November 14, 2007
Last night I got my geek on and went to see the screening of the digitally remastered HD version of the two-part episode “The Menagerie” from the original Star Trek television series. I can’t decide if going to the movie theater on a Tuesday night to watch a tv show I’ve already seen is more or less crazy than standing in line at midnight to buy a book about a teenaged wizard. I’m leaning toward less crazy, because I had Deathly Hallows on my calendar for months ahead of time but I didn’t even know about this Trek event until a few weeks ago when Mr. Karen asked if I wanted to go with him and our friends Ben and Jeni. I almost certainly wouldn’t have gone if Mr. Karen wasn’t going, and he most likely wouldn’t have gone if Ben wasn’t going, so perhaps I should say that last night I got Ben’s geek on, but that just doesn’t sound right.
Regardless of whose geek it was, I went. The presentation started with a half hour or so about the making of the new DVDs, featuring Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod and some of the people involved in process as well as clips from home movies taken on the set during production of the original shows. I love “making of” features and this one was no different. (Though I found myself distracted and not in a good way by Rod’s chest hair; maybe if we’d sat up higher it wouldn’t have been right at my eye level and I could have ignored it better. But the theater was already pretty full when we got there a half hour before showtime so there weren’t a lot of options for four seats together.) Then came the show itself and I must say, they did a great job cleaning it up and making it pretty. I’d wondered how the new special effects would look mixed with the original footage but they blended in wonderfully. The new CGI didn’t jump out and say “look! shiny!” like I’d feared it might. They didn’t remaster the script or the acting, of course, so there’s still plenty of unintentional humor to go around. After the episode (and double credits, it being a two-parter), there was a preview of the season two HD DVDs. Going into the evening, I had no particular desire to buy Star Trek DVDs, HD or not, but by the time I was walking out to my car after the show I was thinking I might just need them—the colors, so bright, the new effects, so snazzy, the stories told by Billy the extra, so entertaining. Well played, CBS Home Entertainment.