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Remastered Star Trek: the Next Generation Blu-ray a Huge Leap Forward 470

Posted by Soulskill
from the replace-your-dvd-collection-that-replaced-your-vhs-collection dept.
MojoKid writes "There's been no new Star Trek TV series since Enterprise limped off screens in 2005, but the huge success of the 2009 Star Trek movie and the gradual growth of Blu-ray has caught CBS' attention (CBS acquired ownership of the Star Trek franchise in 2006). The broadcast company is preparing to release Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray with substantial improvements (article contains comparison image shots). The DVD boxed sets that exist today were created from the taped broadcasts that were shown in the early 90s. Rather than repackaging that material, CBS has gone back to the original film stock and started from scratch. The difference is enormous. CBS has released a preview Blu-ray titled Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level with three updated episodes; the show's pilot (Encounter at Farpoint), Sins of the Father and The Inner Light."
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Remastered Star Trek: the Next Generation Blu-ray a Huge Leap Forward

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  • FUCK YES (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:37PM (#39191301)

    might have to get a blu ray player for this

    • Re:FUCK YES (Score:5, Funny)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:39PM (#39191331)

      might have to get a blu ray player for this

      Going where no DVD has gone before?

    • Or a Blu-Ray drive (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:11PM (#39191693) Homepage

      Just remember that if you have a Blu-Ray drive, you need to make sure your entire setup is HDCP compliant or it will downsample as a form of punishment. This is especially troublesome for your typical Slashdot reader who has a home-brewed unusual setup.

      But the easiest solution I've found is to rip out the copy protection altogether. There's a (commercial) program for Windows called AnyDVD HD that automatically strips out copy protection from DVDs and Blu-Ray discs on the fly, within a few seconds of inserting the disc into your drive. The program isn't cheap, but this way you don't have to worry about copy protection getting in the way of playing the fucking disc you paid for.

    • I'm still waiting for Magnum PI in HD. How long am I going to have to wait!?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:38PM (#39191309)
    Riker shot first!
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by vivek7006 (585218) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:40PM (#39191345) Homepage

    Now we can all enjoy counsellor Deanna Troi's tits in HD!!

  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:40PM (#39191351)

    They have milked that franchise for too long. Try something new, for once.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This: They have milked that franchise for too long. Try something new, for once.

      Should have been in reply to this: Now we can all enjoy counsellor Deanna Troi's tits in HD!!

  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:42PM (#39191367)
    Did they cut out the first two seasons? That's that easiest way to make a substantial improvement.
    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      Harsh, but true.
  • But good. I've got the BR and it is good. The effects truly were amazing for the time, and now really! Worried about the cost per ep for something I've seen a million times, but really, if you like TNG at all, this is the way to see them.

    Great joy and gratitude!
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The effects are truly ghastly now, and the best way to watch them is as cheaply as possible. I personally am set up to watch VHS, still, so that if I happen across something amusing at a yard sale I can watch it. I got a $130 Sony VCR for $30 as an open box at Fry's about a decade ago, and it's still providing me with low-cost entertainment.

  • what a difference! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:45PM (#39191405) Homepage Journal

    From the article, open them in different tabs and switch between. Wow. I always wondered why the DVD image quality and colors sucked so badly, that explains it nicely.

    DVD [hothardware.com]

    BluRay [hothardware.com]

    The bluray shot makes the DVD image look like a photo after it's been ran through the wash.

  • by McGruber (1417641) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:45PM (#39191411)
    How well does Marina Sirtis hold up in the remastered version?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hopefully as perky as ever.

      (a humorous side note: the captcha for this post is "sinful")

  • Wide Screen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:53PM (#39191503)

    I was really hoping they would attempt to create a wide-screen version of the series by over-scaning the original film, cropping the top and bottom a tad, and stretching a tad to end up with 16:9.

    Of course, I don't know exactly what aspect the original film was, and it is likely there will be things that should not be seen to the right/left in the overscan region. And the special effects might be exactly 4:3, in which case it would be very expensive to "fix".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overscan [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Wide Screen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:06PM (#39191633) Homepage

      cropping the top and bottom a tad, and stretching a tad to end up with 16:9.

      I sure hope you are kidding. This is the kind of BS that studios do because someone complains that it doesn't fill their entire TV. As though all recorded video must be modified to fit whatever particular TV the person bought. It was recorded for 4:3! I don't need to see Picard's head cropped-off and his butt widened just because someone doesn't understand the concept of an aspect ratio. I would love to see someone do that to their family photos. "Dad, why is Mom's head cut out of the picture? And why is everyone fat?"

