Like most shows in TV history, Star Trek was boxed into the standard 4×3 aspect ratio. It wasn’t until recently, with the popular advent of widescreen TVs and a more cinematic approach that the medium, more and more, began to resemble its theatrical counterpart. This is also a damn shame, because with its unusual sets and settings, ample action, and bright, vivid color scheme, Star Trek would have looked awesome in a more cinema-style, widescreen format. But one intrepid fan, emboldened by the brave, trail-blazing attitude of his favorite show, embarked on a mission to see what the series would look like presented in such a manner, and the results are just as fantastic as you could have hoped.
Artist Nick Acosta is responsible for these (check out his website for even more) stunning images, and looking at them really makes you wish you could get your hands on a widescreen version of the original run of Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking series. It would have broken even more barriers than it already did if the episodes had been presented in such a manner. Maybe we would have gotten wider TVs even earlier.
What Acosta did to achieve his ends was locate shots where the camera panned within an extended take and merge that into a single, visually cohesive image. And you can see for yourself how great this looks. Using this method, he worked his magic on scenes and episodes from throughout the truncated run, but regardless of where they’re from, they all end up looking absolutely fabulous.
If you notice that these bear a striking resemblance to the widescreen theatrical movies of the era, that is an entirely intentional occurrence. Acosta went out of his way to ape the Cinerama style that was so popular in the movie theaters in the 1950s and 1960s. This approach used three synchronized 35mm projectors all blasting their film at the screen simultaneously to, much like he does here, create a single, unified image, and created wide, sweeping shots.
Given how it was filmed, there’s no real way to go back and remaster the classic series so it actually appears like this—if it was feasible, you know that someone would have given it a shot before now—but this is a nice nod to what could have been, and these pictures are stunning feats in their own right.
Also, apparently yesterday marked the 48th anniversary of Star Trek. The very first regular airing occurred on September 8, 1966. A milestone passed and we didn’t even realize it. And we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than by gawking at these images for a while.