Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rob reviews Star Trek remastered

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original Star Trek series, CBS -- the current owner of the series -- has been digitally remastering the classic episodes ... and completely redoing most of the special effects as computer-generated imagery. Each week, a new episode is released to syndication.

The best source of information about all this is The Trek Movie Report website. Every week, that site posts a featured review of the current episode, and this week, Robert J. Sawyer (that's me!) was the special guest reviewer. Read what I had to say about that giant-amoeba-in-space classic, "The Immunity Syndrome."

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At April 10, 2007 7:29 AM , Blogger Simon said...

In your review, you mention the USS Intrepid as being "named for a U.S. aircraft carrier." There are many famous ships named Intrepid, including an "HMS Intrepid" that participated in the sinking of the "Bismark" in World War 2.

Perhaps more intriguing for a Canadian like yourself, Intrepid was the codename of William Stephenson: an intelligence operative who may have been one of the inspirations behind the character of James Bond.

At April 10, 2007 8:08 AM , Blogger Lou_Sytsma said...

Nice write up Rob. Restricting myself to basic cable I am not able to view these - though I have seen the previews via iTunes.

Overall, do you find the enhancements worthy?

At April 10, 2007 10:06 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

I think they're doing a very nice job with the enhancements. All of this is gearing up toward the HDTV DVD releases of the original episodes. Because of the way visual effects were composited in the 1960s, with multiple generations of film, the grain on the space scenes is just awful when shown at high definition on a big screen. The original plan was to match shot-for-shot the exact effects as CGI, but they've been taken more liberties -- some good, some bad -- as time goes on. Overall, though, I think I prefer the originals (although, geek that I am, I will eventually buy the whole series again on HDTV DVD).

At April 10, 2007 10:39 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Simon. Yes, I know that. :) However, the starship Enterprise is apparently (principally) named for the aircraft carrier, and so (likely) is its sister ship. Regardless, the point is that it's not a Vulcan name. :)

At April 10, 2007 8:47 PM , Blogger Nicholas Collins said...

Re-mastering these episodes is an interesting idea, but I often like to remind people of one thing about the original series. If you've seen some of the interviews with people who worked on the show, you'll know they never had much time or money. So, sure, some of the special effects in the original episodes may not be up to modern standards, but the people who made it should be proud of the fact that they actually got the show done and on the air AT ALL, given the constraints they worked under.

When I watch the original episodes, I don't think, "those special effects aren't so great," as much as, "sure, the effects aren't great but they're a darn good effort from people who had a low budget and a tight schedule and only nineteen-sixties effects technology to work with."

So let's just try to keep some respect for the people who did the original effects - they deserve it - even if it is a lot of fun to see what can be done with modern technology.


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