"Star Trek" Complete Series Blu-rays Celebrate 50th Anniversary


"Star Trek" has always been a part of my life it seems. I would come home from school and catch episodes in syndication. My parents bought me the Mego Enterprise playset with all the dolls. I remember the whole family standing excitedly entering the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX to see "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979.

A new "Star Trek" movie was almost as exciting to see in the theater for me as when a new "Star Wars" film came out... almost. It's a close second or third behind that and the Indiana Jones movies. I remember where I saw every entry in the franchise and only missed seeing three of them out of the blah on the silver screen.

CBS Blu-ray celebrates 50 years of Gene Roddenberry's epic vision of the future by releasing both "Star Trek: The Original Series" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in two new separate Blu-ray sets that each collect every season of the respective shows in one package. If you've yet to grab these in high-definition, then now is the time.

"Star Trek" follows the crew of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise as it completes its missions in space in the 23rd century. Captain James T. Kirk -- along with half- human/half-Vulcan science officer Spock, ship Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Ensign Pavel Chekov, communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, helmsman Lt. Hikaru Zulu and chief engineer Lt. Cmdr. "Scotty" Scott -- confront strange alien races, friendly and hostile alike, as they explore unknown worlds.

"Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" is the remastered and digitally updated versions of the episodes that hit the market shortly after George Lucas re-tooled the original "Star Wars" trilogy in 1997. A lot of purists detest these altered editions. I really don't mind them so much, just like I wasn't bothered by the "Star Wars" Special Editions.

Featuring a bigger and better USS Enterprise, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is set in the 24th century. Instead of Capt. James Kirk, a less volatile and more mature Capt. Jean-Luc Picard heads the crew of various humans and alien creatures in their adventures in space -- the final frontier.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” contains all 176 episodes of the show the way they were seen originally. Of course they’ve been remastered and look better, but no enhancements or changes were done to the special effects. They look just like they did when they originally aired starting on September 28, 1987. I remember it was a Sunday night, because I faked being sick to skip church and see the premiere. Sorry, Mom.

Both "Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" and “Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” are chock full of bonus material. “The Original Series” contains Behind-the-Scenes featurettes, preview trailers, Comic-Con panels, audio commentary and more. “The Next Generation” most of the same special features plus reflections on the show like “Reunification: 25 Years After ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Inside the Writer’s Room”.

If you haven’t already picked up either of these comprehensive collections, now would be the right time. They come in convenient amaray cases that hold all the discs within one shell for “The Original Series” and two for “The Next Generation”. My one complaint is that the packaging is oversized for Blu-ray, in that its height is a tiny bit more than that of a DVD. The comfort of knowing I have every episode of these classic “Star Trek” television shows far outweighs that minor annoyance, however.

"Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete Series" is available now on Blu-ray.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series” is available now on Blu-ray.