According to various sources online, Star Trek: The Next Generation is about to get a serious makeover. As plans for the blu-ray edition of the series unfold, plans for redone visual effects are coming to light, and fans are wondering what to make of it all. Here’s a highlight form The National Post’s article on the how, when, and why:
While episodes of original Trek were kept on film — which transfers easily to high definition — episodes of Next Generation were edited together in video bays and the resolution of the finished product never exceeded standard-definition television. So unlike the Kirk-era remasters, where redone effects were inserted into completed episodes, Next Gen episodes needed to be reconstructed from raw footage.
Which sounds totally arduous! But they’ve done it, and are going to start releasing seasons in full 1080p HD starting in 2012 with a sampler of episodes followed by full seasons later in the year:
As for that sampler, it will be called Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level. CBS Home Entertainment has set a January 31, 2012, release date for the single disc, which will include the feature-length version of the series pilot, “Encounter at Farpoint,” as well the fan-favorite episodes “Sins of the Father” and “The Inner Light,” the former from season three and the latter from season five.
Of course, this isn’t a huge surprise, or even an especially well kept secret (LeVar Burton tweeted about the conversion process earlier in the summer), but it’s exciting news for a generation of twenty- and early thirty-somethings who grew up on the 1987 series and its subsequent ubiquitous reruns. Don’t expect, however, for these season sets to be cheap. All of the re-editing and redone effects cost money and, Star Trek seasons are pretty pricey to begin with.