To mark the second season release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray in just over a week, I spoke with the consultants on the TNG: Remastered Project, Mike & Denise Okuda. We talked about the different challenges of Season 2 and how the remastering team at HTV with the help of Dan Curry have brought the show into high-definition.

Mike & Denise Okuda

Mike & Denise Okuda: Season 2 TNG-R Interview, Part 2

Interviewed by Adam Walker for


TrekCore: One of the more infamous shots from the second season is the quite cheesy morphing sequence that we see in ‘The Dauphin’. Were you able to recreate that shot to make it more convincing?

Mike Okuda: The morphing shots in ‘The Dauphin’ were – back in the day – an absolutely brilliant use of amazingly lo-tech techniques to create this very complex visual effect. Again, the original elements were done at video resolution so they could not be directly upscaled. In this particular case, it was entirely redone with present day visual effects technology, so it’s a little bit different – I personally think it’s more convincing, but we’ll leave that up to you. Once again we had Dan there who has a shelf full of Emmy’s…

Denise Okuda: We relied on his expertise to try to get it as perfect as we possibly could.

TrekCore: One of the last shots I want to talk about in Season 2 is that of Nagilum. Looking back at the standard definition it’s still a wonderful sequence – a combination of live action footage and the computer generated elements. Was it possible to recreate the effect faithfully for the remastering?

Mike Okuda: Most of the original elements still exist on film, so I think they did a great job of capturing the original murky creepiness but again – we’ll be interested to know what you think!

Nagilum from ‘Where Silence Has Lease‘ was faithfully recreated in high-definition to capture the original ‘murky creepiness’

TrekCore: Thankfully both of you were able to contribute to some fantastic audio commentaries in Season 2. How does this experience differ from the famous text commentaries you’ve done for DVD in the past and how much research goes into one of these audio commentaries?

Denise Okuda: Anytime we do any kind of commentary, whether it’s text or audio, we do our homework. We basically watch the episode and go over things. The really fun thing with these audio commentaries is that we got to sit down with Melinda Snodgrass who was the writer of ‘The Measure of a Man’ and Rob Bowman who was the director of ‘Q Who’.

Mike Okuda: He was busy shooting Castle and he took a morning off to join us.

Denise Okuda: He actually gave us his time, he came down and did the audio commentary. We really appreciated it, and we’re big fans of Castle so we enjoyed talking about that too!

TrekCore: Denise, last time we spoke you described doing the extended edition of ‘The Measure of a Man’ as pretty much a crap-shoot, you didn’t know whether it would work out or not. How much of a journey has this been for both of you?

Denise Okuda: It’s been an amazing journey! We really didn’t know if it was going to happen or not. There was so much work that went into it, we still almost can’t believe it happened.

Mike Okuda: It’s not uncommon for a finished episode to have a scene or two – or a few lines – trimmed. But it’s very unusual to have that much material trimmed from an episode. Then, to luck out in such an extraordinary way – to have an accurate reference of the original version… Melinda held on to that VHS tape for 25 years and she was so kind to loan it back to us. Then CBS and HTV went through and examined all the fresh material and discovered all of the original elements still existed. When CBS found out about it, they looked at the extended episode and said “Wow, there’s some good stuff here, this really adds to the episode.” They were thrilled to jump through the hoops to make this happen.

Denise Okuda: One of the things that I particularly love about Star Trek in general but Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular is the character interaction. I’m not going to spoil it, but there’s a scene between two characters that is new – that nobody has seen – that I very much enjoy, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it as well!

TrekCore: On the Blu-Rays it’s described that there’s going to be a “Hybrid Extended Cut” as well as the high-definition extended episode. What is this, and what does it mean?

Mike Okuda: The hybrid extended cut is basically the remastered episode but with the new visual material inserted in its original form. You get a sense of the shots without visual effects, you get a sense of what the editors saw back in the day.

Season 2 on Blu-Ray contains an unprecedented extended edition of ‘The Measure of a Man’ with many new scenes, including this one of Riker interrupting one of Picard’s fencing sessions.

