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Star Trek - Special Edition 282

Deathlizard writes "Confirming rumours from last month, Trekkies will finally join their Star Wars brethren and get a taste of the 'George Lucas Treatment' this year. CBS will be rebroadcasting The Original Star Trek Series for it's 40th anniversary. The catch? New Digital Graphics." From the article: "Digitally created images will replace the miniature-scale models used for exterior shots of the various spacecraft on the show, including Kirk's Starship Enterprise and the enemy war vessels of the alien Klingons and Romulans. Shots of distant galaxies and planets also will be touched up with computer graphics to give them greater depth. The flat matte paintings used as backdrops on the surface of the strange new worlds visited by the Enterprise crew will be digitally enhanced to add texture, atmosphere and lighting."
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Star Trek - Special Edition

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  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:57PM (#16115612)
    As long as Scotty throws the first punch at the Klingon for saying that the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage, I'll be happy. :P
  • Please God, NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @02:58PM (#16115620)
    The flat matte paintings used as backdrops on the surface of the strange new worlds visited by the Enterprise crew will be digitally enhanced to add texture, atmosphere and lighting.
    Obviously the dorks at CBS/NBC/ABC or whomever seem to have missed the point: It's the cheese that makes Trek taste so good after all these years.
    TOS is a classic, in part, because we get to sit back and see the innovation Roddenberry and crew had enough insight to bring to the surface but not enough FX abilities to make it convincing (even back when TOS was in first run). Aside from Shatner's bad acting what else will we have to cheer for?
    Frankly, this blows. If people like it I have nothing against it but I will not be party to it either. This is akin to updating all the antiquated language and references in, let's say, War of the Worlds and try to make it new and accessible to a new fanbase... Oh, sorry! (See! I've proven my own point)
  • by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:00PM (#16115639) Journal
    It didn't end with Fred Astaire selling a vaccum cleaner. Zombie Hepburn will be eating brains of people on Rodeo Dr very soon, while Gap ramps up its fall campaign.

    The only way to redirect this abberant behaviour is a) don't pay attention, and b) for god's sake don't BUY anything related to it.

    Part of the charm of watching old Tom Baker Dr Who or ST:TOS episodes is to see how _good_ the shows were with such primitive budgets. I will go on a shooting rampage is someone tries to add CG backdrops to the scenes in I, Claudius.
  • Understatement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marcus Erroneous ( 11660 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:00PM (#16115646) Homepage
    I hope it's a labor of love where they replace the crude effects with superior ones without letting themselves get carried away. Hopefully they won't go the Hollywood route and let the effects overwhelm and upstage the episodes. The real test will be if the episodes look better, but someone has to point out the changes.
  • TOS [] is still available via DVD, it will be rebroadcast in its original form on TV LAND []... there's just no comparison to Lucas' repeated muddling of the Star Wars plot and effects. The only reason Lucas has decided to sell the original unmodified trilogy is because so many people downloaded or bought used laserdisc copies, rather than buy his recent updated box set.

    I mean, I grew up with TOS and think it's kinda cool CBS will rebroadcast it in HD - but I'm not clamoring for it either. I just think the comparison between Paramount's changes tp TOS vs. what Lucas did to the original Star Wars is just plain unfair.

  • Full Circle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:10PM (#16115747) Homepage Journal
    So... now that, for the first time since 1987, there's no commercial Star Trek shows in production, they've to "bring back" the classics? I'm not actually upset by them retouching the backgrounds, etc. so much as that after the fiasco of Enterprise, I was hoping for something more progressive, rather than going back and retouching footage from my parents' generation.

    On the other hand, one could argue that, at the very least since DS9, Trek has gone downhill with every successive series. Maybe they think they just need to get back to their roots? If they can combine the original story with enough modern SFX to keep viewers happy, this re-run might even beat out the original showing for ratings.That would certainly be good news for trek fans; if the show still has following, we're a lot less likely to go through a repeat of the '69 to '87 dark age.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:13PM (#16115773) Homepage
    I hear this argument about Doctor Who all the time and I call bullshit either way.

