Last week I had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming release of Star Trek: The Next Generation season one on Blu-ray, with filmmaker and self-confessed "Star Trek nut" Robert Meyer-Burnett who has produced the new feature length documentary Star Date Revisited, along with more additional bonus features being seen for the very first time.
Robert Meyer-Burnett wrote and directed the 1999 comedy Free Enterprise, in addition to working on the Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction. Burnett has produced feature length documentaries for the 20th anniversary Tron DVD, Superman Returns and produced extra features for acclaimed DVD and Blu-ray sets such as Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions, Fantasia, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dinosaur, Spider-Man and X-Men, to name just a few.
In addition to his work on the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays, Burnett has recently directed and edited numerous episodes of the Cinemax series Femme Fatales.
TT: Thanks so much for joining us today at TweakTown to discuss the upcoming release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray.
I'm very honored to be here.
TT: You're a long term Star Trek fan and well known in the community for your Trek inspired feature Free Enterprise. How did you come about to produce the supplemental materials for The Next Generation on Blu-ray?
Well, it is sort of interesting; I've been working out of Garry Goddard's offices. Now Garry Goddard directed the 1987 movie Masters of the Universe and he also created the 80 million dollar Star Trek Experience that use to be in Las Vegas. I had edited all of the videos that you saw when you were in that attraction, there were various Star Trek videos being played and I was hired to do that. This was in 1996 and 1997. Well I've stayed friends with Garry and I was editing a feature film, here in his office, called My Eleventh, that hasn't come out that's executive produced by Bryan Singer, written by Edmund Entin and it was directed by Gary Entin, two friends of mine and in this office there was another guy named Roger Lay Jr. who was producing the 25th anniversary Captain Power and The Soldiers of the Future DVD, if anyone remembers that show from 1987, and Garry Goddard created that show. So I was working on a feature film and Roger was doing Captain Power and he was also making another documentary and a friend of his happened to be working, she's an executive, her name is Ana Barredo, she's an executive at CBS Home Entertainment. She started talking to us about the restoration of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they had spent years trying to figure out how they were going to do this. Were they going to up-res it from the original NTSC video tapes? I mean the idea that they would go back and have to re-scan the whole video series and basically take it through post-production was a crazy idea and no one wanted to spend that money to do it, but then, luckily, they decided to do just that because it's Star Trek and an important jewel in the CBS crown. And when that happened we had suggested "well why don't we do special features since Roger and I are both fanatical Star Trek fans and why don't we just team up and work on these special features" and they let us [laughs].[img]2[/img]
They basically were going to port over all the original VAM (editor: Value Added Material) that had been done for the previous series set and were like "no, no!" because we were dissatisfied"¦ I've always believed that all the VAM that's ever been done for Star Trek is very EPK'ish, it's very publicity orientated and it doesn't get into the core of what made the show good and it's not asking the questions that fans have wanted to know the answers to.
Basically Roger and I have always felt like all the DVD material that I have ever done and the DVD material that Roger is interested in are more thoughtful pieces, we figured you've bought this material; you already know the show, and also the actors that work on things, believe it or not, they don't know much about, if you were to ask the actors that worked on Star Trek: The Next Generation about the Star Trek universe and how it exists in our imagination, if you ask them about the geo politics between Romulus and Vulcan; they're not going to know. They just don't know. They are actors and their job is to show up and they read their lines and they go home, but the way that the living, breathing, Star Trek universe exists in fans minds is that it's a place, it might only exist in our imagination, but it's real man! It's real and we were much more interested in talking to these people about what the experience of making this show was like. Who are you as a person? Like Patrick Stewart: where were you in your career when you got this, now that it became an icon and you Captain Picard now lives on in the cultural zeitgeist, what's that like for you, like as a person? I think it's not like "So tell us about the character of Captain Picard". You've got to ask questions about what is it like for the people who are involved in making this stuff, what's it like for them as artists and them as professionals and not "so tell us about those wacky moments on the set?" I mean, who cares? You know, and that's our approach to the VAM was that we wanted to do a thoughtful, interesting look at what went in to create this show on every level, whether it was the visual effects, the screen plays, the acting and so on. I think that is what we've been trying to do and luckily CBS home entertainment, within reason, allowed us do this.
