June 16 2024

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Star Trek: The Original Series: The Roddenberry Vault Review

4 min read

Star Trek: The Original Series: The Roddenberry Vault was released today in honor of Star Trek‘s Fiftieth Anniversary.

“During the shooting of Star Trek, bits and pieces of episodic footage were left on the cutting room floor and later preserved in film canisters by the Roddenberry Estate. Recognizing the value of the footage, CBS” via Michael and Denise Okuda “painstakingly catalogued, transferred, analyzed and pieced together these Vault materials, which include alternate takes, deleted scenes, omitted dialogue, outtakes and original visual FX elements.”

The Format:

The set includes twelve original series episodes, chosen for their relevance to what was found in those film canisters. These episodes, available in this Blu-ray release in both original and remastered format, are presented in 1080p Hi-Def with both DTS 7.1 Master Audio as well as newly-restored original Mono. All but one episode features isolated music tracks, and three new audio commentaries are included on the set, as well as special features.

Languages available include: English, Danish, German, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish.

The Roddenberry Vault features three Blu-ray discs with just over ten hours of episodes and special features/documentaries.

Disc 1:
Episodes:

  • The Corbomite Maneuver
  • Arena
  • Space Seed
  • This Side of Paradise (commentary by Gabrielle Stanton and Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana)

Special Features:

  • Inside the Roddenberry Vault Part I
  • Star Trek: Revisiting a Classic
  • Isolated Music Tracks

Disc 2:
Episodes:

  • The Devil in the Dark
  • The City on the Edge of Forever (commentary by Roger Lay Jr., Scott Mantz and Mark A Altman)
  • Operation: Annihilate!
  • Metamorphosis

Special Features:

  • Inside the Roddenberry Vault Part II
  • Strange New Worlds: Visualizing the Fantastic
  • Isolated Music Tracks

Disc 3:
Episodes:

  • Who Mourns for Adonais?
  • Mirror, Mirror
  • The Trouble With Tribbles (Commentary by David A. Goodman and David Gerrold)
  • Return to Tomorrow

Special Features:

  • Inside the Roddenberry Vault Part III
  • Swept Up: Snippets From the Cutting Room Floor
  • Isolated Music Tracks

The Content:

In addition to the twelve shows, there are the three commentaries (This Side of Paradise, The City on the Edge of Forever and The Trouble with Tribbles), isolated music tracks and three documentaries.

The list of those speaking on these documentaries is a “who’s who” list of those associated with Star Trek. The surviving main actors are present (William Shatner, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols). So is Leonard Nimoy‘s son Adam, and James Doohan‘s son Chris.

Others interviewed include: Mike and Denise Okuda, Dorothy D.C. Fontana, Richard Arnold, Robert Sawyer, a ninety-two year old Ralph Senensky, Joseph D’Agosta, Richard Edlund, Doug Drexler, Gary Lockwood, John D. F. Black, Mary Black, David Gerrold, Dan Curry and Gary Hutzel.

Guest stars from the twelve episodes shared their memories of working on Star Trek. They include: Clint Howard, BarBara Luna, Leslie Parrish, Charlie Brill, Michael Parish, Bobby Clark and Elinor Donahue.

Trek fans interviewed include David Mirkin (The Simpsons), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), David A. Goodman (Family Guy), Bill Nye the Science Guy, Marc Cushman and NASA‘s Bobak Ferdowski.

Inside the Roddenberry Vault is a three-part series in which Rod Roddenberry introduces viewers to the long-lost film reels. According to the Okudas, it was a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” moment seeing that room filled with film canisters. Clips from each of the twelve episodes are shown; ones that have never been seen before. Some are alternate takes while others were shots that were discarded. There are outtakes as well as special effects tests.

Star Trek: Revisiting a Classic “offers a look back at the origins of the iconic series, including glimpses of life on the set with new interviews featuring guest stars, directors and production personnel.”

Strange New Worlds: Visualizing the Fantastic “dives into the creation of spaceships, transporters and the classic Star Trek visuals.

Swept Up: Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor gives fans even more unseen footage and omitted dialogue from the series. Seventeen different shows are featured in this special, as well as the USS Enterprise and the shuttlecraft Galileo. The feature ends with Nichelle Nichols singing the full version of Beyond Antares.

The Verdict:

What’s not to like? What Star Trek fan hasn’t dreamed of new episodes or barring that, more outtakes and bloopers? Seeing these clips for the first time was like receiving an early Christmas present. Some of the clips backed up what readers found in the James Blish books, which came from earlier script drafts. Some were the actors horsing around or flubbing their lines. It was fun to see the alternate takes and sometimes it was obvious why they were cut from what became the finished episode.

The heart of this release is of course those clips. I know that I couldn’t wait to get to the Swept Up special feature to see clips all in one place. But there were plenty of them in the Inside the Roddenberry Vault three-part documentary too.

Fans will appreciate that the episodes are presented as they aired as well as in a remastered version. I’m a big fan of the remastered versions – the planet flybys alone make watching the episodes this way mandatory as far as I’m concerned.

The only bad thing is the packaging. It’s difficult to get the DVD case out. Since I store my DVDs and Blu-rays in a special notebook, it’s not a problem for me, but for those keeping their discs in the original package, this would be annoying. The pictures inside of the cover of the packaging, however, were nice and included Kirk’s nephew, laughing/smiling actors and plenty more.

The clips included in this set were the best of the best, meaning that perhaps more exist that will be released in due course. In the meanwhile, enjoy these. If you’re an original series fan, you certainly will want this set.

Get Star Trek: The Original Series: The Roddenberry Vault here.

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