Review: Star Trek Remastered

For anyone feeling a little lost without the presence of "Trek" on the tube, Paramount ran the first new remastered, cleaned up, digitally enhanced version of the original "Star Trek" for the first time this weekend. Of course to see it you'll have to figure out when and where it's airing, and that could prove to be a challenge.

The show is running in mass syndication, which means it could show up anywhere and everywhere in your area. Reports from around the country say it's playing at all hours. Afternoons, late nights, early mornings, when it'll be on is anyone's guess. Checking your local listings may not be much help either. In Dallas for instance, local listings advertised it as airing at the ungodly hour of 2am on KTXA, but if you set your TIVO to record it then, you'd have ended up with an infomercial instead. I caught the first episode only by accident, I happened to be flipping channels at 10:00pm Sunday when the remastered "Trek" actually aired. My channel guide insisted that I was actually watching an old movie.

You have to wonder why Paramount has gone through all this bother to clean up "Star Trek" and present it in a better format if they haven't convinced their syndicates to air it in a way that makes it possible to see it. Ultimately this is probably intended to suck in DVD buyers more than anything, though as of yet no release of this spiffed up "Star Trek" has been announced on home video.

Whatever their motivation, they kicked things off this weekend with "Balance of Terror", a great episode with tons of ship combat to show off their newly spit-shined effects. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to figure out when it was showing, so it wasn't until the second episode aired this weekend that I caught any of it. The second installement of "Star Trek" remastered was the show's 12th episode "Miri". It's a strange choice since unlike "Balance of Terror" it's not exactly an FX heavy episode and presents little opportunity for showing off. That's what makes this great. They aren't trying to alter the episodes. There's no showing off here. Instead what they've done is clean the show up and presented it exactly as it was originally meant to be, note for note, shot for shot. The musical score has been completely re-recorded, but aside from the fact that it's now crystal clear you'd never know it. FX shots of the ship have been redone with CGI, but it's hard to tell any difference, except that it now looks brilliant instead of worn out and washed out. Matte lines? Gone. Fuzzy prints? A thing of the past. The colors are brighter, the shadows are deeper and "Star Trek" has never looked so beautiful.

I was hesitant to accept a version of "Star Trek" that replaced models with computer generated images or tampered with the originally recorded musical compositions. But what they've done here is so faithful, that there's nothing that any Star Trek fan can do but stand up and applaud. It's just a shame it's not being put to better use. Paramount has declined to broadcast this new version in High Definition, even though they now have the ability and technology to do it. Combine that with how difficult they're making it to see it, and I just don't see any reason for bothering with it on television. Beam this pristine version of one of TV's most venerable and classic shows out onto DVD at warp speed.

For a listing of where you can find "Star Trek Remastered" in your area, click right here.