TT: Well I am glad that you were able to seize the opportunity; because ultimately fans are the winners from that process. The restoration of the series has been a gargantuan effort, what has been the single biggest road block, thus far, on completing the process?
Well what I'll say is the two biggest hurdles were because the show is shot on film and the visual effects: such as the ship shots, some of them had ten different passes because you would do a beauty pass, you'll do a warp nacelle pass, you'll do a window pass, a deflector pass. Some of those elements had shrunk and they had not shrunk all at the same rate, so in order to keep the registration on the various elements they had to use computer technology to stabilize, so all of the elements would go together correctly for a lot of the ship shots and that was a massive effort that for people like compositor Eric Bruno at CBS Digital spent days and weeks making sure that was done.[img]3[/img]
I think that what you most notice about The Next Generation is the visual effects are so colorful, they're beautiful, whereas before the visual effects never looked great because they were composited on video tape at 10.4.4 480i, so there's no real black. Space didn't look black, it was this kind of grey sludge and the models didn't have the details, you couldn't see the lights and the smaller details on the ships were not visible. So when they were able to get all these elements re-composited at 2K, they just looked entirely different. I mean, the whole palette of the visual effects of the show is vibrant and bright just like the live action material is and it was amazing, but that just took a lot of effort on the behalf of people like Eric Bruno, the compositors who spent hours, days and weeks re-compositing this stuff so it would look perfect.
The other big hurdle that they had was because they reused a lot of visual effects elements; like especially ship fly by elements, so as the season went on those shots were reused and stored elsewhere, so it exists with the other year seven elements. So CBS digital had to go back and find where those shots wound up, and thanks to the copious notes that were taken by everybody from Cosmo Genovese, the script supervisor, to all of the other people that worked in visual effects, they eventually found all of these elements. But again this took a great deal of time. There's a woman, a very tenacious woman named Sarah Paul that you'll see on the Energize! documentary who will not stop, she is like a pit-bull, until she finds all the missing elements and she did, and they've basically found everything they were missing when they did the sampler for season one, they found it all and they won't stop looking until they do, which is great and those were pretty much the two biggest hurdles they had, in addition to just starting the post-production process all over again, and having to scan all that negative.
TT: Just on that point, just to clarify, has now every bit of footage from all seven seasons now been located?
Well, they've just started on season 3, so, so far yes, but it's a pain staking process and season two is being completed now and they have just started season three. I've seen shots that they're doing, like I saw a shot from The Defector, where a Romulan Warbird is pursuing the scout ship, and they've done things just to tweak the shot were they added, like before they would add to do a flash frame or something, they would do a whole white flash, well CBS Digital has taken the time to actually add green tinted bolts of phaser fire and disruptor fire and they're really sparing no time or expense to make this stuff look as good as it can be done and they sort of have this philosophy, which I found interesting, that they want to preserve the show the way as close as it was done at the time but if something really, as Mike Okuda said "˜makes our teeth ache', they will go back and change something, but for the most part they're trying to upgrade it while keeping the spirit of the way they did it originally but improve it whenever they can and I think they've just done a phenomenal job.
TT: Some segments of the online Blu-ray community were disappointed with the choice to retain the original 4:3 aspect ratio, and this is touched upon in one of the bonus features. So do you feel the right decision was made to get the original aspect ratio?
