Saturday, January 26, 2013

When a program is ruined

Usually I do not write about Television on Saturday, this is a day I usually write a story or do something unrelated to the rest of the week.

However I felt I needed to get this out of my system, at least for now.

I mentioned a great network a few weeks ago, called MeTV or Memorable Entertainment Television.  The network runs classic programs from comedies like Bewitched to Dramas like 12 O-clock High.

Usually the episodes are aired as they were originally filmed, all scenes intact with no modifications, usually this is the case.

However about four years ago Paramount Studios in order to repackage the original STAR TREK franchise brought in a couple to revamp the special affects, make the series look as contemporary as the movies, so they could repackage and resell TREK to a new audience.

Now, when I heard about this, I wasn't upset at first, I thought okay, this could be cool, because the web episodes of TREK had more modern effects; however these effects did not alter the feel of the series.

When Paramount had the effects redone they looked so out of place with the rest of the series that they broke the dramatic tension.  Worst of all, by adding the new effects key lines of dialogue were cut from the episodes, in some cases to be politically correct, but mostly to add more effects time.

One line that was cut was from Space Seed, the episode that introduced the character of Khan Noonian Sing, played by Ricardo Montalban  Luckily the scene still exists as it did in 1967 until 4 years ago.  Thanks to some Trekker who posted it on You Tube, this is what was cut.

In the reedited version McCoys' line about cutting the Choratic Artery is edited out as is Khans' line about McCoy being a Brave man.  McCoy responds to Captain Kirk's message on the intercom that he has a man with many questions.  All for special affects that add nothing to the story.

Time and again this was the trade off dialogue for the new affects of Michael and Denise Okuda.  The trade off is unfair, and honestly, it the dialogue had not been edited, my reaction to the effects may have been different.

But time and again key lines were removed so new effects could replace what had stood the test of time.

This sequence leads up to a scene again where dialogue was chopped.  The scene has the original affects of the Constellation with damage.  In the Okuda version, it simply looks like parts of the saucer section were painted with black paint to simulate damage.

Why does it matter?  Because the actors who worked on this series, several who have passed on in the last several years, deserve to be heard the way generations have heard them.  Giving their full dialogue to emphasize the dramatic moment, not be replaced by some computer generated image that adds nothing to the episode, and in many cases detracts from the dramatic impact.

You do not edit Macbeth, or Gone With the wind to add in contemporary affects in a movie of the story.  Although some will say STAR TREK was just a television series from the 1960's it spoke about issues to several generations

Unfortunately the damage is done, and it is unlikely Paramount saved any of the original edits of the series.  It is sad, an entire generation will only see the revised Okuda versions of Trek and perhaps not understand the impact the series had for so long.

This is my opinion.  What do you think?  Let me know...

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