Second Star to the Right…

Two years can go by in a flash or, dare I say, in the wink of an eye. In the wee hours of the morning on August 31, 2006, while surfing for interesting news stories to mention here on The Film Frontier, I found a newly posted article on StarTrek.com that I could hardly believe. All 79 episodes of the classic Star Trek were to be remastered, with high definition picture quality, newly recorded theme music, and updated visual effects.

Spearheading the effort by CBS Digital were Michael Okuda (former TNG-era scenic art supervisor, technical consultant, and author), Denise Okuda (former TNG-era scenic artist, video supervisor, and author) and David Rossi (former TNG-era producer, production associate, and overseer of special projects).

Star Trek: Remastered made its debut on September 16, 2006, and shined a whole new light on the original Star Trek adventures. Those that first became fans during Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, or Enterprise may never before have seen the series that started it all. Others may have lost track of the series over the years. Whether fans were reuniting with old friends in the form of favorite episodes or discovering them for the first time, the return of Star Trek in a remastered format was an event to be celebrated.

Though classic Star Trek actually ran for three seasons, the extended syndicated season of Star Trek: Remastered allowed all 79 episodes to air within only two seasons. Sadly, this weekend marks the end of Star Trek: Remastered slate of new episodes (well, maybe).

“Turnabout Intruder” brings the Star Trek: Remastered journey to a fitting conclusion. Though certainly not one of the strongest entries, “Turnabout Intruder” was also the last episode to air of the original series run, on June 3, 1969.

Unlike TNG’s incredible finale, “All Good Things. . .”, “Turnabout Intruder” is an otherwise unremarkable episode. It offers no tidy conclusion to the five-year mission. In fact, it offers no conclusion at all. The mission simply continues on. In retrospect, perhaps that was the best possible ending.

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This being Star Trek, “Turnabout Intruder” may not quite be the end, though. The remastered version of “The Cage,” the first Star Trek pilot, was originally scheduled to air on April 26 of this year. The episode was yanked at the last second with little explanation. It remains to be seen whether it will air. I hope it will, perhaps as a 90-minute CBS special around the time of 2009’s Star Trek movie. The Remastered team deserves a primetime, network airing to show off their work.

Meanwhile, the second of three DVD sets for the remastered Star Trek episodes hits store shelves on Tuesday. Since there were fewer minutes of commercials per hour in the 1960s, each episode airing in syndication has lost about ten minutes of footage. The DVD versions are the complete, unedited episodes. This set features remastered versions of the episodes that aired in the 1967-1968 season, including such classics as “The Doomsday Machine,” “Amok Time,” and “Mirror, Mirror.”

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Star Trek: Remastered airs each weekend in syndication and features updated special effects and other enhancements to the original Star Trek series. Check your local listings for time and station.