I absolutely do, because while there is sometimes a lot of extra room on the negative, you would have to almost recompose every single shot of the series in some way, shape or form. The problem with that is who is going to make that choice? You no longer have the director of photography involved, you don't have the directors of the individual episodes involved, and I think one of the criticisms which was leveled at the restoration of the original series, at least in terms of the visual effects, is there was no real singular vision of how to change things or what to change, sure Michael and Denise Okuda and Dave Rossi and those guys did a great job, but to me it was like, I think that there was a few missteps made, like the size of the ships. I think as Star Trek moved on the ships tend to move faster, you don't get the feeling that these are lumbering large starships. I thought the best way that large starship combat was ever displayed, in terms of the Star Trek universe was in Star Trek II, the way the Enterprise pummeled the Reliant, and vice versa.
When you are shooting a live action plate, television was 4.3. They did not know at the time that there was going to be 16.9 shots and so many times, especially with the visual effects, there is only 4.3 imagery and we use an example were they actually, in the episode 11001001, from the first season, you have a plate that was originally created by ILM for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, of the inside of the space dock and the Enterprise D comes into the space dock in 11001001, they only have an element of the Enterprise which is 4.3, because it stretches off the 4.3 frame you actually see Enterprise go off the edge of the frame. Because that's the only element they have, they couldn't recompose that shot into 16.9 without blowing way into it and then re-doing the whole background and I think this is the case throughout the whole series. At the time, television was 4.3, it just was and I think why not preserve it at that aspect ratio? I appreciate that I have a wide screen TV and I think it's actually fun sometimes to watch things in 16.9 that are 4.3 because it looks like it's more cinematic, but that's how Star Trek was made and to go in and change it just because we have 16.9 screens, that's great, but there is a historical preservation issue regarding how the show was made. The Twilight Zone, I love Lucy, MASH, these shows are all 4.3 and that's was the way they were created and it's like saying "wouldn't it be great to re-compose Jurassic Park and make it 2.35, because Steven Spielberg shouldn't have made Jurassic Park in 1.85" but he wanted to be able to show how big the dinosaurs are and that's why he made Jurassic Park in 1.85, as opposed to 2.35 like Close Encounters or Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I think that's a rambling answer [laughs] but that's the thing; Star Trek was 4.3 and my answer is; so that is the way it should be.
TT: For fans who may be hesitant about reinvesting in the series on Blur-ray again, what never before seen features are in store for them?
Well first of all, the actually episodes themselves look so vastly different. I can honestly say if you think you've seen Star Trek, think again because you only have to put in one episode to see how different it is. It's like watching something that was shot yesterday. One of the episodes, The Big Goodbye, that won a Peabody award, that was really the first big holodeck episode, when they walk out into the wet streets of Dixon Hill, it looks like Miami Vice or something. The neon's glow off the water on the streets, the colors are so vibrant, blacks are no longer grey. Even the colors of the uniforms look totally different. If the set had no special features at all, I would recommend buying the show anyway because it looks so different. I mean, you really have never seen Star Trek look like Star Trek if you are a fan of The Next Generation. So that in itself is worth owning. I think that there is no reason, at all, if you have a Blu-ray player to hang onto your old DVD's. I wouldn't say this about most things, but in this case there is no reason to hang onto those old DVD's, at all, unless you wanted a few of the text commentaries. But I would say we've also done, the Ernie Anderson voiced promos [mimics voice] "Next time on Star Trek: The Next Generation!". We've found all of those; they're also on the disc and were so funny. It was great to get those back again.
I would also say, not to toot my own horn too loudly, but we did two hours of documentaries where were literally involved everybody that we possibly could, including the entire cast and Rick Berman and director Jim Conway. Angelo Dante, who works at CBS Home Entertainment, even found the original camera tests for all of the actors, for their makeup and their costumes and their lighting tests. He found that and he didn't even know what it was, he found that when they were finding all the material, and we've used a lot of that. One of the things that I love, there's a bit when DeForrest Kelly's makeup is being tested and into the frame walks Gene Roddenberry himself, who came to visit DeForrest Kelly when they were trying his makeup on, and I'd never seen that image. It's never been in a book, it's never been anywhere and it is just a brief thing, but for me as a fan, I'm like "œoh my God!" They kind of hug each other and smile, there's no audio but it was amazing.
