STAR TREK:
- The Original Series (TOS)
- The Animated Series
- The Movies
- The Next Generation (TNG)
- Deep Space Nine (DS9)
- Voyager
- Enterprise

THE ORIGINAL SERIES:
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- "Season Four"

Season Two:
-30: "Catspaw"
-32: "Friday's Child"
-33: "Who Mourns for Adonais?"
-38: "The Apple"
-39: "Mirror, Mirror"
-43: "Bread and Circuses"
-45: "A Private Little War"
-46: "The Gamesters of Triskelion"
-49: "A Piece of the Action"
-52: "Patterns of Force"
-54: "The Omega Glory"
-55: "Assignment: Earth"


SCIENCE FICTION:
- Doctor Who
- Sliders
- The Matrix


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Star Trek

Season 2 (1967-1968)

Catspaw

(Star Trek story #30 in production order)
written by Robert Bloch
directed by Joseph Pevney
music by Gerald Fried

Here, the original Star Trek displays its penchant for beginning production on a new season with a Hallowe'en episode - in this case one that was designed to be held back in the sequence until a broadcast slot as close as possible to October 31 came along.

Though the story isn't quite the explosive, exciting adventure one might want as a season opener, those of us who prefer going through original Star Trek in its production order still have a good reason for starting season two here - this story does a pretty good job of presenting new regular Ensign Pavel Chekov as if this really is his debut episode. In production terms, it was.

"I can do it, sir. I'm not that green."

Walter Koenig's performance is pretty enjoyable here, settling quite quickly into the accent he will continue to use throughout the series and the movies, while understandably being a tad more nervous than usual while adjusting to his new position and surroundings. Sadly though, he's wearing a pretty funky-looking wig in this one, while waiting for his hair to grow to a similar length.

Strangely enough, all of Chekov's scenes in this one are confined to the middle of the episode, and played on the bridge opposite Uhura and Assistant Chief Engineer deSalle (Mike Barrier), who has the con while the other five regular crewmembers are all busy on the planet. At least today's bridge team are all recurring characters as well, with deSalle returning from last season's "This Side of Paradise" and switching from a yellow uniform to a red one.


Chekov, in his own hair

Lieutenant deSalle


"Three Witches, what appears to be a Castle, and a Black Cat."
"Dungeons, Curses, Skeletons and Iron Maidens..."

The main story itself has some split fortunes, with the opening sections being the weakest. It takes rather a long time for this story to get truly interesting, as Kirk and company go on an odyssey of environments from ship to planet's surface to castle corridors and dungeons, all while suffering the most literal of cliché Hallowe'en "scares". Thankfully, their banter and observations remain entertaining and suitably adult, poking the same holes in the shabbiness of the scenery as the audience would, which helps them maintain their semblance of intelligent, sci-fi explorers. But one is forced to wonder why they pause to indulge in so much discussion when pressing on to rescue their comrades is supposedly so urgent, and would be more interesting. Thus the story can't escape the feeling of being padded.

And the three witches represent the story's low point, going for the most unconvincing and uncharismatic of clichés with high pitch wavering voices, and being very un-animated visually. It's so cringe-worthy, I'd have to recommend fast-forwarding over it.

Disappointingly, Scotty and Sulu aren't allowed to say much of anything during their large quantities of screentime, and the tale can't benefit from their usual charm either.


"They tried to tap our conscious minds..."
"And they missed."

Thankfully, once we meet the sorcerer Korob, things pick up considerably. We get a truly enjoyable guest character, some interesting interactions, and episode's playing field shifts nicely into the sci-fi arena of mental-based technologies and alien creatures who are truly different from us in very imaginative ways. The episode continues to indulge this direction throughout the remainder of its time as it adds the intriguing feline character of Sylvia to the roster.

Yes, we do cycle through a number of typical cliché Star Trek story beats, with Kirk seducing the guest star of the week, and fisticuffs, etc., but these seem to be done quite well in general considering what the characters are, and what they correctly notice about each other's tactics. And the episode has a few of its own unique twists thrown in for good measure as well.


