Sunday, November 19, 2006

Star Trek Enhanced

I'll go out on a limb here and presume that everyone reading this (who cares about it) knows that CBS-Paramount have this year begun to rebroadcast some episodes of the original Star Trek series with some CGI-upgraded SFX shots in a similar vein to what God did in the past few years with the original Star Wars Trilogy. The new CGI footage is mostly limited to external shots of the Enterprise and any other space vessels, planets, space pheonomena, battle sequences, galaxy shots and landscapes (which previously came courtesy of matte paintings) are given more shading, depth and computer-generated believability. The original Alexander Courage-composed score has been rerecorded in stereo and also redone is the opening titles with new digitally recorded score and remastered Shatner monologue.

While the episodes shown are in an order shosen by the fans, they are currently only showing the butchered (syndicated) 40-42 minute edits. However, I've come into some infomation that this remastered Star Trek is only the first step in a larger overhaul of the original series. Apparently the full-length episodes are being restored before editing for syndicated time slots and will no doubt grace HD-DVD at some point in the future.

CBS Paramount executive vice president David La Fountaine said that the episodes are being reworked in both standard definition and HD, with new CGI space shots and matte paintings produced in widescreen. "We may not get this opportunity again, so we would be foolish if we didn’t do it," Le Fountaine explained, saying that fans would have to wait to see the complete versions until all 79 episodes were completed in 2008.

I myself am not all that impressed with their efforts. Unlike Star Wars where God himself was able to edit and redo some of the FX work which he was unhappy with, the Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has been dead for 15 years and people are "fiddling" with his creation. I'm all for new Star Trek and I'd even accept new actors protraying Kirk, Spock and Bones, but I don't think the original series should be tampered with in this manner even if they are redoing everything almost exactly shot-for-shot.

I can't deny however that the new FX do seem to look much better on the superior quality display equipment we have now in the 21st century- I've taken the liberty of capturing two near identical frames from my original series DVDs against their new enhanced counterparts for you to judge for yourself.

"Star Trek redefined science-fiction and constantly pushed the envelope with concepts that were ahead of their time," John Nogawski, president of CBS Paramount Domestic Television, said in a statement. "By giving the series a digital upgrade using the best technology available today, it will continue to be a leader in cutting-edge television programming as we introduce the series to a new generation of viewers."

Sources: Trekweb, Trektoday, Yahoo, SCI-Fi, TV-Guide,


Anonymous said...

Colonel, will you be owning (rather than downloading) both versions?

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

I don't think that that's necessary actually. For the opposite reason I gave here for not buying the original versions of the Original Star Wars Trilogy, I will not be getting the Enhanced Star Trek because "they're not meant for me"- they are meant for a new generation of people raised on CGI graphics - the MTV generation - and good luck to them and I hope they enjoy it but I'll keep the Star Trek that I'm familiar with, that I know and love for what it is. Voyager and Enterprise etc. may have needed CGI-SFX to keep them alive but not not the original series- it was about the characters and their friendships - SFX was always secondary...