Thursday, May 28, 2009

Star Trek: Season One Remastered

In the 1980s, when Star Trek was first released on VHS, a good friend and I began separately purchasing individual episodes at $20 a pop which was a lot of money for a teen and, come to think about it, highway robbery. But I made sure I got my money's worth. I savored classic episodes like "Mirror, Mirror" and "The City on the Edge of Forever" more than a dozen times each.

During the Next Generation run, I finally burned out on everything Trek. I even gave up the original and haven't watched the show in fifteen years. I was certain I was finished with the adventures of Kirk and Spock.

Well, once a Trekkie always a Trekkie it seems. I just purchased the enhanced Season One set for fifty bucks... a bargain compared to the 80s. The series has been remastered and the 1960s special effects have been replaced with computer-generated imagery giving new depth to models of planets, alien ships and the Enterprise as well as to the matte painting backdrops. I'm sure some purists are annoyed with the tinkering, but I feel it's a much needed make-over and I'm impressed how the new effects fit right in with the rest of the show. I imagine it's now the way creator Gene Roddenberry would have done it if he had had the funds the first time around.

For fans who know the show by heart, like me, you'll be crying out during each new scene, "That's new!" or "Look what they did there!" to the newbies. And for first-time viewers, this is a logical place to begin and you'll see what all the fuss is about.

29 comments:

Scott Parker said...

For my reintroduction to Trek, I'm actually watching something I've never seen before: the Animated Series. I read the Alan Dean Foster adaptations back in the 70s but never caught TAS. They're...interesting. Might actually prefer the books on this one. The Remastered TOS intrigues me...

Cloudia said...

A very cool review, David!
Aloha

David Cranmer said...

Scott, I only watched a couple of the TAS back in the day and was probably at the wrong age to appreciate. I do remember the episode "Yesteryear" where Mr. Spock uses "The Guardian of Forever" to travel to his own past was intriguing. Definitely not your average Satuday morning kiddie show.

Cloudia, Gracias.

Charles Gramlich said...

I never saw but a couple of episodes of the animated series but I'd like to. I've read most of the Star Trek Logs, which were novelizations of the animated series by Alan Dean Foster.

I don't know about the tinkering. It would be interesting to see, thoguh.

David Cranmer said...

The facelift is in relation to the way Roddenberry would have accomplished it circa 1966 and that's why I feel it's appropriate. You can catch some scenes on YouTube (though the upload quality isn’t very good.) “The Doomsday Machine” in particular is a good one to watch.

sertech said...

It seemed like a bad idea but admittedly these shows look 100% better.

Richard Prosch said...

Re: TAS --"Yesteryear" is terrific, and relates well with the new movie (Young Spock getting picked on). David Gerrold also wrote a Tribbles sequel that was okay, if a little forced. There was once a debate as to whether these were in the official canon. Would that my worries today were so simple!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I would like to see that DVD, if you happen my way. I guess I have to admit, I was a trek fan before they were called, Trekkies, I stopped a little later than you, actually wathing the space station episodes as well.
What did you think of Iron Man?
mates

David Cranmer said...

sertech, We are simpatico senor.

Richard, I remember reading the Star Trek compendium and debating how Chekov in The Wrath of Khan could have met Khan Noonien Singh when Chekov didn't show up until season two. Yes, I know what you mean by those complicated problems.

Mates, Do you remember I stopped by your house to watch the premiere episode of The Next Generation? Your reception of the Fox Channel was sporadic but was better than not seeing it at all. And I will drop it off on the way back through.

Scott Parker said...

David, I met Walter Koenig at a convention once and, during his speech, he revealed to us how it is Khan knew Chekov when the Russian wasn't in "Space Seed." It went something like this: "Chekov was in the only public restroom on the Enterprise suffering from something or other. Khan, after defrosting from centuries in cryogenic sleep, really, REALLY had to go. Chekov was sick, sick, sick in the restroom. Finally, he exits the restroom and Khan, yearning for release, still has time to grab the young ensign and say 'You! I will never forget your face.'"

Reb said...

I am not a big enough Trekkie to purchase the series, but I do have most of the movies that have been made. I didn't even know about the Animated series. It would be interesting to see a reworked episode though. Thanks for the review.

Randy Johnson said...

Most of the animated episodes were a little goofy(think a twelve foot Spock clone). A few were noteworthy though.
Yesteryear already mentioned and one by Larry Niven based on his short story The Soft Weapon, which brought, however fleetingly, his Kzin into the Trek universe.

David Cranmer said...

Scott, I was thinking of that when I left the above comment. I’ve heard Koenig’s explanation before. Too funny.

Reb, If you enjoy the films then you would thoroughly enjoy these remastered episodes.

Randy, One problem I had with the animated series was the return of Harry Mudd and Tribbles. I was never a fan of Roger C. Carmel’s character or the furry creatures and yet they returned for TAS. And the overall quality of the series is lacking though I believe it won an Emmy Award.

Niven is such a damn fine writer. It may be time for me to read Ringworld again.

ARCHAVIST said...

I bought all three seaons remasterd box sets a few weeks ago -agree the new effects are awesome and the picture has never looked better. The documentaries on the discs are cool too.

sertech said...

