Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To Boldly Go . . .

I'm going to pointedly ignore that today is that Hallmark-created holiday and instead tell you all what I did over the weekend.

Which is to say: nothing. Nothing much at all.

Ha! Wouldn't it be funny if that was my blog for the day. Just that?

Okay, perhaps not. Of course, I did do something. But that something involved sitting on my hind quarters and watching television for the most part. How EXCITING, huh? Hey, sometimes my weekends are like that . . . perfectly uneventful. I did get to finally crack open my complete Star Trek: The Original Series Blu-ray sets, though. I had these since Christmas and had meant to check them out back during my two-week hiatus then. But as you know, the best laid plans and all that jazz.

Anyway, I wasn't expecting much from this upgrade, as ST:TOS is not exactly my favorite of the Star Trek series. It is responsible for my whole-hearted love of all things science fictional, though, so it always commanded a healthy level of my respect. In fact, some of my earliest television watching memories are of this show from circa 1981 when I was only four years old. Most of my childhood, in fact, would be spent watching and rewatching every single syndicated episode until the show seriously began to get on my nerves. Still, when the Trek relaunch series "The Next Generation" premiered in the late 80s, I was reluctant to get into it due to the fact that, for me, the original crew was still the ONLY crew.

Of course, The Next Generation would quickly come to be one of my most favorite tv shows of all time -- so what the hell did I know back then, right?

Anyway, the original series has never looked better on Blu-ray! They went back and totally remastered the hell out of these episodes, to the point that I feel like I'm seeing them with new eyes. And they didn't just clean up the dirt and mend the scratches, no. They actually re-tooled all the outdated special effects as well!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: BLASPHEMY! But hear me out, some of these changes are really good! I'm not a purist, though, so that could be it. I certainly did enjoy the remastered versions of the Star Wars films, for example. But in my opinion the original Star Trek series was seriously long in the tooth with these crappy effects. And now they look a lot better.

Check out the vid below which does a very quick overview of some of the many improvements. The first frame is taken from the 60s originals, while the second frame(s) of any comparison is from the newly remastered footage. You might want to use the pause button judiciously, though, to slow the speed of the comparisons down.

See what I mean? Now, yes, not all of the new effects look as snazzy as I would have preferred. In fact, some of them are too CGI-ey for my tastes. But overall I find that the textures are a vast improvement, not to mention that the obvious changes like the phaser beams and multi-directional camera views of the Enterprise make for a more dynamic immersion into the viewing experience. Especially from a modern sci-fi fan's point of view.

One of my favorite improvements occur in the classic episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver," when the U.S.S. Enterprise approaches the Fesarius ship. You can see it at the 2:27 mark in the above video clip if you pause it just in time. Or you can click on the image below to see a more detailed comparison:

The original shot is on the bottom, while the remastered block is on top. Check out those textured layers--WOW! Talk about a vast improvement, yo!

See, for all the grumblings on the net about how they shouldn't have messed with the purity of Roddenberry's vision, it's instances like this one that make the remastered version all the worthwhile to purchase for my collection. Since I'm a story-first kind of guy, as long as the core performances are kept intact I couldn't care less if the bells and whistles of the presentation are tinkered with. So much the better, I say!

Over the weekend I was able to watch the first 6 episodes of season one and find myself totally impressed. The transfer is simply GORGEOUS! It makes this fan squee uncontrollably at the thought of seeing my beloved ST:TNG get this same treatment later this year. I still haven't figured out when exactly they'll start rolling out those episodes on blu-ray, although a sampler disc of sorts was already released earlier this year. But I have no desire for a paltry taste -- I want the whole meal!

And so I will wait.

In the meantime, I have these TOS blu-rays to tide me over. And of course, Netflix streaming service for Deep Space Nine and Voyager rewatchings.

I do so love my Trek geekdom!

And so, how was your weekend? Scratch that: how's your Valentine's Day going? Oh come on, don't be like THAT! :)


  1. But the question is...did they keep those styrofoam boulders littering the alien planet sets, the ones that wobbled whenever someone walked near them?

    1. Nah, those are still there. Can't rob it of all that cheesy magic that made the show what it is! :)

  2. You've had these since December and are just NOW watching them? Wow! You've got willpower. Though, I'm sure, time constraints are what kept you from watching sooner. Me? I would have torn open the box that night! If I were a trekkie geek, I mean. hehehehe

    My Valentine's Day was grand. My mom sent me roses, that I loved! My boss bought us massage gift certificates, the day was absolutely gorgeous And I stopped by a Singles Awareness happy hour, on my way home from work. Good times, good times! :) Hope your day was special too!

    1. I saw your FB update about the bar you were at and thought -- good for you! :) Glad to hear you had a great V-day, Yvonne.

      And, yes, life got in the way of me watching my blu-rays until now. Because otherwise nothing would have kept me away.

  3. I miss Roddenberry. Should give the original remastered a look, but the Kirkian cheesyness...;)
    The one with Bakula was such a cringe worthy disaster.

    1. You know, rewatching the series . . . Kirk is surprisingly not as cheesy as I remembered him. The same is true of the whole show, in fact. A lot better, more thoughtful and serious than it gets credit for. Also, watching it with the enhanced effects turned on (you have the option to watch with or without the new effects) makes it feel almost like a contemporary sci-fi show, which is all sorts of AWESOME. Weird, but awesome. :)


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