    You like to think that you like Star Trek (or Doctor Who) because of the cheese, but you didn't. If you saw these shows as a kid, you fell in love with them because of the memorable characters, engaging plots, the strong moral messages, and (yes) a sense of wonder at the imaginative settings, creatures, and situations. Seriously. You fell in love with these shows because you liked them -- don't try to intellectualize your way out of it now that you're all growed up.

  • Why not? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blackholepcs ( 773728 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:13PM (#16115779) Journal
    I'm all for them doing a slight overhaul on TOS. As long as its only the ships/planets/space scenes, then I call it an alternative improvement. As long as they keep the originals and have them available as well, theres no harm done. Now, if they start adding creatures running around in the background of planets, Kirk shooting second, or changing the way characters looked (Klingons for example), then I'll probably still watch, but with a bad taste in my mouth. Of course, I'd not mind if they change the viewscreen to make it look less like a crappy splice job. Heck, maybe they can even tweak phaser shots to look like they were actually pointed at the spot where the beam hits, instead of the beam magically changing direction right out of the phasers tip. I know a lot of people don't want these things changed, because it's the cheesiness that gave the show much of its charm. But think of the people who will be introduced to the show for the first time. They will be much more likely to watch the show and become fans if the show is a bit less cheesy feeling. This in turn will hopefully lead to a stronger Trek following, which in turn will hopefully lead to a new series or movies with better writing and so forth. I'm looking at the positive side of this, and hoping for a better future for the Trek franchise.
  • But is it Art? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tacocat ( 527354 ) <> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:21PM (#16115841)

    Don't let him get his hands on the Mona Lisa. He'll probably add whitener to her teeth.

    One of the things that I appreciate about these older shows is how much they are able to present of a story with such simple sets. All the glitz just leads to neoronic distractions. Of course some of the alien babes were a bit of a distraction too, but that's also part of the characters of the original show.

    Go back and watch some of the pre-WWII movies and you'll find a fantastic lost technique in movie making. How to make a good movie without 50 gallons of blood, 5,000 gallons of gasoline, and 3 naked babes with 30% silicone by weight. Pretty cool stuff. Too bad people would rather watch digitized snakes on a plane than The Big Sleep.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:23PM (#16115864) Homepage

    I agree. You know, if someone wants to go back and clean up the film quality, enhance the special effects, etc., then I don't really see it as a big problem. Even if they go pretty far with it, it could be a little bit of a creative act, like a partial remake. I think the analog with music would be that instead of covering a song (which is like a remake) they'd be doing a remix, and insofar as it's understood as such, it's kind of neat.

    My objection to Star Wars re-editing is only in that it seems to be aimed at re-writing history. The content has been changed, not just the special effects. Actors have been replaced, and events have been altered, sometimes for the purpose of political correctness. On top of that, there seemed to be an effort on Lucas's part to suppress the originals.

    So the complaint shouldn't be against using old art to make new art, but against destroying old art and distorting history for the sake of ego, financial gain, or political correctness.

  • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:27PM (#16115904)
    Okay, wise guy. Just relax and take it easy. Paramount is not "raping your childhood", or even improving the effects. (Much.) All they're doing is resampling the film for HD broadcasts.

    They're doing a bit more than that.

    But unlike with Star Wars, I'm all for this. There's one crucial difference: the original version is still available, and always will be. Nobody's suddenly denying the existence of the original model-based Star Trek, or telling anyone they "lost" the original negatives, or calling the new version "the Star Trek we had always meant to make".

    There's another big difference: the dramatic content was not changed. Only the FX shots have been changed/cleaned up. I wouldn't have had such a problem with the Star Wars Lucas treatment if he hadn't also gone and made it so Greedo shot first, or Hayden Christensen appeared at the end of Jedi (a face Luke wouldn't even recognize!), or whatever.