TrekCore: ‘The Icarus Factor’ and ‘Up the Long Ladder’ also have fresh deleted scenes included. Could you tell us a bit about those?

Mike Okuda: In both of those cases there were small amounts of additional material. It’s fun stuff but it’s not so much as to warrant creating a new episode out of it. For those of us who have loved the show for so many years, just to spend a few extra moments with those characters is something very special.

TrekCore: Speaking of that, we discovered that CBS found an absolute goldmine of outtakes and bloopers from the show that haven’t been seen for 25 years. How did you feel when you discovered these elements had been found?

Denise Okuda: Well we obviously were really excited. It’s a lot of work to go through and find these things. I think we’ve said this before – Mike and I, when we’re working on this and being fans of the show, we get really excited about some of the things that come forward – the bloopers, the missing footage et cetera, and of course the quality of the HD episodes. We feel like we’re sitting on Christmas or something like that and we just can’t wait for Star Trek fans around the world to see what we’ve seen. So as far as we’re concerned the release of the second season can’t come fast enough!

TrekCore: I think it probably will be the Christmas present for a lot of fans! Season 3 is already well underway with CBS Digital – which episodes are you most looking forward to seeing, which shots and which scenes?

Denise Okuda: Season 3 is awesome. ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, ‘The Best of Both Worlds’, ‘Sins of the Father’…

Mike Okuda: ‘The Offspring’…

Denise Okuda: Yes, ‘The Offspring’, one of my favorites.

TrekCore: We can’t wait to see it! The trailer for Season 3 looks fantastic. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about from Season 2?

Mike Okuda: I’d just like to add that the people working on this season are all exceptional, talented individuals and we were thrilled to have them. David Takemura started his career on Star Trek: The Next Generation and he worked his way up as a visual effects assistant, he became a coordinator and a supervisor in his own right. He had and has this encyclopaedic knowledge of the material of the show. He was very instrumental in helping to recreate these shots. Having someone like Dan Curry there who actually remembers, “Oh yes, we did this with a pom-pom” or “We did this with liquid nitrogen” or “We did this with the paint box” gave us an enormous leg up on a lot of these things. It’s hard to say too many good things about the professional visual effects artists who we worked with there. They were simply part of the team. A lot of them love Star Trek and I think it shows in their work.

Denise Okuda: We also know – of course – Doug Drexler, who is a co-worker of ours. He was on the second season as well. Of course he was an Academy Award winning makeup artist who then went into graphics and worked with us on different Star Trek incarnations. He’s currently in visual effects and he worked on Battlestar Galactica and continues to work in visual effects with Gary Hutzel. Of course we want to give a shout out to him as well.

Mike & Denise Okuda were thrilled to have three of the original creative team on board for Season 2 (Left to Right: David ‘D-Tak’ Takemura, Dan Curry and Doug Drexler).

TrekCore: I still find it amazing that you were able to get the original team back together after 25 years. It’s such a rare opportunity.

Mike Okuda: Well again, that was our friends at HTV. Those three happened to be available at that time, and when they mentioned to us we said “Cool!”

Denise Okuda: We were very, very excited. It was a lot of fun!

TrekCore: Do you know if they’re going to be coming back to help with future seasons?

Denise Okuda: We really don’t know. If they came back, we would be thrilled again. Both the artists and the folks at CBS Digital and HTV, we have a great working relationship. We enjoy the enthusiasm. Mike and I feel so fortunate to be on this project and part of the team.

Mike Okuda: If we were fortunate enough to work with them again, we’d be thrilled.

TrekCore: Mike and Denise, it’s been great talking to you again. Thanks for all your continued hard work, and we look forward to Season 2!

Mike Okuda: Thanks Adam and thanks for all your coverage and we hope everyone enjoys Season 2.

Go to Part: 1 2

With just over a week to go until release… be sure to pre-order Season 2 below so you get it on release date in your country. All Amazon stores have significantly discounted the title – at the time of writing it’s under $65 in the U.S.£47.00 in the U.K. and under 57,00EUR in Germany!

