Star Trek has lived long and prospered, and it will continue to do so, if these guys have anything to say about it.
CBS Paramount Domestic Television is digitally remastering episodes of the iconic 1960s sci-fi series for broadcast syndication, with all-new special effects and music, to celebrate the groundbreaking series' 40th anniversary, which occured September 8. CBS TV president John Nogawski and Star Trek visual effects supervisors Dave Rossi and Michael Okuda spoke in a conference call discussing Star Trek's 21st-century makeover.
All involved said they wanted to stay true to the original series.
"The purpose of this [effects update] is to...not change the story and not change the plot, because we are all so passionate about the way it exists," said David Rossi. "What we're really trying to do here is just enhance the experience of watching Star Trek that people can have."
Much talk has been made over the years about the different looks for the Klingons, but the classic villains remain the same in these updated episodes.
"We wouldn't...dream of [changing them]. The Klingons existed as the way they are in that series and there's...an episode of [most recent Trek series] Enterprise that explains why there's a difference in the Klingons from the original series and the Klingons from future series," Rossi said. "So there's no reason for us to go back and do that. And the time it would take us to do that and the amount of resources would be crazy."
"The star patterns that were in the original opening are exactly duplicated in the new opening. We smoothed out the motion of the Enterprise," added vid Rossi. "It flies more dynamically now. It occupies real space. It doesn't look like a model anymore. So that's kind of the angle we took on it."
Okuda said they used the original show's look as a template for any tweaks.
"Star Trek is a period piece, albeit a period in the far future. So all the decisions are being made to honor the production style, the style of cinematography and the style of editing," said Michael Okuda. "With that as our guidance...it follows very logically trying to re-create the look and feel of the original series."
"When I was first approached, I was a little apprehensive because...I [was] concerned that the changes would be jarring," Okuda added. "But then when I understood CBS Paramount's intention was to honor the original, not to change it...I became very enthusiastic about it."
Nogawski said one of the biggest reason's for updating the show is to keep it viable in the age of high-definition TV and beyond.
"As we move into eventually a much better television set than there was in the sixties, moving into more lines of resolution to all the way up to HD, [Star Trek] would have not held up to that viewer," Nogawski said. "And that viewer, in many ways, is kind of who you're addressing as the younger viewer who really was not alive when the show was originally produced and may never have watched it up to this date. So it was really imperative to make this change... You're going to get to the point where black-and-white [and] what was shot over the last forty years is going to become a memory if you don't have these things looking the way that the eye is used to looking at them going forward."