      • Re:Wide Screen (Score:5, Interesting)

        by optimus2861 (760680) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:44PM (#39191995)

        If you want to see a prime example of a TV show's aspect ratio being changed for the DVD release and the outcome being horribly wrong, check out the second season of Angel. In the very first episode, there's a climactic fight at the end in the hotel lobby between Angel and some demon. In the original 4:3 aspect ratio, no problem. In the 16:9, there is a very bored set hand off to the right of the fight in plain sight. It was clearly a lazy, shitty conversion (IIRC even Angel's own showrunners were appalled) but it stands as an object lesson of what not to do.

        Even dramatic moments won't feel right when converting aspect ratios. A tight shot on an actor's face that looks right in 4:3, suddenly reveals another character standing behind him in 16:9. Two characters conversing in 4:3 fill the screen; in 16:9 there's dead space to either side of them (this one was also quite prevalent in that Angel set).

        Bottom line: stick to the originally intended aspect ratio.

      • It's really sad when the VHS version of B5 looks better than the DVDs, *because* they went 16:9 (and cropped & zoomed the SFX)

    • Probably because often there's shit in the overscan like gear or lights. What you are saying is actually done now though. Girl with the dragon tattoo for example, was shot in 5K with a 4K center cut at 2.35:1. For the blu-ray, they simply remove the matte and scale actually giving you more picture area.
  • Wrong three episodes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:54PM (#39191513)

    They should have done episodes that would really show off the process. I would have picked Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday's Enterprise and either The Pegasus or All Good Things... because they are the best examples of what the series has to offer and would benefit from the effects uplift.

  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:03PM (#39191615) Homepage Journal
    As I grow older, I find TNG to formulaic and not so watchable. I more likely to watch DS9 or Voyager. They tend to rely less on magic, though voyager did have an almost fatal number of time travel episodes. Don't get me wrong. TNG probably has more very excellent episodes(maybe 10) but that did not compensate for the overwhelming amount of filler, not to mention disastrous cast changes.

    I remember watching the first episode of TNG. The studio shooting was as dreadful as TOS, but when the music came up, and the Patrick Stewart voiceover came up, there was a great confort that along with the bad there was going to be a lot of good. Of course, one the quest for rating took hold and the overwhelming militaristic mission took over, it was pretty much over. TNG and the Borg. DSP and the dominion. Enterprise and the confusing and arbitrary Xindi. Peaceful explorations simply does not sell laundry detergent.

    • by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:26PM (#39191849)

      As I grow older, I find TNG to formulaic and not so watchable. I more likely to watch DS9 or Voyager. They tend to rely less on magic

      Voyager is all magic, I have no idea what you're talking about. I can't count the number of episodes that were solved by the damn deflector dish, or some other arbitrary solutions, nor the amount of screen time devoted to technobabbling. The problems encountered were almost all caused by magic, the situations were crazy and nonsensical, the solutions were insane, and it was all riddled with inconsistencies with itself and other treks. When it wasn't magical technology, it was magical humanity (characters who made no sense whatsoever).

      Macro viruses! The Omega Directive! Cooperative Borg! Insane Janeway! Tuvix! Uggggh.

      I remember watching the first episode of TNG. The studio shooting was as dreadful as TOS, but when the music came up, and the Patrick Stewart voiceover came up, there was a great confort that along with the bad there was going to be a lot of good. Of course, one the quest for rating took hold and the overwhelming militaristic mission took over, it was pretty much over. TNG and the Borg. DSP and the dominion. Enterprise and the confusing and arbitrary Xindi. Peaceful explorations simply does not sell laundry detergent.

      The later Borg plot in TNG that it sounds like you're talking about (Picard assimilated, etc.) was two episodes long, and there were only a handful of others. The Mission didn't become militaristic, unlike in Enterprise. TNG was kind of magical and more TOS-like for the first season or two. After that it was quite soapy and character-centric.

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:10AM (#39193645)
        I didn't like the way the Voyager ended either. It would have been far more realistic if they had done it like the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica with the ship getting more and more run down, supplies running short, characters being killed off a few at a time and finally the entire ship being destroyed and the remnants scattered and mostly not making it out alive. At least that would have been realistic and if done right, it could have been interesting and entertaining too.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:54PM (#39192067)

      The difference isn't the magic, it is the style. TNG like TOS is a Rodenberry creation and is a Utopia. He had a bright vision of the future and Star Trek is that committed to film. Things aren't perfect, but they are better, humans are better, life is better.

      DS9 and Voyager are Dystopias. They are future imperfect, things turning bad. War, strife, death, etc. They aren't hardcore dystopias (Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Equilibrium would be some hardcore dystopia explamles) but still.

      Now the dystopias are probably a bit more realistic visions of the future. I've always bought in to the Firefly theory of "technology changes, people don't" but that is neither here nor there. That is the big difference, and is probably the reason for you liking the new ones more. When Rodenberry died, the ST universe went in a different direction.