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-Ray today!

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 Blu-Ray today!

  • Denny Crane

    Everything is amazing, everything is great, everybody is so thrilled and happy. Some more superlatives? Don’t tell me that everyone is satisfied with the HTV results.

    • Bart

      Indeed. Although I love reading the interviews, some more critic questions would be appreciated. For example a confronting question about all the negative responses to the second season visual effects. What would their answer be? They always say they ‘listen’ to the comments on these sites. They must have picked up all the negative vibes on season two then.

      But thanks for all the work you’re putting into this site Trekcore!

    • Gary Koltookian

      Amen to that.

  • Tosk

    I think the most useful feedback will come once people have actually watched the season. I know it doesn’t seem as impressive in stills, but I’m betting a lot of complaints will fade away once we’ve gotten a chance to view them in motion and context.

    • hypnotoad72


      Yeah, the *stills* are slightly disappointing compared to season 1, but they’ve not been *bad*, and half of the issues go toward the 2′ model being the real drawback. (That and I prefer the 2′ model, warts and all, over the CGI version of the Enterprise-D.)

      In motion, it’s not going to stand out nearly as much and for all we know there may be more motion detail to the planets than we know of, since still photos can only show so much. 🙂

    • Esmeralda

      The stills are bad, they will be just as bad in motion.

      TNG-R S2 is huge step backwards in quality from S1. Sadly…

      • Tosk

        Nothing quite like stating opinion as fact. I’ll still be purchasing day one and making up my own mind.

        • Esmeralda

          I will skip this season. Because I’am really disappointed with all these screenshots.

          And this is very expensive set to buy just to see if these stills are better in motion.

        • New Horizon

          If a product doesn’t hold up, speak with your wallet sir. Poor sales hurt more than words.

  • New Horizon

    Well, when I addressed the negative comments about Season 2 to Mike on Twitter, he said the effects were “excellent”. I beg to differ. So it sounds like HTV and the 3 members of the old crew might not be back for future seasons. CBS-Digital, if you’re listening. Keep the rest of the Seasons in house, please. I don’t want to see a repeat of Season 2 anytime soon.

    • Esmeralda

      I agree.

      HTV job on S2 is awful.

      I hope that CBS-Digital will do all remaining seasons in the style and quality of S1.

      • trekcore

        Please make your posts more constructive Esmeralda. “X is awful” is not constructive criticism

        • Esmeralda

          I already said why is awful.

          1. Planets are really blurry and very poor quality. No details. They do not look like something that could exist in reality. They are not improvement from SD version. And whole point of HD is high definition, realistic VFX..

          2. Everything is too dark in S2.
          Everything looks very darkened compared to the SD version.

          In dark we losing details.

          3. The colors are washed out. They are monotonous. I like original colorful look much better.

          4. Some VFX looks upscaled from SD version. Like space station from ”The child”.
          That space station look upscaled, painted and smudged in photoshop.

        • SpaceDwarf

          And simply demanding that people repeat points they’ve already established previously is not very constructive either, wouldn’t you agree?

  • hypnotoad72

    Nagillum is lookin’ good!! 🙂 That shot worried me since it was done in SD…

    Can’t wait to see the newly re-made morph effect in “The Dauphin”. The low-tech original was fairly good, but it’ll be cool to see how they did it for the HD revamp…

    • Denny Crane

      Although the planets in Season 2 seem to look worse than in season 1 it is no reason for me not to buy the box. The orbiting scenes are only a few seconds in each episode. The decisive factor is the quality of the real pictures i.e. the shots of the actors.

  • Data

    The argument the planets look so blurry because they wanted to keep the original look does not catches, because the Enterprise also looked blurry in standard definition! But now (even on season 2) it looks as sharp as it could be! Sorry guys, I will only buy the seasons CBS-D worked on!!!

    • Esmeralda

      I agree.

      That is the whole point of my argument.

