Almost 18 months after first reporting on this remarkable project, I continue to be transfixed by the unprecedented remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation still underway in Los Angeles by CBS Digital. Arguably the finest year of the show, Season Three of Next Gen Remastered is scheduled to hit Blu-ray in just over one month's time. Our friends at CBS/Paramount have just sent us a tantalizing array of brand new HD preview stills from the Season 3 set for TrekCore's readers to marvel at.
The collection showcases a variety of live action and visual effects shots from a number of different episodes, including "Who Watches the Watchers?", "The Survivors" and "Déjà Q". As usual, we have a full breakdown of the new shots, side-by-side comparisons with the SD DVD and extended analysis on the remastering.
|Original SD (DVD)||Remastered HD (Blu-Ray)|
|The energy tendrils from the weapon are reproduced exactly as they were seen in the original version of "The Ensigns of Command". This episode looks particularly great after the remastering, with shots in the Tau Cygna V colony courtyard taking on a rich and sumptuous color lost in standard def.|
|This shot of the Husnock ship from "The Survivors" has been tweaked slightly to give the huge ship more appropriately sized shielding, corrected for perspective. The Enterprise is beautifully lit and bathed in a nice amount of shadow which makes the launch of the photon look even more impressive.|
|A really nice outdoor shot from one of my favorite episodes, "The Survivors". The color is far better here, compared to the washed out original print in standard def. Worf's makeup looks great, as does the detail on the early Season 3 uniform variant (notice the seams in the woolen fabric).|
|Mintaka III from "Who Watches the Watchers?" has been stunningly recreated by Max Gabl at CBS Digital and is beyond breathtaking. Max has faithfully reproduced the shape of the continents visible in the original episode but with a wondrous new realism thanks to more realistic relief and the lingering haze of an atmosphere. This is gorgeous work, and VERY welcome after the mostly lackluster planets we saw from HTV in Season 2.|
|The Koinonian homeworld from "The Bonding" has again been recreated by Max Gabl. The planet goes from being an indistinguishable blob to a rich textured world with a more convincingly colored atmosphere and wispy clouds. The ship itself is perfectly composited into the shot and takes on a subtle brown tone from the planet. This shot is worth comparing to this still from Season 2's "Loud as Whisper".|
|This shot from "The Hunted" takes place directly after a transporter visual effects shot. As shots like this were added at video resolution, there are distracting scan lines present in the SD. Thankfully after remastering, the shot is perfectly clear with a nice amount of grain (no DNR, thank you CBS Digital!) and some cool details are now visible in signs on the wall and furniture around the away team.|
|Shots like this from "Déjà Q" really benefit from the high definition treatment as previously blurred-out details in Data's positronic skull are visible in the remastered episode. Accurate colors show off the iridescence of the fabric under Data very nicely!|
|WOW. Just when I think Max's planets can't get any better after Mintaka, he goes and gives us this stunning recreation of Bre'el IV from "Déjà Q". Now, it's true that it would be hard not to improve the terribly blurred original shot, but Max's new render is in a totally different league. We need to start ranking his planets, because this one is sure to come out in the Top 5. The original element for Bre'el IV's moon has been used here and looks surprisingly convincing up-close.|
|The mother of all beauty shots from this season ("Déjà Q"). I've commented before how this is one of my favorite shots of the Enterprise-D, and it simply takes my breath away in HD. The lighting on the ship is perfect, Max's gold-standard Bre'el IV render is gorgeous and the whole thing looks like a piece of art that should be printed out on canvas and framed. This is going to look terrific in motion.|
|A glimpse of Counselor Troi's third season outfit in HD from "Captain's Holiday".|
|TNG's vivid palette comes bouncing off the screen after the original film has been scanned and color timed. Shots like this from "Ménage à Troi" make the show look like it was filmed last week, not 25 years ago.|
|This shot from "Transfigurations" had an actor sporting a body stocking which was then used as a matte for the glowing effect. SD and HD are night and day here. I still can't get over how good this season looks - the colors of the uniforms are so vivid that they virtually pop off the screen at you. I continue to find it remarkable that this richness of color and picture was always there, hidden under the haze of standard def video. Season 3 can't come soon enough!|
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three is released in a six-disc Blu-ray set in just over a month's time. The set is loaded to the brim with awesome new special features created just for the Blu-rays, including a captivating reunion of Next Gen writers Brannon Braga, René Echevarria, Ron Moore and Naren Shankar (hosted by Seth MacFarlane); the continuation of the documentary to end all documentaries with "Resistance is Futile"; a brand new gag reel, new audio commentaries, a tribute to Michael Piller and a few special surprises thrown in for good luck!
If you haven't preordered the set already, what are you waiting for!? Head over to Amazon with the links below and lock in your copy... it's going to blow you away!