Although I’m a massive Star Trek fan, I was a little skeptical (in between the excitement) when I bought Star Trek: The Original Series Remastered on Blu-Ray; I wasn’t sure if I was ready for my favourite show to be plagued with cheap CGI like others before it, but I wanted to see how well a 40 year old show could be polished up for Blu-Ray!
I was very happy with the pricing for the box sets, as Trek DVD’s have always been notoriously expensive. You can purchase the remastered DVD’s for £30, and the Blu-Ray versions for a little over £45.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing the Blu-Ray’s is the aspect ratio, which is 4:3 as opposed to 16:9. This may look a little strange at first, but you’ll soon get used to it. If you have a home theatre system with 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, you’re in for a treat. You can choose between the originally broadcast mono soundtrack, or the remastered 7.1 track which makes it feel like you’re watching the show for the first time. The opening credits have been re-recorded in the new format and sound better than ever, without being too overwhelming for an older show.
As far as video quality is concerned, I was again impressed with the level of remastering compared to previous releases. There is noticeable grain in some scenes, but this is to be expected with the source being rather old, and on most scenes the grain is unobtrusive and pleasant to watch. Most shots look very sharp, although some scenes on episodes are visibly worse than others. An example of this is an exterior shot of an airfield in season one’s “Tomorrow is Yesterday” episode, which is clearly not as sharp as other scenes. All things considered, however, you’ll be able to see the noticeable improvement over previous releases.
My main concern over the remastering of the Original Series was with the CGI used during the process. Too much CGI on an old show can ruin everything that was great about it originally, and thankfully it was used tastefully to kick Star Trek in to the 21st century.
For example, exterior shots of the Enterprise have been re-done in CGI, along with planet shots and landscape scenes. The Enterprise still looks rounded and rather plastic like it did in the series, rather than the new look it was given for the feature movies. This shows the respect that the effects team showed during the remastering process; the new version doesn’t look at all out of place compared to the originally broadcasted version.
I admired the precision that was shown in the process too, for example, in the first season episode “Arena”, the Gorn captain can be seen blinking – nice touches like this are included throughout.
You’ll also be treated to a collection of extra’s on each season, a number of which are presented in high definition. I was incredibly excited to see an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine presented in HD on the extra’s disc of the season two collection, however, it was clear that the 480p episode had been taken and upscaled horribly… If you’re looking forward to some DS9 in HD, you’ll have to wait a long time yet, but nevertheless, the remastering process of Star Trek: The Original Series on Blu-Ray has been handled extremely well and is well worth the money for any fan!