Last week, Geekdom was stunned by Paramount’s announcement that the original STAR TREK series would be Special Editionalized with new effects and a reworked score.
All of this is being done to prep the series for life in the High Def era. Rumors of this potentiality had been in the wind for years, but this was our first substantial indication that the project was actually underway. In fact, it was so “underway” that the first episode of the “Original Series” Special Edition will debut on September 16.
You can read more about the project
HERE and HERE.
Since then, more details have emerged.
The “reworked score” is, in fact, re-recorded music for the series’ opening title sequence – painstakingly recreated from original arrangements. I’ve heard it; ‘tis much crisper and fuller than before. Obviously, one can tell it’s a new recording of the “classic” theme…but it is not a radical re-invention by any stretch. I haven’t seen the entirety of the SE title sequence, but what I’ve seen seems extremely similar in texture to the original version (same font, ship pulling into orbit, etc.)
And the FX? Well, they are, of course, still a rather whopping question mark. If you’ve glanced through the links above, you’re aware that many effects artists (or companies) submitted SE proposals to Paramount over the years – Daren Dochterman and Eden FX among them. All of these proposals were rejected, giving rise to concern that Paramount may have taken the cheap path for this undertaking. This concern was bolstered when THIS LACKLUSTER IMAGE of Enterprise (as she would appear in the upcoming CGI enhanced Special Editions) was unveiled last week.
Enter Mr. Rodacre – who recently sent along a bit more information about the TOS SEs, including a fully moving, fully rendered shot of Enterprise flying along, which you can see…
This video file gives a sense of an Enterprise flyby, as well as showing a “before & after” illustration of a shot pre-HD adjustment, and post HD-adjustment. Which, of course, you won’t be able to get a full sense of without full HD in the first place.
The FX sample seen here seems much more promising than last week’s promotional still suggested; it’ll be interesting to see how the SEs approach the tweaking of planetary environments, etc. – they seem like they’d be a much tougher challenge than spaceship shots.
Mr. Rodacre indicates that the Original Series SEs will gradually slide into the syndication rotation currently enjoyed by ENTERPRISE, whose ratings are flailing. In short: ENTERPIRSE is being replaced by the TOS SEs. It is, in an orgasm of glorious irony, being effectively canceled in favor of the series for which it was to serve as a prequel.
HUGE thanks to Mr. Rodacre for passing along the video, and to the notorious Tobias Clutch for processing this footage for us.
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I am – Hercules with an update at Stardate 02:15 PST 09/07/06. If you're curious about which episodes are coming right after "Balance of Terror," there was a Paramount conference call Wednesday that laid out the initial batting order:
Balance of Terror
Journey To Babel
The Menagerie Part One
The Menagerie Part Two
It also appears that - because the Kirk/Spock episodes are not being refurbished and aired in their original broadcast order - they won't be available in DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-ray season-sets for three years. Which brings us to ...