Topic: Star Trek TOS Returns . . . Remixed

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Exclusive! "New" Star Trek Is Set on Stunning
by Michael Logan

Star Trek purists, take a deep breath! On Sept. 16, the iconic ‘60s series will return to syndication for the first time since 1990, but with a startling difference: All 79 episodes are being digitally remastered with computer-generated effects not possible when Gene Roddenberry created the show 40 years ago. The news could cause Roddenberry loyalists to have a collective cow, but the longtime Trek staffers in charge of the makeover say they're honoring the late maestro's vision, not changing it.

"We're taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original," says Michael Okuda, who spent 18 years as a scenic-art supervisor on Star Trek films and spin-offs. "Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?" Okuda's teammates on the two-year project are his wife, Denise Okuda, with whom he's authored several Trek reference books, and 14-year Trek production vet David Rossi.

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The upgraded episodes — to be shown out of order and one per week — will kick off with "Balance of Terror," a big fan favorite "that gives us a chance to really show off the ‘new' Enterprise," says Okuda. "The exterior of the ship now has depth and detail, and it will fly more dynamically."  Painted backdrops will also be brought to life: Once-empty star bases will have CGI people milling about, while static alien landscapes have been given slow-moving clouds and shimmering water. Okuda notes that a view of Earth in the 1966 episode "Miri" has been "replaced with a more accurate image, now that we've gone into deep space and looked back at ourselves."

Trek's opening theme is also getting an overhaul: The music has been re-recorded in stereo with a bigger orchestra, and a new singer has been hired to wail those famous but wordless vocals. And goofs will be corrected: In "The Naked Time," there was no beam coming out of Scotty's phaser when he tried to cut through the bulkhead outside Engineering. Now there is.

When I originally saw this story, I was ready to throwup with visions of the Star Wars Trilogy debacle running in my head. Then I heard the Okudas were heading this project and I saw the one image of the Enterprise, and then I realized that this indeed may not only work, but turn out to be a very good thing - especially if they digitally color correct the source film to match richer hues that today's cameras produce. Looking at the one shot of the Enterprise above, it does appear they have matched the film grain of the new special effects shots to match the grain of the original film the show was shot on. So there is tremendous hope they went all the way and added the much needed color correction - along with a few other digital enhancements to the quality of the original film.

Which brings me to the question of aspect ratios. TOS was framed for 4:3 but shot on 35mm film which has an aspect ratio of 3:2. So if they crop a little bit left and right of the original film you'd get a nice 16:9 picture. Will they go that distance and do just that? Who knows, but one can always hope. And seeing as the show was shot on film, if they wanted, they could give us a quality HD transfer - what could be sweeter than that?

Again, there are all probably changes that purist will piss about from here to infinity, but when you consider that you can readily go out to Walmart and purchase TOS in it's original form in DVD boxsets, I do not see where there needs to be any complaints - it's not like Lucas and his oh, so precious Star Wars Trilogy Remixes, where you can get a perfect copy of those on DVD, but even with the upcoming releases of the trilogy in it's original form, he refuses to give fans proper DVD transfers.

Anyway, I'll be looking forward to seeing these this fall, and hopefully someone will we'll track them here on Next Episode.

Re: Star Trek TOS Returns . . . Remixed

Thats great news. I will definitely watch them all over again.

smile

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Re: Star Trek TOS Returns . . . Remixed

Official Paramount Press Release

The Original Series Returns To Broadcast Syndication For The First Time In 16 Years With Brand-New Digitally Remastered Episodes To Celebrate Its 40th Anniversary

Hollywood, Calif. -- STAR TREK is getting a 21st century makeover. CBS Paramount Domestic Television is releasing digitally remastered episodes of the iconic 1960s sci-fi series, with all new special effects and music, to celebrate the groundbreaking series' 40th anniversary, it was announced today by John Nogawski, president of CBS Paramount Domestic Television.

The new episodes also mark the first time in 16 years that the original STAR TREK series can be seen in broadcast syndication. The episodes will begin airing on the more than 200 stations that own the rights to the weekend broadcast syndication window starting Sept. 16 (check local listings for station and dates). All 79 episodes of the original STAR TREK series will eventually be remastered, with the first batch of episodes chosen from a list of STAR TREK fans' favorite shows.

"STAR TREK redefined science-fiction and constantly pushed the envelope with concepts that were ahead of their time," Nogawski said. "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."

The most noticeable change will be redoing many of the special effects, created with 1960s technology, with 21st century computer-generated imagery (CGI). That includes:

• Space ship exteriors -- The space ship Enterprise, as well as other Starships, will be replaced with state of the art CGI-created ships. The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

• Show opening -- The Enterprise and planets seen in the main title sequence will be redone, giving them depth and dimension for the first time.

• Galaxy shots -- All the graphics of the galaxy, so frequently seen through the window on the Enterprise's bridge, will be redone.

• Exteriors -- The battle scenes, planets and ships from other cultures (notably the Romulan Bird of Prey and Klingon Battle Cruisers) will be updated.

• Background scenes -- Some of the iconic, yet flat, matte paintings used as backdrops for the strange, new worlds explored by the Enterprise crew will get a CGI face-lift, adding atmosphere and lighting.

The refurbished episodes also feature higher quality sound for the famous opening theme. The original score by Emmy Award-winning composer Alexander Courage has been re-recorded in state-of-the-art digital stereo audio with an orchestra and a female singer belting out the famous vocals. A digitally remastered version of William Shatner's classic original recording of the 38-word "Space, the final frontier…" monologue continues to open each episode.

The remastered episodes have been converted from the original film into a High-Definition format, which gives viewers a clearer, crisper, more vibrant picture than before, even when viewed in standard definition. Once stations upgrade and start broadcasting HD signals, the episodes will be all ready for viewers to enjoy in HD.

STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES originally premiered on Sept. 8, 1966. Distributed by CBS Paramount Domestic Television, the series was created by Gene Roddenberry. The program stars William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. "Bones" McCoy, James Doohan as Scotty, Walter Koenig as Chekov, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and George Takei as Sulu.

CBS Paramount Domestic Television is a unit of CBS Corp.

Alright, it's as I had hoped for, we're getting them in HD!!! I guess I have finally found the "killer ap" that will convince me to upgrade to one of the HD disc formats. I was looking at blu-ray for a long time, until it finally came out and some of the movie transfers were so bad, that even in the case of films, wound up worse than the standard DVDs they were supposed to be replacing.

Anyway, between that and the fact that New Line is bringing The Lord of the Rings to HD DVD (eventually) and Universal bringing Firefly, Farscape, Quantum Leap, Surface, Battlestar Galactica and Monk to HD DVD, it has seriously had me eyeing the competing format. But I must admit despite all that potential, it is the prospect of Paramount bringing these Trek remixes to HD DVD that has me the most excited and may be just exactly what is needed for me to finally chose one platform over the other. But that is getting a little ahead of myself. None of these have been broadcast yet, so it is doubtful they will be coming to any format until after they have been broadcast and Paramount decides what's what. We will see in time one way or the other for sure.

In the meantime, I am beyond excited these are getting the full HD treatment, and they start broadcasting in just a couple weeks. It's like an early Christmas . . . that's not going to continue for 79 weeks.