    I don't mind updating films and TV shows provided the original is preserved for archival purposes and made available in some form to the public. And I don't mind the updates themselves provided it only applies to the technical aspects of the film rather than the content.

    It sounds to me like this is a worthwhile update to the original Trek, and I'll be watching. (I'll also be buying once it's inevitably released on an HD video format.)
  • Re:Please God, NO! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmc ( 40532 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:27PM (#16115905) Homepage
    Is there any -- ANY -- doubt in your mind that Shatner was completely and fully Captain Kirk?

    Spock - Logical Alien
    McCoy - Emotional Physician
    Scotty - Engineering Miracle Worker
    Kirk - William Shatner

    With Kirk you think of the actor, with the others you think of the character. That's why Shatner is a bad actor.
  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:30PM (#16115938)
    If they are going to sanitize it, why stop with just props?

    Because the props can be changed without changing the show.

    Frankly, I'm amazed at all the bad reactions here. It looks like they are going to show Lucas what he should have done: Update the special effects to what the orginial would have done had they had the budget/tech they wished for, but not change the story or feel of the show other than that. Done well they could actually give us a 'better' original Trek than the orginal. Leave the stories, the plots, the acting, but bring the visuals up to what we would expect from a decent show.

    (Oh, and Shatner's acting wasn't actually all that bad. (Though it wasn't great.) It was just incredibly easy to parody.)

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:35PM (#16115986) Homepage Journal
    Let's give the mona lisa more modern clothing and make her thinner.

    This time around, they aren't pulling a Lucas:

    From what I've seen, this is more like repairing all those cracks in the varnish and bringing back the original colors through the years of fading. Technical enhancement, nothing done to the subject of the work.
  • The acid test (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:42PM (#16116058)
    "They state that they are making extra careful attention to not change the plot or feel at all."

    I'll believe that if they leave in the scenes in one episode where Kirk and a 12year old girl are sexually attracted to each other. The degree of social acceptibility has changed over the years....
  • by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus language> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:46PM (#16116103) Journal
    Because it's being done in HD. While the live action can hold up pretty well to HD (as it was shot on film), the SFX look like hell. I have actually seen shots of the FXs for the original done in HD and it was complete dog shit. This is a needed improvement.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:02PM (#16116267)
    As much as you want to bitch about your opinion of William Shatner's acting, no one else could have embodied the character of Captain Kirk as he.
    Jeffery Hunter, while probably a better actor, would have been as forgotten as the captain of Time Tunnel by now.

    Face it, the entire cast of Gilligans Island will be known as those characters forever as much as Thomas F Wilson will be forever known as Biff Tannen. Those performances would be nothing without the contributions of those actors. How many Gingers were there?

    Star Trek would be just another crappy 60's Sci Fi show without Shatners contribution.

    Probably the best actor to reinvent himself each decade would be Lee Majors.
    He has been iconic in his roles in Big Valley of the 60s, the Six Million Dollar Man of the 70s, and the Fall Guy in the 80s and was married to THE hottie of the 70s.

    The only one who comes close (and forgive me) would be David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider and Baywatch fame. (and I can personally attest that Hoff is a wuss in real life)

    Most of the Trek episodes weren't that good anyway so any 'bad acting' fixing isn't going to matter. I'd like to see how they fix the western episode and if they remove the wires from those creatures in the halloween episode.

    If you were an actor, how would you handle the following episodes:
    -evil twin episode
    -evil twin in another universe episode
    -old age episode
    -episode with a guy in love with a bunch of lights
    -a greek god episode
    -episode where a main character loses his brain
    -halloween episode
    -western episode
    -Nazi episode
    -Chicago gangster episode
    -Indian episode
    -Abraham Lincoln episode
    -Hippie episode
    -episode where they're all in an empty room with some chick that heals
    -the episode with the midget in some greek setting with the first interracial kiss

    Yeah, god bless William Shatner and the stuff he had to go through.

  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:21PM (#16116440)
    they can't actually do it without breaking canon.

