Thursday 24 March 2016

Star Trek The Animated Series coming to bluray, plus new 4K Ultra HD movie releases

At long last Star Trek: The Animated Series is coming to bluray! The second ever Star Trek TV series is relatively easy series to bring up the HD standards, in comparison to the only other series Trek series still awaiting bluray treatment, DS9 and Voyager, which will require significant reconstruction efforts to see them upgraded to higher resolutions - Indeed TAS has apparently already been scanned at HD resolutions, so for CBS it's a pretty straightforward release. According to The Digital Bits CBS are looking to get the new blurays out in time for the holiday season this year, so we should be just a few months from being able to examine TAS's glorious and exotic aliens and settings in crispy high definition.

One thing I dream of them doing, and that would be a lovely addition for this 50th anniversary year, is creating a brand new TAS episode, using the original cast recordings made for the cancelled video game Secret of Vulcan Fury.  The game had a story by TOS writer D.C. Fontana, and all of the main original cast had already recorded their parts of the script before the plug was pulled. Obviously it would need a bit of tweaking to make it work as an episode rather than a game, but what an amazing thing it would be to get the last combined efforts of the entire original cast resurrected as a brand new episode of Star Trek! Given the relatively simple animation style of TAS, the actually making the episode shouldn't be too tricky, so long as those recordings can be recovered. (See trailers for the game here, and here)

Anywho, in other home video news, Star Trek is set to be among the first film series to get releases in the new 4K Ultra HD format, which is four times higher resolution than standard bluray. The Digitial Bits again report that both Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness will be released in this format, and they expect Star Trek Beyond will follow too (as I would imagine most big movies will from now on). Additional one lone entry from the older film catalogue is getting remastered for a 4K release, The Wrath of Khan. A new bluray release will see both theatrical and director's cuts of the film using the new remaster. Posting on Facebook, director Nicholas Meyer seems very enthusiastic about how good it will look:
I have seen some sort of future and it's pretty impressive. I was at the Technicolor Digital Lab today reviewing color for the forthcoming HDR version of Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan, commemorating the series' 50th anniversary next year.

In terms of richness and clarity what I saw surpasses anything I can recall, though everyone will have to buy a new tv that is HDR compatible. Wouldn't you know. Space turns out to be REALLY BLACK. HDR, incidentally, stands for High Dynamic Range. This stuff is measured in something called NITS (don't ask), and whereas current delivery systems account for one or two hundred plus NITS, HDR is over a thousand. The wonder of it is, this all can be extracted from the original (cleaned up), film negative. It was always there, but delivery systems couldn't project all that was there. Or words to that effect. Stay tuned.
Alas if you were hoping the other films would get improved bluray releases this year too, it seems we're out of luck. So we're just going to have to hope the new release of The Wrath of Khan will do well enough to finally prompt Paramount to deliver a bluray release The Motion Picture director's cut, and all the other films! And we'll just have to continue to dream of DS9 and Voyager in HD for now too, as they are also not on the cards for the time being.


  1. "One thing I dream of them doing, and that would be a lovely addition for this 50th anniversary year, is creating a brand new TAS episode, using the original cast recordings made for the cancelled video game Secret of Vulcan Fury."

    That is a fantastic idea! How do we go about making it happen? Start an online petition? Send an E-Mail? Lets get something going.

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