Whatever we could find, we would put out on these discs. Roger and I are fanatics that will not stop, like The Terminator. Whatever we could find we will put on these discs, things that people have never seen before and I think that if you're a fan, the 90 minute Star Date Revisited documentary and the Energize! documentary are some of the best stuff, if I do say so myself, ever put together for Star Trek. To be far; we couldn't go in some of stories, you can't"¦ I still want to celebrate the joy of Star Trek. Star Trek during its first two seasons had a lot of clashes of egos and a lot of writers that came and went from the show and cast members that also came and went from the show. You want to get into that stuff but you also don't want to besmirch the memory of the show. I think we walked a fine line sometimes, but I think in the documentary we hint as to why Gerald and Dorothy Fontana were so deeply disappointed in working on season one, but at the same time we still celebrate season one.
TT: For forthcoming seasons of the Blu-ray, are you going to continue to produce the extra features?
Oh, absolutely. And the idea was, that Roger and I had was that when you watch the documentaries, it's one ongoing story, and in season two for instance there was the writing strike going on, so they only made 22 episodes, including the Shades of Gray, that ridiculous flashback clip show that they made and then they also had to dip into the scripts that were written for the aborted Star Trek television series from the mid 70's.
TT: Yeah, Phase 2?
Yeah, the Phase 2 series. As a matter of fact I'm doing an interview tomorrow with Judy and Garfield Reeves-Stevens who were producers on Enterprise and have written some of my favourite Star Trek novels and they also wrote the book on the Phase 2 TV series, so that's interesting as well and then also the departure of Gates McFadden, who was replaced by Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski, and what went on there. So these are all very interesting stories. Today, I just finished a rough cut where I sat down and moderated a conversation with the entire main cast of The Next Generation, at least that survived at least one season so there's no Denise Crosby in this, but everyone else; the main eight characters, I sat down with and it's kind of this rollicking, free-wheeling conversation about Star Trek and their lives and no one's ever really done that before, and I'd never done that before as a special feature, and it turned out pretty great. I mean, I think season two would be worth buying if that was the only special feature on the disc, because you really get a sense of who our cast really is, and it's pretty funny. I mean, they truly love each other. These eight people have been talking about the show, they were thrown together 25 years ago and still seem to be having as much fun today as they probably were having back then, "˜cause one of the things you learn when you're working on this stuff is the cast and crew of Star Trek were having a phenomenally good time when they were making the show and it's really infectious to be around them.
But yeah, we've got plans, we're doing this thing in the future, I think it's going to be on season three or season four, we're doing this piece called Episode 179: Inside The Writers Room, where we're gonna get Ron Moore of Battlestar Galactica fame and Brannon Braga and Naren Shankar and RenÃ© Echevarria into a room and they're going to take us through the process of breaking a story. The idea that we pitched to them is if All Good Things was not the last episode of the show, and you guys had to come up with another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, take us through this process, and let's write an episode here and show us how it's done. Because no one's ever really documented how a TV writers room works, and that's something I'm really interested in seeing. CBS home Entertainment is pretty happy when we throw them all these ideas, they're like "well great guys". As long as we don't break the bank in terms of our budgets, they're allowing us to do whatever we want. We're just thinking stuff up and doing it.