    You mean the revised canon.

    Roddenberry always said since the first movie with Klingons in it, they always looked like that, he just didn't have the budget to do them right back then. He also retconned all the books out of the official history and all of the animated series except some elements of the backstory of Spock's childhood. (Animated Klingons also looked human.)

    That was the official canon until the DS9 episode, after Gene had no more say (being dead does that), and they found they still couldn't afford to CGI the Klingons.

    And how can you watch "Mirror, Mirror" now knowing that despite Mirror-Spock reforming the Terran Empire, the human race ends up subjugated by an alliance of Klingons, Cardassians, and Bajorans?
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:40PM (#16116574)
    Now everyone flash back to the episode where the half black and half white guys go back to a world that's been destroyed by hatred and still wnat to kick each other's asses. Hard for me to picture it now but i wonder what kind of impact that had in the 60's.

    Don't forget the first interracial kiss on TV was Kirk and Uhura. Not to mention all the alien chicks Kirk got (white green or gold, if she's hot he's going to go where no man has gone before.. care to see the Captain's log??). Kirk getting all he can regardless of species may look cheesy today, but in an era where blacks were still being lynched for looking at a white girl this probably had a lot of impact. They brought Checkhov on in the middle of the Cold War, figuring that by the time we got to the stars we'd see each others as people not monsters because they lived on the other side of some arbitrary line.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @06:15PM (#16117311) Homepage
    It makes me cringe that there are so many Trekkies who have seemed to have lost hold of the concept. It's actually one of the few things I truly give Shatner real credit for; his ability to laugh at how absurd a majority of the Trek Nation has gotten about a TV show.

    The funny thing is, Shatner seems to agree with me about Star Trek. He doesn't claim to be a big fan of the show, but I've never heard him say "oh ho ho, people love it because it's such high camp. Oh ho ho, what a stupid joke it all is." He, like me, believes the longevity of the show is due to the relationship between Kirk and Spock -- either that, or nobody really knows [] what makes it so popular.

    I'm not an idiot. When I was a kid, I thought the Horta (the monster that burrows through solid rock) looked like a piece of slightly burnt lasagna. That didn't make me say, "Hee hee hee, I want to watch that stupid lasagna show." I bought the premise anyway, despite the fact that it obviously wasn't "real." It was a sci-fi show. Obviously it was about your imagination.

    Forty years after TOS aired and they're still making rehashes of the same ideas... they're still making TV shows about spaceships that travel faster than the speed of light and beams that can transport people from one place to the other. And you're telling me the original is camp??

    Bottom line, if the only way you can enjoy a dated TV series is by laughing at it, well ... I kinda feel sorry for you. You keep trying to imply that I'm some kind of rabid Trekkie. Unfortunately, it's you who sound like one. You seem to have a lot more invested in your "ho ho ho" than I do in just enjoying the reruns. Maybe it's you who needs to get over yourself. Maybe if you weren't so self-conscious about whether people are going to think you're a Trekkie or not, you could enjoy the show for what it is. As it stands, I'd say your insecurities are getting in the way of enjoying some fine old television.

  • by mseitz ( 582232 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @09:29PM (#16118270)
    It's funny. With Dr. Who, I was really turned off by the low budget effect on the first story I saw, "The Horns of Nimon". As I watched more of the show, I got to appreciate it more, and the low effects budget didn't get in the way (although I still think Horns of Nimon is a low point). However, I have also enjoyed the improved effects as the series went on, and have really been enjoying the latest version with modern special effects. On the other hand, I was very turned off by the digitally enhanced releases of the early seasons of RED DWARF. I think making the ship look relatively low tech worked for the setting and the comedy mood. Adding these great, gleaming special effects seemed out of place to me. On a straight space drama, I think it can work with older, lower budget effects. I certainly enjoyed STAR TREK and BLAKE'S 7, even with the limited effects. But I think both will also work well with newer, enhanced effects. So I'm looking forward to the new releases.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors