The Pipeline: Paramount Finally Cracks Open The Roddenberry Vault For Blu-Ray | Buzz Blog
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The Pipeline: Paramount Finally Cracks Open The Roddenberry Vault For Blu-Ray

Rare Star Trek footage finally finds its way to fans with classic episodes.


If you've been a Star Trek fan, then you're probably fully aware of all the DVD/Blu-ray sets that have been released over the years. My personal favorite was when they released the original series in those candy-colored shell cases that don't fit on a DVD shelf at all, but embody what it was like to own something original that stood out from the rest. In that spirit, Paramount has given fans something special in time for Christmas with The Roddenberry Vault, a three-disc Blu-ray set released Dec. 13 that puts some of your favorite episodes in a new light.


Unbeknownst to a lot of hardcore fans, Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett saved a ton of old footage from the show. Back in the day, when you filmed TV shows, it was done on actual film, with hundreds of reels being used in a single episode. Roddenberry used to receive dailies showing takes of scenes from the original series so they could decide what to use, but rather than discarding them, he saved everything he possibly could and put it into storage. Flash forward about 40 years later, and Roddenberry's son discovered the massive vault of nostalgia and alerted some of Star Trek's most trusted caretakers from TNG, DS9 and Voyager to check out what was here. The vast majority of it consisted of short takes without color correction or any special effects thrown in; it was simply raw footage. After nearly a decade of combing through it all,  CBS Studios and Paramount finally scraped together these long lost pieces and spruced them up for your viewing enjoyment.


The Roddenberry Vault contains 12 classic Trek episodes across all three seasons. Some are iconic, like "Arena" featuring Kirk's battle with the Gorn, or "Space Seed" where we're first introduced to Khan. Others are not so grand, such as "Who Mourns For Adonais?" with a giant hand  and Greek gods running a planet, or "The Devil In The Dark," where the crew basically chase down a giant piece of Jell-o and foam terrorizing miners. Each disc comes with a look behind each episode, including shots from different angles and lines removed from the show for whatever reason they decided. You get a glimpse of stuff like seeing Khan gloat to Spock about taking over the Enterprise;  Spock replies that he is only impressed by how they did it and not the accomplishment itself.


Each episode also comes with the option to see the original and the cleaned-up versions, as well as isolated music tracks, which is a component of the series that a lot of people tend to overlook. Full orchestral scores for each episode, many of them original and never reused as stock music for future episodes, defined the tone and atmosphere to match what you see on screen. Select episodes come with commentary from original show writers and staff like D.C. Fontana and David A. Goodman, giving their own insights as to what was happening at the time, as well as what they liked and disliked about how those episodes turned out. There's also a great set of selected clips on the third disc called "Snippets From The Cutting Room Floor" that shows behind-the-scenes material and alternative cuts in a nice tidy package.


The Roddenberry Vault is a must-own for Trek fans. These clips can't be found on YouTube; they're not easily accessible for anyone to just grab onto and throw up on the net. This is material which will please the hardcore Trek nerd in all of us, because even if you've watched every episode 100 times and can quote it like Shakespeare, this is the kind of stuff that will make you go "Oh, that's cool!" If you're an average Trek fan, it's well worth watching, primarily to see the episodes re-done with different takes and lines. For the non-Trek fan, this is still worth checking out, because it gives you a glimpse into television-making back in the late '60s, and will give you a fonder appreciation of everything it took to put that kind of show together.