I'll give you an example; on season one you'll see an interview with actor Stephen Macht, who people might remember from being the sheriff father on the movies like Monster Squad and things like that. Well I'd been directing a TV show stateside called Femme Fatales, and he was in a couple of episodes of Femme Fatales, and I had met him on set and when I interviewed Rick Berman, both Rick Berman and Dorothy Fontana separately mentioned the fact that Gene Roddenberry wanted Stephen Macht to be Captain Picard. He did not want Patrick Stewart, it was Bob Justman who wanted Patrick Stewart and I said "well I'd never heard that before" so I called Stephen Macht up and it's sort of, for me it's a weird thing to do because you don't know how actors are going to feel talking about the parts that they don't get, especially parts that become iconic and part of the world wide pop culture lexicon, but he was willing to talk about it, and one of the things that I thought was really interesting was listening to him talk about where he was as a young actor and the choices he made and one of the things I figure about that it's a great Star Trek story that no one had told, but it's also a story, a cautionary tale about anybody who wants to get into the entertainment business and act and do things like that. So I think that one of the great moments in the season one set is hearing him call himself a putz for not taking the job of Captain Picard, not reading for the part, not reading for John Pike, the head of Paramount at the time. And when do you ever see that? You don't hear those stories on special features, so I was pretty happy about that.
TT: And is the season two Blu-ray still aiming for a 4th quarter 2012 release??
TT: And two seasons every year thereafter?
Yes. That's the plan. It's really sort of interesting because this restoration project is unprecedented. No one's ever done it before. There's three different entities paying for the restoration and the special features; CBS Television, CBS Home Entertainment and then Paramount as well. It shows, I think great foresight on their part that they've even done this. They didn't have to do it. Y'know they could have just said "sorry guys this is how the show was finished, it was finished in 480i, and we're just gonna put it out on Blu-ray as an up-res conversion" and go ahead and do it, but there's people at CBS that had a lot of foresight that said "you know what, we owe it to the legacy of Star Trek and the history of the show in particular, to go back and do it this way, and put it on high definition because that's how it's going to exist for the next 25, 50, 100 years. And I think it's amazing that they did it, and made a commitment to do all 7 seasons.
It showed great foresight on the part of CBS and Paramount to restore the entire series, because everyone knows that season one and two was The Next Generation getting their sea legs and when season three came around and Michael Piller had joined the staff and sort of reshaped the writing room and put the emphasis instead of on external threats he said "look this show needs to be about our characters" and all of the shows writing changed, and became more character centric rather than alien of the week centric or threat of the week centric. If season one didn't sell well and the rest of the shows were going to be based just on the sales figure of the Blu-ray we might have been in trouble, but because CBS had such foresight and said "No, we're going to go all in and we're going to restore the entire series", I think it's great and that we're going to get all seven seasons of The Next Generation and I'm really excited.
I was over at CBS Digital the other day and they started work on season three, I can't wait to see Yesterday's Enterprise, and Best of Both Worlds: Part 1 in HD, and other episodes that I like that a lot of other people don't necessarily think about as their top ten episodes like Who Watches The Watches, which has some great location work, and I love this episode called The Survivors " I'm a huge fan of that episode, that's the episode where Worf famously says "Good tea, nice house", I mean I love that episode, but I just can't wait and it's looking so great and it's just a joy to watch these episodes, because it's almost like you're seeing them for the first time. When they're done they're like "OK Rob, you've got five more episodes coming to you, I'm like "Wow, this is awesome", y'know, and you put "˜em in and you watch "˜em, it's amazing. I just watched the Outrageous Okona, with Billy Campbell as Captain Okona, and even that episode with Joe Piscopo and Data learning jokes I never liked, but watching it again in HD, I'm like "Wow this looks great " I'll watch this again! [Laughs]
TT: There's been some speculation that the season two episode Measure of a Man, may be featured as an extended episode, can you shed any light on this?
This is the thing. Melinda Snodgrass, who wrote Measure of a Man happened to have a VHS video tape of an extended version of the episode, that has a lot of footage sprinkled throughout, but it's got extended court room scenes where Picard is defending Data's right to live as a free being and the problem is it only exists as a VHS video tape. That's it. And the question is; should we rebuild the episode, and the use the VHS stuff and drop it in, or can we find all of the negative and recreate the episode? Because a lot of the time they would make these television episodes and they would run long, the first cuts would run long, and they were trimmed down to the final versions, but nobody ever kept them because you'd figure that when you're done being cut down to its running time, it's of no further use. But the writer managed to have this tape, and Measure of a Man is such a great episode that it was our thinking that we might just put this episode on right off the VHS tape, or we might rebuild it and intercut it, kind of the way they did when they originally put The Cage out on video tape, when some of it was black and white. We don't really know yet.
