Quick, guess which one on the right is the Blu-Ray!
When we were engaged in our Worst Trek Episode bracket, I watched a lot of Star Trek, and one thing that popped out was that pretty much all of TNG looked like blurry ass.
I wasn’t expecting that to change, either. Here’s the problem, and it’s a problem that haunts DS9 and even Voyager: these shows were shot on 35mm film. But the masters, and every episode you’ve seen, was assembled from videotape transfers of that film.
To my knowledge there’s not a single episode of any modern Trek show that has ever been cut on film. They developed it, ran it through a transfer, and dumped the film footage in a vault. So the DVDs have been built off of the broadcast masters, which is fine until you get to Blu-Ray, because there’s no way to magically turn a Betacam tape from 1993 into a 1080p image.
So in order to do a proper restoration of them, you essentially need to go back, find all that footage (and the corresponding audio tape), find every last frame the editor used in the episode, sync it all up, and figure out how to redo any special effects that were done on tape or you can’t find the footage of.
For most TV shows, this will never happen. But this is Paramount’s cash cow, and they’ll pay whatever it takes to bring the show back. Here’s a trailer from Comic-Con:
Even better, reports are coming in that extras on the way include extended episodes: Measure of a Man, for example, will be getting a longer cut for Season Two. There are, of course, documentaries included and according to people who’ve seen them, they’re honest to the point of being scathing sometimes.
Unfortunately, seasons three through seven are far from assured, so, as much as it pains me to say this, you might want to give Paramount the eighty bucks they want for Season One.
image courtesy Paramount