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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ockeghem, Mar 9, 2008.
Tonight I indulged in Star Trek TNG's blu ray of Unification with Leonard Nimoy and Malachi Throne.
How did it look as compared to the DVD version? Does the standalone Unification disc have a lot of good special features?
Hi Lee, I have not done a direct comparison with the Unification TNG DVD, but early on when the TNG sets came out, I did compare. The obvious difference is sharpness of course and clarity of the image. But also striking is the color! It's more accurate of course. In some shots of other TNG episodes, you can see individual hairs on Patrick Stewart's head sticking out. There is one minor distracting thing, the film grain seems really course. I'm not complaining about that because it's as it should be. Maybe it's the film stock of that time.And I've lamented in the past how fortunate the TNG episodes could be remastered using very little CGI and reusing all the original space ship shots with new planet paintings. Looks great. It's just too bad the TOS set couldn't access any film stock of the Enterprise model and make a similar effort. Of course after reading Cushman's book of the first season, we know why.This was a first class episode with terrific performances by all the cast. It was great to see Leonard Nimoy back and playing Spock so well there. The last scene with Spock mind melding with Picard was especially nice. It seems the added clarity allowed me to see more of Nimoy's expression and without giving it away, it wasn't the expression I was used to. In this case, I watched the two parts of the episode in the season set, not the Unification feature length presentation. I should have! I have the disc. The extras include commentary by Jeri Taylor and Denice Okuda, deleted scenes in HD, a Making of Unification feature, and promos.
I always thought that mind meld scene was terrific. I wonder what scenes they deleted, as (and I did like the episodes overall) they already seemed padded. I always wondered if Leonard Nimoy had watched the Sarek episode prior to filming Unification so as to grasp the full emotion of the situation. Realistically, I suspect he did not, but he might have.
Nelson,How did the major blooper (reflection in crystal) look in the blu-ray edition?
I just watched the documentary on Unification on the feature length blu ray. And I'm listening now to the audio commentary with Mike and Denise Okuda and Jeri Taylor. I must have forgotten, but they said the idea for Unification came about because Leonard Nimoy had expressed interest in participating. I bet he had been thinking about how it could tie into Star Trek 6 but Jeri Taylor didn't know. Michael Piller and Leonard Nimoy apparently worked out the basic story idea and it was up to Jeri Taylor to write part 1.The deleted scene was just one scene. It involved Perrin after she beams aboard and Picard escorts her from the transporter room down the corridor and she speaks about how difficult it is for Sarek now and how he has his good days and bad days. That scene would have then cut to Picard's ready room where he gives her mint tea. I can see it not really necessary. You later see Sarek's ups and downs.The goof of the production crew member who is reflected in the pyramid shaped glass object on Sela's desk was removed! They did it very well and I fully expected it. I don't mind it's gone, it's always a distraction because I always see him! But I know he's there on the DVD, but he's now covered. Oh yeah, in the documentary, Marc Cushman is interviewed too because the documentary goes back to the Sarek episode and how Sarek's condition is set up there. So Marc talks about how he came to work for Roddenberry as a freelance writer and pitched a many ideas before hitting on the idea of Sarek having dementia. Roddenberry loved it though and felt the idea was too early at the second season of TNG so it was saved for later.
I finished the documentary and it was a good listen. Jeri talks a little about creating Voyager. They also discuss the reflection in the glass pyramid and it's removal and also about the error in the color of Galorndon Core first seen in The Enemy as blue, but was cream colored in Unification, so Mike Okuda checked and it was a mistake, so the color was made blue for Unification. Mike was trying to respect the original intent of the artists who worked on the series originally, but when he checked on this, the original artist said he goofed. The Unification feature length blu ray is a good buy! The old DVDs now look like a blurry mess.
I recently listened to an interview with the Okudas in which they surprised me by saying they had originally turned down the effects remastering job on Star Trek because they thought no one should do it. It was only, according to them, after Mr. Okuda spent a half hour on the phone as he refused the job telling the person in charge all the ways he should do it, that the guy said Okuda either had to take the job or shut up about how to do it. In more local tech news, I really hate that the mobile version of the HTF has been eliminated.
And thanks for the rundown of the Unification extras. It certainly felt like an ad for Star Trek VI at the time. (Which was fine, as I suspect Leonard Nimoy would not have been interested in participating otherwise.) I didn't know that Jeri Taylor was not involved in planning the story, but it certainly makes sense. Part I feels entirely different from Part II. Did they even have the same director?
