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Perhaps the most impressive thing about the two-part story of "The Menagrie" is that Gene Roddenberry found a way to incorporate "The Cage," the original Star Trek pilot that was deemed "too cerebral" by the network into the series. Within that context the framing story of Spock hijacking the Enterprise in order to bring the ship's former captain, Christopher Pike, back to the forbidden planet of Talos IV, works quite well, once you get past the idea of Spock "as he was then," that emotional alien who yells "The Women!" when the female officers suddenly disappear. It is only when they have to come up with commercial breaks in the new show to accommodate the commercial breaks of the old pilot, that things get a bit strained.
The idea that Spock's past and current captains have to sit in judgment of him during the court-martial certain puts Kirk in an interesting position, especially since all he really does for most of these two episodes is watch the original pilot along with the rest of us. I always liked the twist on the original ending, that whereas in "The Cage" the Talosians give Vina the illusion that Pike is still with her, in "The Menagerie" it is Pike who is given the illusion of health. Jeffrey Hunter's take on a starship captain is also worth preserving as well, and it is nice that a few Star Trek novels have flesh out his captaincy a bit.
It is also fascinating to compare the tinkering Roddenberry did with the crew in retooling the series, giving us something else to debate eternally. Yes, I also have a slight preference for the original version of the pilot rather than this cut and paste effort, but there is value to the framing device, which amply proves Spock's loyalty to his captains, whatever Starfleet regulations and logic might dictate. Finally, it was nice of them to put both parts of "The Menagerie" on a single videotape.
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on 27 February 2012
very pleased with this.
glitch and artifact-free transfer. very good picture and sound.R1 ntsc disc -non-north american viewers needs multi- region player/pc.
created our of necessity by g.rodenberry using the pilot show 'the cage', the result is coherent, well paced and some of the best of ST.

pre-cgi effects effective! susan oliver gives a memorable performance.also jeffrey hunter as cap'n pike.
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on 8 February 2016
Great TV worth another look.
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