TT: So that decision has not been made yet?
Well, we don't even know if it's worth doing, but we're looking at it now. As a matter of fact, I was just watching it just the other day. It's not been made yet, but it's exciting to have that stuff. It's kind of like the blooper reel. The bloopers that we made use of, there's a blooper reel and then we incorporated some of the same bloopers and different ones into the body of the documentary. Star Trek bloopers only exist because producer Bob Justman used to collect them and put them on a tape and they would show them at the end of the year to the cast. Those tapes, thank God, were preserved in the archives and we were able to make use of them, but that's only because Bob Justman saved that stuff.
And that's another thing, Roger and I went to Paramount publicity, we went to a guy named John Wentworth who's now the senior vice president of publicity for CBS, he worked on The Next Generation as a studio publicist back in the 80's and he had all these boxes of publicity photos and things. He just gave them to us, and we found photographs that we used in part three of the documentary, because we didn't have them yet when we were making part one and part two, but we found all these photographs that no one's ever seen, y'know like of the art department guys on the bridge of the Enterprise, and other things that we found for later seasons. We found all these photographs of Ronald Reagan visiting the set of The Next Generation that have never been seen, and we found pictures of Colin Powell, the secretary of state came to the set and he actually had the nuclear football suitcase, the suitcase that had all the codes to launch our nuclear missiles, he had those. There are pictures of him on set with that nuclear football. There are also pictures of when the cast of The Next Generation were invited to go to the White House and hang out with the original Mercury Seven astronauts. And while they're just photographs, they've never been seen before and because Roger and I are such fanatics and we're always trying to find new stuff, if we get access to it, I wanna see it. So it's great for us, and we want to pass all that along to the fans, so we're always looking for whatever cool stuff that we can find to use, we'll use it.
TT: So for that reason, it's unlikely to see any further deleted scenes or alternate takes, simply because the film was not kept if it wasn't part of a completed episode?
That's correct. That's correct, and also a lot of that negative, some of the trims were lost, that stuff was not preserved. But if we can ever find that stuff, we absolutely would use it. One of the things that I'm wanting to find, I don't know if it exists, but there's an episode called The Most Toys where Saul Rubinek plays a collector of things, and he kidnaps Data. Well, that episode originally had an actor who filmed a couple of days on that episode who actually took his own life. I think the actors name was David Rappaport, he was a little person. I would love to see if there any footage of him that's around, because that would be amazing. But again, when we have that footage you have to check with his family if that is something that they would allow, you wouldn't want to cause any bad feeling, but I think when that stuff exists, it's kind of like when they had Eric Stoltz on the Back To The Future Blu-rays. Between Roger and I, we're nuts. We're such Star Trek fanatics that we're going to find whatever we can to put on these Blu-rays. If it's out there, we'll find it.
TT: Well it sounds like between yourself and Roger, the series on Blu-ray is in good hands.
And also the people at CBS, like Phil Bishop and Angelo Dante and Ana Barredo and Ken Ross and Jeffrey Nemerovski, all those people have made this possible. We're not just DVD producers, this is a crusade for us [laughs], and as a filmmaker myself, I direct, I produce, but Star Trek has been a lifelong love affair of mine, all the way from the Original Series, to the animated series, to the end of Enterprise and now the new JJ Abrams movies, despite the fact that I have been very vocal in my criticisms .[Laughs]
I still love the Star Trek franchise and I would always be first in line no matter what, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us for the next movie, but I'll watch any Star Trek anywhere, I mean I collect all the Star Trek novels and model kits and action figures, so for me this is the job of a life time, really.
