“Star Trek” TOS returns to syndication with updated effects, music, and in HD

Paramount announced today that the original Star Trek television series is returning to syndication September 16, but in a whole new way. Selected “fan favorite” episodes have been digitally remastered and given the following modifications:

1960s special effects shots replaced with modern CGI effects
New music, including a re-recording of the opening theme
New opening (Kirk’s original monologue still intact)
Upgraded to High Definition (HD) format

All 79 episodes will eventually be modified. Among the intensive special effects updates will be:

New CGI version of USS Enterprise–based on exact measurements of original model
CGI versions of Romulan Bird of Prey, Klingon Battle Cruiser, and other vessels
Starship combat sequences
Planets and starfields
Planetary backgrounds (replacement of matte paintings)

Rather than the traditional production order or original air date order, the episodes will air in a new order–presumably to highlight the upgraded episodes which would likely span each of the three seasons.

The first episode to be broadcase in the new format will be “Balance of Terror,” which features Mark Lenard as a Romulan commander facing off against Kirk and the Enterprise.

This will be the first syndication run for the original Star Trek in 16 years. Already, 200 stations have obtained rights to air the show on weekends.

The Film Frontier’s The Great TV Land Mystery commentary blog from August 14 applauded the end of exclusive single-cable channel agreements for airing the original Star Trek.

The original versions of the episodes will begin airing on TV Land later this year. The original versions can also be found on the G4 network, as well as in DVD season sets.

September 8 marks the 40th anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek.

Related links
Visit startrek.com, the official Star Trek site, for full details on the altered Star Trek.
Visit tvguide.com for a sneak-peak at the CGI Enterprise.

[Updated: 9/3/2006]