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Star Trek: The Final Facelift

August 31st, 2006

The big sci-fi news of the day is the confirmation that CBS/Paramount is remastering the original 79 episodes of Star Trek in high-definition, complete with new CGI spaceships and other digital enhancements. You know my love of old Trek, as well as my disdain for the new-fangled “special editions” of the Star Wars trilogy that supplanted the films with which I grew up. So, you must be thinking that I’m seething with fury right now, yes?

Ding dong, you’re wrong.

Actually, I love the idea! I can’t wait to see episodes like “Balance of Terror,” “Errand of Mercy” or (my all-time favorite) “The Doomsday Machine” with a slick, new sheen. As groundbreaking as the original series was in terms of visual effects, truth is that it was done on a strict budget, and sometimes it really showed.

For example, did you know that we never saw the now-familiar Klingon battlecruiser until the series’ final season? Furthermore, it first appeared as a Romulan ship, with the weak excuse of a never-since-mentioned Klingon-Romulan technology exchange providing a rationale for the cost-cutting maneuver. Similarly, the powerful Orion pirate vessel that harassed the Enterprise in “Journey to Babel” was portrayed by a frickin’ spinning light. Even as a kid, I found that lame.

The difference between Star Trek 2.0 and the Star Wars special editions is that the new versions aren’t intended to entirely replace the old. So far, at least, no one is saying that the original shows will be locked in a vault never to be seen again, and that we should never have liked them in the first place.

And that makes all the difference!

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