      What is the point of the HD if they will keep the same blurry, bad, poor quality, unconvincing look.

      If they want to stay true to the orginal, why TNG in HD then? SD is the orginal vision. The whole TNG in HD project is not ”true to the orginal”.

      Whole point of HD is to have something better and more modern looking than it was in original.

      • Data

        Yes, they can keep the character and structure of things, but the surface have to be in high resolution!! Otherwise this release makes not really a sense!!

  • Riker

    As we can see, the planets in S1 DON’T look blurry BUT THEY DO keep the look and style of the original!! So to make it look like HTV does you simply can upscale the SD to HD and don’t havt to make it new!

    • Esmeralda

      I agree.

      Planets in S1 are improvement from the original, and yet they are in the style of the original look.

      In S2 they look just upscaled, they are not improvement.

      • Data

        Exactly that – and I think, it’s the hole point!!

  • Nicky

    Why a high resolution release with low resolution elements, like the planets?? Where is the point in this, can someone tell me??

  • Trekkie

    Hey, I don’t need to have half dvd/standard definition experiences on a blu ray!

  • Sunshine

    Season 1 has proofed that you can stay faithful to the original without looking blurry!!!!

  • i hope that most of the fans will be informed about whats going on with season 2 so they get a chance to think twice before buying. htv must know that we won’t accept a quality standard like this and that they need to put much more effort in their forthcoming work.

  • George

    Hi, i am a star trek fan since tOS, and even if i agree with almost all comments about the lack of quality of season2 (compared with s1 of course), i must say that even the stills ive seen here in Trekcore are really bad. Like if they are jpg with a big compression factor or something. U cant say S2 will be like these stills, not until we see it on movement. The planets still are awful, i agree, but again, we need to wait, since the captured stills showed here are low quality for a start, and in the case of planets, this is really more noticeable.

    One thing i dont understand is why the Okudas, cant see this difference between s1 and s2. Maybe they consider, even if there is lower quality in S2, that the work done in it is still awesome so there is no need to worry. Yeah, its awesome but we should have the same quality work on all seasons, not just in 3 or 4. At least season 3 will be done by CBS, one of the best seasons in my opinion.

    • trekcore

      Hi George. The stills are absolutely representative of the quality of the Blu-Ray. The JPEGs are minimally compressed to preserve as much detail as possible. If you freeze the frame on your blu-ray at home, it should look exactly the same as our stills here.

      • George

        Yup, i thought on that after i saw all the images of the previous posts. The problem is, there is so much difference between S1 and S2, for wat i can see.. thats the reason i looked into other explanations ^_^

        • trekcore

          Season 2 has a different approach to VFX, for sure. But wait until you see the finished thing to make up your mind

          • New Horizon

            When people say this, it kind of bothers me. Are you saying, put down the money before making a final decision? I can’t afford to do that and I don’t have many friends who are into Trek who could afford to put the money down and then decide whether they love it or hate it either.

            I depend on the screencaps and video previews to inform my decision. That’s what I did with Season 1 and I was not disappointed. Emotionally I have had the exact opposite reaction to Season 2 that I had to Season 1. From the very first video clip, something felt very wrong about the VFX work. We were then informed that those early clips were ‘placeholder’ yet the finished product now suspiciously looks the same as those placeholders.

            So yeah. I will continue to depend on screen shots and video clips, they have served me well.

            I can only hope CBS-D is responsible for the remaining 5 Seasons.

          • TrekMan

            People keep saying these planets look like the ones in the SD versions, but that’s not the case. The ones in the SD versions had little to no detail. These definitely have more detail…

    • Stephen

      I think we have to remember the people they are working with are friends and colleagues they have known for decades, and we can’t expect to read an article where they slate them. They will remain up-beat and positive regardless of what we say or ask. We simply have to move on. As someone else said, the train has left the station…

      However, we must not be told not to criticize or be negative – we know feedback is listened too, and if HTV are not invited to tender for future work it may be, in part, because of the disappointment expressed here. In the end, it is all for the good.

