It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the Enterprise-D was launched into the television universe where they boldly flew into the heart of American Pop Culture. To celebrate this event the entire series is being released on Blu-ray in HD. Every frame has been painstakingly re-mastered and all of the special effects have recreated in order to be as realistic as possible while still staying true to the original source material.
To coincide with the release of the second season on December 4, Fathom Events held a one-night only Star Trek event at theatres across the nation. The evening started with a little bit of Trek trivia splashed upon the screen, The questions were a little too easy for the true Trek fans, but they were still fun and brought a smile to everyone’s face.
The trivia was followed up with a documentary about the new HD conversion of the television film and how the special effects team went about how they recreated the special effects for the different episodes using new computer technology and models. There was also commentary from cast and crew about the second season and what impact the show played in their lives.
Following the documentary a number of still photos from the original episodes were flashed up on the big screen. After each original still, the re-mastered version of the same frame was shown. There was a huge difference between the two versions, but since they were literally blown up to an enormous size from what you would normally see on a television set it wasn’t all that surprising that the “before” photo was quite distorted.
The first episode played was “Q Who,” one of the more pivotal episodes of the entire series where the crew of the starship Enterprise was first introduced to one of their biggest nemesis: The Borg. When Q (John de Lancie) is bored and decides he wants to be a member of the crew, Captain Picard refuses his offer and once again upsets the omnipotent being. Labeling the captain as arrogant, Q decides to show them that they are unequipped for all the dangers that lie hidden in the universe. And to prove his point he launches the ship 7,000 light years forward to introduce them to The Borg, a collective of cyborgs that cannot be stopped and look to assimilate anything and anyone they come in contact with.
After this popular episode, the audience was treated to a documentary featuring the main cast having a roundtable discussion in regards to their different experiences on the show and how surprised and honored they are to be part of such an important and inspiring show. This was followed up with a fun and entertaining blooper reel. It was so refreshing to see them break character and was enjoyable to watch as opposed to most blooper reels where it’s simply people laughing in the middle of a scene.
The second episode shown was “The Measure of a Man.” This episode was an important episode as it reflected upon whether or not Data (Brent Spiner) was a sentient being or property, a theme that would run through the life of the series as Data himself struggled to become human and in some ways was one of the most human characters on the show. The episode pit Captain Picard against his first officer, Commander William Ryker (Jonathan Frakes), who had to take opposing stances on the issue because the new outpost had no other officers to argue the case. Starfleet was ordering Data to surrender himself so that scientific experiments that could possibly bring about his destruction could be conducted on him. When he and Picard objected, it left newly appointed Jag Officer Phillipa Louvois (Amanda McBroom), who was also a former romantic interest of the Captain’s, to judge the case. Twelve minutes of extra footage was inserted back into the episode. In a one-hour television show, twelve minutes turned out to be a lot of never-before-seen material. Most of it dealt with the former relationship between Picard and Louvois where she was surprisingly aggressive and forward. It was a little shocking and added a different dimension that had not been there previously.
You cannot be a fan of Star Trek and not be excited at seeing some of your favorite episodes on the big screen. Overall the experience was enjoyable, but it was hard not to feel a tiny bit annoyed that the features were cut short and immediately followed with an ad to see it in its entirety by buying season two. But even without the extra footage and features it was worth the price of admission.