NEWS: Star Trek, Jim, but not as we know it

It's an announcement that could divide Trekkies as George Lucas's special editions of Star Wars have long split fans of The Force. The forthcoming HD DVD version of Star Trek: The Original Series is to have its 1960s visual effects replaced with 21st Century CGI.

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release the 10-disc HD DVD/DVD hybrid boxset on 20th November. Each episode has been remastered from the original camera negative for the high-definition release.

The episodes will keep their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, but gain a True HD audio soundtrack on the HD DVD version and Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD presentation.

On the subject of the special effects, Paramount says the new CGI will: "give new depth and atmosphere to various elements, including the main title sequence, the galaxy shots frequently seen from the Enterprise's bridge, the battle scenes, planets and alien ships, some of the matte paintings used as backdrops for new worlds, as well as the Enterprise and other Starships."

In an attempt to pacify potential protest, it stresses that "the new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C."

And the tinkering doesn't stop there.... The famous theme tune has been re-recorded in digital audio, and William Shatner's "Space, the final frontier..." monologue has been digitally remastered. Presumably he was too busy extolling the virtues of All Bran to re-record it.

Extras include exclusive HD DVD interactive features produced by New Wave Entertainment. Interactive menus and a “Starfleet Access” interface will allow viewers to activate icons that provide such features as Picture in Picture video commentaries and an interactive tour of the Enterprise.

Both the standard definition and high definition presentations also include rare on-set home movie footage, an inside perspective on what it took to transport Trek into the 21st century and much more.

And the price? A mere $217.99.

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