TT: And a labor of love, it sounds like.
Absolutely. And to see what the guys at CBS Digital are doing, everybody who's working on this project is really excited by it, and even the actors when they came in and we started doing these interviews, they were taking me aside and telling me that my interviews.. Patrick Stewart actually said to me "this is one of the finest interviews I've ever given, and thank you for the questions you asked me", because I talked to him for about 30 minutes before we even got around to Star Trek. One of the things people don't remember is that Patrick Stewart was basically a theatre actor and he'd certainly never been on American television and worked really in Hollywood, I mean, the movies we know him from whether it was Life Force or Excalibur or Dune, he didn't shoot in the U.S. and so coming to Star Trek, and working on The Next Generation was really his first time on a Hollywood soundstage. I don't know if I'm going to be allowed to preserve this, but in the cast reunion piece, the cast talks about if they ever made another Next Generation movie they would reboot The Next Generation cast ala what JJ Abrams has done with his Star Trek and Patrick Stewart makes the point, he goes "well, I've had a taste. I know what it's like to be rebooted, because James McAvoy has now rebooted Xavier" and Patrick Stewart said "I like the fact that James McAvoy played me, because he's very cute and a great actor and I look forward to watching him get his head shaved", which I thought was very funny.
TT: Just to bring the interview to a close, the release schedule means that the entire run of the series won't be completed and available to the market until roughly 2015. Is it likely that CBS will look to other Star Trek properties such as Deep Space Nine and Voyager at this point?
Y'know that's the big question, and I think the overall sales of this will determine that. The problem is that in addition to just the restoration, those shows never had the ratings that Star Trek: The Next Generation had. My favourite modern Star Trek was Deep Space Nine, and as they got into later seasons, they relied heavily on CGI to create their visual effects and there's a lot more visual effects in those episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager than there were in the Original Series, and it's hugely cost prohibitive. I mean the Dominion War, all of those visual effects, the ones where they don't have models or film elements for, are going to have to be recreated digitally and that is a massively daunting task, and that could affect the desire or even the economic feasibility of making the shows, to do the same thing that they've done to The Next Generation, but it's my hope they will. I want Deep Space Nine. I really want Deep Space Nine in HD because I dearly love that show and I think it really holds up and I love those characters and I really hope that it does happen. But as of now, I think it's too early to say.
Interview Final Page
TT: So the message is that if fans want to see Deep Space Nine in 1080p they should jettison their Next Generation DVD's and upgrade to Blu-ray?
Absolutely. And if you're a fan of Star Trek, you're forward thinking in that way anyway, you're gonna want to see it. And I just think that all the hard work that went into that series, it's never been seen this way before and even the aesthetics, like when you watch a first season episode that people laugh at like Justice; Justice is a really weird episode. When I watched it, I actually watched it twice in HD, and I'm like there's some really interesting stuff, there's that great space station and they live in a different dimension, and what are they doing and they never show up again and then there's a great moment in that episode where Data and Picard have a great discussion about the prime directive and I was like "˜y'know this is a great scene and while this episode is kind of absurd, I kind of enjoyed watching it, the colors are very inviting and so even when The Next Generation is clearly not at its best, there's clearly something valuable about watching these episodes on high definition. It makes even what I think is the worst episode maybe of the series, besides Night Terrors, is Home Soil that's on the first season, that episode is unbearable to me, but I watched it because of the way it looks in high def, and I actually enjoyed watching it. And I would never watch that on DVD, but I'll watch it on Blu-ray!
TT: Well Mr. Burnett, we eagerly await the upcoming release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray disc in the coming weeks, but until then, thank you so much for your time.
And thanks for having me, I really appreciated it. It was a pleasure.
Thanks go out to Mr. Burnett for generously giving us his time as he sits at the edit bay of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two, and thanks also to my girlfriend Holly for assisting with the transcription of over an hour of geekdom - the hallmark of a good relationship if I've ever seen one.