  • M. Wright

    So it sounds like there was only a deal with HTV for Season 2, and not to take alternate seasons going forward? Isn’t this counter to what we heard before? Because even if they only do Season 2, don’t they still need help doing at least one more season since CBS wants three seasons done in the next year?
    I mean that’s great if CBS-D can do the rest of the seasons going forward, but I thought it wasn’t doable?
    If you guys get the chance please ask the Okuda’s about the timeschedule for the rest of the seasons and if they think they’ll need HTV’s help again next year.

    • New Horizon

      I am hoping they relax the schedule for CBS-Digital by a few months and let them finish the remaining Seasons. I would like for the remaining Seasons to match Season 1 in quality and style.

    • Esmeralda

      I would be happy if CBS-D will do rest of the seasons. That would be great.

      HTV-I has no skills for remastering of Star trek. I really do not want another season like S2.

      • MSR

        I get it, Esmeralda. You are unhappy with what you’ve seen so far in regards to stills. I appreciate your opinion, but let’s read the review tomorrow, perhaps see some more stills, and maybe wait til you get to see the shots in motion before passing an absolutely final judgment.

  • Neill Stringer

    Great interview and great stuff. I cannot wait to get season 2. The coverage for it is great on this site.

    • trekcore

      Glad you enjoyed it! We’ll be putting out our official review for Season 2 tomorrow 🙂

      • Neill Stringer

        Is it looking good?

        • trekcore

          It’s a great set… I’m exhausted after going through the whole thing. Hopefully the review will give you a good idea of what to expect 🙂

          • Neill Stringer

            Sweet, I knew it will would be a great set. How do the effects hold up to season 1’s? Getting it for Christmas

          • trekcore

            The VFX take a slightly different approach. There’s some beautiful work in some episodes, you’ll be blown away by “Q Who” and “Time Squared”!

  • Thomas Elkins

    One thing that bothers me about specific planets, is the fact that some of them don’t look inhabited. When they come across a world which is space faring and well developed, you should be able to see that when you look at the surface from orbit. The night side of the Planet for example should be illuminated by large cities.

    Just look at Romulus from the last Star Trek film. It’s only on screen for a few seconds before being blown away, but you still get that Romulus is highly developed and has a large population. This is how Romulus should look when we see her in upcoming seasons of TNG-R. The same should be said for Vulcan, Qo’noS, Earth, etc. Even Mars could use some development on its surface.

    We will eventually see Mars in “Best of Both Worlds” and when we do she will most likely look like the Mars we know today. But I say take it a step further and show us the Mars we know, but illuminate it a little bit to show it is Mars of the 24th Century. Show that it is in fact colonized and it does have cities which people live.

    Anyways, that’s what I would like to see in future episodes.

    • Corran

      Actually putting the Utopia Planetia ship yard in orbit could be a nice touch, but probably too far beyond the original shot

      • Thomas Elkins

        That would be neat to see but they probably wouldn’t do it. We don’t get to see the San Francisco Fleet Yards or even Spacedock when they visit Earth so I doubt we would see Utopia Planitia.

        They should create a special 24th century Earth as well. There are things about Earth in the future that are different, such as a grand canyon sized swath cut through Florida and down to South America. The city of Los Angeles has been swallowed up by the ocean and became the largest man made coral reef. Part of the Mojave Desert has been terraformed to be a lush green oasis. Imagine what else is different in the 24th century.

  • Justin Olson

    Hmm. Looks like they changed Nagilum’s eye color (or they used the original color from the filmed elements):×02/wheresilence171.jpg

    • trekcore

      They must have used the original elements (they’re broken down in the SSN2 documentary) but tweaked them a little bit.

  • Mark Ward

    “The trailer for Season 3 looks fantastic” – I must have missed that, is it available to watch online somewhere?

    • trekcore

      Nope, it’s included with the Season 2 Blu-Ray set.

      • Mark Ward

        ah, shucks! 🙂

  • Rosstifer

    Is the Season 3 trailer up online yet?