Lee, I have heard the story too that the Okuda's thought it wasn't a good idea to tinker with TOS. He had declined to participate, but I don't recall hearing the part where the person on the phone told him to do it like he's describing or shut up! I probably just forgot it. His mantra was always to respect the original artists intent. Your description of Unification is something that never occurred to me before, that it was a advertisement for Star Trek 6! I remember the night it aired and I gathered with friends at their house with a group of fans who are coworkers too. We all enjoyed it, we thought it was very well done. It felt like a very good TNG episode utilizing the TNG cast and Denise Crosby's return as Sela was organic to the story and her character arc. I know it was quite a big deal that Leonard Nimoy was in it as Spock so it was must see TV. So it was terrific for the ratings aspects and news worthy. The documentary does discuss that aspect that the cast was totally aware of that aspect of having Nimoy on board and were good with the idea that it would benefit the show in terms of ratings and is a smart business move. I saw it, as described in the documentary, as an acceptance that the series has stood on its own merits and was now okay to mix the cast of TOS with TNG. I had heard that the episode was meant to tie into the film at the time. So I guess that's the pitch to see a Star Trek 6 or at least for me, it was an added dimension. Though having seen the episode only once and not recalling everything in it, it was hard to make the connections. For me anyway! I remember after the episode Relics aired, I was so excited to see that as well and was hungry to see it again and learn more about it. It felt like a real love note to the fans from Ron Moore.
Oh yeah, Unification I was directed by Les Landau and Unification II was directed by Cliff Bole. Both parts were developed by Michael Piller and Rick Berman with Taylor writing I and Taylor said that she just wasn't well enough versed in Star Trek at the time to tackle part II. But she said she enjoyed writing part I because she had the fun part of setting it all up and throwing all the balls in the air. Michael Piller wrote the conclusion.
By the way Lee, you said the HTF mobile app has been eliminated. I heard that could be happening but it still seems to be working. I hope they replace it with something if it is gone.
Oh, I wouldn't have thought the TNG production crew saw it as an advertisement, at least not primarily. I just think that Nimoy's participation was motivated by it and that it did affect some of the writing. It aired a few weeks before Star Trek VI opened and there are definite references to the events of that movie in Unification. There were also, as I recall, rumors about Kirk dying in Star Trek VI and the dialogue in Unification kind of plays with those rumors. Also, some people blamed the existence of TNG for the lower box office receipts of Star Trek V and, right or wrong in that assumption, they probably thought it was better safe than sorry and decided to use the best forum for advertising that they had. In terms of a real homage to the first series, I agree that Relics was much more designed that way than Unification.According to the feedback forum, the mobile version of the site was never really supposed to be available at all. It has been removed until it can e made available to premium subscribers only.
From Dave Upton in response to a question about the mobile version:"Dave, I'm sorry but this was actually never supposed to be visible or work, but a bug in the software left it working. We've actually disabled the mobile theme because it doesn't support advertising. It'll be coming back as an improved option for premium members in the near future."
So my best guess is the mobile theme refers to the skin of the HTF as it appears on a mobile device using a browser, not the HTF app?I just read the "For the Record" chapter in the Cushman book that covers all the magazine coverage and the second record Nimoy released and the comics and Blish novelization. But the surprise there for me was the release of the independent Star Trek novel with an original story. The memo from Roddenberry and earlier note from JML regarding the novel's lack of quality and concern that should Star Trek continue, it should be viewed as a valuable property and should be carefully guarded from weak products like that novel. Wow, that's just amazing that they realized that early on, two years into the series that the series was viewed as having been popular enough, it's possible to go on a few more years and any books and comics should be carefully watched and directed.
Yes, sorry if I wasn't clear. It's not a change in the app; it's the mobile version on browsers like Safari.I was very interested in the stuff on Mission to Horatius because when I first read it (my most successful visit to the annual Used Book festival in Ithaca, NY yielded a first edition of it long before the reprint), I was surprised at how good it was for a kids' tie-in book from that time. I really wonder how the first version, before the producers' objections and revisions, read. Given their close attention to Mission to Horatius, I wonder if they even saw the first three Gold Key Comics, which were done while the show was still in production, and were much less true to the show and the characters.
Lee, that Mission to Horatius book was a fascinating segment to that chapter. I had recollections of seeing that book cover in the past decade. But I had no knowledge of its origins or content. So that was a real revelation. That's cool you actually were able to find a copy and a first edition too! The other thing that Cushman declares at the end of the chapter is also a pretty strong statement. Based on his personal experiences of growing up while the series was on and finding that it was popular with his classmates and adding to that the magazine coverage and books being published while the series was still in production he is declaring the series was very popular! Despite the decades of published reports the series was a ratings failure and was not popular. So he makes a strong case. The next chapter looks interesting too covering the fan response.
Oh yeah, about the Goldkey comics, I have a reprinted copy. I could never read it. It just didn't feel right!Also, I was wondering if the writing staff was taking time to review the work from Blish at the time. Did he get the same support after the series was cancelled? Perhaps only from Roddenberry?
Isn't there some memo quoted in the book from Dorothy Fontana complaining about how bad the first couple of Blish books were?