Paramount // 1968 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Nicholas Sylvain (Retired) // November 21st, 2001
Space...the final frontier.
Though the third and final season of Star Trek suffered from a high proportion of weakly written shows, here we have one that is merely decent ("For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky") and one that is a classic show ("Day of the Dove"). The disc is on par with Paramount's previous efforts.
* "For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky"
When McCoy is suddenly stricken by a terminal illness, the Enterprise stumbles across an asteroid spaceship. Two hundred miles in diameter, this ship houses the Yonadan people, as it has done for the past ten thousand years, though they do not know they live on a ship and not a world. Its ancestors fled a dying star, and built the ship to allow their descendants to find a home. However, the ship is on a collision course with a heavily populated planet, and the usual team of Kirk and Spock must find a way to divert the ship and save the Yonadan people, lest they be forced to destroy them. Complicating matters are McCoy falling in love with the High Priestess of the Yonadan people and the remorselessly determined computer oracle that guides the people through the Priestess.
* "Day of the Dove"
The Enterprise is responds to a distress call, thinking a Federation colony has been wiped out, only to be confronted by aggrieved Klingons, led by Kang, who believe the Federation has committed a similar atrocity against them. Though briefly captured by the Enterprise crew, a series of mysterious equipment failures and the astonishing transformation of highly sophisticated weapons into knives and swords allow the cadre of Klingons to wage an even battle for control of the Enterprise. Soon the Klingons find that they cannot control the Enterprise any more than Kirk can, resulting in stalemate. When all seems hopelessly frustrating, Spock discovers the presence of an alien life form that is feeding off of the strong emotions of bloody mayhem. If any of the two crews are to survive, Kirk must convince his counterpart of this truth and defeat his true enemy.
Over thirty years and four Starfleet captains later, many Star Trek fans still find that nothing can quite compare to the original series and the original captain, the indomitable Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Now, I don't mean to get into a "my Captain can beat your Captain" argument, but I think no matter who is your favorite, you have to admit that as far as sleeping their way across the galaxy, Kirk holds a candle to no one. Human, alien, it didn't matter, the Captain needed a babe, and more often than not, got one. Shagalicious baby, yeah! I still wonder if William Shatner bribed the writers...
Anyway, this installment of the original series starts off with the episode with the odd prize of having the longest title in the series, namely "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." I admit to a liking for this episode since our favorite crusty Southern doctor gets the babe instead of his studly Captain and plays a more prominent role than usual in solving the episode's mystery. Another stellar William Ware Theiss "will she or won't she fall out of the dress" creation on the fetching frame of Katherine Woodville does not hurt, either. The mystery/problem of the Yonadan people is decently written, and the romance angle not so overblown as to become fine New York cheddar. Overall, competent, but not an episode likely to make a top ten list.
"Day of the Dove," on the other hand, has the lively spark of a classic episode, due to the reappearance of our favorite villains, the Klingons. Michael Ansara plays Kang as a wily, intelligent warrior, who glories in battle but not mindlessly so. The verbal war between Klingon and Enterprise crewmembers is well matched by the energetic scenes of sword fighting. The "alien life form makes us hate each other" plot is not particularly detailed, mostly serving as an excuse for action scenes and crisp dialogue, and Susan Howard is best seen and not heard as the tantalizing Klingon babe (Chekov likes what he sees and I'm sure Kirk tried his hand as well...). Still, the negatives are entirely outweighed by the positives.
The "digitally enhanced and remastered" video transfer is certainly an improvement over the VHS tapes and broadcast quality of the original episodes that I have seen. Resolution is much improved, though the increased sharpness often lapses into a strongly soft, almost muddy picture. Colors are quite richly saturated, giving the show a much brighter look than I had known. As a side effect, the flesh tones look a few shades too ruddy. Film grain as well as blips and flecks show up from time to time, betraying the limitations of the original source material. True Star Trek fanatics will be disappointed that Paramount did not see fit to do a more comprehensive restoration and polish the original gems of this storied franchise.
The remixed 5.1 audio is about what you would expect from a late 1960s show. Rear surrounds are hardly used at all, excepting the flyby in the opening credits. Otherwise, this is a typical former mono/center channel focused mix. Clear dialogue and cheesy music are understood in all their analog glory.
Nothing is really wrong with this disc that a real season-by-season box set with real extras wouldn't cure. On the other hand, then Paramount would soak the fans twice for the same shows, which isn't a thrilling prospect. As it is, we get a "preview trailer" spot (ooh aah) and one (count 'em, one!) trivia tidbit for each episode. With only two episodes per disc, this is not exactly value for the dollar like with the X-Files box sets. Thankfully, the upcoming Next Generation discs should be an improvement in this area.
"Day of the Dove" could justify a purchase on its own, and though "For the World is Hollow..." is not the best or the worst, the novelty of McCoy getting the sexy alien chick and not Kirk is amusing. Not a must-purchase, but still worthy of a place in your Trekdom.
Only a fool fighting in a burning house would find this disc guilty!
Review content copyright © 2001 Nicholas Sylvain; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Preview Trailers
* Trivia Tidbits
* The Star Trek Logbook
* Sci-Fi Channel Summary, "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
* Sci-Fi Channel Summary, "Day of the Dove"