When it was first announced a few years ago that the original Star Trek series was being digitally remastered and cleaned up, we Trekkies were understandably nervous. We’d seen what George Lucas had done to Star Wars, and didn’t want someone monkeying with the greatest television series of all time.
As it turns out, there was no cause for alarm. The remastered version of TOS are fantastic. They were done perfectly and when CBS aired them on television in HD, people tuned in.
So it makes sense that they’re now doing the same thing to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Actually it would have made sense five years ago, the only real question anyone should have is: what took them so long?
The wait is over. It’s happening now and today CBS confirmed their plans to remaster TNG and release it on Blu-ray at last.
CBS says you can expect to see TNG for sale in HD starting on January 31st of 2012, when they’ll release a sampler set called Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level with a few specific, choice episodes remastered into the gloriously, crystal clear format. Included on that limited set will be the episodes “Encounter at Farpoint”, “Sins of the Father” and “The Inner Light”. Personally I’d have gone with “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, but don’t worry because that’s coming too.
They aren’t stopping with that limited set. Late in the same year CBS plans to start releasing entire Next Generation season sets on Blu-ray, starting with Season 1.
The show will be “transferred to true high-definition 1080p” and as they did with the original series, Next Gen will get a television and multi-digital platform re-release in HD as well.
So how are they doing it? Here are the specifics, straight from CBS:
CBS is, in fact, returning to the original film negatives, a mother lode of material encompassing 25,000-plus reels of footage, and editing the episodes together precisely as they were when they originally aired between 1987 and 1994. Visual effects will not be upconverted from videotape, but instead will be recompositioned. The freshly cut film will ultimately be transferred to high definition with 7.1 DTS Master Audio. And all of the work is being done in conjunction with respected, longtime Star Trek figures Denise and Michael Okuda, who are on board as consultants.
And here’s the first piece of Blu-ray box art. More to follow as they get further along on those Season sets.