVD, because I just think some of those new CG space shots look cheesy.

This is great. Saw Season 2 in the stores today, but passed it up to get the TNG Blu-Ray movies. I’ll pick up Season 2 hopefully in the next week or so. Can’t wait for the TNG review, got a few complaints about the carelessness of the case artwork, but I’ll save that for later. Anyway, looking forward to Season 3’s review.

The only flaw with this entire set is the quality of the DS9 episode. I’m not sure if this is a Blu-ray transfer or just a really good standard dvd transfer.

I thought for sure that DS9 being much newer than TOS would look even better, but the opposite is true. TOS looks much better than DS9.

Can anyone confirm if “Trials and Tribulations” is a standard transfer?

Don’t get me wrong it looks fine, but I was expecting a little better. Beyond that very minor issue I can’t stress how good these Blu-ray’s look.

This is a 5 star set.

P.S. I got $19 when I traded my dvd set in and I bought the Blu-ray’s on sale for $50 something dollars. A $30 investment was worth the double dip in this case.

According to Digital Bits, the season 3 set will include the never aired alternate version of Where No Man Has Gone Before.

#46. Actually the DS9 episode is a 1080 p upconvert of the original standerd def DVD. but much worse in fact. I compared it to my DVD of the same episode and the so called high def version looks worse. Particularly as it pertains to sever interlacing issues during effects sequenses and a wierd ghosting problem when characters move around. Two problems that were not to be found on my origional DVD. A sad disapointment as DS9 is my favorite of all Treks. on a posative note, colors on the high def version are slightly better.

#31 I have the DVD of TMP. It is OK looks grainy to me. The extras are also OK. I hae purchased the Kirk/Spock era movie set on Blu-Ray but have not had a chance to view them yet because we have moved and I have been ill. Looking forward to the TNG movie set on blu-ray once it arrives. Can’t wait to see First Contact on my big screen in hi-def

Ah, very cool. I wonder if it looks any better than the DC, but I wanted to see the original cut with the RED ALERT guy, etc back in. Thanks!