Speaking of fine writers Harlan Ellison's City on the Edge of Forever is perhaps the best thing this series wrought. The Menagerie is tied for second with Balance of Terror. The worst but funniest has got to be Spock's Brain.

Chris said...

Hey man, guess who? Started up a new blog called Westerns and Stuff. Put you on my blogroll just like "the old days," heh heh. Could you do the same for me? It's www.westernsandstuff.blogspot.com.

Glad to be back!

David Cranmer said...

Archavist, The documentaries are well done and once agin for the price you can't beat it.

sertech, Ok, here's my top five: #1The City on the Edge of Forever #2 The Menagerie #3 Mirror, Mirror #4 Where No Man Has Gone Before #5 Tomorrow is Yesterday. My honorable mentions would be Balance of Terror, The Conscience of the King, and For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky.

Chris, You are linked and welcome back.

D.A. Riser said...

I love Star Trek and can't wait to see the new movie. Soon!

I've been a bit out of blogging in May but have to tell you that I went back and read your post on transporters. Greatness!

A transporter would pay for itself with commuting costs increasing. They're carbon, green friendly, too...

David Cranmer said...

I've always wondered what happens to your soul in the beaming process. Most people are fairly religious and believe we have one so does that go along with the rest in teleportation?

I am looking forward to seeing the new Trek movie.

Clare2e said...

I watched the originals, too, as a kid, and I guess it would add something to play Where's Waldo with the effects and updates. Glad to hear the good review.

Clare2e said...

P.S. Modern theory doesn't require that consciousness reside in the body. In fact, there's emerging a set of data saying that it doesn't. This isn't too riling to anyone who believes the soul persists after death, for example.

Anyway in quantum-bizarro land of entanglement and information matrices, a self can be one part of the overlaid, and usually invisible web of information that makes up the universe and fills up even the "empty spaces."

The idea's like holograms, in which every discrete unit contains complete information about the whole. Your consciousness or soul could be one of those discrete units of information, with therefore inbuilt radar to find its way back to "behind the eyes" of your reassembled meat. It can't get lost, if it contains all the information of the universe already. So that's one idea.

Of course, if this detached soul is true, your meat doesn't need to travel at all for YOU to go a-wandering. I read recently that it's believed by some that the first "things" to be transported will be tiny hunks of information-- and that those are a realistic nearer-term application of transporter-type technology. So, perhaps the tiny, holographic hunks of data which represent your complex and unique persona can simply exceed FTL and be in (over) the place you wish. Perhaps, they could be installed, so to speak, into a local spare robot shell or vat-grown human blank (or copy of yourself) like you'd pick up a rental car for a trip. Get the fast, sexy models for important dates.

How do those notions cook your noodle?

Howard said...

Ah, boy, now I'm in a quandry! I have been waiting for the original series sets to come down in price so I could pick up all three seasons, but now I don't know if I want the enhanced or as were. I didn't think I would like the enhanced ones because I am not big on tinkering with the original source, but after watching some that have run locally here I've been somewhat seduced by them. And wanting to see them whole, because the local station chops out big chunks for extra commerical time. I would like to get the animated ones as soon as they come down too. I haven't seen those since I was a kid.

David Cranmer said...

Clare, Whew! My noodle’s been cooked! And might I say, your intriguing comment could be a post all its own. You certainly got me thinking and I find the idea of people facsimiles to be quite intriguing.

Howard, I’m sure you will be hooked if you’re not careful. Honestly, I don’t think Gene Roddenberry would have minded. These new scenes are tastefully remastered and in keeping with his original vision.

Chris said...

By the way, enjoyed this post. Isn't it a riot how much individual VHS tapes used to cost? I remember some of them used to be upwards of $89 if they were brand new and weren't on sale or a special of some kind.

I'm with you on the added effects. Sounds like a good idea. There will always be those VHS tapes for the purists, haha!

Just to let you know, I'm actually rebooting the LL project. I realized it had never been off-the-air, actually...the original version was always at www.lamourproject.blogspot.com. Anyway, that's where my heart is, blogging-wise, so I'd love an add on your blog list. Not sure what I'm doing with Westerns and Stuff now, but I'm excited about bringing back the old stuff. Thanks for hanging with me as I re-introduce myself.

David Cranmer said...

Chris, You were added on two days ago with pleasure-you just have to scroll down a bit. Good to have you back in cyberspace and I agree leave VHS to the purists!

Chris said...

Thanks for the add on my new blog. What I actually meant was that I'm going to be focusing on the Louis L'Amour Project again...even though I just made the new blog. I thought I'd deleted it, but it still exists at www.lamourproject.blogspot.com. (It used to not have the "blogspot" part in it.) Was wondering if you could add the Louis L'Amour Project back to your list. I didn't see it up there. Might've missed it. Anyway, the correct url is the one above. Let me know if that makes sense.

David Cranmer said...

Chris, Makes sense to my thick head (duh, on my part) now and will do soon.

Barbara Martin said...

I loved the introduction to Star Trek: the New Generation series and would watch that over and over. I'm putting this DVD on my Christmas wish list now.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, I like the Next Generation but prefer Mr. Spock's era the best. And I'm sure you will enjoy these remastered episodes as much as I have.