    • by Jarnin (925269) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:31PM (#39192377)
      TNG made the Borg. The movie First Contact and Voyager turned them into pussies. Maurice Hurley originally wrote the Borg to be like a force of nature; like a hurricane that swept through an area leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. Your only option for survival was to get the hell out of the way and hide until the storm passed.
      Then the writers decided to bring them back, but they decided to anthropomorphise them. So they took Picard, who at the time wasn't sure if he was going to continue playing the part of Picard, and borgify him, leaving the viewers hanging. Would Picard be saved or would he leave the show and become a recurring bad guy?
      Then we got Hugh. That's when the Borg began their downward spiral into pussydome. The moment Hugh said "Geordi is my friend" I knew it was all over.

      Then we got Lore with the Borg renegades, who all had cool names similar to Locutus. Apparently a single Borg discovering individuality was enough to completely cripple an entire cube's population. No security on that network I guess.

      Then we got First Contact, where they basically rebooted the Borg into a technological space vampire bug species. Pretty much everything we learned about them from the episode Q, Who? was ditched so they could play a bigger role. We got the Queen, which was completely opposite to the idea of a collective consciousness! She is the big bad, the drones are just vampiric zombies to be blasted apart by holographic tommy guns.
      From there we went to Voyager, which completely ignored the Borg until their ratings started to sag, then they decided to ditch one cast member and replace her with a borg drone with big tits and a nice ass. From there on out, the Borg became a running joke. Voyager disproved that resistance was futile. They disproved that the Borg were even a serious threat. By the end of Voyager the Borg had been relegated to "major annoyance".

      But this wasn't the end. Oh no! They had to bring the Borg back for Enterprise! Cause, you know, Enterprise took place in an alternate universe created when the Borg went back in time in First Contact and changed the past. So they had some Borg survive their sphere exploding in orbit and making it down to the arctic where they would be found by some scientists in the 2150's. Now, this could have been done really well, but they still had all the props and costumes left over from Voyager, as well as the same lame-brained producers and writers, so we just got more of the same, ultimately ending in a signal being broadcast alerting the borg to the existence of Earth, thus allowing them to find their way there in the future, around the 2360's...

      I have a love-hate relationship with Star Trek. And it's mostly Berman/Braga's fault. Had they had some producers with a minute amount of balls, the Borg could have been awesome. Instead they turned them into B-grade movie bad guys for the ratings, and it is still going on today. In the MMORPG Star Trek Online, you can take out entire cube ships by yourself without much hassle. They've even gone so far as to link V'Ger with the Borg... cause everything in Star Trek has to be related to everything else.

      So much potential, wasted by crappy writers and producers...
  • by Hobart (32767) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @08:04PM (#39191623) Homepage Journal

    ...will this article be enough to make CleverNickName [slashdot.org] log back on after 2.5 years? :-)

  • Original stock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:25PM (#39192321) Homepage Journal

    I watched a good bit of TNG on Netflix recently (I skipped over the worst episodes, 20% or so). I did some research into the rather poor picture quality, and I'm kind of surprised to hear of this BR version. From what I read, the "problem" with TNG was that although everything was originally shot on 35mm film, all of the editing and some of the special effects were done on video tape. Editing on video tape saved a lot of money and time during the production process. Thus the quality of the finished version of the show was merely broadcast / VHS quality of the day, and nothing better. Now maybe people were just making stuff up and that information is incorrect, but I was under the impression the picture quality was fuzzy and poor because, well, that's how it was produced originally.

    So the BR version must involve more than just digitizing the original film stock - they must have re-edited all the various camera shots together again, matching the original edits, because it never existed as a complete version in film in the first place.

    Here's a source for that info, although this is not where I had heard of the video editing before:
    http://geekchocolate.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174:star-trek-the-next-generation-the-next-level- [geekchocolate.com]

    It's good to see that CBS put the time and money into doing this properly.

  • by apharmdq (219181) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:42AM (#39193877)

    I just recently watched a few episodes of the remaster of the original series, and I'm quite amazed at how good it is. The details are crisp, the color balance is very appealing, and, most importantly, the graphical tweaks remain true to the original show. This is what George Lucas SHOULD have done when remastering Star Wars. I also got a chance to compare it with some episodes from The Next Generation, and surprisingly, the remaster of the show from the 60s looked better than the non-remaster of the show from the 90s.
    So I'm very eager to see how The Next Generation turns out. People could scoff and say that this is just a money-grab, and I guess it kind of is, but it's definitely worth it to the viewer. If you don't believe me, watch an episode of TOS Remastered alongside a non-remastered version. (And then put a non-remastered TNG next to that.)
    I've always disliked blu-ray, but this may be the thing that coerces me into buying a player at last.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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