Official word on Star Trek

After months of speculation and rumors. CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment have made some big announcements on Trek today.

First up is the first season of the original series finally making its way to Blu-ray, and the set will truly be the best of both worlds (if you’ll excuse the pun). All twenty-nine episodes from the 1966-1967 season will be included remastered for high def. The exciting news is that for the first time, both the 2006 versions with remastered special effects and the original unaltered versions. Both versions will be the cleaned up restored prints. Likewise, the audio will be available in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or mono. This will truly give viewers the chance to view Trek in an updated setting or revel in its original form, both at their best.

Almost all the extras from previous DVD (and Best Buy Bonus DVD) and HD-DVD releases will be present, including preview trailers for each episode (although likely only the original “60s promos and not the 2006 remastered promos will be included), a featurette on updating the series entitles Spacelife: Transporting Trek Into The 21st Century, the featurettes Reflections on Spock, Life Beyond Trek: William Shtaner, To Boldly Go… Season One, The Birth of a Timeless Legacy, Sci-Fi Visionaries and Kiss ”N’ Tell: Romance in the 23rd Century, Starfleet Access on several episodes, an interactive tour of the Enterprise and Billy Blackburn’s home movies. So what’s not included? The text commentaries seem to be missing along with the Red Shir Logs from the original DVD set. The excellent History Channel documentary also seems to be missing.

Next up is the motion picture box sets. Unlike the series, the motion picture box sets don’t offer as many viewing options. The Motion Picture and The Undiscovered Country both have three versions out there and The Wrath of Khan has two. For this set, only the theatrical version of each film is available because masters of the extended versions simply don’t exist right now. But hopefully they will get a release in the future. What the set lacks in versions, it makes up in supplements.

The first six Trek films (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) are included here. The tales of the original crew are being released to promote the new Trek film and getting all ten films mastered apprarently couldn’t happen by May. But the later films will likely arrive later in the year.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture presents the original 1979 version of the film for the first time in a digital format. The film has been upgraded to 1080p and contains several new features, though it oddly removes many of the features of the Director’s Edition DVD. The new set includes a new commentary with Michael and Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman, the documentary The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture, a reunion, a game and something called Library Computer along with BD-Live content, deleted scenes, storyboards and trailers. Notably absent are both commentaries from the director’s edition (which obviously cannot fit with this version), the featurettes Phase II: The Lost Enterprise, A Bold New Enterprise and Redirecting the Future or scenes from the 1983 version. (The original TMP DVD also contained an extended promo for “Enterprise”). More than any other Trek film, Motion Picture is a welcome addition to Blu-ray, but a version with all three variations on the film and approprate supplements is much needed.

The Wrath of Khan is a much less controversial release containing the theatrical version (for the first time since a non-anamorhpic DVD) with several new and old features. The featurettes Captain’s Log Designing Khan, Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Star Trek Universe: A Novel Approach along with audio commentary with Nicolas Meyer, interviews and storyboards have been brought over from the two DVD set and are built upon with a newly remastered theatrical trailer, a new commentary with Meye and Manny Coto, and HD featurettes James Horner: Composing Genesis, A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban and Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics, BD Live Content, Library Computer and another Starfleet Academy game. The film also underwent a new remaster with the same process used on the Godfather films.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock comes with the original audo commentary with Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll and Robin Curtis, the featurettes Captain’s Log, Terraforming and the Prime Directive, Space Docks and Birds of Prey, Speaking Klingon and Klingon and Vulcan Costumes, plus a new commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, photo galleries, storyboards, a remastered HD theatrical trailer, the HD featurettes Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek, Spock: The Early Years and Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame, BD Live, Library Computer and a game.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home carries the original audio commentary from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy along with a new commentary with Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (for what reason I do not know). Past features include the featurettes Future’s Past: A Look Back, On Location, Dailies Deconstruction, Below the Line: Sound Design, Time Travel: The Art of the Possible, The Language of Whales, A Vulcan Primer, Kirk’s Women, From Outer Space to the Ocean and The Bird of Prey, interviews, a Roddenberry scrapbook, a segment on Mark Lenard, photo galleries, storyboards and an HD theatrical trailer. New features include the featurettes Pavel Chekov’s Screen Moments, The Three-Picture Saga and Star Trek for a Cause, BD Live, Library Computer and a Starfleet Academy Game.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier still only has a theatrical cut, despite Shatner’s petitioning for a facelift. The disc however comes packed with the original features including an audio commentary with William and Liz Shatner, the featurettes Harve Bennett’s Pitch to the Sales Team, The Journey, Rockman in the Raw, Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute, Cosmic Thoughts, That Klingon Couple andThe Green Future?m makeup tests, pre-visualization models, a press conference, interviews, deleted scenes, photo galleries, storyboards, TV spots and an HD trailer. New features include an audio commentary with the Okudas and the Stevens, the featurettes Star Trek Honors NASA and Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan along with a Starfleet game, Library Computer and BD Live.

Finally Star Trek VI also comes in it’s theatrical version for the first time on home video with the original audio commentary by Nicholas Meyer and Denny Martin Flinn, the featurettes The Perils of Peacemaking, Stories from Star Trek VI, Conversations with Nicholas Meyer, Klingons: Conjuring the Legend, Fereation Operatives, Penny’s Toy Box, Together Again and DeForest Kelley: A Tribute, interviews, photo galleries, storyboards, the 1991 presentation and HD trailers. (Hopefully, TV spots will be included as well). New features include a new commentary with Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr, the featurettes Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman and To Be Or Not To Be: Klingons and Shakespeare, a Starfleet Game, BD Live and Library Computer.

The set will also come with a seventh Blu-ray with the documentary Star Trek: The Captain’s Summit hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

Believe it or not, that’s not all. For those not interested in the large set, a smaller set containing only Star Trek’s II, III and IV will be released. These will actually not be the same Blu-rays as are available in the larger set. Each Blu-ray will contain the film and only the new featurettes not available on the earlier DVDs. The three Blu-ray set will be available as Star Trek Motion Picture Trilogy.

May 12th will be an expensive day. The first season will arrive with a suggested retail price of $118.00, the six film set will arrive for $104.99 and the three film set arrives for $48.99 (and also on DVD for $28.99). What will the future hold after that? The second and third seasons will arrive later in 2009. The new Trek film will arrive on Blu-ray later in the year, likely at the same time as a box set of the last four Trek films in high def. Will director’s editions appear as well. Perhaps, but for now, there is plenty of Trek on the table.

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