One word and one word only to describe the blu-ray release of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1…
I’ve been with Next Gen since the beginning, I was a huge Trek fan before it, and I was clamoring for more and more and more. I ate up every little bit of the new series before it started, I read Starlog to see the designs, I watched Entertainment Tonight for brief glimpses of actors, costumes and VFX. I bought magazines, read every book I could get my hands on…
And oh that redesigned Enterprise. Amazing. It was the familiar shape that I knew and loved so well, but modified, elongated, more… 24th century.
What a year that was. I was going to high school in Bermuda, at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, and my maths teacher, Mr. Simpson, was a Trek fan as well. And we had a bit of an agreement. At least the way I remember it.
I was struggling with my Advanced Math program, and honestly, I had selected it so I could be with my friends Michael, David and Jean-Marc. By year’s end I had fought for my passing grade 63% (a 60% was a pass), had been to early morning workshops for extra help, and struggled and fought each step of the way. Mr. Simpson recognized this, and as a reward, would hand me over, every couple of weeks, a VHS tape with the most recent episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Thanks for that Mr. Simpson! You rock!
So consequently, I have seen Next Gen in every format that I could, VHS taped from satellite, Paramount released VHS tapes, Paramount released DVDs, Netflix.
I will admit that I am occasionally a sucker for the double-dip, picking up the intitial release, and then re-buying it the next time it’s released because it’s been updated, new commentaries, extra features, extended cut, what have you…
But this time, it’s totally worth it.
When the series was originally shot, it was shot on film and then converted to SD videotape where all the VFX were added. As soon as you converted it to tape you lost some of the image, no matter how good it was. The image became flatter and lost some of its detail.
In a brilliant move, they’ve gone back, found the original film negatives, including all the model work, and scanned it all into computers, and recreated the special effects for each and every shot. They brought in the wonderful Okudas, Michael and Denise to help on the project, reviewing their meticulous episode notes to make sure that the effects matched and no liberties were taken – the exception being the crystalline entity, which gets a lovely CG update.
The colours and details on the modelwork alone are amazing! (The remastered image is on the left, and imagine that on your big television!)
The first couple of shots made me sit up and simply stare at the Enterprise – D as she moved across the screen repeating “Wow” over and over. There were rows of lights, tiny details on the plating, variations in plate color, indicator lights, depth and design that I had never imagined on each of the ships. They’d gone from a flat image on the television, to a real object.
There are details in the costumes and sets I never noticed, and the colours for each are crisp and clear. You honestly wouldn’t believe that the first season was shot 25 years ago – the image is that impressive. (The upper image is the previous DVD image, beneath it is the blu-ray image.)
I honestly couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, in fact, 30 seconds into Encounter at Farpoint, I got off my couch, got into my computer chair, and put it right in front of the television, and just stared at the whole thing in awe.
Now, I’m the first one to admit that there are a number of clunkers in the first season, but that’s a given for any series as they find their feet (something that isn’t given to a lot of shows anymore – if you don’t perform right out of the gate you’re done). However, even that won’t stop you from sitting there and marveling at the images on the screen.
They’ve also remastered the sound expanding it out to 7.1, thank you!!
All of these things added up and make for an amazing Next Generation experience, reinvigorating it, in fact it’s a brand new show!
From a total make-Tim-geek-out perspective, I love that the episode promos are included before each episode, I get chills everytime I hear …”Next time on Star Trek The Next Generation!”
The conversion for this project will no doubt be the gold standard for any such future projects that any studio undertakes, and I offer my hearty congratulations to each and every person involved. Your efforts were noticed, appreciated and loved. Thank you!
Now, let’s boldly go!!!