These two episodes from the middle of the series' first season are a very mixed bag. "Arena" is, superficially, an action-oriented show in which the Enterprise is lured into a trap by an unknown alien attacker that has destroyed a Federation outpost at the edge of the explored galaxy; it ends up a cautionary tale about contact between the races of different worlds. It was highly relevant, and groundbreaking for television during the 1960s, containing a warning about the presumed righteousness of various "patriotic" causes. Made in an era when thousands of people were dying daily as part of a war over territory in Southeast Asia, it was a highly topical program in its way. "The Alternative Factor, by contrast, was an episode built around a fascinating (though flawed) science-fiction idea that arrived stillborn, owing to serious production problems and script difficulties that were never resolved before shooting began. "Arena" looks and sounds sensational, alive with effects that are enhanced in this edition. The battle sequences at the beginning are loud enough to annoy your neighbors when pumped through speakers, and the single-combat scenes between Captain Kirk and the captain of the Gorn ship have a brutal physicality that is reinforced here. "The Alternative Factor, by contrast, is frustrating, as it was from the day it was first shown. The episode always looked very drab and flat, and it isn't much better here, though the detail is amazing, right down to the skin textures of the actors, even when the lighting in particular shots creates some strange color tones. Of course, all of these virtues only serve to highlight the flaws in the editing, writing, special effects, and even the make-up, and especially in the performance of Robert Brown as the guest star around whose character(s) the story hinges. The audio is so clean, that one even hears the little taps on the snare drum in the scoring of a major fight scene, but none of this helps the show itself. The chapter breakdowns are reasonable for both, although as with all of the early DVD's, the break in the first chapter comes long after the opening credits, making it harder than it should be to skip them.