Musically, this is the first of Gerald Fried's three big complete scores for the season, with which he will rise to become the dominant voice of season two's new music. There's quite a bit of spookiness and humour in this one, and some unique bits that I don't think were ever tracked into any other episodes. Most noticeable are some action motifs for Kirk which will get developed into full blown themes in Fried's next score "Friday's Child". Nice stuff.

music by Gerald Fried


"Catspaw" turns out to be quite enjoyable and decent in the end, but is pretty rough during its opening. I'd say I like the episode as a whole, but would only rank it towards the bottom of the mediocre range within all of season two's offerings.



Read our next Star Trek review: Mirror, Mirror




"Catspaw" is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek Season Two "Purist" Standard DVD Box Set:

Watch the legend continue to develop through its prime. Set contains all 26 episodes from the second season in their original wacky broadcast order, plus new bonus features.

As someone interested in researching how the episodes actually looked and sounded originally, and when and exactly how certain musical cues first debuted, this was the DVD set for me, and it remains the most untampered-with full-season collection of Star Trek out there. Unique extras include pure text commentaries on select episodes. Sadly, these sets are starting to become rare, and prices are now rising as these become collectors' items....

DVD U.S.

DVD Canada

DVD U.K.

Standard DVD Extras include:

  • To Boldly Go... Season Two featurette (20 min.)
  • Designing the Final Frontier featurette (22 min.)
  • Writer's Notebook: D.C. Fontana (8 min.)
  • Kirk, Spock, & Bones: Star Trek's Great Trio (7 min.)
  • Nichelle Nichols - Divine Diva (13 min.)
  • Life Beyond Trek: Leonard Nimoy (12 min.)
  • Text Commentaries on "Amok Time" and
    "The Trouble with Tribbles"
  • "Red Shirt Logs" Easter Eggs (8 min. total)
  • Production Art & Photo Log (still menus)
  • Original Trailers for every episode (1 min. each)

Standard DVD remastered with CGI:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K.

The Original Series Remastered Sets

The re-mastered Star Trek set for season two, like that of season three, seems destined to be obsolete in very short order. Its content is easily surpassed by the more respectful presentation on Blu-ray, and unlike the "purist" DVD release listed above, appears to have none of its own exclusive content. Add to that the very gimmicky, awkward packaging that is prone to damage both during shipping and with light usage, and I'd have to recommend that all devoted Trekkers should consider other options for their ideal TOS season two product.

Season Two - Blu Ray

  26 episodes @ 51 minutes
Star Trek sets are now available on Blu Ray. Picture and sound quality restoration has gone up yet another notch since the remastered version, as have the liberties taken with "upgrading" the episodes. Once again, even newer CGI effects and optical shots have replaced many space scenes, matte paintings, and phaser effects.... but this time the upgrades have the same respect and user-functionality applied to select Doctor Who DVD releases since 2002, as the CGI effects can now be turned off to see the original effects. Good show. It seems that the music has still been tampered with too much for my liking though.


Blu-ray U.S.

Blu-ray Canada

Blu-ray U.K.

Blu-ray features add:

  • option to watch original or new CGI effects.
  • Audio commentary on "The Trouble with Tribbles"
    by writer David Gerrold.
  • Starfleet Access - Okuda interactive trivia plus picture-in-picture interviews on 2 episodes:
    • "Amok Time"
    • "The Trouble With Tribbles".
  • Behind-the-scenes 8mm home movies part 2 (HD, 12 min.) from Billy Blackburn (Lt. Hadley / DeForest Kelley stand-in)
  • Star Trek TOS on Blu-ray (HD, 10 min.) restoration and upgrade featurette.
  • Star Trek's Favorite Moments (SD, 17 min.)
  • Mobile-Blu Content-To-Go Exclusives: "Creating Chekov", "Listening to the Actors" "Writing Spock" "Spock's Mother"
  • "More Tribbles, More Troubles" with commentary from the animated "Season 4" DVD box set.
  • "Trials and Tribble-ations" in HD this time, with
    two featurettes from the DS9 season 5 DVD box set.
  • plus all documentaries, featurettes, and episode promos from the "purist" standard DVD set listed far above.


Review written by Martin Izsak. Comments are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read our next Star Trek review: Mirror, Mirror



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